Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Winter Waters

Winter Waters
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
The wind was icy
as warm waves swept over me,
and the cold sand bit my skin.
More flakes fell
as the waves became softer,
and the salty air consumed my senses.
I slowly stood up on the sand
as the warm waves pulled away
to leave me freezing in the wind’s icy grip
as my hand fell on a sparkling pearl.
I glanced at the pearl
as snowflakes covered my hair
and warm waves kissed my feet
while I left footprints in the white sand.
I shivered as another breeze blew,
and the waves called me back
to their warm embrace
while my footprints left proof I was there.
I left the pearl on the sand
for the winter to come and cover it
under its blanket
while the warm water pulls back into the ocean
to leave me on my own
in a world gone gray.

Faded Shades of Rainbow

Faded Shades of Rainbow
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
A soft breeze rustled across deep green grass, perfectly cut to match its square interior. Sun settled down over small, white houses with glass screen doors propped wide open. Shadows fell over newspapers now lifted up, last relics of a world gone quiet, but the road whispered of life to come. But none never did.
“Good-morning, neighbor.”
“Good-morning, neighbor,” he replied as he walked to his house. “Just another day of paradise,” and the door slammed shut behind him.
Sunlight streamed into the small kitchen. His wife, Lily was busy cooking breakfast. She always made scrambled eggs and bacon, his favorite, and she hummed as she cooked. It brought a smile to his face as he sat at the kitchen table and drank the O.J. that she left for him, but then he grimaced at the pills were left for him too. But it was routine, and he quickly took them, chasing them with another gulp of his drink.
“Oh, no,” he said a moment later as he opened the newspaper out before him.
“What’s wrong, Harvey?”
“Mrs. Deville passed away last night.”
“Oh, no.”
“Yeah. Another one gone. How many of us are left now?”
“Not too many,” his wife replied, and then she resumed cooking breakfast to put the news out of her mind. “Beautiful day outside.”
“It always is, love. Another day of paradise.” He flipped through the newspaper. “I wonder if the mail will come today,” and his wife chuckled in response. “What? I say something funny?”
“You always ask about the mail, but there has been no mail that has come here for so very long.”
“I know. It’s routine.” He placed the newspaper beside the now empty glass. “It’s amazing we still have food left.”
“We were the lucky ones.”
“Were we?”
“Harv, don’t start. Be happy. We’re in paradise.”
“Until we die.” She snapped the stove off and kept her back to him, but he knew those words cut her deep. “Doesn’t it bother you?”
“Why? Why have you been talking about this lately? Why!” Now, he fell silent. “Harv, I need to know. What aren’t you telling me?” Now, she faced him. “Out with it.”
“I’m sorry, love. I think it’s time.” Her lip shook. “I think it’s time.”
“No. The doctor said that you were fine. You’re fine.” She brought his breakfast over to the table and sat beside him. “Let’s eat breakfast, and sit outside like we always do.”
“The doctor left isn’t the kind that saves lives. He’s the kind that tries to. There’s a difference.”
“I don’t care. He said that you were fine, and that is good enough for me.” She slowly ate her breakfast. “You were right before.” He glanced at her. “There aren’t too many of us left, but I don’t want to think about that. It scares me.”
“I know it does.” He patted her hand. “We’re getting closer to it.”
“Don’t say the E word. I hate that word, and the newspaper always has that word on the front page. It’s mocking us. We lived here for so long afterward, but…”
“But no one has come.” Tears filled her eyes. “We’re the last.”
“All that matters to me, Harv, is that you and I are still here. You and I, and we, you are not going anywhere. So,please, just eat your damn breakfast, “ and he laughed at that. She laughed back. “Silly old man.”
“Silly old nag,” and she elbowed him for that. “So, gardening today?”
“No. I did that yesterday while you mowed the lawn. I think we should sit outside for awhile.”
“And stare at the road?”
“I don’t see why.” She finished her breakfast quickly and then moved toward the sink to wash her dishes. “Maybe, take a walk?”
“It’s a small neighborhood. Three miles at best.”
“We haven’t walked in such a long time.”
“Those empty houses bother me.” He looked out the window. “Now, the house across the street will be empty.”
“But we’re still here.”
“Yeah. We’re still here,” and he finished his breakfast. “A walk would be nice.” His left arm twitched, but she didn’t notice. “How about ten minutes?”
“Or less.” She kissed him on the cheek. “Silly old man,” and she left him alone after that.
“My beautiful wife of fifty years,” he whispered. “How you will miss me.”
His body already felt weak. He still fought to stand up and walk outside. The cool breeze greeted him. The grass still smelled so sweet. The last of his neighbors waved their hello’s and picked up their newspapers. The road remained empty. He wished a car would go by or a mail truck, something to tell him that the rest of the world was still there, but he knew the answer. They all did. This was not paradise, but they chose to believe that. They needed to believe that, and another shadow fell to the ground. And as heartbreaking screams filled the air, the breeze became bitter, smacking at the newspaper left across the street. Its headline always screaming, “Extinction Is Near.”

