Tag: Smitten

SMITTEN: The Guards of San Malo By Sally Madison

Word: Smitten
Words: 497
The Guards of San Malo
By Sally Madison

Returning to St. Mary’s School for Girls, Elizabeth descended from the carriage. “It was so kind of you to bring me to San Malo, Monsieur Voltaire. When you return to London and if you see Lord Duncan, please tell him that you found me safe. We had made arrangements to meet. He is probably distraught, since I left no word and I left so abruptly. He was very smitten with me when last we spoke in Paris. It’s hard to say, if he ever learned of my capture. I have so much to sort through; I hardly know where to begin.”

“It was my pleasure. If you don’t mind, I’ll leave my carriage here, near the olive tree at the entrance of the walled city, and walk you to the school, since it’s late in the day.” Voltaire replied.

“There was a time, when I would insist on being left to my own devises, but my life has been diverted from what it might have been. I feel vulnerably, in a way that I could never have imagined, just a few months ago. I would be pleased to have you protection this evening.” She explained, as they entered the gates.

As they slowly progressed, they discussed people of mutual acquaintance, when Voltaire interrupted, “The noise! Those dogs barking, why doesn’t someone do something about that barking?”

“The dogs belong to the Bishop.” Elizabeth explained. “He uses them as the guards of the city at night. When the gates close for the day, the Rottweilers are let loose. No one dares venture of their homes after the dogs are out.”

Slowly they walked and talked through the streets that climbed to the school. The church bells rang and Voltaire was pacified.

Elizabeth perked her ears to the silence, grabbing her skirts, she darted around the last turn, “Run, run, your life depends on it, the dogs are loose!”

They raced up the steep incline as fast as they could. Breathlessly, Elizabeth banged with her fists on the massive wooden door, “Tabitha! Tabitha! Let me in, it’s Elizabeth! The dogs are loose!” Banging, and again.

Finally the door creaked open just a few inches, Elizabeth pushed Voltaire through, and turned quickly as Voltaire and an other person in the shadow pushed the door, Elizabeth threw the bolt sealing the door shut, just as the dogs leaped and pounced on the door. Grabbing the material of Elizabeth’s dress that had been caught in the door, the dogs pulled with all their strength. Elizabeth’s body was pulled back to the crack of the door, as her dress’s skirt strangling her. Voltaire quickly grabbed the skirt and ripped it off of her, sacrificing it to the dogs.

Breathless but relieved, they leaned their backs against the thick wooded door. Elizabeth, in her under slip, and Voltaire stood facing Mother Superior. Shocked and angry, Mother Superior stared at them. “Maybe we should have taken our chances with the dogs,” Elizabeth whispered to Voltaire.

SMITTEN: Smitten By Nan Ressue

Word Count 499
By Nan Ressue
I was in that cage a long time. I know it’s an improvement over dirty, neglected, hungry and lonely but so many weeks went by that I was getting depressed, waiting for somebody to notice me when inquiring families came to the shelter. They aren’t all acceptable from a dog’s point of view you know and it doesn’t take long to sort them out. It was those little kids, innocent but deadly, who would poke you with sticks, yank your ears, and try to shove marshmallows in your mouth. When the leash came out for a trial run, I simply laid down and became immovable.
At last, the perfect family showed up at the shelter last week. You can bet I put on the best performance of my life. Standing tall and alert, wagging my tail when they looked at me, and turning some circles so they could get the full effect, licking the little girl’s hand. You know…the works. When the leash came out, I walked at heel like I had received an A in obedience training.
I’ve got a new home! They have a really nice house and I will be the designated watch dog. I also get the newspaper, escort the kids to the school bus, bark when the doorbell rings, and guard the door. I’m wide awake at night while the family sleeps…just in case.
I’m hoping they don’t notice that there are times during the day when I’m gone. I’ve fallen in love with the dog next door. .She is beautiful, sweet tempered, gentle, and generous, often sharing her kibbles with me after we had played tag on the lawn and taken a nap in the bushes. I’m in heaven!
Love can lead you astray you know. The lady of my house had roasted a chicken for the family supper and it was cooling on the kitchen island. You know how some dogs feel about birds, especially cooked ones with the aromas caressing my nose and the drool running down my chest. My smitten heart won out over my family loyalty as I waited my best opportunity. Ah perfect…the telephone is ringing and that’s not my job. She put the pan down and went around the corner to answer. If I stood on my back legs, I’m just tall enough to grab a wing tip and drag the pan over to the edge. I slipped next door to the woman of my dreams with the best present I could find.
I put off going home as long as I could. When I got back to the kitchen I saw the bread and the peanut butter on the counter so you know what they had for supper. They took turns yelling at me but they didn’t give me a ride back to the shelter. Now I have to figure out how to make up. Think hard will you because I really need your help on this one. Got any ideas?

