Fiction refers to literature created from the imagination. Traditionally, that includes novels, short stories, fables, myths, legends, fairy tales, plays, etc. The ever-widening scope of fiction in today's world may include comic books, cartoons, anime, video games, radio and television shows, it could be genre fiction, literary fiction or realism. But regardless of its form of conveyance, fiction is a device that immerses us in experiences that we may not otherwise discover; takes us places we may never go, introduces us to people we may never have met. It can be inspiring, captivating, and even frightening. In the end, it exposes us to a life not our own. It can help us to see ourselves and our world in a new light.
We invite you to join us as we embark on a journey of fiction created by these talented authors. We applaud all of our contributors and encourage everyone to continue to follow their artistic and literary dreams. For those whose works we’ve selected, we hope this is just the beginning of an illustrious career in the arts.
by McCord Chapman
A deep sigh came just as Jason was pulling off the highway onto Route 11. He was close and could feel his back tingling as if his whole spine had suddenly fallen asleep. This happened every time he headed into a small town, no matter the location. His hometown had tainted similar places through memories of loneliness, frustration, and expected yet undeserved sympathy. Due to his small-town avoidance syndrome, Jason had missed housewarmings, weddings, and most family gatherings over the years. But this felt like a worthy sacrifice to maintain a comfortable distance from his childhood. Anxiety was an easy excuse to turn around, but he knew this time must be different. It was unavoidable.
The car’s backseat was filled with clothing & books to the point where most surrounding vehicles had been rendered invisible during the long drive north. Jason never noticed. He rarely checked his blind spots even on a good day. Water bottles were strewn across the floor in front of the passenger seat, along with a half-drunk, now spoiled fruit smoothie from earlier in the week. Burger King bags had joined this pile during his four-hour drive when Jason told himself there were no other options, but in reality, he simply couldn’t contain a craving for chicken fries.
The twenty-four-hour name-brand gas station swiftly came and went as Jason lit a cigarette for the final stretch, a Pavlovian response that kicked in once the Mobil was in his...
by Brigitte Whiting
Smelled: a gamey odor downstairs in the basement. Searched for its source but couldn’t find it.
Found: one dead mouse with reddish-brown legs and a white underbelly in the basement bathroom. A deer mouse. Picked it up with tongs, took it outdoors, and tossed it atop a four-foot pile of snow. It was gone by the following day.
Found: bits of foil wrappings and a chunk of nibbled chocolate on the floor of an upstairs closet.
Found: a dusting of chocolate powder when I moved a new plastic jug of Nestles Quik. Discovered a 1/8th by 1-inch hole nibbled near its bottom.
Found: a torn-open bag of Hershey's Kisses.
Placed: chocolate mix canister and kisses in a trash bag. Kept them upstairs so a mouse wouldn’t find the treats again before trash pickup in four days.
Could not find: the mousetraps.
Bio: Brigitte Whiting lives in Maine and often uses settings and experiences from her backyard in her writing. She earned Fiction Writing Certificates from Gotham Writers Workshop and UCLA-Ext and is working on her WVU-MFA Certificate. In addition to facilitating WVU classes, she meets weekly with two local writers' groups. Her poetry group has published a collection of their poems, Wit, Wisdom and Whimsy.
Trish pushed her hair to the side to show off her sparkling diamond earrings. “Alvin just got these for me. I didn’t even have to drop a hint.”
Heather leaned forward for a better look. “Oh Trish, they’re beautiful. And LuAnn, did I see you drive up in a new Lexus today?”
“Yes. It’s a belated birthday present. We had to send the first one back. Jeffrey surprised me, but it just wasn’t the color I wanted.”
Heather put on her biggest smile. “Well, cheers ladies. To all your new gifts.”
Trish beamed back. “Thanks, Heather. Now that John’s with the company, I’m sure you’ll be benefiting soon too.”
Heather sighed and shifted almost imperceptibly in her seat, then raised her glass of Prosecco. “Here’s hoping so.”
Heather allowed her friends to pay for her lunch again and then rounded the corner to her Kia. Slipping into the driver’s seat, she felt the sun-drenched pleather sticking to her thighs and closed her eyes to imagine the feel of cool leather cradling her skin. She drove home and pulled into the driveway just as her husband, John, returned home from work.
“Early day, hon?” Heather pecked him on the cheek and linked arms with him to walk up the front steps.
