Featured

About Jim Bates Author

Jim has always wanted to be a writer. He wrote his first story when he was in the 4th grade but thought it was boring so he threw it away. Flash forward fifty plus years to 2011. By then he’d been married and had children and grand children. He’d had a long career in sales and technical training for a large manufacturing company. He’d even owned a small business. But, while helping to care for the last days of a loved one, he realized that life was passing him by and he’d better get going if he wanted to fulfill his dream. The next day he started writing and hasn’t stopped since.

He began by writing a poem a day for a year. Then a haiku a day for a year. Then a four line stanza a day for a year. Then a six-line rhymed verse a day for a year.

In 2015 he started writing short stories. He took an online writing class and met a successful author who became his mentor. She suggested he write the best possible stories he could and post them on a blog. He followed her advice and continued working and honing his craft.

He began submitting stories in early 2018 and in March his first short story was featured on CafeLit. He was off and running. Since then nearly 250 stories have appeared in on-line publications such as CafeLit and Spillwords, where he was voted Author of the Month for December, 2019, and in print anthologies, such as the Best of CafeLit 8 and Nativity through Bridgehouse Publishing, and the Gleam, Portal and Glamour anthology’s through Clarendon House Publishing.

He also reads his stories for broadcast on Talking Stories Radio.

Resilience, his first collection of short stories, will be published through Bridgehouse Publishing toward the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.

Short Stuff, a collection of flash fiction and drabbles, is scheduled to be published in 2021 through Chapeltown Books.

He continues to write every day from his home in the small town of Long Lake, Minnesota and prefers to be published as Jim Bates. He is happy. He has achieved his dream.

Complete list of publications:

His stories and poems have appeared online in CafeLit, The Writers’ Cafe Magazine, Cabinet of Heed, Paragraph Planet, Nailpolish Stories, Ariel Chart, Potato Soup Journal, Literary Yard, Spillwords (Dec, 2019, Author of the Month),The Drabble, The Academy of the Heart and Mind, World of Myth Magazine, The Horror Tree, The Terror House, Fox Hollow Stories and Bindweed Press. In print publications: A Million Ways, Mused Literary Journal, Gleam Flash Fiction Anthology #2, the Portal Anthology and the Glamour Anthology by Clarendon House Publishing, The Best of CafeLit 8 by Chapeltown Publishing, the Nativity Anthology by Bridge House Publishing, Forgotten One’s Drabble Anthology by Eerie River Publishing, Gold Dust Magazine, Down In the Dirt Magazine and the Oceans Anthology and the 20/20  Anthology by Black Hare Press. He was nominated for the 2020 Pushcart Prize by The Zodiac Review for his flash fiction story, “Aliens.”

Featured

Logo by Priti J – Jim Bates Author

Greetings!

I’m thrilled to share this logo with you, designed by my friend Priti J. She’s an incredibly talented designer and writer and I plan to have her design the cover of my collection of Flash Fiction stories, release date scheduled for the first half of 2021.

My first ever logo!! Kind of reminds me of the sixties 🙂

Dawn Knox Interview

Greetings!

My friend Dawn Knox is rolling out her new book “The Macaroon Chronicles” right now. I met Dawn through one of my favorite Facebook groups run by Paula Readman. She is not only a talented author but a very generous and giving person. She directed me to Tony Cranston who produces Talking Stories Radio out of London. Dawn was reading stories for him and suggested I give it a try which I did. Since then many of my stories have been heard worldwide. Thank you Dawn!

Dawn Knox lives in Essex, UK with husband and son. She has been writing for several years and has had success with various horror, sci-fi, and romantic stories. Her first published children’s story was DAFFODIL AND THE THIN PLACE.
In 2016, she published THE GREAT WAR – 100 STORIES OF 100 WORDS, HONOURING THOSE WHO LIVED AND DIED 100 YEARS AGO, her tribute to the people who endured World War One. I have read this book and it’s a heartfelt look into life during the war years. I highly recommend it.
Her third book is an anthology of short speculative fiction stories entitled EXTRAORDINARY published by Bridge House Publishing in October 2017.
THE BASILWADE CHRONICLES was published by Chapeltown Books in December 2019.
She has had several historical romances set not far from where she lives in Essex, called ‘WELCOME TO PLOTLANDS’, ‘A TOUCH OF THE EXOTIC’ and ‘TOUCHED BY TWO WARS’ published by Linford Romance Library. Several further stories in the ‘PLOTLAND’ series will be published by Linford Romance Library shortly, as well as the World War Two ‘HEART’ trio.
Six My Weekly Pocket Novels have also been published, so far.
Dawn has also written two plays about the First World War, one of which has been performed in England, Germany and France and the other in England and Germany.