SMITTEN: The Love Bug Bites By Peg Scarano

Word: Smitten
Word Count: 497

The Love Bug Bites
By Peg Scarano

So many emotions echoed through me when Jenny told us she was pregnant with my first grandchild. Excitement, anticipation and happiness topped the list. After a few hours, the mom madness made its way into my mind and I started battling with trepidation, anxiety and thoughts of all the things that could go wrong. My gut instinct screamed at me to forbid her to run the Boilermaker, go to the gym or even work, drive the car, shop or live her life for the next six months. After all, she was responsible for the tiny Casper-like creature living within her for the next six months.

I fretfully awaited the phone call after each appointment with the doctor. Once a week, she patiently sent me a picture of her ever-changing body to pleasantly assure me the baby was growing even though it was a constant reminder to her that her body would never be the same again. When we found out it was a boy – the first boy in our family – those initial sentiments came racing back. Oh my God! A male child! I never had one of those before! Will I ever learn how to take care of a boy baby? More worries to mess with my mind.

Fall evolved to winter. Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went. The time for the arrival of this much awaited little baby crept closer. After three days of labor, which I am still convinced was harder for Noni than the mom, Henry Stone made his debut.

I first saw him when he was one day old. He was cute enough – dark hair and eyes; chunky with rivers of wrinkles everywhere. I held him. I hugged him. I kissed him. He didn’t respond much but I felt tiny tugs at my heartstrings. We were there for the first two weeks of his new life, but my job was chief cook and cleaner-upper. The new parents were determined to take care of their son all by themselves – and kudos to them. It wasn’t easy as they had to deal with jaundice along with the standard long, sleepless nights and fits of crying because that’s just what babies do.

Then it was over a month before I saw him again. I was allowed to hold him more often and when we had one-on-one time together, I got a Noni smile when I executed nonsensical Noni faces and noises. Each time we have been together since, I know those squinty-eyed smiles and laugh-out-loud giggles he gives me when I perform my Noni nonsenses are just for me. He is so smart, adorable, precious – a picture of perfection! The strings that tugged on my heart six months ago are now full-blown industrial-sized cables drawing me closer and closer to this little bundle of blooming personality. I am totally smitten with him…Because when a child is born, so is a Noni.

And, I get to do it all over again in a few months…!

SMITTEN: Perfect Harmony: It’s Going To Be Hard By Josh McMullen

Word Count: 500

Perfect Harmony: It’s Going To Be Hard
By Josh McMullen
They walked back to their hotel room after the game, exhausted but excited. They had seen what the Diamond Dawgs could offer, and a contract was on the way to Leo’s house first thing in the morning. Next June, it would be him taking batting practice on that manicured field.
Elodie looked out the window of the bathroom, watching the late night sky dance over the Erie Canal as she hummed love songs absentmindedly. She didn’t know much about baseball, not since her days following Leo’s Little League team. All she knew was that she would follow him wherever he wanted to go.
Meanwhile, Leo sat watching TV and softly playing his harmonica. He would be the first to admit he had been blessed more than he actually deserved. He had a wonderful girlfriend, a loving family, and the talent to hit a baseball almost anywhere he wanted. In short, life was good, not that he was going to get a swelled head about all of it. Luckily, there would be one thing that would always be there: Elodie. She wasn’t going anywhere, and he was okay with that.
Elodie appeared from the bathroom and stood in the doorway, smiling. Her strawberry blonde hair fell in equal sheaves down her shoulders, like waterfall waves of red gold. Her eyes met his, and he was instantly smitten, but that was nothing new; he fell in love all over again every single time their eyes locked, even though she had always insisted that she was nothing to look at. In that moment, Leo thought, she looked like an angel in her sweatpants and his sweatshirt. He walked over to her, smiling just as big as she was. “So, what do you think?” Leo said.
“Well, it’s a small town,” Elodie said quietly, “but I like it. Everyone’s really friendly, and the baseball is good. I especially liked the player who hit the three-point basket for the touchdown.” She tittered slightly at her weak attempt at playing dumb.
Leo laughed with her, looking straight in her deep brown eyes. “Don’t you think it’s going to be just a little bit tough, though? I mean, we’ve hardly been apart more than a few days since we were babies.” He ran his fingers through her hair, which felt like spun silk, while looking at her with uneasy eyes.
“It’ll be hard,” Elodie said, quieter than before. “We can do it though. We’re the dynamic duo.” She flashed him that glowing smile that had melted him so many times. “Anything’s possible.” She punctuated that sentence by burying herself in his chest. No matter how much she wanted to at the moment, she couldn’t kiss him – not just yet.

They said nothing for a while, before Leo playfully put his chin on top of her head, which made Elodie giggle again. That just made him smile brighter and hold her tighter, which in turn made her smile brighter.
When he held her, they fit together perfectly.

