Regina Clarke lives in the Hudson River Valley, in New York, not very far from where mister Twilight Zone Rod Serling grew up. Her background at one time, after teaching English literature at a university, was in the field of IT, writing about subjects engineers wanted to explain, including virtual reality, military surveillance software, and augmented reality. Her stories have appeared in T. Gene Davis’s Speculative Blog, Mad Scientist Journal, NewMyths, Aurora Wolf, Alien Dimensions, Fifth Di, and MetaStellar, among others. Her fantasy novel MARI was a finalist in the ListenUp Audiobooks competition and three of her short stories have been featured on podcasts. You can see her books and story page, book trailer videos, and blog posts at her website: www.regina-clarke.com, as well as over a hundred essays on all and sundry on Medium.
“Where have you gone, my little one? Where have you gone?” Jamie would sing the song as soon as she could talk, the faintest lisp in the words. She had done so well for so long before they took her away. And I’m here alone, left listening to the sound of my own breathing. But I still have the blue box that I kept the day they came for her that one last time.
“Don’t open it, Mama. Not until I get back. Then we can listen to them together,” she had said.
I’d promised, of course, but it was so hard to pretend. Would the doctors let her come back to me?
Sometimes I would hold the box for a while, imagining what was happening inside. I didn’t even try to get into it. My daughter, my life. I would stay true to her wishes.
“Annie! You got that Northrup file done? Peters wants it and you know how cranky he can be.” I started at the interruption, glad my back was to the outer office.
“I’ll bring it,” I said, laying my hand over the box. I’d brought it with me into work. “Thanks,” I added, looking around to find Ralph Benzer standing in the doorway.
“You know, I’ve been wondering,” Ralph continued. “You’ve been acting jumpy lately, seems to me you need a little R&R. How about we take in a movie this week, just the two of us—it can be one of those women’s movies, doesn’t have to be action. What d’ya say?”