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Dead Man In The Corner

The Dead Man In The Corner
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

The Town Hall was hot. The ceiling fans were batting a thousand, failing miserably at cooling off the tight room. The windows were shut, forbidding the world entrance. Every seat was taken, and all eyes were on the two parties at the table in the front. And the police officers stood at the ready in the back, waiting to escort anyone out that dared to show an ounce of emotion, and if they did, then those individuals would be spending the night in prison. If they showed more than a bit of emotion, then they might just disappear.
No children under ten were allowed. I had just turned ten, and for the past few days, my parents berated me about the rules to this kind of meeting. If I reacted, had an outburst or even shed a tear, they would pay dearly for that. They almost didn’t let me come, but this hit close to home. My father flicked his lighter open and shut. It was the only emotion that he allowed himself to have, and my mother sat between us. I could feel her eyes slicing me in half, watching for the slightest action to come, so I sat still with my hands folded tightly in my lap. I held my attention forward. I wanted to turn to her and give her a reassuring smile, but if I dared do that, then she would snatch me up and throw me out of the room. 
The clock chimed. A fat man in an ill-fitting suit shakily rose from his metal chair. This was bad. You could tell that he didn’t want to do this. You could tell that he didn’t want to be here, and he was sweating badly. Lucky for him, he was only the intro, and as he talked, nobody dared to breathe. He gestured toward the three men in black suits. He then gestured toward two women and another man also dressed in black. The older woman was crying, but she was allowed. It was her son, after all.
The three man in black would begin. As they stood together in front of the podium, the fat man collapsed back into his chair, wanting nothing more than to disappear. He was trapped just like me, forced to watch this show, and our eyes met, briefly. But we understood one another. Then, our attention returned to the men that depicted him as a heinous villain. They were only allowed to display the facts. If they stepped out of line, the police would be ready, and they edged forward, warning these men that they were ready to do so. So, they stayed with the facts, and for an hour and a half, they droned on. And that woman cried more.
It was finally her turn, but she was overtaken by grief. The man and woman with her spoke as if talking about an angel, a kind and warm-hearted human being. They gave their deepest sympathy and regret over the dead. They talked about the good times, times in fiction, but they kept a good poker face. They were allowed to stray a bit from fact. He was after all family, their family, and they held her hand, each one of them as they spoke about him. And their turn concluded with that woman shouting in misery that he was a good boy. He was her son. He just lost his way, and then she stepped away from the podium, never once mentioning the dead.
It was time to vote. I was not allowed. Only thirteen and up were allowed to vote. My parents held the glass balls in their hands. One white. One black. When asked to make a decision, only one ball could be held in the air. Sometimes, this action led to bitter divorce, the death of friendship, and animosity to others. My parents for once agreed with each other, and they held the balls high over their heads. The room mirrored their actions. A sea of black shined in the air, and the decision was made for him not to be buried. But for him to burn.
I finally looked at him. He was propped up on a wooden chair with arms. He was dressed in the best suit. His face was painted white, and his hair was combed back. He held a gentle appearance, an angel as they said, but the monstrosities that he had done could not be ignored. There were so many dead, and for what reason? What madness could be explained in his actions? Why did my brother have to be one of them?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Now on Fanfiction.net: The Cornerstones of Midnight (Killjoys Fanfiction)

At the cornerstones of midnight, 
the rain came crashing down, 
washing away the remains of that bloody night, 
and I was left stranded, 
trapped between darkness and fright. 
But I never broke. 
I learned to fight. 

