The Iron Writer Challenge #163
2016 Spring Solstice Open, Preliminary Round
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Malissa Greenwood, Vance Rowe, Maureen Larter, Megan Cypress, Steven L. Bergeron
An old phone booth
A golf club (must be specific regarding which club))
Told from POV of someone who believes they do not belong in the family they were born in, due to an accident 25 years before they were born.
So Long Ago
I pulled the car over to the side of the road and rested my head on my hands as they gripped the steering wheel. My heart thumped in my chest and my emotions were still raw. The argument had been brief, but violent. When James had begun to brandish the nine iron, I had turned and run.
I had never felt that I belonged to the family – they were all so clever, and I struggled with just the normal everyday tasks. Now Mum had passed away and my brother wanted her photo that was behind me on the bookcase. I had turned and grabbed it, clasping it to my chest, sobbing with suppressed grief.
“Anyway,” he had shouted, “she was my Mum, not yours! Give me the photo!” His voice had risen another decibel – “GIVE IT TO ME!” Then he had lunged towards me as tears ran down my cheeks.
When he turned and grabbed the golf club from the bag in the corner of the hall I knew I had to get out of there. How could this argument have escalated so quickly? We were adults after all.
After a few minutes, I calmed a little. James’s comment continued to wrench at my heart, but somehow I knew it struck at the truth. What had happened in the past that had led me to be part, yet not part of the family?
My mind was in a whirl of questions, and now that Mum was gone how could I find out the truth?
I wiped my eyes and looked around. Not twenty feet away, an old phone booth sat next to the road, like a message from the afterworld. What if I asked my father? Would he be able to answer me? Would he remember?
I opened the car door and stumbled over to the booth. It was out of order. Now there was no choice, I had to go and see my father.
It was an hour later that I sat opposite him in ‘Golden Grove Nursing Facility’, his eyes staring at me.
I smiled weakly.
“Do you remember me, Dad?”
He looked blankly at me.
“Can you help me?” I asked, frowning with worry. “Am I your daughter?”
It seemed silly to make small talk – I needed to find out – might as well hit him with the only question that was important to me.
“Hello, Helen.” he said.
I shook my head. I wasn’t Helen.
“It was a long time ago. I thought you died in that accident.”
He began to weep. “But I found your grand-daughter – really I did. I raised her as my own daughter, even though she wasn’t. She is like you, you know – blonde, tall and – what a temper!” he stopped, bent his head, no longer coherent.
I watched the nurse take him back to his room. Stunned, I walked out to the car.
James had been right.
Out of This World
I don’t belong here. I’m a freak of nature, as the kids would say. Well that’s what they would say if they knew. But they don’t know; no one does, except for Uncle Jack and Auntie June. And my mother of course, before she died.
It all started a long time ago, way before I was born. Dad was stranded here after a war. His ship was lost and eventually crashed into Earth’s atmosphere, destroying the ship and leaving him here in New York City, USA. Uncle Jack found him next to an old phone booth, the kind you see in old films. He gave him shelter and well, a new life and also managed to keep his secret all these years. He only eventually told Auntie June because he married her and felt finally, that he could trust someone. Besides, Dad didn’t age for, like, a really long time so… it would have been suspicious. Dad eventually met Mom and shortly after they married I was here and, well… she was gone. It would have been nice to know her. All I have of hers is some clothes my dad kept and a photo album. My favorite photograph is one where she was pregnant with me. She’s looking down at her round stomach like it was a gift.
But that was ages ago. I’m in school now and I’m very aware of how different I am. Not too much physically, with my dark skin and short athletic stature; only my facial features are a bit… off.
But I do have several ‘advanced skills’. I can hold my breath for a really long time, which is fun; makes for excellent times in swimming matches. I’m quite a bit stronger than everyone else my age. In my golf class I nearly bent a 5-iron in half when I was upset about landing a ball in the water. I’m also a quick healer and I will live to be significantly older than the average human being, with very slow signs of aging. I mean that’s what we’re expecting, but since my mother was a human that makes me a hybrid so I suppose it’s a crap-shoot, really.
I don’t know what it’s like to live anywhere other than Earth, of course, but I just have this feeling that there has got to be more for me out there. I look up at the stars and I can feel it. I can see more than what these humans see. I know there’s more out there, I know we’re not alone (even though Dad says he’s sure his home planet was destroyed). He says “I’ve made a happy life here Siena, so will you.” But surely there are other planets! There has to be. I mean, what are the odds of there only being two!? No… I know there’s more for me and I am going to do whatever I can to get out of here.
“Siena! Dinner’s ready!” Auntie Jackie calls from downstairs and I sigh.
Well. I will find a way. But I suppose I should eat dinner, and … maybe finish high school first.
I was swinging a driver club from my golf bag in my parents’ bedroom when I accidentally hit their chest of drawers and a hidden compartment opened up. Inside of the compartment was an old newspaper clipping dated about twenty five years before I was born. The clipping was a story accompanied by a photograph of a car that had crashed into an old telephone booth. The clipping had stated that the adults in the car were killed but a five year old girl had survived.
The young girl who had survived was only five years old. I asked my father about it and he heaved a sigh and said, “I knew this day would come sometime.”
He explained that the photograph was of my grandparents. My real grandparents and my mother was the five year old girl. He also went on to explain that she had been raped when she was fifteen as she was bounced around from foster home to foster home, and I was the product of that rape. Since she was still a minor, I had to be given up for adoption and that is the reason I am here now.
“So, you and mom are not my real parents?”
“Well, we raised you and loved you as our own son. You were a blessing to us because your mom…my wife could not have children of her own.”
“So my real mom is still out there somewhere?”
“As far as we know she is, but we have no idea who or where she is. Or if she is still even alive.”
