Short-Fiction On Odyssey: Mother, Part VII

Short-Fiction On Odyssey: Mother, Part VII

Did Ava create a storm?

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"Mother" is an ongoing fiction series about Avalyn Rosewood and her search for the truth about her history. You can read the previous installments here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV , Part V and Part VI.


The haze lifted as quickly as it came on.

One moment she's stumbling out of the taxi, and the next thing she knows, her head is as clear as the blue eyes haunting her.

Maybe she is crazy.

At least she wouldn't have to explain to Lily that she hadn't, in fact, been drinking today.

A low rumble starts, and she frowns, putting a hand to her stomach. When was the last time I ate?

"Ava! Get inside!" Her friend waved her arm from the house as if to flag her down.

"What?" She freezes, finally taking in her surroundings. Her mouth drops. It's getting darker. Mid-day in the middle of the south, and it's dark-thirty outside. Quickly, she takes stock of everything she can remember from the last few news reports, but none suggest anything like this.

The sun is completely covered, but the moon is nowhere to be seen. The trees are rustling, but there's no wind. The clouds are gathering too quickly, forming a sea of swirling silver. Pretty soon, they'll drench everything.

The equivalent of a category three hurricane just formed in less than an hour. That's not possible.

"Holy-"

"Avalyn!" Lily's voice carried further this time, clearly irritated. She looked a mess. Her blonde hair didn't seem so shiny right now; in fact, it was the complete opposite.

"Lil," Ava chuckled despite the moment, jogging up to the front porch. "Is your hair in a messy bun?"

Lily's eyes flashed as a crack of thunder split the sky above them. "We're not talking about that," she muttered, pushing Ava inside impatiently. Wind is starting to pick up now. She watches as the trees start knocking against each other, each more violent than the next.

She turns wide-eyed to her friend. Lily only inhales sharply and gestures vaguely to the living room. She can't speak. Murmurs become clearer as she enters the room. The local meteorologist looks panicked, trying desperately to explain a phenomenon she didn't see coming.

"…stay indoors, folks. Shelter is the first priority right now." The pregnant woman takes a deep breath, searching for her next words. Her eyes dart in and out of focus. "We have eyes and ears on the storm as I speak, but currently we have no predictions as to where and how this will develop. The storm didn't show up on our radars until 12:30 this afternoon—that's half an hour ago as of right now. Stay tuned for more updates."

Half an hour ago she was in Will's shop. She shudders, grateful she made it back in time. Hopefully he's safe. Lily switches to another channel, where another apologetic meteorologist tries to explain how they didn't catch this massive storm days ago. She keeps going until she lands on an anchor and a headline.

Ava grabs her arm. "Wait."

The news anchor looks solemn. Rain, violent wind and trees are projected on the screen behind him as he clears his throat, shuffling papers. "Barely an hour into this flash storm, and tragedy has already struck. Five children have gone missing from their backyards. There is no known link between the children or their families. Local law enforcement has sent out scouts to search, but they also suggest the children may have become confused and lost due to the weather. The families ask the community to remain vigilant and keep your children close. If you see any of these missing children, you can call…"

The television shuts off.

Ava blinks, raising an eyebrow at Lily. Her friend just puts her hands up. "Don't look at me. I didn't do it."

The power flickers before snapping off. The only sound is the wailing wind against the house. The girls groan, thanking their lucky stars for their love of candles.


Lily's anxious eyes flicker in the candlelight. Ava rests with her arms on her knees, ever the calm one.

"Stop looking at me like that," Ava mutters.

"Like what?"

"Like I'm a ticking time bomb."

Lily stays quiet, pursing her lips. "You aren't the ticking time bomb."

"How very cryptic of you."

Lily shrugs, leaning against the bathroom wall with only the couch pillow as cushion. The wind is howling now, and it looks like midnight outside. It's the middle of the afternoon. They had decided the bathroom was safest for the time being. "Maybe I'm the ticking time bomb," she suggests lightly.

"Sure." Ava laughs. Lily, as eccentric as she can be, is the most responsible person she knows.

Lily tips her head, thoughtful. "You know what I did today?"

"Hm?"

"I slept in." She nods when Ava mocks her. "Yes, I know. I had a cup of coffee—don't look at me like that. Then I dressed up and Jon took me to lunch."

Ava smiles warmly at her. "I don't remember the last time you did anything like that for yourself."

"I don't either." They're quiet for a long moment, unsaid words hanging heavily in the air. "What did you do today?"

"You mean besides survive a monsoon?" Ava chuckled, tapping her knees nervously. She shouldn't be so anxious around her best friend. Words tumble out. "I saw Will today." Despite her best efforts, Lily seems unsurprised. "You're giving me that look again."

Lily ducked her head, smoothing her hands over her hair. "No, it's just that I had a feeling you'd see him again. I could tell how bad you felt ditching him like that." She ended in laughter, hiding behind her hand.

Ava dragged a cushion from behind her back and threw it at her. "I wouldn't say ditched. More like—"

"Ditched."

"Ok, yes then, I ditched him and I felt bad." Her grin faltered. "Anyway, I went to his store. You know he owns a store."

"You've only mentioned it several times, but go on."

Ava felt her face go red, and she rolled her eyes. Not the time, Lily. "Yes, well, I was looking at this pocket watch. It was gorgeous."

Lily snorted. She leaned in close. "Did you just call a pocket watch gorgeous? And... do not tell me you two bonded over a clock."

