Writing Challenges

Make It Home Again

Welcome to Day 15 of 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing, the creative writing challenge that 4 out of 5 Hydro workers agree is the reason for the other day’s power outage . Today’s prompt is Or Else, and co-blogger Mike is the brains behind this one. Don’t forget to link up at the end of this post if you participated in today’s challenge before the last candle burned down.

A quick note – we really did have a power outage which is why I missed yesterday’s prompt “Where Can I Get A Good Blintz?”. I cried myself to sleep for missing out on that one, too. Heartbreaking, I tell you.


Make it Home Again

pink telephone


The phone rang while she was making supper.


Hi. It’s Maggie.

Maggie? Um, hey. How are you?

Good. I just called ’cause I wanted to wish you happy birthday.

Oh. Thanks, thanks very much. It’s great to hear from you. How’ve you been?

Good. I can’t really talk very long. I have some stuff…

Sure, I understand.

But happy birthday. I’ll be at Mom’s on Saturday for cake. See you then. Take care.

Thanks. It was great of you…

Maggie had already hung up though. She stood there, looking at the receiver in her hand. And then she burst into tears.

She and Maggie were only two years apart, Maggie being the younger. Growing up, they had been close, closer than they were to their other siblings. They shared their secrets, their dreams, their fears and hopes.

Once, when they were about 10 and 12 years old, she’d tried to get Maggie to do her chores for her. Maggie refused. She’d pleaded, cajoled and eventually, tried to blackmail Maggie.

Do the dishes for me or else I’ll tell Mom that you got detention on Thursday.

Well, if you tell Mom about my detention, I’ll tell her about the F you got in math class.

Oh yeah? Then I’ll tell her that you’ve been feeding the dog your vegetables.

Then I’ll tell her that you kissed Steven.

Fine! Then I’ll tell her that you’re the one who broke her vase.

Uh huh. Then I’ll tell her that you wore her charm bracelet to school.

And it went on and on like that for at least 20 minutes. It could have gone on much longer but their gales of laughter put an end to the attempted blackmail. In the end, she washed the dishes and Maggie helped by drying.

The conversation turned to boys and clothes and other subjects of such importance. Their bond undamaged by the “extortion incident”, as it would come to be called.

But nearly 20 years later, she watched with growing dismay as Maggie became more and more erratic. Happy memories were tainted by delusion and paranoia. There was a thief living in Maggie’s mind, stealing her ability to distinguish fact from fiction. A vicious thief, hacking and slashing away at the light and the joy that was Maggie.

She tried to reach out to her sister, but every time she tried –  every get together, every phone call –  it ended badly. Her dismay quickly turned to anger. Anger at her sister for not being in control. Anger at her own  impotence.

Meanwhile, Maggie was drifting further and further away. Away from her, away from reality. Until, one day, she realized it had been a couple of years since they had spoken, at least five since they had seen each other last.

And then the phone rang while she was making supper.


Now, go. Click on the links of the wonderful people participating in this challenge. But bring a flashlight.

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  • Beautifully written Nicky.

  • I always read your post first, Nicky right after I’ve posted on the link thingy. It never disappoints. But now I’m sad. I’me very, very sad. That was some story. Well done.

  • Cadeaux

    That could be my sister.

    Oh, who am I fooling…she’d never reach out to call me. Plus, she’d never admit she was delusional all those years. Plus we never had a bond. Plus my mother is dead.

    Sorry…not being flippant – I’m being serious. Your post just brought back memories…that I’ll never have really.

  • Wow! That is quite a powerful piece! Guess it makes up for being powerless yesterday!

  • Man, what a way to start my day. I’m all like, “It’s Friday. I’ve got my coffee. Ready for the weekend.” And you come and stomp on my warm fuzzy. Someone pass the Kahlua.

  • Oh Nicky, that was beautifully, done. So much emotion; hope, sadness, helplessness, the joy of the extortion incident… You are one seriously talented woman.

  • Nicky, this was sad, but beautiful and beautifully written.

  • So lovely, poignant and sad. I’ve always known you could write, but you’re blowing me away with some of this stuff. Really wonderful work, Nicky. I loved it.

  • Oh god one LM!

  • A well-written piece, Nicky.

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  • This is so sad, but life’s like that at times. Now I’m all sad.

  • mikewjattoomanymornings

    I was kind of hoping this was going to turn into something awesome sexy, like Ziva’s post for Unintended was. I was thinking the sisters could be super-hot twins, and that they could both give Steve a kiss, and maybe do some other naughty stuff after the kissing, or in addition to the kissing, if you get my drift.

    Anyway, I guess you were trying to be more somber or something like that, and I think you succeeded.

  • mikewjattoomanymornings

    I know, right? I started drinking right after I finished this post. I wasn’t going to make it through the day otherwise.

  • Wow…sad but very touching as well. The loss of a sibling is very hard no matter how the loss happens.

  • I have a brother like that… thought he was dead for about ten years. Didn’t see him for 17 years. Now we’re back in touch, which is nice, but I never know how long it will last.

  • Thank you, Shawn

  • Thank you, Dufus. And I’m sorry I made you sad. I promise to stop drinking before posting. Wait, no I don’t. I take that back! 🙂

  • I’m sorry if I touched a nerve with this one, Mariann.

  • I tried, LM. I felt really bad about missing a day. And nice pun. Now stop hanging around with Dufus so much! 🙂

  • I was going to apologize until I realized I gave you a reason to start drinking Friday morning instead of having to wait until a “reasonable” hour. You’re welcome. 🙂

  • You’re also welcome.

  • Thank you, Lemmikki. I’m just trying to keep up with the rest of you. You all have set the bar quite high!

  • Thank you, Linda. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone for this one!

  • Thanks, Jayne. The nice thing about these challenges, I get to stretch my creative muscles more than I normally would. I’m glad you liked it.

  • Thanks, P.J!

  • That’s very true, Babs. I’m sorry I made you sad. I’ll try a knock knock joke for tomorrow’s prompt 😉

  • See, I wrote that exact story but then thought nobody would appreciate it and decided to scrap it. Damn. Guess I was wrong.

  • That’s exactly it, Cheryl. Loss is painful, no matter how you slice it.

  • I’m so sorry about your brother, Paula. I hope it lasts this time. Hugs.

  • Exactly! That’s why I love 5 Sentence Fiction and other pieces like that. They’ve inspired me to come up with stories I never ever would have discovered inside myself in any other way.

  • Cadeaux

    We don’t know where my oldest sister is. She’s been missing for about 20 years.

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  • MikeWJ

    I haven’t spoken to my brother in at least 15 years.

  • KZ

    I was disappointed when I realized that you hadn’t posted anything for the “blintz” prompt, but you more than made up for it with this post. This was a nice piece of storytelling, Nicky. You’ve really captured a whole storm of emotions in this short work. Nicely done.

  • I’m all choked up! WOW! SNIFF!!! WOW!

  • Mike, perhaps we need to do our regular post each day, and then a pornography post for you? Or at least mention boobies SOMEWHERE in our writing? XXXOOO

  • this post makes Meleah very very sad!


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