Tag: Gift

GIFT: An Unwanted Gift By Claire Robertson

Word: GIFT

Word Count: 242


An Unwanted Gift

By Claire Robertson


It was another girl.  This one had hair the color of mahogany and deep brown eyes like liquid chocolate.  This one looked about 17 and had no wings.  “Who are you?” Magnus demanded.  “Saphria” the girl said, sounding scared.  “Well Saphria, I’m Magnus Bane and this is my sister Minaya.”  Saphria bowed.  “Do you know the way back to Zeatha?” she asked.  “Zeahta?  That’s not a real place.”  “Yes it is!  I’m from Zeatha!”  “Well I’ve never heard of it.” Magnus said.  “But you must have!  It’s the biggest kingdom in the land!” Saphria cried, desperation making it’s way into her voice.  “Sorry, nope.”  “Why did you bring me here?  What is my destiny?  Show yourself, you cowardly old woman!” Saphria screamed, seemingly to no one.  There was a crack, and Magnus and Minaya turned to see an old lady standing at the center of the clearing.  “You asked for my help and now you shall get it!” the old lady proclaimed grandly.  She offered Saphria a ring.  It had a silver-blue band and a golden flower.  “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t seem to be much help, and even though it looks pretty, I don’t want your gift.” Saphria said icily.  “Take it!” the woman insisted.  “You’ll need it.”  “Ok.” Saphria said reluctantly and took the ring.  “That’s better!  Now, good-bye!”  The woman disappeared in a puff of smoke, as grey as mist in the morning.  “Well, that was dramatic” said Magnus.

GIFT: The Christmas of 1987 By Sally Madison

Week 8 Word: GIFT
Words: 451
The Christmas of 1987
Sally Madison

It was Christmas. Mom and Dad had come over for breakfast. Since the children were now budding young adults, we had our breakfast before we opened gifts. The anticipation level was low for them, now that they were older. Times were tough, so they were expecting clothes and trinkets.

Smiles and relaxed pleasantness abounded, but not for me. Inside my stomach was as jittery as it was the Christmas I checked each box under the tree, to see if it was the right size for a Tiny Tears Doll, like the one I had seen in the Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog. While doing the dishes, my hands were shaking and no one notice how quiet I had become.

Over the past two years I had worked two jobs. At my bill-paying job, I had received a raise, but I didn’t tell anyone one about it I had also taken a part time job. As I horded the additional money, I kept a vision of the Christmas of 1973. My parents and younger siblings had spent that winter in Florida. I was married and had a two year old son. Our presents arrived from Florida, including a Donald Duck hat for my son. It was the saddest Christmas I had ever had.

The children were grateful for their new clothes and all was calm and relaxed. All the presents under the Christmas tree had been opened except one big wrapped box with no tag. I was so choked up, I couldn’t talk. With tears in my eyes, I indicated that my son should open the mystery box. Inside that box were four smaller, wrapped and tagged gifts. He handed out each wrapped gift, one at a time. First was my husband. He received a sun hat and flip-flops. Everyone looked at me as if I had turned green. Then, a box was handed me. Mine contained a new wide brimmed floppy sun hat. Again everyone turned with the look of ‘what are you up to’ expression? I managed a weak smile, as I bit my lip. Next was my daughter. She received a bathing suit and sun glasses. Ah ha! We were going on a trip. We had never taken a family trip before. Now the tension was in the air. Oh, happy day! With great speed and gusto, my son opened his gift. It was a tour guide book for Florida. What excitement! We were going to Disney World! They were so thrilled! Even my Mom had tears in her eyes. Everyone turned to me with questions on their face in disbelief, wondering “How could this be?” With a restricted throat and quivering lips, I muttered, “I made myself a promise.”

