Monday, December 31, 2012

A Christmas straggler

Mwahahaha! It's arrived! It's arrived!

Thanks Mom

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Delirium Jane: Part I

The corpse was dead. It was dead for real. It was not the purple intestines hanging from its stomach cavity or the missing left eye that assured me of this. Nor was it the maggots writhing under its skin or the stomach churning stench of rotting flesh. No, the only thing that gave me comfort, that the dead man would not reach for me and moan for his brethren, was the perfectly round mark of a bullet entry wound in the middle of his forehead.

“Jane! Stare at it too long and maybe it will get up and try to eat you,” a harsh, gravelly voice yells from behind. “Is that what you want?”

“No, Sir,” I say.

“Then get to work!”

I drive my stainless steel drag hook into the corpse’s soft flesh and jerk, catching hold of the clavicle.  You learn in short order not to rely on flesh and tissue alone. Only the recently dead have the tension required to stay together; more decomposed bodies tend to fall apart when you start to pull on them.  I drag the corpse across the field to Lewis, where he's using a pitchfork to heave the dead into a burn pile.   

“Hey Jane! Over here. Gimme a hand with this one,” Emily calls.

I start toward the teenage girl. There are a dozen of us out in the field on clean-up duty today. That’s what you get for being “useless.” In my previous life I had been a public relations mouthpiece for one of the big defense contractors. Before everything had fallen apart I would spin even the worst of public disasters to look like they had been not only intentional but also critical to national security. I had been held in high esteem for my ability to save the hides of the powerful and I had been well compensated. But that was a different time and my silver tongue hasn’t gotten me out of clean-up crew yet.

Lewis had been a lawyer. Sam had been an HR director. Tom had been a Senior VP of something. Chris, John and Carson were accountants and MBAs. We had all been someone important, but now none of that mattered. We had no real skills so we were relegated to the dirty work. Somehow we had managed to survive the initial outbreak, mostly because we had a knack for reading personalities and hedging our bets with the right people. But once the rules were defined and some semblance of society was regained we found that social status had been reshuffled and we were no longer at the top. There was no place in this new world of death and survival for legalese and buzzwords.  

At the top are the real leaders, those that are honestly capable of inspiring followership and creating innovative solutions to terrifying problems. The next tier is made up of what had been the blue collar workforce: welders, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, farmers, and anyone else with a useful trade that could actually produce something. Below the doers is the soldier class, those that can wield a weapon or fire a gun. Technically, eventually, all of us fell into that class but some are better at it than others; some did it for survival, while others thrive as warriors. And then at the bottom are those without skills and those without bloodlust. We, who had once run the world, are now the grunts.

“Big one,” I say to Emily and hook onto a bloated shoulder.

“Fresh, too,” she grimaces.

A body is heaviest right after death. First death, that is. After a corpse has bled out, its organs putrefied, and its water weight lost, there is little left to a body. Obvious as it is, this is something I had never considered prior to being assigned to the clean-up crew.

Together we haul the corpse, making small talk and avoiding thinking about who the man had been.

“Have you decided who you are going to apprentice with?” I ask.

“Ma wants me to go with Carolyn Thomas.”

“She does beautiful work. Lewis has one of her sweaters. It’s rare to find that these days.”

“Yea . . .”

“But you don’t want to work with her?”

“It’s nothing against Carolyn. She’s great. I’m just no good with needles. I can barely sew my own buttons back on; much less make real clothes for people.”

“Emily, don’t worry about it. That’s why it’s called an apprenticeship. She’s going to teach you what you need to know, not the other way around.”

“Yea . . .”

“So what do you want to do?”

The girl sighs. “I always thought I would be a writer. But . . .”

“Hey someday we will need writers again. We will get this mess cleaned up and we will have newspapers and books and all that stuff.”

Emily shrugs.

“We will. Look at how far we have come in just two years. Most of us were still running from the dead, fighting to survive. Now we are part of a community again.”

“I guess.”

“In the mean time, go talk to Keith.”

“Olsen? The engineer?”