SMITTEN: Calm After the Storm By Sharon Collins

Word Count 499
Calm After the Storm
By Sharon Collins

My sapphire daughter is smitten with this wild land called Mynydd Preseli whence everywhere is tilted gray. Truth be told, it is not the gray mountains as much as it is the stones, the bluestones in whose presence she now happily chimes. For this miraculous change in her, I will forever be grateful. The added loss of her Amethyst sister to the purpled Highlands and her Emerald sister to the green Mists, threatened to shatter her. When the time of Second Parting arrived and we set sail southward with the remaining eleven of my people, I feared for Sapphire’s sanity. Thankfully, the waves and weather finally calmed as we sailed the Shallow Sea, for her constant off-key toning drove us nearly mad. The sailors, the eleven, and even I slept on the deck to escape the chilling sound of her grief. When the wild shores of the Cymru came into view, the captain put put us ashore, advising us to either cure her or cast her aside. He cared not which, for in her current state, she was no longer welcomed aboard his ship. He feared her forlorn calls would summon sea monsters from the depths to swamp and devour us. I could no more argue with him than obey him. Sailors, even sailors of our land are a superstitious lot. Setting sail with a woman aboard, let alone sixteen maidens and an ancient priestess, was an act of untold courage on his part. Only the dire circumstances of the Day of Ending could have convinced him to consider such a ship’s company. The endless storms and violent seas we had encountered on our journey, only added weight to the proof of his fears. He wanted us, especially my suffering daughter, off his ship.

Thus, for a third time we waited where the tide meets the shore to be taken before a council of elders. Luckily the wait was not long, as Sapphire’s wailing grew louder and more unnerving as the sun slipped into the sea. My silk cloak, in which she was wrapped to keep her safe, did little to cushion the assault on our ears. Only when we were seated within a circle of hanging stones, did her cries diminish and finally fade away. With relief on their faces, our hosts welcomed us. Twelve hungry mouths blessed their steaming bowls of cawl redolent with chunks of delicious wild goat, seasoned with thyme and a bulbous vegetable called a cennin. The thirst of twelve throats, parched from sea salt and fear, was quenched with bottomless horns of ale fermented from elder flowers. Many ears, abused by Sapphire’s constant keening, were soothed with songs sung by warrior bards to their bent willow harps. We knew joy once more, as did Sapphire whose chimes of delight echoed off the bluestone sentinels surrounding us. In this wild land of deep shadows and secrets, we would end our exodus. Or at least Sapphire and the final eleven of my people’s children would.

SMITTEN: The Twenty-seven Club By Mike Cecconi

Word Count 496
The Twenty-seven Club
By Mike Cecconi

I am no longer merely older than that age when celebrities die tragically to lock in their iconic beauty forever, some put it around twenty-seven, in fact I am almost too old to even be socially accepted dating someone in that range. If I am lucky enough to live a few more decades, I’ll be old enough to be their father. I am closer to the age Amy Winehouse’s parents, for one example, should have been than to the appropriate age of her lover at the time of her death. This interests the hell out of me and not just because of a fascination with my own increasingly-aging libido.

Kurt Cobain’s death was a Schrodinger’s box, as with all mysterious ends for the pretty people, beauty sealed in by tragedy, Tupperware fresh. Kurt was a famous person you almost assuredly didn’t know but if you are of a certain age and demographic, you probably have a theory on how and why he died anyway. You never met him, you probably never saw him play live, you might not even own anything he recorded but you probably still have your theory anyway. Maybe you think he killed himself because he could no longer handle the fame he’d once so desired. Maybe you think he killed himself because he had untreated depression that would’ve consumed him as a rock star or Wal-Mart greeter just the same. Maybe you believe that his wife killed him out of jealousy, to secure herself as the role of Famous Rock Widow for the rest of her days. The truth of how and why he died will be forever beyond you, you weren’t there, and it’s irrelevant to your life, anyway. Whichever theory of his death reinforces or justifies your worldview is the one that you’ll believe. Kurt Cobain… Jack Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison, anyone like that… their deaths are closed-up box of which we can never be certain, so we will project what makes us feel secure into their gravestones. I know I do. We all do. This is not some individual flaw, it is a damage endemic to the species, how we always perceive reality in relation to our own needs.

Even if Janis Joplin were alive today and I were her same age, twenty-seven, I doubt that she’d be smitten with me. She had her choice of ten million mysterious rock boys with tight stomachs and roguish histories, at any age, I’m just a heavy guy who types a lot. But because she is dead, because she died at the height of her mystique and talent and beauty a decade before I was even born, I can project myself onto her story and pretend that I would have had a chance with her.

Not now, of course, but at least when I was younger. That’s how it works. A sandwich wistful harmless fantasy tucked between two slices of whole-grain toasted vague regrets. That’s how you know you’re getting old.