GIFT: Lydia’s Gift By B.A. Sarvey

Week 8 Word: GIFT
Word count 500

Lydia’s Gift
By B.A. Sarvey

My mahogany companion knows many secrets. It listens to the visions in my head, helps me put them on paper. Writing is the only way I can twist events; change outcomes.
Writing lets me reach into painful experiences: a penknife slipping into flesh. Ironically, exposing infection allows healing. Daily barrages of knowledge leave me much infected, needing much healing.
Sorrows surround me. Some are mine. Myriad belong to strangers. “The Gift”—a misnomer if ever there was one—is a bane hastening me to my grave. Second sight has dogged me all my life. I cannot hide from, nor inure myself to, “The Gift.” The joyous events I have visions of do not counteract my premonitions of misfortunes.
What good is a gift that brings pain?
I see things. Yet I am impotent.
My own child could not be saved by my “gift.” I “saw” him plunging, thrashing, as I sat sewing. Desperately, knowing it was happening as I ran, I struggled to the creek’s edge, screaming ‘Jacob’, forewarned too late that my boy would stray, slip, and be carried away by the rushing, icy water, where he and his siblings played. I was too slow, bound by long skirts and brambles. All I could do was curse. Wail. And wish to be swept away as well.
Soon after, my dear husband William, attempting to comfort and cheer, commissioned my mahogany desk. He always humored my passion for writing, although he did not know why I was so driven to invent stories. I rarely shared my visions with him. Still, he felt my growing melancholy. I let him think it was the grief of losing Jacob. But how many other “Jacobs” have I been unable to rescue? My empathy runs too deep. Sometimes, the events glimpsed of a stranger’s life are the ones that take me with violent migraines; nightmares. I know the futility of knowing.
Somehow, William’s gift, so unlike mine, does comfort, as nothing else could. Steadfastly, my companion’s smooth grain and russet sheen imbue me with calm. It is my muse, my confidante, my liberator. Here, I can close my eyes and not see horrifying visions, or if I do, I think them and write them to a different ending.
The boisterous noise of my brood is long gone. Soon, though, Grace will marry. Bear two girls and three boys. These walls will again echo with children’s chatter. To Grace will go the homestead and its remaining furnishings. My cherished desk. None of the others are interested. I tried to make this a happy, loving place. After Jacob, though, I became fiercely protective. Unintentionally overbearing. They seek no reconciliation.
I foresaw that the influenza would snatch William, as surely as the water had snatched Jacob. I know when and how I shall join them. I see happiness for my other children. They shall outlive me. The reappearance of “the gift” comes generations later.
As for my own ending, I have time. Time for more stories. More healing.

GIFT: The Gift of Life By Janie D

Week 7-GIFT
Word Count 497
The Gift of Life
By Janie D

Phyllis could remember clearly how Happy came into her life. This was when she had been about three years old and had lived in Florida.
Phyllis was an only child with pale coloring who had long, brownish hair with ringlets that flowed to her waist. She was lonely and longed for a friend to keep her company. One day, as she was playing outside on her tricycle, a black dog with a few white markings under her chin and the underside of her belly came up to her. She fell in love this docile creature and even though she was not allowed to keep her new friend, unknown to her mother, she took water out the back door for the new acquaintance who was seemingly as lonely she was. After a few days, Phyllis brought the dog into the house and promptly her mother whisked her out. It became a few times a day ritual that Phyllis would let her friend in the back door and her mother would send her out the front door. That is until her mother relented and let the two friends stay together.
Eventually, the family moved to Nowheresville, NY once again. Soon Phyllis and her mother were left on their own with her friend, that she had named Happy because of the smile that she had that reached her eyeballs stayed with them. Soon Florida was a distant memory, as was her father who had returned there.
One night, about 10 pm, after Phyllis was fast asleep, Happy began growling, one of those low, guttural sounds at first, then she started barking and pacing. Nothing seemed amiss but Happy continued so long that Phyllis’ mother threatened to shoot her if she didn’t quiet down. Reluctantly, Happy quieted down and Phyllis’ mother went to bed.
Suddenly, sharp insistent barks and a tug of her arm woke her. This was about 1:30 am. She got up and through the downstairs and didn’t see anything. She pulled the chain that should have turned on the dining room light. Nothing. She went to the kitchen and tried that light. Nothing. As she opened the door to the back porch, which also lead to the back wood shed, yes, there really was a woodshed, it appeared that the yellow light there was lit, but when she looked at the bulb, it was not.
In horror, she looked toward the woodshed. Fire! Oh, no! She then glanced up at the ceiling and with the light from the fire in the back of the house, she saw paint blisters.
From a deep slumber, Phillis was scooped up in her mother’s loving arms and wrapped with the blankets from the bed. Her mother took her outside to safety. Happy was right at her heels as she ran down the driveway with Phyllis in her arms. As, they neared the road they heard the crash of the ceiling falling into the kitchen.
Thank you, Happy for the gift of life!

