Over the past few years, I have written a couple of short stories that I’d since given away for free. “Pomegranates” is one of them. To try something new and fun, I’d now like to share this fictional short story with you in a serialized format throughout the month of April. I will publish a new part every Sunday morning this month, so subscribe now to my Rogue Writer newsletter (it’s free!) so you don’t miss the next part:
Without further ado, please enjoy Part 1 of “Pomegranates.”
Pomegranates - Part 1
By: Shari Lopatin
Pomegranates, © Shari Lopatin, 2019. All rights reserved.
They say Arizona is a place for folks to start over, and that’s what I had in mind when I landed in the high desert of Prescott. I remember, it was the year the sun rose red over the United Kingdom, and boilin’ wine flowed across the hills of Northern California.
It was also the year I met Helen.
Folks like me don’t like other folks’ judgmental stares, so we stay indoors and keep to ourselves. I didn’t have no friends to help me move into my two-bedroom duplex that Saturday afternoon, when Thanksgivin’ was in the air and cool crispness stung my cheeks. I was liftin’ boxes from my pickup truck into an empty livin’ room when I heard her voice before I saw her face.
“Howdy there, neighbor,” she said, and her voice was wispy. I put down my box onto the dirt driveway, and when I turned around, she was starin’ at me with a hand on her hip, silver hair cropped above her ears.
“Hi,” I said, suspicious.
“You need some help?”
“What’s it to ya?”
She smiled, and I watched her leathery skin crinkle at the corners of her eyes. “Just helpin’,” she said. “My name’s Helen, and this here’s Baby Ruth; she’s my best friend.” Helen motioned down to her feet at a black cat with yellow eyes, a tiny thing, probably the runt of the litter. “She follows me everywhere, just like a dog.”
“Nice to meet y’all,” I said, as the cat came to rub against my legs. I didn’t have much experience with animals, so I didn’t pet her. But the way she looked at me, with those easy goin’ eyes, it triggered some long-buried emotion that I couldn’t name.
“Why Baby Ruth?” I asked.
“‘Cause that’s the best damn candy bar ever made by mankind. And it fits her, don’t ya think?”
The cat meowed. “Sure, I suppose,” I said.
“What’s your name?”
I froze, never big on sharin’ personal details right away. A girl can never be too careful.
“Jessie,” I said after a few moments. “Jessie Jay Jones.” I bit my lip for givin’ her my full name, unsure why I did it.
“Well ain’t that a pretty name,” Helen responded, crackin’ a smirk. “So back to my original question, Miss Jessie Jay Jones: do you need some help?”
I was going to tell her no, that I got it myself, that I was used to bein’ on my own, but I said yes. That afternoon, Helen and her black cat, Baby Ruth, helped me move into my patio home. It was the first time in my life that anyone lent a hand liftin’ my old, ratty boxes.
I will publish Part 2 next week! If you don’t already, subscribe to my newsletter, Rogue Writer, and don’t miss what happens next!