“It will be technical writing but he’s been looking for someone to help him with his notes and writing up repair and maintenance instructions. You’ll get plenty of hands on mechanical experience but he also spends quite a bit of time designing improvements. A little creativity will go a long way working with him.”

“Huh, I hadn’t really thought about doing something like that.”

My next thought is interrupted by an echoing gunshot on the edge of the field.

“All right kiddies, that’s our cue to GTFO. Lewis, torch off that pile. The rest of you get back behind the fence,” the clean-up boss yells.  

Emily and I finish dragging the corpse to the now blazing fire and quickly but carefully make our way back to the safety of the fence, leaving the gunners to drop the approaching herd of cadavers. Job security for the clean-up crew.

“Emily, whatever you do, make sure you learn a skill that won’t earn you a permanent spot on the clean-up crew.”

Continue with Delirium Jane: Part II

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Santa Loves Me

Merry Christmas. I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. I know we are all very sad that we survived the apocalypse and that there haven't dead corpses running around looking for some face to chew on, but I do have to say that I have had a nice couple of days. I did a little skiing. Good food. Good friends. Good family. We even had a little bit of snow today. But the best part? Check out what Santa left in my stocking.

Merry Christmas! I hope Santa brought you something as violently delicious.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Apocalypse in 8 Acts

People are wicked excited about today, the 21st day of December in the year two-thousand and twelve. Me? I’m not so humstrung; I play with the idea of the apocalypse every day. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the apocalypse actually began the day I graduated college and became a “real person.” But I have decided, just in case the world does explode into the fiery inferno of hell and this is my last opportunity to write something, I should make the most of it.

My friends Apples (short for Appleton) and Molly are hosting an Apocalypse Party at their house in the middle of nowhere. Upon leaving town (some of you might even consider “town” a stretch) you drive thirty minutes through cow country and then turn onto a small but paved road. After a few minutes the pavement disappears and you will turn onto increasingly smaller dirt roads until you are on little more than a goat path through the woods. Though these roads are relatively short in distance, less than two miles in total; they are, paradoxically,  excruciatingly long and it will take you no less than twenty minutes to reach your destination. The potholes are like craters and boulders reach up out of the gravel. So, unless you have a death wish; hate your automobile; or have four-wheel drive, a lift kit, brush guard, and all-terrain 35s; you take your time and pray that you don’t meet another vehicle.

Once you arrive at their home you will find yourself in a large field with a log cabin placed in the middle. Behind the cabin is a bog where only the beavers and the black-flies go. In front of the cabin is the more sanitary and usable pond. The other two sides of the field are bound by pines thick with puckerbrush.

Tonight, I will be driving out to this party to ring in the apocalypse with a bonfire, debauchery, firearms, and possibly snowmobiles (there is a blizzard currently scheduled). And so, the following is a series of 8 flash fictions, or perhaps non-fictions, depicting ways that tonight could go horribly wrong, or horribly right (depending on your perspective). The setting will be constant, my friends’ party; as will be the cast of characters: Apples, Molly, Fish (me), Clark (my roommate), Tony (my brother), Alison (Tony’s girlfriend), Laura (my best friend), Gary (Laura’s husband), and a few other expendables who are on the guest list but I don’t actually know. 

So without further ado, I bring you The Apocalypse in 8 Acts.

Act I: Disgrace

The party goers stared in awe at the angel or demon, whichever the case may be, standing before them. He was lean, muscular, and stood a full head above even the tallest in the group. His jet black hair was swept back into short spikes. Giant, black feathered wings sprouted from between his shoulder blades. When he had arrived his massive wingspan has blotted out the moon. Their expanse and inky nature seemed to suck all luminosity from the scene; not till he had landed and neatly folded them, did the light return.

He stood proud and dominant, seemingly unaware or unbothered by his nakedness. Perhaps it was the scythe that he carried with him that kept him from feeling shame or humiliation.

“Tell me what great deed have you done for humanity?” His voice boomed and the mortals quaked as they felt his words reverberate within their souls.

“Who, among you, can step forward and lay claim to having made the greatest impact on this world?”

His questions go unanswered.

“Are none worthy?”

“Then tell me this; who, among you, will do a great deed for humanity? Which of you, if given the chance, will create something beautiful, discover something profound, or become a great leader?”