I didn’t know what to say. There are a million thoughts running through my head right now. I looked at the newspaper clipping again and noticed that the anniversary of the car crash is tomorrow. I demanded that my father take me to the scene tomorrow.
The next day we took a drive to the site where the accident happened. There was nothing there now but trees and bushes but I did notice a woman standing there. She looked to be in her sixties now. My father saw her too and looked like he had seen a ghost. He stopped the car and I stepped out. The elderly woman looked at me as I looked at her and then I muttered, “Mom?”
I took the newspaper clipping from my pocket and showed it to her. She wept and ran off crying into the bushes. I yelled for her but never heard anything nor did I find her. I will come back here next year though.
The Flight of the Urabans
Steven L. Bergeron
“Commander to Urabius, can anyone hear us? Miss Emily we are going down.”It was the constant dream that kept me up most nights.
Miles between mars and earth positioned our star, shaped like a putter’s wedge. As legends say it was habituated by our people the Urabans. We came from a placed called Urabus. In the cold years before world war one our planet was under attack . A young Scientist Cyrus O’Reagan tried to save our planet from destruction. It was in my before life my family history had.
Looking out the window of Nuts Acyllum were not a living soul would believe us. We remain imprisoned against our will. We are the people who’s family history seemed a little far fetched.
We walked all in a row along the tar mat to our phone booth ship on our quest to save our planet.
“Well commander Emily how shall we do this.” Upon entering my ship I turned to my fellow pilots.
“My fellow Urbans our planet is under attack . As you all follow my lead we shall prevail.”
How was I to now that those final words were to be my final orders as we all gave our life to save what we all believed in.
The battlefield was tremendous bigger than anyone could have imagined. We had our ups and down the firepower illuminated the sky. Then it came to a one final confrontation myself against the ultimate pilot of our allies soon out of no were an unknown pilot made the difference . Our allies finally want their way but not before destroying our putters wedge star.
The unknown pilot lead what remained of our species to a empty field in a planet known as earth. I myself never made it my ship was blown to smithereens. This was twenty-five years before my existence.
I finally woke up from my deep sleep only to find my dear grandson Andrew sitting next to me. Of all the people in the world here was one person I would not lie to. So my family story was nothing but true to him.
“Grandma you are finally awake. Are you ready to get out of here?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m now in charge of your well being. You do not belong among these people. With my help if you will allow me we shall show everyone your story isn’t as far fetched as everyone thinks.”
With that we are out of here. Andrew was my saviour. All the years being locked up , the new world looks all new to me. In the end everyone knew my true identity.I was the last true Uraban. We now stand here were our ships had landed. In memory of all people from out of this world this land is dedicated to the first person who believed their existence. The O’Reagans research facility is now open . My dear uncle Cyrus would be proud.
Bobby played video games in the living room, while his mother, Valerie, prepared fresh lemonade in the kitchen.
The telephone that hung on the wall in the kitchen rang. Valerie answered. “Hello?”
Bobby paused his game so he could listen. The man on the other line spoke loudly enough that Bobby could hear him. “Hey, Val. It’s Tony.”
“Tony? You coming into town for the reunion?”
“I’m in town. I’m calling from the old payphone on Route 9.”
“Well, get over here.” Valerie hung up.
Bobby asked, “Who’s Tony?”
“Just an old friend of mine and your father’s.”
“He’s not my father. He won’t play video games with me.”
“Now what did I tell you about saying those awful things about your father?”
“That’s right. Now shut off that game. Tony will be here soon.”
Bobby ignored her and kept playing anyway.
Someone knocked on the front door.
“Come in!” Valerie shouted.
Tony stepped inside. “Oh, hi. What’s your name?”
Bobby noticed that Tony had the same bushy brown hair as he. “Bobby.”
“You got the new Super Mario Brothers? Ahh, man! Let me play.”
“Bobby, I told you to turn off that game!” Valerie shouted. “Now come in here and get some lemonade.”
Bobby turned off the game and walked into the kitchen with Tony.
“So, Bobby, how old are you?” Tony asked.
Tony counted on his fingers. “Ten? Why, Valerie, you must’ve had him shortly after the last time I visited.”
“Did I?” Valerie set the pitcher of lemonade and four empty glasses on the kitchen table and hollered up the stairs, “Robert, Tony’s here!”
“Tony?” Robert shouted back. “Be right down.”
Robert ran down the stairs, holding a photograph. “Guys, look what I found.”
Valerie snatched the photograph from Robert. “Is that the old Putt-Putt course on Route 9?”
“Oh, my gosh. How old is this photo?”
“35 years. Same year we graduated from high school. Thought it’d be nice to bring to the reunion.”
Tony scratched his head. “Has it been that long since they shut that place down?”
“Uh-huh,” Robert replied, “but I remember it like it was yesterday ’cause I always won.”
“Yeah. Remember the windmill on that last hole? Your ball bounced off the wheel of it every time you putted. You never did have the right timing.”
“Oh, yeah. I remember now. Remember that time I accidentally hit you in the crotch with my putter? It was so funny. Your face turned bright red and you grabbed hold of your crotch and said, ‘thanks for taking away my ability to have kids.’”
Bobby, not detecting the sarcastic tone of Tony’s voice, shouted, “I knew it! You’re my father, aren’t you, Tony?”
Tony looked inquisitively at Bobby, while Robert’s jaw dropped to the floor.
Robert shook his head. “Tony, Valerie, how could you?”
Valerie started crying.
Bobby wished he could take back his words but knew it was too late. All he could do now was try to make the best out of a bad situation. “So, Mom, Dads, how about that lemonade?”
Valerie hugged Bobby. “Of course, Bobby. I love you.”