Broken Bird Media - M. Sembera
Meet the 2nd Generation!


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Woman Woman
When we were about twelve years old, the six of us got together and convinced the grownups to let us have Outside Night to kick off the summer. At the time, it seemed like a big deal, like we were roughing it in the wilderness. Really, we were just on the other side of Uncle Braden's shop playing hide-and-go-seek, trying to scare each other and eating junk food until we passed out on the trampoline in our sleeping bags. It became a yearly tradition but for some reason, I figured it stopped when I left

Fast forward eight years and I'm hiding in my Aunt Liv's shrubs because guns were added to boys vs girls hide-and-seek and Wren was like a damn sniper with a grudge. I'd already been hit once in the leg and I wasn't looking forward to the final kill shot she was famous for.

 "Psst... Hey."

Ducking my head down, I squeezed my eyes closed.

 "I can still see you with your eyes closed." Tansy giggled.

I thought maybe she could be reasoned with.

 "I'll give you twenty bucks if you don't give me up."

 Her shadow crept closer as she questioned, "Are you bribing me?"

 "Hell yea, make it thirty."

 As her shoes came into sight, I scooted back and raised my gun. "Fifty?"

 "I'm not going to give you up."

Shifting to the side, I tried to see her face through the shrubs.

 "Boo!" Joie shouted right behind me causing me to lose my balance and fall over.

When I scrambled back up, two guns were pointed right at me.
I shook my head at myself because I should have known better. They set me up.

 "You know the rules. Surrender and you get to pick your hit," Joie taunted with a smile on her face.

I was trying to decide when there was a loud pop and Joie dropped her gun.

 They both looked to the left as Joie shouted, "Bastard! That " grabbed her hip and limped away.

Tansy was still looking to her left. I could hear Roe laughing and took my chance. I grabbed the bottom of her shirt and pulled her down.

 "You set me up," I griped, practically wrestling her to the ground.

With both of our guns just out of reach, I pinned her down and held her hands high above her head.

 Leaning over her, I shared, "See what you get for being sneaky."

 "Stupid, Roe. I almost had you." She laughed.

Her laugh vibrated against me and I realized how close we were to each other.

 In the moment, I leaned a little closer. "Now, I have you."

She relaxed under me, her expression slowly starting to change.
I had every intention of kissing her until I heard a pop, followed by a burning sensation between my shoulder blades.

 "Son of a bitch!"

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Palmer-Chapter 1

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Cage The Elephant

For forty-five minutes I sat there staring at my half-finished sketch before giving up. I rubbed my eyes and scratched the sides of my beard. Stretching as I stood up, I decided I could work on it Monday. I flipped the main lights off and headed down the hall. Pushing the office door open, I took a moment to soak her in. She didn’t look like a kid anymore. Obviously, she hadn’t for a while. Why else would I be struggling to keep my hands to myself every time I was around her? This was different though. Her expression wasn’t sweet or relaxed it was somber as she slept. I’m not sure if her sleep was peaceful but the fact that she didn’t appear relaxed made it easier to wake her.
Reaching for her shoulder, I stopped my hand before I touched her. I woke her by nudging the back of the chair with my knee instead.

 “You gotta get up, shop’s closed.”

With a slight groan, she buried her face in her arms and shook her head.

 “Yes, sleepy-head.”

Without opening her eyes, Joie turned her head and stuck her bottom lip out at me.

 “I’m not carrying you.”


 “You gonna make it worth my while?”

Barely opening her eyes at me, she nodded.

I could never resist picking her up, even before I wanted to get down with her. I’m not sure what is was about it that I liked so much, maybe because it was the only thing she ever let me do for her. And I liked the way her arms hung around my neck when I carried her, that always gave me a good feeling too.

I grabbed her purse and swung it over my shoulder. Scooping her up in my arms, I carried her through the shop. When we made it out of the door, I moved one of my arms from around her and reached into my pocket to grab the keys. She shifted in my arms slightly but it was enough to make me lose my center of gravity as I locked the door.

 Bumping us both into the glass door, I teased, “Must be all them damn cookies.”

 “Gah, you’re an asshole,” she fussed and began squirming in my arms.

 “What? You ate like forty of ‘em.”

I set her on her feet by the passenger door when we reached my car.

 She immediately snapped at me, “Are you calling me fat?”

Ah, hell…

 “No, ma’am, just giving you a hard time.”

 “Do you think I’m too heavy?”

 “Not even a little bit,” I swore, now wondering why I always had to open my smartass mouth.

 “What if I was?”

I get that she was maybe a smidge sensitive since she had put on a little weight since the summer. Like I or any man in his right mind gave a damn about that. Sexy ain’t a size. Beauty is beauty, ya know.

 “Okay crazy, can Joie come back out to play?”

 Stomping her foot, she insisted, “Answer me.”

 Pretending to take the matter seriously, I asked, “How big are we talkin’ here?”

 “Five hundred.”


With a curt nod, she crossed her arms her chest.

 “I’d start workin’ out so I could still carry you.”

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