Going to the Clinic (flash fiction)

Going to the Clinic

Today Cindy was going to the clinic. After having daily injections of hormones, it was now time for her eggs to be harvested by the doctor so they could be fertilised. She hated medical procedures and felt nervous about going there. Jess was meant to be with her today, but there was an emergency at her parent’s farm she had to help them with, which meant Cindy was now going into the city by herself. Which made it worse…

“The next step is to fertilise the eggs. When you come back next week we’ll transfer a healthy embryo to your uterus.” the Doctor told her after she had collected Cindy’s eggs with a fine needle.

Once Cindy got home, she saw there were flowers on the doorstep. The card read: “Hey babe, sorry I couldn’t be with you today. I hope it went well. I’ll be home soon. Love Jess.”

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 150

This was written with the photo prompt provided by Crimson’s Creative Challenge #121.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Op Shopping (flash fiction)

Op Shopping

“What do you think?” Adaline asked as she held up a painting.

“Well at least it’s not dogs playing poker.” I replied. Adaline laughed.

We were in an op shop looking through clothes and “treasures” others had thrown away. Adaline’s tastes were rather kitsch and I always thought I would like someone more sophisticated, but Adaline was fun loving and beautiful. I knew I was lucky to be with her.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 69 + prompt

This was written with the prompt kitsch provided by Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #198.

In other news: this evening I did some pickling for the first time in three years.

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Frozen (flash fiction)

Frozen

“Come in! You must be frozen!” Sonia said as she opened the door wide for her friend. Maddy walked in shivering with her arms hugging her body. She had been caught in a sudden cold snap and felt cold to the bone. “Let’s get you warm.” Sonia wrapped her arms around Maddy slowly warming her with her own body heat. The two of them stood there in silence.

“Thanks.” Maddy said appreciatively. This is what she lived for: being in the arms of Sonia, the girl she deeply loved. If only Sonia loved her the same way in return.

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt frozen provided by Carrot Ranch’s February 25 Flash Fiction Challenge.

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Oracle, part five (fiction)

The Oracle

5

Steff walked into the medical bay. Edwards was sitting on the side of a bed while a medic ran tests on him. Steff turned to Doctor Philips who was watching Edwards.

“So he just came out of his coma?” Steff asked.

“Yes.” Philips confirmed. “Once we came out of the wormhole.”

“Would you mind if I spoke to him?” Philips turned to look at her.

“Sure. Once my medic is finished with analysing him.” Steff stood there waiting while the medic continued. A short while later the medic nodded to Philips. “Okay you can talk to him, but not for too long.”

“Thanks Doctor.” Steff walked over to Edwards. She sat down facing him. “How do you feel?” She asked.

“Fine.” Edwards replied.

“What do you remember?” As she asked this, Philips moved closer, seemingly interested in also hearing the answer.

“We were about to go into the New Earth Wormhole, and then I woke up here.” He answered.

“You don’t remember suddenly standing up about to tell me something?”

“No Captain.”

“So you have no recollection of anything you wanted to say or ask me at the time?”

“No Captain.”

“Do you any history of seizures?”

“Not to my knowledge. It’s never happened before.”

“Have you traveled through the New Earth Wormhole before?”

“Yes I have. Many times.” Edwards replied. Steff sat back and studied him. “Am I able to go back to work now?” He looked at both Steff and Philips.

“You feel well enough to go back to work?” Philips asked.

“I feel fine. I’m not sure what happened, but I feel ready to resume all my responsibilities.” Edwards answered.

“I suggest you take at least a couple of days off work.” Steff told him.

“Yes, I agree with the Captain. Just a precaution, in case you have a relapse.” Philips advised.

‘And after that, if you still feel fine and you’ve had no further problems, then we’ll talk about you resuming your position.” Steff added. Edwards looked at them both confused.

“I don’t understand. I feel fine. I feel ready to resume my responsibilities. I’ve never had any problem like this before.” Edwards informed them.

