A Peaceful View

The man shoved the woman to the ground.  “Shut up you dang bitch!  You are worthless,” he screamed a her. “A worthless whore” he mumbled as he walked away.  Slowly she stood up. She felt the blood streaming from her nose and the puffiness of her eye.  She looked towards the doorway. There stood her seven year old son staring at her blankly. 

“Scotty.” a voice said, waking the young man out of his gaze.  “Why are you here? The burial ain’t for another couple of hours?” 

“I don’t right know ma’amm.  I reckon’ I just wanted to make sure they were putting paw in the ground,” he said.  “It had to be.  He can’t come back ma’am.  Our lives diverge from this moment in time.  He got what was coming to him.  Me and maw got peace.  I ain’t happy.  I ain’t sad.  I am just content.  It’s over.”

This fiction was written for VisDare 21: Diverge

Tough to write only 150 words about what came to mind from this picture.




Bigfoot’s Grave

Andre and Freddie.  Future fifth grade neighbors in a small southern town.  Their houses sit side-by-side on a dead-end street ending at the west side the Bayou Teche. The boys are frequently found gallivanting around their neighborhood and in the nearby woods along the bayou. To them the neighborhood is their playground.  They spend their summer swimming, riding bikes, building forts and fishing.  It’s not unusual to find them chasing fireflies in the early evening or catching crawfish in the ditch bordering the nearby elementary school.  Or mowing the neighbor’s grass to earn spending money. The adults in the neighborhood call them inseparable. They were best friends.

Today, after a ride to the Phil-a-Sac for an Icee and bubble gum, the boys peddled their sting-rays to the end of their street. They layed their bikes off the side of the gravel road and walked to the banks of the bayou.  They sat down on the edge of the wooden dock with their feet dangling in the murky water.

“Hey Andre, take your gum and put in the bottom of your icee like this,” Freddie instructed, pushing his gum down to the bottom of the cup with his straw.

“But it makes the gum hard Freddie.”

“So what. That’s why it’s so cool!”

“That’s dumb man,” Andre replies before sipping on his straw.

The sound of slurping was interrupted by a passing boat pulling a skier.  A quick wave from the boys turned to giggles as the boat left behind a wake that splashed against the dock.  The spraying water cooled them from the muggy afternoon, if only momentarily.  The passing boat causes a blue heron to take flight in front of them, adding color to the green woods across the bayou.

“Hey man Freddie, check this out” Andre says as he stands and pulls three large keys from his back pocket.

“What are those?” Freddie asked.

“Keys to my kingdom,” Andre responded.

“For real? Those are cool looking.  Like something from Scooby Doo!  So, what is this kingdom of yours Andre?  I don’t get it.”

“Well, it’s like this.  You know how in old times, when there were castles and stuff Freddie.”

“Sure I do.”

“I want my own kingdom.  So in my mind I made up this castle for me to escape to with the biggest door and lock there is.  And this key here is the only thing that can unlock it.  I have a moat around it with sharks!

“Sharks Andre, for real?” Freddie interrupted. “There can’t be sharks in a moat.”

“In my kingdom they can.”

Freddie stares at Andre with a puzzled look.  “So where is your kingdom?”

“Bigfoot’s Grave!  Follow me!”

Andre begins running along the bayou with Freddie close behind.  They quickly reach the edge of the woods, both hunched over and out of breath.

“What about our bikes man?” Freddie ask.

“Oh, they’ll be fine. Aint no one ever stole them before. Now follow me Freddie.”  

The boys follow the trail into the dense woods.  They evade countless briar patches and spider webs till the reach a big wooden door leaning against a huge fallen oak.

“Here we are Freddie.”  

“How did this door get here man?”

“I found it up against the bank of the bayou down there about a week ago. It looked cool so I pulled it on land and put it here to dry.  It looks old.  It had these keys in the keyhole.  So I made this my castle.  Isn’t it neat?”

Freddie is looking at the door perplexed.  “You dragged me all the way here to show me a door?”

“Noooo.  Follow me.”

The boys step to the side of the door and squat down next to one another.  

“We have to crawl underneath the oak dude.”

“After you Andre.  I aint going first.”

“Chicken!” Andre says laughing.  

