Hope (Sequel)

Welcome back, my wonderful readers!

For those of you who have been waiting for the conclusion of Hope, the time has come! For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, just scroll on down to the previous post:)

But be forewarned, this might be a tear-jerker;)

 

Hope

Hope

(Sequel)

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2017

 

From an all-encompassing bright light came a sign of life in the form of tree branches stretching far and wide, so thick with leaves that one could only wonder of nature’s community which lived inside.

Throughout the canopy hung round balls of delight, for within these husks lived the deliciously versatile walnut.

Beneath this massive display of Mother Nature’s beauty stood a thick trunk, holding it all up with such dignified strength.

“Mom, where are we?”

“I don’t know, Hope.”

All of a sudden, with what seemed like the same amount of force as the impact which had brought them here, the razor-sharp blade of a whizzing axe on the downswing came slicing through the trunk’s bark, imbedding about a half foot into it.

The shock from such a violet action shook Hope to her core, but what core? As she felt the imposing energy reverberate she wondered if they were indeed dead.

The only thing she did know for sure was the pain she felt for the beautiful walnut tree, the wondrous structure losing its majestic towering presence with every swing of the axe.

Or was such a feeling just empathy?

The more she thought about it, felt about it, the clearer a new perspective began to emerge. Despite being chopped down it still seemed to have a purpose, perhaps a new purpose. A sense that would prove true within a moment of the grand tree timbering over and hitting the ground at their feet.

The ripple of energy echoing throughout their beings held the ability to transport the two ahead in time, to a montage of sorts, the massive trunk being stripped of its bark, cut into sections and reassembled in a way that began to form a rectangular box.

The more the new purpose of this splendid tree took on its new shape the more familiar it became to both mother and daughter, and by the time the details were being put into place­—the motif, the etchings, the pearls—such intricacies were accompanied by the sound of innocence, the purest form of humankind…

The cry of a newborn baby.

Both Hope and Denise stood from their positions of observation as a father guided his wife and their precious newborn in her arms towards the chest. The chest of Hope and Denise’s family history, its origins beginning here with this young couple.

Then returned the ripples of time, through its montage of story aging the parents as the child grew into a young woman, a few siblings now by her side.

She was soon joined by a partner, a baby of their own coming into being not long thereafter.

With another generation came the passing of the first, still there in spirit, there to bear witness, along with Denise and Hope, as the chest was passed down to each first daughter, the leaves and branches of this family tree growing ever so much more as surroundings changed, as time passed.

Time that brought about inevitable change, descendants experiencing both great triumphs and great sorrows throughout the ages, all centered around this heirloom, this chest.

From poverty to riches, peace to wars, the hope chest withstanding all, although at times coming very close to being destroyed.

Barely escaping house fires…

Being buried among rubble as air raids come thundering down from above…

Nearly being sold as it came into the dire times of the destitute…

Barely slipping away from the massive grasps of mighty ocean waves as the family weathered the journey to the New World…

Through Ellis Island and under the torch of Lady Liberty the chest entered New York to start its next hundred years, Great Mama the first to inherit it on American soil. To see her at such a tender age, to watch her grow, to enter womanhood like those who had come before her, with the hope chest at the foot of her bed, was special indeed for Hope and Denise, the two now holding hands.

Then came Hope’s grandmother, Denise with such a serene look on her face at the sight of her young nursing mother, before she too grew up to find someone to keep the family going.

Especially touching was when it was Denise’s turn to come into being, Hope looking over at her mother every now and then with a smile as they watched her go through the stages of childhood and adolescence.

By the time they reached the moment on the bridge, the meeting that would lead to the companionship of bringing Hope into existence, mother and daughter were shaking. Other than pictures, it was the first time Hope had ever seen her father, and as for Denise, the vision of once again seeing her dearly departed nearly sent her falling over to her knees. But the two held each other up in their arms, watching with such longing, wishing they could just step out into that past and make it their present.

They had never been so close, so united in emotion.

Watching her father work on the chest, tears began to well up in Hope’s eyes. It was all she could do not to turn away, for she knew what must be coming next.

Or at least she thought she did…

But instead of the tragedy of 9/11 the storyline, the timeline, was now showcasing a mother’s pregnant belly, her hands holding another pair of hands as the arms embraced her from the back.

Like a powerful movie moment the montage tilted up to the mother’s face, to reveal her to be a future Hope, her love, the father of her baby lowering his head down to the side of hers to where they were now cheek-to-cheek, both looking down at baby-to-be.

It wasn’t the kid who hadn’t had her back back at his house, the one she had nearly given her innocence to. No, this was a real man. One whose face expressed sincerity and loyalty.

Hope looked to her mother, now understanding all, but Denise had changed, now as transparent as the ancestors at their back.

Hope looked out to them all, the number having grown overwhelmingly since she last noticed them. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, all having lived as a result of that first couple.

Why was she still solid but her mother as translucent as the others…?

Just as it occurred to her the welled up tears in her eyes burst out, looking back at her mother with such fear…

“No mom, please, don’t leave me.

“I’m so sorry.

“I didn’t understand…”

Although now unable to wipe away her daughter’s tears, it didn’t stop Denise from trying. “My precious baby, don’t blame yourself. Please, whatever you do, don’t blame yourself. I’ll be with daddy now. I’ll be with those who have come before us.

“It’s up to you now, to keep it going, to make sure the chest continues to have purpose. It needs your strength, we all need your strength. We’re all within it.

“Live, experience, create. Pass what you learn on to the next.”

Through the tears Hope lunged forward to embrace her mother, to hold her one last time, but just when she should have made contact the all-encompassing bright light once again engulfed…

Hope waking to find herself in a hospital bed, her eyes struggling to find focus before beginning to make out a figure at the foot of the bed.

The clearer her vision became the more she could see him…

An ER resident, his face unmistakable.

That expression of true sincerity. The man of her future, the father of the child who would inherit the chest.

Another story to add to its rich history, another display of the human condition.

~

You can show support for The Flash Fiction Ponder by liking, sharing, leaving positive comments & following the blog:)

Hope

Hello my wonderful readers:)

Today we explore the human condition of being hurt by a loved one, and how it is so much more painful than experiencing it from a stranger.

Hope

All Rights Reserved

2017

It was a chest that brought about instant curiosity, over two hundred years of history, holding the innermost personal stories of nine generations of women. Many of its features symbolized the innocence it stood for, including its color of purity white and its two vertical rows of pearls on either side of its front. Some even saw chaste in its motif, certain perspectives seeing the image of a nun, her arms outstretched to her sides, the keyhole, the window to her soul, her veil spreading out as the design leading to those precious, priceless pearls.

The chest had seen better days, better generations for that matter. For the past sixteen years it had sat in a basement, the struggles and tribulations of a single mother and her daughter pouring down through the wooden floorboards over the years and coating it in dust.

In truth, Denise couldn’t stand the sight of the old chest, although it had not always been that way. She had been the last inheritor of it, receiving the heirloom on her sixteenth birthday in a special ceremony that involved her mother and grandmother. A tradition that had been passed down for two centuries, with origins going all the way back to the family’s motherland of Italy.

Like those who had come before her, Denise cherished the chest that would help her prepare for her future, the three generations of women filling it with things she would need once she started her own family. At the foot of her bed was where the keepsake sat, loyally waiting while Denise went out into the world to find herself and her future husband.

As if written in the stars it didn’t take long for her dream to come to fruition, the man she saw herself spending the rest of her life with finding her on a cool fall day atop Central Park’s famous Bow Bridge.

Before long the couple were expecting, and how delighted Denise was when she learned that she would be having a girl. So overjoyed in fact that the child would not only receive the chest, but its name as well.

And so Hope was born.

From the moment Hope entered the world both mother and father were head-over-heels in love, Daddy setting out right away to fulfil his job as restorer of the chest. You see, the mothers and daughters in this timeless ritual weren’t the only ones who had a role, the fathers expected to take it upon themselves to learn enough carpentry basics to restore the chest before it was to be bequeathed to their daughter.

Hope’s father had taken it quite a bit further, signing up for woodwork classes at a local community college and taking a whole semester to immerse himself in the craft. Such dedication took a toll on his schedule, as he would commute to the city via subway to his job at The World Trade Center, then divide his evenings between his family and wood classes. Taking everything into consideration, he had decided he needed a change, preferring life with his wife and daughter over the nine-to-five skyscraper hustle and bustle. He would trade in suits and briefcases for diapers and baby bottles, high-rise meetings for becoming an artist of wood.

His last day at the office would be on September 11, 2001.

The same day that the world would change forever, the life he envisioned as a stay-at-home daddy dissipating along with the twin towers of the iconic New York skyline.

And just like that Denise had lost her husband, her best friend, her soul mate, left alone to care for a newborn. Well, not totally alone, for there were family from both sides, there with their unconditional helping hands. But despite the love showered upon her, the many shoulders to cry on, she still felt abandoned and lost. And as far as that chest, just thinking about it sent her bursting into tears, not daring to actually lay eyes on it. It was the first thing Denise had requested when taking the family up on their offer to help in any way. To get the chest out, away, her poor hubby’s work never to be completed.

As the years passed life became a little easier for Denise to cope with, the growing of her dear daughter Hope keeping her strong enough to face each day as it came along. But life as a single parent is hardly ever easy, constantly performing the juggling act of breadwinning and child-rearing.

What helped was the saying her and husband used to use when facing any obstacle: us against the world, the us now being her and Hope.

What didn’t help was the dark side of Hope that began to show itself at the tender age of seven. At times it was like the little girl would change entirely, becoming very hurtful when not getting what she wanted. Denise would try to rationalize the situation, attributing it to the absence of a father figure, but she had friends who were single mothers, and none of their children acted out as Hope did.

The more time passed, the more it felt like ‘me against the world.’

By thirteen Hope was sneaking out of the house to meet with friends, Denise finding it impossible to keep an eye on her while at the same time providing for the two of them. She tried to create a good environment, attempting to steer Hope in the direction of good kids, of those who actually respected their parents and understood boundaries, but such efforts would always end in the same result: Hope quickly losing interest and finding her way back to the bad influencers.

Denise would imagine the worst when not being able to contact Hope, tormenting thoughts of her daughter out there doing who knows what with who knows who, with discussions on daytime TV talk shows of how the new up and coming generation was becoming more sexually advanced than those who had ever came before them sending her to her wits end.

What if Hope had already given up her innocence? Carelessly throwing away the one thing she could never get back?

Then the thought of the chest would come up, the pain of the past colliding with the pain of the present, making it so overwhelming that at times Denise just wanted to end it all. But was it her husband’s spirit that would embrace during these most darkest of hours, there to let her know that all would be alright if she just persevered?

Whatever the reassuring energy was it would get Denise back to the place of hope, of the possibility that her and Hope still had a chance to have a real mother/daughter relationship. With such aspiration came the realization that she would have to face her sorrowful past if she were to move on to a better future. And so she began to tell Hope about her father.

The new revelations appeared to have some effect on the teen, at least to begin with, Hope even insisting that the two go down to the basement to have a look at the chest. Until then the young one hadn’t really understood anything about her mother, but when she saw what became of the woman who raised her when standing before that chest, her perspective shifted a bit, a seed of empathy being planted as her mother broke down in tears and shared her story, shared their story.

It was the closest the two had been since Hope was a little girl, holding each other in tears, us against the world once again becoming a possibility.

“I haven’t done anything yet, mom.”

“What?”

“My innocence… I still have it.”

Such relief, such happiness, with promises of taking over for daddy to prepare for Hope’s sweet sixteen. After all, it was just over two years away, and what better project for the two to reconnect?

