BPFFC #01: Taking back what’s mine

25. Februar 2018 at 16:40 (Posts in English) (, , , , , , )

As this blog (and the lack of new posts on it) demonstrates, writing regularly is hard. Things that make it less hard?

  1. Having a group of wonderful people who write and read and critique the texts with you (famously known as The Baked Potatoes).
  2. Having challenges and deadlines.

So we, The Baked Potatoes, set out to do the latter and created a challenge I like to call the BPFFC (Baked Potatoes Flash Fiction Challenge). Every month we pick a word/topic and write a story about it of a maximum of 300 words, with the last day of the month as our deadline. Our topic for January was jealousyyou can find Jack’s story about jealousy on his blog, here’s Sarah’s flash fiction and here’s mine:


I lit a match. The small flame licked at the darkness.
„Don’t you think that’s kind of a drastic move?“ he asked.
I shrugged my shoulders. „Don’t you think his move was kind of drastic?“
I held the flame up to my cigarette and inhaled that first glorious waft of nicotine.
„He’s a dick and you knew that up front. I warned you.“ He motioned me to hand him the cigarette and took a deep drag himself.
„Great. So it’s my own fault now.“
I didn’t say that. But well, now that you said it… I just think that you shouldn’t show him how much you care. Just let it go and get your own thing going instead…“
I lit another match and held it up right in front of his eyes while he went on smoking my cigarette. „He shall burn like this. He deserves it.“
„Fiiine. But let’s get you a lawyer first. You can’t just take it from him because he betrayed you.“
I blew out the flame. “I think I can. It was my idea after all.”
“Yeah, but it was his money. And that also shows, kind of.” When he turned to face the shop window, I wrested my cigarette from his mouth. I needed it more than he did.
Then I gazed up at the sign in front of what was soon to be my shop. I should never have let him pick the name.
Pete’s Pet Parlour.
He knew I had a thing for alliterations.
And Pete apparently took pleasure in partying with prostitutes.
What a wanker.


Stay tuned for February’s flash fiction featuring the word fedora!


Permalink 1 Kommentar

Goodbye, Meidling

22. Oktober 2017 at 17:24 (Blog) (, , , , , , , , )

This is not a short story. Actually, it’s the ending of quite a long story – a love story, of course. After more than four years, I have left the 12th district of Vienna, Meidling, for good. It was the first district of Vienna where I really felt at home. Sure, I enjoyed living at the students‘ hall for nearly five years, too – but it was always clear that this was only an in-between solution, a temporary home to my temporary life as a student.

Meidling was where the concept of eternity felt closer to me than ever. And Meidling was where I had to realise that sometimes, forever is not the best option – even if it feels tempting to choose what you know and love over what you don’t know and are slightly afraid of. But if happiness has forgotten your address, you have to go and look for it yourself.

I’m not going to be far away from my beloved Meidling and it will always stay close to my heart. But still, I’ve crossed a border, entered a new territory, a new life. Leaving Meidling constitutes the end of an era for me.

In the last few weeks, I’ve often stopped to take a picture – because beautiful moments pass so quickly and I want to appreciate them before they fade away. Life is beautiful after all, wherever it may lead you and whatever obstacles you have to overcome. Here’s a little photo story of what Meidling looked like to me. And it’s my goodbye to this beautiful district – goodbye, Meidling!


Permalink Schreibe einen Kommentar

Beauty Sleep Mode

17. Juli 2017 at 00:36 (Blog)

Yes, the blog has been asleep for a long time now. And it will probably take some more time to really wake up again. But the good news is:

There’s one page on this blog which has been receiving some writerly attention. After a pause of four (!) years, I’ve written five new (love) poems in the past few months. You’ll have to see for yourself, but I think they’re getting a liiittle bit better concerning the rhythm (I literally have no idea what I’m doing here and some of the poems are also really songs in my head, but what the hell). Here’s where you can find them:

Thoughts on Love (Love Poems)

A short explanation to why the blog is sleeping

As you might know, I wrote a book. A whole book. The first round of editing mentioned here took me quite a while (who knew that editing was so much less fun than writing itself?). But at least it made the story balloon to a respectable length of over 50,000 words. I’m trying to enter a few novel competitions this year and also a few flash fiction ones. No luck so far, but at least I feel like I’m doing something to push my book and personal boundaries. When the last (unsuccessful?) judging phases are over, the flash fiction will feature on the blog as well.

Also, I’ve lately started my first job as a full-time journalist (yay!), so I’m writing a lot more than before, which is great, but makes me not want to write a lot in my free time as well (or start editing round two, ugh). But once I’m accustomed to this new lifestyle, I hopefully will find some fiction writing energy too 🙂

Cheers for dropping by,


Permalink Schreibe einen Kommentar


31. Dezember 2016 at 14:08 (Posts in English) (, , , , , , )

When it all came down to putting a price on my belongings, I realised there was incredibly little of real value – value others could see and appreciate – in the things that were important to me.

What would anyone do with the chipped heart-shaped stone that my friend Veronica gave me when my boyfriend of seven years broke up with me?

Or the lamp which hadn’t been illuminated with a light bulb for ages, because Michael was the only one to know where to get these special bulbs?

Or my dearest book, which had fallen into the bathtub when I had been soaking in the warm water after a far too long day? It was dry now, but creased and crinkled as the skin on my toes had been when I got out of that bath.

„You could at least take some of the things with you, you know?“ My mum said. „I don’t need all this space anyway.“

„Yes,“ I replied, „but that’s not the point. The less I leave behind, the easier it will be for you to move on.“

These talks were, of course, not true. But I knew that leaving random stuff behind – stuff my family would investigate, ask friends about and find out the meaning they had for me – would make it infinitely harder for them to forget me. And taking anything else but money, my clothes, laptop and some of my jewellery with me would be outright stupid.

I would not need anything of Earthly value anymore. I would get so much more in return, if I could scrape the money for the journey together.

I scribbled numbers of varying values on little scraps of paper and pinned them to furniture, books, stacks of dishes and kitchen machinery.

They would wait for me with open arms and care for me in a way my family never could.
They would provide everything I was missing now.
A husband.
A religion.

Permalink Schreibe einen Kommentar

Marlene and the Whale

28. Oktober 2016 at 23:59 (Posts in English) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

As promised, here is a little story revolving around the protagonists of „The River of Recollection“ when they were still very young.


When my sister Marlene was around six years old, she started telling me fantastic stories every night. Most of them had a more or less true core. . One day, there was a big commotion in our school, because a whale had washed up on the shore nearby. All of the kids ran to the beach after school and Marlene begged me to go see the whale with her, too. So we went down to the beach, where the members of a non-profit organisation tried to push the gigantic creature back into the sea. News reporters had gathered around, snapping pictures of the scene. We watched for about an hour before I dragged Marlene off – we shouldn’t strain our mother’s nerves too much.
That night, when Marlene snuggled up to me, she told me a story that went something like this (edited for grammar mistakes Marlene made at that age):

Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Marlene. One evening, she skipped along the beach until she saw something big and grey. It was a giant whale. Marlene inched closer. Suddenly, the animal looked at her and said,
“Can you please help me, little girl?” with a weak, but resonating voice.
“Yes, of course, how can I help you?” Marlene asked.
“Can you please push me back into the sea? My skin is getting really dry and I long to go back to my friends and play with them.”
So Marlene started to push and push. She pressed her palms against the whale’s face, digging her little feet into the sand and leaning in with all her weight. But the whale didn’t budge. So she ran to his side and pulled and pulled at his left fin. But still, he didn’t move.
The little girl started crying and confessed to the whale that she didn’t have any friends she could ask for help. The kind whale rested his eyes on her and said,
“We could ask my friends. But I’m afraid my voice isn’t loud enough.” The whale sighed a deep sigh.
But then, Marlene had an idea. There were no lifeguards around now, because it was getting really late, but she knew that they kept a megaphone in their little hut at the beach. They used it to shout encouraging words at people struggling against the high waves until help arrived.
It took all of the strength the tiny human had left to push against the wooden door of the hut and soon enough it caved in. She found the megaphone and ran back to the whale.
“You can ask your friends for help now,” she said gleefully, switched the megaphone on and held it up to the whale’s mouth.
The whale made a noise that was a mixture of a sigh and a groan, swelling in volume up to a high-pitched tone, then ebbing away again. He winked at the girl and she put the megaphone down in the sand and they waited. In the houses at the far end of the beach, the lights went on because of the loud and unusual voice booming across the land and the sea.
A minute later, the water around the whale’s tail fin began to bubble and churn with movement. Marlene could see three big mouths gently tugging at the whale’s tail fin. And slowly, his body was set in motion and the sand crunched under his big body, receding into the sea.
“My whale, my whale, I don’t want to lose you,” the girl cried and ran alongside the whale who was slowly being swallowed by the dark waters. She followed him until she was knee-deep in the sea and then, finally, the whale wrapped his slick fin around her and put her onto his glistening back.
“Hold on tight, little girl, for I will show you the wonders of the deep, deep sea,” the whale said and Marlene hugged her arms tightly around the giant animal, just as the waves crashed over her head.

The next morning, our dad left the local newspaper lying open at the breakfast table. It said that around seven o’clock in the evening, they had succeeded in pushing the whale back into the sea. And there was a picture of the kids from school saying hello to the whale. One of the tiny black and white faces was clearly Marlene’s.
“Look, you’re in the newspaper,” I said, pointing at the image.
“Because I saved the whale?” Marlene asked, concentrating on her bowl of cereal.
“No, silly, the rescue workers saved the whale,” I groaned.
“I did. I know it,” my sister pouted. “I saved the whale.”
“Sure you did,” I said, sighing a deep whale sigh.

Permalink 3 Kommentare

Gigi’s Gone

31. August 2016 at 16:37 (Posts in English) (, , , , , , , , , )

We had already said our goodbyes. Around twenty times by now. The parents were getting impatient.
“It will be like a vacation for you, okay? Only a little longer,” I said. Gigi’s eyes brimmed with tears. I bit on my lip. I just couldn’t tell her the truth.
“Okay.” She nodded and her two ponytails bobbed up and down accordingly.
“Wendy will wait for you here,” her mother said, softly tugging at the doll in Gigi’s hand. When Gigi let go, her mother put the doll in my arms instead. “There are plenty of new toys waiting for you at home,” she added.
Gigi looked at her and then at me. She didn’t understand. How could that woman talk about “home” when she meant a place Gigi had never seen before?
I smiled encouragingly. “Yes, Wendy will wait here with me,” I said, hugging the doll tightly to my chest.
The door opened, the door closed, an engine howled and Gigi was gone.

It has happened before, countless times. And without any doubt it will happen again, to mothers and fathers to whom life has not given kids, but only lent them.
In a deep, dark corner of my mind, I had known that this fate could come my way, too. That I could lose her one day. But whenever that thought popped up in my mind, I pushed it back down, letting it drown in a sea of predominantly happy thoughts. I would concentrate on her instead, watching her play and sing and grow up.

She had loved to run to the birdhouse on the lawn behind our house first thing in the morning. She would wave her little arms around and cry “Good morning, birdies!” and watch delightedly as the damsels and robins flew away as fast as their wings could take them, trilling and chatting. Then Gigi would wait very calmly as they hesitantly landed on the patio of their tiny house again, picking at the seeds while scanning the scenery for mischievous human beings. My little girl watched them for minutes at a time and I watched her through the kitchen window as I prepared her breakfast.

Now I’m preparing breakfast for only one person. Two slices of toast, butter, some strawberry jam and a cup of coffee. But I can’t eat. And the strong coffee I have prepared for myself makes my heart beat so fast that I’m certain I’m going to die this morning.
I have propped up Gigi’s doll Wendy and her two favourite stuffed animals, Walter Wolf and Freddy Fox, on the three empty chairs around me. They are not very good at filling the infinite blank Gigi has left behind. But it will be our last time sitting here together; before night falls, I will have stacked everything belonging to or made by Gigi neatly into boxes, not to be opened in the near future.

