Six Word Story (58)

Just existing in this world makes a stink. How often have we all wrinkled our noses at it?

But truly, each whiff of yuck comes with blessings. It tells a story of what you did or didn’t do that day.

Next time I smell that laundry pile, I will remind myself to be thankful for things done and stink well made.

©2022 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Candy’s Dream

Candy screamed as a torrent of pink sugary syrup soaked her from head to toe. It coated the rocks she was climbing over, making them treacherously wet, yet sticky.

The wind smelled of frosting, butter heavy and bitingly sweet. She wished she could stop to throw up, but she had to find Almond. She didn’t know how she knew, but her child was in trouble. The syrup formed a crust over everything it touched.

Another splash caught her foot as she risked a jump to a large semi flat bolder just to the right. The strange liquid swirled down the crevices between the large stones. It just wasn’t right. Pink syrup coated rocks.

The shell forming over her skin and clothes crackled as she moved. Sharp edges of solidified sugar pricking her as she tried to sweep it off her arms.

“Who thought up this nightmare?”

The rock wall now at her back confined what looked like a large pink lake. Ahead of her, the boulders fused and formed solid ground. Here and there she could see green tufts growing. What looked like grass stood straight up, like spikes. Or had fallen to the side and lay shattered on the ground. It wasn’t grass, but dried shards of sugar, sculpted in to deadly sharp greenery.

The sound made her jump.
“Who are you?”

Panicked pounded behind her rib cage, and she thought she caught Almond’s high-pitched voice floating in the air.
Candy spun in circles as she pawed at the sugar on her face and hands

“A human? You don’t belong here.”
“Is this your nightmare? Where is my daughter?”

There was no answer. But a strange sound caught her attention. Again she spun. Tears stung her eyes and dissolved the sugar crystals clutching her lashes.

A strange horse wandered in to view. It eyed her warily, then bent its neck to lick the green spikes growing out of the rock.

“This is so wrong.”
“Judgy are we?”

The horse lifted its head and glared at her, pointing with a long, bright horn protruding from its forehead.

“I’m dreaming.”
“Yes, you might be.”
“Where’s Almond?”
“I don’t know.”

Candy turned and walk away. The creature’s unnaturally bright eyes sent shivers down her spine. She broke into a run, the sugar flaking from her shoes and crunching underfoot. Or was it? She looked down to see the rocks themselves crumpling beneath her feet, as if her weight had broken a candy coating. Her soles sank into thick mud.

“Almond! Baby, where are you?”

Her throat was dry and her call fell at her feet instead of carrying on the air blocked by the butter heavy scent.
She felt her shoes sink farther. A disgusting sucking sound followed when she lifted a foot and a nasty squish came when she pressed a foot down looking for solid grown.
She tripped in the muck, dropping her hands into the mud, but it wasn’t mud. With her face so close she knew it for what it was, thick dark chocolate. A thin brown candy coating crunched beneath her hands as it broke beneath her. She was being sucked in.

“Humans don’t belong in Candy Land,” said the unicorn. It had trotted up behind her as she thrashed in the dark, liquefying chocolate. “Their bodies emit too much heat, melting our chocolate hills.”
“Help, please!”
“Why should I?”
It stood stark still, pure white main and tail sweeping the confection ground.
“You should go home, human.”
“Please, my daughter!”
But it was too late. The chocolate melting around her body bubbled up. Candy felt the air bubbles bursting behind her head and next, she slid completely under the thick pool.
“What a pity,” the unicorn mumbled.

Chocolate filled her mouth before she could remember to close it. She was drowning as it burned her throat and nostrils. Her body tried to take in air, unaware it was killing itself faster. Down, down, it sucked her. The sensation, along with air deprivation, made her head spin.

The chocolate earth spat her out. She had fallen all the way through its sweet and bitter layers. There was the sound of crunching and a steady dripping from overhead as she landed hard on something not quite firm, but flaky.

