Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Entry #17

“Hard Love”
by Scott Ellis


Rudy heaved himself onto the kitchen counter as quietly as he could, then crouched over the top of the refrigerator and lifted the lid from a ceramic, pale green cookie jar and took out a chocolate chip and a peanut butter with cross-hatches pressed with a dinner fork. Gingerly, with all the skill he could recall from playing Operation with his little brother, he set the lid back, but still did not avoid a hollow, tinkling report as it settled into place. Rudy cringed and hopped down to the floor and peered around the corner into the living room, where his step-mother lay on the couch, immersed in the world of the evening news.

He tried his best to walk casually, padding softly on the shag carpet, palming the cookies at his side as he passed in front of a stand upon which two floral lamps cast irregular light over a cherry wood mounted portrait, yet leaving it mostly in shadow.

“Hold it mister.” Rudy recoiled and crashed into the stand, jarring the lights that rattled and fizzled out. The television flicked his step-mother’s shadow at him like a dark tongue as she advanced, fists clenched, face dark, featureless. “Show me.”

He raised a sweaty, trembling hand that gripped the remains of his ruined plunder; bits and crumbs fell away as a sob arose from his chest.

“Do you have any idea how hard it is to love you?”

“I’m s-s-sorry,” Rudy began to wail.

“No, but you will be.”

17 comments:

Flood said...

Terrifying.

Bernita said...

Yes.
But she did make cookies...

Bethany K. Warner said...

oohhh... creepy.

Jeff said...

Both sad and scary. Good job. :)

Jaye Wells said...

The beginning is endearing because we've all been there. The end is heartbreaking. Very good.

Bailey Stewart said...

Powerful.

Scott said...

Thanks all. And very true Bernita!

Robin said...

I agree with Jaye. Wow, didn't see that ending coming!

skees said...

Heartbreaking. Especially when you realize that for some poor kids this is not a fictional piece. You tugged at my heart with this one. Great job Scott.

Scott said...

Thanks Robin and Skees. Skees, I read your bio thought I made a mistake and clicked over to mine for a minute. Lonesome Dove, Alan Jackson, Lord of the Flies...

Terri said...

Horrible! But good.

jamieford said...

That's actually my life. Except you need to switch the little boy with me and the step-mom with my wife.

Seriously though, nicely done.

Lyn said...

Ouch. You're mean. lol I knew he was scared in the first paragraph, but you had me through the end and left me wanting more. Strong emotional theme - and all too real for some (as has been mentioned). Good story. Lyndon

Sandra said...

That lady only bakes cookies for one reason! Scary story.

Bhaswati said...

Chilling. You made the boy's terror come alive amazingly well in so few words.

jason evans said...

Scott,

The moment of being caught was vivid and well done. As a parent, I found the end heart-wrenching. It's so easy to say horrible things in the heat of anger.

High marks for enjoyment and storytelling.

Scott said...

Jason,

Thanks for your kudos here, and for your constructive comments in private. I want to rewrite the beginning to increase the pacing and involve more action. Very helpful. I appreciate the time you are taking to do this!