Tag Archives: child abuse

Of course you can have more Macabre Macaroni

Lisa BurtonHi gang, welcome back for another helping of Macabre Macaroni. This week we’re trying to garner a bit of sympathy for the monster.

Maybe the determination of a monster is just your point of view. Some of us are different, and that freaks people out. It isn’t what appears on the outside as much as the inside.

I’m not saying there aren’t monsters out there, but you might have to dig under the surface to identify them. Maybe it isn’t about the way you look as much as how you think or act.

Today’s story is called Monster Spotting. How many can you find?

Monster Spotting

Cori Vincent fought back the shadows and fog. Her entire body hurt. Not the sharp biting pain of something recent, but the throbbing ache of something long term. Before she blacked back out she overheard a few words.

“Day two-hundred forty-three. Stem cells and neural dust have accelerated healing, nervous system repairs are remarkable. We have not been able to stimulate the nerves that will bring her out of the coma.

“Ms. Vincent has taught us much, and there is more to learn. Ultimately, we will have to terminate the experiment if she does not regain consciousness–”

Cori fought to hear more. This time she was able to open her eyes. It was dark in her room, and only a faint glow told her she succeeded. A thin layer of gauze covered her eyes, and she pawed at it.

She pulled the gauze away and breathed deeper. The glow came from under the door. Her left eye told her more than the right. She rubbed the right, but complete vision eluded her. The window revealed only the night outside.

Her legs felt leaden as she swung them off the bed and forced herself upright. Even this simple act caused her to gasp for air. She breathed deeply, but didn’t feel as though her lungs were processing the precious oxygen.

The voice said two-hundred forty-three days. That’s eight months. How many days had it been since she heard the voice?

She reached the door by using the bed to get to her feet, then falling forward until she could lean against the wall. Her hands fumbled at the light switch, so she used the back of her wrist to swipe it on.

The room was spartan at best. A bed, a sink in some cabinetry, and nothing else; not even a call-button for the nurse. At least the door knob was one of the handle type and not round. She used the back of her hand once more to open it. Hello! Is anyone here? Nurse? “Naawwwrrrrss!”

She recoiled at the guttural noise. That isn’t my voice. What happened to my words? Her throat immediately ached, and she coughed up phlegm. She stumbled to the sink and spit.

The building was closed. What kind of hospital closes? She stumbled into the hallway and moved toward the front of the building. A surgical suite sat off to the left, and a private office to the right. She appeared to be the only patient here; the only person here.

The office had a desk, a computer, and a chair. She needed the chair. A newspaper article pinned to a board beside the desk caught her attention. She had to close her right eye completely to focus on the letters.

The headline read, “Automobile Accident Claims Couple.” Her head reeled. Eric was driving. She was trying to keep the girls from fighting. The girls!

She pawed at the article and tore it from the board. She froze in her actions. These aren’t my hands?

Her hands were huge masculine paws, with black skin. Possibly from an industrial worker or a carpenter of some kind, judging by the calluses.

The office had a private bathroom. Cori stumbled inside and found the mirror. She was a man now. Not just any man, a gigantic black man. Surgical scars completely circled her head above the eyes and ears. Her head was balding, and her right eye permanently squinted. Palsy claimed the right side of her face, and her lip and cheek sagged. Someone had dressed her in ill-fitting grey flannel pajamas. She spun to lean against the wall, and lifted the article to her good eye. She and her husband died, and the children were given to child protective services. My babies! “Baaaaabbbaa!”

The article said she and Eric were buried together in Shady Grove. Could Eric still be somewhere in the same condition as her? It didn’t matter. Someone else had her babies. She stumbled to the front door and forced it open. Glass shattered and an alarm went off as she stumbled into the night.

A street sign at the corner indicated she was only a couple of blocks from the courthouse. Child Protective Services would know where her girls were.

She tripped on the curb when she crossed against the light and stumbled into someone’s yard, taking out three feet of picket fence along the way. They’d left their sprinkler on, and thirst overwhelmed her. She pulled the sprinkler head off and drank. Water dribbled from the damaged right side of her mouth, but she didn’t care. She tried to avoid ruining any more of the fence when she left, but knocked another section down. At least it didn’t break, and they could stand it back up.

Her small-town courthouse was closed for the night. She battered the door open and went inside. Child Protective Services was simple enough to figure out. A sequence of locked file cabinets in alphabetical order. She found the drawer where V might be, tossed the wet and rumpled newspaper article from her hand, and ripped the cabinet apart like someone peeling an orange.

The girls went to two different foster families. How could they? They just lost their parents, now they have to endure losing each other. She screamed into the night, but it sounded more like an animalistic roar.

This was a small town. Her small town. She was alive, somehow, and these were still her children. They would figure out something.

She plodded along Cedar Avenue with the faint flashing of police lights behind her. They responded to the alarm at whatever facility she escaped from.

She lurched down the street until she came to the first house shortly after sunrise. A simple craftsman style, with a yard-full of toys. A purple tricycle, some multi-colored plastic construction blocks, and a small plastic slide.

