Fear

The Secret of Courage

The sound of the door closing brought me out of the world of numbers I had entrenched myself in. Not the sound itself, but the particular tone. When your life slips into a steady rhythm and the harmonies blend perfectly, it is easy to notice a single missed note. Although the door did not have the force of a slam, something about its dull note seemed off.

 

I slid my chair away from my desk and got my head through my office door just in time to see the bottom of my son’s feet disappearing up the stairs.

 

“Austin.”

 

A familiar, “Yeah?” came floating down from somewhere above. Again, something seemed off. A note slightly off key. I couldn’t say which one, only that I heard something that shouldn’t have been.

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The Elevator

I saw you in the elevator.

You wore feather earrings and worn leather boots. You had an apron in hand, so I can only assume you were going to or from work. I wore a blue hoodie and carried a notepad in my messenger bag.

The moment I saw you I smiled because there was something beyond pretty about you. You looked warm and smart and trustworthy. We made brief eye contact. You saw me smiling at you and your face sort of lit up. Then you looked back at your phone and finished your text message.

I intended to get off on the 12th floor but decided to stay on until you left. We rode that elevator all the way up and all the way down. You stayed. I stayed too. We both pretended not to notice that neither of us had moved. (more…)

Fear Makes a Poor Master

The question that has plagued my mind since I began to take this writing thing seriously is “When should I publish?” Asking ten of my closest friends brings thirteen different answers. I tend to be my own worst critic. When I look at what I have written and compare it to the stories I enjoy reading, I don’t feel like mine rise to the same level. Don’t get me wrong, I think people could enjoy what I have written, but I still need to grow in my skill.

Part of me feels like if my work is not up to my own standard then I shouldn’t be trying to sell it. But another part of me feels like stories are written to be read and to have them sit on my hard drive is a waste of creativity. And another part of me feels hungry and wants people to buy my stories so that I can eat Chik-Fil-A and sushi every day.

In the end, I realized that I have not chosen to publish yet because of fear. I’m afraid that people will think I’m not a good writer. I’m afraid people will try to lock me into a genre. I’m afraid someone will regret spending .99 for my words and that the hours I spent crafting them will have been a waste. But fear is rarely rational. And it makes a horrible master. So I have published my first book and kicked fear in the balls. If you have read this far then let me ask one last thing of you. If you buy my book, tell me what you think. Be honest. I want to learn and grow still. And I want sushi.

You can purchase A Skip in Time here or by clicking on the image at the right of the screen.

The Chase

children-runningThey slid into their booth with goofy smiles, careful to avoid further tearing the rips in the red pleather seats. Rudy’s Cafe had been their favorite little food joint since college. It was the highlight of a random road trip James and Alex had gone on and the two friends made the hour-long trip back once or twice a year ever since.

James picked up the laminated menu and began searching for what made his stomach growl the loudest. Alex already knew what he wanted so he scanned the rundown cafe to see if anything had changed since their last visit.

Rudy’s Cafe had opened in 1981 according to the story on the back of the menu and the decor had never quite made it out of the decade. White and black linoleum tiles checkered the floor. Every inch of the walls and ceiling was covered with 1980’s memorabilia or movie posters. A life-size image of “The Fridge” stared at Alex from the door of the men’s restroom. (more…)

Promises

Drawn window shades, the husky voice of Ray Lamontagne seeping through the speakers, and hushed conversations gave the coffee shop the feel of dusk even though there were still a few hours left of daylight. Mitch was relaxing in a leather chair searching through Craigslist ads for his next dead end job.

Each time the door swung open he offered a curious glance in that direction, but the sight of the woman walking through the door turned a glance into a lingering stare. It was her. As she approached the counter to order, Mitch’s chest began to ache. The pain swelled until he realized that he was holding his breath. He let the air slowly escape through his nose and closed his eyes.

Two months ago he had been sitting at a table that was currently occupied by a large black man and his son when the soft click of heels on the beige tile pulled him out of the book he was reading. The woman wearing the shoes pulled dark sunglasses off her face and set them atop her black hair. Her skin was the color of Mitch’s coffee with cream and he wondered if it tasted as sweet. He shook the thought away and felt guilty for even thinking it. (more…)

Into the Fire

It looked like a normal letter from the middle school Max would be attending in the fall, but as I read a hollow rattle rolled through the page from the shaking of my hands. I dropped it on table, grabbed my keys and fled. This is my default action in the face of tragedy. I first learned this when I was about Max’s age.

We were driving to a cabin on the Lake of the Ozarks. An army of trees with shades of green that Crayola could never hope to box surrounded the road on both sides. Two yellow dotted lines marked the way to a perfect weekend. Just me, my dad, and a lake full of fish. I stared over the high dashboard looking for the sign that would mark our turnoff. This would begin our game of who can spot the water first.

A flash of movement was all I saw before the impact jerked me forward. My dad told me to stay, but I was so drawn to the front of our station wagon that I barely heard his words.

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Gifts (Part 2)

Click here to read Gifts (Part 1)

“Enjoy your birthday honey. I’ve gotta go now.”

 

Val’s father walked over and kissed her forehead before heading for the garage. The moment he was out of sight she turned and spoke over her shoulder.

 

“Follow me S.A.R.A.!”

 

That was the last time Val would have to issue that command. From that day on, girl and robot were inseparable.

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