I’m pleased to offer this interview with the talented Dawn Knox as part of the role-out of her delightful new novel, “The Macaroon Chronicles.”

1.   Hi Dawn! Please tell us about your latest book release.

My latest book is called ‘The Macaroon Chronicles’ and it’s published by Chapeltown Publishing. It is a – hopefully – humorous romp on the fictitious Isle of Macaroon with Eddie the Bald Eagle who is really a chicken but doesn’t like to admit it and his friends: Brian, who’s a monkey, Colin who’s a lemur and doesn’t like to be referred to as a monkey, Gideon the failed spy who’s a pig and finally, two teenage rabbits, Babs and Deirdre, who are addicted to social media. The geography of the Isle of Macaroon is interesting because it contains Meringue Mountains with chocolate waterfalls, cheese mines, a custard river and the island itself, is surrounded by the Bouillabaisse Sea to the east and the Vichyssoise Ocean to the west.

2.   How did you become interested in writing?

I’ve always read lots of books and made up stories in my head, probably as a result of being an only child, but writing stories only began about fifteen years ago when I was trying to help my, then, teenage son to complete his essay homework. In fact, I was actually trying to encourage him to start it! And the beginning of a story which I came up with interested me so much that I carried on writing it although I think my son thought of an idea of his own for his essay. But that incident began a real passion for writing and a few years ago when I was feeling rather down I realised that writing was therapeutic and could lift me out of my thoughts and transport me to a different world.

3.    Do you prefer to write in any particular genre and if so, which?

I’ve tried many genres including sci-fi, speculative fiction, historical romance, horror and humorous, quirky stories. I’ve also won two prizes for non-fiction writing, which surprised me greatly! It would be hard to say which I prefer although it’s probably fair to say that I prefer the genre I’m writing in at that particular moment. The only genre I haven’t written is erotica and at the moment I have no plans to start that although if I did want to have a go, I think I’d use a pen name!

4. Of all the stories you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?

It would have to be one of those stories that are in my book ‘The Great War – 100 Stories of 100 Words Honoring Those Who Lived and Died 100 Years Ago’ and I would probably pick a different one each day (well, at least for one hundred days!). I always describe that book as the one that contains my heart and soul. Writing a story in exactly 100 words necessarily means that it is a compact and concentrated story and of course the subject of the First World War is extremely emotive. But of all the stories I have written they are the ones which mean the most to me.

5. Have any of your characters ever decided to take things into their own hands and write themselves a bigger part or a different part than you’d intended? If so which one or ones?

Two of the characters in ‘The Macaroon Chronicles’ are ones who wrote themselves larger parts. The first is Eddie the Bald Eagle who’s really a chicken and he came about when I was planning a short story to read at my writers’ group. I’d been watching a clip of the British ski-jumper Mike Edwards or as everyone knew him, ‘Eddie the Eagle’, who captured everyone’s hearts in the Winter Olympics of 1988 in Calgary. I thought ‘Eddie the Eagle’ was a fine name and initially, the character was going to be human but I thought it might be fun if he was actually a bird. And then to give him a twist, I turned him into a Bald Eagle and even more bizarrely, I decided that his vanity would compel him to represent himself as a bald eagle whereas in fact, he was a bald chicken. The other character was Gideon who merely popped up to help Eddie out of one of the many spots of bother in which he finds himself, but Gideon was so endearing with his incompetence and inability to pass his exams to become a fully-qualified spy, he earned his place in the rest of the book.  He is completely inept at using the espionage tools he’s been given and has an unfortunate knack of shooting any bystanders with his sleeping-dart-tipped pens. So, Gideon was allowed to stay and he ended up joining Eddie, Colin and Brian on their adventures on the Isle of Macaroon.

6.  Is there a specific word count to which you usually work either intentionally or unintentionally?

When I’m writing short stories, they tend to be between 2000 and 3000 words unless of course I am aiming for a Drabble which is exactly 100 words. However, I generally I end up with more words than I intend and then have to edit to cut back to the desired word count. But I think that’s good because it makes me think about the appropriate words and perhaps to cut out any waffle.