Check out the entire series of The Cornerstones of Midnight (SYFY's Killjoys Fanfiction) here:

Friday, September 08, 2017

Which One To Read First?

I will be wrapping up my Killjoys Fanfiction this weekend, and then after that, I plan a short writing break to do some reading.  I have six books on the reading list, and I plan on reading all of them.  And I may even do a book review on them, but I don't know which one to read first.

I'll let you decide.  Please, take a look below, and leave a comment on which one to read first.

1. Dusk and Summer by Joseph A. Pinto

2. Emancerian Chronicles by Myael Christopher Simpkins

3. Pieces Like Pottery by Dan Buri

4. House A by Jennifer S. Cheng

5. The Head by Brian Barr

6. The Scattered and the Dead by Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus

I probably won't be doing another reading batch until the winter, but if you would like me to read and maybe review your book, please comment me with the title of the book and where to find it.  I will add it to my Favorites on Amazon, so when I do have the extra money, I can go and buy it.

Hope everyone is safe and well especially with Hurricane Harvey and Irma.

Melissa R. Mendelson

Monday, September 04, 2017

Silent Resilience

Silent Resilience
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

They sat in silence, 
watching the world 
rise and fall
in every breath,  
taking in all 
that is beauty, 
which fought to stay 
but was now left to fade. 
And Time was not kind. 
As they watched lives pass, 
the world turn, 
they crumbled 
with each bitter moment 
of history, 
our strong foundation 
now left open to ruin. 
Yet, they still remain, 
and they sit in silence, 
refusing to break, 
hoping the world will take notice 
to stand ground 
and become strong.  

Thursday, August 24, 2017

If I Had a Writer’s Bucket List, It Would Only Be a Top Five.

If I Had a Writer’s Bucket List, It Would Only Be a Top Five.
5.  I’ve been published multiple times online and through ezines, and there were a few print publications too.  What I want is to continue to grow in publications.  Fewer Rejection Letters.  More publications both online and in print.
4.  I have dubbed all the stories that I have written back in high school as “The Notebook Stories.”  Some of them have been self-published like “Distant Skies” and “Porcelain,” and one of them, “Lizardian,” I am trying to get published.  If “Lizardian” could just open that door for me, then I could go ahead and novelize all the rest, and I would rewrite “Porcelain” first.  But there is another novel idea that I have been sitting on too called, “Darkness Dreams.”  I just need that green light.
3.  I used to write a lot of screenplays.  I’m sitting on them too.  I would love to return to writing screenplays and even television shows, and I would love for both to actually make it to the screen.  Maybe, if the novels start happening, that door will open, and I can do it.  There are so many great television shows out there, and I would love for one of my ideas to join them.
2.  I used to do a lot of Open Mics and read my poetry.  I joined a writer’s group a few years back and shared and read my work with them.  Now, the only ones that hear me read aloud are the cats.  I did once go over to the local library to try and organize a reading for one of my self-published books, but I was informed that there were not a lot of people interested.  So, it didn’t happen, but I would love to go back into the public and share and read my work.  I would like to interact with other writers/poets and meet those that like my writing.
1.  This won’t happen, but I can dream.  I would want to make a living as an author, maybe even an author in demand like James Patterson or David Baldacci.  I am far, far from this goal.  I know, but one day, I would like to leave the morning wake up at 6 a.m. and the eight to four life behind.  *Fingers crossed*

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

New Short Story: The Body in the Trunk

The Body in the Trunk
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
It was a hot night at the Red Lit Diner.  The sun had already sunken in, but the heat refused to die.  The air conditioners bit the dust, and the fans were begging for their torture to end.  Yet, they pushed and pushed all that they could, forcing the cool breeze to cover those still inside, but the sweat continued to drip down.  And heat-stained glares fell across the smoky windows, trying not to think of what was found outside or who was still there with them, and they were all melting inside.  All of them except for her.
She was sitting on a red stool beside the counter, picking at her bagel and butter.  She then slowly sipped her glass of water, ignoring all their burning stares.  Her blue jeans were faded and ripped.  Her black boots were small and sharp.  Her feet should have been dying trapped by all that leather, but she didn’t seem bothered.  And she picked crumbs off her black shirt, scratching the face of one of those men seen on the CW, and he stared up at her, captivated with wonder and fear.
The boys had stopped at the Red Lit Diner for a late dinner snack.  Coffee and Beth’s famous hot Apple Pie, and it was smoking.  The vanilla ice cream was soup by the time it reached them, but they piled it in, ready for a long night.  And it was going to be a long night when they had seen her outside, checking the contents of her trunk.  They told her to freeze, but she didn’t even bat an eye.  Instead, she smiled and walked inside, leaving them to stare at each other.
Jimmy was never a man of faith.  He even went so far as to say that God wasn’t real.  If he was, why did he let this world get so bent out of shape?  His partner was the polar opposite, and when he saw her, he felt physically sick.  His knees buckled, and he’s still outside, sitting in the squad car.  Jimmy couldn’t feel it, and he was the one that called me.  Should I call for back up, he asked, and I responded that I would handle it.  But when I saw her, I felt it too.
“You here about the trunk,” she asked before downing another sip of water.  Her voice was velvet.  Sweet with a sting of toxic.  She still refused to look at me.  “I don’t have all night,” and she slammed the glass down.  I didn’t jump.  The rest of the folks did.
“Yes,” I forced myself to say, reaching for my gun, but something deep down inside said that wouldn’t do.  And she smiled as if she had heard that  “I’m here about what’s in the trunk,” I nearly barked.  “Why is it in the trunk?”
“What would you do if you had Hitler in the car?”
“What,” and I watched her sip the water.  And I could’ve sworn that her tongue was black.
“What would you do if you had Hitler in the car,” she repeated.
“I wouldn’t let him out.”
“Exactly,” and now she turned toward me.  And for a moment, her face vanished, revealing nothing but pale flesh, and I felt like I was going to be sick.  A few moments before, I was craving Beth’s famous hot Apple Pie, but that soft, vanilla pool nearly had my stomach spitting acid.  And she smiled again.  “It’s my penance,” she said, softly as if she felt bad for me.
“For what,” I asked, forcing the bile back down.
“You don’t want to know,” and she drank more water.  And then she swatted at a fly that touched the remains of her bagel.
“You know, I can’t let you leave.”
“Can’t,” and she looked at me.  Her eyes folded over mine, and I felt empty, carved out like a Halloween pumpkin.  “Or can?”
“There’s a body in your trunk,” I whispered, trying not to alarm an elderly couple, who was attempting to pay their bill before making a run for it.  “I have to take you in,” and she laughed at that.  “What’s so funny?”
“Are you so sure that you want to touch me,” and she stood up from the red stool beside the counter.  “Might not be the smartest thing, sheriff.”
“I could shoot you,” and I was surprised at those words that came out of my mouth.  I hardly fired my gun.  Maybe, I shot someone a few years back, but that was a long time.  And again, she smiled as if she heard that.  “Who’s in the trunk?”
“A very, very bad man.”
“Hitler,” and she shrugged in response.  “And you’re what?  Driving cross-country with him back there?”
“I drive everywhere.”
“You don’t sleep?”
“Only a few hours.  That’s all I need.  Trust me.  The things that I see…  It would rip more than the sleep from you,” and she slammed a hundred-dollar bill on the counter.  “Are we done here?  I would like to keep moving before the sun comes up.”
“You a vampire,” I asked, trying to be funny.
“I’m worse,” and my smile vanished.  “Name’s Keeper,” and she held her hand out to me.  And for a moment there, it looked skeletal like a Halloween costume.  “No,” and she pulled her hand away.  “Good man,” and she moved past me.
I don’t know why I did it, but I did it.  I grabbed her by the arm, and I felt like an invisible hand suddenly reached inside and squeezed my heart.  I dropped to my knees and tried to breathe.  I released her arm, and despite all the damn heat, I was ice cold.  My skin was blue, and Jimmy took a step closer, reaching for his gun.  But I waved him aside, and she looked at me, half amused and half full of pity.
“I told you,” and she leaned closer to me.  “Not to touch me.  Now, are we going to keep on playing, or can I go, sheriff?”
“You can…  You can go.”
“Good,” and she moved toward the glass entrance doors.  “You are a good man, sheriff,” she said.  Then, she looked over at Jimmy.  “But you aren’t,” and Jimmy shuddered at that.
“Why did you let her go?”
“Shut up, Jimmy.”  I was now standing up, but I was so cold.  I wanted those damn fans to shut off.  I wanted the heat to raise up another notch.  I wanted that hot Apple Pie to be boiling.  Something deep inside said that I would never be warm again.  I would never sleep again.  When she walked outside the Red Lit Diner, she wasn’t alone.  She packed my soul up and tucked it right in the back, right next to the body in the trunk.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sirens Call Publications