“Not really. I brought some work home. I was too distracted at the office.” John threw his suit jacket onto the sofa, kicked off his shoes, and headed for the kitchen. After grabbing a beer, he straightened up to find...
by Cedar White
Twenty minutes later most of the crowd filtered past the bottleneck, except us.
by Brigitte Whiting
I had plans for that summer and everything changed because of the marbles. But I’m way ahead of myself.
My brothers, Jeff and Mick, hung around Farmer Tom’s place, feeding chickens and riding on the tractor with him, watching while he milked his yellow cow, Bess. I’d been over there a time or two when Mama had shooed me out of the house to go fetch my
Farmer Tom died the last day of June and we were let out of school early, to mourn the loss of a great
Two days afterwards on Saturday, my whole family and
by Luann Lewis
I hate the sounds this house makes. I hate the way it smells. It’s a
Champagne and chocolates were our celebratory dinner when we closed and the next day the movers brought our furniture then box after box.
But the changing season brought more than just cold. Sam shivered and coughed at first.
by Albert Orejuela
You’re hearing a voice, but no one else hears a sound. It’s a deep distant whisper, soft, safe, and inviting: the words of which you can’t yet make out. The harder you listen, the softer it gets; softer and softer, deeper and deeper. The more you listen to it here, the further away it brings you. You want to stop listening, and you try, but you can’t.
You don’t want to leave, but you realize you are looking at the door. There is an emergency exit sign above the door, and when you look directly at
You read the sign again, for the first time, “Abe, the Teenage Hypnotist from Planet Garfunkel.” The clink of the door latch grabs your attention; as the long metal handle clangs against the door you realize you’re walking through it.
You should be outside, and you might be, but when you look around
Pink and purple at first, but it’s bright and you need to blink a few times. As it’s coming into focus, you can hear the voice getting clearer...
by TJ Marshall
Brody Carlisle halted his horse on the crest of a shrub-covered hill, slapped his Stetson twice sending dust floating skyward, and after placing it back on his head, coaxed a swallow from his canteen.
To the west, the sun slid behind a scattering of tall pillar-like plateaus. Their shadows snaked across the barren valley and across the town of Fontana like a giant disembodied hand with long, flattened fingers, claiming the settlement as its own.
Clicking his tongue, Brody guided his horse slowly down a narrow path toward the town. As he neared the first building – a squat shack with a bullet-riddled barber’s sign hanging from one squeaky hook – a dog, hidden somewhere behind the buildings, announced his arrival with a series of long low howls. The wide dirt road, splitting the town in two, remained vacant. The hairs standing on his arms told Brody he wasn’t alone; someone watched.
Making his way between a closed tannery and another building that displayed an assortment of hand tools and a bag of grain in its dirty window, Brody headed toward the far end of Fontana where the only stone building in town stood. Even in the fading light, the broad white letters that spelled “SHERIFF” were easy to read.
His horse huffed and slowed as they neared the building. Brody clicked his tongue again and urged him forward. Once in front of the sheriff’s office, Brody slid to the hard ground, tied...
by Luann Lewis
Food. Globes of mashed potatoes glistening with a thin layer of gravy, plump slices of pie gushing with ruby red cherries–food
Perhaps it started with the light in her mother’s eyes when dessert was served or the happiness in Mom’s voice when they went to a fancy restaurant. Eating was important. Food was
Maybe it began in the dark when those intruding hands pushed her covers down and her nightgown up. M&Ms shoved into her mouth, mingled with her tears; a sweet reward for bitter pain.
The bags of candy Abby got from the neighbor after he fondled her ten-year-old body seemed like a fair trade. How was she to know she was also accepting bags of shame? Still, the texture of the sugar granules rolling over her tongue, the spunky lime, the happy orange, the surprising lemon all helped to lighten the heaviness in her heart.
When she curled up on her bed,
by Brigitte Whiting
Stan stood on the sand, crumpled by how many people and birds running and sliding into it today. Now, it was getting dark, the last of the purple, streaky clouds turning black against a pale, gray sky.
Go or stay, just two choices.
He reached down for the wire handle of the lantern, then slid its switch to on, and set the lamp back on the sand. No one to hurry back home to. That’s what Marie said was the problem. How did she put it? “Dad, you’re drifting.”
A lone seagull flew overhead, screeching at him.
“Okay, okay,” he said. He buttoned up his red plaid jacket, pulled the edge of his cap tight over his ears, picked up the lantern.
His cell phone rang. He pulled it out and squinted to read the number before he answered it. “No, Marie.”