“I know. We just have to be sure you won’t have a relapse. You have an important role in the ship and we have to make sure you’re fit enough to do it. Don’t take it personally. If you were in our shoes, I’m sure you would be just as cautious.” Philips told him. Edwards looked at Steff.

“Please Captain, let me resume my post. I feel fine.” He pleaded.

“Doctor Philips is right. I’m sorry, but we don’t have any other option. It’s for the good of the ship.” Steff answered. Edwards looked crushed with her response. She stood up. “Just take it easy for now Lieutenant. I’m sure it won’t be too long.” She looked at Philips. “If there’s any further change, let me know immediately.”

“I will Captain.” Philips replied.

Steff went back to the bridge and sat back down on her chair. She watched as the ship traveled through the emptiness of space towards a still distant wormhole. She had a lot of thoughts on her mind.

“How is Edwards?” Blake asked her.

“He’s fine. He’s rather crushed he can’t go back to work just yet.” Steff replied.

“Yes he should at least have a few days off.” Blake agreed.

“Unfortunately he doesn’t see it that way. I still have a lot of questions about what happened that need answering before I’m willing to let him resume as Chief Security Officer.” Steff told him.

“But what if those questions can’t be answered?” Blake asked. Steff continued looking out into the deeps of space, as if the answers to it all still lay out there somewhere.

“How’s the ship doing?” Steff asked, changing the subject.

“All systems are nominal. The Oracle’s drive systems are now fully engaged. We expect to make it to the wormhole to Berta Hub in just over three days going at present speed.”

“Very good Lieutenant Blake. I need to think about the Edwards situation, so I’ll leave you in charge of the bridge.” Steff informed him.

“Very good Captain.” Blake answered. Steff stood up and left for her quarters.

Steff sat on her bed considering the options. She could leave Edwards at Beta Hub Station and promote his second in command, but if she did that then New Earth Space Command would demand a reason for her action, and she wasn’t sure if her concerns with the situation were strong enough to satisfy them. If she let him fully resume his position that might place them all in great danger, especially if he was under mind control or suggestion by the Separatists now, which was her greatest fear. The fact remained if he stayed on board then he would have to fully resume his post eventually, unless she could come up with a good reason why he couldn’t that would satisfy him enough, which wasn’t very likely. The other option was to keep a watch on him, something she had already been planning, but wasn’t ready yet.

“Captain we never did resume that conversation regarding Lieutenant Gonzales. Do you wish to resume it now?” SARA suddenly said.

“I had hoped you had forgotten about it SARA.” Steff replied.

“I never forget anything Captain.” SARA responded.

“Please call me Steff by the way.”

“Okay Steff. Do you wish to resume talking about her, and your feelings for her?”

“There’s really not much more to say on the matter. Yes I have nightmares about her being sucked out of an airlock, but she is out of my life now, and those nightmares will eventually fade, just like the ones I had about Esfor.”

“Do you think your dreams about her being lost to space is symbolic of how you feel she is lost to you, since she defected to the Alliance of Free Colonies?”

“You don’t really pull any punches do you? You been reading a lot of Jung lately or what?”

“I am familiar with his work, but I haven’t read ‘a lot of Jung lately’, as you put it Steff.”

“Yes she is lost to me. It’s not like I can defect to the Separatists to see her again, even if I wanted to. As soon as I did, I would be arrested, put on trial, and then executed. The Separatists have made that perfectly clear.” Steff told her.

“Lieutenant Gonzales also led the mutiny against you didn’t she?” SARA asked.

“Yes she did.”

“How did that make you feel Steff?”

“Betrayed. Stabbed in the back by my most loyal companion.” Steff replied. “How do you think that made me feel?”

“I have no idea how you feel. I’m not you.”

“Damn straight.”

“I can however, through my processes, achieve an insight into how you feel, though I can never be sure it is completely accurate, but I am learning more about how you function.” SARA informed her.

“Good to know.”

