Keeping Our Shit Together [CC BY 2.0;]“Water.” Erin spoke without opening her eyes. Her voice rasped and hissed through her dry throat, but Dean could still hear a touch of the old imperiousness underneath.

“Always bossing me around, aren’t you big sister?” he said as he held the straw against her cracked lips. She gave a faint smile before taking a sip. She swallowed rough and slow before opening her eyes to look at him.Read More »



magentaIt all started with that trip to Home Depot. Jared and I stood in the paint department, fighting over what color to paint the dining room, for hours.

I wanted a nice neutral color—an eggshell or beige. Something that would open the space up, let us get creative with the smaller details. I wanted the room to feel light and welcoming and elegant.Read More »

The Unwilling Word

how-to-use-the-ouija-board“I won’t say it.” Megan crosses her arms and sets her face into a stern pout.

“You don’t even know what I’m going to ask you to say,” I say. Megan is two years older than me and seems to think it’s her sacred duty to challenge me at every turn.

“I don’t care,” she says, pulling her arms in tighter. “I’m not going to say anything that will help you summon a demon!”

I scoff. “What demon? Who said anything about a demon?” She glares at me from the center of her bed on her incredibly neat half of our shared bedroom. I flop back on my own bed and grab Freddy, the Teddy. “There are no demons. It’s just a little connection spell.” I wave Freddy in a little dance above my head. “I just want to see if we can get a ghost to talk to us. Demons aren’t even real, stupid.”

“Demon. Ghost. Whatever.” Megan ignores the name-calling. She must really be worried. When she’s just being stubborn for the sake of being a butt-head, she can’t resist responding to little jabs like that. This time she stays focused. “I won’t do it.”

She picks up her book and flips through the pages. Not good. If I lose her into a book, this conversation is over. I hop off my bed and past the carefully taped line dividing my chaos from her sterile tidiness. I grab her book and hide it behind my back.

“Please?” I give her my best begging-little-sister look and clasp my hands together. Throwing myself across her folded legs, I beg again, “Ple-e-e-ase? It won’t work. It’s stupid and there are no such thing as ghosts either, but …” I sit up and get serious. All kidding aside, this really is important to me. As it should be to her. “C’mon, Megs. What if it’s possible? What if we really can talk to Jackson again?”

Megan refuses to look at me, but I can see the tears welling up in her eyes.

“How can we not try?” I set her book in her lap. “Just think about it, okay? Even if it’s just to say goodbye?”

Megan blinks and one of the tears rolls spills down her face. It breaks my heart to see her so sad. She hasn’t been herself since we opened the door to find two uniformed men standing on the front step with news of our brother’s death.

As the oldest, Jackson always knew what to do. He knew how to talk Mom into letting us stay up later, he knew the best places to find tadpoles, and he always knew how to nudge Megan out of her bad spells. She always took things too seriously and he knew how to make her laugh.

I guess that’s my job now, but I don’t know how. That’s why I really want to contact Jackson. Yeah, I want to say goodbye and tell him that I love him one more time, but I mostly want to ask him what I need to do to get Megan to move on. I’m honestly afraid what will happen if she doesn’t deal with her grief.

*10/19/17 title prompt: “The Unwilling Word”

Laundry Day

laundry basketYou will walk down the stairs into your newly finished basement with a basket of dirty laundry on your hip and one hand on the rail. Despite the fresh carpet, the stairs are still narrow. you still get that tiny sliver of fear that you will be distracted and lose your footing, tumbling to the landing in a mess of broken bones. It’s never happened, but you’re pretty sure that when it does, it will be when you’re least expecting it.Read More »

Bonfire [CC by 2.0;]Sparks fly up from the bonfire. They float on the air, drifting down over the adults on their plastic folding chair thrones.

“Knock it off, Lindsay,” Mama says. She hands Davie a long stick with a hotdog skewered on the end. “Now hold it over the coals, like this.” She positions his hotdog over the glowing red edge of the fire.Read More »