Still, his questions remained unanswered.

Anger and disgust flashed in his eyes and his powerful wings spread wide. “Mortals! You have been given the greatest of gifts and you ignore them. You have no desire, no will, no pride, and no confidence. Take heed and fear my words, for all of you shall feel my wrath before the night is through.

“You have one hour to unanimously produce the most promising among you. I shall allow him to live. Fail to produce him and all shall perish.”

 With a whoosh of air, he alighted and disappeared into the winter sky.  

Act II: Abominable

“Apples, how the hell are we supposed to have a bonfire in this shit,” Fish asks as she pops the top off another beer.

I look out the window. The second real snowstorm of the season is showing no signs of letting up. “Don’t worry about it, kid. Fire melts snow. Best possible time to have a bonfire.”

“Whatever, let me know when you get it going. I’m staying here where it’s warm,” she says and plops down on the couch.

“All right pussies, let’s get this started,” Gary says, “Clark, get the whiskey.”

Clark grabs the bottle of Jameson from the kitchen table and we put our coats on.

Outside, I curse as I try to get the pile to light. I had spent the better of the week prepping for the fire and stacking up brush from around the yard. It had been brown and tinder-dry, ready to go up in flames without warning just this morning but with a mix of snow and rain sleeting down everything had become wet and nothing was going to behave.

Clark bends down next to me and takes the lighter from me. “Let me try.”

“Be my guest.” I step back and take a swig off the bottle of whiskey Gary hands me. “Shit, it’s nasty out here.”

“Good night for an apocalypse,” Gary laughs.

“True story, bud,”

“Fuck! This paper is all too wet. There is no way we are getting this thing going.” Clark gives up and reaches for the whiskey.

“Screw it. The girls had the right idea,” I say.

“No shit. If this is the apocalypse, they’re gonna’ survive while we’re out here dickin’ around in the snow and ice,” Gary adds.

As I head back toward the cabin, I pause at the sound of a branch breaking. I stare into the woods, looking for the source of the sound.

“It’s heavy snow, branches break,” Clark says.

“I think there is something out there. See, next to that birch tree.” I point into the shadows. The sun sets early this time of year and with the storm there is no moon.

“I don’t see anything,” Clark says.

“Just give me your flashlight,” I demand. He hands it over and I flick it on. The beam settles on the birch and persuades the mysterious shadow to move as it dodges the light.

“What was that?” Gary gasps.

“I told you there was something out there.” I swing the flashlight in an arc trying to locate the shadow.

Suddenly, the ground begins to rumble and shake. An earthquake? No, it’s not the ground. It’s a growl. As the realization hits me, the beam of my flashlight finds its target. The light reveals a creature covered in white fur that must stand at least nine feet tall. Its eyes glow red from a canine face. It lets loose a shrill howl that echoes throughout the night, only slightly muffled by the snow. Seconds later, the sound of falling snow is broken by three more howls, each from different points around the yard. 

“GTFO,” I yell at my friends. Without waiting for a response from them, I spin around and sprint towards the cabin. The deepening snow makes it difficult for me to run; each step is fought by slush and ice. Behind me I hear a scream and then a savage wet ripping and cracking.

I don’t look back. I keep running, but the heavy, sloppy mess around my feet makes the distance to the cabin impossibly far. I hear another shriek of pain and angst, quickly silenced by more ripping and shredding. My throat burns as I fight down bile. In my panic, I slip on the greasy ground and fall hard to my hands and knees. Howls let loose all around me and I know that I am next.  

Act III: Delayed

“Give it up, Tony, you’re lost,” Alison says from the passenger seat as we bounce down the ever narrowing dirt road.

“I’m not lost. We’re almost there. I think . . .” I say.

“Just stop and ask someone.”

“Stop and ask someone? Who the hell would I ask?” I take my hands of the wheel and gesture to the woods around us. “Maybe you want to go back to that junkyard where oldsmobiles go to die?”