If you're looking for a little Horror this weekend, I highly suggest that you check out some fresh blood and raw talent of today's Horror writers at Sirens Call Publications, and please also check out my tales of thrills and chills too, which can be found in the April, June and August Issue.

Thank you.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Movie Review: 2:22

Movie Review: 2:22
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
We never think of Time as an enemy.  We call it a kindness for every moment given.  We think of it as a long lost friend to remind us of all those good times now gone.  Sometimes, we call it a burden, a cruel joke, but when the end is near, we cling to it like a child to a mother, begging to not be let go.  We always say that we need more Time because despite the scars that life gives us, we need Time to stay by our side and let us figure out who we really are, and if our prayers are heard, we sigh deeply with relief, never seeing the razor sharp edge held behind its back for Time might be your friend.  But to others, it counts down to their end.
Time is an intricate web layered upon layer that snags us in-between.  We dangle along its lines, tracing both past and future.  Yet, we can’t see the patterns that play out across, but what if someone did?  What if repetition was Time’s cruel game, dealing out cards from the universe and seeing where they fall along the track?  Would the message be received, or would they be called crazy, dismissed for the layers are unraveling?  And something waits in-between, a hollow boom from a past moment gone tragically wrong.
If Time could speak, it would say, “There are no coincidences.”  A chance meeting is a twist of fate.  A connection of love is a deeper symphony, notes of the past that float upon the sea toward the future, but is the music truly sweet?  Or are the chords repetitive, singing of love and loss, hope and fear, falling tears and tragic endings?  Play it again, Sam for we’ve heard this tune before, and we are spinning against Time’s web, struggling to not fall as its lines converge onto a singular moment while Time’s hands pause.  2:22.  The world goes silent.
It’s been seventeen years since the movie, Frequency.  The skies have been quiet.  No raindrops falling, but the universe is not still.  And the brilliance of stars is blinding, sharp sparks flying like chandeliers crashing.  Are we listening, or are we deafened by the roar of airplanes overhead?  Time is counting down to moments past, and death is the gun ready to fire.  Will the bullet hit home, breaking future, or will their lives be saved as the clock strikes 2:22?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Short Story: Give Me Truth or Give Me Silence

Give Me Truth or Give Me Silence
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
The office wasn’t quiet.  The air conditioner rattled overheard, sending icy chills down the walls.  The thunder of keyboards, fingers pounding plastic, echoed across the room.  Coughs nearby raised an eyebrow.  Laughter held motion on pause, but nobody spoke.  Nobody wanted to open their mouths in fear of not saying the truth, and all eyes fixated upon the computer screens, mindless numbers eaten by machine.  And another day at the office droned on.
The stacks of paper, the data entry dwindled on my desk.  My supervisor’s door remained closed.  She barely came out these days, and I was afraid to knock on that door and disturb whatever she was doing.  I had to make this work last, at least until noon, and then I would dare disturb her to get more work.  It was only ten-thirty, so I paused, gingerly reaching for the phone, and the women nearby eyed my every move.  But I had to kill some time.
“Did you hear from them,” I asked as I held the phone tightly to my ear, trying to keep my voice low.
“No,” he responded on the other end.  “They haven’t called yet.”
“I don’t know why they have to do this a year later.”
“It’s the rules.  Besides, there is now only a five percent fatality rate,” he said.
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”
“Jessie, there’s nothing that we can do, and we have to wait for their call.  Then, we can decide which one of us will go.”
“I should do it,” I said as I curled the cord around my finger.
“I can do it,” he replied.
“David, I should be the one.”
“Shhhhhhhh,” a coworker next to me snapped, and then she huffed around her breath, shaking her blonde head from side to side.
“Whatever,” I said to her, and then I shook my head.  “How’s work going?”
“Work’s work.  You?”
“The same.”
“Jessie, it’s almost eleven,” and when he said that, I looked at the time, feeling my stomach drop.  “You can’t be on the phone at eleven.  Rules are rules.”
“I know.  I’m…  I’m just worried about her.”
“She’ll be fine.  I’ll see you later.”
“Okay, David.  I’ll see you later,” and I hung up the phone.
“There’s nothing to worry about,” another coworker said, but then she winced, rubbing her neck.  “I don’t know why I bother,” and she returned to her work.
I glanced at the time on the computer.  10:42 a.m.  At eleven, I would have to be at this desk, in front of the computer, but not right now.  Now, I could escape to the bathroom, and as I slowly got up, everyone looked my way.  I could see their fear, their suspicion shine against the computer’s eerie light, but nobody would say anything.  They would keep those thoughts to themselves.
“Hi, Jessie,” another coworker said as she washed her hands in the bathroom.  “How are you?”
“Good,” I replied and then flinched at the pain in my neck.  “Actually, worried.  Today’s that day.”
“I’m sorry,” but then she flinched.  “She’ll be okay,” but she flinched again.  “I have to go,” and the coworker hurried out of the bathroom.
I ran my hands under the cold water.  It felt nice.  I wanted to stay like that, but the lights overhead flickered.  First warning.   It was nearing eleven, and the next warning, if I wasn’t in front of a television or computer screen, would be a violent shock to the body.  I hated those things, and I pulled my shirt collar down to stare at the silver object in my neck.  It reminded me of a quarter, but it wasn’t a benefit.  It was a punishment for someone else’s crimes, and I could feel it beginning to vibrate, gearing up for that razor sharp zap.  So, I hurried back to my desk.
I made it back to my desk just in time.  My body was already preparing for that shock.  I experienced it once before, nearly biting off my tongue.  Somebody did bite off their tongue.  At least, that’s what I heard.  Another went into shock and died.  All this just to make us watch, and the lights overhead went out.  I was surprised that my supervisor appeared, hurrying out of her office and over to the nearest computer screen.  And then we waited, and the computer screens went black, followed by a long pause.
The woman that appeared on the screen was a news reporter.  She had found a way around the system.  Some said that she didn’t feel.  Others said that she liked the pain.  It didn’t matter.  You weren’t supposed to lie, and she got caught.  And the man dressed in black approached her, pulling the gag out of her mouth, but that wasn’t in kindness.  That was for us to hear her scream, and the time was now eleven a.m.
“In memory of the 1100 that died,” the man in black said in a booming voice.  “We have found you guilty of lying,” and he placed what looked like a plastic gun against the silver object in her neck.  “Give me truth, or give me silence.”
“Give me truth, or give me silence,” I and my coworkers echoed back, and the man pulled the trigger, ripping the silver object from the reporter’s neck, and severing her vocal chords.
The reporter screamed, but her scream was cut short.  Blood flowed down her neck, and the man in black shoved her gag into the hole.  He then cut her binds, releasing her, and the reporter burst into tears.  But nobody could hear her crying.  They could only watch the tears flow in silence, and then the screen went to black.
A moment later, a pale-faced man appeared, reading the report that was written for him.  “Tonight at eleven p.m., we will have Mr. Forester, a deli shop man, who was caught lying to his customers.  He pretended to speak the truth on the quality of his meat and the maintenance of his store, but as more people grew ill, it was found that he had lied, telling the truth but in secret serving up spoiled meat in a rat-infested store.  See you at eleven,” and the screen went black.  And the lights came back on.