I have been ill-prepared for the fact that Gigi could be taken away from me. I will compensate that in being extremely careful to not be constantly reminded that I have lost her. And the life I had planned for us. I must not walk into the dark trap whose name is sadness. It has opened its ugly arms to pull me into a tight embrace, but I will not let it harm me. Again.
I will go on living a life – not my life, because my life was dedicated to being Gigi’s mother – and I will wait. And one day, I will be happy again. Even if I have to wait until Gigi comes to see me when she is a grown woman and can make her own choices.

Permalink Schreibe einen Kommentar

Writing: done. Editing: in progress.

25. Juli 2016 at 23:10 (Blog) (, , , , , , , , )

It is done. I have completed the last chapter of my first novel written in English today. So please let me introduce to you:


The River of Recollection

Two women – sisters/strangers – invite the reader to join them on their journey between sanity and insanity, truth and lie. In the course of five days, they revisit their real and imagined memories, they lose loved ones and find new friends. They try to flee from reality until their past finally catches up with them.


Now the hardest part starts for me: the editing of my eleven chapters plus epilogue. I’ve received tons of great feedback from The Baked Potatoes which I will include into my work in the next few weeks. Subsequently, I’ll try to find a publisher or if that is too hard an agent or if that is still too hard at least an editor who helps me to refine my writing so the agents and publishers will give my manuscript a fair chance 😉

Wish me luck and if you have any tips or recommendations on how to get published, fire away in the comments. Cheers! 🙂

PS: The short story mentioned in the last blog post will have to wait for a few more days…

Permalink 4 Kommentare

Sign of Life

28. Mai 2016 at 22:04 (Blog) (, , , , , , )

It’s been awfully quiet on my blog and because there are still people dropping by now and again – cheers, you guys! – I want to take a moment to explain why there is so little going on here.

In the past five months,

  • I’ve completed my master’s thesis and have taken my last university exam (for now).
  • I’ve travelled far, far away to celebrate that.
  • And I’ve written at least half of the novel that has been haunting me for years. My special thanks goes out to my writing and feedback group, famously known as The Baked Potatoes. I wouldn’t have written so much without you and am sincerely grateful for your interest in and help with my novel!

I can’t quite say where my blog is headed to right now. I’m sure it’s not blog heaven, but I can’t promise that there will be a lot of new stories appearing here soon. I am rewriting one story at the moment that I’ll publish soonish. However, I am kind of consumed by the two main characters of my novel, who you’ve already met in my last Christmas story – Clara and Marlene. Without wanting to take too much away I can say that in my novel, they won’t be kids anymore. As their story is rather complex, I need to stay with them and concentrate on them for some more time. Maybe I can present some outtakes here that won’t be featured in the novel, but as the story is still developing, I’m not sure how much I can share at this point.

I kindly want to ask you to bear with me – I value you greatly as my readership and can assure you: There will be a lot more to read in the not so remote future!

Cheers, Marie-Thérèse / MT

Permalink 2 Kommentare

Clara’s Christmas Wish (2015)

25. Dezember 2015 at 06:06 (Clara's Christmas Wish) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Enjoy the 24 parts of my Christmas story about Clara and Marlene without interruptions. Merry Christmas!

“I met Santa today,“ Marlene said, enthusiasm blazing in her brown eyes.
“Really?” her sister Clara asked her, only briefly looking up from her book. Although it was only the 1st of December, the houses in their street were decorated with angels and reindeer and, of course, the bearded man in red and white.
“He let me ride on his reindeer,” Marlene pouted.
“In Mr. and Mrs. Reyman’s garden?” Clara retorted, feigning interest.
“No!” Marlene shrieked. “We were riding our reindeers across the afternoon sky!”
Clara sighed. “The plural of reindeer is also reindeer, not reindeers.”
Marlene stomped on the floor with her little foot, “I’m friends with Santa now, and if you’re mean, he won’t bring you any presents!”

