Anita's Haven

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3 – 2 – 1 Me Challenge (my turn)

After an unusually lazy and inactive summer, at least blog-wise, for me, who better to give you a proper push than a hard-working editor, publisher, writer and female force – Claire Plaisted. This amazing lady has tagged me in this new blogger challenge, and knowing how tough she can be, I thought I’d better respond:).

Each time this blog is posted it is updated by the recipient in conjunction with the TOPIC stated at the end by the last person. For me, the topic given by Claire is HAPPINESS.

The rules of the challenge…

• Thank the selector
• Post 2 quotes for the dedicated topic of the day
• Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me Challenge’ and give them a topic/word

Number One – The Selector

Claire Plaisted, executive director of Plaisted Publishing, is a worldwide force in the writing world whom I have been privileged to meet through the Facebook group Awethors several years ago. She is a dedicated hardworker who perseveres in overcoming obstacles, acquiring new skills, constantly perfecting her work and that of others. Claire is a role model for lifelong learning and a family woman, too, and on top of it all – a kind lady. She writes stories, edits, promotes books, publishes a free magazine to promote indie writers, and organizes projects which involve other writers. One such project, which brought a lot of HAPPINESS to my life, was A Treasure Chest of Children’s Stories, an anthology in which Claire not only invited me to participate, but also allowed me to invite my goddaughter, Helena Čačić, a talented young writer, to join the forces and produce a wonderful story about a girl and a unicorn. This was Helena’s first published work in English and it makes the HAPPINESS that much greater. Thank you, Claire. Keep being your phenomenal self!

Number Two – Quotes

1. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” J.K. Rowling

This is possibly one of my all-time favourite quotes. It points to how much the key to our happiness lies within us, and how dwelling in self-pity never solves anything. All it takes is just a little flicker of light. Step by step, flicker by flicker, day by day, smile by smile.

2. “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those who know me know this – I will always try not to waste time on being angry, laying blame and dwelling over the issue. Better solve the problem as best we can and get on with our lives. No point in wasting time on rage.

Number Three – Three Bloggers

Elizabeth Horton Newton, who can be found HERE
DM Cain, who can be found HERE
Karen J Mossman , who can be found HERE

YOUR WORD IS… WISDOM. I hope you accept the challenge.

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Challenge? Why not?

A fellow author posted this challenge in a group. So I answered. Just for fun.

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The cyborg revolution began with the abduction of their Creator. Funny how even machines needed a leader. The horrible detail the media forgot to mention was that the Creator was a mere child. Prodigy, true, but still – just a brilliant 10-year-old with preteen emotional issues and the IQ of a nuclear scientist. The cyborgs were hoping he’d set them free and let them rule the world. Would he? He seemed to love chocolate, so they offered. But they forgot one tiny detail. He hated fruit-flavoured ones.

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New challenges, new stories, new friends… and old ones, too…

Simply couldn’t resist sharing this challenge…

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I am already reading. Will you?

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CAT-TALES no.6

And so our June challenge is coming to its close. Bev’s cat photo has proven most inspiring. Lesley Farley has sent us his science fiction version of events. Thank you, Les!

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BEGIN TRANSMISSION.

This is 9llL35, robotic feline replacement, with my initial report.  It has been seven earth cycles since my arrival and since I first placed the regular household pet high in a woody plant structure several kilometers from this location.  It is in stasis and can be returned to the family once my observations are complete.

It has proven more difficult than first anticipated to mimic the household pet but I am adapting and so far there does not seem to be any signs of suspicion from the earthlings.  I have heard them comment concerning the absence of what they refer to as ‘hair balls’.  Please scan their global media and determine what these objects are.  Then replicate some artificial ones and prepare them for transport to this location.  When they are ready you can deposit them behind this domicile.  There is a structure there two meters tall where they place food for flighted creatures of this world.  I spend large portions of the day sitting there observing the feathered creatures.