GIFT: The Gift of the Century by G. Ackman

Week 8 Word: GIFT
Word Count 448

The Gift of the Century
by G. Ackman

It all started 45 years ago, in Mr. Gray’s fifth grade classroom. Most of my childhood has faded into brief sepia-toned snapshots in my mind, blurred and indistinct, but this moment I remember as if it happened yesterday. Mr. Gray (and boy, did I ever have a crush on him), had us open our books and read a short story by Louis Untermeyer called “The Dog of Pompeii.” This story about a young blind beggar, Tito, whose dog Bimbo guides him safely out of the city during the volcanic eruption but then goes back to get the boy a raisin cake and is caught and preserved forever in ash ignited a fire within me. From that moment on, my dream of seeing Pompeii was as solid as the remains of those caught in the pyroclastic cloud.
Today, I cried. I stood in front of the glass case that displays the dog, its face and twisted limbs a testament to its agonizing last moments. I cried for the dog and I cried because this moment was nearly fifty years in the making. Five days ago, I, along with nine students and my friend Jody, boarded a plane bound for Italy. We were spending ten days touring Italy and Greece. It took eighteen months of payments, three months of packing and re-packing my carryon bookbag, immeasurable checks and rechecks of my packing list, special purchases of clothes, water bottles, and assorted other essentials for the trip, and the anticipation of a lifetime, but here I was.
Walking the fabled streets of Rome, standing in the ancient Colosseum, navigating the poignant Catacombs, climbing the hills of the temple at Delphi, strolling through the world’s first library in Athens, sauntering the beautiful streets of Sorrento and Capri, and of course, traversing the city of Pompeii will always be with me. A few hours after paying homage to the dog of Pompeii, I stood in the jewelry store and purchased the most extravagant piece of jewelry I have ever or will ever purchase. The cameo choker, hand crafted by a master artisan of Pompeiian shells and depicting a dog is proof to my later self that I was indeed here. It is a treasured momento.
So much went into this trip. I should thank Mr. Gray and Jody because without them, this would not have happened. But there is so much more. My husband who supported the idea, my mother who sent me a check to buy myself something memorable, and my own self who saw this opportunity and clasped it close to my heart. It was almost half a century but the greatest gift of all is one we give ourselves – a dream created and a dream fulfilled.

GIFT: The Little Match Girl By Frank Sutliff

Week 8 Word: GIFT
Word Count 499

The Little Match Girl
By Frank Sutliff
The book by Hans Christian Andersen was tattered and showed all of the signs of age, much as the old man did. As he sat day after day in the nursing home, rarely leaving his room, he reflected on his life and wondered how much more of this nothingness there would be.
At one time, he had had thousands and thousands of books, many unread, but comforting still the same. With the ultimate downsizing that came with a move to one small room to live out his days, his possessions became few and the large book collection had been sold for a dime here, a quarter there, and then given to local libraries to sell in their book sales. He remained only in possession of a few books, those that had carried special meaning from his youth.
As he sat alone with the small TV on mute, alone with his thoughts for yet another day, the social worker came in to do her daily rounds and check on him. The daily comings and goings of the staff were a welcome diversion to the ticking of the clock marking yet another day gone by. However, on this day, the young woman, likely sensing his loneliness, sat down in the recliner in the room, and began to make small talk while working on her paperwork. As she sat there, the old man began to talk about his life and how things had worked out. He told her that his life had consisted of making a living, like most lives do, but also how he always made sure that his children and grandchildren would never have to go without, much as his father had done for him. He had sacrificed much but always willingly, hoping that it would be paid forward some day. As they chatted, one question that the old man asked, albeit rhetorically, was “why don’t my children come visit me?”
Sadly, this was a question she heard all too often asked throughout the nursing home. Sometimes, the dementia of some of the residents eased the pain of this question as they in some ways thankfully had no recollection of what had been. However, with others, it was a question that weighed heavily on their mind and certainly, she wondered too, how people could be left to be forgotten.
As she parried his question with grace based on her caring nature and years of experience with the elderly, she knew that it was time to get back to the many other duties that would consume her day. As she got up to leave, she went over to him and gave him a hug as she heard him say “I wish you would never leave.”
A few days later, she found the gift in her mailbox. Simply wrapped, it was a tattered book that apparently had been read to him as a child over and over by his mother. Inside the cover was a simple message- thank you for your kindness.

