Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #3

Life’s Treasure
by Aimee Laine


The knot hole in the fence offered a thin view of a tiny back yard.

A little girl with golden curls danced with a stuffed robin whose cotton oozed from broken threads. She wound her way between saplings while the breath of song escaped her lips.

“Sit here, Miss Birdy. I’ll be right back.” She dropped it onto her picnic blanket, skipped toward the house.

“Now, Margie, push me.” Sherry stood straight, jumped up but slid down the fence as if against ice. “The gems are in the bird. I’m sure of it.”

“You’ve been at this for months. It’s time to stop.”

“I’ll get it myself.” Stuck in the haze of challenge, Sherry tried the climb again but fell.

Margie hoisted her over with a sigh. “You should reconsider searching here,” she said without conviction.

Sherry grunted a curse and with a thud, landed on the other side. Margie watched through their peephole, launched herself over when Sherry tore the robin’s seam, created a cascade of fluff.

The little girl spun. “You broke Miss Birdy, mommy!” She fisted her hands, continued to scream, mouth wide, eyes shut.

Sherry waved her arms, a clear attempt to stop the onslaught of sound until she froze.

Margie stood at her friend’s side. “You remember your daughter, right Sherry?” In Margie’s palm, she held out the three jewels. “You asked me to find your treasures. I did. You only get one. Pick.”

32 comments:

Laurel said...

This feels like a slice of something big! Great scene and I finished wanting more.

I really loved this: stuffed robin whose cotton oozed from broken threads.

Beth Harar said...

I agree with Laurel. The second paragraph is beautifully written. Nice job.

J.C. Montgomery said...

Oh my. Nice way to set up the conflict and the choice.

maybe genius said...

Great stuff. It's like a spy movie meets Sophie's Choice. Only without the Nazis.

Good stakes 8)

Sarah Laurenson said...

Had to read it twice to get it, but loved it all the same. I think I just read too fast the first time.

Very well done. what a choice. And what a great hint at what happened before.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Awesome! Short, but like a cliffhanger!

Aimee Laine said...

Laurel - thank you! I love that 'oozed' line, too. LOL

Beth : thank you, too!

J.C. : love the 'oh my'. :)

maybe : little bittie spy movie. :)

Sarah : Glad you gave it a 2nd chance. :)

Oddyoddy013 : gotta love cliffhangers. :)

Thank you all! :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

I love the innocent tone of this piece.

Peter Dudley said...

I love the description of the little girl, the robin, and the women at the fence. For me the ending is a bit rushed, and I wish you'd done something like (for example) eliminate the failed attempt at getting over the fence in order to save up some words to flesh out the finish.

I very much like that Margie. She's cold, but not without conscience.

Aniket said...

One of the best of yours that I've read Aimee. You really work well with Mother-daughter characters. I loved your 'the little girl in the car' piece a lot too. As expected from you, its a beautiful read.

Aimee Laine said...

JR : Thank you. :)

Peter : There's always something someone likes better. :) I like Margie too.

Aniket : Thanks! I like this one best, too. LOL Must be a Mom thing for me. :)

Jade L Blackwater said...

Hmm, I like how this piece positions the reader with so many more mysteries. A nice lead in to more story!

PS - I like how well you recall the details of fence climbing.

Precie said...

I'm fascinated by other responses because, o me, Margie seems like a devil-in-disguise bitch. Based on the little we've seen of Sherry, I have to think thus is a bear of a decision for her--plus, she now carries the guilt of ruining her daughter's beloved toy. Complex emotions and issues in such a compact space...nicely done!

Aimee Laine said...

Jade : thanks! I like the fence part too. :) I'd never get over the thing.:)

Precie : We don't really know much about Margie, but Sherry? One's own child should never lose to any other treasure. :)

Deb Smythe said...

I had to read this twice to get the relationships down. I think I need more coffee. Anyway, nice job with the imagery. I really liked the dichotomy of the skipping girl and her picnic blanket vs mom ripping the stuffing out the bird.

jelismorgan said...

Wow, ending sentences were gut wrenching. Wonderfully written!

Precie said...

Aimee--oh, good! That's my instinct, but I couldn't tell how strong her mother-instinct was. I was hoping everyone involved had the best intentions, but I saw the potential for cold and negative consequences.

September said...

Lovely set up and drastic ending - loved it. I too had to read it twice. And then a third time later, but only because I enjoyed it. Very Sophie's choice type of ending. Hope mom picked the best treasure but after watching what she did - I'm not totally sure.
It left me wishing this were a whole novel. I want more. :) Nice job.

Hadley said...

I love the vivid images of the fence hole, the stuffed bird, and the little girl. A great sense of place and character in very few words. Nice work.

Aimee Laine said...

Deb - thank you!

Jelismorgan -- thank you!

Precie -- though ... it could be cold and negative too. ;)

September -- I'm not totally sure either. :) No plans for a novel on this one.

Hadley -- Thank you!

MRMacrum said...

Wonderful illustration of what some choices really are. Flowed well in the beginning.

Lee said...

Sometimes, a good story will answer your questions. A really good story will leave you asking new ones. This is the latter.

Aimee Laine said...

MRMacrum : I like the 'choice' issue too. :)

Lee : thank you for such a wonderful compliment. :)

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Aimee!

Great imagery... Loved Miss Birdy!

Dottie :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

What a great way to end it! Leaves me wanting more. I like the characterization here. Nicely done!

McKoala said...

Bad mommy, bad Margie. This one definitely has backstory!

Aimee Laine said...

Dottie : Thank you. Miss Birdy was my favorite too. :)

Michelle : Makes ya think, huh? :) Thanks!

McKoala : Yes, very bad mommy. ;)

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Awww...poor little girl!

Vincent Kale said...

Like others, I had to read it a few times to get all the characters straight.
Like others, I found myself asking more questions about the characters' pasts, motivations, etc. That's the mark of a compelling story.

*Also, the jewels in the stuffed robin reminded me of the Devil's Eye diamond in "The Rescuers"!

AidanF said...

I liked the playfulness of the piece. In particular, the confusion reminded me of the surreal quality of children's games.

JaneyV said...

I'm intrigued to know what the backstory is and why Sherry is so obsessed. Lots of layers here I think.

Catherine Vibert said...

I was left with a lot of questions even after reading it twice. I loved the writing, the imagery of the scene and the flow of words (I also loved the 'oozed' part.) I was left wondering why the mother was spying on her own daughter, my first hit of her was that she was also a child, so was shocked to learn she was mother, what the jewels had to do with anything, who was Margie and where did Margie find the jewels. 250 words felt like not enough to flesh out what felt to me like some kind of very awful betrayal. However, it's intriguing and very well written and I'd love to read a longer version!