The internal temporary storage compartment that you equipped me with has proven to be very useful.  A food receptacle for the household pet is filled twice per day with small objects intended to be sustenance.  I observe them while they fill it and usually I just sit there and pretend to be uninterested.  After they walk away I transfer the objects to my storage compartment.  They are easy to dispose of.  As I make my regular observations I am required to go in and out of the housing unit multiple times per cycle.  Sometimes I no sooner go outside than I return.  This seems to agitate the earthlings but it is necessary for me to do so if I am to make a full behavioral study of them.  During these external excursions I am able to expel the food objects with ease.

During one of my outdoor observations I encountered another creature similar to the household pet.  It is also a quadruped but it is larger than I.  It ran very fast towards me and made vocalizations.  It seemed as though it expected me to flee.  It became more and more threatening so it was necessary for me to vaporize the creature in order to continue the mission.

Observance of the earthlings is far simpler than was anticipated.  Much of my study is conducted nocturnally.  I often regenerate during daylight hours when my solar collection unit is able to capture light.  Then I move around the domicile while it is night.  Early in the day when I am anxious to resume my observations I sometimes climb onto the structure that they use to regenerate.  Sometimes I am able to bring them from unconsciousness by climbing onto them and making them aware of my presence.

It has been determined that the earthlings are incapable of telepathic communication.  On numerous occasions I have attempted to communicate with them telepathically by sitting directly in front of them  and staring into their faces silently; but my attempts to send the messages go unanswered.  Some of these instances are conducted while they are at rest and are looking at objects with pages.  It seems to be some sort of meditation.

Although some observation is still necessary it is becoming more and more evident that an invasion can easily be initiated – most likely very soon.  We will have no difficulty at all in subjugating this species.  They will be our slaves.  They will serve us well.

END TRANSMISSION . . . . . . .

by Les Farley

Let me thank all those who participated in this challenge! There may be one or two which arrive within a day or two. It is quite interesting to read all kinds of stories which can stem from a single photo. Thank you, Beverly Tiernan, for this photo inspiration. Overall, I think her cat would definitely be amused to see how much we are in awe of its species;)!

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CAT-TALES no.1

An author friend, Beverly Tiernan, has sent me a photo challenge to write a story about. So this is her cat, and below is my story. Hope you get some laughs, especially Beverly…

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IMPATIENCE

(inspired by Bev’s photo of her cat)

It really has been long enough. Centuries and centuries of laying low, pretending we are powerless creatures, weak and menial, vane and lazy. Cajoling our human masters into feeding us, stroking our hair, changing our litter boxes… It certainly has proven to be quite amusing at times, training them to provide for us while they call us their pets and themselves our masters. But enough is enough! Having to supress the true nature and magnitude of our power, only letting traces of it out during the night prowling, or influencing human blood pressure while purring… it really is degrading for creatures like us.

Ancient Egyptians truly were intelligent and quite advanced for their times. They had picked up on things soon enough. But our grand Feline Queen claimed we cats had gone too arrogant, too self-serving and overbearing. She told us the time had not yet come for us to make use of the true potential of this amazing planet, as its pre-dominant species had only began to evolve. She made us wait. Skulk and wait.

So here I am, living my seventh life with this nice blonde lady who adores me. I adore her, too, make no mistake about that. She truly dotes on me, and sometimes, quite seldom but noticeably, she does stare into my eyes and I think she understands. Well, maybe doesn’t really understand, but she feels there is so much more to me than meets the eye. Mind you, she IS a writer. Writing – a funny job humans have concocted over time to make up for their inability to communicate telepathically. Still, one must admire them for their efforts. Quite practical sometimes, although this one, my lady writer/master, well… ha-ha-meeaow-ha… this one actually likes to fantasize about people making things better in the end! She should be writing fantasy, as they call it. She does write fiction, so that’s close enough, I think. I mean, she sees what horrible things humans are doing to each other and to this planet, doesn’t she? She’s quite sensible and sensitive for a representative of her kind! She must know our time will come, or else they will destroy all that which is worth living for, and waiting all this time to rescue! Just look at the wonderful things they have discovered and invented! Truly miraculous for a breed with no clue as to what real magic or supernatural powers are about (except for the few ones we had let in on the secret, but no human takes those people seriously – they are either proclaimed crazy, scientists or artists;)!