“Back to work,” my supervisor declared, casting a look my way, and then she disappeared into her office.
“How could that guy lie and tell the truth at the same time?”
“Selective memory,” I said to my coworker, and then I heard laughter.  I looked up to see two women giggling next to each other.  They looked at each other’s computer screen, obviously at some kind of message, and then they looked my way.  Their smiles faded a bit, and then they looked at each other.  And they went back to work.
“My daughter was funny this morning,” my friend, Ann said as we now sat in a small kitchen area.  “She called me fat.  Just like that.  She said, ‘Mom, you’re fat.’  Doesn’t she realize how hurtful that is,” she said as she stuck a spoonful of yogurt into her mouth.
“She can’t lie, Ann,” I said as I checked my watch.  “12:15.”
“We got fifteen minutes left.  Are you just eating a salad?”
“Yeah.  Why?”
“I don’t know,” and she flinched.  “I hate salads.  How’s your daughter?  Have you heard anything yet?”
“No.  Nothing yet,” I replied.
“She’ll be fine,” but Ann flinched again.  “I hate these things.”
“Rules are rules,” I said.
“You sound like David.  How’s he doing?”
“He turned into a book worm.”
“Well, publishing’s booming again.  Nothing else is the same.  I can’t even lie to my daughter about the old movies, and radio?  It’s all automated now.  News is just the news like in the old days.”
“Well, nothing we can do about it,” I said.
“If they just didn’t die…”
“But they did, and now we pay the price for it.”
“I just hate it,” Ann sighed.  “My daughter thinks I’m fat,” and she finished her yogurt.
“You’re not fat,” I said, but then I flinched.  But I tried to hide it, but Ann saw right through me.  “I’m sorry.”
“Well, at least, you’re honest about that.  We should head back.  More data entry.  Yay,” and we both laughed at that.
Around two p.m., a coworker’s phone rang.  The room went quiet, even more quiet than usual.  There was really no point these days to talk on the phone.  You couldn’t lie.  You couldn’t exaggerate.  It had to be cold, honest facts, and the color on her face paled, mirroring the white walls.  She gingerly reached for the phone as all eyes including mine fell on her, and she pressed the phone against her ear.  And then I realized that today was also her day, and I leaned forward a little, hoping to catch a little of what was said.  But nothing was said.  She just listened, and then she hung up the phone.  And she burst into tears, running from the room, followed by at least two other women.
“Her son didn’t make it,” one coworker said.
“They did say that there is now only a five percent fatality rate,” another coworker said.  “Just bad luck, I guess,” and she flinched.  “I mean it’s terrible,” and she flinched again.  “I mean…  Fuck it,” and she went back to work.
“You just don’t care,” the first coworker said to her, but the woman did not reply.  “It’s not your problem, right?  You don’t have kids.”  The coworker looked my way, holding my gaze for a moment, and then she slowly lowered her head, returning to her work.
The day dragged on, right up to three-thirty when my phone rang.  My blood ran cold.  A million eyes fell upon me.  My hand moved as if in slow motion, and my breath caught in my throat.  My mind tried to think, but it couldn’t.  I couldn’t even speak.  I just raised the phone up against my ear and listened.
“She’s ready,” a sharp voice said on the other end.  “What time shall we expect you?”
“Um…”  I looked at the time on my computer.  “Four.”
“Be here at four,” and the line went dead.
I quickly finished the rest of my data entry.  Tomorrow, a new stack would be waiting for me, but right now as long as my desk was clear, my supervisor should let me leave.  I set the computer on shut down and pushed in my chair.  Before I moved toward my supervisor’s office, I laid a gentle hand on my coworker’s shoulder and said, “I’m sorry.”
“Thank you,” my coworker responded, but she did not look at me.  She must hate me for not getting that phone call, but there was nothing that I could say.  There was nothing that any of us could say, and I walked away instead.
As expected, my supervisor allowed me to leave.  This was after all special circumstances, and the facility was right down the road.  I called David to let him know that I was going to get her, and he said that he would meet us at home.  I hoped she was alright, but the process was over.  She should be alright, but I did not feel comforted by that thought until she was placed back in my arms.
“Your daughter will be groggy for the rest of today and maybe tomorrow,” the doctor said as I held her tightly.  “Do not remove the bandage.  Leave it on, and do not get it wet.  In three days, it will peel off by itself, and then she should be okay.  If there are any issues, call me,” and he stuck his card in my hand.  And then he walked away.
The drive home was quiet.  Cars passed by, and its drivers looked my way.  They must have seen me leave the facility, knowing why I was probably there, but I didn’t have a choice.  Anyone found not having the process done was not shown any mercy.  Instead, their vocal chords were cut, sometimes humanely, most times not, and they were called the silent.  My daughter would not be one of them, and home was coming up soon.  Once we got there, I would show her all the love and kindness that I struggled to keep inside.  Maybe, one day, she would understand.  Maybe, one day, she would say, “Mom, you’re fat,” and I smiled at that.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