The door opened and she slid behind a tree. Emily looked beautiful in her summer dress, if a bit sad. “Driveway only honey. No tricycle on the sidewalk or street. Remember?”

“Yes, Mommie.”

Mommie? I’m her mommie. It’s me honey. Everything is going to be just fine. “Hhhhoonn Maaaaam.”

Emily screamed.

The door opened.

A woman came out, scooped Emily up, and ran back inside. The woman peeked out a window, and held a cell phone to her ear.

Cori glanced left and right, then faded into the shadows of a nearby alley. This woman cared. Emily was safe for the time being. The police, or her attorney could sort it all out later. She needed to see her other daughter. Dawn was older, and might have deeper understanding of her parent’s death. She needed to know Dawn was alright too.

Cori trudged her way across town. She stopped frequently for rest and water, hiding occasionally as police cruisers combed through the neighborhoods. She cut through an industrial area and the police presence faded.

A chain-link fence prevented her from leaving the industrial park. She tried to tear through it, but it just pulled loose from the poles. She rampaged at being tangled, but managed to crawl over the wiring and out the other side. After crossing a dry irrigation ditch, she wound up in the right neighborhood.

The doublewide sat back from the street. It was at least twenty years old and in need of serious repairs. Tall trees cast deep shade across the yard. A yard cluttered by old appliances and plastic garbage bags.

She flailed at a swarm of flies as she lumbered toward the sound of voices in back.

“I told you to clean up that dog kennel! What do I have to do to get it through your thick head?”

Cori quickened her pace.

A man in his late twenties backhanded Dawn and sent her sprawling to the ground. Her second hand jeans looked like they had never been washed, and someone had cut all of her beautiful hair until she looked like a boy.

“Your mother’s going to be pissed when she gets off shift.”

“She isn’t my mother!”

The man kicked her with his boot.

Cori charged in, but it was more of a rolling act of desperation. Don’t touch her, you bastard! “Bassssttaaa!”

The man looked up and his eyes went white.

Cori swung both arms at him by turning her chest and popping her hips. They didn’t work very well, but made heavy clubs. She knocked the man to the ground and moved forward.

Dawn screamed.

Someone’s voice caught Cori’s attention. “…that’s right officer. The Lawrence place again. Send someone quick. It looks like one of his drug deals went bad. I’m going to film it…”

The man got up, made a kick at Dawn. “Get in the house.”

Cori grabbed him around the neck. Her hands only moderately functioned, so she used the crook of her elbow. She stomped the man’s foot and jerked upward.

The man’s neck broke with a sickening sound.

She flung him across the yard like one of the bags of garbage. He hit an old washing machine and knocked it over. It’s alright now, honey. Mommie’s here. “Mmaaaaam.”

She lumbered to the door as the police car skidded to a stop with lights flashing. Two officers bailed out, and drew their pistols.

Cori gestured toward the officers with her arms outstretched. Thank God you’re here officers. This man was beating my daughter. “Daaaaghhhhrrr!”

“Turn around. On your knees. Lace your fingers together on top of your head.”

You don’t understand officers. My daughter needs your help. She could be injured. “Jurrrrddd!” Cori took a step toward the policemen.

The younger officer opened fire.

Cori stumbled forward.

The older officer joined his partner, and they poured rounds into Cori’s chest.

The bullets hurt, but not like she expected. Much of her body was without feeling. She felt the impact more than anything, but any remaining strength left her and her legs buckled.

The officers stood and approached with guns pointed at her. Cori lay still.

Before she lost consciousness forever, she over heard the neighbor. “I told you the Lawrences were awful people. Look what they brought to our neighborhood. They should never have been given a child either.”

“Go back inside, ma’am. It may not be safe yet. I don’t think the girl will be staying here any longer.”


Lisa again, Craig tells me I’ve been a bit remis on these posts. I need to point out that if you enjoy micro-fiction, Craig has plenty of it available. They are bundled together with some short stories into two Experimental Notebooks. There is a third collection called The Enhanced League and the stories there tell an overarching story. Many of the micros in Enhanced League are in the form of second person point of view “anthems.” You know how Craig likes to experiment. You can pick up any one of them for 99¢, just click on the covers.

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. BoyackThe Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack IIThe Enhanced League


Filed under Short Stories & Vignettes

Rarity From the Hollow, on Lisa Burton Radio

Hey there all you androids and extra terrestrials, you've landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show out there that interviews the characters you love from the books you have to read. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and with me in the studio today is Lacy Dawn. “Welcome to the show, Lacy.”

“Thanks for having me, Lisa. I hope that you’re not disappointed ‘cause I’m not a very important person like Harry Potter or Steve Harvey or someone famous.”

“I think you're very important, Lacy. My bio says you are not a chosen one, like so many characters. You're actually a designed one, using DNA manipulation. That's pretty interesting. What can you tell our listeners about that?”