But then came reality. The reality of any relationship. Parent/child, brother/sister, husband/wife. That sooner or later one would let the other down.

In Hope’s case, it came about a lot sooner than Denise would have liked, the barrier that had appeared to have been broken down between the two reappearing within a week, and growing taller, stronger, wider the more time passed.

Before she knew it Denise was looking into the matured face of her dear daughter, Hope just days away from celebrating her sweet sixteen.

“I’m not asking you to do anything for me. If not for yourself, if not for your grandmother, do it for Great Mama. You know how old she’s getting. This could very well be her last year.”

Even Hope couldn’t deny this. Her great grandmother had lived a very full life. Daughter to those who had brought the family over to America, she had witnessed the world change many times over, the old woman nearly at total peace with the fact that she would be closing her eyes for the last time very soon. Nearly, the only thing left to be anxious about being the inheritance of the chest, making it a point to call at least a few times a week to inquire on the matter.

How sweet Grand Mama had always been to Hope, never visiting without a present to give, always offering a mint or piece of gum from her purse. These fond memories is what finally got the problem child to show a little focus for the upcoming ceremony, at least enough to sit down and listen a bit more about their history, along with going dress shopping for the occasion.

All seemed set for the sweet sixteen, the uncles having lugged the old chest up from the basement, the fine linen having been laid out, mother and daughter having negotiated the schedule for the special day. Hope would have the whole afternoon to hang out with her friends, needing to be home by 5:00 to prepare for the rite.

Despite Hope having promised just that, Denise was apprehensive all day, checking the time every few minutes while her mom and grandmother talked about the good ol’ days.

By 4:30 she had begun to send text messages.

Ur on ur way home, right? Rmbr, u nd to b here at *5*, not being on ur way at 5.       

5 mins til. Why aren’t u replying?!

Dammit Hope, u knw how important ths s to ur grandparents! Wher r u?!

30 mins past. I swear Hope, f u don’t walk thru that door n next 5 mins…!   

With all her messages being ignored, Denise did something she swore she would never do. She marched upstairs, burst into her daughter’s room, and began looking through things.

Under the mattress was a pamphlet on birth control pills. Her heart sank…

From the bedroom to her laptop Denise logged on to their cellular provider’s website, quickly striking in her password and changing the settings on their account, to where she could bring up the phone log and text messages of her daughter’s number.

From a sinking heart to one pounding throughout her whole body, Denise read the latest dozen or so texts to have been sent and received. Her baby girl had been planning the ultimate betrayal, promising her new boyfriend the sweetness to her sweet sixteen.

He would be finished with football practice at 5:00, home by 6:00, where the two would meet up and have the place to themselves for three hours, until his parents got home from work.

Denise was now wiping away tears as she quickly dialled Hope’s best friend.

“Alexis, it’s Denise, Hope’s mom. Do you know where she is?

‘So she left your house at five?

“Where did she go?

“Alexis, I know about Jeff. I know they’re planning to meet. You wanna know how I know? Just about every cell company has the option to not only track all numbers linked to the main account, but to read text messages too. What do you think will happen when I tell your parents about this feature, and how you helped Hope lie to her mother?!

“You need to tell me where this boy lives, now!”

As if Mother Nature could feel the fury emanating from Denise, a thunderstorm began to take shape just as she rushed for the front door.

“Everything alright?” Denise’s mother asked.

Be right back. Going to get Hope.”

5:50. Fifteen minutes away from Maple Drive. Despite the rain coming down harder, Denise stepped on the gas.

She got there at 6:00 sharp, but there was already a car in the drive way and a light on upstairs. She rang the doorbell…

No answer.

Dialed Hope’s cell…

No answer…

The front door was locked.

Denise could see a shadow behind the curtain upstairs, her motherly instinct telling her they were both up there, looking down in silence and waiting for her to go away.

She looked under the flower pots…

No spare key.

Picturing what her baby girl was about to do, the panic caused her to pick up one of the flower pots and send it crashing through the living room window.

Although she could only see the very bottom of the stairs, Denise could now hear commotion charging down, planting her feet firmly into place now that she had their undivided attention.

Jeff was shirtless, speechless for a moment as he processed the damage, then found the words to speak up.

“What the hell, lady?!”

Hope was right behind him, pulling down her blouse before looking up at her mom through the shattered window.

“Get your ass in the car, now!” Denise demanded.

Hope just stood there, refusing to move.

“My parents are gonna kill me…” was all Jeff could say now.

Denise picked up another flower pot, raised it up…

“Get in the car, Hope, or I’ll bust out every damn window in this house!”

Jeff didn’t wait a second longer, grabbing Hope and pushing her her mother’s way. “You gotta get out of here, now!”

Hope was shocked at such a betrayal from her boyfriend, Denise seeing it written all over her face.

“And you were going to give it away to this guy…” Denise said as her daughter headed for the front door.

It was now pouring rain, hurtful words being thrown in full force as soon as the car doors were slammed shut.

“How could you? He’s never gonna talk to me again. And what about school?! They’re all gonna be talking about this! You’ve ruined my life!”

Denise tried to calm herself as she pulled away from Jeff’s house and into the storm, above all, thankful that she had got to her daughter in time. “In time… In time, you’ll understand.”

“Understand what?! What a crazy bitch I have for a mother?! That’s what they’re gonna be calling you, you know! The whole school! The whole town!”

Calm. Stay calm. We’ll deal with everything when we get home.

“I hate you!” Hope shouted.

Why me? Have I not suffered enough? I give her everything, absolutely everything…

“I’ve never been able to understand why you can’t stop yourself from doing the wrong thing,” Denise said, doing her best to keep her composure, “while hardly ever being able to do the right thing.”