“Do you think Lieutenant Gonzales’s actions have affected how you interact with other humans?”

“Probably. I try to be clearer in my communication with others now, so they are less prone to misunderstand me.” Steff answered.

“Do you feel that Lieutenant Gonzales’s actions were due to her misunderstanding you?”

“No, it was due to the horror of what I’d just done. That said, I don’t think she understood the position I was in at the time. If she had been Captain, maybe she would have done the same thing.”

“Do you wish to talk about what happened at Esfor?”

“No. Not now. I still can’t talk about it.” Steff admitted.

“It would be healthy for you to talk about it some time.” SARA informed her.

“I know.”

“If you ever want to talk about it, I will not judge you. I want you to know that Steff.”

“Thanks, but not now SARA.” Steff replied. “To change the subject, would you allow me to see what Edwards does in his own quarters when he returns there?”

“I’m sorry Steff, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” SARA replied.

“Why not?”

“It’s a breach of privacy and of New Earth Spacefleet regulations 6.4. No one is permitted to observe New Earth Space Fleet personal in their own private spaces.”

“But what about 6.4.15? If any New Earth Spacefleet individual is in danger of harming themselves or others, then their rights to privacy can be overridden by their commanding officer?”

“There isn’t any evidence to suggest Edwards is a threat to himself or others.” SARA replied.

“What if I can get Doctor Philips to convince you he is?” Steff asked.

“Then I will review the situation.” SARA answered. Well that at least was something, Steff thought. She lay back on her bed and considered how she could convince Philips that Edwards was a threat to himself or other people on board. She guessed Philips would not be happy with the idea of Edwards’s rights to privacy being potentially overridden by her. That would be a tough sell.

to be continued….

Joanne Fisher

Index of previous episodes: The Oracle

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Oracle, part four (fiction)

The Oracle

4

“Doctor Philips doesn’t like me and is making that abundantly clear.” Steff said as she moved her bishop diagonally to the left. Her opponent, Lieutenant Hunter, pursed his lips as he looked at the board.

“My advice is be careful with her. As she is the ship’s doctor, we do have need of her. Unfortunately she’s not the only one on board who feels that way towards you.” He replied as he moved his knight. They were playing on the table in Steff’s quarters. She knew Lieutenant Hunter had a keen mind and was intrigued in his thoughts about the situation.

“And what about you? Do you share that opinion?” she asked him. Hunter laughed.

“No. Certainly not Captain. I’ve read the report of your last mission. You were set up by the New Earth Space Command, in my opinion.”

“Set up?”

“At the very least you were in a no-win situation. Had you retreated, you would have never commanded a spaceship again and Epsilon Sector would be in the hands of the Separatists. A lesser commander wouldn’t have had the stomach to do what you did. In my opinion, and in many others, you’re a hero.” Hunter told her.

“Yes I’m a hero to the New Earth Space Command and a war criminal to the Separatists.” Steff stated. Hunter looked at her thoughtfully.

“I guess that happens in war. If there is any blame to be had, it would have to be with New Earth Space Command for placing you in that position, and the Separatists themselves for forcing the situation.”

“The Separatists hold me up as the Poster Child for everything that’s wrong with the New Earth Government.”

“If it wasn’t you, it would be someone else.” Hunter replied pragmatically.

“The sad thing about it all is that I don’t have that much of a problem with the Separatists. I can sympathise with their desire for self-governance.” Steff stated. Lieutenant Hunter raised his eyebrows at her words.

“I wouldn’t say that too often. The Hero of Esfor having sympathies with the Separatists? That would surprise many, and might be regarded as sedition.” Hunter replied.

“I don’t meant to sound seditious, but it’s basically a fact that New Earth can’t win this fight. Eventually the Alliance of Free Colonies will have to be recognised by New Earth. There’s nothing we can do about it. Our control and influence can only extend so far.” She moved a pawn forwards.