GIFT: Godiva By Nan Ressue

Week 8 Word: GIFT
Word Count

“Hi Grandma. It’s Eva,” said a sweet voice on my cell phone. It’s the one, which makes me drop everything with the pleasure of being included in her teenage life.
“I need a ride to the beauty parlor after school for a haircut. You know what I mean”.
“I’ll be there on the dot my dear and meet you at the usual spot.” We walked in together for her appointment as she nervously fingered the silky tresses laying on her shoulders.
“Ok “, said the beautician. We’re ready for you”. She stood up slowly and flashed me a backward glance as she disappeared through the doorway. I settled into the overstuffed armchair with a tantalizing magazine but soon found I was more interested in reverie.
“Women are so obsessive about their hair. It’s easy to spot those hair-do milestones we go through life,” I mused to myself.
Your infants’ baby hair, silky and fine with a forever-remembered aroma, a precious snip saved inside a gold locket;
the toddler, defenseless against her mother, wearing whisk broom projections on each side of her head;
the young child with thick shiny braids tied with ribbons and occasionally coiled on her head for special occasions;
the high school co-ed who longs to fit in willingly adopts the long, straight, parted down the middle cookie cutter style which was shampooed daily, arriving breathless to class with still damp hair laying on her back;
the day the young lady asks for a permanent, her first nervous steps toward individuality; the new mother whose personal time hardly exists, asks for a “blow and go” style.
When my greys were arriving it was like a gathering snowstorm; one or two flakes at first and then a few more and finally strands different from the rest and, too soon, the transformation was complete. And now, most assuredly white, pretty dry, thinner than before but gratefully no bare spots as yet. The time has come to choose a new color scheme: white, ? tint blue? Brunette again? or, maybe at last ,blond?
I well remember the day when my mother was in the mood to reminisce, telling me that Victorian women, who wore their long hair piled high, seduced their men by slowly pulling the pins out and allowing it to cascade down over their bare shoulders. Ah, the power of suggestion
I reluctantly returned to the overstuffed chair and my magazine just in time to realize that the beautician and her young customer were standing in front of me, demonstrating a milestone that wasn’t on the list.
With her arm around my darling granddaughter’s shoulders, the beautician said,“Thank you Eva for donating your beautiful hair. You are a generous girl. I’ll tell the Cancer Center that it is here and they will pick it up in the morning.”

GIFT: Willow Skye, the Gate-Keeper’s Girl By Sharon Collins

Week 8 Word: GIFT
Word Count 496
Willow Skye, the Gate-Keeper’s Girl
By Sharon Collins

Willow Skye the Gate-Keeper’s girl wasn’t his daughter. Folks ‘round here knew she didn’t belong to him, but we all pretended she did. However, whenever a stranger inquired, he’d growl the truth, “No, Willow Skye don’t belong to no one, least of all me!” The day of the festival when the last Summer-Traveler through the his gate caught sight of Willow Skye, and asked for the twenty-second time in a row, “Who do She belong to?’ was just too much. The Gate-Keeper’s eyebrows broke; the outsides just folded down. He looked straight at me and sighed, “Willow Skye don’t belong…”
After he stomped away, I wanted to kick that Summer-Traveler in his skinny behind. Sometimes I wish I had. Things haven’t been the same in our land since that day eleven summers ago. Something besides the Gate-Keeper’s eyebrows broke; we just didn’t’ know it yet.
It was the first day of August, the Summer Gift-Giving-Festival Day and the entire countryside was either floatin’ down or paddlin’ up river to the castle to offer their Summer Gifts. Gifts are small in August, what with the Hungry-Time just comin’ to an end. Summer Gift-Giving, unlike Autumn Gift-Giving, is really more for the festival fun than the festival food. Fields are just startin’ to offer up their crops and folks are just startin’ to let go of the fear that they might go hungry again come winter.
Last winter was hard, brutal in fact. Our land being so far north, has a sadly short green-season, and when the rains come like they did last summer, well to speak plain, the harvest was pitiful. We all went plenty hungry last winter. Even I learned to love turnips, and I hate turnips! I do, even with honey, which I do get once in a while, being the Bee-Keeper’s Boy. Turnips is just pain nasty! Well anyways, this ain’t my story, so back to the day the Gate-Keeper’s eyebrows broke, and got all sullen and sad and stayed that way ‘til he died.
Dozens of little boats was tied to the banks aside of the Gate-Keeper’s Cottage and loads of folks was gettin’ out and headin’ to the Summer Gift-Giving. Their dressin’-up clothes bagged and sagged in a sad sort of way, but their faces was bright and their baskets, if not bulgin’ like all hoped they’d be come Autumn, held something good to share. My nose smelled fresh-baked bannocks. My fingers itched to lift one. I heard stone jars of June-berry jam clankin’ ‘gainst crocks of sweet-cream butter. My mouth was waterin’. I watched a set of tow-headed twins splash through the shallows totin’ a willow basket half full of smooth, brown eggs. Some baskets were heavier than others, but every basket held a gift, even if it was just a wildflower poesy or a bright bit of ribbon from a winter-lost-girl-child. Sadly, folks had plenty of ribbons to spare that year, and spare ribbons are necessary on Summer Gift-Giving-Festival Day.