“Maybe because I was raised by the wrong parent!” Hope yelled back. “You should have died instead of dad! You’ve always been an awful mother! Why do you think I didn’t show up tonight? I could care less about your stupid chest!”

Denise fought to see through her tears, the pounding rain, the oncoming headlights…

Oncoming headlights-

No time to swerve, to hit the brakes, her only reaction, her natural reaction, to shoot an arm out in front of her daughter, to try and shield her before…

~

Don’t miss the sequel to this powerful story,

follow

 The Flash Fiction Ponder:)

The Flow

What would you do for genius?

The Flow Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

Brandon and his three bandmates were baking, the hot ankle-high sand making it even more difficult to walk as they trekked through the vast open desert playing their instruments. From the two guitars flanking him, rhythm and bass, to the poor drummer at his back lugging a mobile set of drums strapped to his chest, his comrades followed with such loyalty as he led them with his vocals and lead guitar. Vocals that ached, boiled, gave voice to the suffocating torture they were all experiencing, his sleek beautiful Gibson Angus Young SG taking all the fire, all the fury of their journey through hell and helping express such through its electrified scorch.

As the sweltering heat beat down on the four Brandon closed his eyes, trying hard to imagine the pouring sweat falling from his brows being that of cool cascades of water, but when that didn’t work he aimed towards another thought, keeping those lids closed tight and picturing an air conditioner.

No luck, reality painting the image as nothing more than an ol’ beat-down hunk of machinery with wires as fried as he felt.

One more try, just a slight breeze would mean the world…

A vintage fan, large metal blades locked behind a rusted cage. But they’re caked in dust, giving a sign that the ol’ 1950’s style cooling device probably hadn’t been functional since those good ol’ doo-wop days.

So on through the broil he trudged, wiping away, not all away, the sting in his eyes, that unrelenting perspiration soaking him from head to toe, drenching his clothes and making them heavier, coating both the mahogany of his Gibson and the magnetized strings that ran across it.

It took all they had for the band to stay their course, digging down deeper than ever before in hopes of reaching the promise land, where the infinite sands of the earth would finally give way to a body of water so refreshing, so clear and sublime that it would transform all who ingest into beings of enlightenment, gods of genius.

Or so they hoped…

But the more they fought on the more the roasting took its toll.

The devil’s breath, the grit between his teeth, the scalding of his seed as he attempts to rape their beings. But the one thing he cannot get to, their will…

And so they push on, continuing to create while being cooked to the brink as they use such anguish to forge, the power they wield through those Gibsons, that voice, that beat, creating a masterpiece that metamorphosizes from Gold to Platinum, Multi-Platinum to Diamond within its inception.

And oh how sweet it truly is, the oceans of sweat turning into floods of creative juice, the long suffering for their art paying off with such euphoric flow!

And with the outro Brandon and his bandmates are returned to their little box, their oven, their tin can of a garage amidst the hottest day of the summer, having completed the mega-hit that will serve as their ticket to rock god status, a journey they had set out for so many years ago.

~

G

http://www.gibson.com/

Movie Night

Is love stronger than pride…?

Welcome back my wonderful readers!

Today we visit the human condition of betrayal, and how it can affect someone. When reading this story of substance you might identify with it on some level. If not, consider yourself very fortunate!

Movie Night Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

It was as much of a part of who they were as a couple as sleeping in the same bed or sharing a bite to eat. At least a few times a week, turn off the phones, turn down the lights, cuddle up cozy and take in a movie. Some were powerful and became instant favorites, while most were average and pretty much good for just one viewing.

They must have watched thousands over their many years together, one of the most special to them being What Dreams May Come. Not only because it was a moving story of substance, but also due to the fact that they shared the same names as the two main characters in the film. Neither Chris nor Annie ever forgot that night when they saw the trailer on TV during that fall of ’99. Their relationship barely six months new, they had just finished showering together (and a little more) and were starting to prepare dinner when the preview caught their eye.

A supernatural drama about soul mates, it indeed compelled. But it was when those two names came up, their names, when they dropped everything and got dressed to head out to the local theatre.

Two months later, it became the theme to their wedding, and every year thereafter, the way in which they ended celebrating their anniversary. Later this year would mark their nineteenth, but Chris felt like revisiting their cinematic treasure tonight, Annie having no idea until she had sat down next to him with a bowl of popcorn.

Normally she would cozy up right beside him, but as of late, for the past two months to be precise, she would sit near but not close, he having to coax her to close the distance. It was little subtle signs like this that he had missed at the beginning, really thinking nothing of it when she had decided she wanted to start working part time at her friend’s new flower shop. After all, he had always thought of himself as a supportive husband, so if she felt she could use a few hours out of the house, why not, late afternoons not really interrupting their dinner and movie time.

But a couple of weeks in and the signs had indeed began to show, whether he had noticed them or not. Looking back, he realized he had, but only on an instinctual level. When once their affection was pretty much fifty-fifty, he now found himself having to initiate their intimacy, both physically and emotionally.

Why so much time on the cellphone now? She had never been one to let such devices consume her, but now she was a screen queen, swiping every chance she got. And why the password? The two lived alone, having no need for such security measures.

“Sometimes at work I leave my cell on a counter or in a drawer. Never know when someone’s gonna pick it up.”

Like me…?

That’s when instinct had finally slapped Chris across the face, suspicion leading him to do something he had never done before, never even thought of doing before. He began to look through her messages. She still had her cell locked, but her facebook remained open on their shared laptop.

An oversight that would change everything.

Scrolling down messages from friends and family, he came upon one from a member with no photo, and as soon as he began to read, his heart not only fell, but plummeted down into his stomach, acid eating away at it…

Where are you babe? Miss you…

I miss you too, babe. Only been cpl dys, but seems lot longer.

The last two in a thread of deceit, betrayal, devastation…

Chris never felt so hurt in his life.