The boys disappear behind the door and under the oak tree. The space makes a perfect little hidden room for the boys to sit.  

“Why did you take me here Andre?”

“I have a secret to tell man.  Promise me you won’t tell a soul.”

“I won’t man, I promise.”

“Pinky promise?”

“Yes pinky promise.  And I swear on my grandma’s grave too'” Freddie replies.

The two extend their pinkies to each other and move their hands in a handshake type motion.

“I saw my step-father beating my mom the last week.”

Freddie’s face turned red.  He can’t muster the right words to respond.  He stares blankly as Andre continues.  “I heard arguing from their room, then mama came running down the hall.  I peaked out my door just as she turned to him and he hit her man.  She fell against the wall the onto the floor. He jumped on top of her and continued to hit and yell at her.”

Freddie finally manages to stutter a somewhat coherent sentence, “did she, you, was she, did you tell the cops?

“Naw man, I’m too scared.  I just closed my door and cried is all.”

“Andre, I just.  I can’t say a word cause I can’t understand why he would do that.”

“After they went back to their room, I came to Bigfoot’s Grave to be alone.  That’s when I found the door with these keys and built this castle.  I don’t want to be in that house anymore man.”

The boys spend hours in the castle talking about anything and everything.  The dark subject was not revisited. Instead it was back to talking about kid stuff.  Bikes, fishing, football and even kissing!  

The boys enjoyed the rest of that summer together.  They visited the castle often spending hours talking and dreaming.  Later in the summer, Freddie began noticing bruises on Andre from time to time.  He never asked questions, just came to the only conclusion a young boy could.  Two weeks before school began Freddie’s mom brought him into the living room and sat him down. “Freddie I need to tell you something.  It is not going to be something good.”  

“What is it mama?  Did someone die?”

“No son, but Andre and his mama left their house.  They moved to Houston this morning and asked me to tell you. They won’t be coming back.  I’m sorry son.”  She reached over and hugged her son tightly.  She could feel the tears on her shoulders yet heard no crying. “I don’t know why on earth she would leave so suddenly.”  

“He is my best friend mama.  What do I do?”  

“Andre asked me to give you these.”  She pulled the keys to Andre’s castle and handed them to her son.  “He said you would know what they are for.”

Freddie grabbed the keys and ran out the front door without a word.  He sprinted down the street and along the bayou. Into Bigfoot’s grave he ran until he reached the castle.  He sat alone and cried all afternoon.  His heart hurt more than anything he had felt before.  

The castle door eventually disappeared from its location in Bigfoot’s grave.  In time, Freddie’s pain did as well.  With time he healed as all people do when losing a friend. Freddie thought of those days with his best friend often. He missed him. His childhood. The castle.  He never saw nor heard from Andrea again.  He’s now just a memory.  He understands that he not only lost his childhood friend that summer, but his innocence too.  Freddie became ancillary victim of the horror that is domestic violence.  He also kept his promise to Andre by keeping the secret between them. He never told a soul.    

<a href="http://ermiliablog.wordpress.com/category/picture-it-write/" target="_blank"><img src="https://i0.wp.com/i115.photobucket.com/albums/n320/LadySerendipity/pictureitandwrite2copy-1.png" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

This fiction was written for Picture it & Write.

Beyond the Picket Fence

Copyright-Janet Webb

This is where I grew up.  The house, once holding victims of alcoholism, now the victim of age and the elements.  Once an entanglement of chaos, violence and alcohol is now overrun with tangled vines and other plant life.  The exterior splintered as if it can no longer hold the secrets that once were within its walls.  Heartache and fear have burst through the siding like the screams years before.  The home a tattered reminder that those closest to your heart never understood your suffering.  The white picket fence, a symbol of an all American home to many, a symbol of imprisonment to me.  A symbol of a family lost.

This is fiction written for FRIDAY FICTIONEERS


Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)


Make every word count.

Join the fun!