“That’s not what I meant. I mean I haven’t decided yet.”
“You promised you would by this evening.”
He turned back and looked toward the black ocean. “I will.”
She was just like her mom, pestering till she dragged a promise out of him. Hard as it had been sometimes, he’d never broken one. But abandoning Beth’s grave, no, it wasn’t quite that, Beth wouldn’t know the difference anyway. It was leaving home, routines. Making changes.
He followed the path along the...
by Cedar White
Amos stood on a thick, muscular knoll on the shoulder of a dark river. He shivered, soaking wet from his silver hair to his leather shoes, and stared, disoriented, at the pines across the river. They seemed to stand with their backs to him. Amos felt his heart racing and realized he was out of breath. He turned. Behind him lay a rumpled blanket and an overturned bag of sandwiches. He turned again, still lost, and watched the swift surface of the river reflecting an apathetic sky. Somewhere in the tall pines a crow called. Amos heard a voice. His phone lay in the grass below him, and there was someone on speakerphone. The screen said Nina, in red letters. Amos picked it up.
"Hello?" he said.
"Daddy? Did you call?"
He paused, "I don’t know."
"Are you alone? Where’s John?"
"Not sure," he said. "I mean… I don’t know. I’m… there’s a river. I’m alone… and," he looked at his hand. "There’s blood."
Earlier that day John Faraday, husband of Dr. Nina Faraday, lifted their four-year-old into his brand new, overbuilt car seat, sufficient to protect the boy from almost any accident. "Dylan, time to hop-in strap-in. We’re going to get Grandpa," he said. Dylan sat, compliant, his curious eyes studying his father as he strapped him in.
"Gram-paw?" Dylan's voice squeaked, the second syllable a higher pitch, eyes widening as he finished the word.
by Frank Richards
In July the monsoon rains returned and with them came the little green frogs. Price Aurigena had first seen them in the summer of 1969 when he’d arrived in Korea and now, a year later, they were once again everywhere. Frogs sprang from the ground like exploding popcorn kernels. They whizzed by his face from the sides of buildings. They dropped off the roof and twitched down the back of his shirt. At night, frogs were nestled in his cot when he pulled down the covers and frogs
Those clouds had other, almost supernatural powers. They affected communications, making the radio hiss and spit like an angry cat. He had difficulty getting through to the Provost Marshal's Office because of the interference, even though he might only be a few miles away.
When they had a...
by Frank Richards
I have studied martial arts all my life: Karate, Judo, Kenpo Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, and Hsing-I, but as I've gotten older, I pretty much stick to Tai Chi. I used to study Tai Chi at a park in Washington, D.C. called Glen Echo Park. It's an old park, not much used anymore. Most of the park has fallen into disrepair since the sixties. There's an old kid's carousel. I'm not sure if it still works. Shabby buildings, overgrown with tall grasses or volunteer trees sprouting up here and there, that's the character of the place.
I used to wear a T-shirt and shorts to Tai Chi. We practiced on Saturday mornings in a building that was also set up as a dance studio, you know, a place with wooden floors and big full-length mirrors in front. No one wanted to arrive late, because if you did, you wound up in the front of the class, and everyone's eyes were on you the whole hour we practiced.
One Saturday I was held up in traffic and realized I had to hurry so as not to arrive late. I parked and began to run toward the class building. I came around the corner of a building and two women ran up to me, one on each side. "How are you doing?" asked one, handing me a bottle of water. The other asked, "How do you feel?" as she ran along beside me. She handed me a sack...
by Glennis Hobbs
July 20, 1942
Escorted by her eldest brother Neil, Annabell walks across the front lawn to meet Bill. her groom. She is dressed in a long gown of pink net overlying pink point
Bill looks forward to living in their own home on St. Clare Avenue. He needs to make certain the chimney works properly. He fears a fire like the one that burnt his parents’ farmhouse. His mother grabbed the seven-month-old Bill and threw him in the manger while she ran for help.
Annabell looks up at her mother’s burnt chimney and sighs with relief. She remembers how, in the midst of wedding preparations a month ago, lightning struck the chimney while her wedding cake was baking. Annabell rushed the half-baked cake over to her next door neighbour’s house to finish it. Her younger brothers tease her about getting a warning from the Lord. She replies that she doesn’t care and insists she is getting married anyway. This becomes a family...
by Teresa Crowe
S is for Scintillation.