The next week or so was pure anguish. How many days and nights? He wasn’t quite sure, as they were all merging into one long state of torturous hell. Should he confront her, and risk her storming out only to never return? How about going out and trying to even the score? He just couldn’t stop thinking about it, shock never really settling in to become acceptance. How could she be so nonchalant, going about life as if nothing was going on?

“You had to work late again?”

“Yeah, we’re getting a lot of inventory now that it’s spring.”

How could she be so cold-blooded? And lie so blatantly to his face?!

It was at these times, when such pain began to boil into desired self-defense, that he would rack his brain with the thought of finding another. He had no idea how serious the affair was, and the thought of losing her, after devoting himself to her for nearly two decades, was killing him. He had never been one to have suicidal thoughts, but now this dangerous mindset was part of this black plague that had befallen him. At times, ending it all seemed like the only way to end the pain, but then the thought of finding someone to take her place would creep in…

If she could do it, why can’t I? I’ve got looks. Why should I stay in a one-sided relationship? There are plenty of women out there who would appreciate a guy like me.

That’s what he missed most. The intimacy, the willful affection he no longer received. And so he began to scroll the dating sites, contemplating the two famous sayings…

Once a cheater, always a cheater.

The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.

Were they true? If so, didn’t it make perfect sense to find someone new?

Even with such logic he struggled with the thought of placing his own ad. What if they turned out to be liars too? What if it didn’t work out and he lost Annie forever? It was during these bouts of mental anguish when Chris hated being on these sites, wanting nothing more to do with such desperate searches. He already loved a woman, and had only ever thought of her when envisioning growing old with someone.

Oh Annie, why?! I’ve given you nothing but my everything. Why was I not enough?

Then the sickening thought would reappear. Of her and him, of them, together.

Chris and Annie… What happened to them being soul mates, like in the movie? They were supposed to be exclusive, as any married couple was expected to be, knowing each other on an intimate level like no one else. Advanced lovers that would do anything for the other’s pleasure.

The thought of her taking him inside of her disgusted Chris. He had helped coach her in developing the talent of taking him all the way down her throat, and once there to suckle until bliss exploded into euphoria, and how he loved how she would remain there until consuming every last drop, making him feel beyond special.

To take such a carnal bond that represented such a long commitment and so casually do it with another?!

Yes, it was not only the physical giving that hurt Chris so badly, but the emotional as well. Maybe even more so.

Annie was quite surprised when the movie started, not expecting it to be their movie, but she put on a pretty good poker face, choosing to cuddle up a little closer, like back when things were pure between them.

How would Chris tell her he knew? Of the facebook messages, the texts and late night calls, the secret meetings between him and her…

Fuck facebook! He hated it. Knew many would say it was like hating guns, when in reality people kill people, not guns. But Chris wasn’t so sure. The asshole who had come between he and his love had been from her past, and unlike the ‘ol days, when it wasn’t so easy to find/reconnect with someone from one’s past, nowadays a few clicks could end up destroying a marriage. Yeah, facebook could kill!

How would he tell her he knew about it all, yet had still decided to fight for her? How, like in the movie, he would battle the sorrows of hell for her, that he had been battling the sorrows of hell! How he felt she was still his precious Annie, and he her Chris, just like those movie characters, only real. How he had even secretly already started saving for a trip of a lifetime, months ago, for them to take for their big twenty-year wedding anniversary next year. They would jet off to Switzerland, the place where their movie characters had met, and have the time of their lives.

A trip that he now saw as part of their new beginning.

Would she be on board? Would she regret her recent actions and take the necessary steps to right her wrong?

How would he tell her he knew…?   

By now Annie’s head was lying on his lap, and Chris got his answer when a tear fell down from his eye and onto her cheek…

~

The Start Over: Resetting The Future

If you could have a second chance at reliving your past, would you take it…?

My wonderful readers, here’s the epic conclusion to The Start Over trilogy!

If you missed the first two, just scroll on down, as they’re in order.

Happy reading:)

The Start Over Resetting the Future Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

The pleasant sound of children playing is truly universal. Go anywhere in the world and to hear such joy represents a community at peace, its future symbolized by these little versions of ourselves. How priceless they are, reminding us of where we’ve come from, the love and devotion we show them our way of trying to secure where we’re going.

Maybe I should have went farther back I wondered as I watched these young innocents play in their school yard. Look how they truly live in the moment, not giving any thought to what has led up to it or what will come after. Not having any prejudice of race, sex, status. The purity of just being.

Is it really too much to want to return to such a state?

But I had proven it was possible. At least until fear took over. Was there some sort of lesson in this?

I watched as a little boy’s face lit up when a tricycle became available. Oh how he ran towards it with such happiness, my own faded memories identifying with his excitement.

As he slid into that small seat, placed his feet against the pedals and grabbed onto those handlebars my ponder took me to the gates of realization, the answer I was so seeking beginning to formulate in my head as the boy used mind, body and space to not really think about taking off for a joy ride throughout the playground, but just doing it.

Perhaps this had been my problem. Instead of just doing it I had placed too much energy into trying, with mind creating fear that I would fail. But again, there could be a large distance to travel between knowing and doing, the old adage Mind Over Matter hovering over me like an authoritative school teacher.

The little boy was having the time of his young life, swerving around jump-roping girls and boys playing dodge ball. How was he able to be so precise yet not really think about it? Eyes signaling to the brain, brain to body, how much energy to apply/not apply, and at such a tender age?

It was beginning to make sense. I would have to steer my being, but not force it. Disable the fear factor yet not immobilize the entirety of my conscious mind. And so I began to plan…

Who would have ever thought I would be so excited to get back to the dentist?! I was about to play a dangerous game with the universe, not really knowing any rules on how to play but fully aware that it could cost me everything if I were to make a wrong move.

Given the estimated time frame, I decided to schedule three fillings, the forty-five minute procedure hopefully being enough time to put my theory into effect. When the receptionist called my name I made a quick trip to the bathroom, downing a cap full of Nyquil and following that up with a swig of Listerine.