Just the thought of the place makes me shiver. We had seen the last sign of a neighbor back a mile where there were dozens of oldsmobiles, all in rough shape, parked haphazardly in the woods. There had also been a half-assed fence that couldn’t possibly keep anything in or out and I, for one, didn’t care to find out which purpose was intended.

“Chicken? Bok buk buk bok,” Alison clucks at me.

“Look we’re here,” I say as we pull into the clearing. The fire is roaring and it looks like there are quite a few people standing around it. “My sister is already here.”

“We’re late.”


“Hey guys! I brought the good stuff,” I say and wave my bag of homegrown as I approach the fire. It is eerily quiet except for popping and crackling of the bonfire. There are a dozen people staring into the flames, standing perfectly still with their shoulders slouched and arms hanging by their sides.

From a distance, I recognize a few people: Apples, Molly, Clark and my sister. No one turns to greet me. No one acknowledges me.

I put my hand on my sister’s shoulder. “You high or what?”

She turns around slowly to face me. The fire flickers and casts shadows on a gaunt and hollow face. Her eyes are blank and unintelligent; a loan moan escapes from her lips. I step back without taking my eyes off from her, my movement seems to snap her from her trance because she lunges toward me. 

I take another step backwards and stumble into arms that wrap tightly around me from behind. My cry of surprise quickly turns to a shriek of pain when my hidden captor clamps onto my cheek with his teeth and then rips away the soft flesh. It is only then that I notice the inconspicuous bite on my sister’s shoulder.

Act IV: Tongues

“Dude, she’s speaking in tongues,” Gary says.

“She’s just drunk off her ass.”

He shakes his head. “Look at her.”

I look at Fischer, she sits cross legged on the ground less than a foot from the fire and stares intently into the flames. After a moment I notice her lips moving ever so slightly.

“Hey, Fish! Who ya’ talkin’ to?” I ask.

She ignores me and continues her discussion with the fire.

“Face it, man. Your woman has lost it.”

“Yea, it’s probably time to get her into bed,” I say with a sigh. It looks like it will be a long night of taking care of Drunky McDrunkerson. I rise to my feet. “C’mon kid, it’s time to get you to bed before you hurt yourself.

As I approach, her head snaps up. She is more alert than I had thought. In a single fluid and agile motion she hops from her crossed legged position to a low crouch that makes her look like a hunting feline. It gives me pause. Her eyes glint in the light of the dancing flames. She is beautiful and feral and, in that moment, I want nothing more than to embrace her, and love her, and be loved by her. And then, in the fraction of a second that it takes to blink, she is gone; I am left staring at an empty patch of dead grass next to the fire.

Act V: Snowmageddon

“It’s a good thing you guys planned to stay here anyway,” I say, looking out the window. The snow has piled up quicker than any of us expected.

No one acknowledges my remark. The bonfire and all other outdoor activities had been quickly postponed by the weather. No one even wanted to go play around on the snowmobiles; the wind is whipping and the bitter cold has driven any motivation from our souls. Instead we sit around playing cards and drinking spiked coffee and hot chocolate.

Around midnight the snow is halfway up the window. Four feet. That is some serious snow. Maybe Alaska gets snow like that, but we do not. It takes a winter full of storms to get this much ground coverage. I have never before seen it in a single storm.

At two in the morning, a high pitched screech jolts me awake. I run out of my room and look down at the main living space from the second floor balcony; Molly follows close behind. Below my friends are waking up bleary eyed, scattered about in sleeping bags. The large picture window has cracked from the weight of what has to be more than eight feet of snow behind it. The window groans and fights against the mass. I watch in horror as the window finally gives way, shattering in glittering shards on the floor. The snow immediately begins to pour in, seemingly joyous at its space to grow.

Gary and I scramble to the basement where we grab a sheet of plywood, some sheetrock screws and my screw gun.

With the window blocked and all of us wide awake, we sit around listening to the creaking of the house as it holds back the elements. The power goes out and it begins to get cold in the cabin. Another window breaks under the strain of the relentless storm.

Molly takes a swig off a bottle of Jack. “It has to stop soon.”

Act VI: Heat Wave

“I thought it was supposed to snow?” I ask. The sun is just setting and it is unseasonably warm. It must be my imagination, but it seems to be getting warmer as the sun sinks lower and lower and the sky darkens.

