Let Your Heart Be Light

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2017 by drmagoo

The ice around the window frame made it trickier to get the locking mechanism, but Emily had long ago resigned herself to working under sub-optimal conditions. Last year was nicer – one of those weird Chicago winters where it was 45 degrees on the solstice, but this year it was already in the single digits and falling, and there’d been two days of ice and snow already this week. She crouched closer to the building, shielding her hands from the wind, and began chipping away the ice. The alleyway was empty – for now, as her father always told her, don’t assume it will stay that way – and no one heard the muffled thumps and cracks as small pieces of ice landed on the peeling paint and grey wood of the fire escape.

Once the ice was out of the way, Emily pulled her picks out from the inside of her wool jacket and took care of the lock. Buildings like this always had tricky locks, not because anything inside had real value in any objective sense, but when it was all you had, even a beaten-up couch and TV with a crack in one corner were treasures. Still, she’d been doing this for her whole life, and no mechanical window lock was going to stymie her for too long.

Stepping inside, Emily took a look around and began to sketch out a plan. The worst part of these jobs wasn’t that she had such a narrow window of time in which to do a lot of work, but that she couldn’t plan ahead as much as the job really needed. She knew when they’d be home, who lived here, how old they were, but not the layout of the place or what aesthetic she should strive for. Usually, she started with some basic traditional motif and tried to bring enough variations with her in order to achieve the greatest effect. This job was particularly challenging. Single dad, two daughters – nine and twelve. Old enough to know miracles didn’t exist, young enough to still hope they were wrong. The younger one loved science – Emily had seen her carrying her science fair project to school last week, eyes shining and mouth moving a mile a minute. The older one was into sports of all kinds – the basketball and soccer ball in front of the door were hers – but it was the more-tape-than-wood hockey stick and torn-at-the-corners poster of Amanda Kessel that showed her real dreams. Poor kids, especially poor girls, didn’t play hockey though. Skates, helmet, stick… it all added up.

Okay, time to get to work. If she let herself think too hard about these kids, their dad, how hard it was to get up when you were this far down…ah, that way lay madness.

Emily went back out on the fire escape, using the door this time, and began bringing everything in. The tree was still in its box. She would have loved to have put up a real tree, but this one would last this family years and years, not just a few weeks, and already being lit helped. The tree-decorating drills she did in her living room paid off here, and the tree was up, tinseled, and ornamented – two packs of shiny glass balls, five gift cards to the grocery store, a set of NASA spacecraft, and various memorabilia of great moments in women’s sports – in twelve and a half minutes. Then came the wax tart – at least it would smell like a real tree – stockings laid before the tree, hockey gear, a microscope with USB connector to download digital images, a tablet computer, and gift cards to the mall that they could get to on the El. She didn’t forget dad, of course. Caught in the switches – too much experience on the jobsite to hire just as a laborer, not enough credits at the local college to get the degree that would get him the interviews he needed to put a piece of paper next to his knowledge, and lost trying to be mom and dad to two girls busily turning in to women, determined not to let them raise themselves – his head was under water, and he spent every day just hoping that he’d be able to keep his girls afloat until they could leave home. He got three things –the phone number of a woman Emily knew who owned a construction firm that employed a few too many guys who could lift boulders but didn’t know where to put them or had all the credentials but hands that had never picked up a hammer; an appointment for a fitting for a new suit, already paid for, of course, that he could wear to his interview; and an acceptance letter for an online degree completion program that he would have no trouble affording with the new job he was about to get.

Eighteen years of experience doing this with her dad hadn’t prepared Emily for the emotions she’d feel when she stepped back and took in the entirety of what she’d set up for the first time. But that was a decade ago, and now she was all business. Pulling out her phone, she checked the time – ten minutes left before they’d be home, perfect – and snapped a picture. Dad would have loved this one, she knew, but the accident that had taken his foot ended his breaking-and-entering career for good. She’d share this one with him, and then with her daughter – Abby would be old enough to join her next year. She smiled, turned on the lights on the tree, set her father’s calling card on a branch in front, and headed out.

Four minutes later, Robert slid the key in the lock and opened the door. The girls were dragging a bit from a long outing in the cold, but enough activities at this time of year were free – anyone could look at lights – that they’d made a whole night of it. As soon as the door opened a crack, a chill went down his spine. He knew the lights had been off when they left, he wasn’t about to pay for electricity they weren’t around to use. And his nerves sent a jolt into his brain when his youngest screeched behind him. He whirled to see what had happened to her when Lily and her big sister pushed past him and darted into the apartment, their voices reaching a painful pitch almost instantly. “Ohmygoddaddaddoyouseethetree?”

