Is There Someone I Can Call For You?

The firefighters raced in. Smoke engulfing anything that breathed. Looking around they saw no life. Checking the bathroom, they looked behind the worn shower curtain; nothing.

Climbing the stairs, stopping in mid-air, as they watched three stairs collapse in front of them, they took giant, baby steps, and landed on solid ground. Splitting in different directions, they sought each room.

There he was, the little boy, hiding under his bed. Flames dancing all around him as if inviting him to a special party, where he was to be the main event. The firefighter pushed fervently the bed, crashing it into the wall, causing the little one to cry.

He bent down quick and scooped the tot in both arms. Turning around he raced out of the door, yelling, ” I found him, I found him. All head outside now!” The piercing sounds of blazes licking at their heels, caused them to run faster. Hearing the splitting of wood from above, they raced through the front door.

Crowds screaming and clapping as the firefighter transferred the boy into the arms of the EMT’s. The mother and father came and were standing at the rear of the ambulance, throwing questions faster than playing darts.

“Is he okay? Is my baby alright? I should have insisted he bring his toys downstairs to play with. I gave in because I didn’t want to take apart his train track. I will never forgive myself for being so lazy.”

“It’s going to be alright. He seems to have suffered some smoke inhalation, but only minor burns. Don’t put yourself down mam. You were only doing what you thought was right.” The mother buried her head in her hands crying. All she could think of was what she had done wrong.

The EMS team worked on the tot, cleaning him up. Mom could hear one of them speaking over a speaker in his hand. “ETA, five minutes.” The police guided the parents to their patrol car and opening the back door, helped each of them in.

Silence guided them to the nearest hospital, Angel’s Mercy South Side. The EMS was ahead of them, but close enough the parents zoomed in on the flashing bubble, and they waited anxiously for the tot to be transferred inside the doors. The police pulled up next and not waiting for their doors to be opened, they raced inside the electronic, double doors.

They started running to catch up with their son, but the receptionist stopped them, stating they needed to fill out  paperwork and show their insurance forms. The mother turned to her and started laughing out loud. The husband tried to quiet her, but the wife refused.

“My child has been burnt. Do you think you could think of something besides money for a change? You’ll get your damn money, but my son comes first. Excuse us lady, we are going to see our son.”

The guards were motioned from behind the desk and pulling their pants up tighter and touching their side gun, they stiffly walked up to the parents. ” I can understand how you feel, but the staff is looking after the child at this moment. They will call you back as soon as  everything is under control. You must fill out the paper work as the receptionist has so kindly asked. We need this completed before we can proceed.”

He once again touched his gun and tipping his hat forward, he gestured the two to turn around and do as was requested. The mother was cussing under her breath. The father patting her shoulder, whispering, “It’s going to be alright. Let’s just do what they asked so we can go see Ryan.”

What seemed like hours, they tediously filled out each line and signed on the dated lines. Yes, they understood the HIPAA law. Yes, they had insurance and let the lady make copies of that and their driver’s licences. Yes, they had signed permission papers, giving the hospital rights to treat their son. They had placed their preferences of religion.

The receptionist, checking every detail, thanked them and told them to take a seat in the lobby and as soon as they were able to see their son, their names would be announced.”Why don’t you get a cup of coffee for the two of you,” she smiled saying. The husband  rocked his wife’s head on his shoulder and neither stood up.

It was an hour passing and a gentleman in a white coat, with a navy blue shirt and a bright red tie came out of the double doors. He walked to the receptionist and she pointed in their direction. The doctor neared them and asked them to verify their name.

“Please come with me.” He placed his arm around her shoulder guiding them through the double doors, into a green, cold hallway. He led them to the fourth door where he opened it for them to enter first. “Coffee?” Both shook their heads stating no.

The doctor sat behind his mahogany desk in his luxurious, leather chair. Clearing his throat and hesitating momentarily he began.” Do you have family near? Is their someone I can call to be here with you?”

“Why, why are you asking us these questions? Where is our son? What about  our son? Is he alright?” The doctor repeated himself with his prior questions. Both parents stood up. “What’s going on? We want answers now.”

“I am sorry I have to tell you this Mr. and Mrs. Miller. The staff did all they could. Their was just too much smoke for that little body. We couldn’t save him. Now is there someone I can call for you?”

