The hand of Fate

Hello! I’ve never written anything of this sort before so this is a first plunge. I’m not sure if I’ll continue this or leave it as a one-shot as I’ve got other projects in the works, but I’m posting it here for dissection and criticism. Perhaps it’s too small a snap shot, but any and all advice or thoughts would be useful! Thank you!

Clouds, light fluffy things permeated by the warmth of the sun; As if the sky itself were but, a child’s bubble bath. Sluggishly they are pushed aside the earth below smelling of fresh rainfall now left to its own devices. Echoes of the morning showers now cascading from from rooftops and high trees. Nothing has changed with the suns conquest of the once rainy skies. Its dominion absolute for the hours that follow, but its presence is none the less benign; except for perhaps to those with errands to run. For them it was a blessing.

A determined looking woman pushes a metal cart about an orderly if unnatural space. The aisles sit well stocked and stiff. Equal distance apart they welcome all who enter to peruse. On either side of the store sits two sections comprised of food cases and cold displays. To the left a produce section and a to the right precooked foods and baked goods. The store is warm, a welcome reprieve from chill only just left. At the entrance waifs the smell of fresh breads and pre-made foods. People move about with varying degrees of haste, the sound of shuffling bags and hurried conversation make up a soft din.

Walking in the woman feels a sense of brief relief glad to let the rain and cold wash away. Her face is tired, but it doesn’t show. Her skin is soft with a feline touches. Soft black ears adorn her head her braided hair is pulled back in a hasty ponytail. Her skin is dark and only upon close inspection do soft spot like patterns make themselves apparent. She pushes her cart throughout the aisles gradually piling on various groceries. The process monotonous, but necessary; she walks in a stupor. Moving about exhausted only awoken by moment as languid as the clouds. Peering down the aisle a feeling of longing and a lucid moment of calm sorrow tugs at her heart. Before her long rows of diapers and baby supplies line the shelves, the smell of baby powder and soft colors forcing the eyes attention. A deep held desire brought here not by longing, but by need hugs her as she pushes along past the enamoring sight.

Her shopping coming to an end she makes her way through the checkout lines. Her eyes heavy as she pushes the cart into the lot. Surprised by the warmth of the sun she pauses, savoring the feeling of it on her skin before continuing on her way.

Passively she loads up the groceries the whole process taking mere moments stretched to an eternity. At the end of it leaving for but a moment. The cart to be deposited and her life changed forever.

With only the sound of shuffling bags and impatient drivers to keep her company the drive home was a dull affair. Dull except for a single moment preceded by a particularly nasty bump in the road. The shock to senses generating, but a moments distraction. Within that second echoes a soft and distant, “Ow- mmmm!” The moment was punctuated by nothing but the silence that followed however. Thinking the sound a trick of her tired mind she drove on.

Relief willing or no overcame her as she pulled into the car garage. Her home a single story house with walls the color of white sand. The exterior trimmings a deep red the color of wine. The absence of light from within has little affect on the emanating warmth. Even from the outside it’s clearly a home. A warm place where comfort and security can be found. For her of course it is one thing above all, a bed.

Stepping out of the car and making her way around to the trunk; her desire for sleep palpable. The moment so close at hand is broken as suddenly as the trunk could open. There before sat a small shape, “Well you’re definitely not groceries.” She smiled at the small shape. Before her, a head of messy black hair adorned with the ears of a wolf. The boys ears colored a soft blue and flecked by silver twitched as he looked up cautiously. Held tightly within his hands a single bar of chocolate. The smudging upon his face proof of his crime.

She met his eyes the right a stormy grey, the left a soft earthen brown. She watched the puzzlement upon his face play out a look between indignation and fear. She watched his lips tremble displaying small glimpses of his fangs. He whimpered, but said nothing.

Taking his silence to heart she reached out petting his head gently. Their wordless exchange spoken only in tremors. Smiling as his head pushed gently into her hand she let her hand wander down under his chin. Pulling his face up she held him there, forcing their eyes to meet at last, “Stay here-” she smiled, but spoke with authority; looking over his chocolate covered face she chose her words more carefully, “Stay here sweets. I’ll return in a moment.” Getting a second wind from the shock of this new encounter she tends to the groceries. The young boy chocolate covered face and all sits patiently the whole encounter playing round and round inside his head.

In the span of about five minutes, groceries are put away and untold a bath lay drawn before she returns. Before the open trunk the boy waits an expression of boredom and minor concern plays across his face. His eyes do not look up from his dingy clothes. His pants covered in dirt, his shoes darkened with wear he was a sorry sight, but something told her she couldn’t pass this chance up.

Kneeling before him she delicately placed a hand under his chin and brought his eyes in line with hers once more, “Well Sweets mind telling me how you got into the back of my car?” His feet shifted and his hands fidgeted nervously, but his head was held firmly to her level, “I- I um…” almost as a reflex he went to look to his feet forgetting her hand his body eventually settled his eyes lowering instead; she did not shift, “I s… I sneaked in when you were putting away the cart. I – I’m sorry Mrs. I…”

She released his chin watching it drop, “And why did you do that little one?” Her words were firm, but inquisitive.

Looking down once again he could feel her eyes upon him. Tentatively scanning over each scrape, tear and messy feature, “I was hungry Mrs.” He spoke squirming on the spot, but not moving her gaze alone enough to hold him in place.

“And where are your parents little one?” Her eyes watch him wiggle about until he suddenly slowed. Fighting back the squirming he held his hands to himself. Silence and a frown crept across his face, “I see. . .well we’ll talk about it later for now lets get you cleaned up.”