“You’re probably right, but as long as our politicians, generals and admirals insist we can still bring the Separatists to heel, we will have to continue fighting them, basic realities or not. Your actions are held up as an example of how we can keep control of the entire New Earth imperium.”

“Or as a symbol of our brutality by the Separatists.” Steff countered. “If that’s what we have to do to win against the Separatists every time, what would our victory be worth?”

“I know you probably feel a lot of guilt, but in my opinion you have nothing to feel guilty about. It wasn’t your fault things transpired as they did. I would have done the same thing.” He moved his rook. “Check mate!” Steff let out a half-smile.

“Well done.” She said as she toppled over her king.

‘Is there any further news about Frank Edwards?” Hunter asked.

“Well there are no viral or bacterial pathogens in his system and all other tests have come up negative as well, so Doctor Philips is at a loss.” Steff informed him.

“Hmm, I guess we may never know what caused it then.”

“The trouble is if we don’t know what caused it, it could always happen again and at a more inopportune time.” Steff replied.

“Maybe keep an eye on him?” Hunter suggested.

“Yes we are going to have to consider the implications of it all.” Steff admitted. Lieutenant Hunter stood up.

“Well thanks for the game. If you ever want another one, please let me know. Being the Gunnery Officer on what is supposed to be a peaceful mission does leave me with a lot of time on my hands.”

“So what do you do to fill the time?”

“I’m reading a lot of military history at the moment.” Hunter admitted. “But don’t worry if the ship’s weapons systems are ever needed, they will work when you need them to, you have my assurances on that.”

“Good to know.” Steff stood up and led him to the door. “As you have some free time would you consider helping me keep an eye on Edwards?” Hunter studied her face intently.

“What would that involve?” he asked.

“Just seeing what he does, who he talks to, where he goes.” Steff replied.

“And then report it all back to you?”

“Yes of course.”

“I’ll consider it. If he realises I’m watching him, he will do his best to hide his true intentions, if he has any to hide.” Hunter pointed out.

“I know, which is why I’m considering asking a few people to do it.”

“Make sure they’re loyal. If Edwards gets word you are asking people to watch him there’s no knowing what he might do.”

“Which is why I wouldn’t ask any of the other security personnel. Most of them seem loyal to him and would probably have no qualms about telling him what I’m asking them to do. There are several people I trust and I’m seeing if they’re willing to help me with this. I’m trying to frame it as concern for his well-being to some of them.”

“Probably a good move.” Hunter remarked.

“Have a think about and get back to me. I do need help as I have a bad feeling about it all. Hopefully it’s nothing, but what if it isn’t? Thankfully I have some time to organise it all since he’s still in a coma.”

“Okay. I’ll let you know about my decision on the matter. Until next time, Captain.” Hunter saluted her and she returned the salute. The door slid shut after he left.

Steff sat down on a chair and relaxed. She had hoped this would be an easy mission, but it was becoming apparent that maybe she wouldn’t be so lucky. What if the crew on Argos IV had had the same issues? There was no record on what happened aboard that ship and that troubled her. She desperately wanted to talk to another human about Argos IV, but her orders prevented it until they found the ship. She found talking to computers a bit soulless, no matter how well they had been programmed to mimic human behaviour, she always found there was something missing with them…

“Captain, you have a message from Lieutenant Blake.” SARA suddenly informed her breaking Steff’s reverie.

“Okay.” She replied.

“Captain, we are coming out of New Earth Wormhole.” Blake informed her.

“Thanks Lieutenant. I’ll be on the bridge shortly.” She replied. With a sigh she stood up and left her quarters. Once she was on the bridge she sat down on her chair and watched the ship weaving its way through the wormhole. Just beyond it she could make out a dark spot that was steadily approaching them.

“This is Captain Clarke. We are coming out of the New Earth Wormhole, so prepare for a bit of chop.” She informed the crew through the ship’s intercom.

