Untenable

 

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(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

 

Time Lines

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The forest floor cushioned their steps. She inhaled the scent of tree and sap and hidden wet. She had forgotten the caresses of fallen leaves and ancient bark under her feet. A flash of sun painted a memory – a small girl running barefoot in the woods, knobby knees peeking under a faded calico dress. Oh, how she had loved that dress!

“Here.”

Albert’s voice called her back into the present. He’d grown old and grumpy. It made her wonder what others thought of her. Eccentric? Obstinate? Silly? Dumb?

She followed her brother’s pointed finger and her heart quickened. A dark line circled a tree.

“Here, too.”

She turned. A fainter line hugged another tree.

Albert faced the first trunk and lifted his arms. His fingertips grazed the line.

She did the same with the second tree. Perfect fit.

Their birth-marked trees had grown exactly as tall as they.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Forgotten Power

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She took another sip of coffee. A small one. To make it last.

A dreary morning meant the outdoor cafe wasn’t busy. Still, the waiter would surely clear her table as soon as her cup ran dry. He’d already deposited the check to flutter underneath the saucer. Hastening her to remove the eyesore of tattered bags and unkempt hair from the establishment.

Her chest tightened and her hand trembled. She forced in a deep breath.

She used to own the place. In better days.

She could still see it, riding through her mind’s eye. Her colorfully beloved Flower Power Cafe.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Brenda Cox

 

A Heart of Stone

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“All you have is this little wheelbarrow?”

Marsha nodded.

Shelly shook his head.

“I don’t mind how long it takes,” the despair in Martha’s voice was overshadowed by determination. “And anyway, this won’t be too heavy.”

Shelly shrugged. “You’d change your mind after you make a few trips pushing this rusty thing uphill against the wind.”

In the weeks that followed Marsha wondered more than once if her brother had conjured the wind just to spite her. Dust and grit found purchase in her eyes and throat. Her palms grew red, then raw, then rough.

And still, she pushed the loaded wheelbarrow through gravel and scrub brush and small canyons of cracked earth that manifested overnight upon the path she forged across the steppe.

Slowly the grave-marker took shape.

“I’ve brought the stones from our creek, Mama,” she whispered as she placed each carefully. “Your heart will never again thirst.”

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

The Better To See You

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They were almost at their hotel when they decided to explore one more alley. The afternoon light painted shadows on cracked asphalt and colored the buildings sepia-toned.

How apt, Barbara thought, for an antique shop.

Phrenology skulls stared blankly through incongruous shades. Ancient radios stood amidst forgotten family photographs.

“Shall we check it out?”

Avigdor shuddered. “I feel watched.”

Barbara’s arm hairs raised at the thought. Or was it more? She giggled, a bit too loudly. They wouldn’t, would they? Not all the way here?

Avigdor turned to leave. The neon glasses blinked.

“Won’t you come in?” a skull voiced.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Roger Bultot

By The Books

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Photo: MoneyforCoffee on Pixabay

 

Now that it was all hers, she wanted none of it.

She didn’t give an iota for questions or neighbors’ looks.

Out went the furniture. The clothing. The towels.

The reminders of swindlers and rooks.

She got rid of the bedding, the shelving,

The whole kit and caboodle in numerous crannies and nooks.

There was naught in the house for her

But memories of pain and emotional hooks.

She cleaned out the lot

And left only the books.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Caboodle in 78 words

 

The Bet

 

“Stop the car!”

Milly hit the breaks and hid her smile. They’d wondered how long it would take Pappy to notice what they’d done.

Only two days … Which meant she won the bet and Ben will be raking leaves all autumn.

When Pappy climbed back into the vehicle, there was wetness on his cheeks.

“Your doing?” he whispered.

“And Ben’s.”

It had taken considerable begging and a promise to maintain the church’s lawn, for the pastor to agree to put Granny’s beloved weather vane atop the bell tower.

Pappy chuckled. “She always put on a good spin, didn’t she?”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo by: Dale Rogerson

 

The Marshal

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(Photo: Lily on Unsplash)

 

The day rose bright but she knew better than to trust

Cornflower

Skies.

It will turn wet,

She knew,

As soon as her boots

Hit the ground.

The gift of rain

On golden epaulets

Glittering through muddy parade

Grounds.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Marshal in 39 words

 

Unsuitable For Your Kind

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(Photo: Kristian Strand on Unsplash)

 

“The best,” the man swept a heavy arm across the offerings.

“And there?” the woman gestured at the shadows.

“Nothing worth your time, Madam.” He looked pointedly at her tailored attire, “Unsuitable for your kind.”

“Nonsense,” she ordered.

He frowned but snapped his fingers. “Silvia!”

The child looked underfed even in comparison to the other orphans.

“Trouble,” he warned. “Used up her chances twice.”

“Or,” the woman smiled, “very insufficiently pre-loved.”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Pre-loved in 71 words

 

 

Self Employed

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“This is not what we invested all that tuition money for, Robert.”

His mother’s voice remained soft, even pleasant. One may think she was but mildly annoyed.

Rob knew better.

It was the same voice that had sent his boyhood self to the attic without dinner for the slightest infraction. That left a small child to shiver there through endless winter nights. That told his father to retrieve the paddle and “do what needed to be done to make a man of an ungrateful son.”

“I am sorry, Mother,” Rob bowed politely in her direction. Bowed just enough to let her know that he no longer cared nor feared her. “I had made it clear that your plans did not fit mine.”

“Your father expects a partner,” she stated. Ordered.

“That ship had sailed, Mother,” he replied. “I bought the farm. I’ll be my own man. Chart my own course.”

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge