Author Krista Tibbs

Archive for the ‘Original Fiction’ Category

Fiction: Unaccompanied Minor

In Original Fiction on October 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm
I remember him walking toward me that day, clutching a bear, with his little green backpack strapped tight and his eyes locked on my red vest that he knew would mean I could be trusted. He tied his own shoes after he passed through security. He never spoke, not one word the whole trip. I was still a stranger, after all.  On board the plane, he refused the pop and pretzels and just held onto his bear. I don’t know if he was protecting it, or it was protecting him.

His paperwork said he was barely seven years old, so he was brave. He did exactly as he was told. He sat quietly through takeoff and landing. He didn’t sleep. I told all this to security later.

When we arrived, I took him to the baggage claim, where we picked up the bright blue suitcase that his mother had checked in for him. We waited for hours for his father to arrive. But no one came. The boy didn’t say a word the whole time.

I called every number we were given, but the mother’s never stopped ringing and the father’s was disconnected. The luggage tag was blank. I asked him if he knew where his father lived. He shook his head. A neighbor’s number? A friend’s? Again, no. It was far past my shift. My dog was waiting at home for his kibble and a walk, but I couldn’t just leave a boy.

At what point would he be considered abandoned? When I went home, where would the TSA take him? Unforgiveable. Unfit. These were the words that filled my mind, as he sat, patiently, quietly. He watched the passengers, but the thoughts inside his head were inscrutable. I couldn’t understand the situation. How could you care enough to sew a little bowtie onto his bear, to write his initials in the labels of his shirts, to pack all he owned into a brand new suitcase, and then leave him behind?

I tried to remember her face on the other side of the security wall. Had it looked like any other mother sending her child alone into the world? Worry? Doubt? Or was it resignation?  Regret? But I couldn’t even remember her hair color. I should have noticed.

And what of his father? Had he ever even existed? I found out later the boy’s ID was fake. His first name probably was Edward, but his last name was anyone’ s guess. Apparently, he had been told not to speak to strangers, and he had listened well.

I never saw him after the TSA officer led him away. After all, I had no right to know what happened in his life. But I will always wonder.

Polar Opposites

In Original Fiction on July 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I’m the only one here on the beach, of course. It’s the coldest January night on record and that old fool still has to be the polar bear, even though everyone else in the club had sense enough to stay home.

I can’t hear his splashing, so I suppose I’ll have to save him. Isn’t that the way it’s been for near on 60 years? Who’s the one who flagged down the ambulance on our first date when he tried to prove he didn’t need a jack to change a tire? I should have known then.

My purse will be safe behind this rock, I guess. Better leave these snazzy tennis shoes, too. No use ruining a perfectly nice anniversary gift.

By our first anniversary, when he set the stove ablaze trying to cook a spaghetti dinner, I was ready with the fire extinguisher. It’s been that way ever since.

Jiminy Cricket, that is cold. Oh, well, no worse than childbirth. Those polar bears think they’re so brave coming down here for ten seconds once a year. Old fools.

There’s his white head, popping up from the water like the moon coming late to dinner. “I’m fine, no need to worry!”

Well, he might have said so before I got my socks wet.

I Already Been to Church

In Original Fiction on June 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm
If I go there again, it will be of my own free will. None of this it’ll be fun and just this once, and what’s one night of your life shenanigans. They called it a retreat, a sing-along campfire. It was church, plain and simple. I been to church and that was it. Maybe it was out in the woods, and there wasn’t no organ, and I didn’t recognize none of the hymns, but they was prayer and Bible quotin’, and in my book, that spells c-h-u-r-c-h.

Now, I got nothing against the Bible or prayer or any of that, understand. But I don’t go for tricking someone into a relationship with God. He gave us a brain and a choice and I aim to use them. But I’ll get there when I get there, and not because me and my buddies got liquored up on some pretty girls and ended up toasting marshmallows and being saved.

I went to church when I was a kid, and the pastor said if you asked Jesus to save you, you will go to heaven. So I asked — every night, as I wasn’t sure if it was a one shot deal or a repetition kind of thing. I didn’t get no answer, but I asked with all my heart, and I think God takes care of kids with a heart. So as far as I can tell, I already been saved.