It took every ounce of willpower not to smile at the look that spread across his face it. It would be in poor taste to surrender so completely to the adorable boy squirming before her. Wordlessly she scooped him up drawing a quick, “awo,” from his lips before he, squirming clung to her, “Common sweets lets get you cleaned and then we’ll get you some real food, how does that sound?”Biting his lip he could only nod.

The journey to the bathroom was quick, but not quick enough. Walking through the doorway she gently set him down and as sudden as his feet touched the ground his squirming stilled. A small wet patch began forming down the front of his pants and in that moment the tears began as well.

Kneeling before the crying boy she gently cupped his tear touched face. Wiping them away firmly she began to undress him. Stripping away his raggedy clothing she gently lowered him into the bath. Feeling him wince his tears turned to stunned fear for a brief moment before settling into gentle sobs. It was clear there was a story to this stowaway.

Smiling now she brushed a hand through his messy black hair before turning to clean up the mess left behind, “We’ll need to have a talk about this later as well - I can’t have you having accidents on my floor or worse…”

The look on his face spread quickly, but didn’t last long. As the embarrassment faded so to did the feeling of tension in his body sinking into the water he watched her slowly blowing bubbles into the steamy warmth.

“Well aren’t you cute,” she smiled down at him sitting now patiently on the side of the tub watching him intently, “Not terribly talkative though huh.” It wasn’t a question, but more of an observation given in passing to mark a soft moment. The air smelled sweet like a strawberry field in spring. The heat of the bath filled the room the mirrors fogged and the air misted over.

Rising up from the water he watched her a moment before bringing his legs to his chest, “Miss… um,” he bit his lower lip opening his mouth for a moment before closing it again, “Can I get out of the bath now?” He squirmed uneasy now, “I’m hot.”

His face was clearly flush with warmth, but the gasp he gave when she gently brushed her cool hand on his cheek was one of momentary relief. The intimate moment blended with the moister in the air compelled him to press his face into her hand softly closing his eyes, “In a moment sweetheart. We have to get you cleaned first.”

Taking up the bar of soap she handed offered it to him, but his hands did not rise to meet it, “Do I have to? I don’t wanna…” The slight fuss in his voice was quickly silenced by a finger falling gently over his lips, “You have to, but I can help you,” she paused watching his eyes flash a moment of eagerness, “But only if you ask nicely, can you do that?”

The question sat silent for a moment before gentle eyes looked up from her caress, “Please will you help clean me Mrs.?” He spoke a dancing smile in his voice.

Rolling up her shirt, the red sleeves bunching around her arms. Her ebony black skin contrasted warmly with the young boys own. Her hands adeptly moved around his body cleaning him from head to toe. Finally taking hold of a small bottle of shampoo she gently squeezed some into the boys hair before pausing a moment, “Close your eyes okay and lower your head back down so I can wash your hair.”

Without much hesitation the young boy allowed his body to release once more and sink into the water within a matter of seconds lost like minutes he was suddenly lifted out of the water. His naked body dripping he smiled at her and without any warning clung to her. His legs wrapping around her waist his arms around her neck instantly she was as wet as him.

Laughing she held him close her. Her arm resting softly beneath his butt she spoke, “ You’re a mess child…” nuzzling his nose with her own she adjusted him gently, ”I guess your a wild one huh?” She spoke laughter in her voice as she bounced him in her arms, “Now, now sweets I’m going to need you to let go of me so I can get you dry and into some fresh clothes.”

Grumbling he buried his head in her shoulder, “Do I have to?” Her sigh was low, but audible his ears twitched. In the end no further words were said instead knowingly he let go. As sudden as he was set upon the ground the cold of the room reached him, but as if driven by the speed of his complaint she embraced him once again this time wrapping him in a towel.

Working her hands around his body she dried him head to toe once more, How is he so quick to trust? So clingy… poor thing must have had a rough go of things. Well I’ll try to look into it later, but for now I need to find him some clothes. Her thoughts were racing with questions, but the gently boy before her needed her focus more, “Alright sweets come with me lets go get you some new clothes, I’ve gotta have something around you can use.” She spoke more to herself absentmindedly scooping the boy towel and all into her arms.

Once more held in the arms of the soft angel before him he rested. A finger half in his mouth his head lay sleepily on her shoulder. Any apprehension any fear now gone he felt at last content. The only thought on his mind before slipping to a peaceful sleep was one of hope, hope that this would somehow remain forever.

The content of your story isn’t really my cup of tea, so I’ll limit myself to a couple of technical comments:

  • Remember the apostophe when using the genitive case (e.g. “the suns conquest” should be “the sun’s conquest”).
  • When using subordinate clauses like “…pushes a metal cart about an orderly if unnatural space”, don’t forget the comma before “if”. (Also, I’m assuming you mean “pace”)
  • Finally, please do not jump back and forth between the past and the present tense. Unless you’re doing a flashback or something like that, it’s likely to cause confusion. Your first five paragraphs are in the present tense, then you change to the past tense for two paragraphs, going back to the present for two sentences before going back to the past tense again… You get the picture, right?

Thank you very much. I understand and will keep in mind most of feedback. My primary confusion surrounds keep past and present tenses correct. I think it’s something I’ve always struggled with so any further clarification would be wonderful!
Does it have to do with passive language things like, “With only the sound of shuffling bags and impatient drivers to keep her company the drive home was a dull affair.” The use of ‘was’ or ‘with only’? And if I’m on track how would advise improving that?

You’ve got a good use of paragraphs and spelling.

Touching on the content- it’s a cute idea. This reads more like the opening of a story; it doesn’t feel full and complete like a one-shot would. She goes grocery shopping, finds a kid, takes him in and gives him a bath. That’s an opening scene, a set up for a plot.