“Molly, no complaining. Just be thankful we don’t have to stand around a bonfire in a blizzard,” Alison says.

“I’m not complaining; just commenting,” I say.


“Wow, that fire is hot!” I say, stepping back from the flames. The distance does little to calm the slight burning sensation on my skin.

“It’s not the fire. It’s fuckin’ hot out,” Apples says, walking towards the fire. He has changed out of his jeans and hoodie into a t-shirt and shorts.

“Babe, are you crazy? It’s the middle of December,” I say.

“And it’s fuckin’ hot,” he replies.

I look around the fire pit; our guests are backed well away from the flames and have stripped off their outer layers. Beads of sweat are forming on my own forehead and I can’t shake the burning tingle of my skin.

Apples hands me a fresh bottle of hard cider, I gratefully accept it and take a drink to quench my parched throat. 

“Ugh! Why didn’t you get me a cold one out of the fridge?” I demand.

“I did.”

I force down the rest of the bottle; it is piss warm, as if it had been sitting in the sun all day.


Sitting around a dying fire, kept alive only for its light, we sweat in the heat. The thermometer on the tree outside the kitchen window says it is ninety degrees. We have stripped to our underwear and are thoroughly blitzed from chain drinking every liquid in the house and then promptly sweating out the water content.

“That’s it! I’m going swimming,” Alison squeals. She runs towards the pond shedding her bra and panties as she goes. The rest of us are quick to follow. She dives in with a splash and her blood curdling scream stops us in our tracks. We watch in revulsion as she drags herself from the water onto land and her flesh sloughs off in large sheets; leaving behind wet tissue, glistening in the bright moonlight.

Her screams stop and she collapses in a heap. Apples and Tony rush forward; Tony grabs her under the arms and Apples grabs her by the feet, together they carry her to the cabin

Suddenly, it is unbearably hot. So hot. I can’t remember ever being so hot. The tingling burning sensation on my skin has escalated to the feeling of being on a spit. My lips are cracked and my throat dry; my head throbs from the heat, alcohol, and dehydration. It hurts to think and it is hard to breath. I’m not even sweating anymore.  

I am vaguely aware of Fish as she comforts a sobbing Laura. Then, I remember Alison. Is she ok? Where is she? I remember her being carried from the bank of the pond. How long ago was that? It seems like it was hours ago, but it could have been only seconds. Turning towards the cabin, I catch sight of the pond; it boils violently in the silver light of the moon. And then I am enveloped in suffocating blackness.

Act VII: The Hunt

The flames of the fire double in height and turn green as they give birth to a demon sent for malignant purposes. The creature is slight, only three and a half feet tall, with long sinewy arms and legs. His thin scaly tail, nearly as long as he is tall, whips and flicks about, reminiscent of a cat’s. But don’t be fooled by the creature’s diminutive stature because his lizard face reveals clever eyes and hides a devious mind.

The demon looks around and frowns, momentarily disappointed that his spectacular miracle appearance went unnoticed; the party goers are all out of sight, refilling their refreshments. His mood quickly brightens as he sees one of the humans emerge from the cabin. His thin lips spread to a wide smile and expose a mouth full of jagged, needle-fine, teeth that reflect the light of the moon.

As the flames revert to orange and yellow, the demon mutes his own scales to a matt black which allows him to vanish into the night. His hunt has begun.

Act VIII: Last Call

“It’s kind of beautiful in a morbid we-are-all-going-to-die kind of way,” Molly says.
I take another sip of my margarita. “Yea.”

“How long now?” Laura asks.

“It’s interfering with my cell reception. said an hour about forty minutes ago,” I say.

“I’m gonna need a re-fill,” Laura says with resignation.

I pick up the pitcher of the green liquid and pass it to my friend. “This is the best part about drinking in the winter. The snow keeps your drinks cold without ice.”

The still of the night is broken by the high pitched whine of snowmobiles approaching.

Clark pulls up and lets the engine idle. “Wanna do it?”

“Sure,” I say as I climb on behind him. We fly off into the darkness, towards the cabin for one last tryst before the end of the world. I don’t bother to say goodbye to my friends who remain reclined in lawn chairs, drinking margaritas in the snow, and staring at the giant ball of flame hurtling in the night sky towards the Earth.

Copyright © 2012 by Leigh Fischer

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ringing in the Apocaylpse

How do you plan to ring in the apocalypse on Friday?

Check back on Friday to see what's in my survival bag and maybe  I'll have a new short for you as an added bonus.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Doesn't feel right.

Over the last few weeks I have been slow to post. I have been focused on promoting my book and as a result I have not written as much as I would have liked. This morning I got up and said "Fish, you're going to sit your ass down and work on something. No advertising, no selling, just writing." And that was the plan.

Plans change. My plan changed. See, the thing is, I write horror. I dream of the apocalypse. I create monsters. But today we do not need horror. Today, I do not need to create a monster. Today, we are faced with real life horror and tragedy. We are faced with a real life monster. It just doesn't feel right to create something gruesome and grim when it already sits in our backyard gnashing its ugly teeth.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to add more fear to the world on a day that has already seen more than its share. 

I love my genre and I rarely consider the work of my peers and heroes gratuitous. Horror has its place. It provides an escape. It allows us to explore the deepest and darkest depths of our imaginations. It allows us to create something that shouldn't be possible. But I can't go there today. I need to be in the light. 

And so, I have a challenge for you. Do something beautiful. Create something from love. Create a smile or laughter. Do something that brings this whole damn apocalypse of a day to a screeching halt. Counterbalance the monstrous deed. Do something in the light.

My thoughts are with the families in Newtown and the religious fence sitter in me hopes that there is something else waiting for those little kids, maybe even a second chance. 

Do something in the light. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

90 Days

90 days? Psh! That's nothing. Right?

Well, that is what I keep telling myself. I have decided , beginning Friday, I will enroll Rising Tide in Amazon Select. 

The good news: Amazon Prime members will be able to borrow my book for free. Also, Amazon will do some heavy lifting and run promotions.

The bad news: I have to grant Amazon exclusive rights for 90 days. That means I can't even give away copies on my own website. 

I feel like giving up my ability to share my book as I please is a bit like a mother dropping off her child at daycare for the first time. 

Oh well . . . suck it up, Fish, it's time to try and get some real exposure.

So, if you would like to get your zombie fix with a free copy directly from yours truly, you have until Friday to do so:

Step 2: Like or share one of my posts
Step 3: Send an email to and request either a PDF, MOBI, or EPUB

If you wait too long, your only option will be Amazon

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A voice found


“You have a very promising career right here. You know that, don’t you?” Mr. Philips says. He sits behind his desk with his hands folded neatly. His phone rings but he ignores it, he doesn’t even steal a glance to check the caller ID.

I am the one to break eye contact and I divert my eyes to the window behind him. I focus on the greenery and blooming spring trees, they are at odds with his stark white office. A squirrel scampers out onto the limb of the nearest tree. It is thin from the long winter but it is energetic and full of life and freedom. It brings a smile to my lips.


His voice brings me back inside and my smile vanishes as I lose my connection to the fuzzy critter outside. “Yes, Mr. Philips. I know.”

“There are going to be excellent opportunities in the very near future. You just need a little patience,” he says. His brow is furrowed and the intensity with which he stares at me makes my stomach flip-flop.

The dread that has been building in the pit of my stomach makes me want to give in. It makes me want to surrender and say ‘yes, I’ll be a good little powder monkey,’ but I can’t. Not now. I have come too far.

 I take a deep breath. “I know. But this isn’t about my career. It’s more personal than that. I feel like this is the right decision.”

Mr. Philips frowns and finally drops his gaze to his folded hands. He unfolds them and tents them, tapping his fingers together. Suddenly he looks ancient and tired. His thinning hair seems just a little bit thinner. The grey seems a little bit greyer. His bright eyes, always ready for a challenge, look cold and dull. “I understand, I just . . . I had hoped you would be my replacement.”

My shoulders slump under the weight of the guilt that is piled high. “I know, Mr. Philips. I feel terrible about this.” I feel like I have betrayed him, like I have abandoned him. “I want you to know that appreciate everything that you have done for me.”