In any other family, seven-year-old Marlene would run to her Mummy or Daddy to rat on her annoying sixteen-year-old sister. But not in the Peterson’s family. Clara had been a happy only child, raised in a Christian home, until she was nine years old and her sister Marlene came along unexpectedly. It wasn’t exactly over with the happiness then, at least not for Clara who thrived on taking care of her baby sister, but it was over with Christianity – and Christian holidays, too. And for Marlene, despite the occasional disputes, Clara became the most important caregiver in the family.
Instead of snitching on her older sister, Marlene threw herself onto her bed and began to sing Christmas songs. “Santa Claus is coming tooo tooooown,” she warbled away. Clara threw her stuffed teddy bear at Marlene when she couldn’t stand it any longer.
“Santa Claus said he’s sorry he couldn’t make it last year. But now that I’m in school, he said, he will come every year!” Marlene mused. It nearly broke Clara’s heart. Marlene had never awakened on the morning of the 25th to find her stockings filled with little presents, the glass of milk and the chocolate chip cookie gone from under the tree. Now that Marlene was in school, it became more and more important to get presents and to pass the new toys around class after the holidays, waiting for joyful or jealous “oohs” and “aahs”, when you were the one with the nicest present of all.
“Why don’t you try to draw what present you want for Christmas? You can get something to write from my desk,” Clara coaxed. This would buy her at least ten minutes in which she could easily finish reading that currently very intriguing book chapter. Marlene started bustling about to collect paper and crayons, before finally settling down at Clara’s desk, making the squeaky armchair higher with a “ffffoooop” noise by pushing the correct lever. Clara looked up and sighed. The mirror she used for applying her make-up in the mornings reflected Marlene’s face, deep furrows of concentration across her forehead.
“Oooh, a plush elephant! That’s an excellent idea, Marlene. I’m sure Santa can manage to get you one,” Clara replied as Marlene presented her work of art. Clara was relieved – that should be doable with her limited budget.
“No, no, no! It’s not a plush elephant! I want a real elephant!” Marlene cried out in exasperation, stamping her little foot on the carpeted floor.
“You want to see a real elephant in the zoo?” Clara suggested, sitting up straighter.
“Nooo,” her sister whined, “he has to live with us. He can live in the garden and help me climb on trees and he can scare bullies away and he can help me with my homework and…” Marlene gasped for air as tears started streaming down her flushed cheeks.
“Oh Marlene, come here…” Clara, still sitting on her bed, spread her arms wide open. Marlene didn’t hesitate to climb onto her sister’s lap, snuggling her wet face up against Clara’s neck.
“Why don’t you tell me what happened at school today?” Clara whispered into Marlene’s ear, softly stroking her head and brown hair.
“I saw an elephant. He walked by the window and then he opened it with his trunk and taked Justin’s apple from his desk,” Marlene sniffled.
“An elephant took Justin’s apple away?” Clara asked.
“Yes. But I was the only one who saw it. The others weren’t watching,” Marlene fretted. “They didn’t believe me when Justin wanted to know where his apple was.”
“And what did they say to you then?” Clara asked, afraid of the answer.
“They said I’m a liar and that I’m stupid and that… and that…” Marlene sniffed back her snot. “That no one wants to be my friend because I lie all the time…” The tears Marlene had stifled the whole day long came gushing out again.
Clara shook her sister slightly. “Marlene, don’t you listen to them! They’re just jealous because they didn’t see the elephant. You know what? We’ll show them who is stupid! Who was the meanest of all the children?”
Marlene looked up at her sister, with big red eyes. “It was Justin. He said I stealed his apple.” She paused for a moment. “What will we do to him?”
“You’ll see on Christmas Eve,” Clara said conspiratorially. And made a wish.

