Compunction

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compunction

  1. a feeling of uneasiness or anxiety of the conscience caused by regret for doing wrong or causing pain; contrition; remorse.
  2. any uneasiness or hesitation about the rightness of an action.

By the time Raquel arrived at her daughter’s school, she had ran through two red lights, ignored several stop signs and mercilessly interrogated herself, wondering what she could’ve possibly missed.

Her afternoon meeting had lasted longer than expected. An hour later she realized she had missed the school’s voicemail, reporting that her daughter was in the nurse’s office after collapsing on the track during gym class.

Raquel tried to maintain her composure, but the thoughts of her own past at her daughter’s age were haunting her. Like skeletons that had been revived, memories came out of the closet to torture her, whispering questions of “what if…”

What if she’s not eating?

What if she’s following in your footsteps?

What if you lose her the way your parents almost lost you?

“No; she eats. I see her. We have dinner together almost every night,” Raquel said aloud, uncertainty tinting her words.

Yeah, but what if she’s Continue reading

Rollick

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rollick

  1. to move or act in a carefree, frolicsome manner; behave in a free, hearty, lively, or jovial way.

Tea with the ladies.

It was their monthly ritual. But it felt more like torture than a family event, at least for Naomi.

The middle child of five daughters, she sat on the overly stuffed pink sofa, visually tracing the furniture’s wood trim.  The overhead fans in the sunroom stirred a light breeze, moving their hair beneath their ornate derby hats. Why they would wear such hats was beyond her, but it was something her mother insisted upon.

She observed the women in her family as they sat around chatting about the latest fashions, the town gossip or what their husbands had last purchased for them. This bragging was part of the ritual, until the conversation inevitably turned to her.

“You’re just so…”

Here it came, another well placed insult.

“…So Continue reading

Paroxysm

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paroxysm

  1. any sudden, violent outburst; a fit of violent action or emotion: paroxysms of rage.
  2. Pathology. a severe attack or a sudden increase in intensity of a disease, usually recurring periodically.

Matthew loved lazy Saturday mornings when he could sit with his wife and enjoy a simple breakfast. He gazed at her as she sipped on the remainder of her coffee. It seemed like a cliche, but she truly was as beautiful as the first day he’d seen her.

Even her hands were stunning.

Matthew raised her left hand to his mouth and kissed her fingers. A sticky film of that morning’s blackberry jam clung to his lips.

“I feel like I won’t be able to make it another week without getting my nails redone,” she muttered, taking a sip of her coffee.

Primping and beauty products were his wife’s obsession.

“Yeah, that’s what our neighbors were just saying, when I came in from my jog this morning.”

Kally’s coffee mug paused midair.

“Come again,” she prompted.

“Oh, they just mentioned how they can tell what day it is based on your scheduled beauty routine,” Matthew said, swept up in the intensity of his wife’s deep brown eyes.”They were outside packing their SUV for some camping trip and said that it’s obvious you’re Continue reading

Harum-Scarum

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harum-scarum

  1. reckless; rash; irresponsible: He had a harum-scarum youth.
  2. disorganized; uncontrolled.
  3. recklessly; wildly: He ran harum-scarum all over the place.

It was a standoff.

Time was ticking and only one thing separated her from obtaining her true desire. It was clear. This came down to one question: how badly did she want dessert?

The raw broccoli reclined on her plate, taunting her, daring her to choke down the taste of dirt as her passport to the creamy bliss of mint chocolate chip awaiting  her in the back of her freezer.

But try as she might, even the beautiful shade of bright green did nothing more than initiate twisted looks of disgust on her face. Throughout the years, the snarled lip and furrowed brow had been a constant reaction at the appearance of this one vegetable. Whether it was dinner made by her mother or lunch at a friend’s house, it didn’t matter. With a knack for creativity, she had always found some way to dispose of the vile abomination, Continue reading

Apotheosis

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apotheosis

  1. the ideal example; epitome; quintessence: This poem is the apotheosis of lyric expression.
  2. the elevation or exaltation of a person to the rank of a god.

Lillie skipped down the hallway. The sound of her patent leather shoes creating music as they struck against the oak floor. Her curled pigtails caught the fading sunlight as they flew through the air and grazed the top of her shoulders.

She turned the corner, heading toward her parents’ bedroom, excited for the evening ahead. But her smiled drooped drastically as she slammed into an unexpected wall of wailing.

There on the floor was her younger sister, Lisa. Hair askew, dress halfway on her slim body, barefoot and screaming, it seemed she was having another one of her “episodes,” as her mother called them.

Lisa rarely seemed to want to get dressed in anything other than her Continue reading

Nudnik

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nudnik

  1. Slang. a persistently dull, boring pest.

The heavy vibration of thunder shook the house, causing the windows to rattle. Already two hours in and the storm showed no signs of dying down.

This was Patrick’s favorite weather to write in–dark and stormy, and thoroughly volatile. He used to churn out chapters like fresh butter in this type of setting. But ever since his debut novel hit the New York Times Bestseller’s List, writing a follow up novel had seemed like an impossible task.

His fingers hovered over the metal keys of his grandfather’s antique typewriter. Balled sheets of paper littered the floor of his study like the hail on the grass outside his window. Most of the crumpled mass had no more than a word or two typed on them.

The sky popped with lightning now, illuminating the heavy clouds above.

Words rose to the surface of his consciousness like bubbles of gas from the bottom of a bottle of soda. The scene materialized in his mind’s eye, the words came faster as he Continue reading

Opuscule

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opuscule

  1. a small or minor work.
  2. a literary or musical work of small size.

The sound of a creaking floorboards echoed up the stairwell and reverberated throughout the slim two-story house.

She wasn’t alone.

Ameena’s pulse raced as she moved quickly across the room.

She knelt beside her bed, shoving slips of paper between the pages of her book before hiding it underneath her bed. Later, she’d need to move the notes back to their regular spot, behind the baseboard, for safety.

A gentle tap against her wooden door came just as she repositioned her orange shawl over her head. She quickly clasped her hands together on her lap.

“Did I interrupt you, Sister?”

“Prayer is an ongoing conversation, Brother Joel,” she forced her voice to sound calm, “one can pick it up at any time, regardless of the length or importance of the interruption.”

She gave him a pleasant smile. He gave her one in return, but Ameena saw through his veneer. Joel’s had a smile like a snake. Continue reading