He nods but continues to look like a broken man.

“I feel like . . . I just feel like I would regret missing an opportunity like this.”

“Yes, Kate. I understand. Since it seems like you have made up your mind, I wish you the best of luck.”


“Miss? What would you like to drink?” the flight attendant asks me.

I am slow to respond. I had been staring out the window at the endless clouds, re-playing the conversation with my boss over and over again in my head. “Uh, I’ll have a Coke. Thanks.”


“You can’t be serious about this?” my mother screams. She is furious. Her face is beet red and a vein stands out in the middle of her forehead. Tears stream down her face.

I stand in front of her with my arms crossed defiantly. But there is nothing defiant about me; I can’t even bring myself to speak.

“It has just been the two of us for so long and now you’re going to leave me?”

I had promised myself I would stay strong and stand my ground but I can feel my resolve breaking apart as the tears begin to well.

“Aren’t you going to say anything? Or are you just going to stand there and stare at me?”

My throat burns as I try to hold back the emotion and I try to make the words come out. “I have to do this,” I whisper.


“Ma, I have to do this. I want to see the world.”

She glares at me, deadly fire dancing in her eyes. She rakes her hands through her dark hair and shakes her head.

“Ma, I’m afraid I’m gonna spend my whole life in that office, just working. I want to do something crazy. I’ve never been anywhere. I’ve never done anything.”

“It’s just two years?”

I nod.

The fire in her eyes dies to a smolder. She crosses her arms and shakes her head again. “I guess you’re gonna do what you wanna do.” Her voice cracks and sounds weak. I have never seen my mother lose her fight, until now.


I awake to the ding of the plane’s intercom.

“This is your captain speaking. Please return to your seats and put on your seatbelts. We are approaching a little weather and may experience some turbulence. Thank you.”


“What do you mean you don’t want to get married?” Andrew asks as he rolls out from beneath his jeep.

“I can’t marry you,” I squeak.

He jumps up from his creeper and stands in front of me wiping the grease from his hands on his coveralls. “Is this about that damn job? I told ya if you really wanted to go, I’d go with ya.”

I shake my head ‘no.’

He wraps his arms around me. “Baby, I love ya. I’ll do anything for ya, even if that means movin’ half way around the world ta’ live with them China people.”

His arms are so safe and secure. His words are so comforting. He does love me. He always has. The tears flow freely as I nuzzle into his shoulder. I have caused so much disappointment. How can I do this to him? How can I do this to the people that love and trust me? How can I just walk away from everything I have here?

I push away from his embrace and cross my arms to keep him from trying again. “I have never been alone. I have never been on my own. I have to do this. I have to find out about myself.”

His face falls flat as he realizes I have made my decision. “I’ll wait for you. It’s only two years. I’ll wait for you.”

“You don’t have to,” I say, letting my eyes drop to the ground.

“I’ll wait for you,” he says.


My eyes snap open as my stomach drops and there is a collective shriek from the other passengers on the flight. I am jostled about as the plane shutters and shakes from turbulence. The little yellow masks have dropped from the overhead.

“Ladies and gentlemen we have experienced a rapid drop in cabin pressure, please put on your oxygen masks and remain calm,” a female voice says over the intercom. Despite her request, she sounds anything but calm.

I reach for the mask and place it over my face. I turn to the man sitting next to me and I see his eyes are wide and filled with fear. Children are crying and the woman behind me is sobbing. The plane groans and creaks. It dips and pitches. The plane sounds as if it is going to rattle to pieces. A man begins what sounds like a prayer in some foreign language; he is quickly joined by others until it is a panicked chorus, pleading to whatever god they follow.

I have abandoned my family. I have left everything I have ever known. I have left my only home. I am all alone on this plane that surely seems like it will never meet its destination. But somehow I am calm. There is something oddly reassuring about this horrific situation, as if it is validation that I needed to experience more; that I needed to be my own person and find my voice. Well I have found my voice and if I make it safely through this, I will make sure to use it. 

Copyright © 2012 by Leigh Fischer