The next day, when Clara was asked to take out the trash, the Sunday paper slid off the top of the dust bin she was carrying. Picking it up, she saw the picture of an elephant at the bottom right of the front page. He had escaped from the local zoo, but had been captured within two hours four days ago, on Saturday.
“Mum, could I please get my pocket money for January today?” Clara asked her mother who was peeling carrots when she returned the dust bin to its proper place in the kitchen.
“What do you need it for?” her mother replied, keeping her eyes on the carrot she was decapitating.
“We’re playing Secret Santa at school,” Clara lied. “We said we’d get each other good gifts, not some cheap crap.”
“Watch your tongue, young lady!” her mother scolded her. “And no, you’re going to have to work this one out by yourself. If you want to give gifts on a meaningless holiday that really isn’t about spending money, then you should start to earn your own money. You’re sixteen after all,” her mother clarified, still not bothering to look at her daughter.
“Thanks for being the worst mother on this planet!!” Clara kicked the dust bin as she left and slammed the kitchen door shut behind her.
She took her jacket and scarf off the hall stand and stormed out to get some fresh air. If she wanted to make her Christmas wish come true – and part of what Marlene wished for – she would have to manage doing it all by herself; so much was clear now. She wouldn’t stop walking until she had found a solution.
And then she saw it.

It was hanging right there, at the bus stop. A sign saying that the circus visiting the town until the end of the year needed somebody to clean the circus ring after the audience left. Not the area in which the animals were performing their tricks but the stands where the people crumbled popcorn into the cracks between the seats and stuck their chewing gums to the floor. It wasn’t a particularly compelling occupation – but it should earn Clara enough money to set her plan into action. And maybe the job would also provide her with important connections she would be able to benefit of later this month.
It was still too early to go home after her dramatic exit, so Clara figured she could as well go to the circus to proffer her services. It was a long walk; Clara didn’t dare to take the bus without having her ticket or any money on her. But it was okay – she still had some thinking to do.
When she walked into the fenced area where the circus resided, she knew exactly how to proceed. Without any further ado, she grabbed the nearest broom, strode up to the stands and started brushing the empty popcorn and peanut bags into a neat heap. Nobody seemed to notice or to care. When she was done after two hours, she walked up to the man in the red suit and bow tie and said: “My name is Clara Peterson and I just cleaned the stands. Would you be so nice as to pay me for that? I can come back tomorrow after school.”
“Sure, kid, just go to the lady who sells the tickets and tell her I said to give you twenty-five for cleaning,” the circus director announced and patted her on the shoulder, lifting his top hat with his other hand. “Good job, young lady!”

Clara was delighted that her plan had worked out so well. In fact, she was so happy she treated herself to a bus ride home. Her mother was furious when Clara returned. “I didn’t raise you to become an ungrateful brat!” she spat. “Go to your room and don’t come down again before you’re ready to apologise!”
Her father just stood there, a worried look on his face. She left before her mother could force him with a stern glance to say the usual listless “do what your mother tells you”.

The days leading up to Christmas were passing quickly. For Clara it was school, then off to the circus and back home to work on her assignments and to do her household chores. Marlene was getting whinier every evening.
“You don’t have any time to play with me anymore…” she remarked, her lower lip trembling.
“I know, I know – but don’t you worry, everything will get better after Christmas,” Clara promised.
“But whyyyy do you have to work sooo much?” Marlene threw her thin arms around her sister’s waist and pressed her face into Clara’s stomach.
“Marlene, don’t tell anyone, but I’m doing this to save Christmas. If I don’t work, there won’t be any Christmas celebration,” Clara replied, hugging her sister back.
“I hate Christmas!” Marlene bit Clara into her thigh and ran up to her room.

One week before Christmas, Clara had completed phase one of attracting the attention of the young boy who tended to the animals’ needs. That phase had been the easy part, really – it consisted of utterly ignoring his existence. She had been introduced to everyone at the circus on her second day. She had shaken his hand and as their eyes met briefly, she could tell that she stood a chance to seduce him to, well, make her Christmas wish come true. Especially if she ignored him for a while.
Phase two was much trickier; also because Clara was secretly in love with somebody else. But for the sake of Marlene’s best Christmas ever she started to throw him looks when she left the circus tent, twirling a strand of hair around her finger.