“You bastard, you son-of-a bitch” You wouldn’t let us see our baby first. You demanded and the police almost held us captive wanting us to sign papers. We could have been holding our baby instead. He needed to know he wasn’t alone. I will sue this hospital, you hear me? I will sue you!”

The doctor stood up and walked around the desk. Placing his arm once again around her shoulder, he said in a softer voice.” I am sorry mam. I wish things could be different, but we have to follow the hospital’s regulations. We could be held liable if we didn’t. I understand how you feel. Now, is there someone I can call for you?”

(This story, I wrote, is fiction. Although I want it to give you something to think about. With all of the new laws and regulations, when does money  become more important than anything else?)




My Friends in the Woods

It is Thursday. The weather is dreary, filled with rain and clouds. The good find is the temperatures are above our normal weather here in January in Indiana.

I didn’t do a lot today, so stayed out of trouble. Instead, I dreamed. I dreamed I woke up in a lush, green forest. Many animals were sitting around me. Each was eager to share their days with me. There must have been about fifty different animals. Bunnies, hedge hogs, raccoons, snakes, birds of many colors, just to name a few.

I wasn’t looking like I normally do. I had long, blonde locks with full curls. When I looked down at myself, I didn’t have the gut I carry now. Instead I  had that perfect body. My skin was pale in color, but perfect.

Many beautiful and tall trees wrapped their branches around me. I had never felt more safe and secure as I did at this very moment, sitting in the thickest, softest and greenest grass I had ever seen in my life.

Attached to the barks were many blank canvases. All primed and below each one was a tray of pretty colors and so many brushes; why my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when I saw the array.

The sky was bluer than blue. There were clouds of rainbow colors. Each cloud held the exact color in the paint trays. I definitely was living out my dream of opening my mind and running with it on canvas.

My friends scampered and upon return each gifted me with a sketching pencil, eraser, paint brushes, and a ruffled apron. I stood up and tears rolled down my eyes. Mr. Bunny asked me why I was crying.

I told him, “No one ever seemed to care about my dreams. Now, here, I have many friends who care”. Mr. Bunny wiped a tear away from his cheek with his soft, fuzzy pad. The others came and rested their arms around me. They each showed me that all my thoughts I had been carrying with me were all wrong.

They led me to the biggest canvas and pointed for me to go up to it. I looked at each one and patted heads and shook hands. I nervously walked until I was eye to eye with the white board.

I turned around and all were smiling and nodding. ” Do it my friend. You have it in you. You have always had it in you; you just never recognized it”.

I thought for a moment and then brush in hand, I slowly dipped it into a pastel color. My mind raced. It tore open the steel wires that had been binding for decades. Wild creatures flew out of the mind and snow-white doves replaced.

My heart began to beat calmer. My breathing decreased. My eyes brightened. I felt warmness surround me and I let the hand of God rest gently over mine as I laid the first color on the white canvas.






The Old Lady in the House on the Hill

Old lady Maude had been brought up much different than most children in her area. Her parents were suspicious of everyone. Dogs and cats weren’t even allowed as pets. The fear was they may become rabid and bite through the full moon nights, and someone wouldn’t wake up.

The odd family lived down a long lane at the edge of town. At night; the curving road would send shivers down your spine, just staring down the long, empty vine. The owners felt like they mattered to no one because people just didn’t seem to understand their views on life. They went about their business and seemed to only exist in the world.

When Maude grew up; she became her parent’s likeness. She lived in the old house her parents had left her. She lived alone within the walls. The spiders and anything that crept through the house on the darkest of nights, became her friends.

She hated people in general; except the one neighbor on her right side. When she would walk to the mailbox, and if he was outside, he would wave and say good day. At first; she ignored him, but after repeated gestures, she did wave and eventually said her first hello.

Maude was in the attic one day and came across some trunks that had been her parents. She opened the hunched lids and found various clothing. She spent the better part of the afternoon trying them on.

She took the best ones and the next day when she went to the mailbox, she was wearing an A-line dress, with a brooch and matching shoes and hat, which had a big, floppy flower dangling off it.

The neighbor was out and instead of doing his usual good day, he stared and said nothing. She noticed, but said nothing, making her way to get the mail. When she was about half-way back to the house, he met her.

He stuck his hand out to shake hers. “I guess we have never been formally introduced. I am Jake and of course you know where I live. It is my pleasure to meet you, and your name is”?

She let a small smile sneak out and said, “Maude”. From that day on, the two kept company at the mailbox, chatting about nothing, and then without thinking she invited him to supper, and he agreed.


It came to be that on Wednesdays and Saturdays, they dined at each others homes. Each gave a guided tour of their homes, and it was a month later, the intimacy followed. Maude had never felt that way in her entire life.

This was love, she just knew it, and she fell hard for him. On the other hand, he had had many relationships in his life. He was what we would call a “gold digger”, and he wanted her gold. Stories had been told that her parents hid money all over their house. They never spent any money on anything other than necessities.  He wanted it, he tasted it, and he would do what ever he had to do, to get his grubby hands on it, even if it meant courting Old Lady Maude.

As the months passed, the invitations passed by, and Maude made her presence known by a knock at his door. It was a blustery day in March. It was Monday evening. He wasn’t expecting her and when she knocked; their was no answer.

After waiting became a problem, she turned the handle and it opened. She walked in and without calling his name, she walked the rooms until she happened upon the door to his bedroom.

There, she heard moans. Raised voices, pleading for more. Maude listened until she could stand no more. She quietly turned the brass door knob and opened it just enough that her eyes could take in the view.

There on the bed was a woman and her man. Her face became hot. Her heart started beating fast and hard. She quietly closed the door and exited the way she had entered. Once back in her home, the words of mistrust came rushing back to her.

Her parents had been right. You could trust no one in life, not even the people you thought would never hurt you. She had to pay him back. She had to get revenge. She thought and thought. She paced the floors.

She thought of the most painful ways to hurt him. Should she make him suffer? Should she make it quick and clean? She went to bed with no supper and continued thinking out her plans.

It was on the next planned date night, he was to have supper at her house. He arrived on time. She smiled at him as she let him in the front door. She led him to the familiar dining room where an already pulled out chair awaited him.


He sat and she began bringing him the planned menu. A bowl of soup, with a trace of arsenic in it. Next came a tender slice of roast beef, with a spice of rat poison sprinkled on top. A salad of greens with just the smallest trace of anti-freeze, mixed in with the salad dressing.

She sat with her plate and watched eagerly as he ate bite by bite. After his plate was cleaned, she saw his face turn pale white, then blood red. She smiled as he grabbed his stomach and then vomit a green, foaming mass onto the floor.

“What? What did you give me? Are you trying to poison me”?

Maude asked him one simple question. “Aren’t you trying to poison me? You with your skilled words and manners. Reeling me in like a fish on a hook. The moment my back is turned, you have your penis in another”.

He tried to stand. He wanted to choke her. How dare she accuse him of such things. Look at how he had wined and dined her. He even bedded the old woman, and this is how she returned his favors?

As he stood, he fell to the floor. White foam dripping from his nose and mouth. He lay there lifeless. Maude checked his breath; there was none. He was dead. She rose and cleared the dishes. She rinsed everything in the hottest of water and washed them in bleach.

After the evidence was erased, she rolled the body onto a rug and drug him out to her back yard. She pulled  him to the edge of the cliff and with a giant push, he went cascading over the edges; bouncing off of rocks on his way down.

The wild animals would eat him alive. She smiled and rubbed  her hands against her clothes as if to erase all fingerprints. She walked back to the house, and took a bath. She knelt at her bed and thanked her parents for showing her the way people were. She promised her parents no one would ever touch the money hidden in the walls. After her prayer, she crawled into bed, covered up and went to sleep without another thought.



You Were the Only One for Me

A hell cat is what her mama used to call her when she was growing up. Patty never thought anyone else was right.She had to find a way to prove that her way was better. Sometimes she did and the times she didn’t; she never apologized.

Young men were apprehensive when approaching Patty. Oh, she was pretty enough, but that spirit. It was like nearing a wild horse, needing to be tamed. There was this one young man, who loved a challenge, and to him; she was the biggest challenge ever. He won, she tamed a little, and today, after fifty-five years later, Bud stood over his wife, tears that shouldn’t be shown, were running down his cheeks.

