Burden and Release: #StoryADay May; Day Twenty-Nine

The Prompt:

  • Watch the video and write an Ugly Duckling story.

  • This story is the twenty-ninth in a series of explorations for my upcoming novel, Still Nameless (Kifo Island #8), which I will be drafting in July.

Burden and Release:

Ophelia needs a winter coat.

But, if she buys one, that means she’s staying here.

She peels herself out of the baggy layers of hoodies, sweating and contorting, and pulling a muscle low in her back.

A winter coat would be a burden, but then so are all these layers, and the sweat underneath them, and just being here with the half-sister who seems like she’s more than halfway a monster most of the time.

The ridicule and shame heaped upon her are burying her. Before coming here, Ophelia never really cared what people thought of her – but then, most people seemed to think well of her. Here, just because of the way she looks, and who her family is, she’s judged, and the judgment is grinding and crushing her.

And that’s all before Marilyn had taken advantage of her biological need to sleep, and snuck out.

Another burden, there.

What’s she supposed to do about Marilyn, when nobody else seems to have the slightest ability to change her? When her baby is already as good as dead, and not a person in any sense medicine can explain? Not one adult seems to know what to do – why should she be able to?


Ophelia needs a swimsuit.

She reaches for the bell, and two minutes later, there’s a tap at the door, and a package slips through the chute.

“Are you ready to go to the beach, now?” Marilyn’s belly is huge; the baby will be here in a couple of weeks, maybe three, but no more than that.

She pushes the thought away, stretches and yawns. Her muscles are alive and warmed by the sun that reminds her so much of home. “Let’s go, sis.”

Is it just hiding, to pretend that all is well? To ignore that glassy look in Marilyn’s eyes, and the almost giddy bounciness to the way that she walks? To see the admiring glances and bask in acceptance, as though this is a welcome, healthy, happy baby waiting to be born, and a robust young mother-to-be, and a younger sister who will soon be a doting aunt?

Maybe it is – but, as long as she pretends, she’s free of the burdens. Maybe that’s why Marilyn’s always on a trip – it’s her way of getting out from under her burdens.

Maybe this is her type of trip, then – to take this time to just be with Marilyn, in a place where she’s not an ugly duckling, but instead a beautiful swan.

Is Ophelia just on her own kind of Trip?

Is Marilyn actually any better?

Will this end well?

Any guesses?

Come back tomorrow for another installment, and we can explore this new story seed together!

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