Not long after she said that the ship began to vibrate slightly, and then the turbulence hit. The ship began rocking noticeably and people that were standing had to use a wall to support themselves. Then the writhing blue and white light came to an end and the ship was engulfed in total blackness. Steff had to hang on to the sides of her chair as the turbulence got worse and then they were through, everything was calm again and they were back in real space.

“All systems are nominal.” Blake informed her.

“Thanks Lieutenant.” Steff replied. “This is Captain Clarke, again. We are now in the Eridani system. It will take a few days to get to the next wormhole which leads to the Beta Hub. When we get to Beta Hub station there will be 48 hours of R&R for all crew.” She noted everyone in the bridge looked pleased with this announcement.

“Captain, you have a message from Doctor Philips.” SARA told her.

“Thanks SARA.”

“Captain, Lieutenant Edwards has regained consciousness.” Philips said.

“When did this happen?” Steff asked her.

“Just after we came out of the wormhole.”

“Okay, I’ll be right down.” Steff stood up. “Lieutenant Blake take the bridge.”

“Yes Captain.” Blake acknowledged.

Steff walked to the bridge doors. Was it really coincidence he regained consciousness just after leaving the wormhole? She wondered. Was there something in the wormhole affecting him? She hoped Doctor Philips might have an answer for this, but she suspected she wouldn’t. After all, that would be too easy.

to be continued…

Joanne Fisher

Index of previous episodes: The Oracle

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Beguiling (flash fiction)

Beguiling

“Why did you sit at my table?” Jenna asked her.

“You looked interesting, so I thought I would try to beguile you.” Dani replied.

“Beguile me?”

“Yeah, like you know, charm you.”

“How do you know I swing that way?” Dani shrugged.

“I don’t, but working that out is the fun part.”

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 51 + prompt

This was written with the prompt beguile provided by Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #194.

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Oracle, part three (fiction)

The Oracle

3

“Don’t go!”

“I have to. Come with me!”  Juanita urged.

“I can’t!” Juanita gave a regretful look and then let go. She floated out the airlock and then was lost among the stars.

Steff woke up. She rose up and sat on the side of the bed covering her face in her hands. Slowly the cabin lights blinked on.

Are you alright Captain? Your sleep cycle wasn’t finished.

“I’m alright SARA. I just had a nightmare.” Steff replied.

About Esfor Colony?

“No. You would think I would have nightmares about that, but I haven’t had one about Esfor for a long time now. I was dreaming about the First Mate on my last command. I dreamt she floated out of the airlock and was lost. It’s a recurring dream.”

According to my records Lieutenant Gonzales did not die that way. All the information I have states she is still alive.” SARA informed her.

“I’m aware of that. It was just a dream.” Steff replied.

You had strong feelings for her didn’t you? That is indicated on your file.

“Yes you could say that.” Steff answered.

Was your connection with her sexual?” SARA unexpectedly asked.

“I was a captain and she was a lieutenant. That would have been a breach of protocol.” Steff explained.

Humans do have a habit of ignoring rules, especially if it is for personal advantage or driven by strong emotions.

“What are you driving at?”

There is speculation that you and Lieutenant Gonzales had a sexual relationship. Everything you say to me is confidential.” SARA told her.

“Are you also my therapist?” Steff asked.

I can serve that function if you want. I need to understand why you are dreaming of her and how I can assist. I know talking about it may help you, as it does with humans.

“Yes it was sexual, but we tried to be discreet about it. It wasn’t just sexual though. We were both in love with one another.” Steff confessed.

It must have hurt when she left.

“Yes it did. We were…” Steff was suddenly cut off by SARA.

Captain, Lieutenant Blake has just messaged you.

“Okay.”

“Captain, we have just arrived at the New Earth Wormhole.” Blake told her.

“Thanks Lieutenant. I’ll be right there.” Steff told him. She stood up and quickly got dressed. “We’ll follow up this talk sometime later SARA.”

Understood Captain.” SARA answered.

