Good morning, everyone! It’s time for Free Fiction Thursday, which means it’s also one more day closer to Friday. Yippee!
This week’s story is “First Steps,” a blend of contemporary fantasy and women’s fiction. Fifty years ago Callie fell in love with her best friend. High-school sweethearts who spent their lives together, Callie still loves her husband, but most days Jed doesn’t even know who she is. Frustrated with her life and worried about her future, things look bleak for Callie until one magical night when everything changes.
Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Cover and layout Copyright © 2012 Thunder Valley Press
The first steps were the hardest.
Jed used to tell her that back when they were both in junior high and she complained to him about having to walk the balance beam in gym class. Callie didn’t have the world’s greatest balance on land, much less on a four-inch wide beam of wood three feet off the ground.
“I’m going to break my neck,” she’d said over a tray full of cafeteria food. “You just wait and see.”
Jed had smiled at her. “Not your neck. Your arm, maybe, or your ankle. You know… stuff you don’t need.”
He’d stuffed a piece of french bread pizza into his mouth, pleased with himself. Callie would have smacked him a good one if Mr. Thedes hadn’t been on lunchroom duty. Mr. Thedes had no sense of humor. He was almost as bad as Callie’s dad, who would break her neck if she got herself suspended for fighting with her best friend in the cafeteria.
The first steps are the hardest.
Jed had been right, but he’d also been wrong. Second steps weren’t any easier. Sometimes all you could do was take one step after the next and let your body walk on automatic while your mind drifted away somewhere else. Some place pleasant.
Wherever you needed to go to get yourself through what lay ahead.
Callie parked in an empty space in the back row of the nursing home’s lot. Monday evening, only an hour left for visiting, no wonder the lot was only half full. Callie could have parked her car closer, but she needed the time—the extra steps—to prepare herself, especially tonight.
(read the rest of the story here)