Lying back in the dentist’s chair, I went through the common pleasantries before plugging my ears with my headphones, a suggestion made to patients to help try to put them at ease. But my playlist had been specifically made for this date with destiny; a recording of that priceless gift of children at play, to be played on a loop.

Through my mind’s eye I could see every detail of the playground, a universe within itself as the celestial merged with the matter that made up the children at play and all that surrounded them, each and every sound my awareness focused on reverberated by the dentist’s drill.

The rope skipping on green pavement…

The high pitch of a golden whistle being blown…

The red of a rubber ball bouncing from one direction to the next…

Everything was so colorful, so bright, the laughter of fun bringing all together for a melodic palette of youth.

Then the most peculiar of things happened. As the Nyquil began to snake itself around all, my wise ‘ol friend nitrous oxide rose an eyebrow, as if to question what my awareness was up to.

A moment later and I started to feel my heart in my chest. Actually it was the heart of a little boy in my universal playground, me not realizing it was me until I sank down from birds-eye-view and into self.

The heartbeat was becoming overwhelming, too big, too much for my little body. Had I went too far back? Through will of thought I tried to dislodge myself, but the mud was too thick, the rate at which my heart was working to pump blood extending way beyond what it could handle.

Was it the blood that was thickening into mud?

I next felt a free fall, falling back into a wormhole and unable to grasp onto anything, vision turning into a periscope of tunnel vision, which brought into view two separate scenes, alternating with each blink of the eye.

The first, my adult self, now flat on the floor beside the dentist chair, the doctor performing chest compressions over my heart, an assistant blowing air into my lungs.

The second, that little boy on the playground, a couple of teachers working to save his life too, while others cleared the area

Not only could I see both existences, I could feel them too, the compressions to my smaller frame pounding me like a sledgehammer. Naturally, this was the one I was most averse to, but as I began to favor the other my being somehow knew that it was the wrong way to go if I were to accomplish the reset. Not only the obvious, that if the boy were to die, there would probably be no future self, but also a determination that acted as a guide. And so I willed myself to be absorbed by the worst of the two, the more I let it become me the more painful it became, the more real, until I completely let go of my middle-aged self, letting him pass and in turn allowing my full energy to inhabit the five-year-old body, along with the physical trauma it was experiencing.

This scary moment would serve as my first memory for the next nine years, with me having no recollection of what preceded it. Only a natural calling to embrace entrepreneurship. Lemonade stands, newspaper routes, door-to-door sales of mom’s freshly baked cookies. An unexplained instinct to strive, strive, strive.

Unexplained until fourteen years of age, that is. Then fate took me to that dentist’s chair, once again to the embrace of my wise ol’ friend, nitrous oxide. It was then that all memory came flooding back, and with it the knowledge to rip that mask the hell off my face and never go near it again.

Well, maybe not ever…

Maybe I’ll go for another go-round come  mid-life again.

~

5 on the 101

If you had the opportunity to be a hero, would you take it?

Finally Friday, my wonderful readers!

For all you Americans out there, getting ready for Thanksgiving? Man, do I miss it!

(On foreign soil, details in my autobiography~)

The Holiday Season’s gonna be here in no time, making us even busier! Traffic, long lines, etc. But remember, that’s precisely why I created this blog, to give you quick yet thought-provoking stories while life has you on standby. So yeah, going to be my pleasure to keep you company:) And don’t forget, I’m always here for you in the comment section;)

Alright, on with today’s story!

superman

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2016.

As Peter sipped his cup of morning Joe he watched from his carpool the familiar sights of their morning commute, Top 40 providing a soundtrack for it all. From the two peddlers sharing the on-ramp of the freeway, one selling oranges, the other, Xerox copies of their book, to the multitude of cars, some he recognized, most he didn’t, some going to Hollywood like he and his colleagues, others driving beyond. The 101 always had something new to take in, no matter how many times they travelled it.

Today what had stuck out to Peter most was the bus full of school kids, elementary aged, no doubt on some sort of field trip as it was already past nine. The bus driver had stayed in the carpool lane, and as Peter and his friends neared he had urged them to play along, for the sake of the kids. For the others this just meant giving a wave, a salute, a smile, as Storm, Superman, and Wonder Woman didn’t have any masks to put on. As for Batman, the driver, his was already secured into place, preferring to pull the hard tight rubber over his face before he left the house, those bat ears at just the right height so as not to be hindered by the car’s roof.

Peter was the one who had to put in the most effort, sitting his coffee down, pulling his mask down over his face, adjusting it in the mirror… But to see the wide-eyed look of surprise and excitement on those kids’ faces was well worth any slight inconvenience. A car full of some of their favorite superheroes: a memory that would probably stay with them for decades to come.

Peter was proud and perfectly content at his job as a Hollywood Boulevard Spiderman, thoroughly enjoying his eight hours a day of posing for selfies with tourists from all over the world. He even kept fit working out every other day, his agility and dedication allowing him the opportunity to be a stand-in, and sometimes stunt double, on the Spiderman blockbusters. Cast and crew would always get a kick out of the fact that he shared the same name as the legendary character, with he and Tobey even becoming friends before the actor had retired from his web-slingin’ days.

What had stood out most to Peter about that bus full of kids was the reaction of one in particular. While the rest of them were jumping up and down screaming one boy had just sat there, transfixed, open palms against the window. Peter couldn’t see that well through his Spidey mask, but he focused his vision enough to make out the logo on the boy’s shirt. The same logo Peter wore across his chest every day.

Like-minded souls. Peter gave the thumbs up, and soon thereafter they were separated by traffic.

He pulled the mask back up off his face, wearing it like a skull cap as he went back to sipping his coffee and pondering, Batman lane-hopping as traffic began to increase and slow down. Such a chess match hardly ever worked, the school bus getting farther away as it progressed in the carpool lane.

