Ok folks, the polls are open! There are some great stories this week, but only one story can win. I hope to win your vote with my story: The Prosecution Rests.
The prompt this time is: write a scene in which a child must confront a wrong-doing adult. Stories must not exceed 500 words. Mine is 493. If you like it, I hope you’ll vote for it. It only takes a minute; there’s no registering, or hoops to jump through. Simply visit Tipsy Lit, click on the story you like, and hit vote. Voila! Your time is appreciated; thanks!
The Prosecution Rests
Lizzie eyed her mother skeptically. She recognized the signs; the evidence was clear.
“You know, Mom, my teacher says that smoking is bad for you. Did you know it can kill you?”
Jennifer cleared her throat and avoided her nine-year old daughter’s serious expression.
“Lizzie, I don’t smoke. I know it’s bad for your health; I quit a long time ago.” She tried not to look at the girl’s furrowed brow. “Please stop worrying about me”
“Did you know that the stuff in cigarettes is really addictive, Mom? It’s like taking drugs!”
“Lizzie! Stop! I don’t smoke.”
Lizzie circled the kitchen island and put her arms around her mother’s waist, and Jennifer relaxed into the spontaneous cuddle.
One deep inhale confirmed her suspicions.
“Mom, did you know that when you smoke your lungs get all black and sticky? That’s how it kills you.”
Jennifer unknotted the tiny arms from her waist and reached up to the cabinet for a plate.
“How about a snack– you must be hungry after school?”
She reached for the cookies she’d made the day before, and avoided looking into her daughter’s eyes again.
“They get all sticky… and black… like when they pave the road… Mom?”
“Do you want one cookie or two? Did you and Hannah play at recess today? Her mom told me she was home sick yesterday, but she was feeling better today.”
“And then you get cancer and d–”
Jennifer twisted away from the determined face, and strong arms, and turned angrily.
“I don’t smoke! I quit a while ago– Why can’t you just drop this!”
Lizzie picked up a cookie and took a bite, not sure whether she should answer. She didn’t like when her mother’s voice got so loud.
“Well? Cat got your tongue now, missy?”
Lizzie swallowed the cookie with the water her mother had poured, and thought for a moment about cats eating children’s tongues. It didn’t seem likely.
“Mom, I know you smoke.”
She felt her feet take root in the floor, and she continued.
“I can smell it when I come in the house. It’s not as strong as it was when you used to smoke in the kitchen– before you promised you’d quit… but I can smell it on your clothes too.”
Jennifer looked away, anger dissipating in her guilt.
“And when you smoke, you always look nervous when I come home. I notice that too.” Lizzie watched her mother’s anxious expression. “And sometimes, I see ashes in the garden, when I go out in the yard.”
Jennifer felt her eyes burn; she wanted to just run out the door, and drive away for a while. The heat in her face rose, as her little girl stared her down.
“It’s really hard, Lizzie-bear. I’m trying, really. It’s just not that easy.”
Lizzie surrendered her post and stepped forward, putting her arms around her mother’s waist again.
“I just don’t want you to die, Mommy.”
* * *
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