Road Trip for a Teen #Shortstory

She reached to her left, towards the car’s radio dial. She was sick of country music and was ready to fight her seatbelt for a change in music. She smiled as her seatbelt didn’t lock on her as she moved to the radio but then sighed in defeat as she realized there were no stations without static or country. She clicked off the radio and sat back in her seat looking out the window. Her mother laughed at her reaction from the driver’s seat, but Madison paid no attention.

It was the mid 90’s, before technology was offered to everyone in the form of cell phones, IPods and tablets. There were no fancy radio options like XM Radio and Wi-Fi didn’t exist yet. This trip was taking place right around the first release of DVD’s, so portable DVD players weren’t invented yet. Not that it would matter because her parents would never allow her to have one.

“You won’t know where you are going if you don’t pay attention to your surroundings.” Madison’s mother would point out during every outing in the car. Then the rest of the drive, no matter how short, would be spent explaining directions.

Though GPS navigation systems have been around for years, it wasn’t available to the public until around the early 2000’s. The only options were knowing where you were going, or using paper copies of maps. Madison’s parents deemed whoever was in the front passenger seat as the, “Map coordinator.”  Which was why she normally never called for the front seat by yelling, “Shotgun.” She would usually just jump in the bad seat with her put her headphones on and listen to The Smashing Pumpkins CD on her portable CD player. All the while in her mind willing the CD not to skip.

On this trip, she had no choice but to sit in the front passengers’ seat, since it was only her mother and her going. Madison’s father was working and couldn’t make the trip, which was not surprising he was always working.  So, her and her mother were driving to visit Madison’s Grandparents farm in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Map Coordinator.” Her mom called from the seat next to her.

Madison groaned and looked away from the endless view of tree’s out her window and focused on her mother. Smiling, her mother pointed to the map that Madison had shoved dramatically into the side door after her mother had taken her portable CD player away.

“Can you tell me how much longer we have until the ‘Bridge McDonalds’ in Vinita?” Her mother asked as Madison reached for the map, bumbling with it was it was wrinkled. This was the point they stopped every time they came to Oklahoma.  Blinking at all the lines and words on the map didn’t help because Madison was completely lost.

bridgemcdonalds

“I have no idea.” She mumbled as she kept turning the map from one side to the other trying to make sense of it.

“Let’s see…” Her mother started, “Vinita is out halfway point to Tulsa from Kansas City.” Pausing for a moment in thought then she continued, “So… if I did my math right it should be 30 minutes. “

“How did you figure that out?” Madison asked sighing knowing it would be a long answer. Which her mother perked up too and began to explain.

“Well, you see if you know what time it was when we left then…” Her mother kept explaining as Madison rested her head against the window feeling the warmth of the sun covering her face. She slowly started falling asleep to the lull of her mother talking.

via Daily Prompt: Bumble

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Jangle: Gracie’s World #shortstory

Her back pressed against the wall as she slowly pulled her bony knees towards her until they rest against her chest. Glancing to the one small window in her room she was met with just darkness. She hated nights where the moonlight wasn’t visible, just pitch back, darkness. Closing her eyes, she rested her forehead on her knees, causing her long sandy blonde hair to drape around her. The only comfort was the thin mattress she was sitting on. The rest of the room was just four concrete walls, a door and that small window.

A shiver ran down her spin as she heard the jangle noise echoing through the silence of the night. Jerking her head up she grabbed the white sheet that covered her small frame. Her grip on the sheet was turning her knuckles white.

The jangle sound was slowly coming closer, as it did every pitch black night. She held her breath as she heard the door next to hers open. A blood curdling scream broke the silence of the night, sending her heart racing.

Frantic, she looked around the room for any escape, any sign of light, but there was none to be found. A deep muffled voice bellowed from the room next to her as the scream slowly dissipated. Her heart pounding was the only sound she could hear in the now.

She heard the door next to her room shut and the jangle sound continued again. In her mind, she willed the sound to move past her room, but to no avail. She starred as the doorknob to her room slowly turned and opened, revealing a big, burly man standing in the door frame.

She jumped up quickly, flinging the sheet out of her way, her blue eyes wide with panic as the man came towards her. Without thinking she darted against the other side of the wall behind the big man. He turned to face her, and she could tell that she was much faster than this man. She noticed a name on his shirt, “Winston.”

He flung his big, long, hairy arms out to grab her she ducked and ran towards the open door. ‘Freedom!’ her mind screaming as she willed her feet to move faster against the light blue and white checkered floor tile.