“Yeah, I know that it’s hard to believe. I didn’t believe it myself except Bucky would never lie to me. He’s this guy who lives in a spaceship hidden in a cave up the hill from my house. I’ll tell you about the first time that we met. My daddy was drunk and mad. I knew that I was gonna’ get a switching ‘cause that’s how he gets rid of his own anger – takes it out on me and mommy. Anyway, I hid under my parent’s bed where daddy was bound to find me sooner or later. I was scared and shaking when I heard this voice. It was coming from an old clock radio, one that only the clock part still worked, so that was weird too, Lisa. The voice told me to climb inside this trunk under the bed that had my dad’s Playboy collection in it. I guess that I wasn’t thinking straight because I opened the lid to the trunk and it was empty. I got inside and stayed there until my dad had passed out. Pretty cool, huh?

“I was five then but I’ve grown up. I’m twelve and a half now and almost old enough to have a boyfriend. After the voice on the radio told me about the spaceship, I’ve been going up there to visit Bucky almost every day. He put this port under my hairline in the back. See? He plugs me into a cable and he also teaches me all kinds of stuff, like calculus and geography and about all these other planets out-of-state. One day, he asked me if I wanted to see a movie. I’d never been to a real movie before. So, of course, how could I turn that down!? It was boring at first – all this data about extracting mineral from planets designated to be shrunk. But, then the movie got exciting. After it was over, I thanked Bucky and told him that I’d learned a lot. It was time to go home for supper. Bucky measured something about my mom and told me that I had a couple minutes to discuss the movie before I left. It turned out that I was the main star in the movie! It was about a time before people were on Earth. My name was Smaller then. After Larger bonked me on the head a few times and after I woke up a few times from that, I ended up making Larger give me some food to take to other folks that were all living in the giant green bean casserole type building, vines everyplace and giant beans, way bigger than we pick out of our garden. So, maybe I am a movie star. Thanks again for interviewing me, Lisa.

“I’ve got a crush on Bucky. I know that he’s not a real boy. He’s better. He doesn’t laugh about the loudest fart in class. Yuck! Heck, he doesn’t even want to see my panties if I had a good pair on. Best, he ain’t got no private parts, well, not when we first met. He’ll make a perfect husband one of these days!”

“I've got to stop you there. Isn't Bucky actually an android named DotCom?”

“Well, yes, but I know that he loves me even if he doesn’t feel it all the way yet. I asked him about that stupid name, DotCom. The trees that talk to me in the Woods also asked about his name. They said that it sounded like a third grade internet class, as if a hardwood would know anything about cyberspace. Bucky said something about spamming the universe and that’s what his name meant, but I still haven’t figured it out. I changed his name to Bucky so he would fit when I introduced him to my family and friends. One of these days, like when I’m in junior high, I bet that he asks me out on a date to go to the school dance. I needed a better name than DotCom for him and he doesn’t mind. Ask him, Lisa. Oh, sorry, I have to help him stay hid.”

“You'll get no judgment from me. I'm a robot girl, and struggle to gain acceptance every day. I think it's cute that you two basically grew up together, and it seems natural that you would grow attached to each other.

“Now you and Bucky assemble quite a team to save the universe. Besides you two, it looks like you have a pothead, and a ghost. Why do they make good teammates when such a lot is on the line?”

“I used to cry a lot about Faith, even before her daddy murdered her. He was a mean man who did awful, terrible things to her that I don’t want to talk about. I’m glad that he’s now in prison where he belongs. I’d almost gotten Faith to the point where she was going to tell somebody. All that she ever hoped for in life was to be put in special education class where the work was easier and the teacher let you do puzzles. Then, after we studied one day in my clubhouse, a cardboard box that my grandma’s new refrigerator had come in, Faith took a risk and got 100% on a spelling quiz. She wrote a little joke to the teacher on her quiz before it had been turned in to grade. It was a hint about S E X and her knowing about it. She didn’t want to just come out and say it because she knew that welfare would come to her house and take her away and put her in a foster home or somewhere worse, like back in that mental health place where she was locked up when she was nine.

“One day Roundabend when I was gliding up the path to Bucky’s spaceship, Faith hollered at me. Shocked, I stop dead in my tracks, so to speak since I don’t have to make tracks anymore unless I want to. My tennis shoes are never muddy. I knew that Faith was dead, but she told me that I couldn’t get rid of her that easy. We’re still best friends. She lives in the Woods, inside of rocks and logs and even got inside Maple once. Maple is another one of my friends. She’s soooo sweet. I’d introduce you but she won’t talk to you since you ain’t been abused. Trees only talk to kids who have been maltreated. That’s their main job – to help us.

“Tom would talk to you, but he would believe that you’re a robot girl. He’d just think that he’d gotten too high. Tom’s my neighbor and my daddy’s best friend. In my opinion, they both smoke too much pot, but my dad says that it helps his PTSD and Tom says that it helps his Bipolar Disorder. That’s the main reason that Tom moved to the holler. He said that Big City life aggravated his problems.”

