by Carrie Ann Chan

 He never came home that night.  Was he dead this time?   Another binge?  He left for cigarettes right after dinner the night before.  I stood staring at the portrait clinging to the wall. That forever smile plastered on our faces tried to keep up the lie that everything was okay.  


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Thou shalt not kill

by Carrie Ann Chan

    The bullet slammed into her flesh from behind as she ran. She made it to the coat closet in the back of the old classroom.  Blood flowed from her side and she tried to remember what happened before he ripped the gun from inside his coat and started firing.  Laughing.  They had all been laughing at a joke that old man Jenkins, the sub, had told them.


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The Flood

By Carrie Ann Chan

(Based on a true family story)


    Rain danced on the tin roof.  Gracie couldn't sleep and she didn't want to wake Simmie, her husband of nine months, laying beside her on the tired hand-me down mattress.  Nestled in a holler in West Virginia in a little coal mining town, they had moved about a month after the wedding. Usually on the hoot owl shift, he worked  through the night, but he was off and they had actually turned in together. Concern permeated sleep though because the rain had not let up. It had started earlier that morning and had continued through the day and night.  Hearing from others about the dangers of the river had put them on edge. Simmie could sleep through anything though and he lay there snoring. Gracie thought that maybe it was because he worked so long and hard in the mines.  His bones and muscles ached in a constant state of weariness. Trying not to disturb him, she slipped out from under his embrace. After sliding into her slippers she made her way to the kitchen to make some good strong black coffee.

    Constant pelting interrupted her thoughts and kept her distracted. It sounded worse than before.  The opened bible on the table drew her attention and she was pulled to Matthew. There was so much peace that she gained when she read about Jesus and his miracles.  She pulled the old quilt, that she had grabbed from the back of the tattered sofa, around her shoulders. She lingered on the stitching that her grandmother had so lovingly done by hand.  Beautiful colors swirled together to make an entrancing pattern. She loved to feel the soft fabric beneath her fingers. Care shone from the old patch quilt and tears sprang to her eyes. It took her back to more of a worry free time when she was a little girl.  Fear tried to slither into thoughts. Worries blasted out from the mines with Simmie and now the possible flooding from the river. Stories had been passed around from the old timers about just how mean the waters could really be. Words from the great book reached out to stoke the kindling in her mind and prepare for battles ahead.  

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