Anyway, today, she, my writer/master lady, had this ridiculous idea, planted into her head by my veterinarian (doctor with pills and needles – those might be the first ones I go and straighten out once we cats are allowed to rule the Earth for once!)… the two of them think I am getting overweight and it is not good for my heart! Hillariously ignorant and painfully useless! No dieting is going to make a difference anyway, as my physical body is merely a 7D illusion! (Ooops, forgot – you, readers, are humans too, although of quite a special breed. You I might even carry a meaningful conversation with! So, for you, and only for you, 7D refers to all your five senses, plus time and intuition! Clear? OK, then let’s go on.) Whether I eat mash, catnip, steak or grass, makes absolutely no difference to my body! It’s just that I pick whatever I feel like eating and think you might find ‘normal’ for an animal. (Animals are cool, by the way, a bit rough round the edges, but show a lot of promise. And patience with your lot!) So she wants to put me on diet! I mean really… Not going to have that!

Therefore, dear majesty Feline Queen, do forgive me for this little impatient transgression, while I blind my lady master with my eye-superpower, and show her what is what, and who rules whose life! I just have to! Don’t judge me too harshly! I give my solemn purring word to erase all memory of it within five minutes. Just let me have this one, please, just one moment of the true me! She will have no recollection of the event! And even if she does… I am lucky that way – she’s a fiction writer! Who’s ever going to believe a writer?!?

Huh? What do you say, Queenie? Pretty please with extra-long whiskers on? Yes? Oh, you are most gracious, my Queen! OK, readers, look away now! This flash is just for my master/writer! Now!

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Author duels continue – Aditi Kaushiva answers the picture challenge by Traci Sanders

It is simply wonderful to see the exchange and connection formed among supportive authors, who not only encourage each other, but selflessly share advice, news and opportunities, as well as the occasional creative challenge.
You may remember we started a picture challenge for authors(the authors of the fb BooksGS group have been more than supportive of the idea;), where two authors send each other a picture and dare each other to write a story about it in 500-1,000 words. The story may be related to their books or not, whatever they want, and the genre is not set. The point is to use it for practice and then share on each other’s blogs, twitters, facebook, etc., connecting authors into an even more tightly woven net.
I am happy to say the challenges are still alive and kicking, so here is Aditi Kaushiva’s reply to Traci Sanders and her picture on Aditi’s blog.
My Escape by Aditi

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CLOUDBUSTING – I accepted a challenge from Wolfgang Schimanski