Ava bit her lip, embarrassed now that the words were out there. It was times like these that showed just how different she was from her peers. Her love for nature, old things, mysteries… set her apart.

"It wasn't really the clock. That would probably be ridiculous."

"No, it absolutely would."

She huffed, glaring at her friend until she piped down. "Nevermind, I don't know how to explain it."

Lily's gaze softened. Whether it was pity or understanding, Ava couldn't really tell. "How about you try?"

Ava sighed. How to say it when she couldn't even say it to herself? She focused on a ceiling tile so she didn't have to look at Lily or her pitying eyes before continuing. "You know when you meet someone and you just click? You feel like you know them already?" She took the silence as a 'yes.' "I feel that… with him. It's not completely romantic, either. I don't know." Ava paused, running her fingers through her hair in frustration. "I like him, but I feel connected. I feel different around him. It's like I've known him for years instead of a few months. And the moment I saw that clock, I think that all clicked."

When she looks down, Lily is locked up. Tense.

Outside, the wind picked up speed, nearly drowning out her next words. "When did you start feeling this way about him?"

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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This Earth Day, Talk About Climate Change Instead Of Just Admiring The Flowers

Earth Day is about more than planting trees.

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I'm going to be honest with you: this article was hard for me to write. It took a heavy dose of reality and a lot of deep thought for me to form the right words regarding climate change. Climate change is a large and complex issue with many different sides and arguments. No matter what words people write or say, there will always be one person who will deny the scientific evidence of climate change. There will be people who will continue to believe that climate change is a conspiracy theory and others who simply believe that it is a thing the world should not be concerned about, that it is supposed to happen.

We need to talk more about climate change. I never realized how little I was educated about climate change until I got to college. During the first semester of my freshman year, I took a plant biology course. It's pretty customary that with biology comes talk of climate change. However, the talks we had in this course about climate change were like nothing I really ever have heard before. We talked about the overwhelming effects climate change has already had and will have on our planet if we do nothing. More importantly, though, we talked about what would happen to our planet if we took action and initiative to slow the effects. Our professor showed us the documentary "Before the Flood." This powerful piece highlights the causes of climate change, what initiatives are being put in place throughout the world, and what we need to do as a human race to slow the effects of climate change.

Not only did we talk about climate change in my biology class, but we also talked about it in my English class. In the past, issues with the Earth were only discussed in science classes like biology or geology. The fact that climate change is now a topic of discussion in humanity courses like English is something to make note of. It shows that we are coming to realize how we have been lacking as a society to discuss our changing climate and its consequences.

Some of the consequences are impending, and some are already occurring. According to the documentary I mentioned earlier, "Before the Flood," our world has already seen a 1.5 degrees Celcius increase in temperature because of carbon pollution. This may not seem like a big deal, but these few degrees have led to the ice caps melting at a rate that will make them disappear within the next decade. Along with this, sea levels have been rising three times faster than two decades previously. We have also seen the oceans becoming more acidic, likely to double over the next century, which means more and more marine life will be killed. The jet streams, which are the air patterns that typically drive where weather patterns will head, are becoming trapped, which leads to more polar vortexes and extreme weather. Going along with weather patterns, hurricanes are becoming more intense because of the warming ocean waters, and because there has been a 70 percent increase of downpours in the northern United States, rivers are more likely to flood. The opposite, however, is happening to some other rivers. There are rivers out in the Western part of the United States, like the Colorado River, that are disappearing because of droughts and increasing temperatures.

These are the effects we are already seeing just in the United States. In the future, we can expect to see even more droughts throughout the entire world, not just in the Sahara or deserts. Acute diseases, like asthma and allergies, will become deadly due to air quality worsening. Not to mention, diseases we haven't seen in centuries, like the bubonic plague, may resurface. Heat waves will become more prominent, which will lead to even more droughts. Access to food and water will likely decrease due to a third of the farmland that produces meats, vegetables, grains, etc. being dried out by the end of the century. The wildfires we are experiencing out in the Western United States are likely to become more uncontrollable, causing the government to spend more tax dollars toward fixing these natural disasters. Economic collapses, cities becoming flooded, wars and conflicts, species and ecosystems disappearing... the list of what we could encounter in the future goes on and on.

All of these effects seem terrifying, and they are. From what you just read, it may look like our world is doomed and that there is no hope, yet there is! By talking more openly about climate change, we can help slow or prevent these scary effects. To help our environment, we don't have to do big elaborate tasks. We can do little things, like recycling, walking or biking to a destination instead of driving, eating more chicken or turkey instead of beef, using less plastic, and/or taking shorter showers.

We haven't been talking enough about climate change, but that is changing. The effects of climate change are scary; it puts an idea in our head that makes it seem that there is no hope for our future. But because of conversation and discussion, there is hope for our world. The Paris Climate Agreement has had top leaders of various nations coming together and discussing solutions for climate change and for our planet.

Try to have more conversations with your friends, your family, or classmates about climate change. It may seem awkward to talk about climate change out of nowhere (and it kinda is), but try to incorporate it into discussions somehow. Encourage others to take cleaner practices to their daily routines and encourage them to keep the conversation going with people they know. Little things like talking to others can, and will, make all of the lasting difference for our world.

Make this Earth Day more than just a day where you look at the pretty trees and flowers. Make it a day where you work to save the pretty trees and flowers around you.

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