“So Shp…”

“Just say Shop 'Till You Drop, everyone else does. I’ve only been there once so far. It’s the main planet where universal governance is located – a giant shopping mall. Bucky told me that he wants to hire me for a very important job, but I’m still trying to figure out what the heck he’s talking about. My trainings involve going there. It was the first time that I’d ever been out-of-state. One thing that I am certain of is that I’m not going to help save the universe, whatever that means, unless Bucky helps me cure my parents. After that stupid President sent my father to the Gulf War, I don’t remember because I was just a baby, mommy says that he ain’t been the same since. I’m supposed to figure out what the heck the problem is, diagnose it, some kind of big threat, like everything will be destroyed if I don’t stop it. Since you’re a girl, don’t you think that the big boss of everything could come up with a better plan than for me to fix stuff? Besides, if someone wants to hire you for a job, and I can’t afford to turn down much of anything that pays good money, don’t you think that the boss should tell you exactly what to do in order to get paid? I’m supposed to go back to Shptiludrp to study on it some more.”

“So Shop 'Till You Drop is facing some kind imminent threat? What else do you know about the nature of this threat?”

“At this point, I don’t know a heck of a lot. Bucky has a boss who recalled him once to be reprogrammed. When Bucky came back to Earth, he had forgotten how to love. Can you feel love, Lisa? It always comes with pain, but it’s so worth it if you can talk your maker into installing feeling programs. Bucky couldn’t figure out how he started to feel stuff. It just happened. He said that there was no precedent in the Universal Database. When Bucky came back home empty after being gone so long that time, I got really pissed. Can you feel pissed, Lisa? I refused to do anything more on this big and important job that we were talking about until I had my man back, my real man the way he was before reprogramming. He got fixed. Anyway, Bucky mentioned once that his boss’s name was Mr. Prump and that all he thinks about is making more money, more and more money. I’ve studied extreme capitalism as part of my lesson plans, as well as every other political and economic ideology practiced on every planet in the universe. Mr. Prump lives in a fancy apartment in a high rise tower type building, the only one on planet Shptiludrp. At some point, I expect to be invited there to negotiate according to the Art of the Deal rules. One thing that I do know for sure – Shptiludrp is strictly by invitation only. Mr. Prump don’t allow illegal immigrants, refugees from other planets even if he is about to exploit their planet for its minerals, and he absolutely hates socialists. But, he’s probably not as mean as it all sounds. If I figure out all this stuff and the universe survives, I’ll let you know what I think of Mr. Prump after I get to know him. Maybe you and I can have lunch. Do you ever eat, Lisa? Bucky ate part of a cookie once, and even pooped it back out, a tiny brown ball. Sorry. Bucky was so proud that he put the ball in his shirt pocket. lol That was a while back when he was still growing up. I made him flush it down the toilet and wash his hands real good. I hope that I didn’t gross you out. If you can develop an appetite, Lisa, you’ve probably lost it now.”

“Lacy, this show has been on the air for a while now. I've met characters with high stakes, like the world, or even the universe before. I'm sure you have a trick or two to pull all this off. What I want to know is what's next for you and Bucky? I guess, deep in my processors, I'm your basic romantic.”

“One of these days, after he finishes growing up, Bucky and I are going to get married. I have it all planned. We’re going to adopt babies because, although he’s started to grow private parts, it’ll probably take so long for all of his systems to join with carbon that I don’t want to wait. He’s too immature now to get married. Plus, he’s afraid of his boss, Mr. Prump, and does everything that he’s instructed. Heck with that! My mommy has had lots of problems, and she’s getting stronger, but I know from her and my grandmas for as long as forever, the wife is the boss in the family, period. I’m sure that you agree, Lisa.”

“It all seems kind of old fashioned, but in a cute way. I'm really cheering for you guys. Any final words for our listeners today?”

“Yes, unless I’m totally off-base, you and every other sentient being had better hope that I figure out this mess and save the universe. I didn’t ask for this job but I’m going to do my best to fulfill my destiny. Centuries of protests about the Prump administration have failed. He is no longer loved but has retained a firm grip on power. Now, Prump is up against the wall that he built and his ass is mine. On behalf of everybody, I’ll negotiate the best deal that I can. Thanks for inviting me. It was fun.”

“There you have it folks. Pick up Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleston to find out if Lacy and her friends can save the universe. I'm interested in whether she and Bucky can find a way to be together.

“Don't forget to hit those sharing buttons on the way out. Robert and Lacy will appreciate it, and you will too when your character appears on Lisa Burton Radio.”



Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children's Story. For Adults.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

—Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

Purchase links:

Lulu Amazon Dog Horn Publishing

About the Author: I recently retired after 52 years of contributions into the U.S. Social Security fund so that I could write and promote my fiction. I’m a former mental health psychotherapist in West Virginia. After coming home drained from working with child abuse victims, I didn't have the energy left to begin its self-promotion of this project. Most of the successes listed above have been achieved in the last fifteen months following my retirement. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program in my home state. http://www.childhswv.org/ A listing of services that are supported can be found here: http://mountainrhinestones.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-giveaway-rarity-from-hollow-by.html.