Almond was close. She had to keep moving. But Candy’s oxygen deprived brain held her back.
“I’m coming, baby…”

She cried, her tears mixing with the chocolate on her dipped face.

It was dark, but not pitch black. A strange glow warmed the walls of this strange pastry like prison. The ceiling was solidifying above her and the dripping slowed. Crunch, crunch. The crackly and sliding layers under foot were unnerving.

“Almond, where are you!”

“Here Mommy! Here! I’m stuck.”
“I’m coming!”

The warm glow of the walls broke in places, revealing dark tunnels that ran throughout this strange place. She followed one, Almonds hiccuping cries driving her forward.

After a sharp turn, a cavern opened up before her. Its walls glowing a healthy pie pastry brown.
“Here Mama!”
Almond was wrapped in a ball of what looked like flour and sugar.
“Mommy, is this your dream or mine?”
“I don’t know baby.”
Almond’s head and hands protruded from the heavy ball and her tears had created a dark spot just under her chin. Candy sunk a finger in to that dark spot. It was softer than the rest, and she pulled chunks of compacted flour away and threw it to the ground.

“I love you Mamma.”
“I love you too.”
“How did you get in there, baby?”
“I don’t know. I just woke up like this.”

The ground grew littered with handfuls of white gloop. Candy didn’t care where she threw. It was slow, but gradually Almond’s shoulders and then torso appeared. Her little girl wiggled, trying to loosen the surrounding substance.

Finally, all but Almond’s feet and were free and both mother and daughter grabbed at it to be rid of the last few hand fulls.

“Breath baby.”
Almond just nodded as her chest heaved with anxiety and half released sobs.

The scream pierced Candy’s eardrums as she gripped her daughter. Almond was staring at the ceiling as a bright light broke through the solid chocolate.

The unicorn cutter the solid chocolate rocks with its horn stomping on the edges to crumble them away.

“There you are. It’s time you both go home. What a mess!”

The creature jumped through the opening it made, landing effortlessly on the crusty surface. The light from the bubble gum blue sky made Candy blink.
“How do we get home? Just tell us the way and we’ll go.”
“There is only one way… What have you been doing? Tarring Candy Land to pieces?”
The unicorn pointed to the globs of white littering the floor.
“I had to free my daughter.”
“Well, she shouldn’t have dreamt herself into a half-baked ball.”

Unicorn eyes flashed rainbows around the cave and tried to bore a hole through mother and child.
“It wasn’t on purpose. Just tell us how to get home.”
“You won’t like it.”
“Tell us, and you will never have to see us again.”
Fear shiver over Candies skin as the unicorn stepped closer.
“Stay still.”
“Why? What are you going to do?”

Candy forced herself to stand her ground. But dropped Almond behind her. The child wrapped her arms around her mother’s legs and buried her face against denim fabric.
“It’s okay Almond.”
“How do you wake up from a dream human?”

The unicorn was close now, its eyes spinning rainbows as it lowered its horn slightly.
“I don’t know…”
The beast cut her off as it punched its horn through her chocolate-covered chest, stabbing her heart.

There was cold sweat soaking the collar of her shirt as she jolted awake. The room was dark. Candy found herself half laying on the cold floor, half on the low bed, Almond’s small hand curled against hers. She breathed a sigh of relief.
The small digital clock on the bedside table shone 12:42. She groaned with tired cold muscles, pushing herself up and tiptoeing from the room.

The kitchen lights had been turned down, leaving only the counter LEDs to guide her to the sink. They cast soft amber beams around the room.

“What a nightmare. I guess I shouldn’t lick the frosting bowl before bed next time.”

Joking about it pushed the dream to the edges of memory, a fussy shadow with bitter sprinkles at its heart.

She opened the fridge to check the cake and make sure that Greg hadn’t laid it on top of anything smooshable, and jumped when rainbow swirl eyes stairs back at her from the innocent unicorn face she had painted across the white birthday cake. Almost dropping the glass she still held, she slammed the fridge closed.