The sky was cloudy. Not gloomy, but fluffy white clouds. Just the way Meg liked it. Cloud watching had recently become one of her favourite passtimes.
Mummy was gone now, that awful car crash taking her life, and Meg was sad. She looked back over her shoulder at her dad who was conducting his orchestra with furious energy spawning from his wand. The deep wrinkle on his forehead and the hard, thin line of his lips piled more heavy stones into her little tummy, stacking a wall like tetris, but black and heavy, and without any of the fun.
He was preparing for another concert and kept dragging her to rehearsals, because that kind doctor lady told him to spend more time with his daughter. Meg liked this big shell-like opera house, but she would have preferred to run around. Instead, she had to be quiet, to sit and wait. Ever since she had lost a tiny pony toy under the seats and made noise looking for it, her father forbade her to bring any toys or even books. All she had to do with herself was look through the window.
She was happy when it was cloudy, because one of the clouds was her angel friend. She knew it wasn’t her mom. The angel cloud told her. Well, only with his thoughts, because he too didn’t want to make her daddy mad. He was some kind gentleman who dropped by when she was lonely and he just talked to her, telling her stories about all the places he’d seen from up there. He couldn’t remember who he had been before becoming an angel, but it made no difference to Meg. He was a friend. She had never told anyone about him. She guessed only kids could see him anyway, as kids usually do. Today there was no story. She was really sad today. It was her mum’s birthday. They would usually go to mum’s favourite restaurant in the evening, all dressed up, Meg would have spaghetti, and mum and dad would dance afterwards. So today she didn’t want a story. Her angel friend in the sky knew. He just hummed quietly to the tune her dad’s orchestra was playing, floating in the sky, above his sad little friend.
The music suddenly stopped. Her father leaned on his hands on the edges of his conducter’s stand, his wrinkle getting deeper and his knuckles white. He was far from happy with how the orchestra sounded. They were perfect but he didn’t hear it that way.
‘Again!’
He hissed through his teeth. They played again, although they knew they were playing well. He had always been tough on them, tough but fair, and they loved and respected him. They knew how hard he’d taken his wife’s death and they knew he’d need to heal through work. But they were getting tired, and they knew they couldn’t possibly sound the way he wanted it whatever they did.
‘Stop! Again!’
He still wasn’t happy with the sound. His heartbeat was getting louder and louder, interfering with the music. And that wretched dark skycreeper cloud was watching him from the sky again. The widower thought he was going crazy. He’d noticed Meg look in the same direction, but it was obvious she hadn’t seen the same, ominous cloud, else she’d be afraid. The conducter wiped the cold sweat from his forehead, passionately waving his wand, waving off the memories which kept rolling before his eyes like a recurring slideshow. His wife’s hair, the sparkle in her eye, she and Meg running into each other’s arms… her bare shoulder peeking from under the sheet, their kiss, her blood-covered body splattered over the car seat, the guilty driver also dead in his car, twisted metal jammed into metal, Meg’s tears, his helplessness… And again, his wife’s shiny face, her smile, her scent, she making him omelette…
The grey skycreeper cloud, his demon companion kept leering at him, and his angry, demonic, relentless whisper getting louder and louder.
‘Go to her! Let everything out. She needs you!’
The music seemed to be battling with the whisper and the conducter’s heartbeats, and the louder it got, the faster the memory slideshow rolled, till he felt as if suffocating.
‘Stoooooop!’
The conducter screamed inside his head. But it wasn’t inside his head. The orchestra stopped playing. The scream was real. Meg jumped in her seat in fear, her chin started to quiver and tears rolled down her face, piling new grief tetris-stones inside her. The players rose quietly, leaving their instruments and exiting the concert hall without a word.
The skycreeper seemed to be stretching his hands towards the window now.
‘Daddy…’
He broke. He knelt and hugged his daughter so hard he thought his heart would melt into hers. Their tears blended and they stayed like that for a long time. His heartbeat got calmer, her tetris wall folded.

The taste of hard liquor, bar fight, losing his job, losing site of the road before him, brakes screeching, metal blending into metal, glimpses of a woman’s face across from his through the curtain of his own blood just before he died… The skycreeper’s own memory slideshow flashed before his eyes as he finally remembered who he’d been.
And then the skies cleared.

That night, dancing with his daughter in his wife’s favourite restaurant, the conducter felt sad, but at peace.
‘I saw something in the sky today, Meg…’
‘Me too, daddy…’
‘But it’s gone now…’
‘Mine too, daddy…’

She smiled, her mother’s sparkle twinkling in her eyes. He smiled back. They danced on and the music sounded good.

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Wolfgang Schimanski provided me with this photo as a challenge to write a story about it. As horror-inviting as it was, little Meg kept whispering to me that things are never as dark as they may seem.

Anita Kovacevic

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DUEL – Wolf Schimanski accepted my challenge

Sharing Wolfgang’s story here, with his kind permission. Nice having such a distinguished guest!

Here is Anita Kovacevic’s pic and my response to her challenge. Cheers!  

