She stared at him as he aimed the gun at her face.


Was she supposed to be scared? She was petrified.

She realized all the things she loved about her life. Suddenly her concerns, fears, and disappointments were petty.


Was she supposed to stop talking and moving? She was frozen in place.

She wanted to live. She wanted to keep breathing. Her mother and father. Her best friend. Their faces were blurry in her memory. What color exactly were her sister’s eyes. Brown. But what shade, and what did they do when they were happy, sad, angry? She wanted to see them again. She couldn’t remember them well enough! If he pulled that trigger, would she be just that kind of distant image for them?


Was she supposed to beg for her life? She was undecided.

It seemed silly to plead with someone who had already made up their mind. And she was stubborn, why beg for something while she still stood tall. But she knew there were ways to break her, that would make her plead and scream.


Was she supposed to hate him? She would not do that.

Hate leads to revenge. Revenge leads to more violence. She could not do that to a world already full of anger and violence. So she would stand still, and cry, and beg if needed. But she would not hate.


So she studied his face. Looked for the humanity in the light of his eyes, the lines around his nose and mouth. And she looked to the sky behind him. Perhaps it would not be so bad if she could just see the blue of it all, and white of the clouds, the birds circling by.


Better to leave this place seeing the beauty of it all, than to feel hate as her last emotion.


She was scared as she stared at the blue beyond, but she was determined.



story book character

It was her birthday! Excitedly, she put on her favorite dress and the prettiest crown in her collection (her Mama had given it to her a few years ago), and ran out into the woods.

The light of a new day pushed through the branches of the familiar trees. Fresh and green, and smelling of earth.

She was excited to see her fairy friends again. Every year on her birthday she had gone out into the woods and they had been there. Rustling through leaves, floating with the dust in shafts of light. They called to her to play with them. They were magic and imagination and she loved them.

It was her birthday and she could not wait to see them again! Though the dress pinched a little as it grew too small. Though she no longer looked at her crown collection, unless it was her birthday. She was certain that in the woods the magic remained.

But as she stepped through the shadows and dappled sunlight, all she heard was the breeze and the whisper of cars off the nearby highway. Where the fairies used to laugh at her as they danced, there remained only leaves, twigs, and dust. She strained her eyes looking for them, but found only a brown bird and caterpillar.

She stood there then, in her too tight dress and the crown slipping down the side of her head, and had to admit that she’d lost them.




She stood alone atop the hill. Her back turned to all she had ever known. There was no returning now. Her choices had been taken from her. “For the good of the community,” they had said. So she had left; she had taken her power back.

It was a solitary place to be. Atop the world, all alone, uncertainty paving the path forward.

Pulling the cloak tighter around her shoulders, she prayed. To whom she no longer knew.




She let the wind whip across her face, kissing it with salt. The smell of fish filled her senses, erasing the memory of all previous smells. Letting her hair twist and toy with her cheeks, it felt like she had never been anywhere else. With eyes closed she could imagine herself as ageless, as always having existed on this beach in this moment. Arching her back further, she almost believed she could fly.