Five days before Christmas, just when Clara thought to herself that maybe Jim was too shy to talk to her, he surprised her. He walked up to her as she was stowing away the broom and dustpan and said, “Come on, I want to show you something really cute.”
He stretched out his hand and waited patiently for her to take it. Physical contact wasn’t a part of her initial plan, but well, that was the human element she hadn’t been able to account for. “Sure,” she replied. His hand was warm and covered with weals from shovelling the animals’ dirt away all day long.
He led her to one of the cages and pointed his flashlight at something. “Look, that’s who lioness Rina returns to after the show,” he whispered while a lion cub watched them out of tiny, sleepy eyes, safely snuggled into his mother’s fur.
“That’s really sweet,” Clara cooed. “Could you show me the elephants, too?”
Jim’s face lit up. “I sure can,” he replied. And before she could protest, he had taken her by the hand again. He pulled her over to another cage. The elephants, also a mother and her baby, were still wide awake. The mother elephant shifted her weight uneasily from one foot to the other while her baby was nervously groping for her trunk with its own little one. Clara didn’t have to be an expert on animals to see that they didn’t feel comfortable in their tiny cage.
“Are they very shy?” she asked Jim.
“Depends,” he chuckled. “If you give them apples, they’ll be less shy.” Out of nowhere, he produced two shiny apples with rosy cheeks and put one in each of Clara’s hands. Clara hesitated – she had never fed any animals that were that big. “Go on, they won’t bite,” Jim said, nudging her to take a step forward.
Clara giggled as the baby elephant clumsily reached for the apple, its hot breath warming her hand for a moment, before it succeeded in stuffing the apple into its mouth.

For the next few days, Clara spent some of her hard-earned money on buying apples for the two grey giants. Jim flashed his broad grin at her every time she walked by and joined her for the apple-feeding sessions in the dark December evenings. Only on the 23rd she dared to let him in on her secret plan.
„Do you think the elephants might fancy a walk on Christmas Eve? It must be horrible to be locked up all the time,“ Clara asked Jim, frowning.
„What do you mean?“ Jim stared at her. „You don’t want me to set them free, do you? Are you one of those crazy animal liberation girls?“
“Oh no, of course not,” Clara declared. “I really just meant that we could take them for a walk…” She buried her fists in her coat pockets.
“Together? Just the two of us and the elephants?”
“Well, yes… I mean, I won’t be working tomorrow, but maybe you could take them to town after the last show and then we’ll wander the streets together?” Surely it wouldn’t hurt if Marlene accompanied them. It wasn’t like a date or anything.
“You got it! It’s a date!” Jim grinned broadly again, while Clara sighed inwardly.
“Okay, so let’s say ten o’clock at the bus stop on Main Street?” Clara proposed.
“Do you live nearby?” Jim asked nervously.
“Kind of. I have to leave now, see you tomorrow!” Clara cried more cheerfully than she actually felt and waved Jim goodbye. Maybe her Christmas wish had to be repaid by getting an unwanted boyfriend…

When Clara came home, Marlene was already lying in bed, eyes wide open.
“Hi Marlene!” Clara went over and sat on Marlene’s blanket. “How was your last day of school before the Christmas break?”
Marlene sat up and scrambled onto Clara’s lap. “It was great,” she said. Clara brushed Marlene’s hair out of her eyes.
“Nobody was mean to you? Nobody teased you?” Clara prompted.
“Noooo, we played games and Justin even gived me a gingerbread man!” Marlene smiled up at her sister happily.
“The same Justin who teased you about the elephant three weeks ago gave you a gingerbread man?” Clara’s face fell.
“Yes, me and Justin are friends now,” Marlene said, beaming.
“So, you don’t want to play a trick on Justin? On Christmas Eve?” Clara probed, brow furrowed.
“Nooo,” Marlene exclaimed again, “Justin is my friend! You don’t play tricks on friends.” She shook her head vigorously.
“But you still want your Christmas wish to come true, don’t you? Having an elephant as your friend?”
Marlene giggled. “Santa can’t bring me an elephant, stupid,” she managed to splutter. “An elephant is far too big for the sleigh. The reindeers can’t carry an elephant.” She was still giggling.
“But what if the reindeer were magic?” Clara asked hopefully.
“Then Santa can’t get the elephant through the chimney,” Marlene said, yawning suddenly.
“What do you want for Christmas then?” Clara wanted to know.
“I want a doll’s house. Every girl in my class gets one this year,” Marlene answered, her eyes dreamy. “There is a pretty, pretty one on sale at the mall. I hope Santa knows.”
“He certainly does. But are you really one hundred percent sure that you don’t want an elephant to come to our house on Christmas Eve instead? You could feed him an apple, you know?”
“Nooo, I don’t want an elephant. Nobody will believe me anyway,” Marlene said, her eyelids drooping.
“And what if he went by Justin’s house, too, and woke him up?” Clara proposed.
“He will think it’s just a dream,” Marlene said. And fell asleep in Clara’s arms.