7.   Does food feature greatly in your current release or work in progress?

It certainly does, as I’ve said before, the Isle of Macaroon is made of many food-related geographical features and even the names of the towns reflect this, in that at the beginning, Eddie, Brian and Colin are heading to Spudwell to the stadium, to perform in a music concert. The chums’ boat is moored in Hummus-on-Sea and just before Christmas, Colin finds himself in Treacletart and on his way back to Hummus-on-Sea, he’s nearly run down by the bus from Eggsenham!

8.   Do you like macaroons? If so do you prefer coconut or almond?

Unfortunately, I have to stick to a strict diet which limits carbohydrates and therefore nowadays I don’t eat macaroons at all but I adore anything that’s coconut flavored, so I would probably say coconut macaroons although on the other hand I do love almonds…

9.  In “The Macaroon Chronicles”, on the Isle of Macaroon, there are Meringue Mountains with chocolate waterfalls, cheese mines and a custard river. Imagine you were to visit the Isle of Macaroon which one of those sites would you visit first? And why?

Definitely the cheese mines would be my first port of call for the reason that I gave above, in that I have to limit the carbohydrates I eat. But perhaps a trip to the Bouillabaisse Sea might be quite tasty as well!

Thank you so much, Dawn, and here’s wishing you all the best on your role-out!!

You can follow Dawn here on https://dawnknox.com 

on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DawnKnoxWriter

on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SunriseCalls 

Amazon Author: http://mybook.to/DawnKnox

‘The Macaroon Chronicles’ can be purchased here mybook.to/TheMacaroonChronicles

Paper Djinn Press – Ecology

Greetings!

Many thanks to my friend Umair for featuring my story “Ecology” today at Paper Djinn Press. I hope you enjoy it!

Here’s the story if you don’t want to use the link:

Ecology

Harold took a sip of coffee and let out a satisfied sigh. “I love the yard,” he said to Joey, sitting next to him on the back patio. “Look at those lilacs. They’re in full bloom and that lavender color is beautiful.” Nearby a house wren began to chatter in a honeysuckle bush. “Hello, little fellow,” Harold said, waving. “How are you this fine day?”

Joey yawned, “I think I’ll take a nap. I had a long night.”

“What’d you do?”

“Oh, man, you don’t want to know.”

            Harold grinned. Even though he could be a pain sometimes, it was always interesting having Joey around, especially since he was a djinn. That, you know, probably accounted for a lot.

Suddenly, the peaceful morning was broken by loud beeping coming from the street.

“Oh, no,” Harold stood up, distressed. “Our new neighbor is really going to do it.”

“Do what?” Joey asked, coming wide awake.

“Spray chemicals on his dandelions. It’ll be bad for the bees and butterflies, not to mention the baby birds and bunny rabbits. We’ve got to do something.”

The djinn was always ready for action. “Let’s go!”

Joey had been living in a brass lamp for over a hundred years until Harold had bought it during a trip to Nebraska over two years earlier. He had driven two days from Minnesota to the Platte River country to watch birds and to try and get over the death of his dear departed wife, Elaine. From that standpoint, the trip had been unsuccessful. But when he’d retuned home and was cleaning off his spur-of-the-moment purchase from Corn Husker Antiques, he’d rubbed just the right way and “poof” the djinn appeared, two feet tall and dressed in aqua blue pantaloons, a colorful embroidered vest and a jaunty red skull cap.

            “Whew,” he’d said at the time, stretching. “Thank you for that, man. I owe you big time.” Then he shook Harold’s hand. “Hi. My name’s Joey.”

            After Harold had gotten over the initial shock of having a djinn in his home, they’d become fast friends, maybe even best of friends. Having the energic djinn around was good because he alleviated some of the loneliness Harold felt with Elaine being gone, and Joey liked Harold’s easy-going nature, not to mention the fact that the octogenarian gave him a place to live.

            Harold’s hobby was gardening and he was glad to have Joey to help out, even though the djinn was a little on the lazy side when it came to work. Together they turned the shady backyard into a peaceful oasis planted with hosta and many other shade loving plants. It had a calming feel to it and was a good place to sit and contemplate the world and life in general.

            The new next-door neighbor, Biff Butler, though, was fast becoming the bane of Harold’s existence. The guy was a committed green grass man, wanting nothing to do with flowers. As he’d put it to Harold a few weeks earlier, “The greener that better as far as I’m concerned. I don’t like butterflies, and bees might sting me or my wife or my daughter.”