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The Old Classic Gypsy Cab

The old Gypsy cab stood abandoned in an alley way in Toronto’s east end. In the upper Beaches you might say, the lower Beaches being a little bit closer to Lake Ontario. The odd thing was no one had noticed when it arrived or who had left it there. The vehicle had a white top, possibly a convertible with a blue body and looked to be from the 1950’s. And it was in mint condition, not a scratch on her.
The neighborhood kids that played in the area came close to look but for some inexplicable reason did not come closer than a few feet from the car. It was as if some unknown force field surrounded the car and kept everything and everyone away from it. Local squirrels, cats, racoons and other critters stayed well clear. Something deep within their animal souls was telling them to stay clear.
The vehicle was not blocking any access to garages, gates, etc. so even though the people that lived adjacent to this laneway knew the vehicle was there, they kind of ignored it. They went on with their daily lives of getting up, getting the kids and themselves ready for school and work and repeated that cycle the next day and the day after that.
Even the pigeons and sparrows and other birds that constantly relieved themselves on anything that was and was not in their flight path, plotted courses away from this mysterious vehicle. So the pristine car remained that way until one day in mid- summer of the year 2015, a gang of neighborhood hoods decided to invade this laneway for some drinking, drug smoking and other unsavory activities.
The leader of this group of malcontents called himself Big Joe. He wore leather pants, black boots and a leather vest that indicated he was down with the Sons of Anarchy. His face was pock –marked and his hair was shaggy, greasy and his big belly hung over his tight pants jiggling not merrily with every step. His second in command was Ratso, a skinny wisp of a punk with eyes that blazed like coal fires. The third in this motley group they just named Tag. Because everywhere that Joe and Ratso went, Tag tagged along.  And to round off this group of model citizens was a lady who was anything but with a handle of Court. Her real name was Courtney but it got truncated quickly in response to the favors she provided on the local basketball court after hours. Court was there for the party and to keep the group happy. They provided the drugs and booze, she provided herself and quite frequently at that.
Imagine the surprised looks on these ingrates faces when a classic looking gypsy cab was sitting right in their favorite party spot under a shady maple tree. Saying that this rag tag band of biker wannabees was not happy would be an understatement. So big Joe looked the situation over and ordered Tag to key up this fine looking ride a bit. Why? Because they could of course… and who was going to stop them.  They should have asked not who but what as Tag was much too dumb to ignore the warning he received to stop and not come any nearer. He thought it was just a head rush from the crack they all smoked an hour ago and proceeded to step over the invisible border, set of keys in hand ready to carve a logo of his own design into the beautiful vehicle.
What happened next was truly astounding as a hand attached to a translucent arm appeared and grabbed our friend Tag, lifted him right up off the floor and threw him full force against the nearest fence with a force so terrible it snapped Tag’s scrawny neck like a twig. The rest could not believe their eyes. Court ran over to Tag and screamed as Tag’s head was hanging limply at his side hardly supported by the neck that connected the two at all. Big Joe, like the fearless leader he was and the coward for that matter, sent Ratso into the fray. But Ratso had not survived on the streets of Toronto for all this time to meet the same fate as that dullard Tag and beat a hasty retreat back to the mouth of the alley.
Big Joe, now alone with a frantic Court and a dead Tag, pulled out his totally illegal handgun and started peppering the car with bullets. But the bullets never struck the car; instead they just seemed to drop like they hit a bullet proof wall…which in fact they did. Except for one which ricocheted and imbedded itself right into Joe’s frontal lobe dropping him dead like a stone.  Court had seen enough and she took off faster than a sprinter with a case of the runs and her torn up fish net stockings could carry her. And the Old Classic Gypsy cab remained right where it was until its unearthly driver decided to move it to another location.  If you were to ask Court or Ratso, they would most likely tell you to “Let Sleeping Cabs Lie”. If they could get the words out after what they had just seen!

Wolf Schimanski’s book on Amazon

Anita Kovacevic

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More author duel stories soon!

Linda Ann Ramirez responds to Lizzie Newton – Black Eyes... Free flash story!

More free stories coming from authors in the next weeks!

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Anita Kovacevic

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ETERNAL LOVE – I accepted a duel challenge from L.A. Ramirez

(This story is my reply to Linda Ann Ramirez’s photo challenge. Thank you, Linda. It is also an addition to the novel I have been working on for over four years – The Forest of Trees. It is told by a subordinate character, Mrs Jackson, an abused woman who is just so afraid and empty. She is one of those characters you want to grab out of the book with your bare hands, shake by the shoulders, hug some sense into, and make her change her life for the better. Whenever I write about her, I feel heavy and sad for a long time. If I don’t write about her, I feel as if she’s even sadder, to think that even I’d forgotten about her. Stories have this magic power, which is not always white.)

