Sunday, April 20, 2008

the blue swing...


A little bit of a change-up in today's post.

My ex and I raised our kids without much TV. We read them a lot of books and they always had loads of kids' books (scattered everywhere). Both read now at a level much higher than the grades they are in. They went through loads of Mad-Libs and both can write well. My daughter Robin is a voracious reader... probably to the detriment of her school work... but that is ok (kinda).

Her mother emailed me a story the other day that Robin had written for a school assigment. It is so well done I havta post it for you all. The story is -- of course -- under copyright protection. So here, dear friends, is my daughter Robin's public debut as an author of short fiction. The piece is untitled (for now) but if it were mine I'd call it...


The blue swing...

I ran through the conversation in my head again, trying with all my heart to think of some way, some loophole, that would take the blame off me. I'd been at it for what felt like hours, every excuse getting weaker as time went on, but it all came down to the same thing. I told myself there was no way I could have known, no possible way I could have known! But the truth was... I knew I was making a mistake when I picked up that phone. Somehow I had known. I couldn't explain it, except maybe to say that my blood had been pumping faster, my heart felt squeezed in my chest, and I just got that feeling that you get when things aren't right, and now things have gone horribly wrong.

"Mom, mom!!" I shouted, running into the house, "mom, where are you?" I half whined the question as I climbed the stairs. I peeked into her room, and my heart sunk. Just as I had dreaded, no one was there, and on top of that, all of her stuff was packed up, ready for the movers. My palms sweating, I closed my eyes and leaned against the wall. How could this have happened so quickly? What did they want from me?? I calmed my breathing, and with a cold certainty, I knew what I had to do. The instructions had been simple enough, after all, just go to the local park and wait on the blue swing. So I went.

Now I had a dilema. I was standing in front of the swings, five in total, and they were all red. The man on the phone had been very clear that I was to wait on the blue swing, no where else. Maybe he was messing with my head, I thought, but no. He was not the type to play games, I knew that. I walked over to the first swing in the row and stared down at it. Nope, definitely red. I walked slowly down the line, studying each swing, and it wasn't until the fourth one that a smile slid onto my face. This was obvious enough. Some kid had written in big, bold letters "I am Blue." with a big frowny face right on the seat. I wound my hand around the big chain, sat down and swinging gently, I waited for the man with the deep voice. My phone rang. I jumped and almost fell off the swing, but quickly caught my breath and answered the call.

"Hello?" I said tentatively.

"Close your eyes." The man's deep voice said. As usual, straight to the point.

"Why?" I asked, though I knew I would get no answer. Slowly, I closed my phone, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes. Almost immediately I felt a presence before me, and not daring to open my eyes before I was told, waited. I heard someone say "open them," and obediently snapped my eyes open. I did not expect to see what I did. Standing maybe a foot away from me was... me. The logical part of my brain told me to run, but I was rooted to the spot, partially by fear, but mostly by curiosity. I couldn't speak, so I just waited.

Finally she - I - spoke, "I've waited a long time for this, you know." The deep voice that escaped this impostor's lips startled me, I was fully expecting my own. "As soon as I have your voice," It grinned, "I'll be complete and ready to go."

Panic made my voice shoot up a few octaves. "Go WHERE? What are you talking about, what the hell is going on?!"

"You'll find out soon enough.." It chuckled, and I noticed for the first time that it's voice was slowly getting higher. Closer to my tone. "By then I'll be long gone. I've managed to convince your... well... my mother to move away. I need out of this rotting town." Now, the thing studied me closely. "I'm not evil, you know," it cocked it's head, "I was a victim of it just like you. You'll understand, and someday you'll have a life back. I've finally got mine... Or shall we say yours," and with that, it was gone.


I sat in the dark, watching. This boy might be the one, I thought. Then again, I've thought that before and hadn't been correct. No, I told myself, this is different. This has to be the one. I'd been watching him for months, soaking up every detail about him and his life. I was ready to take him over, I knew, and did not feel the least bit guilty. After all, it wasn't my fault I was in this position, nor was it his, or anyones before me. It just was, and now I just needed one thing to be rid of this burden. I needed him to pick up the phone.

- April 17, 2008, Portland, Oregon

© 2008, Robin Erickson


Not bad eh...? The kid has talent I tell ya. Where she gets it? I'm clueless, must be her mom's side of the family.



Anonymous said...

Gosh, I get my very own post! Cool dude :]

Anonymous said...

Very well done and she gets it from you Allan; don't be so damned humble as you are a wonderful writer and don't you forget it...


Anonymous said...

Dang, I'm jealous!
But most of all - THANKS for such a wonderful short story.

Anonymous said...

You haven't seen any posts from me in awhile, ae. I just make occasional visits to "The Hive" to see what I can stir up. My visits here are pure enjoyment. But hey, your daughter is someone to be destined for fame..... Oh, if those skills were mine! Congrats, and best wishes, fdalla

P.S. Where she got that talent?..... good genes, and good parents.

Allan Erickson said...

Thanks Mike, Frank and Scott for the comments and compliments and thanks Robin for letting me post your story.

If she keeps this up maybe dad can retire. Move over Ursula Le Guin!