Best-Laid Plans

dales-woodpile

“So, you’re averse to having daylight in the basement,” Sandra noted.

Doug raised an eyebrow.

“Or fresh air.”

“What’s air gotta do with it?” Doug blurted, annoyed at himself for taking the bait. “I made sure the window opens.”

It was Sandra’s turn to raise a brow. He hated when she did that. It left him wondering whether his face had looked as condescending.

“You mean, can open to invite all the creepy-crawlies in?”

He glanced at the woodpile. An enterprising spider was already spinning a thread over the window’s frame.

“Know what?” Doug huffed. “Next time you do the stacking.”

~~~~

Continue reading

No Thoroughfare

ccc157

 

“Mama, come quick!”

Marybeth lifted her eyes from the soapy water and straightened, rubbing her aching back with a dripping hand. Luke’s face was flushed. The boy was excitable, and she was of a mind to scold him for being over-dramatic, but something in the whites of his eyes stayed her tongue.

“What is it?”

“Just come, Mama, please!”

She sighed and wiped her hands on her apron. “Come where?”

“The back. By the woodlands,” Luke ran ahead, turned, returned, and grabbed her hand. Hurrying her.

“Slow down, boy, nothing to be gained by spraining ankles.”

He inhaled as if to argue, but did not. Good lad.

They walked.

What on…?

She grabbed his shoulder and felt him shiver.

Whatever had gone through had to be monstrous.

The sun found a cloud. A shadow grew. A full moon was soon to follow.

Ankles be damned.

They turned and ran.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

No Reflection

mirrors-g9371e1b15_1280

(Photo: Pixabay)

 

The full-length glass was bedecked in heavy gilded glory. A forest of paintings crowded around it, their layered oils glistening in the candlelight.

She stopped and stared back at the faces. Unsmiling figures in stiff postures clad in roiling silk and velvet cloths.

Perhaps they ought to have felt familiar. The line of jaw, the slant of brow, the coil of hair above a hooded eye. She had seen all those before. She could again. If she just let her eyes glide toward the mirror.

She would not.

Know them.

Her ancestors.

Her captors.

Both.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Mirror in 95 words

 

Their Homecoming

teds-eye-view

 

The seas were rough but that did not deter them. Wet ropes dug deeply into palms, the ripples in rough fibers matching the wiry muscles that strained in their necks, shoulders, arms.

Endlessly, the night dragged on. The ocean swelled and sunk and breathed and coughed all around them.

Still they kept their posts, secured to heaving decks with belts and makeshift harnesses.

When darkness finally waned and dawn returned, the contours of the mountains rose alongside them.

They shook the salt from reddened eyes and readied for the final passage.

Their boat was broken, but their hearts were home.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Ted Strutz

 

 

Finding Fido

ccc156

 

“Still nothing,” Sally said as soon as Damian came through the door.

His shoulders sagged. The whole drive home he’d hoped for news. He didn’t dare imagine beyond that, but his arms ached and his cheeks felt cold without the welcome of unabashed wriggles and wet kisses.

And to think he’d never wanted “a beast in the house.” To think he’d been so set against it.

Little did he know that a furball in a giant velvet bow would burrow deeper into his heart than anyone before it. Including, if he was honest, the two-legged.

“I taped more flyers,” Sally filled the silence. “And called the vets … just in case.”

Damian nodded over the tightness in his throat.

“Mary is so sorry …” Sally pressed on. “She didn’t mean to leave the door unlatched.”

“I’ve to go,” Damian grabbed his gun. “I must find Fido before the dark does.”

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

She Was Busy

dallas-reedy-UT2O61z54h4-unsplash

(Photo: Dallas Reedy on Unsplash)

 

She was busy. She had no time for chatter. For sand to slide idly through the hourglass.

The day was short.

Each moment was precious. Each second, opportunity.

Her focus never wandered.

Each section had to have its exact place.

Every addition, calculated.

There were walls and gates and many fences.

There’d be knights and royals to showcase.

Moats and pits of fire.

She was, after all, building an empire.

 

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Empire in 70 words

 

The Scene Setter

jennifers-legos FF

 

“And then what happened?”

The soft-spoken woman in ugly tweeds shifted in her chair, and Thomas knew he was in trouble. He almost told. She expected him to. She was nice so he’d do what she wanted.

They all wanted to trick him. Especially those pretending to be nice. So he’d do stuff. Make mistakes. Be punished.

Thomas fiddled with the pencil. He wanted to pull Santa’s head off. Instead, he drew circles. 

He hated circles.

He put toys inside them.

Made the toy-boy lie down. Ran him over. 

“Well,” the woman sighed, “perhaps you’ll be more talkative tomorrow.”

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to the brave children who find a way to tell, even when they tell without words, even when those around them may not see that they are, indeed, trying. May you find someone who understands.

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo: © Jennifer Pendergast

 

Not Granted

christophe-hautier-902vnYeoWS4-unsplash

(Photo: Christophe Hautier on Unsplash)

 

Do not take any of it

For granted.

Words that oft repeat are not

In of themselves

A fact,

Just because they are told

With sneering emphasis.

 

Beware of those who judge

A question

As treason,

As something one must

Automatically

Dismiss

Or risk being called

Disloyal

To a person,

For having fealty to the Truth

And the backbone

To speak.

 

So, yes, do

Question

Empty statements.

Do withhold permission

To deflect

Blame

From those who harm,

To those who point out

The abuse.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Question in 84 words

 

Complement of Condiments

 

“It is not acceptable, you see, when they forget the main …”

“…complements.” Ingrid completed.

“Indeed.” Iris’s gray head bobbed emphatically, loose bun nodding and escapee wisps trailing.

Ingrid touched a hand to her own hair, confirming the tightness of her French braid. All was in order. Good. Iris has always been unbecomingly lax with locks’ management and Ingrid could never understand it. Especially not when Iris was so particular about her condiments’ orderly array.

“I’ll get the hot sauce, then.” Iris turned toward the diner’s kitchen. “And have them hand me some mustard and mayo, while they’re at it.”

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Untenable

 

the-new-york-public-library-pwoTQl2xuM8-unsplash

(Photo: The NYPL on unsplash)

 

They didn’t plan to bring

With them

A legion of

Trouble.

They only wished

To find,

For their

Loved ones,

A measure of

Escape.

A new home where

They could

Be safe.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Legion in 32 words