Patty had the disease. Cancer is the name they gave it at the doctor’s office. It was a mean spirited demon that was much stronger than Patty ever was. She had been fine one day, then suddenly without notice, she took to the bed.

After a few days of feeling no better, Bud called the doc in. Now here the two were, in the one room where all the memories stood strong. The place their love showed so strong. A room where their family had been started. Now death lay near, and Bud found himself singing a song that had been played on their wedding day.

Patty looked up into his eyes. She took his hand and placed it over her heart. With a whisper she said,”You were always the one for me”. Her frail, pale hand and her eyes closed.


Hello, This is The Operator, May I Help You?


I saw this photo on my streaming Facebook page. It brought back good memories of my own working days. My father got me my first job. He knew the owners of a fantastic Chinese restaurant and he told them I needed a job. I was immediately hired. Remember those days when knowing someone could land you a job?

My  next job was a telephone operator. I had to take six weeks of classes before I could actually be let loose on the switch board. In the classes, from what I remember, I had plenty of paper work on learning how to connect with customers without actually seeing them in person.

I liked my job. Back then, I was young and was able to pull off the split shifts I worked so much. I was then transferred to third shift and didn’t like it as well; because it could be quite boring.

When I did get calls coming through, it was usually from hotels guests, visitors in town or drunks. I have to admit those were quite funny to listen to. One of the perks I gained from this job, was free local service from the phone company and as many lines and phones I wanted. To an eighteen year old girl, I thought this was the cat’s meow. I had a phone in each room, including the bathroom. Remember when we used to rent our phones through the company? Remember those party lines?




Comfort Zone

Why didn’t she go? Why did she stay and take the abuse? Okay, maybe it wasn’t physical abuse; but isn’t mental and emotional abuse just as bad? Me, myself, I think mental abuse is so much more worse. Pain fades and words remain forever.

Leah couldn’t go. She was forced into a mental trap all her own. She had the right timing presented to her. She could have packed her bags, stored her belongings, and went to a brand new location with a close friend, so why didn’t she?

Comfort Zone; this is why she stayed behind. So you ask, what is a comfort zone?

Comfort zone is described as;

This article is about the psychological meaning. For other uses, see comfort zone (disambiguation).

The comfort zone is a psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control and experiences low anxiety and stress. In the zone a steady level of performance is possible.[1]

Bardwick defines the term as “a behavioral state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.”[2] Brown describes it as “Where our uncertainty, scarcity and vulnerability are minimized — where we believe we’ll have access to enough love, food, talent, time, admiration. Where we feel we have some control.


Leah was terrified of giving up all she was used to. She knew how to react when she was torn down; naked with his words. She knew how long HE would stay angry. She knew that if things got real bad, there was a police station nearby and she also had her car.

Leah sat many days crying into her pillow, wishing she would have gone, and feeling too much of a coward to make that phone call. What if she did call? Maybe she and her friendship would be ruined by too close quarters.

Maybe she wouldn’t have the money to be able to take care of herself if she didn’t find a job. Sure, her friend had told her over and over; jobs are easy to snag with your experience. Yet, here she sat, alone, lonely, sometimes feeling like a used dish rag.

One day arrived when the sun wasn’t shining. HE had been out too late the evening before. HE had drank too much, stating this is the only way he knew how to unwind. Leah sat at the kitchen table drinking her third cup of coffee, when HE got up to use the bathroom.

The dog began to bark, letting his owner know he was ready to play. After coming out of the bathroom, HE suddenly kicked the dog. The dog yelped. Leah stood up and went to rescue him.

HE didn’t like all the noise. When HE saw Leah coming he let her get close enough and then he punched her, flinging her body up against the wall. Darkness over came her and she went limp to the floor. The dog hid under the bed, and HE went back to his room and slammed the door.

The mailman was knocking on the screen door. He had a signature  paper with him that one of the adults needed to sign. He knocked a couple of times and then heard Leah’s voice. He tried the door latch and it opened.

Upon seeing her, he called the EMS. HE was arrested and Leah was taken to the Emergency room. After being tested she was released, but no one was there to pick her up. She had no one to call.

She sat down on the curb outside the hospital and wept, wishing she had made different choices in her life. It was then that she saw two pennies, heads face up near her. She picked them up and held them tightly in her hands, and she began to pray.