Author Contacts:

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Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

When Angels Fly, on Lisa Burton Radio #RRBC

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Sarah Jackson. She grew up in a life of abuse, married into an abusive relationship, and lost her son Eli to cancer. “Welcome to the show, Sarah.”

“Thank you for the invitation Lisa and I’m happy to be here.”

“Can you tell our listeners something about your childhood? It sounds like it was pretty rough.”

“I vividly remember my childhood. As a little girl, my mother would force feed me foods I hated, such as peas, until I threw up. She did this to me often and she seemed to enjoy the abuse she inflicted upon me. I had six siblings and none of them remember my mother doing the force feedings except for my older brother who was eight years older than me. Abuse affected him, too, and to this day he stays away from any kind of contention. I wish I could say that the abuse abated as I got older, but it didn’t. I was always a kicking and punching bag and she would drag me around by my hair. No one could please her and my father never saw the treatment she doled out to me as he was always working. I had absolutely no self-esteem and I would retreat into a fantasy world where I was a princess and loved by all. I would curl up in my bed and thrust that fantasy into my child’s brain as a form of escape. I liked reading and as soon as I could read well enough, I started reading the Nancy Drew series, Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames, and Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I would escape into a world of my own through books. I could stay in my little room, in my bed, and read. Sometimes I would make paper dolls and dress them up with paper dresses. I remember how I would oftentimes try to draw younger siblings into a hug as none of us received hugs from her and I tried to show them how to love each other. (I have pictures)

“Starting around age eight, I tried to please her in other ways by doing work around the house. I would vacuum without being told to do so, and I washed dishes. I started doing the entire households laundry from washing to hanging on the line, and then take down and fold. I delivered the clean wash to the respective recipient’s bedroom and it didn’t make my mother proud. In fact, she simply expected me to continue with these chores. She left my father after 21 years if marriage and I chose to live with my father as I was 14 at the time and could choose. Then she forced him to sell the house and he was forced into a tiny apartment, after which I had to move in with her again. In high school, she was relentless in her treatment of me, and she never bothered to show her anger to the world. To this very day, I don’t understand why this was allowed to go on. The only thing I can think of is the fact that our neighbors were just as scared of her and she kept her punches to areas that were covered by clothing. In looking back post high school, I could see that some teachers knew that my home life was rough but that was as far as it went. My only escapes were school and work. I was so tired of her beatings, and the emotional and mental abuse she inflicted.”

“Almost anyone would be excited to leave all that behind and strike out on her own. Is that what you did?”

“Before I was age 18, I was looking for an escape ~ ANY escape. Working as a waitress left me with little money. I dated a few guys, and then my mother said to me one time, with a sneer, that I was only a “sperm receptacle” and that no one would want me. I wasn’t having sex. Eventually I found a guy I liked, and we dated for a few months and then we simply started living together. I had thought this was my escape into happiness and that he was my prince. He drank alcohol almost daily, and he invited me to move in with him. I thought that this was my chance! My chance to get away from my mother and the abuse she inflicted. I thought I could change this man into drinking less alcohol, I was in love and we married.”

“Did you love him? So many women go down this path, and they always think they love him. Is it because you’ve never known true love?”

“In hindsight, I never loved this man. I was in love with the idea of being in love, and I thought I could make this relationship grow into true love. That never happened and then the abuse began – the vicious cycle of abuse. Complete physical, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse – unending – even when pregnant. I sometimes wonder if the stress of this relationship was too stressful on my oldest son. Joshua was a perfect baby, and he died inside me. Labor was induced, and I shed tears for my unborn baby. I named him Joshua and he was perfect. He died when he became tangled in his umbilical cord and strangled to death. I was bereft, and I had a simple funeral for Joshua – only one sibling and myself. His father didn’t attend as he was drunk in a bar. Joshua’s eyes, the nurse from the hospital told me, were blue like mine. My baby had no hair. Tears rolled down my cheeks upon realizing that I would never get to know if his hair would be brown like Henry’s or blond like mine. His tiny hands would never get the chance to hold a basketball, or a football. His feet would never be able to pedal on a bike. His mouth would never open to utter that he loved me. I could though, so I did. “I love you, Joshua,” I told him. I loved him so much.

“On December 12, 1983, I gave birth to Noah. My baby was seven pounds and fourteen ounces, twenty inches long — a healthy boy. After my son was cleaned up and breathing normally, the nurse laid him on my right breast. I cuddled him wrapped in baby blankets as my bed was wheeled out into the hall towards the mother – baby unit down the hall. I looked at the face of my son and tears started rolling down my cheeks. It was a different feeling, a delicious mix of sorts. On the one hand, I was bursting with pride — this beautiful boy was mine. I would nurse him and care for him and love him dearly. On the other hand, there was a tinge of sadness because somehow, a part of me was telling me that this baby would have loved to play with Joshua. “Noah,” I whispered to my boy before kissing him on the forehead. Then I froze when realization hit me that it was the only time I spoke that name with such reverence and love. Just thinking about Noah makes me smile. I am so proud of him. He came into the world and into a broken home, yet he persevered and became an Eagle Scout. Noah is strong in spirit, and he is a caring young man. When I think my love for him cannot expand, I find myself wrong and my heart swells with loving pride. I made sure he always had hugs and love from me and he openly gives me hugs and love as well.”