Their arms and elbows locked as they vied for control. Major released her grip and dredged her beet-colored nails across his muscled chest. Zane glanced at the four lines of ripped skin, blood dripped onto the rim of his pants. He lunged forward, grabbed a clutch of her hair and pulled her close. His sweaty face was too close. Wafts of garlic and marsh invaded her nostrils. Her stomach rolled and she had to swallow the bile as the edges of her vision waned.
“Bitch,” he seethed. “I don’t know many times we have to go through this. You know the game. You befriend them, and then you bring them to me. End of story.”
“Zane, these ones are too young. They’re scared. They don’t want the drugs or the booze. They cry day and night. What the hell am I supposed to do with them? They won’t trust me.”
He loosened his grip and flattened her hair back into place. His finger followed the trail of blood down to his navel. He brought the bloodied finger to her lips and applied the macabre lipstick.
“I don’t give a fuck how you do it. Knock them unconscious for all I care. When I say I need two, you bring me two. When I say I need one with no hair or breasts, you bring me one with no hair and no fucking breasts. If you can’t get your head around...
by Glennis Walker Hobbs
Black, ginger, and tortoiseshell felines zoom through the open screen door onto the deck. Black Nic pauses and surveys his domain from the top of the steps. Kittens race down the ramp and scamper into the backyard. Glory, the tortoiseshell, runs to the maple in the corner, claws her way up the trunk to the branches and taunts Farley, the ginger kitten. She races across to the poplar tree with Farley in hot pursuit. Nic trots down the stairs and peers around the corner of the shed to check on them. Grey shadow cat, Jonine, peers around the corner of the screen and carefully scuttles down the ramp. At the sudden roar of a lawn mower powering up, she scurries back to the safety of the humans and lurks under the wooden bench on the corner of the deck. As the mower moves closer, she frantically scratches at the screen and escapes inside the house.
I settle back on the bench, sip my morning coffee and scribble in my journal. I try to describe the chirps of birds and the sights of a summer forenoon. A zephyr gently caresses my cheek. Black Nic trots back from checking on the kittens, rubs on my legs and meows his morning report. His gentle purrt turns to a more nagging rowl. He runs down the stairs, returns and rowls again. I follow him, wander around the yard and he trots contentedly beside me.
by Joy Manné
Here am I, on this grey morning, here I am again, entering this day as I entered yesterday and the day before and unless I am spared by death will enter tomorrow and the day after, endlessly growing older with the anxiety that brings, the fear of coming apart in my body, backache, arthritic fingers, tight toes, inflexible mind, approaching the new day with this flabby belly falling in front of me, an old man among old men, a writer but what does that matter, a writer of what and who will read it today, and on my next today, and who read it on my last today, that is my most recent, and who will read it on my final today, that I do not know.
But I am here and I must write, it is expected of me by my tutor, by my colleagues, by my co-students, by myself, by my fame, by my fortune which needs to grow, needs to show that no matter what comes spewing from my pen, I am still the famous author I always was, grey hair and pot belly make no difference, mind is fine, but what is my mind, that grey goo they say feels like butter (melted or hard?) in my head that is responsible for my fame and fortune and my bank balance.
I. This I must come out with something, that is my fingers, arthritic as they are must grasp my pen, ...
by Brigitte Whiting
Mattie opened the front door. "I'll be back in a while, Henry," she said, then stepped onto the porch and clicked the door shut.
It opened behind her and Henry stuck out his head. "Wait, I can come with you."
She shook her head. "I need some time alone. Okay?"
He frowned. "Take your raincoat."
She turned her back to him and walked toward the seashore. If he'd asked her what was bothering her, she couldn't have answered him. It was nothing and it was everything, which made it all the harder to figure out how to solve it. The rocks glistened
Why was she so angry with him? Away from the shoreline, the ocean had smoothed itself into calm gray-blue, the late afternoon sun silvering the waves. No, she didn't want to leave him, she knew that much. But she wished he wasn't so solicitous. All it succeeded in doing was making her feel guiltier about her discontent. If they'd talk, if they'd argue like other couples, then they'd be on an equal footing, and maybe they could break through, that counseling jargon again, into some kind of...
by David Snyder
The eight-year-old 1958 Chevy was purring along through rural Kansas with ease. Don smiled with pride. When it hit 180,000 miles he planned to celebrate with a smoke and an ice-cold Mountain Dew from the cooler. It was a beautiful late April day with the sunny skies and temperatures in the seventies.
“How much longer, Don?”