It’s been a long time since then, and I can probably use a little more saving, if you know what I mean. But I know how to ask: I just ain’t ready yet. When I do ask I want to do it full-on like a kid, and my heart’s been otherwise occupied until now, which is why we met up with them girls in the first place.

Things didn’t work out quite how they planned. One of my buddies got out with his immorality intact. But the other one did get straight up converted, and as far as I can tell, it done him good. As for me, well I jumped feet first into marriage before and my wife left me, so I ain’t ready to jump feet first in with God.

I know a lot of Bible speakers will say God won’t leave me, and I reckon that’s true. But if so, he never left me from when I was a kid and he’ll take me back someday. Just like the prodigal son.

Some may say I better set things right, because I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. Well, if my time on earth is through, I guess I fulfilled my duties and so God already thinks me worthy of a spot in the afterlife. And if it’s all just about me choosing every day to thank God to be part of this world, well then it has to be my choice, don’t it?

So all’s I’m saying is don’t rush me. If I get born again, it will be ’cause of my own free will.

Animal Stories: Moose plus Music Soundtrack

In Announcements, Light Menu, Original Fiction on May 13, 2012 at 4:41 am
The fifth and final installment of the video and music preview series for Reflections and Tails was supposed to be about moose. However, it was surprisingly difficult to find moose videos that appropriately captured their essence in the story, and the genre of moose music is meager at best. So, I decided instead I would give you one short moose video and then let you in on my little game called “If They Made My Story into a Movie” and link to a few song clips from the imaginary soundtrack. Enjoy.

Moose Video

Soundtrack
I’m Still Here by Doc Holladay (give this a second to load)

Hard to Believe by David Cook (scroll down and click “Play All Samples”)

Stones Under Rushing Water by Needtobreathe (scroll down and click “Play All Samples”)

When You Come Back Down by Nickel Creek, sung by Susanne Gerry (click on the orange button)

Chase This Light by Jimmy Eat World (scroll down and click “Play All Samples”)

Animal Stories: Book Cover Revealed and Wolves

In Announcements, Light Menu, Original Fiction on May 4, 2012 at 2:27 am

As promised, today we reveal the book cover!
Wolf

 

Of course today’s music and video hints are all about wolves. The secret is out; they have many sides. So, starting with the fairy tales we know by heart, I take you back to the big, bad wolf of childhood then to the fine line between the evil wolf of generations past and the pet you can trust with your baby. Every wolf was a baby once, too, who had to be taught how to howl. Watch the video of the Wolfman and the pup’s first lesson. Lastly, the music today is by The Voice by Celtic Woman Lisa Kelly . 
 
 Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?
 

 
The Trusted Pet 

Learning to Howl

Wolf Song by Celtic Woman Lisa Kelly

Click here for lyrics and more by Celtic Woman

When can I get this fabulous book of stories and art, you ask? The e-book release date is the end of May for all outlets, possibly sooner for Amazon.

Animal Stories: Dads and Dude Ranches

In Announcements, Light Menu, Original Fiction on April 28, 2012 at 6:45 am

This third set of video hints about the upcoming e-book (title to be revealed in the next post) is about horses. Or rather, it is about a particular human experience with horses, namely the dude ranch. The first 25-second video shows the ranch that my family visited when I was in high school, and it pretty much sets the tone. The video below that is a scene from Return to Snowy River, which is both riveting and relevant to the story (except the part where he gets shot).  

Today’s music is by a group named The Dad Horse Experience. I don’t understand the music or the video or most of the words that the man is singing, but I find it weirdly compelling.

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

Return to Snowy River

Music by The Dad Horse Experience (Find out more about this one-man band here and here.)

Animal Stories: About Vampires?

In Announcements, Light Menu, Original Fiction on April 19, 2012 at 2:23 am

Post #2 in the video/music hint series is about vampires. Well, vampire bats, anyway. They are cute, they are delicate, they are misunderstood. Just watch the first video of a bat grooming his ears like a cat and feel the “awwww” well up inside you. If that doesn’t do it for you, watch the second video of the baby bat looking for his mother. (I’ll bet you didn’t know that vampire bats adopt orphans.) Then if you’re still not sold, listen to the metal mood music of an oldies hit cover by The Animals and contemplate the temperature of your cold, hard heart.
 