“You mind if I change this?” Wonder Woman asked Batman. “This song is such an earworm!”

“Nah, go ahead.”

Just as she switched from Top 40 to Oldies but Goodies distant sirens could be heard behind them, the sound of a news chopper also fast approaching as both began to drown out Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie…

By now Batman had them in the far right lane. He tried to get over to the next one, having a feeling that whatever was coming would be doing so on the shoulder, but he couldn’t get over, and so he just made sure he was as far to the left of the lane as he could possibly get.

Sure enough within seconds a black SUV whizzed by, so fast, so furious that it shook their little Toyota Tercel, the chopper right above.

Peter looked behind them. The police were still about fifty yards out, having trouble getting through the congestion. Just as he turned back around Batman slammed on the breaks, the sound of screeching tires, twisting metal, and shattering glass screaming out from up ahead.

They were about twenty yards from ground zero, avoiding any impact as a result.

Peter quickly unlocked his seat belt and reached up to the front, hitting the radio dial, taking it from This’ll be the day that I die… to the twenty-four-hour news station.

Pasadena City College had been attacked, multiple causalities being reported as both bombings and a mass shooting had taken place.

Details were still coming in, but it was believed that there were two perpetrators, former students of the institution and ISIS-inspired.

“I think I see it…” Wonder Woman said.

“”See what?” Superman replied.

“The SUV. Look, in the center. Isn’t that it?”

Storm brought up the live chopper footage on her smartphone.

There was the scene on the small screen from a birds-eye-view. The same scene right there just yards in front of them. And that’s when they noticed the stalled school bus in the carpool lane, just a few vehicles away from that SUV…

They all looked back. The cops were still at a stand-still, way back there.

The doors to the SUV were pinned by other cars, the two terrorists beginning to climb their way out through the broken out windows.

Peter looked from them to the school bus, and how it just sat there like a big ol’ sitting duck.

“We’ve gotta do something,” was all he needed to say for his friends to understand. They all rushed out of the car and ran for the kids.

To Be Continued…

Stay tuned for the sequel, coming Monday!

Bleeding Perseverance

What happens when a weekend warrior leaves the cushioned safety of his dojo & takes his skills out into the real world?

Welcome back, my wonderful readers!

What a scare factor October was, right?! Now that we’re in a new month I thought I’d start it with a reflection of one of today’s most pressing issues. We all hear of how such turmoil the world is in. ISIS, Syria, etc. It seems to never end, and yet there are so few heroes nowadays. Not to say EVERYONE should be one for EVERY cause, no, that’s just not possible. But we all can do a little heroic act every once in a while. Something as simple as showing a little support by following the blog of someone whose following their passion (hint…hint… Follow button is on bottom right of your screen) can do wonders!

This week we ponder those who possess the physical skills to help put a stop to conflict, and how it could help change the course of things if only implemented.

Shall we get started…:)

 

 t

Bleeding Perseverance

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2016.

With only three years of training under his belt, yet a very diligent three years at that, seventeen-year-old Tobias was now fifth among the highest-ranking instructors at the dojo. It was a rather informal school, with the black belts who taught preferring to just be called by their first names. This included Philip, a mentor who was more like a father to Tobias than his biological one had ever been. It was a near perfect relationship, with the one discord being their belief in the role of the modern day Ninja.

Philip believed that the art had evolved to where it could bring about harmony through peaceful means. To put a stop to conflict with positive communication, while turning to violence only as a very last resort.

Although it was a wonderful idea, Tobias knew that reality painted a very different picture. The truth of the matter was, the world had more people willing to inflict unspeakable harm upon innocent lives for their own benefit than ever before. And for most of these darkened souls, their intent is so strong that any hope for reason is out of the question. That in order to truly bring about that peace and harmony, those who are fortunate enough to possess the martial skills of yesterday must use it today to help those in need.

Such a debate had recently taken place between the two. A string of ‘vigilante justice’ had made it onto the evening news, and it didn’t take long for Philip to figure out who was behind it. After a lengthy discussion, the young pupil realized he had no chance of changing his mentor’s perception and therefore obediently let the conversation end.

For weeks Tobias tried his best to abide by the rules of the dojo, but it was as if the universe had different plans for him. With no shortage of bullying and street violence often crossing his path, the guilt he felt for trying to ignore such injustice was infinitely stronger than what he felt for going against his teacher’s wishes. And so keeping as low of a profile as possible, the young warrior returned to his destined path of putting a stop to the conflicts which surrounded him.

Tobias’ hidden secret remained such for the next seven years before he found himself summoned to Philip’s office for a meeting among the head instructors. By now he held the third highest ranking in the training hall, with only Philip and Shidoshi Fukushima above him. As the eldest and the only Japanese among all the teachers, Fukushima was a vibrant seventy-years-old, giving the dojo a feeling of authenticity with his very presence.

Over the years, the five heads had turned into nine, forming somewhat of a council, with Philip acting as overseer. Although they had regular monthly meetings, this particular gathering felt a little different, and as it unfolded, proved such.

Philip started off with a variation of the lecture he was known for. His steadfast belief that the modern role of the Ninja was to bring peace through peaceful means, and that the blood that had been shed over the past two-thousand years of the art’s history had been more than enough, stressing the fact that he had worked over the past forty years to help bring that about.

He then turned his attention to the computer behind him, logged onto a video sharing site and proceeded to play a video entitled Real Life Ninja Delivers Justice to Street Thugs. Although Tobias had never seen nor heard of this video before, his nerves gave him a feeling of who would show up on the clip as they all waited for it to download.