“But you had another son, Eli. He had a difficult journey too, and you shared every step of that with him.”

“I could hardly believe it. Noah was barely seven months old; I was twenty-three years old at the time; and I was pregnant for the third time. Who would have thought that after an unsuccessful first birthing experience, God would immediately give me two babies? It didn’t make Joshua’s loss forgotten, but my being pregnant again reminded me of God’s greatness.

On April 6, 1985, I gave birth to another healthy baby boy and I named him Eli. He weighed 7 pounds 6 ½ ounces and was 21 inches long. When I held Eli in my arms the first time, I felt really blessed. I had two beautiful boys in my life. Noah and Eli were best buddies and they did everything together. When Eli was age four and a half years old, he started having many sinus infections, upper respiratory issues, doctor visits, tons on medicine, scans, and X-rays. Everything came back negative except for his high white blood cell count, fevers and not being the little boy I knew. Starting in September of 1989, and on through the end of February 1990 no one could tell me why Eli was so sick all the time. Twelve doctors and specialists, and even one doctor placed tubes in his ears to help Eli. CT scans were MISREAD!!!!!

“On March 4, 1990 I noticed that Eli had lost the peripheral vision in his right eye. Straight to the hospital we went and finally someone read a scan correctly that showed a mass the size of my fist – in his right neck area and extending into the brain cavity as well as metastasis into both lungs! He suffered horrors no child, or adult, should ever have to experience. For six months he was misdiagnosed! For seven and half months he lived in pain and horror in the hospital before passing. I can best sum up precious Eli with the letter I wrote to him about a year after he died.”

October 13, 1991

My Dearest Eli,

Yet again tonight I went to bed crying for you, Eli. Heart wrenching sobs escaped from me and in between them I relived your short life with such clarity.

I knew you were very special, Eli, from the day you were born. And now, with the first anniversary of your death upon us, I realize fully just how special you really were and still are. You affected so many people in your short life, Eli.

Even now, I have moments when it is hard to believe that you are really gone. Or are you? You’re in my heart now and forever Eli.

Will it ever get easier, Eli? Sometimes, I am very happy for you. Those times are when I know you are pain free and happy. Heaven must be such a wonderful place.

Then there are times when my heart aches and aches for you, Honey. Those are the times when I relive moments of your childhood before the doctor diagnosed you with cancer, and also moments after being diagnosed.

I remember vividly the day you were brought home from the hospital after your birth. Your brother, Noah, only one year old, took to you instantly. Throughout your short life, the two of you were inseparable. Best playmates you two were. But you were the most daring, Eli. You had such a zest for life.

I remember the day you and Noah were on your 3-wheelers, and racing around in and out of the garage. Noah came running into the house to tell me you had a snake cornered in the garage. Upon investigation, there you were, laughing with delight, and riding your 3-wheeler in circles, closer and closer, to a coiled king size bull snake.

Sometimes when I wake in the morning Eli, I start to think about what I’m going to make my “boys” for breakfast. And then I remember.

And sometimes in the evening, when Noah is taking his bath, I remember how it always was two boys in the bathtub and not one.

My precious Eli, oh, how I miss you. I miss your sweet smile, shining blue eyes and pale blond hair.

You had to grow up so fast, Eli. It was such a shock to learn that you had cancer, one month before your fifth birthday. In a flash, I would have traded places with you.

You went from being a happy little boy into a world of doctors and nurses, needles and IV’s, catheters and spinal taps.

I was selfish, Eli. I loved you too much to let you die. And so you suffered. You went through head and neck, and open chest surgeries. How my heart ached for you, Eli, when, four hours after surgery on your lungs, I helped a nurse stand you up in bed. How you hated ICU.

Because I loved you too much to let you go, you suffered such horrible radiation burns on your sweet head and neck. The chemotherapy made you so very sick. Even under sedation, you were sick. But you knew the “good guys” were out to get the “bad guys”. At four years old, you knew you would die without treatment.

It hurt me so bad that you were unable to eat for seven and a half months. Your only nutrition was IV. You always ate so well before. You had always relished the sheer taste of food. It was unfair of me to bring food into your room in the hopes that you would eat something. Sometimes you tried. I remember when you woke during the night once and asked for watermelon. I drove half of Denver to get it for you. You only ate a couple of bites, but it was worth it.

I remember the long days and nights in the hospital those seven and a half months. I was able to take you home only four different weekends. I remember the isolation in times of high fever and the ice blankets, lots of oxygen and machines everywhere.

