The Snow Angel, Part Six

 The damp scent of snow tingled at Amber's nose as she waddled across the parking lot. Handbag clutched tight, she hugged it as a shield over the drafty opening of her coat. The buttons no longer met to close over her swollen belly. The drugstore manager yelled out of the door.…

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The Snow Angel, Part Five

Amber shuffled through her birthday cards, scanning the well wishes until the words blurred together. A hot tear spilled down her frigid cheek. She stacked them on the end of the kitchen counter. Reading the rest would have to wait. She shuffled back to the entrance and re-tacked the draft-blocking coverlet…

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The Snow Angel, Part Four

A cramp seized Amber's belly. Pain shot through her core. Her knees crumpled, but she  clutched the counter in either side of her register. The life within her writhed. Gut, hips, and low back burned all at once. Not yet. She grit her teeth through the vice of tension. Exhaled. Steadied herself.…

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The Snow Angel, Part Three

 Snow whirled across the windshield. Beyond the fervent wipers, churning flurries thickened the air. Lanes blurred together. The white glare ached on Amber's bleary eyes. Her chin drooped. Register buttons. Impatient customers. Talvert smacking the counter. The day drifted through her thoughts like a nightmare. The car skidded, fishtailed a bit.…

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The Snow Angel, Part Two

Buzzing sounds pierced the foggy end of Amber's dream. She rubbed the crick in her neck and lifted her head. The pillow slid behind her armchair as she grabbed her cellphone from the coffee table. "Mm-hello?" She rubbed the blear from her eyes. A gravelly voice rumbled through the phone. "This…

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Cultivating Grace, Not Just Saying It

The ballerina pirouettes until stilled in her partner's embrace. With his support, she leaps toward heaven and floats to the stage. As the curtain swings to a close, she rushes in front of her partner to blow kisses at her fans. The audience acclaims her as graceful, flinging roses at her…

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The Noticer

Imagine living in a hand-scooped trench beneath a pier. A few years of stubble grown past the high school complexion, but hope no longer sparkles in the eyes. Consider the ocean view of an orphaned young man. Waves batter the shores without mercy. The horizon brings days of hard labor which…

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The Worry Curse, Part Ten

A rusty blue hatchback hugged the curb near the sidewalk waste bin. Arden withdrew his key and unlocked its passenger door. "Say hello to my girl, Bessie." "No remote key fob?" Laina chuckled. "Funny." He held open the door, patting the top of the frame. "Talk nice to my car, now. She's…

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The Worry Curse, Part Nine

Cool sips of water trickled through her constricted gullet, easing her garbled voice. "Thanks. I don't think the police escort would've offered me a chance to decompress. I don't want to keep you late. You'll probably have to be at your office early in the morning." "No problem. My work day…

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The Worry Curse, Part Eight

As a pack of Harleys rumbled onto Forty-Ninth Avenue, Laina hustled toward the inner edge of the sidewalk.  An exhaust pop snapped her attention to the lead FatBoy, slowing near the curb. The grisly-bearded rider sneered, his gold-capped canine teeth glinting in the streetlight. "Want a ride, sweet thang?" She shifted…

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