INTELLIGENT STORIES FOR SMART READERS

Homepage of the Author Katharina Gerlach
for children, young adults, and the young at heart

Willkommen, Welcome (Englisch), Fàilte (Gaelic), Bienvenue (Französisch), Djin dobre (Polnish)*.

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Yes, it’s that time of the year again, the next bloghop is due. This time we’ve got a new (and much nicer, don’t you think?) logo, made by Juneta Key one of the bloghop’s regular authors. For the longest time I didn’t know what to write about until a few days back, I realized that not everybody wakes quite the same way as I do. Naturally, the names of the kids are all made up (to protect their privacy), and I also used a time when they were a lot smaller, but essentially, this is how I get up every morning. I hope you enjoy the story.

A Writer’s Morning

I pull the cover over my head, but it’s suffocating me and it doesn’t shut out the five thirty alarm anyway. I wish I could stay in bed.

“Now, if you take me to the Gruesome Waste, I could be truly heroic. Let me explain,” the main character of my current project says.

Not now, I think. Grumbling, I climb out of bed and use the bathroom. My blood pressure is under the roof already without even listening to the kids’ banter downstairs. How can anyone be so lively this early in the morning? I can’t even muster the necessary strength to remind them to be quiet. I shuffle to the kitchen, prepare coffee for the husband, set the table for those energetic enough to eat, and spread four double slices of bread with butter and anything that’s fresh form the fridge. So far, my packed lunch hasn’t killed anyone – yet.

“Woojee, woojee.” My youngest hugs me. He smells of chocolate and leaves brown stripes on my nighty. “I’m an ambulance.”

“Ambulance,” says my love interest. “Now that’s an idea!”

Not yet! I groan, trying not to be heard by Joey.

“I’m not hungry. Elly made me a toast.” Joey one hugs me again and races off, wailing worse than before. Did I miss a day? Is it a weekend? I gaze at the calendar – no, it’s Wednesday. I’m not wrong. Thanks for that.

“You need to get dressed for school,” The words fall like stones from my mouth. Joey speeds out of the room toward the bath, overtaking Elly on the way. “Me first!”

“Oh, I wish we could have bathrooms,” the antagonist says. “Couldn’t that be my motivation? Bathrooms for all?”

“Not yet!” The tiredness slowly gives way to annoyance.

“How about something to drink?” My husband’s soft voice sounds angelic, calming me instantly. He fills a glass with coffee and milk and puts it beside my plate. A writer’s life juice. I drain it while I stuff lunch boxes into schoolbags and my husband’s briefcase. On the way out, he plants a kiss on my nose that was aimed at my mouth. I stand beside the door like a blade of grass swaying gently. Elly passes me with Joey at her hand. She smiles.

“Will you pick me up in time for swimming?”

“Swimming!” My main character positively beams. “How about me having to find a way through the Gruesome Waste and the only option I seem to have is swimming?”

“Not now.”

“Mom?” Elly’s eyebrows rise.

“Sorry, hon. Of course I’ll be there in time.” I smile back and wave until my tow favorite non-adults vanish around a bent in the road just a few paces from the bus stop. Then, I wait until the bus rounds the corner and wave again. When the dust cloud settles, I turn to get dressed.

“Any ideas welcome,” I say to the characters of my WIP. They remain silent.

Jacko, our dog gets up and stretches. When he was younger, he used to get up with me, excitedly jumping around hoping for a long walk. These days he knows me better.

“Well, what was that about the Gruesome Waste?”

Silence. I look at Jacko. His tail starts wagging when I put on my shoes.

“Well, old boy. Another day, another chance, right?” I breathe the air outside. The freshness of the spring morning will get me going. It always does. And usually, it makes the voices in my head come back.

As I jog into the morning, the voices slowly return, filled with nightly discoveries and fresh ideas that need to be evaluated. All the characters clamor for attention. The dog is happy, and so am I. Soon, I’ll be able to write again. Who said that being an early riser was easy?

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I hope you liked this story. If you did, check out my books. Also, have a look at these wonderful stories by my fellow writers:

Unverified, by Erica Damon
Tito’s to the Max, by Chris Makowski
The Boon, by Juneta Key
Sanctuary, by Elizabeth McCleary
Till Death Us, by Fanni Sütő
The Cloud, by Karen Lynn
Data Corruption, by Barbara Lund
Wish Granted, by Kami Bataya
The Witch of Wall Street, by J. Q. Rose
Grim Reapers on a Field Trip, byJ Lenni Dorner
Unwelcome Vistors, by Bill Bush

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Since my grandson arrived, I am lacking time. My household looks like a bomb exploded(with mountains of laundry, but at least the dishes are clean … three cheers for the dishwasher), my stories grow at a snail’s pace, and my Blog and Facebook page are neglected. Then, my middle daughter (my grandson’s mother) had to go into hospital for 2 weeks and soon, my eldest will have to go there for an operation … that means it won’t get better any time soon. I hope you don’t mind. I am working on the next publication, a middle grade monster story. If nothing unexpected happens, I’ll get it done in time for Halloween.

