Carissa Alva

alvaAsked how and why her characters seem so real, Carissa Alva tells us: “I have encountered individuals in my life so removed from my own experience that I took a deep interest and made sure to ‘notice’ them.” It is about them that she writes, and we recognize their reality immediately, as if we can hear them breathing in Carissa’s words. To learn more about this writer, please see our interview with her in Interviews.

Other Work:

She Had a Habit…

(299 words without title)

"Her eyebrows went up and her ears seemed to move forward like a radar…"

She had a habit of running her fingers on the raised scar that ran up her right outer thigh. An image of cheap panty hose flashed in her mind and she pursed her lips and pivoted so traffic was to her left. Looking away from the traffic made her uncomfortable.

Rows of auto repair shops, intermittent liquor stores and the few scattered cheap hotels lined both sides of the street. The area had a secluded vibe despite the clambering chaos that made her feel oddly secure.

A red Buick Le Sabre slowed down next to her and she gave a smile to the Asian man inside. He pulled over, just a few buildings up, and waited. The hum of cars and the clack of her shoes were the rhythm that kept her mind in check. Just a few sexy movements and some eye fluttering and he would be hers. Once the price was settled, she opened the door and got in.

She directed him to "Pink Chateau,” a dingy refuge for their escapades. He hesitated before getting out, so she said "It'll be twenty for the room, for an hour. It's not included".

"But, but you didn't say that!" He stammered and looked nervously about. What was his problem? She fidgeted and rubbed her leg, a little agitated.

"We could stay in the car,” she purred. " There's plenty of room"

"And it would be just the sixty?"

"Yup. Same price".

"I pay you sixty... and you'll do what?" The pause. She knew that pause.


She opened the door and took off running. First sirens, then the unmistakable lights flashed in front of her. She turned and went to jump the fence, but the spikes... those damn spikes.

"Whatever,” she sighed. She'd be out by the morning, anyway.

In the Clearing

(300 words without title)

"Looking up through the sun-splashed trees, she smiled and said, 'It's perfect.'"

They stumbled upon a small creek. "Here." she said timidly. "This will do nicely."

The younger gentlemen whom she'd been leaning on as they walked stopped and slowly bent forward to place a basket on the ground. His fingers stumbled in removing the lid, and so the woman gently bent down to open it. He held on to her still as she removed a blanket and gently laid it out. With a loud sigh, she plopped herself down. Looking up through the sun-splashed trees, she smiled and said, "It's perfect."

The man was still standing, worried eyes gazing at her under furrowed brow. She glanced back him, and he quickly unpacked the basket and set out a lunch for them.

"Would you relax already! You're making me nervous!" she laughed as she playfully hit the back of his knee.

"Sorry." he said sheepishly. He removed something shiny and hid it behind his back.

They ate and spoke of memories past, eventually laughing here and there at inside jokes they shared. The tension was barely lifting when...

"It's time, "she said and looked him straight in the eye, almost pleading. But he wasn't ready. Not yet.

"Why don't we just watch the sunset?" He almost begged.

"I never cared for the dark. Wouldn't want it to be my last..." She caught herself and looked at him again, eyes welled up with tears. "Well, I don't like goodbyes much either, so shall we?"

The cancer had spread so quickly, and that outburst at the clinic cost him a parole violation. He'd be back in prison next morning.

His mother, who'd raised him all alone, could bear no more. She asked again. He nodded.

Gun in hand, he stood up and aimed. "Love you mom."

She closed her eyes and smiled.

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