Spinning back around, Robert finally saw what Lily and Rose were yelling about. A seven-foot tree, surrounded with lights and color and presents, dominated the living room. It was the only bright thing in the home – well, other than the girls – and he felt his eyes well up, thinking of the Christmases of his childhood and the pain that came every year when he couldn’t provide the same things to his own kids. The shining star on the highest bough seemed to twinkle through his tears, and he reached out to hug the two squealing shapes heading back towards him. “Dad! Dad! It’s from him!”

Lily was holding something out to him, and he wiped his eyes to take a better look at it. It was a simple business card, the kind he’d seen in news stories on TV this time of year for seemingly decades. Printed in the middle, in a festive font, were the words “Have Yourself a Murray Little Christmas,” and below, in a smaller block script, “EMILY LITTLE, Proprietor.”


ThursThreads, week 284

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2017 by drmagoo

The glare on my wife’s face grew deeper as she thumbed off her phone and turned to me. “That was Citibank.”

“I told you I was going to get a few things.”

“A few things?”

“I needed a new dress for Joan’s wedding.”


“And we wanted new linens.”

“They didn’t call about a dress and some linens, Lanie.”

“There was also the negligee I got you – you know, that one you saw at Vickie’s. Though that’s kinda for me too.”

She just stared at me.

“Okay. There were a few other…things…I found on the internet.”


“Did they flag the one from Romania? Or Tibet?”


“How about the one from Peru? He’s the biggest one.”

“The biggest what? What did you buy, Lanie? Exotic pets?”

“No. Well, kind of. I mean, they’re not really pets.”


It was my turn to be quiet.

“What. Did. You. Buy?”



“Well, dragon eggs. Unless they hatched en route.”

“Dragon eggs, unless they hatched. You spent how much on these?”

“They’re real, I swear! The sellers got great Yelp reviews and everything. Wanna see the websites?”

“No, I don’t want to see the websites. What I want you do to is call and cancel the purchases. All of them. Well, not the dress. Joan is my sister.”

“I can’t. They’re getting delivered tonight.”

“They’re going to deliver us rocks, Lanie.”

“Unless they hatched!”

“I can’t understand how you could be so fool…what’s that noise?”

Outside, there was a roar.

ThursThreads, week 283

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2017 by drmagoo

The air was sickly sweet from too many flowers, too much perfume, and whatever the hell they used in places like this to keep people thinking about rotting flesh. People had been filing past Timothy for hours, a never-ending stream of kids from school and crying family members and gawkers hoping to get a glimpse of this month’s celebrity-a-la-newscasts. They didn’t know what to think of me, sitting alive while he was dead. There should have been two coffins lined up next to each other, their eyes said to me. How could you have escaped when he didn’t? Weren’t you supposed to protect him?

I didn’t give a fuck.

They hadn’t been in that cabin. They hadn’t been lashed to the floor with ropes and fed pills that made the room sway like the cabin of a ship in a hurricane and raped for hours and days. They hadn’t been asked the same question over and over and over until they said everything they could think of in order to make it stop stop stop.

I realized I was clenching my hands so hard my fingernails had drawn blood. God, I was so mad at Timothy. He knew where Dad had kept the money. I didn’t. He’d spied on Dad, once, and seen the key. I begged him to tell them. Begged him to give in and save us. But he wouldn’t. He just smiled, and he never talked.

I was glad he was dead.

#ThursThreads week 222

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2016 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://www.siobhanmuir.com/siobhans-blog/thursthreads-tying-tales-together-week-222

Not until I know for sure that the medication has taken hold do I loosen the blindfold. Without the sedation she’d have screamed when she saw me. But with it she was delusional, believing I was her husband, handsome and rich and someone who wouldn’t rape her.

Oh, she’ll come out of her fugue state when I first penetrate her, the pain will take care of that.

And then she’ll be dead, which is too bad, because I think she really could’ve loved me, if she had been willing to talk to me, even to smile at me, to notice how much I loved her.

I looked down at her, tied down to my bed, and marveled at the dress she was wearing. Long enough to know she wasn’t a slut, short enough to give me just a little glimpse of thigh when she strolled past me on the sidewalk. She wanted that, I knew, and more – she wanted me to see all the way up – but when I told her so, told her what I could do to her pussy if she just gave me a chance, she turned and walked away.

Walked. Away. From a compliment from a nice man? What kind of woman does that?

She actually started crying before I penetrated her, when she felt me stripping her, no matter how much I complimented her lying bitch mouth or goddamned whore cunt.

Not that it stopped me, of course. I was hard, and she was mine.