An Open Letter to Alcohol

The following is only my opinions based on my observations and experience growing up in a house with an alcoholic.  I have read many studies over time, but really only touch on them briefly.  They are much more complex than I will ever understand.  This may be considered by some rambling or written without any expertise in the study of the consumption of alcohol and its effects.  Perhaps that true.  It was just on my mind and I wanted it to come out. I really only touch one grain of sand in the beach that is alcohol.

couresy of rumroadravings.com

Dear Alcohol

You have been around for as long man has walked our beautiful planet.  Ancient civilizations worshiped you.  You were refined during the man’s medieval period.  The Anglican Church leaders of the early modern period of history stated you were a “gift” from God.  You arrived in America during the early days of our discovery.  You could be found in nearly every one of our original colonies.  The taxes placed on you early in our history helped pay our Revolutionary War debts.  Later in our history, your taxes help fund the War of 1812. You were a “medicine” during the great American Civil War. You were banned with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment yet you would not only survive but prosper.  Even the mere mention of another prohibition would certainly bring out the lively debates we are experiencing now with the talk of gun control.

You Mr. Alcohol, in all your variations of taste and potency are here to stay in America.  As long as the money flows, so will you!  And boy are you flowing!  According to this 2011 New York Times article you are even helping our government during our tough economic times!   How patriotic of you!  Congratulations!  Many people can toast you and help the economy simultaneously!  A true American Hero.

Cha Ching!  That’s the sound all brewery’s across our great nation hear over the sound of smashing metal or the yelling of an intoxicated abuser at his kid hunkered in a dark corner of his own room. Just like most things in America, money rules!

I don’t claim to be an expert in the field of alcohol, alcoholism or domestic violence.  Mr. Alcohol, I have read many studies that claim that consumption of you does not increase the chances of domestic violence.  There are countless studies I read like THIS ONE which almost exonerate you from any correlation with domestic abuse.   This is where things are indeed tricky.  My years in a house which you were prevalent makes me deduce that You were a major contributing factor to domestic abuse.  Now maybe we have to closely define domestic abuse.  There is so much varying information available that researching gave me a headache!  I came across THIS, but really didn’t clear the murky waters so to speak.  Maybe it is like an amber ale compared to vodka.  Who knows.  It is complicated, that I understand.

Everything is difficult to explain I suppose when it come to you Mr. Alcohol.  What is clear to me is I was in a chaotic house where You were the center piece of mental and physical abuse.  This chaos caused me to have an unhealthy mental state of mind throughout my lifetime.  Studies have shown many character flaws that are common in kids that grew up in an environment where You were prevalent.  I am proof.  I live it daily.  I suffer.  My kids suffer.  The sad part in all this Mr. Alcohol, is I don’t drink you nor have I had it in my home for over 25 years.  I guess I am not supporting our country in these tough economic times.  How unpatriotic of me.

Society is, generally speaking, concerned with driving under your influence Mr. Alcohol and that is a good thing I suppose.  If we can save a life or a family from suffering that is terrific.  I fully support it.  MADD is a great organization with lots of political power and their WEBSITE is loaded with statistics proving their contribution to protecting our citizens.

courtesy of CNN.com

However, does society even care what happens after they enter the home?  Society doesn’t want to invade ones privacy so it acts like it’s no real problem.  So let the alcoholic drink as long as he doesn’t endanger society by getting behind the wheel.  How about the alcoholic endangering the members of the household either physically or mentally? Does anyone care?

I believe my father, at his core, was a good man.  A good man with a drinking problem perhaps?  However that doesn’t make him a good man to me.  I am sure that others have the same experience or opinion.  I feel something has to be done to protect children in the country that are being raised in alcoholic environments.  I don’t have the knowledge nor the intelligence to come up with a solution.  I am sure someone does.  There are too many people suffering for long periods of time because of You, Mr. Alcohol.  Alcoholism causes kids miss their childhood.  Causes kids grow up to fast.  An environment of alcoholic parent(s) and kids is not conducive to a loving environment.  Kids miss learning about their parents.   They are given a horrible example of grown up behavior in this environment.  From my experience I find it is unhealthy and leads to a lifetime of suffering in some shape or form.  Our country needs to wake up and understand what is happening with alcoholics and their families.  We need a MADD to help fight for kids growing up in alcohol related chaos and abuse.  Those kids have a right to a good upbringing.  As Americans, we owe that to them.

