Make time to write.
A moment. A minute. An hour. A day.
Whatever you can find.
Make it yours.
Have your say.
Make time to write.
A moment. A minute. An hour. A day.
Whatever you can find.
Make it yours.
Have your say.
It was the key that would change everything.
He only found it because Cooper, ever disobedient, had slipped the leash and ran off the trail and into the thick of the woods. Again.
Deena thought his walks in the forest were cruel.
“It is his breed’s nature to hunt scents,” she’d inevitably complain about the leash, ruining what calm there was to be had in an afternoon walk. “How can you chain him to you when he’s meant to run where his nose leads?”
In Leigh’s view, walking the canine on paved sidewalks where there was no loam or crushed insects or chipmunk poo for Cooper to breathe, was actually far crueler. And so, like they often did when it came to disagreements, they ended up taking the easier way out by splitting the walks between them.
Deena would walk Cooper in the mornings in the neighborhood, where the most the dog could sniff was garbage cans and the occasional fellow leashed-pooch’s butt. Leigh walked him after work, and almost always in the direction of the woods, where in some ways they were both of them at home and both straining against some kind of leash.
It wasn’t perfect and sometimes it was lonely, but he preferred it that way. Quieter. With none of Deena’s nattering about minutia that he found excruciatingly boring to listen to and only slightly less indecent to ignore.
Not that he’d say that to her. Life was better when some observations were kept to oneself.
Like about keys …
He’d been running after Cooper when he tripped on an exposed root. A stream of words he’d learned while serving on a Navy ship spilled out of his mouth, when a shape manifested on the leaf-strewn forest floor. And it was as if a switch flipped and turned his mouth dumb.
He swallowed but there was nothing. His body shuddered with the memories of how quickly a mouth can turn devoid of moisture. That, too, he’d learned while serving on the ship.
He shook it off to make the involuntary shaking into an act of volition. Still his heart whooshed in his ears as he took a knee to the wet ground and reached for the key.
He didn’t know how long he remained frozen, fingers hovering without actually touching the bit of metal. Long enough for Cooper to return to investigate. Because the next thing Leigh was aware of was Cooper’s wet nose, sniffing at the object of his master’s interest, licking Leigh’s fingers, breathing on his cheek.
“Move,” Leigh nudged the canine gently out of the way.
And Cooper, for once respectful without bribery, obeyed, and stretched with head on paws, his tongue dangling and his long body smeared with something Leigh noted to himself in passing would need scrubbing off with soap before being allowed back indoors.
“It’s the key, Cooper,” Leigh whispered. He was awed. He was aghast. “But how?”
It’s been eight years, five months, and two days since he’d lost it. On a different continent, in what felt a different world, in the middle of a battle, and not two hours after he’d sworn to his dying best friend that he would guard it with his life and bring it home to the fiance Mark had left behind.
“It was to be my wedding gift to Deena,” Mark had gasped, fighting for every breath. “She doesn’t know about it. I was waiting to tell her. It’s the key to my safe.”
It was the island that saved her, in the beginning, in the middle, in the end.
At first it had been the noting of it. The realization that there was a place, not large and yet separate enough as to hold its own. Like herself, if she could manage it.
She wasn’t sure when exactly the understanding settled, only that she’d come to trust that if she ever had to, she could go there. To be safe.
That knowledge had held her in the years of interim. The island was the picture that she’d scanned across her mind each night as she tried to not take notice of what was taking place in her, on her, all around her. She took herself there, in a sense, long before she actually did. She nursed her wounds with the option. It was a salve onto her lacerated soul.
Then came the end.
Or the beginning.
Of other things. Of opportunity. Of a rebuilding of what she could be and didn’t until then form into a tangible possibility.
She made her way there under darkness. She’d had all the facts by then, gathered through secreted research and observation: the distance, the temperature of the water in different seasons, the topography, the places where there had been some shelters, and the times when people weren’t likely to frequent.
It rained the night she fled. A calculated risk she took and refused to worry could backfire. To stay would have been worse. She wouldn’t, anyhow.
The chill sucked her breath but also numbed her agony. She swam. She swam. She slammed laden limbs into the water and took herself onto the island and clenched her teeth against the chatter. The crossing had taken all she had. Almost. Just almost.
For from the flicker of willpower that remained, she lit a shallow fire, and the flame sustained her through the night and into dry clothes and the final ease of trembling. By the next night she slept, and by the third she made her plans for what else she’d need to be doing.
And she laughed.
For the first time in a long time.
Because she was safe.
She was not large, but she was now separate enough to hold her own. And she was strong.
He’d look for her, but he would not risk telling others, and he would not seek her where she was. She knew.