“Dammit, Gladys,” said Don shaking his head, “it’s a seven-hour trip to Colorado Springs, and we’ve only been on the road for half an hour.”
“It’s not that far,” whined Gladys.
“It is that far,” he said doing his best imitation of Gladys’ bleat. “We just left Nekoma, we’re still on Route 96 and won’t even get to Route 70 for three more hours. We’ve got to go through damn near the entire state of Kansas. If you hadn’t insisted on going by Monument Rocks, we would have saved two hours. Asking me how much further every damn half hour will not get us to your mother’s house any faster.” he replied. He hated road trips with Gladys and the annual pilgrimage to her cranky mother’s.
“Stop your swearing, Don! Monument Rocks is on the way. You know the children, and I love it.”
“It’s not on the way, Hon. I have to turn on 23, then…… Forget it!” At least the kids are behaving, he reflected.
Don rolled the window down to relieve the stuffiness of the old car and to catch a refreshing breeze.
“Don, roll up the...
by Ed Kratz
This is from an assignment in the Innovative Fiction Course taught by Karen
I'm just not making it in my innovative fiction course.
What is innovative fiction you might ask? Well, if you have to ask, I'd say you're one of those rubes who still thinks old farts like Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky are relevant. So you probably don't care.
But if you're artistic, you would understand there is nothing more important and more relevant than innovative fiction.
I'm working on a number of major innovative fiction projects. But due to a lack of cooperation, or just being too far ahead of my time, they're just not working out.
Let’s start with collage.
I know, I'll have to explain this to you. You combine many disparate parts to make a really interesting whole.
Project number 1
Take the boring, dull works of Shakespeare. A few plays will suffice. Cut the pages into paragraphs, throw the paragraphs into a hat, and pull them out.
Paste them all together, photocopy them, and voila, you have a great innovative work far superior to the Bard’s lines known the world over.
Don't use whole paragraphs, using several pages, just cut whole words out. This process expands the originality, creating something completely nonsensical that has no relationships to Shakespeare.
I started this project, but my local library has objected to my modernizing ancient works and says they consider...
by Ed Kratz
The Don, whose real name you do not want to know, ever, has vast experience solving problems. Our organization, Don’t Try to Find Us Press, never advocates violence. We take no responsibility for violent acts committed by those misinterpreting the Don’s recommendations.
Now for our latest questions.
I am totally pissed. I followed your advice to the letter about dealing with the young pool guy and my wife, and now I have lost my wife, my house, and my freedom. The only way I can press for more information is by bribing some screw to get my message out.
Prisoner number 5278
You did not follow my advice correctly. I follow the news to stay informed. You were sloppy. Also, you misrepresented your actual age to me. No one under the age of 80 would refer to prison guards as screws. So, shut up and do your time.
Rumors are circulating that my wife’s niece is seeking the CEO position in my organization. I brought her in as my assistant to give her work and kept her under my wing and close. I did not fear succession issues because she is only a woman. Now it appears she has more ambition than is natural and wants to take over. I am not ready to retire.
Not a Has Been
Dear Has Been.
I suggest you step aside and let Alicia take the helm. The glass...
Todd shivered in the dark, seated cross-legged on the linoleum. Coats and dresses draped gently over his five-year-old shoulders. He flinched as a slit of bright light flashed through the space at the bottom of the door. Seconds later the deep, rolling rumble followed. “Mommy?”
“Mommy?” A flash, a rumble.
“Mommy?” Todd’s voice trembled. He slowly opened the door and crept to the bedroom window. He saw Mommy shoving their push mower through the grass. The sky lurked angry purple behind her. Suddenly, a blinding flash of lightning framed her in silhouette. Thunder boomed almost instantly.
Todd sprinted outside in his sock feet. He yanked the bottom of his mother’s blouse. “Mommy, please! Please come inside. Lightning can kill you.”
“I’m almost done, sweetie. I have to finish mowing the lawn or it will grow back unevenly. I’ll come inside soon.” Sweat dripped off her face.
“Please. Please come inside with me. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I won’t get hurt. Go inside now,” she insisted sternly.
Tears slid down Todd’s cheeks as he raced back into the house to the inky darkness of his refuge. Mommy’s clothes smelled of her perfumes. The familiar scents reassured him. Still, he shuddered with every flash and rumble.
Finally, Todd heard the front door open and close, followed by his mother’s footsteps. He heard the creak of the bed as she lay down.