Steff left her quarters and headed for the bridge. Once there she sat down on her chair and watched the wormhole slowly getting larger as they approached it. It was a bright churning mass of light that just hung there in the blackness of space like an aberration. Inside the wormhole Steff could just make out a tunnel that seemed to twist and turn into infinity. Just outside of it was a stationary fleet of battleships that guarded the entry (and exit) point.

“Captain we’re being asked to identify ourselves.” Lieutenant Garcia announced.

“Send this back to them: This is Captain Stephanie Clarke of the New Earth Spacefleet scout ship The Oracle. We request passage through the New Earth Wormhole.” Steff told her. They all waited a moment.

“Okay proceed.” Garcia reported back. The Oracle flew past the fleet bristling with weapons. Steff knew this was the last line of defence of the New Earth system should the Separatists ever make it this far.

“Pilots, guide us in.” Steff commanded.

The Oracle entered the wormhole. For a brief second everyone felt everything suddenly stretch forwards, and then suddenly they were engulfed in light. Once that cleared their vision, they found the ship was traveling through a long tunnel of writhing blue and white light. Chief Security Officer Edwards approached Steff.

“Captain, I think…” He suddenly turned pale and started shaking, and then collapsed onto the floor convulsing. Steff ran to his side.

“Get a medic up here now!” Steff ordered. The horrified bridge crew looked on as Edwards convulsed. Within a couple of minutes two medics turned up with a hover stretcher. One of them took readings of Edwards as he shook violently. Slowly the convulsing lessened until Edwards’s body was finally still. The two medics loaded his unconscious body onto the stretcher and then guided it with them as they walked back to the lifts.

“I never knew Edwards had epilepsy.” Lieutenant Blake commented.

“I didn’t either.” Steff replied. What she wondered was what Edwards was intending to tell her just before he collapsed. After a few hours she left the bridge in control of Second Mate Ying Li and went back to her quarters.  She stood in her room for a while and gazing out the window at the cascading blue light as it went by.

You alright Captain?” asked SARA.

“SARA was there anything on Frank Edwards’s medical records suggesting he has epilepsy or any other similar condition?”

No Captain. His records show he is in perfect physical health with no underlying conditions. There is also no medical history showing epilepsy or anything similar.

“Do you know why he then suddenly had an epileptic fit on the bridge?” Steff asked.

I’m sorry Captain, but there is not enough information.

“Were there any transmissions of any kind to the ship or inside the ship before or after we entered the wormhole?”

I’m sorry Captain, but there is no record of any transmissions of any kind to the ship or within the ship during that period.” SARA replied.

“Were there any anomalies of any kind recorded during this period?”

No Captain.

Steff left her quarters and headed to the medical bay. When she walked through the door she saw Edwards was still unconscious lying on a bed with a team of medics surrounding him. Near the door, Doctor Philips was looking at a monitor. She glanced at Steff as she walked in, and then looked at the monitor again.

“Captain.” She acknowledged.

“How is Frank Edwards?” Steff asked her.

“Still unconscious. We’re running all sorts of tests on him, but so far we’ve found no reason why he suddenly collapsed with a seizure.” Philips replied while still looking at the screen.

“Do you think we should turn back?” Steff asked her. Doctor Philips looked at her with surprise.

“I think we need to work out what’s wrong with him first. I don’t think at this stage it warrants heading back to New Earth.” Philips replied as she looked back at the screen.

“There’s no medical reason you know of why he suddenly had a seizure?” Philips shrugged her shoulders at Steff’s question.

“Well his medical records show no underlying conditions or history of epilepsy, but for all we know there might have been some undetected condition we weren’t aware of. We’ll know more once we’ve done more tests.” Philips told her.

“I never did thank you for joining the crew. I know you had some reservations about coming on this mission, but I’m glad you’re here.” Steff told her. Philips looked at her briefly.

“I’m here for the crew, not for you. After all, they need someone looking out for them.” Philips replied acidly, before turning to the screen again. Steff decided to let that comment go, and left the medical bay. There was something wrong, she could feel it.

to be continued….