GIFT: Witch Gift? By Michael S. Jones

Week 7 Word: GIFT
Word Count 325
By Michael S. Jones

I do so hate the equinox. Yeah yeah, it’s a holy day and all that. Thousands jostle to see the snake shadow “descend” a big pyramid and witchy wannabes pound drums at Stonehenge.
But I’m not religious.
Nor am I a white witch, though my skin is exceeding pale.
My hat is broad, white and floppy, not tall, black and pointy.
I hide in plain sight, my home surrounded by a dozen flower beds. These flowers always bloom, feeding on special fertilizer. But that’s another story. Suffice it to say I disposed of an old threat.
I do not appear to be what I am. Neighbors consider me odd, but never weird in the ancient sense, though I remember when the word was spelled with a Y. They leave me alone, which is optimal for me.
Call me Calpurnia. My name contains a purr and I named my familiar Catigula. He is a calico cat. By coincidence my calico sundress is forget-me-not blue.
Some cats bring a fat mouse as a gift for their significant others. Not Catigula…oh no. He put a Thingie in my shoe at the exact moment the equinox began.
I’d describe the Thingy but it would be a waste of words. It’s a witchy thing.
But here’s my problem. Catigula is special. One in three thousand calico cats is male. Odds of his having a harmonic relationship with a creature like me are infinitesimal.
Catigula senses my needs. But I did not need a Thingie so I tossed it out the window.
He replaced it in my shoe at exactly the last moment of the equinox. I was missing something.
“What?” I demanded
He sat.
“You’re being enigmatic,” I said.
He stared.
“Go to hell,” I said. He didn’t.
“Do I brew it? Eat it? Shake it like a wand?”
“Will it wait until the next equinox?”
He stood, turned tail and left.
Most cats are optimists.
Catigula is droll.

GIFT: The Gift of Aversion By Linda Helterline

Week 7 Word: Aversion/Gift
Word Count 500
The Gift of Aversion
By Linda Helterline
Cats are weird. Sometimes they are attracted to things that move…but not too fast, and especially if it moves in a jerky, sputtering way. Sometimes they are attracted to things that are new and different. However, if the things are new AND different AND FLASHING…well, that’s like the trifecta of the cat world!
Enter Alex, a small yellow barn cat and Susie, a black and white barn cat. Having the two of them was like having two-thirds of The Three Stooges. They were the self-appointed rodent population control squad for the sheep, and were local instructors in tolerance and patience. During the winter months, the cats were convinced the sheep had been provided for their comfort. Why else would the sheep grow those soft, warm coats?
But today the flock was staying in the barn for the whole day. Around the pasture walked a very tall fellow who carried a collection of tools, noisy machinery, and many shiny rolls of wire. The squad quietly watched him from the top of the hay mow, chasing an errant mouse from time to time to keep from getting bored and keeping mousing skills sharp. Little did they know that all of this entertainment was a gift from the sheep, their movable heating pads. The sheep were firm believers in the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Getting there was their never-ending challenge. Since the last unsanctioned visit to a nearby farm, a brand new electric fence had to be installed, complete with five strands of wire and thirty-two hundred volts coursing through its expensive veins. Hopefully the sheep’s aversion to having something invisible force their eyeballs into introducing each other at the middle of their faces would convince the wayward ovines into staying inside the new fencing.
Late in the afternoon the bright sun revealed itself and the miles of wire which had been incorporated into the fence line became shiny: see “shiny” above. However, he was still drilling holes for the posts. The noisy motor would stop and start. It served as a cat repellant, and its unpredictable, loud starts and stops would convince even the most curious cat from visiting the site of the newest construction.
Finally the fellow packed up his tools and unpacked a large box. This he placed on a wall and it began making clicking noises and flashing lights: see “flashing” above. Was it alive? Now they were being about as attracted as a cat can be! After all, the noisy machine and the fellow were gone and the miles of unattended, shiny wire were just sitting out there. It was time for the inspection, so Alex took the lead.
As they walked slowly around the perimeter of the fence line, all seemed safe. But one of Alex’s feet brushed up against the bottom wire of the fence! ZZZAAAPPP!! She was SURE it had been Suzie! Who else could it have been? SLAP! Moe and Curly were at it again.
Cats: 500 words