VisDare 141

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2016 by drmagoo

Prompt: https://anonymouslegacy1.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/visdare-141-beauty
Randall fidgeted with the borrowed shirt, made for a smaller man in another time. He didn’t know why this getup was necessary, but Satan had been specific. “Every detail, or the deal is off.”

Beside him, Shondra smiled for him. The cancer hadn’t found its way to her eyes yet, and they twinkled with the absurdity of the situation. They were still young, still loved life and the world and each other with silly passion, and if Randall wanted to play old-timey pretend, she’d go along with it. Someday soon she’d be spending every day in pain, so why not enjoy what joy the world still held?

The photographer lined them up, positioning them just so.

Then a countdown, a flash, and Randall felt his lungs turn to fire. He had it now, and she was free. One death and one soul, a small price to pay for one life.

VisDare 125

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2016 by drmagoo

Prompt: https://anonymouslegacy1.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/visdare-125-candid/

She told me that she struggled in relationships because she became so vulnerable so quickly, that she didn’t have a filter to keep herself from sharing all of herself, but that was what I loved so much about her. I never had to wonder what she was thinking, she told me. I never sat, lost in my own head, concocting stories about why she’d stopped loving me, because her love for me was always there, as plain as the bones which gave her body form and the muscles which gave her form motion.

She taught me to trust myself, to be vulnerable to myself, even when I couldn’t with anyone else – even her. She taught me how to talk to people as equals, to not hide what made each of us human in our own ways. She taught me to love.

Love Bites Blog Hop 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on February 12, 2016 by drmagoo

True Love Always Dies
740 words

It wasn’t right that she’d left me, not like this. We were supposed to grow old together, our kids and grandkids and greatgrandkids gathered around us, telling stories and playing in front of the fire. Instead, here I was, standing in a freezing drizzle, watching them lower her into a hole in the ground.

People are jerks when someone dies. They don’t mean to be, I know, but they presume so much. They insinuate themselves into your life, trying to help, as if there was anything anyone could do to make it better. They tell you platitudes about the afterlife, like they alone had an inside line on what happens to us after we become worm food. But mostly they presume to know what you’re going through. They act like they knew her, like they knew her inner thoughts, the dreams she told you about in bed at night, the words she told you the last time you saw her before she was dead. And they don’t know. They can’t know.

But they presume.

I stayed around town for a few weeks after the funeral, but what I really wanted to do was get to work. I didn’t need anyone, even someone as well-meaning as my neighbor Phil, who’d walk around my house – our house – like he owned the place, like that badge in his wallet gave him a key to every business in town, getting in my way. So I left.

They’d find me, I knew. People who presume don’t know boundaries. They don’t know how to leave well enough alone. They don’t know.

The village I’d found online was warm, remote, and full of people who wouldn’t bother me. It was taboo here to enter another man’s house without permission, and I sure as heck wouldn’t be granting that. So no one asked “what’s in the box, mister?” No one asked “is that a pentagram on your floor, Tim?” No one asked what that smell was or what those words were I kept chanting or what that glow was coming from the box.

No one presumed to stop by the day my wife came back to me.

I wasn’t sure what the transition from being dead to being alive would be like for her, but I tried to consider all the possible factors. I bound her wounds, especially the ones where the bullets had exited her body – those had bled like crazy. I tied her arms and legs down, in case she thrashed or tried to escape once she came back. The gag in her mouth was as comfortable as I could make it – she hadn’t been much into that kind of thing when alive. And her favorite song was playing on Pandora.

One look into her eyes told me that it had all worked, and that she was back, she was here. And she was furious.


Trusting in the locals not to presume, I loosened the gag.

I won’t reprint what she said here, because it really wasn’t very nice, and it really didn’t matter anyway. The only words that mattered were the ones she’d told me in our house that last day. “I hate you, Tim,” she’d said. “I hate how you try to control me. To hurt me.” When all I’d done was love her? And this is how she felt? “I’m leaving you. I never want to see you again.”

Like that was a possibility. She’d known that as soon as I’d calmly walked to what had been our bedroom and retrieved my gun, but by then it was too late. She might die, but she’d never leave me.
Here in my new house, we talked. Well, she screamed, mostly. And then she cried. And then she didn’t say anything, because I’d cut out her tongue.

And then her heart.

She presumed that someone would come. She presumed that I’d brought her back to me so I wouldn’t have to live without her.

She presumed.

How little she knew me. Now that I knew how to bring her back, I wasn’t limited to enacting my vengeance just the once.

Sewing her heart back into place took some time, but it was worth the effort. When I brought her back from the dead a second time, I think she understood.

Even if she didn’t, I was going to give her plenty of chances to learn.

She presumed to leave me. Like that was possible.