Welcome to the Call Me MAYbe Flash Fiction Challenge!!
All stories begin with "The phone rang" and are no more than 1,000 words. Deadline to submit is May 31. For full contest rules and prize list, visit this link: http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2013/04/next-month-call-me-maybe-flash-fiction.html
#5: The Light of Her Life
The phone rang forever it seemed. She had been dreading this eminent call all morning. Laura stood at the sink rinsing morning dishes, but hastily dried her shaking hands and pulled the receiver to her ear. She was alone. Rodney had just left for school. It was the call she expected, an old friend who worked at the nursing home. She called to inform Laura that her mother had died in her sleep early that morning. There were no tears for Laura. Her heart ached, but she knew it was time. Her mother was at peace now, Laura tried to tell herself, but her emotions were mixed. She thought of the many years her mother had been unable to cope with reality and escaped into her imaginary schizophrenic, sometimes scary world. She would miss her mother. They had their fun times when her mother’s mind was lucid, but there had never been warnings as to what kind of day lay ahead, cheerful, or angry and frightening, some were a mix of each. Laura was nearing fifty. She had been by her mother’s side dealing with these issues, since she was sixteen.
Suddenly from her living room came as mournful a sound as Laura had ever heard. She ran to see her mother’s mid-sized poodle sitting in the center of the living room rug with her head raised high howling with extremely woeful sounds. As Laura lowered to the carpet and wrapped her arms around the sad pooch, tears welled in her eyes and she and Pebbles sat mourning together. How in the world did Pebbles know? Laura would always wonder.
Several days passed and Laura made the arrangements her mother had requested. She gathered her mother’s belongings and cleaned Beth’s small house with Rodney’s help. He was home from school for the weekend. She was preparing to rent Beth’s cottage. Pebbles followed Laura closely, still looking quite lost, obviously missing his mistress.
Laura and Rodney were alone now. She had informed her husband, Ray, of her desire for a divorce the previous month. She was exhausted, but felt sleep would come easily that night if Rodney would turn in. He was a night owl, and today was Saturday. He would listen to his favorite shows tonight. When it was late he wore earphones to listen, as the television was situated close by his mother’s bedroom, but nothing could quiet Rodney’s boisterous laugh. Usually she lingered to enjoy the late night comics with her son. They had enjoyed these evening together, with Rodney adding punch lines to the comics punch lines; displaying his comic abilities and keeping his mother doubled over with laughter, but tonight she was not in the mood for frivolity, and Rodney was somber too. Laura put her head under her pillow trying frantically to find sleep. Rodney had worked hard helping her. She felt he deserved his evening of television entertainment.
At two A.M., all was quiet and Laura finally found her much needed sleep. Shortly before daylight she awoke startled, as her room was filled with light. It was as if all the lights in the house had been turned on, far more light than ever existed in her bedroom. She was half asleep and tried to ignore it, burying her face in her pillow, but the light was far too bright to dismiss. She straightened upright. Her startled posture turned to a mix of amazement and fear, as on the foot of her bed sat her mother, fully constructed of light…pure, cool bright light. Laura drew in a deep breath. She was shaken, but trying with difficulty to stay in control.
“Mother?” she finally gasped, what are you doing here? You know you don’t belong here any longer, and you know I’m not going to go with you!” Beth had always made it clear that her daughter was to be with her, always, regardless of the circumstances. There was no answer. The figure shifted, neither closer nor farther away, just from side to side. Laura rose to her knees and leaned forward toward Beth’s figure with her right hand extended. Her hand was illuminated as she dragged her fingers through the center of her mother’s body of light. “You must leave now Mother. Do you understand? You know I love you and I’ll miss you, but you don’t belong here now,” Laura said sternly. The room quickly darkened and the figure was gone, not out a window, or to another room, but totally dissolved before Laura’s eyes.
Laura breathed deep and leaned back against her padded headboard and quickly turned on her reading light. She was trembling, pale and cold. The room felt frigid though it was well in to July. Did I dream this? It all seemed so terribly real. Did it really happen? I’ve experienced some strange dreams, but never anything like this. This was far too real. Laura never felt it was a dream. She thought perhaps it was just her mother’s way of saying goodbye and taking one last opportunity to keep Laura near. Laura could never dismiss its reality from her mind. She felt her mother had finely found peace, and Laura was free to begin a life of her own. There would be no schizophrenia in heaven.
Bio: JoAnn Hill recently published her first book, a historical novel, an enjoyable labor of love taking her close to five years. Writing her first novel has definitely been a learning project. JoAnn holds a BA, BFA and MA in College Curriculum Art, with a concentration in painting and sculpture. She has set her painting aide to learn and attempt the art of writing. She and her husband Edwin Hill, both artists, display their work at www.apatchablue.com This site also leads to their blogs.