Joanne Fisher

Index of previous episodes: The Oracle

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Sight Seeing (flash fiction)

Sight Seeing

It was the third day of Jess and Cindy’s holiday and they wandered through the town to see the “sights”. As it was a small coastal town, there wasn’t much to see. A local pointed to the lighthouse that stood out from the rest of the town, like the proverbial sore thumb. The local told them it was the town’s most notable structure and any tourists that came to the town always visited it.

“Well that’s not surprising, since there’s nothing else to see here.” Jess answered. The local looked offended and wandered off.

“Play nice with the locals Jess.” Cindy reminded her. Jess grunted.

“Sorry, the hike yesterday left me feeling tired.” Jess explained. Both the women looked up at the lighthouse. Cindy giggled. “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing really. It just reminds of what we’ve got in our bedroom drawer at home.” Cindy replied. Jess started giggling with her.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 150

This was written with the photo prompt provided by Crimson’s Creative Challenge #113.

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Christmas at the Farm (fiction)

Christmas at the Farm

“Wake up! Wake up! It’s Christmas!” Jess was awoken by Cindy excitedly bouncing on their bed. She slowly opened her eyes and beheld Cindy’s beaming face right in front of hers.

“Merry Christmas love!” Jess got out just before Cindy kissed her.

“Merry Christmas!” Cindy replied before bouncing excitedly on the bed again.

“You’re still a kid at heart, aren’t ya?” Jess said as she sat up in the bed. “I guess we should put some coffee on.”

“Or, we could open our presents!” Cindy exclaimed. Jess shook her head.

“I guess we can do both.” she replied. Jess slowly got out of bed while Cindy bounced down the hall into the living room. She went to the kitchen and put the coffee pot on the stove and then sedately walked into the living room. Cindy was already by tree looking through the presents.

“So I guess we’re doing presents now.” Jess remarked. Cindy beamed a smile at her and handed her a small parcel. After unwrapping it, Jess found a box which had an embroidered silver bracelet inside.

“It’s beautiful!” Jess remarked. “Did you find this at a fairyland market too?” Cindy rolled her eyes.

“I found it in the town market.” she replied. “Anyway it’s Faerie not Fairyland.”

“Well it was a great find, wherever you found it.” Jess replied as she put the bracelet around her wrist. She then kneeled in front of the tree and dug out two presents for Cindy. In the smaller present was a necklace, while in the other was a red covered diary with thick creme coloured pages, along with a set of fine tipped pens.

“Nice.” Cindy said.

“Before you went off to the city you wanted to be a writer. Since you got back you haven’t said a word about that. I thought if you had any thoughts or ideas you could write them down in the diary. You have one of the most active imaginations I know of. Just because you help run the farm, it doesn’t mean you should give up on your other dreams. Maybe you could write about your life here on the farm and your experiences.” Jess told her. Cindy smiled and gave Jess a long hug.

Among the other presents from friends and Jess’s parents, there were chocolates and socks and sweaters and candy and cups and other gifts. There was also a squeeze-toy for Lucky and a catnip mouse for Rainbow. After they went through them, there were just two presents remaining. Two small gift wrapped boxes. They both stared at them quizzically.

“Have you seen those presents before?” Jess asked. Cindy shook her head. Jess picked one of them up. “This says: To Jessica, Merry Christmas, from Father Christmas.” Cindy picked up the other one.

“This one says: To Cynthia, Merry Christmas, from Father Christmas.” They both looked at each other oddly.

“They definitely weren’t there last night when I went to bed. Did someone deliver them this morning?” Jess asked. Cindy shook her head.

“No.” she replied. Jess looked puzzled.

“Then how did they get here then?” Jess asked. Cindy turned to look at the fireplace. She was sure she could see faint sooty boot-prints on the floor.

Joanne Fisher

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope 2021 is much better year for everyone.

Please donate! 🙂

©️2020 Joanne Fisher