            Harold had tried to convince Biff of the benefits of an ecofriendly yard, but the headstrong man would have none of it.

            “Not on my watch. I’m having it sprayed for weeds next week.”

            And it was happening right now.

            Harold and Joey ran to the front where Ron’s Spray Service was parked in front of Biff’s house. Two workmen were unrolling a long hose attached to a tank on the back of the truck. Even without spraying an acrid chemical smell filled the air.

            Joey sized up the situation in an instant. “I’ve got a plan” he said. “You keep those two guys occupied.” Then he disappeared.

            Harold hurried up to the workman. “Hi there,” he said, trying be friendly. “What’s going on?”

            “We’re here to spray. Better move.”

Just then Biff ran out of the house. “Hey, Harold. Get away. Let these men do their job.”

            “I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” Harold said. “Those chemicals will kill the butterflies and bees and harm baby birds and rabbits. They’re bad for the environment, too.”

            An argument ensued. While it was going on, out of the corner of his eye, Harold watched as Joey reappeared on the drum on the chemical truck and did some intricate moves with his hands over the tank. When he was done, he grinned, tipped his hat to Harold and jumped down, turning invisible before he hit the ground. That was Harold’s sign.

            “Sorry, gentlemen,” I’ve got to go,” he said, and hurried to join Joey on the back patio. In the background he could hear the sprayer motor start up. It was loud.

            Joey was all smiles. “Well, that was fun.”

            “What’d you do?”

            He laughed, “I turned the chemicals into sugar water.”

            Harold laughed with him. “Brilliant!”

            Later that afternoon Harold was out front weeding among the flowers in one of his sunny front yard gardens. He glanced up when a butterfly appeared, a pretty red admiral, and watched as it fluttered its way over to Biff’s yard. Then a monarch followed along. And a yellow swallowtail. Then a painted lady. And then more and more butterflies appeared, flying over to his neighbor’s yard until it was swarming with them. And bees, too. They were feeding on the sugar water on Biff’s dandelions.

            Next to him Joey appeared and pointed. “What do you think of that?”

            Harold smiled, “I like it.”

            Biff ran outside with his family and was beside himself, yelling and waving his arms to scare the butterflies away.

His wife and daughter wouldn’t have it.

            “Stop it right now,” his wife admonished him. “I like them. They’re pretty. They stay.”

            “I love them, Daddy,” the daughter said as a swallow tail landed on her outstretched hand. She pointed toward Harold’s gardens. “Maybe one day we can have pretty flowers like him.”

            “That’s a great idea,” her mom said.

            Biff hung his head and went inside. Past experience with his wife and daughter told him when their minds were made up, like they obviously were now, there was nothing he could do to change them.

            The daughter waved at Harold. “Mister, could you please help us plant a garden like yours someday?”

            Harold turned to Joey who had suddenly appeared, “What do you think?”

            Joey grinned, “It’s great idea. I’ll help.”

            Harold went over and introduced himself. “Hi. You can call me Harold. And yes, me and my friend Joey here would be happy to help.”

            “Oh, goody,” the daughter said clapping her hands. “My name is Rosie.”

            “Hi, Rosie,” he said. “Nice to meet you.” They shook hands.

            “I’m Susan,” the mother said.

            Next to him Joey doffed his hat and bowed. “Greetings,” he said, grinning. “Nice to meet both of you.”

            Rosie and her mother giggled, enchanted by the sharp dressed djinn. So much so, that the next day all four of them started working together to plant a beautiful flower garden. Right in the middle of Biff’s front yard. It turned out to be beautiful.

Flash Fiction Magazine – Freedom

Greetings!

My story “Freedom” is up on Flash Fiction Magazine today. This is an interesting site. Most of what I submit is NOT selected. But when they do select they go through a thorough editing process. In a way, it’s kind of fun because it’s different.

Here’s the link:

https://flashfictionmagazine.com/

Here’s the story (unedited version) if you don’t want to use the link:

Freedom

“Hey, Norman, stop!”

“Yeah, you idiot. Don’t make this any harder than on yourself than it has to be. We don’t wanta have to hurt you.”

Norman glanced over his shoulder. The orderlies he referred to as Huey and Dewey were in hot pursuit but he hitched up his pajamas and kept running. He was on the West River Road in Minneapolis high above the Mississippi. To his right he caught a glimpse of the river sparkling a hundred feet below in the early morning sunlight. It was a beautiful view, much better that being stuck in the group home two blocks away.