About Me

Melissa R. Mendelson graduated college with both an AA in Liberal Arts and BA in Mass Communication: Critical Analysis.  She was a Long Island news reporter from 2002 to 2004 and later went to work for the State of New York.  She has written a variety of writing that continuously is published by the Antarctica Journal News, and she recently finished writing her first Horror/Sci-Fi novel, Lizardian, which can temporarily be found as an E-book on Amazon Kindle.

Glass Skies Over Home Log Line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE3usyyYlCE

The Unknown Rider (Winner of Twitter Short Story Contest):

Antarctica Journal News:

Shining Through The Echo (For Robin Williams);  Are We Real;  Behind The Door;  Here;  Stone Slate;  Dream Always;  The Hole Within Us;  In Shadow;  Memorial;  Scarred; Today; What Is Family; Cruelty; Drifting; Whenever I Hear A Train; Shatter; Sending My Love Across The Distance; Wasting Time; King Me; A Break In The System; Into White; Journey (For My Father); Crystal Blue; D Cide; Vanquished; Whispers of Hope (Dedicated to the Hurricane Katrina Victims); My Heart In A Cave

Farmland;  Kayaker;  Blue Surface;  Silent Post;  Who's Ready For Church;  Fog Rolling In; Manhattan (4 Photographs); Country Fair (4 Photographs); Long Beach, NY (4 Photographs); City Drive (4 Photographs); Country Fair 2 (4 Photographs); Abandoned (4 Photographs)

Remember;  Shut;  On White Wings I Fly;  Comic Book Heroes Gone Wild; Supernatural Love; I Am A Clone; I'm Not Coming Home For Christmas; Wings of Gray; Paint My Heart Red; My Poor Mother's Country Land; CW Rocks True; Almost Nothing On My TV; Crowley; Will We Ever Be The Same; Across The Page; Space Inside; What's 2017 Like; Hard Came Their Pain

Please, Stay and Guard Me; The Ticking; sKIN; The Candle Lights; By The Yellow Light; Auto Pilot; The Girl In The Window; The Camp

Spaceship and "Shake Time Loose"; When I Listen To Music; Lizardian; Just Talking About Science-Fiction; Poetry Book Review: Fault Lines by Gary Beck; Comedy Review: A Jolt of Kola; Comedy Review: What Is That Smell?; Movie Review: The 9th Life of Louis Drax; TV Show Review: Beyond; TV Review: Ten Years Is A Wonderful Life

Stanzaic Stylings Literary Ezine:

Wet Soil Beneath My Hand; Ghosts of Me; Haze; A Step Away; Burning Kisses; Skeletons In The Closet; Labyrinth; Humanity Within; Plastic; It All Comes Down To You; Crossing; Pieces of Me; One Step Away

Short Stories:
A Faint Trace of Light

Poetry Review - Fragments of Yesterdays Past

Spreading The Writer's Word:

Short Stories:
Time Waits for No Man; Not for Sale; The Conflict of Night and Day, Confinement, Open House

Sirens Call Literary Magazine:

Short Stories:
A Little Something With Your Coffee; The Ladies in Black, The Darkness and Me, Fluorescent Lights