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It is already time again for the quarterly Blog Hop. My, how time flies! My grandson has started to crawl, still on his belly, and two teeth are already out. Slowly my days are finding a new rhythm, so I’m writing again. I hope you’ll enjoy this snippet which is based very, very loosely on my experience of becoming a grandmother rather unexpectedly. As usual, you’ll find the links to the other participants below my story.

Surprise

“Well, you could come in today but only the male doctor will be there,” the gynecologist’s receptionist said. I knew that wouldn’t do. My daughter would never see a man – not when it was her first visit to a gynecologist. I told the receptionist, just as I had told her about the low but persistent abdominal pain Shelly was experiencing. It wasn’t urgent but it definitely needed someone looking at it.

“Well Dr. Paulsen won’t be in before tomorrow. I’ve got a free slot at 9am.”

I smiled and sent a sliver of pleasurable magic through the phone for the woman. “That’s splendid. We’ll be there on time.”

***

The next morning, my daughter – a little grumpy from getting up this early – and I climbed the two floors to the gynecologist. After the usual paperwork, the receptionist left us in a room with a desk and the gynecological chair. Her smile was meant to be reassuring. “The doctor will be with you in a few minutes.”

Shelly looked at me with a frown. “I won’t sit on that one.” She nodded to the chair.

Before I could answer, the doctor came in. She was a petite woman with brown hair, a white lab coat and tired eyes. “Welcome.” She shook our hands and smiled at my daughter. “It looks as if it’s coming soon. Who’s your regular gynecologist?”

My jaw dropped and for the first time in a long, long while I didn’t know what to say. My daughter’s face must have mirrored my surprise because the doctor said, “Don’t tell me you didn’t know.”

There was no answer to that, but my daughter was too shocked to make a fuss when the doctor examined her. I didn’t even need my magic to soothe her.

“Dear me.” Dr. Paulsen’s eyes widened. “It’s coming right now!” She nearly fled the room to call an ambulance.

While we waited, Shelly’s contractions intensified. She moaned with pain, and my heart hurt in sympathy. At least I now knew her sudden gain in weight hadn’t been due to obsessive eating or cancer or any of the other diseases I had feared. Still, I suffered with her every time the contractions hit. She squeezed my hand as if she meant to crush every single bone to pulp, and it took all my strength not to use a calming spell on her. According to my own mother that would interfere with the baby’s own magic should it have some.

The ambulance took its time and even my spell couldn’t make it faster. All I could do was prevent the gynecologist from panicking. Waves of soothing magic flowed through the rooms, arduously avoiding Shelly. But once the ambulance arrived, everything went fast. Shelly was carried downstairs on a stretcher, and I followed with knees too shaky to manage the stairs without clinging to the handrail. The ambulance headed to the nearby motorway with flashing lights and siren, while my daughter screamed in pain, still clinging to my hand. I tried to make myself as small as possible to not obstruct the doctor and his helpers. The baby arrived soundlessly three minutes before we reached the hospital.

“That doesn’t look good.” The doctor’s face was grim as he cut the cord. My heart seemed to stop beating. I barely dared to look at the rather bluish looking limp body in his hands. “Oxygen. And a tenth of a unit …”

I ignored the doctor’s gobbledygook and concentrated on my daughter. I closed my hands around her wide eyed face. Finally I could help. My magic tugged at her worry, smoothing it out and adding a little hope here and there. “Keep breathing. There’s nothing we can do but hope.” We closed our eyes and ignored the clattering of instruments and the babbling of the paramedic. If we lost the baby, I’d probably never be able to create a bubble of hope again. So we clung to our own little bubble. It was all I could do to keep it up. Shelly’s heart beat the same fearful-hopeful rhythm as mine.

The ambulance screeched to a stop.

“We’ve got her!” The relief in the doctor’s voice was palatable. Very gently he placed the wrapped baby into Shelly’s arms. A content, pink face with the bluest eyes anyone had ever seen stared at us, and a wave of happiness hit me. The baby was magical, and breathing, and moving her tiny fingers, already weaving her spell on us. As I hobbled after the stretcher that was wheeled to a lift, my smile couldn’t have been wider. I whispered to my daughter, “I guess it’s time to think about a name for her.”

___________________________________________

The other stories:

In A Picture by Erica Damon
The Past Tastes Better by Karen Lynn
Revealing Space by Barbara Lund
The Rose Tender by Raven O’Fiernan
The Last Sleeping Beauty by Tamara Ruth
Freeman by Elizabeth McCleary
Hell’s Play by Juneta Key
The Token by Eli Winfield
Moshe 4th by Chris Makowski
To The Moon And Beyond, by Fanni Sütő

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