When he approached the...
by Margaret Fieland
I fell down the rabbit hole straight into the town planning committee meeting. A large basin of Sangria sat in the middle of the scratched wood table in the center of the room, and a keg rested against the back wall. Al, Stan, and Art were already there.
Stan wore a suit, and sweat dripped down his face into his long gray hair as he peered over Art's shoulder.
"It's my Mother-in-law's recipe," Art was saying as I walked in. Light reflected off his head, bald and smooth as an egg. He wore Khaki shorts and a very old Boston Pops t-shirt. His glasses were new, though: a snappy pair with a silver frame.
"Hey, Pete, have some Sangria." Art handed me a large glass without waiting for my answer. The outside was still wet. I wiped my hand on my pants, leaving a purple stain on my new khaki shorts.
I took a sip. It was good. "What's in this?"
"My father-in-law makes the wine himself. He gifted us with a barrel or two. We had to buy the fruit." Art grinned. His father-in-law was over eighty, and Art claimed he still kept his savings in a suitcase under his bed.
"So what's the big crisis? I planned to spend the evening playing miniature golf with my grandkids." I pulled out a chair across the table from Art and dropped into it.
"We need to name some...
by Lolla Bryant
You’re at Grandma’s house again for dinner. As always, the family is gathered together and everybody’s trying to out-talk everybody else. You ask yourself why you continue to go through this ordeal every week, but you know why; it’s Grandma. Also, it’s a family tradition that brings you together with your loved ones—what’s not to love about that?
With the exception of your college years, you’ve been attending Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house from as far back as you can remember. Sure, the experience is a bit different now that you’re an adult—you get to do some of the talking. But, let’s face it; you know you barely get a word in once everyone begins.
When you were a child you could distance yourself a bit from all the chatter. After all, in those days children were to be seen and not heard. You’ve jokingly referred to that era as ‘the simpler times’. Looking over at your brother, you smile as you recall one particular time decades ago when you tried to silence their noise.
One Sunday in December 1980, the family had gathered after church at your Grandma’s house for dinner. The women were in the kitchen cooking and the men were out in the backyard sitting around a bonfire drinking (another part of the tradition that has changed due to your dad’s liver damage). Your mom told your dad not to be out there long because...
At age five, Amy told her mother that the thought of swimming scared her. Not surprisingly, her mother poo-pooed the idea, and said that fear showed weakness and stupidity. From then on, Amy said she hated swimming and never admitted any fear to her mother again. I don’t just hate swimming, I hate you! Amy’s mother never hugged her, gave her encouragement or praise, or told Amy she loved her. Sometimes she smacked her around. Someday I’ll grow up and get away from you!
Amy attended a few of her swimming lessons, but most of the time she thought of a seemingly reasonable excuse to stay home. If her mother still forced her to go, Amy told the instructor that she was just supposed to watch this week. The instructor never bothered to check her story.
At eighteen, a brunette, green-eyed beauty Amy met handsome, blond, blue-eyed, nineteen-year- old Ian. They immediately connected. Amy felt attracted to Ian from the first time she met him. She tried to make sure he would like her too. Yes, she loved football. She mentally stuck her finger in her throat. Yes, she loved the beach and swimming — lie. Yes, she loved Thai food — lie. Amy ‘loved’ pretty much everything that Ian did.
Ian’s family owned a little cabin at a quiet lake. Ian loved going there, so it became Amy’s favorite too. Not entirely a lie this time, as she enjoyed the cabin, sunbathing...
by Natalie Knight
I had been in Oz for a few months when I received an emergency call to come back to South Africa. Every émigré who leaves elderly parents dreads this call.
But this was worse than death. Our family lawyer called me to attend a meeting at the retirement Centre where the Chairman wanted to expel my parents for bad behavior.
“I am finished!” I said to my best friend Marilyn who fetched me from the airport and was driving me to the Centre. “I don’t know if it's a tragedy, a comedy, or a farce.”
Josh and I had checked out the place before we and the kids had left. I had the sole responsibility for the care of my parents since the death of my twin sister. I was filled with anxiety for their health and guilt for abandoning them. I just wanted them to be safe, happy and together.
Instead of being an Old Age Home, it was called A New Age Centre. There were well- designed apartments and fantastic communal facilities. In addition to the three B’s, Bridge, Bowls and Bible studies, they had beautiful grounds and swimming pools. It was like the Garden of Eden – with a Frail Care Wing.
During our visit, we saw a lecture in progress in the auditorium. We were soothed by the sea of heads in a hundred shades of grey and blue. ...