Bat Paws for Grooming (link)
ARKive video - Common vampire bat grooming

 

Bats Have Babies Too, Y’know

 

 

 

Mood Music – Place of Skulls Version  vs. The Animals: “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

 

Animal Stories: About Sheep

In Announcements, Light Menu, Original Fiction on April 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I am excited to be working with an artist on an illustrated e-book of animal stories for grown-ups, to be released early this summer. Stay tuned for the title and the book cover, but in the meantime, the series of posts to follow will feature animal-related music and videos that hint, however obliquely, at the contents of the book.

So, today, we start with sheep. Because sheep are both serious and silly and have a centuries long relationship with people, I give you classical music paired with stunts by sheep and shepherds. Enjoy.

 

March of the Sheep by David Rozsa, an orchestral allegro. (Photo by Kázsmér Zsuzsanna)

 

Surfing Sheep

 

Extreme Sheep Herding

 

Now that I think of it, the sheep segment in the book will have nothing to do with surfing or marching and refers very little to shepherds either. So this wasn’t much of a hint at all.

 

The Flip Side of Stability and the Seasons

In Being Human, Commentary, Original Fiction on February 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm

There is a common saying in New England and East Tennessee: If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. That serves as a good analogy for this week, which started with an old story lying in the graveyard and ended with a new story winning a contest.

Offer anyone in New England or East Tennessee a trip to Hawaii in February, and you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who turns you down. From what my dad has told me about Hawaii, the weather is in the 70s year round and although it rains a little every day, there is also sunshine every day. It is almost the epitome of stability, or at least equilibrium.

But stability has two sides. In Hawaii, you don’t get the dreary depths of winter but you also don’t get the renewal of spring. So I would like to visit Hawaii, but I’m not sure I’d want to live there.

My everyday life would probably be easier with a little more stability and routine. For example, I wandered around three levels of the parking garage yesterday because I couldn’t remember where I parked my car. I don’t park in the same spot every day at work, mostly because I don’t arrive at the same time every day, mostly because I don’t leave the house at the same time every day, mostly because I don’t do the same things every morning or go to bed at the same time every night. I could go on and on about how haphazard my daily life is.

But, if it were not so, I would not have been able to take half a day on a whim to write a story and enter a contest last Saturday, and I probably would have smiled a little less this week. If I lived in Hawaii, I would not be anticipating a possible snow day in the middle of next week. How many inner children are stirred by those two little words?

In contemplating the difference from Saturday to Friday, Maine to Hawaii, and snow days to spring, there is one conclusion I’ve reached that is true at least for me:
Variability is the root of hope.

The Story Graveyard

In Being Human, Commentary, Original Fiction on January 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm
The crickets were chirping after last week’s post, so I’m sending it to the story graveyard.
This graveyard is not a sad place, though; it’s a release. I have files upon files of unfinished stories — some are just a title and one is 53,000 words — and I feel guilty that I can’t spend time to develop them all.

I suppose they are like relationships. Many just petered out or lost direction. Others I worked on intensely for a while and then had to take a break. There are a few that I’m happy to see again every time, even though we always drift apart. Some I have put away and never gave another thought.

The hardest thing for me is to know when to let go. After I’ve invested so much time and heart trying to cultivate something, it seems a waste to give up on it. And those that are just a title — those that I never got to know, never fought with or tore up or cried over — they still have beautiful potential. I am a sucker for potential.

I spent at least 2,000 hours on my first book. That is the biggest commitment I’ve ever made in my life. But now that I know what it takes, it’s paralyzing to think about doing it again. So I keep hopping from story to story, looking for the one I want more than anything else, that is worth the time and the sacrifice and the commitment. I haven’t yet found the persistent passion that I had for the first book, but then I wonder, is a mature relationship entered with forethought ever as naively all-consuming as a first love?

Meanwhile I find myself going back to that story that has been percolating for years, building on those 53,000 words, just not quite ready to admit that it is The One.

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