©2022 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (57)

When something is hard to achieve, or difficult to grasp. When holding on comes with a cost, our human minds do one of two things. We cast it aside as undesirable, or count the risk as worth it, and raise the monetary value.

Sometimes, worth is more about the emotion behind the thing than the thing itself.

©2022 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (56)

It usually surprises people when I tell them, “I do not care for the Christmas season.”
“Arn’t Christians supposed to love Christmas?”

I guess most of them do, but I can’t help but feel an emptiness behind the brightly covered packages and glitz this world throws around during the holiday season. Expectations are high, but things never seem to pan out the way I mean them to. So why write about this now that the Holidays are over, and becoming a memory?

Because the light of Christmas is not supposed to stay locked into a few weeks of the year. The person of Jesus Christ grew and walked away from the manger, taking his flame of light to the very valley of death.

So today I choose to remind myself that though a modern Christmas leaves me empty, and ancient Christ fills me with light.

Look beyond how culture paints things to deep roots.

©2022 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (55)

Ordinary. It’s a word we dismiss, and a state of being we overlook. We search for the special spark of the EXTRAordinary. In doing so, we miss so much.

The gift of an ordinary love.
The strength of an ordinary family.
The hope of an ordinary marriage.
The protection of an ordinary house.
The wealth of an ordinary life.
The seeds of an ordinary faith.

For when ordinary built and maintained, storms reveal how it has grown the extraordinary. Don’t cast aside your ordinary.

©2022 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (54)

For healthy development, both emotionally and physically, an infant needs touch. Though many of us hide our longing for intimacy that doesn’t involve sexual contact, adults need touch as well.

A hand to hold. A shoulder to hug. Playful jostling while laughing with friends. These things are important. Give them generously. Receive them gratefully.

©2022 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (53)

Do you ever dig for those hiding morsels? Bits and pieces packed full of flavor and sugar like the chocolate in trail mix, or the chips in a chocolate chip muffin.

I have three kids and one is a gobbler, one is a nibble and one is a picker. It’s fascinating how a simple thing like, “how you eat your muffin,” can show so much of your personality.

Do you savor those small things? Do you gulp them down with ecstasy? Or do you pick at them, unsure if you are ready to partake or afraid to enjoy?

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Story (52)

Hiding in plain sight. Overlooked common things. Treasures of life, streaks of colour, unexpected smiles.

Simply ridiculous fun. Giggles that bubble in the middle of meetings. Brightly painted tea pots. Flowers planted in cups.

Look for them, they are there.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Drops/Bright Flash Literary Review

When you visit Bright Flash Literary Review’s about page, this is the greeting you will find.

Hello! I’m Kristen. Bright Flash Literary Review is a home for flash and short fiction. We’re here to provide a space for all voices, the heard and unheard. There is nothing more beautiful than a perfect collection of words.

They are a small online literary journal that specializes in flash fiction. They accepted and published my dribble (50 word story) ‘Drops‘ on December 1st.

The joy in writing short forms of fiction for me comes from finding just the right words. Just like in poetry, a single word must equal a sentence, and a sentence a paragraph. Limiting word use amplifies the meaning behind a short phrases.

Have you tried writing dribbles, drabbles, or six word stories? I encourage you to check out Bright Flashes collection of brief beauty, and let me know what you think of ‘Drops‘ while you are over there.

Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (51)

The thing about truth is, it just is.

It’s many faceted and affects different people in different ways. But truth is truth.

We can disguise it, ignore it, or bury it, but still it is what it is at its core. It can not cease to be.

From the beginning of time, the human tongue has had a problem with truth. It’s the only thing in creation I know of that regularly spews out lies and truth at the same time.

It’s a tragedy of our human existence that we so often muddy those waters…

But our ability to do so speaks volumes. We are able to choose. We are able to change. We are able to learn better.

My prayer is that we would no longer be afraid of truth, and avidly seek it in everything. From who really put the empty milk carton back in to the fridge, to the truths about what is happening in the world at large. May truth always teach and become clear. Amen.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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