I am sure there are plenty of Americans that drink responsibility.  I am sure that domestic violence happens in households that involve people who don’t drink.  I accept that.  I was in a home with YOU as the centerpiece for eighteen years.  I now understand I wasn’t an only child.  I had many brothers.  Jack Daniels,  Miller light, Gin and Vodka.  All were with me on practically a daily basis.  If I did the math,  I am sure more money was spent on those siblings than on the only human son in my home.  I am a statistic.  I just don’t know which one.  I feel it really is all about MONEY.  Those in power and or the companies who are making billions annually don’t want to the public to understand what is going on in alcoholic families. As long as alcoholics or drinkers don’t drive, then it is generally thought that society is doing its job. But they are not.  This satisfies the monster that is alcohol companies cause they “promote responsible” drinking and still make the profits.  Cause people are still drinking.  Alcoholics are still alcoholics.  And they purchase You Mr. Alcohol.

Thanks for listening Mr. Alcohol.  This is written from my experience in my childhood.  My father died a week before I graduated high school.  I now understand that I am an Adult Child of An Alcoholic Parent.  I live with that daily.  I did some research before I wrote this, but this is mainly my observation and experience.  I’d love to be able to get one parent to recognize the problems caused by abusing you Mr. Alcohol.  Or get a kid to understand at a young age that they are not alone in their experience with Mr. Alcohol within their household.  That help exist.

Thanks for your time.

A toast to you!  Good Day.

Mind of Shoo

My Brother, My Protector.

I grew up on a farm along the bayou, a piece of land that was a little more than two acres yet the size of a country in my young mind. It was complete with barns, chickens, cows, and most importantly a bomb shelter.  A bomb shelter secretly built in the fall of 1956 by my only brother, Norman.

A few days into the beginning of his second grade, Norman returned home from school and quietly said to me “Amy, we talked about protecting ourselves from being bombed at school today.  So I am going to build us a bomb shelter.

“What is a bomb shelter Norman?”

“It is a place that protects us from the bad guys,” he responded. “I am always going to take care of you.  Ok.  But promise me never ever let daddy to know.”

“Why not Norman?”

“Cause he doesn’t like me messing up the barns.  I will build it in the far barn so he never finds it.  Ok?  Please don’t tell him.”

With a puzzled look I replied “”I won’t Norman, I promise.”

Now this was 1956 mind you.  I wasn’t in school yet while Norman was in second grade.  In my mind Norman knew everything and his talk of us being bombed frightened me.  At that time I trusted that he knew what he was doing and that indeed he would protect me.

Norman would come home from school each afternoon, eat a quick meal the would disappear into the barn.  This was his routine for a couple of weeks.    Our dear mother one day finally asked Norman “What on earth are you doing in that old barn?”

“Mama, you know how the Russians have lots of bombs,” he replied.  “I am building a place for me and Amy to hide, to protect her from being harmed.”

Mother just smiled and replied simply “That’s sweet of you Norman.”

“I will always protect her mama, don’t you worry. “

“I know you will son,” said mama with a tear flowing down her cheek.  “You are a good big brother.”

Now I was curious little girl.  I wanted to see just what he was building.  So after school one day while Norman was eating mama’s leftover corned beef hash I asked “Can I see the bomb shelter yet Norman?”

“Not yet Amy.  It’s not done.  You need to wait till its finished.”

The two of us, under the watchful eye of our mother, did everything together.  We completed our chores together.  We played hide and seek.  Norman taught me how to play jacks and Candyland.  We even made our own farm complete with toy tractors and trucks.  Our life on the farm was beautiful in my eyes.  I had the best brother anyone could ask for.

Later that fall, as mama routinely tucked me into my bed then said our prayers, I realized Norman hadn’t been working on his bomb shelter any longer.  Was it finished?  I tried to imagine what it looked like.  Was it big enough for mama too?  How many rooms does it have?  I wanted to see it.  In the dark that evening, I tried to remember as far back as I could.  Being that young you really don’t have any perspective of time.  It seemed I didn’t remember much pass the day Norman told me about his secret project.  At that moment, that is all I could remember.  How long ago was that?  I was only four at the time.  It didn’t matter I thought.  Cause we had a great life.

