Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trifecta, Week 38: Home

I missed the Trifecta writing challenge this week, but I did the exercise anyway, because I'm trying to be better about these things. This week's word was Home:

a : a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment; also :the focus of one's domestic attention <home is where the heart is>b : habitat

After street ball and dinner she lay alone on the front grass staring up past the streetlights into the night sky. She did this a lot lately. The moon was very full, edging the clouds in a bright white glow.  By relaxing her eyes she could just make out stars behind the urban glare.

She idly registered her parents’ voices through the open front window, raised in argument about something again.  She listened for her own name – when she was the subject those were the most interesting arguments, especially when drinking was involved, and swear words – but this time she was not a factor.


She rubbed the toe of her right sneaker against an itch on her left ankle. Her cat came up and settled down against her; he’d been into something and was dirty. She rubbed his long fur, pulling bits of leaves and twigs while staring at the sky.


When the thoughts had first occurred to her, she thought they were part of another story like the others she liked to make up, the ones the teachers made a big deal about and said showed Talent. But unlike the stories, the thoughts seemed to come from outside rather than inside. It was hard to explain. All she knew was that the stories were in her head, but she didn’t think she had put them there.  


The light that appeared, brighter than the moon, was startling but not a surprise. She stood and picked up the cat. As the light found her, she pulled from her pocket the worn note she’d been keeping ready. She and the cat blinked up at the nearing brightness.

The only thing they found the next day was a piece of crumpled notepaper impaled into the grass with a stick.  Written on it in careful, looping grade-school script:  “Going home.”


karen said...

You know, I read this last week, and I thought I'd commented. But I was not in a commenting mood last week, so I guess I decided to wait to do this justice.

OMG. This is too perfect, too yummy, to ridic. I love it, I love how the ending sneaks up on me and bites me in the ass. Wow.

Um, now aren't you glad I waited? I loved it last week, but had no words. These ones are better. xox

JC said...

Gosh! Thanks! This is actually somewhat autobiographical. To cope with the volatility in my home life, I'd created my own mythology that went something like this: I was the daughter an only heir to the throne of a king and queen on another world. There had been a huge civil war, and bad people wanted me dead to keep me from taking power, because my family (who were good, decent people), were much loved. To protect me, my parents had sent me to Earth and substituted me for the real child of my parents, until the time came when the war was won, peace re-established, and they could come back for me. That was my way of explaining why I didn't feel like a real part of the family, and why I felt so solitary. I would lie on the grass and look up at the stars constantly, looking for my rescue ship. I had the cat, too: Friskie. Great, great cat. I'd planned to take him when the time came. (I was royalty; I could do what I wanted.)