How I cried Eli, on the morning that we woke up and found all your hair lying in your bed and not on your head. You were too proud to wear a hat.

I also remember good times, like when the group came from the Denver baseball team and you received an autographed photo of George and a Royals’ baseball. Or I would be wheeling you around, outside the medical center, and you would point out cars and ask me if they were “race cars.” How we would talk about the race car we would have someday and how much it would be worth.

Having lived two hundred and thirty miles away, you were awestruck by the freeways in and out of Denver. You thought they looked like race tracks.

And how about the time I was able to take you to the Denver Zoo? You did not mind that I had to push you, a boy at five years of age, in a stroller, up and down the hills. You were so weak. You did not care; you only wanted to see the animals.

And on good days, I also remember how you would hide under a gurney in the hall and wait for a person to be passing by, only to give them a good dose of water from your squirt gun. It did not matter to you whether or not you knew the person you squirted. Sometimes you would sneak around the nurses’ station and into the medication room, fully loaded with water, and let loose. No doctor, nurse, or visitor was safe from you.

Or how about the times an IV would complete and I would unhook you. You headed straight for your three-wheeler and down the hall you zipped. Everyone stayed out of your way and laughed. Such sport you had.

Other times, when you had to stay in bed, you made me chase down a VCR so you could watch Superman or Ghostbusters. You never tired of those two movies. You knew them by heart and delighted in telling anyone who would listen what would happen next.

I remember the times when you would have to undergo yet another series of X-rays, CT scans, or MRI and I would stay by your side throughout them, telling you stories and keeping you from moving.

I’m sorry, Eli, that I was not able to make you well. I think that you went through all that you did, those seven and a half months, simply because of how much I loved you and did not want to let you go.

I remember the times that I would feel down and you would come up to me. You would put your arms around me and say, “I’m sorry, Mom.”

I remember when we were together, waiting in the OR before your lung surgery. You were feeling well and you looked at me and said, “I want to go to Heaven, Mom.” I went speechless. And then I told you that sometimes we don’t get what we want and that you might have to come back to me.

And yet, I remember so well how after your last chemo, you picked up yet another “bug” and ended up on a respirator; just how much you fought for life as we knew it, those last fifteen days.

Most of all, Eli, I remember how I cradled you in my arms, and whispered into your ear that soon you would not have to have any more pain and it would be okay, as your heart stopped for the third and last time, and you died in my arms.

Thank you, Eli, for going through what you did because I loved you and did not want to let you go.

I’ll always love you Eli.


“I can tell I need to stock up on artificial tears again– But, Sarah, life goes on. You’ve been through so much already. I don’t know if it’s possible to recover from all that. How do you move on after something like that?”

“You don’t “move on” for this is the King of Loss. Only parents who have suffered the loss of a child will truly understand this fact. I have words to help those who have not had this kind of loss.”


Does it get any easier losing a child/ children? Somewhat…

Is it possible for a parent to be happy their child/ children are perfect in Heaven above and feel peace with that? Sure… (It took me twenty-three years for Eli and somewhat less for Joshua)

Can a parent ever “get over” losing a child/ children? No. This is the KING of loss. We can be happy that they are perfect in Heaven and sad at times when we miss them the most.

Bereaved parents are continually re-writing each day as this is the new “normal.” This won’t change. We will think of our loss when other children reach milestones such as first tooth, first steps, first words, kindergarten, holidays, best friend, graduation, prom, falling in love, first kiss, learning to drive, getting married, the list is endless.

The WORST things you can ever say to a parent who has suffered the KING of loss, ever after one, ten, twenty, or more years? “You should be over it by now,” or “Move on with life.” You see we are moving on with life, we just do it one hour or day at a time, re-writing life as we go along.

~S Jackson, October 2014

“I am thankful for my second husband, Michael for you see we share a love like Johnny and June… Many want to have a love like Johnny and June; the deep, soul mate, best friend, encompassing love they shared despite the ups and downs along the way. Mike and I are deeply blessed to have this kind of love; the deep love with the one who you were destined to be with, your best friend, your soul mate. Despite our own ups and downs (not like Johnny and June’s) our love kept growing stronger and stronger, unending to this very day. Our wish for all of you is to have this kind of love in your life.”

“Strong lessons for all of us. I’m honored to have you as my guest today. Today’s show has been sponsored by When Angels Fly, by S. Jackson. Please hit the share buttons at the end of the post. When your characters appear here, maybe someone will do the same for you.”

When Angels Fly is based upon a true story. S. Jackson is a pen name for Mary L. Schmidt.