On the morning of the 24th, Clara snuck out of the house to buy the doll’s house her little sister had requested and to find a small Christmas tree she could decorate for her. She was relieved that her mum was out shopping too, when she returned home. Her father just eyed the small tree she was holding by its tip warily and said, “It has to be gone again in the morning. Your mother will be mad at you if she sees it.” But as his eyes met hers, he changed his mind. “Okay now, I’ll quickly get the baubles from the basement, but don’t you let them lie around.”
Clara decorated the tree and hid it outside where her mother surely wouldn’t stumble upon it. Then she wrapped her present for Marlene and hid it under the couch in the living room.

The day of the 24th passed like any other day, only that the girls’ mother was more stressed out than usual. She hated it when the shops closed for more than one day, especially since she had begun to dislike Christian holidays nearly eight years ago. A faint slur of curses would emanate from the kitchen for the next two days, finding fault with the quality of meat or the crispness of the vegetables. She hated the idea that people were feasting in every other house at the price of their meticulously counted money bills – because anyone knew that everything was more expensive just for the sake of the holidays.
Clara felt jubilant when she could finally put Marlene to bed, with the prospect of being able to wake her up a few hours later, to a silent house and burning candles. Clara lay down on her bed, too, just to rest her eyes for a few seconds…
Until she woke with a start.
So did Justin, a few streets away.

Clara could have sworn she had heard a soft trumpeting sound.
Justin, on the other hand, heard the trumpeting loud and clear – and saw the accompanying trunk brushing against his window. Awe-struck, he got out of his bed and peaked out of the bedroom window and onto the street. He could see a human figure huddled in a coat far too big for its size and two elephants, a bigger and a smaller one, wandering the streets beside the tiny human. By the time he had woken up his parents to show them, the street was deserted again.

Marlene was meanwhile unpacking her Christmas gift next to a tiny tree with three baubles and two burning candles on it. Clara was sitting cross-legged beside her, holding her finger up to her lips before Marlene could utter a shriek of joy. “We need to whisper,” she whispered, “or we’ll scare the elves away.” Marlene silently threw herself into her sister’s arms, planting a wet kiss on her cheek.

Permalink 2 Kommentare

Clara’s Christmas Wish: Part 24

24. Dezember 2015 at 06:00 (Clara's Christmas Wish) (, , , , , , , )

This story works like an Advent calendar – until the 24th of December, I will publish a part of this story each day. Please start your reading with Part 1. This is the last part of the Christmas story.

Clara could have sworn she had heard a soft trumpeting sound.
Justin, on the other hand, heard the trumpeting loud and clear – and saw the accompanying trunk brushing against his window. Awe-struck, he got out of his bed and peaked out of the bedroom window and onto the street. He could see a human figure huddled in a coat far too big for its size and two elephants, a bigger and a smaller one, wandering the streets beside the tiny human. By the time he had woken up his parents to show them, the street was deserted again.

Marlene was meanwhile unpacking her Christmas gift next to a tiny tree with three baubles and two burning candles on it. Clara was sitting cross-legged beside her, holding her finger up to her lips before Marlene could utter a shriek of joy. “We need to whisper,” she whispered, “or we’ll scare the elves away.” Marlene silently threw herself into her sister’s arms, planting a wet kiss on her cheek.

Permalink 2 Kommentare

Next page »