Don’t Take My Sunshine Away: A Collection of Short Stories by Gisele T. Siegmund - Read Online
Don’t Take My Sunshine Away
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This is a collection of five short stories. The first story illustrates the struggle of living in the dark from the point of view of a young girl who is “allergic” to the sun. The second story depicts a young girl’s experience of meeting an unknown sibling, and trying to make sense of both life and death. The third story is about self-realization and independence, the fourth story denotes a young funeral director who deals with life’s (and death’s) surprises, and the fifth story is about finding love even though it may seem too late, and being true to oneself.

1 Don’t My Sunshine Away
2 Sunrise to Sunset
3 End of Messages
4 The Wake
5 For the Both of Us

Published: Gisele T. Siegmund on
ISBN: 9781310780189
List price: $0.99
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Don’t Take My Sunshine Away - Gisele T. Siegmund

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I’m not a vampire.

I don’t have superhuman strength; I can’t turn into a bat or a wolf; I can’t turn into mist, or fly around at light speed. But even if I did, I would still rather be in the light. I want to be normal, whatever that may be.

I have EPP.

It stands for Erythropoietic Protoporphyria. It’s a condition that prevents me from being exposed to high levels of UV rays. And that means I can’t go outside during the day. Sometimes I can’t even tolerate indoor or fluorescent lights if the UV levels are too high.

Occasionally, when others dislike the muggy days, I rejoice in the possibility of being outside … if only for a moment.

This is one of those days. It is a cool, foggy mid-afternoon in October. I sometimes ask my friend, Stacey, to come over even though it is a school night, just so she can keep me company since I don’t have any brothers or sisters, but today she can actually come while it is still somewhat light out. Light. My favorite word is my enemy.


Not having any brothers or sisters is lonely at times, and my dad is often away on business trips. His absence is easier to deal with now that I’m older, but I still miss him sometimes. I am usually at home with my mom. She works as a part time real estate agent. When I was younger I used to ask my parents if I could have a baby brother or sister, but my parents were just too scared of the possibility of having more than one child with this disease as they call it (when they think I can’t hear them). I don’t like that word. It makes me feel wrong. Like I did something to myself, but I was just born this way.

Anyway, I am looking forward to my walk with my best friend. Stacey and I are both seniors at Riverton High School in Connecticut. We grew up together, and she doesn’t mind when we are out and people point and stare at me. I try not to look, but it makes me sad.

Going out is like going into battle. Who needs the army?


My phone just beeped. It must be Stacey.

I take my cell phone out of my right jean pocket and glance at the screen. I click to check:


Ready when U R.

I finish rubbing the Banana Boat SPF 50 Sunblock on my face, tuck my medium length straight auburn hair behind my ears, put on my round-brimmed sandy straw colored hat with the attached protective plastic visor, and open the door of my pale yellow New England Colonial home; escaping indoor confinement if only for a moment.

Hey, where do you wanna go for a walk? Stacey asks, her long curly chestnut colored hair is tied up in a ponytail. She is wearing faded blue jeans, and a black tea-shirt, with a picture of a zombie growling. She loves all that horror stuff. I, on the other hand, would rather watch Dance Moms than The Walking Dead any day.

How about we take a walk along the Farmington River?

Okey dokey.

"Okey dokey? I look at her with a sour face. Who says that?"

I don’t know. I just felt like saying it. Stacey punches my arm in playful gesture.

I like how she isn’t afraid to touch me; she doesn’t treat me like some type of glass. Like the glass collection Laura Wingfield has in the play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. We are reading that in English class this year. I heard it’s currently playing on Broadway in New York … I would love to go there. Someday.

We continue our walk along the carved out path. I love the way the river is peaceful, but the farther we walk, the more turbulent it becomes. Sometimes, the other kids from school go rafting. I’m never able to go. My mom would just freak if I did. I almost did, but then I chickened out. Never during the day, though. Stacey and her boyfriend Carlos asked me once if I wanted to join them and a couple of the other kids from school. They wanted to go when it wasn’t crowded with people, around five p.m. but I just couldn’t.

I picked up a pebble and tossed it into the river. I watched the water ripple before settling down again.

So… Stacey looks at me with a devilish grin. Are you going to ask him?

Ask who what? I pretend I don’t know what she’s talking about, fluttering my lashes.

You know, She nudges me. Don’t play dumb, Maureen Teresa Fitzpatrick! She used my full name, she must mean business.

I just look the other way, turning my head to the right, watching the houses opposite the river trail. I love how each of them have their own personality: some are large, while others are small, and some are pink, while others are a dark rusty color. Regardless though, they each have their own charm.

When I don’t respond, Stacey says, Hello…earth to Maureen. Come in Maureen. She snaps her skeleton thin fingers in front of my face.

I swat it away, as if she is a pesky fly.


You know … are you going to ask Blake Stevens to go with you to Raquel’s Halloween party?

Carlos is Stacey’s boyfriend. Raquel is Carlos’s older sister. She just started college this fall. I know her from last year. She was in the cheerleading squad. But she wasn’t one of the mean girls. Yes. Unfortunately, they exist. Stacey and I call them The Triple Terror when they can’t hear us.

They stop walking for a moment. Stacey places her hands on her hips, while she waits for a response.

I still don’t answer. I look at the floor; the cold hard concrete structure with tiny specks of brown dirt.


I don’t know. I don’t even think he knows I exist. I sigh.

You’re kidding me, right? She stares at me as if I just said the sky is green and two plus two equals three.

I’ve only spoken with him two times. I don’t think he likes me that way. I bite my lower lip. "I don’t think he likes me that way. I almost threw up one time, I was so embarrassed. I ran away. He must have really thought I was a freak. I don’t know if