Bio: Mary L. Schmidt writes under the pen name of S. Jackson, and she is a retired registered nurse, who won the coveted Leora B. Stroup Bachelor of Science in Nursing Award for outstanding clinical performance, community involvement and academic achievement in Nursing Award, while at Fort Hays State University. She is a member of the Catholic Church, and has taught kindergarten Catechism; she has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son, Noah, is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high school children music. She loves all forms of art but mostly focuses on the visual arts; amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her disabilities allow. She has published twelve books since retirement; the first a memoir, When Angels Fly, followed by an Art Picture book featuring her own works of art, one cookbook, and eight books for children of which four are a part of a full series. Protecting children from molestation is important to her, and with that in mind she wrote Suzy Has A Secret. Seeing what bullies can do to a child inspired her to write the book, The Big Cheese Festival. Schmidt has designed all of her book covers. She loves spending time with her husband, Michael, and especially her first grandchild, Austin, just turning age one year. She is a Member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: The international professional organization for writers and illustrators of children’s literature, and Sigma Theta Tau International: The Honor Society of Nursing, which is the second-largest nursing organization in the world with approximately 135,000 active members.

Book Trailer for When Angels Fly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhmETPrtKdw

When Angels Fly Book: https://www.amazon.com/When-Angels-Fly-S-Jackson-ebook/dp/B017UNVWDI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Blog: https://whenangelsfly.wordpress.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MMSchmidtAuthorGDDonley

Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mary.schmidt.50

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaryLSchmidt

Artwork: http://mschmidtartwork.deviantart.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/S.-Jackson/e/B013NRRKR2

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-schmidt-a1a511101



Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

The Idea Mill #10

It’s time to revisit the Idea Mill. These are news bits that I get pushed to me via RSS feeds and Zite Magazine. I save them in favorites and post them when I get enough to make it interesting. These are the kind of information that spurs my imagination, and occasionally find their way into my fiction.

Okay, the first one I found in a local newspaper, but the rest are online. I hope the copy and paste function works. I may have to edit after it goes live.

Apartment building planned for Fifth and Idaho




A group of local partners plans to build an 84-bedroom apartment building on the northeast corner of Fifth and Idaho streets, an approximately $11 million project that would replace the vacant Gibson Funeral Home.


It’s like these people aren’t even reading my stories. Apparently, these kinds of things really happen. Poltergeist just got got more realistic in my mind.


Okay, I was going to leave the stupid dress out. It got so much internet action that it won’t be new to anyone. The question becomes one of what color is it. The real dress is black and blue. Like a bruise.


To my eye, it’s gold and white. This article gives some idea of why certain people see it differently. (I’ve always seen the world differently, so no surprise here.) The science behind this has to do with light sources. If you need some reptilian aliens with chameleon like abilities in your science fiction, this might help you explain them. In case you were living under a rock somewhere, there is a photo in the article, along with an explanation, here.


This one involves artifacts, phallic artifacts to be exact. It seems they were believed to ward off the evil eye. The evil eye is an ancient curse that could do, well, just about anything the giver intended, but it was always bad.


Fortunately, there was a solution to avoid the influence of the evil eye, in the form of various artistic boners. How come Indiana Jones never had to go after one of these? I suppose in an emergency, I could just unzip and wave it at my antagonist. Go ahead and look, you know you want to. Here. Actually, that wind chime is kind of cool, and would really piss off my neighbors. I wonder if it would ward off door to door solicitors. I wonder what kind of power that ring has if worn on the same finger I give to neighbors and door to door solicitors?


There is a space rock somewhere out in the asteroid belt named Ceres. It’s not big enough to be a planet, but it’s a whopper nonetheless. We have a remote ship moving in on Ceres, and Ceres is giving off lights. This article even has pictures.


These don’t look volcanic to me. It could be a distorted image, considering the distance and equipment. Then again if you needed to start an intergalactic war over a huge diamond deposit, or find some kind of malignant species in your science fiction this ought to provide some inspiration.


This article Is about a gigantic Elizabethan tapestry map. There is text that alludes to a mystery that happened in some hills where, “The Worldesend”, “was dryven downe by the removyng of the ground”. I have no idea what it means, but with a little research and some imagination, I’ll bet I could come up with a story.


This one is just weird. Although I did have bronze penis wind-chimes in here, so maybe it isn’t that bad. These are baby cages from the 1930s. They were designed to hang on the outside of apartment windows far above the city streets. Apparently, people were worried that baby wasn’t getting enough sun, so dangling him in a cage seventeen stories off the ground was the solution. People chastised Michael Jackson for doing something similar. I don’t have a specific idea here, but it sure adds some reality to your 1930s era story. Look at these photos here.


I don’t know how to put all these together, but I’ll try. A character, who looks a lot like Drew Barrymore (because Poltergeist) moves into her new apartment that was built from the remains of an old mortuary. Strange things start happening in the foothills outside town. Drew is drawn into her own imagination and believes ghosts from the old mortuary are at fault.


She soon discovers chameleon-like aliens, from their city on Ceres, are removing earth from the foothills and are about to undermine her new apartment. In a desperate bid to expel them from our planet, she places her baby in a window cage and steps outside to shake her ancient bronze Roman wiener at them.


Drew wins, and opens an adults only shop right down the street from Tom Hanks’ tapestry shop. They all live happily ever after.


Whew! More articles makes it harder to come up with a story at the end. Maybe I’d better stick to three from now on.


Filed under The Idea Mill, Writing