“Mommy, what is West of the sunset?”  she asked as her sister jumped on the bed behind me.

 

“West of the sunset is the land of bliss, where all our dreams come true, and our loved ones wait.”  The blanket got tucked in as the bouncing behind me ceased.

 

“But, Mommy, what is East of the sunrise?”  I turned to the youngest.

 

“That is the land of torment, where we don’t want to go.”

 

“Mommy, where is Daddy?” the plaintive question came.

 

My back stiffened.  “He went West of the sunset.”

 

“Are you sure?”  the child demanded.

 

“Yes.  He was a good man, and lived a good life.  He loved you two very much.  I’m sure he is West of the sunset.”

 

“Did he love you?”  my youngest whispered.

 

“Yes, very much.  Any more questions?  Then sleep well.”  I put out the light and left the room.

 

My own bed was coldly uninviting.  I threw myself down, wrapped in the day’s exhaustion.  I dreamed.  Terrible dreams from East of the sunrise.  I awoke, sweating, the worst dream hanging in my mind.  A little hand was on my  shoulder.

 

“Mommy, where our dreams come true, do bad dreams come true too?”

 

“Mommy,” the voice behind her chimed, “If the earth is round, aren’t East of the sunrise and West of the sunset the same place?  What if he lost  his way?”  Their little faces awash with tears, their wiggly bodies pressed against mine in the bed.

 

Shaken by the dreams and the questions, I felt again the terrible aching loneliness, the empty pit in my heart.  I sought courage.

 

“Girls, we always worry more at night.  We question things that are sureties during the daylight.”  They hugged themselves to sleep, a sleep I couldn’t share - until dawn.

 


 

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