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The Sunday Squirrel: A tale of two women

Barb watched the police officers pull out of the driveway and head down the street, taking her life with them. She crumpled to the floor, her chest folding in on itself so that she couldn't breathe. How could Jared be dead? She'd kissed him goodbye before he hopped on his motorcycle and gave her the crooked smile that still made her heart skip a beat.

Clutching her stomach, she cried out, tears leaving dark stains on her red shirt. Jared. Oh, God. The boys. How could she face her two little boys? How could she tell them that Daddy would never come home? She would give anything not to crush her children like that.

Heat flooded her veins. That bitch had dropped her own children off at the daycare and pulled right out in front of Jared. He'd never had a chance to stop before he hit her car at forty miles an hour. Whoever the woman was, she hoped they locked her up and threw away the key. Did she even realize how many lives she'd ruined in one split-second?

Barb held her knees and rocked on the floor. Maybe the men were wrong. Maybe if she prayed hard enough, they'd come back and tell her it was all a mistake. She'd give up anything for them to be wrong.

Her gaze landed on the wallet and keychain the cops had left behind. There'd been no error. Someone on the scene had even identified him. One of the other officers in Jared's squadron had witnessed the accident.

The tears returned in earnest, and Barb curled into a ball against the couch. If not for her boys, she'd be happy to die right there.


Elaine locked herself inside her house and rushed to the bathroom. She heaved over the toilet, but had nothing left to lose. Images of the dead man swam through her brain and no matter how many times she washed her hands, she still saw the blood on them. All of her efforts to save the man had been in vain.

She didn't understand where he had come from. Hadn't she looked both ways before pulling into traffic? She'd waited for a car to pass and then turned, but the motorcycle must have been hiding in the blind spot. Until he slammed into her car, she had no idea he was there.

If she could only go back and change that moment in time. She'd wait just a little longer to make sure no one else was coming. Wasn't there anything she could do to go back and do it again?

Because of her, a husband and father would never go home again. Because of her, there was a ten yard tread mark just outside the daycare where the man, Jared, had tried to stop before he hit the side of her SUV and slid underneath. Because of her, two little boys were going to grow up without their dad.

How could she possibly face her own family knowing what she'd done? What would she see in their eyes? Understanding, or disgust? How could she go on with her life knowing that she'd killed a man?

Elaine moved to the bedroom and fell onto the unmade bed, wishing it would swallow her whole. If not for her boys, she'd be happy to die right there.

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  1. Reply

    I read your first paragraph and this just struck me. My apologies for riffing on your words.

    Jared’s dead? I just kissed him goodbye. The Cops and their black and white cruiser disappeared down the drive way. ” That damn motorcycle!” The words exploded in her head as she slammed the door. Her back hit the wall. Her legs folded. Barb sunk to the floor. Wrapped herself in her own arms and screamed ” “That damn motorcycle!” The dead would not wake.

    • Reply

      Nice, Curtis. Good words: exploded, slammed, and folded.

      The funny thing is after I do these squirrels, I find myself awake in bed thinking of what I could have done differently or better. I can’t imagine ever writing like Dick Francis who only wrote one draft from start to finish. If only I could be that brilliant.

      • Reply

        Who says you aren’t that brilliant? Comparisons wreck us. Like our inner editor the habit of comparison lives to ruin us.

        “… I find myself awake in bed thinking..”

        That’s a good thing. My mentor used to tell me, ” that means you are onto something when the idea keeps expanding and reshaping itself.” Now, if an idea goes dead after the first pass, I know I’m holding a dead idea.

        • Reply

          Thanks, Curtis. I really try not to disparage myself too much. 😉

          You make a great point about ideas that keep expanding. I like that one. I appreciate your positive energy!

          • Reply

            Bye the bye. The latest issue of Writers Digest noted that Romance writing
            tops the dollar sales of books sold. Religion was next. Then S/F and so on. I believe it was for 2009. I caught this on the fly.

  2. KM Fawcett


    Wow. Powerful scene. Nice juxtaposition of the two women’s points of view.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Kathy. Unfortunately, this scene is based on an accident that happened outside my son’s school. I’ve been thinking about the pain on both sides for a long time.

  3. Reply

    I hold my breath and wished that she will find out that he is not dead:(
    I love your writing Gwen, I can feel you going through all the emotions as you write your sentences, must be exhausting for you, no? to live all the sadness, like a good actor performing for his Oscar.
    Good job Gwen! I love your little stories.

    • Reply

      Thank you, Mirella. I often leave out the strong emotions in my books until my critique partner points it out, so this is good practice even though it’s sometimes tough. I’ve especially been pondering the feelings of guilt the woman responsible must have, but I’ve been avoiding putting it down for a long time.

      Both scenarios would be a nightmare for me.

  4. Reply

    This was a great look at opposing POVs. Good job, Gwen. I like the first one but the second gave me goose bumps.

    Nice. 🙂

  5. Reply

    That’s right, Curtis. Romance is #1! During the recession, it’s been the bright spot in the publishing industry.

    That was a great issue of WD. I dog-eared the heck out of that thing, as usual.

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