A shaky frame started to pick up the action already in progress. Cloaked head to toe in the traditional and oftentimes copied black outfit, the Real Life Ninja took on a half dozen gang members at a darkened bus stop while at the same time shielding a teenage victim. Unaware he was being captured on video, the vigilante broke bones, shattered faces and tore ligaments. Devastating, but not fatal. After all, the young punks were nothing more than puppets at the hands of this skilled warrior. The video ended with some of the hoodlums dragging away the others and a bus arriving just in time to pick up the young victim, the Ninja having vanished when the camera panned back to find nothing but darkness.

Closing the window to the video site, Philip continued his lecture.

“Everyone has video cameras in their pockets nowadays, which is precisely why I have that sign out front preventing cellphones from entering this dojo. Fifty-thousand views and counting. Not only does this type of footage encourage such impressionable young minds to glorify violence, but it also gives the false sense of security that they too can go out there and do this, ignorant of the fact that these skills are a result of years of training. You’re like a son to me, Tobias, and like a frustrated father, I just don’t know how to get through to you.”

With some of the instructors shocked by the revelation that it was actually him on the video, Tobias stood to face his Shidoshi’s disappointment.

“As I’m sure you know in your heart, Shidoshi, not only do I feel such love for you as a father figure, but along with our martial art, I honestly credit you with saving the lives of me and my siblings. But all the gratitude in the world can’t change the fact that Ninjutsu was created for the purpose of bringing a stop to violent conflict by the superior use of both mind and body. To be used to protect those in need. I long for the day when your way will be the way that actually works, but all you have to do to verify we are nowhere near the enlightened world we wish to have is to simply turn on the news. Or walk right outside your front door and down the streets of the city you call home. The truth of the matter is, the world needs us now more than ever. And as long as there is such a need, I refuse to idly stand by and play weekend warrior while in the comforts of a cushioned dojo.”

With this hardened truth, all those in attendance felt a certain level of shame, including Philip, as Tobias continued with what needed to be said.

“If anything, we owe it to those who have come before us to keep the true essence of Ninjutsu alive. They did shed their blood, to ensure that the treasured teachings would continue to be passed on from one generation to the next, to actually be used, not mimed, in the service of protecting the weak and innocent. This is not to take away from those who have chosen a more passive approach with passing on the teachings. Many of you here have families, and I completely agree that you should not put yourselves, and possibly your loved ones, in harm’s way. Our roles in this art are just as diverse as the problems out there that need to be resolved. And so we should be working with each other, utilizing these attributes each of us offer to their fullest. Only then are we truly honoring the essence of Ninjutsu. And as far as encouraging the young and impressionable…

“When their only other realistic option is to either be victims of, or infatuated with, gang members, drug dealers, pimps, and any other scum-of-the-earth trash imposing their will in these kids’ own backyards, I can only hope that the exposure of my actions will lead to at least a few of these young people taking the steps to seek us out. Where it is then our responsibility as those who have inherited this great art, to welcome them, guide them, and train them as the next generation of warriors to continue the tradition of putting those in need above ourselves.

“Now if I’m the only one here who believes this, with the utmost of respect, it is now time for me to say goodbye.”

Silence filled the office…

Until Shidoshi Fukshima rose from his seat and headed for Tobias while removing his tenth-degree black belt. He then lowered himself to bended knee, presenting his ranking in the art to the young warrior with a version of the Japanese bow that was reserved for honoring only at the highest level.

One by one the others followed suit, and when all seven of the black belts were at the feet of Tobias their head Shidoshi walked over to his desk, removed a displayed sword from the wall, and presented it to his young protégé in the same fashion as the instructors had done with the items that had represented their time in Ninjutsu.

The katana was half as old as the art itself, and everyone in that office understood the significance of what had just occurred, including Tobias, who now had a few tears in his eyes as a result. The antique sword had been given to Philip by the grandmaster, and by passing it on to this young warrior it meant that Tobias was now the head Shidoshi of this particular dojo.

With mixed emotions, nothing could have been further from Tobias’ true intentions of just wanting to help those who couldn’t defend themselves. But declining such an offer would have been highly disrespectful, so the young divine warrior accepted his new role as head Shidoshi, while at the same time continuing to stay active in his pursuits of bringing order to chaos.

Tobias was not the only one who had such an honor bestowed upon him at such a young age. The current grandmaster had been chosen as successor by the previous while barely in his thirties, despite the fact of there being quite a number of candidates much older than he. This was an art based on truth, not seniority, and in this case, the young leader was the embodiment of such truth.

After a formal ceremony and an official certification coming out of Japan, Tobias Montgomery now held the title of Shihan. With the exception of three new additions to the dojo, he chose to keep his predecessor’s set-up the same. The first change came about as a result of a suggestion by his council. That an ‘urban combat’ class be added to the black belt curriculum, with of course Tobias being the instructor, as he was the only one who actually possessed the real-life experience of putting the art’s teachings to the test. The other two additions came from the new Shihan himself. One, a class that would focus solely on mikkyo, Ninjutsu’s mind science, to ensure the balance of training. And two, that the dojo put on a monthly fundraiser, the proceeds of which would go towards helping those who wanted to train in the art but could not afford to, as well as having some funds set aside for what Tobias referred to as ‘protection insurance’. Which, in other words, meant money that might be needed when putting a stop to conflict.

~

Although this short story can stand alone in its message, which is why I chose to post it here, it is actually part of a longer journey, from my critically-acclaimed novella.

bp

“WOW. Bleeding Perseverance was such a thought provoking read. It’s a short read but extremely enthralling. I didn’t want to put it down to pick my kids up from school, It was very tempting to just keep reading and be damned with the consequences. No doubt earning “Worst Mother of the Year Award”… But I have only just gotten rid of that award, so I had to put it down. 😉

This book was written so well it deserves to be judged fairly. It brought to light all the terrible things that happen around in other countries, that we don’t always get to see. And for that I would give it 6 stars if it was allowed. I’d like to thank Mr Lamoureux for sharing this story with the world.”

-Aimie Jennison, author and Goodreads member

Bleeding Perseverance

Available at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/620240