It was less than a half an hour that the mailman stopped back by to check on her. He saw her crying. “What is wrong Miss? Can I do something to help? Are you okay”?

Leah took out a small notebook from her purse. She flipped the pages until she came to the right place. She handed him the page, pointing to the number. He took out his phone and called the number.

(This story, my friends is a fictional story. I wrote this because so many women feel like they can’t make a change because of fear of leaving their comfort zone. If you recognize yourself in this, you are not alone. If you feel all alone, you are not. Make a call, call a friend, a minister, family, or police. There is help.)

Oh, you ask what happened to Leah? The number that was dialed was her best friend. She is now living happily with her friend in a location miles from her old home, doing very well at her new job.





She saw it all. She heard the overbearing ringing. Two shots; piercing throughout the air. Bea lived in Chicago. She had grown up there. She had seen many changes since her memories began. What once was a quiet neighborhood, has now been replaced by sounds of gunfire, screams for help, and too many sirens.

Bea loved this tiny corner in the world she lived in. She refused to leave. She had dreamed of always becoming a dancer and she wasn’t leaving until her dream had turned into reality. She wasn’t afraid. Her parents had taught her to fear nothing.

Although her parents were poor, they were good teachers. God was to be placed first, followed by family, hard work and plenty of dreams. They didn’t have much to eat; but never left the table empty.

Bea had spent her childhood taking scraps of material from where ever they could be found. She would spend hours with her mother, cutting, stitching one thread at a time, and lots of smiles and giggles when she would walk down the pretend run way showing off her new costume. She always performed one dance for her parents; one that she had practiced over and over for a month.

When Bea’s parents passed on, they left her the little house filled with memories and a tiny nest egg. Bea worked at a costume shop and with the money her parents had left her, she was able to take the final step of her dream.

She took the city bus and went to the dance studio and signed up for her first set of professional classes. She was giddy inside from excitement. She had just made the cut-off mark and was going to be starting on Monday.

The weekend went too slow; but finally Monday arrived. Bea arrived with a glow that sparked the entire classroom. Her teacher noticed, and when class was over,  her teacher took her aside. “Bea, I am so thrilled to have you in my class. You have a gift, a talent that we must work on and perfect”.

Bea hopped on the bus and all the way home she beamed. People sitting near here were staring at her.She smiled bigger as she knew the answer to their questions. She wanted to stand and scream out, I did it! I made it! I am going to live my dream! Instead, she sat quietly waiting for her corner to turn arrive.



Old Jake

He was crazy in the head. That’s what most folks said about old Jake. He had grown up in a small town south of Chicago. He had worked in his father’s fields until his dad died. His dad discouraged him from dating. He said, he was needed more at home and besides, girls take and take, and ain’t nothing but trouble.

Myself, I believe old Jake was just plain lonely. He never even kissed a girl. After his parents were both gone, Jake didn’t want the farm anymore; so with help; he sold it. He took the little bit he got and moved himself into town.

He got an apartment and paid for the next three years ahead of time. He picked out a room that had a big window in the front yard, and that is where the old, crazy man sat most days. He would stare out the window at all the people walking by. He eyed the ladies and wished one of them was his.

He wondered what it would be like to touch their hand, or get close enough to smell their perfume, let alone sneak a quick kiss. Jake didn’t go out much. He had never learned much in social skills. He was shy and knew if he went out, he would only make an ass of himself, just as his dad said he would.

He didn’t have any bills to pay since they were included in  his room and board. His mother had taught him how to repair clothes, so when he got a hole; he just quickly repaired it. About the only time he went out was the once a week when he popped into the grocery store two doors down. He mainly bought peanut butter, some jelly, bread, cookies. He bought a quart of milk and a jug of juice. He kept these items in the little apartment size refrigerator he had in his room. The landlord did his laundry for him.

One time when he was in the grocery store, a person bumped into him, about knocking him straight down on his face. Old Jake didn’t know what to think when he composed himself and turned to see who had done it.

He looked straight into big, brown eyes, who stared back at him. She was giving him the biggest smile. Bigger than his own mother had ever shown to Jake. She said, “Scuse me sir. Me didn’t mean to run straight into you. You see, my shoestring came undone”. She pointed down at it and Jake followed her look.

