A short story about a short life.
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Special moments should be remembered…treasured…acted upon.
Heartknocks is my newest short story, available as an e-Book via the links below. A sample is also posted below.
Copyright 2018 by Dan Nimak
All rights reserved.
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She died on her fourteenth birthday. At least, she thought she did.
Her steps were slow and careful. The ground was hard. “Must be a street,” she softly said, though the gray fog prevented her from seeing anything below the bottom of her nightgown.
Her foot tingled, and she knelt down to inspect. Dark green grass grew between the cobbled stones of the road. She jerked the blades that were wedged between her toes and tossed them aside.
As she stood, she noticed the flickering light in the distance that swayed ever so slightly in the cool breeze. “That’s pretty bright if I can see it through all this fog. Maybe it’s not far.” She began walking again and quickly added to her last thought. “I assume that’s where I’m supposed to go. Toward the light?” She took a deep breath. “Why not? Walk to the light, Kaili. Walk to the light.”
She thought of it. She felt inside her nightgown to see if it was still there. It was.
Something tickled. She immediately grabbed the back of her neck. She took hold of it, and it stretched across her shoulders and down her back.
“Hair? Dang, Kaili. You’ve got hair.”
Her pace increased, and she continued to talk herself – hoping it would give her some kind of comfort or calmness, anything to get her mind off the last thing she remembered before arriving here. “Wherever here is.”
The grass got thicker, and taller, and wilder. It slapped against her as her fast walk turned into a jog. Drops of perspiration fell from her face.
Stay calm, Kaili.
Maybe if I keep talking to myself.
“At least I’ve got hair again. I wonder –”
She shivered, her knees buckled, and she collapsed to the ground. She wrapped her arms around herself, too afraid to look. She knew that sound. The sound from behind. The sound of someone knocking on a door.
It can’t be. Not here. Not now.
She released the tight grip of herself and rolled over to her hands and knees. “I must have imagined it.” Kaili slowly turned her head.
The fog had lifted.
Behind her, there was no door.
No Mom and Dad.
And there was no knocking – including the special knock only Logan used, the knocking sound she thought she had heard moments ago, the last sound she knew she had heard just before she died.
She took another deep breath and slowly exhaled.
And then, their secret signal rang out again.
Kaili jumped up…and ran to the light.
The flame inside the glass danced as the lantern swung from the pole on which it hung. On tiptoes, Kaili reached for the lamp, but her fingertips fell just short of touching its bottom. “I guess I don’t need it that bad.” She grasped the lamppost and swung herself around – “Crap! What is that?”
On the other side of the post, three fist-sized buttons faintly glimmered in the night. Each button contained a word. Kaili read the words from top to bottom. “EARLY. LATER. NOW.”
She plopped down and leaned against the post, her head resting just below the bottom button. She knew what she was supposed to do, but she didn’t know which button to push.
“Why can’t there just be heaven and hell buttons?”
She closed her eyes and listened for a sound, a clue; but, she opened them quickly – afraid of what else she might hear.
Kaili pulled herself up. “I can’t sit here all night. I know I’m not choosing the ‘NOW’ button, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t care much for the ‘EARLY’ one either.”
She raised her arm and stared at her shaking hand.
Once again, she thought of it. One hand rubbed inside her nightgown.
Her other hand slammed the middle button.
*** End of Sample ***