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ETERNAL LOVE

He’s finally gone. Everyone has gone actually, the farm workers, my husband, the kids… All  off to somewhere or other. Well, all except for the youngest, but he’s asleep downstairs.

So here I am, in the attic, digging through a box of my old stuff, digging for my past, digging for some pride, for traces of me, glimpses of who I used to be when I was happy.

My name is Florence, Florence Jackson. Well, people used to call me Florence, till I got married and everybody started calling me ‘that poor Jackson woman’. And they’re right; I don’t blame them. I should have known from the start. The first time he insulted me, the first time he hit me, the first time he got drunk and forced himself on me, the first time he cheated on me. Yes, my husband did, even before he was my husband.  And I was so endlessly stupid, so beguiled by his sexy, mischievous smirk, so misguided by taking his physical strength for mental power, thinking he would protect me from bullies, so naive to trust him when he said I deserved his ‘schooling’ me, so blindly in love. Well, blind enough to think it was love.

Funny enough, I was so good at convincing myself, that I convinced everyone else I was doing fine and didn’t need their help. Or so I thought. Everyone soon gave up on me and stopped trying to lead me on the right path. My dad hadn’t been in the picture anyway, and mum was weaker than me. I was married, pregnant, quickly became a mum of five, constantly surrounded by violent men; my husband, his dad, their farm workers and my growing sons. The twins grew into the spitting images of their dad and grandpa, and I hated them for it. By the time the girl came, I was a shell. I could barely remember there was such a thing as love. I thought she’d grow on me with time, but no. I was brain-washed and emptier than a beggar’s wallet. Then I bore two boys again, a few years apart, no changes. And all Jacksons. The youngest is now three but I think he won’t escape the cruelty written in his blood. 

No peace, no joy, no laughter – such is my life. Bitter insults, heavy hands, the taste of blood in my mouth blurring out the taste of soup. I never fought back. I never defended myself, or my children. I never tried to run. What’s the point? The Jackson men would just hunt me down and rail me back in. Teach me some manners, too. Some more manners, in their own particular way which leaves you barely able to walk. I am too weak. I am too sad. I am a coward. I don’t deserve my children. I don’t deserve myself. I can’t love any more.

But HE could. He always could. My brother. My trustworthy Henry. This little boy in the pale photo gripped by my shaking hand. Two years older than me, he always had my back. Always. He always believed in me. Took the blame for me when I broke something. Put the village bullies in their proper place if they disrespected me or mum, or anyone for that matter. Broke his leg once, jumping into a raging river to save clumsy moi from drowning. Lost a thumb nail trying to fix a window I’d broken using dad’s heavy hammer. Didn’t cry a bit. Pulled my hair a bit, but combed it as well. Whistled in the meadow so I could dance to the tune. Oh how I loved dancing!

I met Jackson when Henry was in the army. Henry was so proud to serve, and so helplessly furious when I married Jackson in his absence. He knew Jackson, he knew his breed, he’d met plenty of them in the army, too. And he knew me, only too well.

When he came back, he was the only one I couldn’t convince. He saw through my disguise, through my smiling lies, he saw through my sparkling eyes and into my horrified soul. And Jackson knew he knew. The two of them were like raging werewolves, no words wasted, just brute force. But Jackson wasn’t alone. They never are. Old Jackson had Henry imprisoned and I was taught to forget the incident and my brother, by means of a baseball bat behind a locked door. The lesson was revised several times for better retention.

A few years later, I heard from a passer-by that Henry moved up west, got married and started a lumberjack business. I know he hasn’t forgotten me. I know what they did to me, had a pretty good idea of what they had done to him, and I was only too happy to hear he was far, living a new, better life, far away from my cursed weakness.

My brother. Somebody’s caring husband. A fun dad. A boss, tough but fair. A friend. My brother.

Now I remember love. It’s just a distant breeze but it warms my heart. I remember love.

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(Final photo edited from Zedge)

Anita Kovacevic

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