Wednesday, November 16, 2016


She slams the door. Reluctantly she turns back, looking at the solid wood frame. " I should have been more polite."
She turns and looks back at Danny. "Danny! I'm home!"
She shoves the jugs into a corner and moves along with her day. She picks up a tray of fresh lily plants. "Maybe I suck at human interaction." She trims a few lilies and places them in a pile. She slowly places the heavy tray back on her windowsill and picks up another of violet carnations and rare blue marigolds.
"Maybe if I make him something, it'll make up for my attitude."
She works carefully and quickly using ribbons and bows and lots of glitter. She finally screams, "Done!" in her usual high-pitched excited scream. She rushes out of her studio and into the foyer. She grabs her coat and flies into the cold barren hallway.
She pauses for a moment. She thinks to herself, "Okay. Stay calm. You can do this."

She walks cautiously through the hallway to the elevator. She presses the number five button and waits.

She walks out of the elevator and into the hallway right in front of door 504. She gulps. "Okay, let's get on with this" She goes to knock, bus as soon as her fist connects with the door it flies wide open. Laurel falls onto his carpeted floor.
"Oh no! Are you alright?", he exclaims.

"Oof, yeah I think I'm alright." She gets up and brushes herself off. She looks in her hands. A crumpled flower bouquet went to waste. "Aw man!", she sighs.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?"
Laurel blushes, embarrassed over the ruined bouquet. "I-it's nothing mister. Sorry for bothering you." She turns to leave, but he grabs her shoulder turning her around, a full 180.

"Why this, is this for me?" Laurel looks down. "Well, I wanted to apologize for my attitude earlier...", she trails off. Howard smiles, delighted. "Why, thank you!" He takes the bouquet happily and smells it. "It smells lovely, where did you find these?"

Laurel looks up smiling, "I grow them, just like my mother taught me. I make arr.. arrangie..." , she sighs frustratedly.
"Arrangements?", he answers.
"Yeah, arrangements."
"Well.. Where is she? Your mother, that is." He asks while putting the bouquet on the desk in the foyer.
Laurel hesitates, trying to fight back tears.
"She's gone"

Monday, October 10, 2016

She tosses and turns restlessly. Squeezing Danny tightly she murmurs, "Maura, come back.... Maura." And suddenly as the morning light seeps in she stops. Her alarm rings softly, like a sweet lullaby. She wakes slowly, wiping the shed tears from her eyes. Another nightmare, another day. She stands up from her frilly daybed and dresses just like Maura taught her. "Now your turn Danny," she shrieks excitedly. She dresses Danny and sits him up on his favorite chair. It's blue.

The mail flap slams shut, and a sheet of paper lands harshly on the floor. "Ellen," Laurel grumbles "...again?" She looks at the notice.

NOTICE: Laura Ilsteson has been reported absent for the last twenty school days. A mandatory 180 days are required to be promoted to the next grade. Laura will be disqualified for school activities, programs, and awards if she is not present TOMORROW, October 11, 2016. This notice MUST be signed and returned the of her re-entry. 

Laurel angrily crumples the sheet of paper and throws it in the waste bin. "Stupid school, stupid Ellen." She plops down next to Danny and sighs. "Danny, Maura wouldn't make her take me. Would she?" Danny doesn't say anything. Laurel looks at the corner. Birthday cards are stacked in a pile. Some are from family members, some friends. Laurel sighs again. "Time to get to work."

There's a loud knock at the door.

She slowly shuffles to the door, pulls up her stool, and looks in the peephole. 
"Who is it..?" A tall man is standing there. "News reporter, ma'am! I'd like to speak with ya." Laurel hops down and slowly opens the door. The man stands baffled. "Uh little lady, is your mother home?" 

She tears up and answers, "No."

The tall man frowns, "Aww it's okay sweetheart. Are you here all alone?" "No," she answers softly sniffling. "Danny's here with me." She opens the door a little more, revealing a fluffy blue rabbit in patched up khakis. He smiles softly, then sighs. "Does an adult live here?" Hesitantly, she answers " M-my step-aunt."

There's a gunshot.

Laurel screams and covers her ears. She falls off her stool and onto her hardwood floor. The man drops his briefcase and all of his papers fly out onto the floor.

“If you are a resident. Don’t move.  If you are a reporter, come out into the hall. Don’t,” another belch echoed in the hallway, “make me cock this trigger another time! 

The man scrambles to pick up his supplies and runs out into the hallway. Laurel sits there hands clamped hard over her ears. Through her tears, she screams, "Auntie Ellen!" 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Laurel screams, " Done!" as she trims the last few leaves from her flowering bonsai tree. She looks at all her flowers laid in front of her. White roses, sweet-smelling baby's breath, and hydrangeas all beautifully picked and pruned. She arranges them into a beautiful bouquet. "Danny, what do you think about this?" she turns around grinning. No answer. "Awww thanks, Danny." He slowly sulks back into the couch behind him. Laurel happily skips over to the large refrigerator where she keeps her fresh cut flowers. Tiredly, she looks over at her wall-length window and sees the sun's fading light. She yawns and turns to pick up Danny, and shuffles to her daybed. She dives onto her pink twin-sized bed. "Danny, do you ever think Maura's coming back?" Danny doesn't respond. "Yeah me too." She slowly fades into a peaceful slumber