He saw the shoelace was undone and without thinking he knelt down and tied it for her. When he stood back up she stood on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his cheek. Old Jake’s face turned warm, and he raised his fingers to where the kiss remained. He touched his cheek and looked at her and his face glowed with delight.

The two felt an instant attraction. He told her his name was Old Jake. She told him her name was Sally Sue. For weeks after that meeting, Jake made sure he went to the store on the same day that he had met Sally  Sue.

She would be there, doing her own grocery shopping. One day Old Jake asked  her if they could share the cart. She nodded and smiled big for him. The two did their grocery shopping and once they were checked out; he carried her bag outside for her. Jake asked, “Are you hungry Sally Sue”? She nodded and said, “I am starved, Old Jake.”



A Soldier’s Goal

Ann didn’t know what the fuss was all about. People were flocking the sidewalk outside her windows. Flashes from cameras could be seen going off. She hid behind her old-fashioned curtain; peeking out when she thought it was safe.

Ann worked for the local animal shelter. Six days a week, rain or snow, she walked the six blocks to work. Once there, she cleaned the filled cages, washed water and dog dishes, fed the animals, and did laundry.

She didn’t mind. She lived alone and this gave her something to do. She had never married, and had no children to care for. Her parents had both been killed several years back in a gruesome car accident.

She lived in a small house at the end of Circle Street. She had purchased it with funds that her parents had left her. Ann wanted to  get married; but had never found the right man for her, so since she had such an enormous love for animals, she began this career over ten years ago.

There wasn’t too much excitement at work. The normal things happened day to day. Parents and children would come glue their noses to the glass. They would point at the animals that they thought were the cutest. Parents would request a holding and petting session. Ann would let them pass through the locked, green door and they could spend fifteen minutes with the animals.

Some days were heavy with donations of pet food and toys. Some  people brought in old blankets and others volunteered an hour or so a few times per week. In the afternoons, when it seemed the most quiet, Ann would take a few leashes and attach them to different dogs and take them out for exercise.

It was this one, bright, sunny, Spring day that an other than routine action happened. Ann had the dogs out for their exercise. There were two males and two females, all about the same size. One of the females was expecting.

She never knew what triggered the commotion, but one of the males was sniffing the pregnant dog, and suddenly became aggressive. Teeth showing, standing erect, the female tried hiding behind Ann, but the male was dedicated to chasing her away.

The female, we will call Emma, became frightened. So much frightened that she jumped back, as if it was planned, and jerked with such a force she got loose from Ann’s hand. The leash snapped, knocking Ann to the ground, and took off. In no time, Emma was out of sight.

Ann stood up and wiping off grass and dirt, she raced back to the shelter and ran in telling the other employees that she was leaving. “Emma got loose guys. I have to go get her. She’s pregnant, and we need to rescue her before she gets hurt”.

People nodded in agreement; but no one followed her cue. Ann found another leash and racing back out the door, she started running in the direction that Emma had taken. It seemed she walked for miles.

She walked up and down the streets, looking down alleys. She looked at the dumpsters restaurants had out their back door. Nothing, she saw absolutely nothing. She kept walking, determined to find Emma before someone found her and perhaps would hurt her.

The sun was starting to go over. Work was done and the doors were locked for the day. Ann was getting hungry, but hated to give up. She knew that the longer time passed, the less she would find Emma.

She had no money with her, so she couldn’t stop at any place to eat. She hadn’t eaten much lunch because of so many visitors. Her stomach growling almost made her feel nauseous.

Ann decided she had no other choice. She would return home and begin her adventure at the break of dawn. She felt a heavy heart. She loved Emma. Emma was such a gentle dog, but she was older. Not many people came in for older dogs. This was surely Emma’s last litter of pups. Ann hoped that some nice, older couple would come adopt Emma. She would be a perfect TV companion and she was not a barker either.

Her head hanging low, she walked a couple of blocks, still glancing down the now dusky alleys. The streets were quiet. This is what helped Ann to hear the faint sound of whimpers. It was a dog’s whimper.

Ann found her energy and raced down the alley. There was an alley light shining in the crossroad of the alley. Right there in the middle of the path was a sewer, and the sewer lid was pulled off. That was most likely done by the city workers earlier that day and someone had forgotten to place it in its rightful spot before leaving.