Suddenly, I heard the sound of my daddy’s truck door  close shut.  A few moments later I heard the door to the side of our old farm-house slam so hard the windows in my room shook.  Frighten I sat up in bed.  I then heard yelling from outside the other side of our house.

“Shut up woman!”  I heard my father yell.   “Get off your butt and get me some food.  What in the hell you think this is.  I work and you sit on your butt all day doing nothing.”

It was my father, what was he doing?

“Oh shut up,” mother yelled back.  “You will wake up the kids!”

I had never heard this before.  What was going on I thought?  Through the yelling I could hear the heavy footsteps of my father going back and forth across the old wooden floor of our house.  I was frightened.  I layed back down and pulled the cover over my head then plugged my ears.  Suddenly I felt someone on my bed.  I sat up frightened only to see Norman in front of me.

“Amy, let’s go!” he said in a hurried voice.  “don’t say a word.  Just follow me.”

This frightened me even more.

“Where are we going Norman?” I whispered.

“To the bomb shelter! Be quiet! Hurry! Put on your slippers and let’s go!”

“That’s why my parents were yelling,” I thought.  The bad guys are coming!

So I put on my slippers and we quietly went into Norman’s room.  He had his window open and a ladder propped against the house so we would reach the ground safely.  With a flashlight in one hand and my hand in another we slipped through the barbed wire fence,  then across the pasture toward the barn which housed his bomb shelter.

“Why tonight?”  I thought as we ran.  “How did he know  the bad guys were coming?”

 I had no idea why but somehow along with the fear I felt safe.  I knew he would protect me.  As we ran across that pasture, I glimpsed back to the house and could hear yelling from the distance.  What about mama and daddy?  I looked up into the sky, scared as to what I might see. 

We arrived at the barn and Norman opened the giant doors, quickly closing them behind me.  I hadn’t been in this barn.  It was the one farthest from the house.  Once Norman had told me there were ghosts in this barn, which kept me away from the little interest I had in ever visiting this structure.  Once inside, we reached a ladder that went up the wall.  With his flashlight in hand, he told me to climb to the top then sit and wait.  He soon followed me and shined his flashlight on this huge pile of hay bales.

“We’re here Amy.  This is our shelter.”

We weaved our way to the side of this monstrous structure of straw to a little black hole on the back side.

“Okay Amy, crawl into that hole'” he instructed.

The entrance was very small.  Large enough for kids our size to fit but certainly not built for an adult.  Norman was right behind me, his light bouncing up and down as we crawled through what felt like miles of tunnel.  My body itched and my knees were hurting. Finally, I reached an opening.  It was large enough for me to stand.  It was quite impressive to this four-year old.  There were little two wooden chairs.  Hanging from the string of the hay bale ceiling was a flashlight.  Norman had equipped the shelter with water and food;  crackers.  fig preserves.  two chocolate bars.  An orange and grape Check soda.  All neatly sitting on an old door placed on another bale of hay.  Norman had another flashlight placed in the whole in the door that once housed the doornob.  This was it.  I was finally in the bomb shelter.  I felt safe as I sat quietly, waiting to hear the planes of the bad guys who Norman was protecting me from.

“What will mama and daddy do Norman?” I asked.

“They will take care of themselves Amy.  I will take care of you.”

I felt safe.  I don’t know how long we stayed in the shelter that particular evening.  It was quiet.  We hardly talked.

It was one of many nights we ran to Norman’s shelter.  They all coincided with our parents yelling.  Over time, I realized what the shelter really was.  I understood why Norman built it.  I understood who the bad guys were.  It was never an enemy of our country.  He was right here in our own house.  Norman knew it.  My mother knew it.  Eventually I did as well.

My father died in a car accident before I turned eleven.  As I got older, I realized it was alcohol related.  After the accident, we never entered the shelter again.  Norman and I never talked about it.  I never asked him what became of it.  Our shelter was now our own house, our rooms, our beds.  As it should be.

Norman did protect me from the bad guys as he had promised me years ago.  So today, on my wedding day,  my big brother will walk me down the aisle. 

My brother, my protector.

This story is fiction.  Thoughts, suggestions and critique is welcomed.

Till we meet again.  Good Day. 

Mind of Shoo