Feeling the cold title against her bare feet as she ran down the hallways, she saw, what seemed to be like a thousand of doors with numbers on them. She could hear the jangling noise getting closer but was too terrified to turn and see how close the big man was to her now.

She quickly rounded a corner, slamming into the wall as she skidded, not feeling the pain as her adrenaline flared through her veins. This slip-up was just enough time for Winston to catch up with her. His large hands grabbed her shoulders, instantly halting her. He pulled her tiny frame against his big body, lifting her off the ground she began to kick and scream for help.

“Gracie!” His deep voice boomed but was met with deaf ears. “CODE GRAY!” Winston bellowed in her ear making her scream louder and kick harder. Two women came sprinting towards them, one holding a syringe in her hand.

“Please! HELP ME!” She screamed as she saw the women but was met with a shock when one of them grabbed her head by the sides, holding it still.

Tears streamed from Gracie’s eyes as she realized no one was going to help her. She felt a sharp sting in her neck, almost instantly her mind was covered in a fog as her body went limp still locked within Winston’s tight grip.

janglegracie

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Jangle

MoonBow

When I was a young girl I was always scared for the sun to set. I would ask my mother if there was a way for us to freeze the colors of the sunset until morning when then the sun could raise high in the sky again. My mother would laugh at me and tell me, “No, Moonbow there’s no way we can stop nature.”

One night after my mother had tucked me in and read our nightly story I asked her what “moonbow” was and why she always called me that. She smiled and began singing in her sweet voice “One day you will see my little moonbow. One day you will never want the night to end.” At the end of the song she would peek out the blinds to gaze into the night sky. “Tonight, is not the night maybe tomorrow.” She would kiss my head and turn off the light in my room as she left.

Time continued moving forward and before I knew it I was a teenager who hated my mother calling me “Moonbow.” I thought it was silly and childish and I made sure she knew I didn’t appreciate her calling me that and I would hiss at how stupid the name was. She would pay no mind to me as I would stomp off to my room calling after me, “One day you will see.”

The world spun days and nights going in what seemed to be a blink of an eye. I was in college when I got the call telling me my mother was sick. She told me I should stay and do my studies she would be fine. I almost believed her until I heard the word terminal.

The only things I took with me were what I could carry in a tiny cardboard box as I ran to my car. It took 5 hours to get home. When I arrived, I busted through the front door and ran to my mother wrapping her in my arms. Tears streaming down my face I sobbed into her shoulder as she held me tight. “It’s okay my moonbow.” She whispered.

Days were now filled with me and my mother. I would take her anywhere she wanted to go bookstores, shopping, coffee houses and movies. As time ticketed by my mother grew weaker wanting to do less and less. Our fun days out turned into days inside playing cards, watching tv and chatting. Then slowly it became me going to my mother’s room to read to her or just chat. She hardly got out of bed these days. Her frail body growing weaker and more tired. The day she refused to eat I spent the night in her room with her falling asleep in her big, red arm chair that sat next to her bed.

I was awakened by her tapping my arm, which was dangled over the arm rest and a soft whisper of her nickname for me, “Moonbow.” I opened my eyes and sat up quickly, “What’s wrong Ma?” I asked fear swelling into my throat. “Open the window.” She said wearier as she pointed to the huge windows in front of her bed. I looked at her quizzically and she just waved her hand for me to do so. I sighed and pulled the blinds back relieving the most beautiful night sky I’d ever seen.

The moon was huge in the sky, closer than I had ever seen before, I felt I could reach out and pluck it from the sky. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, letting the stars glisten crystal clear. What caught me off guard was the beautiful rainbow that danced across the sky. My mouth dropped over at seeing the vibrant colors against the dark sky.

“Moonbow.” My mother called from behind me. I turned and looked at her as tears filled her eyes. She motioned for me to sit next to come back to her. I quickly made my way back to the arm chair and she kissed my forehead softly. “I always told you there was no reason to fear the night.” She pointed to the rainbow in the night sky, “You are the moonbow, the vibrant colors that make you up bring light to this world even in dark times.” I left the blinds open that night so my mother and I could stare at this rare and beautiful site until we fell asleep.

My mother passed away peacefully in her sleep later that night. I am glad to have had that moment with her. I now understand why she called me Moonbow for all those years even when I whined and threw a fit. I am proud of my nickname now and will wear it proudly for my mother and her beautiful last night in this world.

moonbow