She looked down at the hole. It must have been 50 feet or so down. Ann could see nothing. She called out. “Emma, Emma, is that you? Let me know Emma. It is me, Ann”. A whimper came once again, and then it sounded a little stronger and louder.

Ann had nothing to help her see better. She could go home and get her big flashlight, but that would be taking up valuable time. She looked the hole over and noticed the steel ladder.

She hesitated for only a moment, before beginning her climb down the ladder. The smell, oh it smelled like old water and humidity. She made her mind forget that and made her way to the last step.

She didn’t feel another step and took a chance on jumping down. It ended up only being a few inches from there. She landed on her feet. She stood in place, trying to let her eyes adjust to the darkness. Something ran over her feet. She shivered as she could imagine what might be down here with her.

She called Emma’s name again and the bark came. Not a whimper this time, more like a bark of joy. She followed the sound and bumped into Emma. She started patting her head and then rubbing her belly as she tried soothing Emma with soft words.

She felt something at the bottom of the dog’s stomach. One, two, three and four little fur balls. In the darkness Ann smiled. Emma had fallen down here and somehow managed to not get hurt from what she could tell. She has also made this her time to give birth to four babies.

In her blind sight, Ann did her best to make sure everything was alright. She knew by  Emma’s licking her hands, that the birthing was over. Ann took off her shirt and in her bra and pants, she wrapped the babies up.

She told Emma, “Hold on my friend, just hold on for a few minutes. Let me get these babies up to safety, and then I will come back down and help you up”. Emma seemed to understand her gentle voice and allowed Ann to rescue the fur balls.

Once safe on the bricks above, Ann climbed back down to where Emma waited. ” Now girl, you have to listen to me. I don’t have anything to help pull you up. It is  just you and me. Your babies are just a few feet above us. I need you to help me by being very still when I lift you up, then you will be with your babies”.

Emma didn’t bark nor try to lick. It was as if this dog could understand what Ann said. Emma lay very still and allowed Ann to pick her up. As hard as it was, Ann managed to wrap the dog’s body around her neck. Emma didn’t move. Slowly and cautiously, Ann climbed one stair at a time, holding on to Emma, until she had the two of them back out in the alley.

She laid Emma down gently beside her babies and petted her head. ” Thanks for being such a big help Emma. You are a good dog”. Emma licked her hand and then her face. Ann smiled.

It took time and Ann was starving, but she was a soldier with a goal. She got Emma and her babies back to the shelter. Unlocking the front door, she let them all in. She found an empty cage and placed some fresh water and food, along with a few soft, cuddly blankets.

Emma walked in and  took each pup in with her. Ann sat down in the corner of the cage, and just admired the new pups, talking all the while to Emma about how good she had been.

When she felt the time was right, she told Emma and the pups goodnight. She told her she would be back in the morning. With that being said, she shut the cage door, making sure it was secure. She went to the front and turned the lights out. Locking the door behind her, she walked home.

The next morning at work, everyone wanted to know all about Emma. Where did she find her? The puppies? Who helped you? Ann told her story about what had happened. There was a buzz in the building the entire day. Ann was tired, but she felt good inside.

After work, she walked home.  She took a shower and began her supper preparation. It was going to be an easy supper tonight and an early bedtime. She took her food into the living room and was starting to sit down to eat, when she heard the commotion.

Ann’s curiosity could hold no longer. She opened her front door, to see what was going on. A bouquet of flowers were thrust into her hands. Clapping engulfed her. Photos were being taken.

“Ann, we are all here because we  heard about your story. You are a true hero. You could have got hurt out there all by yourself, but you didn’t wait for help. You knew you had to save an animal’s life. What you did was just nothing short of a miracle”.

Ann didn’t know what to say. Her cheeks blushed, and she sort of rocked from one leg to the other. One of the city councilmen walked up to her. He handed her a plaque. On that plaque, trimmed in gold, were the words, CITY’S BRAVEST WOMAN EVER, 2015. Underneath the wording was a sketch of a key. The gentleman held out the big, gold key. “We all want you to have the key to this city”. With that cheers and whistles rang out through the neighborhood.