SMITTEN: Running to Stand Still By Sam McManus

Word Count: 500
Running to Stand Still
By Sam McManus
Ninth grade was hell, an absolute apocalypse in the middle of a nuclear war, the first taste of a special brand of revenge for something I didn’t realize I had even done. Maybe it was all just because I was the one who survived, because anytime something positive happened in my life something negative had to go along for the ride. Or maybe it was all just a big coincidence, that the summer after Jim and Shailene died, I found myself in my own battle for existence.
First off, I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in good and evil, in right and wrong, and even in cosmic circumstance, but coincidence is just as fictional as John the Baptist. Second off, I think Shailene saw it all coming. She was always more attuned to figuring out consequences before the actions had even hit their mark. But it wasn’t like I could ask her for help, not when she was gone like so much ash in the wind. I couldn’t even properly mourn her because the day after it all happened this guy showed up at my door with a shotgun.
Jim had answered the door that fateful day. It was the only reason I continued to breathe, and scream, and cry, and snivel like the coward I am. After the blast I ran. I just opened the kitchen door, slipped out into the humidity of the desert air, and took off flat-footed across the short grass. I had been smitten with the idea of getting away, with the thought that if I ran far and fast enough then the past would disappear, but that hadn’t happened. Running can only do so much when it’s the demons that are chasing you.
In Glendale, I found a new life. Fresh off a dusty bus, Meg and Tyler waited for me, bearing a sign that said “Blake,” which I guess was my new name. At least that’s what my new license said when they showed it to me in the car on the way to our house. Blake Reston. I could be a Blake, if it meant I would live. I had seen too many people die. Jim and Shailene had simply been the latest, had been the ones I let myself get too close to, even though I knew better.
Meg and Tyler were nice enough people, but they were also clueless automatons. They signed me up at the local high school, and I think they honestly though I would get lost in the crowds. But when you’ve seen as much carnage as I have, you learn to anticipate pretty much anything and everything. The cyborgs came for me in October, dressed like ordinary people. They always looked like ordinary people, until they didn’t anymore. I recognized them right off, with their vacant stares and their tendency to mimic those close by.
And I knew I couldn’t run anymore. I would make my final stand. For Jim. For Shailene. For the resistance.

SMITTEN: Baltimore Catechism By Terry Rainey

Word Count 500

Baltimore Catechism
By Terry Rainey

On Fridays, Father Badassari taught confirmation preparation, mostly by rote repetition. He let us choose our seating, while he perched on a stool, relaxed, with a knowing wink in his eye. I sat in the back with Herman and Martin, Baltimore Catechism books in our laps.
Susan Timberlake nestled in the second row, third from left, and I had a good angle to watch her for an hour, free of SisterX.
FatherB began: “Mortal and Venial Sin: …God is not a tempter of evils, and he tempteth no man. But every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured. Then when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death.”
FatherB ended the TH words — except elongated death — with a New York twist: temptit, bringit, begettit. I expected “fuhgeddaboutit.” But what really struck me was how FatherB said “concupiscence.” The word made me fidget. I’d looked it up in SisterX’s monster Dictionary. “In Catholic theology, concupiscence is seen as a desire of the lower appetite contrary to reason.”
Concupiscence. Concupiscence was too big for me to even spoof Herman. I had to deal with it myself, alone. It was my cross to bear.
Mostly, FatherB would read catechism questions, and we’d answer in unison. He continued: “What is sin?”
We answered “Sin is any thought, word, desire, action, or neglect prohibited by the law of God.”
Susan twirled one strand of hair while she recited. I was smitten: struck, as with a hard blow, and I wondered about her, how her day was going, her trip to school, did she like the Three Stooges?
FatherB explained the difference between mortal and venial sin. He intoned “Where will you go if you die with venial sin on your soul?”
We answered: “You will go to Purgatory.”
Purgatory sounded brown and dusty, partly because I’d found Purgatory, South Dakota in a story about odd town names. My mind wandered to Susan’s picture from seventh grade, which I’d taped under the clock radio next to my bed.
“Are you guilty of sin if you intend to do something wrong, even though you do not actually do it?”
“Yes, because even the intention to offend God is a sin.”
I gulped while Susan’s hair settled back in place, finger untwirling, and I thought about how I’d been checking her horoscope everyday in the Washington Post.
FatherB, a bit louder: “When are you guilty of sin?”
I wanted to shout “Right NOW!” To confess, to have it out with God and FatherB and my classmates, immediately. Save my soul from the flames of damnation, or perhaps, South Dakota. Susan crowded my mind even more than magical figure skater Peggy Fleming, 1968 Grenoble Olympics.
But I sat, afflicted, silent, vexed. I feared my venial sins had turned mortal, that there was no hope. I shuddered, smote by the perils of love, the dangers of sin, the thrill of concupiscence, the lash of eternal judgment.