Her father feared the water, and from the moment she’d realized how the island could offer an escape, she’d made sure he believed she feared the water, too.
“We’ll never all fit,” Sultana groaned.
“Lots of room!” the driver boomed encouragement even as he tightened screws underneath the van.
“C’mon!” Mariam elbowed past her cousin and climbed onto the vehicle, parcels and a flapping hen in hand. “Next one isn’t till dawn.”
Sultana looked around as if better conveyance would miraculously manifest. None did. She sighed, grabbed her packages and hoisted the bleating kid under an arm. She squeezed aboard, the last one on, with barely room enough to sit down.
The door slammed. The goat peed, soaking her lap.
It’ll be a long ride to Jaddati’s farm.
It was a quiet early hour at Headquarters.
Bernice was doing her nails. Bertrand had a foot perched on his desk and was clipping his toenails. Benny was (as always) squinting into one of his miniature rice grain paintings. Bella was snoring. Bonita was munching on crackers. Bruno was belittling Baron’s game-score. And Brittney, brittle as usual, was cradling the radio’s earphones even as she browsed the internet for interesting short film ideas.
Suddenly the switchboard sounded jingle bells and lit up in flashing green, red, and gold.
A Santa call!
In her fluttery rush to respond, Brittney almost dropped the microphone.
Bruno dove to save it. Those things were brilliant but brutally expensive. None of them wanted it docked from their pay for negligent breakage.
“North Pole,” he breathed into the mouthpiece.
“SOS! SOS!” The reedy voice could only be from one origin.
“Rudolph?!” Bruno rolled his eyes and hit the speaker button. The reindeer’s dramatic flair was brilliantly entertaining. “What are you doing on the radio? You know you’re not permitted.”
The radio screeched as Rudolph must have cranked the volume to its maximum.
“Shut up, shut up!! You moron! SOS! SOS!”
Bernice dropped her polish. Bertrand cursed. Benny’s rice grain rolled off the tray. Bella fell off her recliner. Bonita choked. Brittney fainted. Baron stared.
Rudolph was colorful but he was not prone to cursing.
Bruno’s cleared his throat.
“Sheesh, Rudy. Is it really an emergency?”
“Are you deaf? It’s an SOS!! Code Red. Code Red. Santa Off Sled. The darn temporary ladder that Brenda borrowed from Pottery Barn broke. Santa’s hanging by a thread! Send Feathered Fairy Fred!”
For Kreative Cue 240
Rippled water paint
Soft liquid cloth
Along the coast,
While boats at anchor
Bob at buoys
With tides’ ebb and float.
For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Glow
Came just the perfect time
For snowy charm
To let its spirits
And make the wind bend
Set tardy leaves to
As Fair Folk sprinkle
Flaky frost and
Set aflame a winter’s
To frost dress
With the chill
Ode to the needed application
Of distinctive word formation
And appropriate derivation
(With Speech Pathology implications
For morphological miscalculation).
Because without the permutations
Of root words in combination
And grammatical allocation,
There’d be much missed in
Note: As a Speech-Language Pathologist, this writing prompt would have been absolutely impossible to not take on! 🙂
“Why’d they do that?”
Sheri twisted her skinny braid around her finger. It was the one benefit of having really fine hair. She could get it to loop five times while Marina only could loop hers twice. Long fingers helped, too. Marina’s were chunky. From Dad’s side. “Needful how?”
“Protect the tree, this does.”
“From what?” There was nothing in their end of the park.
“From whom, more like.”
Sheri unwound her braid and stuck the edge of it in her mouth.
“Mom doesn’t like it when you do that.”
“Mom isn’t here,” Sheri stated. Besides, her sister was just jealous because her own hair was too short to suck on. “Protect from who? And why?”
“‘Tis for me to know and for you to find out,” Marina regarded the ring of metal stakes, the tree, her sister’s face.
“You plain don’t know,” Sheri stomped, frustrated.
Alternative haven for the Daily Post's mourners!
never judge a girl by her weight
original fiction, rhyme and photography
Taotalk is a forum for the discussion of both the academic and pragmatic aspects of dao and Daoism, with participants expressing themselves on Daoist writings and pragmatics from their unique perspectives. It serves as a community for Daoists, and those interested in Daoism, to gather and talk dao.
A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams
Life in progress
Straight up with a twist– Because life is too short to be subtle!
A man with dyslexia writing about this and that and everything else!
Better Living Through Beauty, Wisdom and Whimsey
Life in a flash - a weekly writing blog
Aroused by Arête
Or….Identifying The Harmless Unhinged Among Us.
Thoughts on life, writing, creativity and magic
with John W. Howell
Taking the journey, bumps and all
Known as RyanPhotography