Ann smiled. Her heart warmed. She waved at everyone, knowing she had strength she didn’t realize. She knew that for her, marriage may not be in the picture, at least for now, but she had the best darn job in the whole town.


Short Story Written by,

Terry Shepherd




She Fell Asleep With Hope

You can’t make an old dog learn new tricks, right? Well, Miss Ella didn’t believe in this old saying. She believed she could accomplish whatever her old mind set out to do. Miss Ella was 85 years old. She had raised her family, buried her husband, held nine, new grand babies, and still wanted to accomplish new tasks in life.

She saw the ghetto written on the sides of trains. She paid attention to the graffiti on wooden fences. She shook her head at the trash laying on the edges of the roads. She wanted to fix it; but she knew she couldn’t do it alone; she needed help.

She wrote a few letters to the Editor of the local newspaper. She called the city mayor and only reached voice-mails. She called the President’s phone; but never got through. She stopped the preacher at the end of the Sunday service and requested a time slot for the next Sunday before he started preaching.

Saturday evening, she found her prettiest, flowered dress. She put a few stitches in a little hole that had been forming. She washed her hair and rolled it on her old, brush rollers. She scrubbed her face until it shone bright and was a blushing red.

When bedtime arrived, she took all the rollers out but the ones she had on top. She was just too darn old to sleep with curlers in her hair. She sat on the edge of her bed and prayed a prayer. “Dear God, I know you have answered plenty of prayers in my time for me, and some you haven’t answered. If you just answer this one last request, I will be ready to come home, I promise. Now the request is, give me the right words that will let people want to pay attention”.

She pulled her covers back and taking her slippers off one by one, lifted her tired legs into bed and covered up. She fell asleep with hope. The next morning, sun was shining bright as a Christmas morning star. The scent of flowers drifted through the bedroom window straight into her nostrils.

She sat up and thanked God for giving her one more day. Putting her slippers on, she went and started brewing the coffee. While waiting she splashed cold water over her face and brushed her dentures.

The coffee being ready, she took it and sat down at the kitchen table, where she opened her Bible to the next chapter. She asked God to give her understanding  of what she was about to read. Coffee was drunk, reading done; time to get ready for church.

She took great care at making sure her stockings were on straight. She slipped on her repaired dress and black shoes. She combed and teased her hair until every hair was in its place. She put some blush on her cheeks and stood back and looked at herself in the mirror. She was as ready as she could be. Grabbing her purse and cane, she walked out her door to meet the people at the church.

The songs were sung, the morning alerts were read. The preacher was standing and had everyone’s attention. He said that he was going to delay his sermon for a few minutes because Miss Ella had something important to say.

Everyone turned and looked at Miss Ella as she made her way slowly from the middle of the pews to the front. The preacher helped her up the two steps and she stood in front of the pulpit.

Clearing her throat and giving her biggest smile to her audience she began to speak. ” I have lived a long life, most longer than most of you young ones sitting here. I  have tried to do good and I try to be a service to others. I am getting old now and yet I feel like I can’t leave this good earth without doing one more good thing for our town. I have noticed for sometime the writings on the trains and the trash along the sides of the roads. I feel like if I could just get a few of you to come with me on next Saturday, we could split up and make a difference in our small town. I promised God last night that if I got this to  happen, I would be ready to come home”.

The room was silent. I knew without a doubt the saying “you could hear a pin drop” was true at this very moment. She noticed people looking at her, looking at each other. Some were whispering to each other.

She thanked the preacher for letting her have this time to speak and he held her hand so she could step down the two steps. As she made her way back to her seat, people stood up in each row she passed. There was clapping and cheering.

Miss Ella didn’t know what to think. No one had ever cheered for her. When she sat down, one of the members went up to the mic. ” We, as a group and family of this congregation, want to thank Miss Ella for the good deeds she has done in her life. We want to thank her for looking our for our community, and we want to personally say, we are with you Miss Ella. Why wait until next Saturday? Who ever can start tomorrow and continue or fill in til and including next Saturday, raise your hands”.

Everyone raised their hands. Miss Ella started crying. She knew that God  had answered her prayer. She knew that her time was nearing; she had made a promise. In exactly eight days, the streets looked better and Miss Ella met her maker.

Written by,

Terry Shepherd


old lady