The Angel From Mars

The Angel from Mars
By D. Marie Prokop, Copyright 2019

“Cough, please.”
The forced bark reverberates in my skull.
“Well, I’ve never seen a case of this in all my twenty years as a practicing physician. It’s psy-cho-gen-ic a-phon-i-a,” the doctor declares, over-emphasizing each vowel and consonant.
Aunt Kathy stares at the doctor, mute. Like me, but not like me.
“Ms. Sorensen?”
Aunt Kathy is familiar with medical terminology. She’s a nurse. It’s her fault I’m here. She insisted I needed looked at by a doctor and Mom was in no position to argue.
“Yes, doctor, I understand. Jenny’s loss of speech is psychological. I don’t know what I expected to hear. But it’s been eight days. I promised Natalie I’d get her checked out.” Her green eyes studied me, as if I were a rat in a cage. She turns away and continues, “Jenny and Robert were together that night, you know, watching the fireworks. She was passed out when Natalie found him—found his—”
“Yes, ma’am. I understand your concern. I saw Robert’s body in the morgue. It was—”
The doctor clears his throat, avoiding my eyes.
Horrific. That’s the word you’re looking for—horrific.
I’m not surprised that he knows. It’s a tight-knit community. When the kindest farmer in the county dies mysteriously, everyone wants to know the details.

Want to read the rest? Click to read The Angel from Mars, a YA short story gift to my fans from my most recent newsletter. Want more? Sign up for my newsletter today!


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Spinning Wheels and Stories

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Happy Lunar New Year!

Shu Rui’s house is not far. There are no sidewalks, but the streets are wide. They’re filled with people because everyone comes home for the fifteen-day celebration of Chinese New Year. It’s The Year of the Tiger, 1998.

I was born in 1989, The Year of the Snake. Everyone says that’s why I talk so much. Grandma always tells me,

Child, you were born under a sign of wisdom. Remember, wisdom is attained by three methods: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.


Learn more about Chinese New Year in The Baiji!


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The Spring Festival / Lunar New Year

“What’s your favorite animal?” I ask her.

“I don’t know . . . a cat?” She shrugs.

“How can you not know which animal is your favorite? Mine is the baiji.”

“The river dolphin? But the baiji are all gone!” Shu Rui says.

“Maybe, but my grandma says the baiji is the Goddess of the Yangtze. She says the baiji will come to visit at special times, like the Spring Festival. Seeing a baiji brings good fortune.”

“Our teacher said the baiji is indignant.”

“Not indignant, silly, endangered.”

February 5, 2019 is the first day of the Lunar New Year (Spring Festival Day). Learn about this celebration and the Chinese River Dolphin in this short story for middle-grade readers, The Baiji.

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Paralyzed

 I watch the van pull away. An eager voice from behind me sings, “Can I have your autograph?” I’m about to refuse when I feel a prick in my neck. I collapse into a heap of striped spandex and leather onto the cold sidewalk.

I hear and see everything around me, but I’m paralyzed.

-Tigress


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‘Tis Easter Again

Ring them bells. ‘Tis Easter again. 

 

The three gray wooden steps leading up to the porch bow like a repentant prodigal. A little child bounding up them could get hurt. Their body broken for You as easy as from a cancer in the bones. The metal-hinged doors wear a fresh coat of red paint, newly atoned by Jesus’ blood.  

 

Diamond-shaped windows, sincere evangelists, invite the sunlight to shine through ‘em. A ribbon of golden light hits the floor of the empty sanctuary. A voiceless choir incarnates dust mites and flitters down the spotlight. Years of communion—His body broken for us—weddings, funerals, and altar calls, they all leave a crease down the center aisle, mimicking the crack of an open King James.  

 

I hear you singin’ “It Is Well With My Soul,” standing tall over there on the left side of the altar facing the redemption red doors, like on that Easter, the one before yer last, that quiverin’ tenor voice causing tears to trickle from the eyes of sinners and saints. Hope bathed your face, your gospel smile. Radiant as Christ on the cross. His body broken for me.  

 

The Lord and I. Me and God. We both done lost our only sons.  

 

Ring them bells. ‘Tis Easter again. 

-The Shorter Things Collection

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