A third voice broke into his thoughts. Louie. The meanest of the orderlies. “I’m going to get you, you crazy fool. Then you’ll be sorry.”

Damn! He was terrified of being caught and sent back to more injections and medication and counseling. He clutched the urn carrying the remains of his beloved family to his chest and made a snap decision.

“You’ll never get me!” he yelled.

Then he leaped over the guard rail and began plummeting down the side of the steep embankment. Behind him he heard the orderlies cursing. Serves them right, he smiled. Then he concentrated on not smashing into a tree and killing himself as he rolled over and over and over.         

Oddly enough, time seemed to stand still as he rolled. He could see the world so very clearly; the red buds on the sumac bushes, the dried-out bark on the ancient oak trees and the hollowed-out burrow of an animal, possibly a fox. All those images were crystal clear until they sped up and collapsed in upon themselves, turning into a blur, like an old-time motion picture that had jumped the reel.

A branch slapped him in the face and he ducked. Then another one, this one catching him across the cheekbone momentarily stunning him and opening a wound. He wiped blood from his eyes to try and clear his vision.

He kept tumbling, crashing through bushes and getting smacked by branches, all the while unwilling to let go of the urn clutched to his chest, the last remains of his wife and son and daughter; his darling Ann and young Ethan and Leslie, killed by a drunk driver on the way back from soccer practice while he stayed home in the kitchen and cooked them a surprise spaghetti dinner. Upon hearing the news he’d collapsed and hadn’t been the same since. The doctors told him he’d had a complete breakdown. Post-traumatic stress disorder they’d called it. He’d been unable to handle the loss and the pain and the despair of having lost the three people he’d loved most in the entire world. That had been over two years ago.

 But no more. Now he was free. Now he could be with Ann and Ethan and Leslie on his own terms and not under the watchful eyes of the doctors and nurses and those three crazy orderlies.

Above the river was a ten foot drop over the edge of a limestone outcropping. Norman tumbled off it and crashed onto a sandy shoreline holding his urn tightly. The landing knocked the wind out of him. Dazed, he lay on his back, semi-conscious, looking up at the sky and watching gulls float overhead against a brilliant blue sky. He caressed his urn and smiled. He was almost free.

He got to his feet and brushed leaves and other debris from his pajamas, then stepped to the edge of the river and bent down, splashing water on his face, washing the blood off.  Behind him, coming fast down the embankment he heard the cursing and yelling from Huey, Dewey and Louie. They would be on him in a manner of seconds. Panicking, he did the only thing he could think of; he stepped into the river.

He was about to start swimming when he noticed a partially submerged log floating downstream toward him. He gave a silent cheer as he stepped in further up to his waist. The water felt good, cool and refreshing and natural, not like the smelly chloride loaded stuff at the group home.

He gripped his urn tightly and was just reaching for the log when a strong hand grabbed him by the shoulder, “All right there, Norman. I’ve got you. You aren’t going anywhere. Let’s get you back to the home.”

At the sound of Louie’s voice, Norman shook himself awake and opened his eyes. What he saw shocked hi because he wasn’t in the river preparing to swim to freedom anymore. Instead, he was lying flat on his back on his bed in his room at the group home with Louie looming over him like a deranged beast holding his shoulders down.

            Norman raised his head and looked around. On either side of him were Huey and Dewey. What was going on? Had he been dreaming? He looked frantically for his urn and spied it on the dresser like always. He breathed a sigh of relief. Good. His family was still with him.

            “He’s finally coming around,” Louie was saying. “He’s in bad shape. The doctor might want to adjust this weirdo’s meds.”              

            “The nurse is on the way,” Huey said.

            “Yeah with something to calm him down,” Dewey added.

            Their chatter filled the room and Norman closed his eyes, tuning them out. In his mind he hadn’t been dreaming; it had been too real. He was sick to death of being treated like a nutcase. Right then and there he vowed he was going back to the river. He needed to escape and knew that he could. He just had to be quicker. A plan formed as the nurse entered the room to give him a sedative. He kept his eyes shut while Louie held him down and the nurse slipped the needle in his vein. Next time he’d grab his urn and run faster. They never catch him. Next time he’d get away for good.

Freedom

“Hey, Norman, stop!”

“Yeah, you idiot. Don’t make this any harder than on yourself than it has to be. We don’t wanta have to hurt you.”

Norman glanced over his shoulder. The orderlies he referred to as Huey and Dewey were in hot pursuit but he hitched up his pajamas and kept running. He was on the West River Road in Minneapolis high above the Mississippi. To his right he caught a glimpse of the river sparkling a hundred feet below in the early morning sunlight. It was a beautiful view, much better that being stuck in the group home two blocks away.

A third voice broke into his thoughts. Louie. The meanest of the orderlies. “I’m going to get you, you crazy fool. Then you’ll be sorry.”

Damn! He was terrified of being caught and sent back to more injections and medication and counseling. He clutched the urn carrying the remains of his beloved family to his chest and made a snap decision.

“You’ll never get me!” he yelled.

Then he leaped over the guard rail and began plummeting down the side of the steep embankment. Behind him he heard the orderlies cursing. Serves them right, he smiled. Then he concentrated on not smashing into a tree and killing himself as he rolled over and over and over.         

Oddly enough, time seemed to stand still as he rolled. He could see the world so very clearly; the red buds on the sumac bushes, the dried-out bark on the ancient oak trees and the hollowed-out burrow of an animal, possibly a fox. All those images were crystal clear until they sped up and collapsed in upon themselves, turning into a blur, like an old-time motion picture that had jumped the reel.

A branch slapped him in the face and he ducked. Then another one, this one catching him across the cheekbone momentarily stunning him and opening a wound. He wiped blood from his eyes to try and clear his vision.

He kept tumbling, crashing through bushes and getting smacked by branches, all the while unwilling to let go of the urn clutched to his chest, the last remains of his wife and son and daughter; his darling Ann and young Ethan and Leslie, killed by a drunk driver on the way back from soccer practice while he stayed home in the kitchen and cooked them a surprise spaghetti dinner. Upon hearing the news he’d collapsed and hadn’t been the same since. The doctors told him he’d had a complete breakdown. Post-traumatic stress disorder they’d called it. He’d been unable to handle the loss and the pain and the despair of having lost the three people he’d loved most in the entire world. That had been over two years ago.

 But no more. Now he was free. Now he could be with Ann and Ethan and Leslie on his own terms and not under the watchful eyes of the doctors and nurses and those three crazy orderlies.

Above the river was a ten foot drop over the edge of a limestone outcropping. Norman tumbled off it and crashed onto a sandy shoreline holding his urn tightly. The landing knocked the wind out of him. Dazed, he lay on his back, semi-conscious, looking up at the sky and watching gulls float overhead against a brilliant blue sky. He caressed his urn and smiled. He was almost free.

He got to his feet and brushed leaves and other debris from his pajamas, then stepped to the edge of the river and bent down, splashing water on his face, washing the blood off.  Behind him, coming fast down the embankment he heard the cursing and yelling from Huey, Dewey and Louie. They would be on him in a manner of seconds. Panicking, he did the only thing he could think of; he stepped into the river.

He was about to start swimming when he noticed a partially submerged log floating downstream toward him. He gave a silent cheer as he stepped in further up to his waist. The water felt good, cool and refreshing and natural, not like the smelly chloride loaded stuff at the group home.

He gripped his urn tightly and was just reaching for the log when a strong hand grabbed him by the shoulder, “All right there, Norman. I’ve got you. You aren’t going anywhere. Let’s get you back to the home.”

At the sound of Louie’s voice, Norman shook himself awake and opened his eyes. What he saw shocked hi because he wasn’t in the river preparing to swim to freedom anymore. Instead, he was lying flat on his back on his bed in his room at the group home with Louie looming over him like a deranged beast holding his shoulders down.

            Norman raised his head and looked around. On either side of him were Huey and Dewey. What was going on? Had he been dreaming? He looked frantically for his urn and spied it on the dresser like always. He breathed a sigh of relief. Good. His family was still with him.

            “He’s finally coming around,” Louie was saying. “He’s in bad shape. The doctor might want to adjust this weirdo’s meds.”              

            “The nurse is on the way,” Huey said.

            “Yeah with something to calm him down,” Dewey added.

            Their chatter filled the room and Norman closed his eyes, tuning them out. In his mind he hadn’t been dreaming; it had been too real. He was sick to death of being treated like a nutcase. Right then and there he vowed he was going back to the river. He needed to escape and knew that he could. He just had to be quicker. A plan formed as the nurse entered the room to give him a sedative. He kept his eyes shut while Louie held him down and the nurse slipped the needle in his vein. Next time he’d grab his urn and run faster. They never catch him. Next time he’d get away for good.

Julie C. Eger

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