The Shucker

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A girl’s voice protested. A cackle followed.

Leah kept her head down and her eyes on the task before her. There was a quota to complete if she wanted anything in her stomach, and she could make her body dead to wandering fingers. She’d learned how. The hard way. The only way.

When the foreman finally moved on, she gritted her teeth and tried to not compare slime to slime.

Not that she would ever touch the stuff. And not only because it was forbidden.

Beside her, Mandy sniffled. “How can you stand it?”

“Perhaps she doesn’t mind him,” Becca hissed. “Seeing how she never cries.”

Leah clenched her teeth, locked her knees, and steadied her breath. She focused on the fading light glinting on the blade. “No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”

 

 

 

 

For the dVerse Prosery writing prompt


Prosery prompt quote: “No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” (Zora Neale Hurston, from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow, 1928)

Photo: Hine Lewis Wickes, The Library Of Congress https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/nclc.00919/

Playing Along

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(Photo: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

 

He wasn’t going to win this game.

He learned that much from many

That he had

Lost.

And he did not care

To have his face made pie

Against another Juke

Box.

So he played along,

As if it was all

A big

Joke.

 

 

 

For the dVerse 10th Anniversary (!!) poetry quadrille challenge: Juke

Dedicated to all who had to play along, because that was the safer – if fake – choice.

 

 

The Longest Walk

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The dappled path grew arms of shade to shackle her so that her legs refused to move.

Earth’s gravity cranked itself up and higher.

It needn’t be so hard, and yet each cell in her begged an excuse.

She couldn’t.

She had to.

She shouldn’t.

She must.

She wouldn’t.

She better.

Or else.

The tree-lined corridor – so outwardly calm, so beautifully straightforward – was but a hall of mirrors.

An amplifier of her agony.

For who would see it and believe her, when none had yet, and perhaps no one ever would?

The careful greenery imposed a form of blindness on others.

A willingness to only selectively see.

Appearances, she already knew, could become everything.

It made the manicured life into a wall beyond which no one saw. Or wouldn’t.

Leaving her to take.

Again.

As in every day.

The longest walk.

Home.

And its unspoken of.

Relentless,

Tortures.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Dedicated to all who live behind the veils of appearances and are kept hidden in plain sight under a mirage of perceived privilege. Abuse knows no socioeconomic boundaries. Torment knows no race, no age, no god, no faith, no intellect, no education, no level of income. May you be heard. May you find a way to be safe.

 

 

Indispensable

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(Photo: Catt Liu on Unsplash)

 

She checked the items off the list.

One by one by one by one.

She’d learned to not look too far down. Better to not confront endlessness. To not have to face it that today, too, there will not be a moment when the job is done. When she is free.

Only another task.

Another chore.

Mistress claimed she was “indispensable.”

Praise or curse for why she could not get a few days off to see her ailing mother. To rest. To marry.

“We’re your family,” Mistress had said. “We need you. It is a requisite you stay.”

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Challenge: Requisite in 98 words

 

Arranged

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(Photo: Ben Rosett on Unsplash)

 

There was not much to do but wait.

And hope.

The lots were cast,

Though she had very little trust

In such.

It was not for her

To decide.

Now it was just,

The drip of minutes

Through childhood’s hourglass.

Dreams slowly fraying

Into dust,

While growing worries,

Poke trembling shoots

Into her heart.

Will this unknown,

Chosen for her

Husband,

Will he be

Kind?

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Challenge: unknown in 65 words

 

Crystal Clear

(Photo by De an Sun on Unsplash)

 

She would have gone to bed

And let the mess wait

For the morning,

Or the following

Millennia,

Had it not been for voices

That still

Echoed

From her past

To smudge shame

Onto her

Present.

She grabbed the mop

And filled the pail.

 

 

 

For the dVerse poetry quadrille challenge: smudge

 

Displaced

(Photo: Erol Ahmed on Unsplash)

She did not require much notice for her travels.

Her bags were packed. All papers drawn. There was enough of any currency she needed.

More than enough of

All the hopes.

Distance was not an issue. Time, however, sometimes was. And space.

There wasn’t always sufficient space.

To take the journey.

From here.

To as much as a step

Beyond.

Still, the need persisted.

It had to. For she was, in many ways,

Displaced.

In her own mind.

From the galaxy of dreams,

That could in a drop of a hat,

Respond.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Galaxy in 92 words

 

 

Water Line

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She took herself onto the cliff each morning. Obedient. Observant. Obeisant.

Obscure as her faith seemed to those who did not understand, she nonetheless kept fast to her beliefs. To her practice. Those who shook their head did so due to limits in their vision. Their blindness did not diminish the veracity of what was, to her, as real as the rock she sat on.

She did not belittle other people’s inability.

As she wished they did not deride what they declared her “foolishness.”

To her, it was a line she drew. Of kindness. Or on harder days, of patience.

A mirror to the line that stretched across the water to reflect the passage of the Glories. The empyrean beings that took pain to skim the water in her favor.

In all their favor.

As protection.

From the monsters of the deep.

The ones she knew. The one she’d seen.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Turning Up

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(Photo: Brett Jordan on Unsplash)

 

There had to be a way

To be heard,

Without becoming

What they fought

Against.

They refused to condone

Violence,

Hate,

Or putting others down

To make a point.

Instead,

They turned up

A crescendo

Of truths.

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Crescendo in 37 words

 

Resonance

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(Photo: Johnny Cohen on Unsplash)

 

The sound began

A whisper,

Only to crescendo to

A cry

That made the very

Heart

Howl

In eerie

Resonance

Of pain.

Familiar

Again.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Eerie in 24 words