Category Archives: Fiction

The Tired Pilgrim

The Tired Pilgrim

Julia wiped her hand across her forehead, feeling the corrugations of a thousand wrinkles, reflecting on a life of worry and despair. She was never the strong one, the warrior who marched to her own drum; she was the one who stayed home, taking care of the elders, the sick, the weak.

Marina, her sister, had left the village when she was fifteen, running away with a boy whom she had bullied into accompanying her on a grand adventure to the land of milk and honey. It didn’t matter that Jose was married and nine years older. That was the power she had, to weave magical fairytale into a reality that suited her view of the world.

Jose had left his wife and three children, forsaking them for a girl with untamed hair and wild brown eyes. She had a laughing mouth, and her teeth flashed white against her olive skin so that she looked like the embodiment of life and lust and danger.

Julia sighed and the letter fluttered from her grasp. She watched as the wind took it, and it played and dipped and tangled with a tumbleweed, where it rested for a while. The paper was yellow with age and stained by her fingers from years of handling.

She knew the contents by heart, the words imprinted upon her very soul.

“Julia, please come! Don’t throw your life away!”

Marina had begged her to leave the village, to experience the vastness of the world, but it frightened her. Here, she could look down at the valley, admire the endless vista as the seasons changed and breathe the clean air. She felt sure God did not want her to leave, to forsake her duty to her family, so she stayed.

She rose from the rickety blue chair – the paint had peeled off around the legs and backrest from use –  and went inside the dark, cool adobe hovel.

Her uncle, the last of the family, was sleeping, drool oozing from his flaccid lips. She smoothed the sheet over his inert body, the chest barely moving as he breathed.

She paused, and knelt next to the bed, and then withdrew with a gasp.

Tio Manuel’s soul had fluttered with the letter, into the light of the great beyond, to a place where he was free.

She covered her face with her hands, dry sobs racking her body. She too was free. Free to be alone, to leave, to find Marina, to live the life she never had. She rose and drew the sheet over his waxen limbs, his sparse grey hair like gossamer on his bony skull. “Poor Tio Manuel,” she thought. “He had worked so hard all his life, never married, never knew the love of a woman.” Yet, as a man, he had opportunities, ones she had been denied.

No one in the family ever spoke about Marina, about the scandal she had brought upon the family. She was evil, she was a puta, even worse, a prostituta, despised and best forgotten. Her mother had died with Marina’s name on her lips and with the bitter words,  Que se pudra en el infierno!* Her eyes had stared into the fires of hell and it was there that she saw her daughter, despised, unforgiven and eternally damned.

Julia realized she had better fetch the priest and looked for her sandals, reaching under her bed in the corner of the room. The cat darted out and she screamed and then laughed at her own foolishness. The release of emotions brought on by the laughter was like a healing balm to her body and she could feel a lightness entering her being, as if she too, were being borne aloft by the wings of the angels. She felt her soul soar and expand as the shackles of the years fell away and she gasped as a surge of energy moved through her. It was so powerful that she sprang to her feet and she threw her arms open wide as if to embrace this new feeling, this freedom, this lust for life.

“I will find Marina! I will live my life! It is not too late…I am not too old!” she thought jubilantly. She was startled into reality by a timid, tentative knock on the front door.

A nun in a white and black habit stood there, an uncertain smile on her lips.

“Yes, Hermana? You come at a most opportune time,” Julia said with a tinge of sadness. “I was about to call the priest for my Tio Manuel has just passed on to the better life…”

The nun looked at her quizzically, then grasped her by the shoulders and looked her in the eye. Julia felt herself encircled in the  arms of the stranger who clung to her like a lost child and after a long, endlessly long moment, whispered softly in her ear.

“Julia, Julia, do you not know me? I have come home…”



*”May you rot in hell!”




























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Short, Short Story

Short, Short Story

The short-haired woman with the cropped salt-and-pepper hair struggled up from her comfortable chair in the living room and shuffled painfully to the front door of the farmhouse. Her short legs and long upper body were strangely out of proportion, as if someone had forgotten to lengthen  her bones when she was growing up.

“Yes?” she inquired, peering shortsightedly at the young man standing quietly at the door.

“Oh, it’s you!” she smiled at the visitor. “Come on in, momma’s waiting for you.”

The livingroom was a shrine to a past era: sepia portraits of long dead ancestors,  dusty, chipped porcelain figurines on the mantelpiece, and faded framed prints on the walls lent an air of genteel decay to the room. It smelled musty in there, of old woman – a mixture of lily-of-the-valley talcum powder and old underwear – and the visitor held his breath for a few seconds, then expelled it in a rush. He hated visiting. It was a chore.

The young man pecked the wrinkled cheek of the older woman whose skin felt like aged soft chamois, and he smiled.

“Edith, how are you?” he said very loudly.

She nodded, “Yes, I am, thank you!”

“Mavis, bring a whiskey!” she commanded her elderly daughter.

“Momma, it’s not yet time to tipple! You know what the doc said!” Her sing-song country accent sounded faintly accusatory.

“Oh hush now, just bring me that drink and bring sonny – what’s yer name, hon? I forgot…”

“It’s Jakey, Edi, Jakey!”

“Bring him a soda.”

Jakey turned to his Mavis who stood hesitantly in the doorway.

“I’ll have a whiskey too,” he said.

The woman disappeared, her thighs making a swishing noise as they rubbed together on the cheap polyester capris. He heard her go into the kitchen and then turned to focus on Edith.

“Have you signed that paper yet, Edi?”

“What was that?” she cupped her hand behind her ear. “What?”

He sighed.

“The deed of transfer, Edi, to put the farm into my name…”

Mavis returned, handed her aged mother a glass, who swigged the drink down in three straight gulps.

“My daddy loved me, y’know,” Edi mumbled. “He didn’t want me handing the land over to Jakey, remember?”

Jakey narrowed his eyes and sipped at his glass delicately, as if he were a southern gentleman calling on his girl.

“Never understood how the brakes failed on that old Buick,” Edi mumbled and then grabbed at her mouth as her dentures slipped.

“Jakey, you shouldn’t wear her out, you know how quickly she tires of company,” Mavis said, exasperated by his persistence.

“When did you die, Jakey? Why do you always come here same time, every day? Is there no rest for you in the place you disappear to every day? You break my heart, you do!” Gram complained, her voice beginning to slur. “If only you hadn’t been so greedy!”

“Momma, daddy died sixty years ago, don’t you remember?”

She turned to look at the young man, but the chair was empty.

“Damn ghosts,” she thought.







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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Fiction, Short stories, Uncategorized


The Root Cellar, by Christine Price

Available from, for Kindle or your mobile device!

A fast-paced historical novel that reaches from early 20th Century Russia to the nuclear research facility at Los Alamos, a man’s search for meaning in a world that leads to a profound understanding of his own personal journey through life as a Jew.

Click on link below! Only $2.99!


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Bob and Molly

Bob and Molly

Image result for tobacco field images

Flies buzzed lazily against the sunlit window in the late afternoon heat. The black walnuts and shagbark hickories drooped their branches in defeat; a silent prayer for rain, for relief from the heat wave that had gripped the countryside.

Bob sat on the swing on his porch, hoping the breeze would lift, but the air was still. The smell of tobacco from his neighbor’s fields hung in the humid air.  It made his head pound; the veins in his neck and on his temple beat a tattoo against the rage he felt welling up inside him.

The screen door squeaked open behind him, then banged shut. He could barely be bothered to crank his head around to see who it was. He knew it was Molly. His Molly, who knew trees by their Latin names, and birds and what things to plant and when. The girl he had married a hundred years ago. Molly who had slept by his side every night, who cooked his food, who cleaned the house and who put up with his fractious moods and bitter tongue.

She knew when he muttered and ranted to let him be, but now she came up behind him and gently placed her hand on his shoulder. He felt the warmth of her hand, an unwanted warmth in this heat, but he didn’t shrug it off as he would have done on other occasions when irritation with her gentle ways drove him crazy.

Molly could skin a deer, pluck a goose, wring a chicken’s neck. But those very self same hands could heal a fevered brow, soothe a child’s sorrow and bring comfort to an ailing elderly neighbor. Molly, his Molly, was a saint. How he hated her sometimes. Hated that others needed her and that she put their needs above his.

She had looked like Doris Day when she was eighteen. A freckled blond with a big smile that would melt a man’s heart.

“Sam killed a copperhead this morning,” Molly said, breaking the silence.


“It  crawled out from the woodpile behind the house. Them snakes are a mighty menace,” she said placidly.

He grunted. Sam liked shooting. He was a good old country boy. Still had a decal of the old flag on the back of his truck.

“I’m going to lie down a bit again,” she said.

Bob was silent. Her hand caressed the back of his head and she leaned down and kissed him on the bald spot on the top of his head. She lifted the pistol she had in her right hand, the one she had kept hidden all these years, pressed it against his skull, and fired.

Molly staggered as she turned away, and reached out to steady herself by holding on to the rickety porch door for a second.

“The hospice nurse said she would be by in a bit.” Her voice sounded as if it was coming from far, far away . Talking to herself. “Such a bad habit,” she thought. Bob always made fun of her silly ways.

She stepped back into the house, welcoming the cooler air as the window unit suddenly blasted forth a stream of frigid air. She shivered and lay down on the sofa, pulled the faded blue afghan over her feet. She patted her carefully curled and lacquered hair, proud of the fetching “do” she had managed to achieve in spite of her weakness. Molly ran a tongue over her painted lips. She crossed her hands over her stomach and she smiled wistfully.

She was ready…









Shagbark hickory:


Tobacco field:







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