Solitaire

 

He didn’t think much of the place at first. A chance to put his head down at night under more than just the stars or rain or ice. A plot of land to grow some food on. A space to store the crops and foraged goods that would hold him through those seasons when there was far less available that required far more effort to find.

The paperwork bequeathed him the abandoned croft and several boggy acres around it. The right to hunt and fish. The responsibility to repair and maintain the stone walls and the property, now a historical site, without altering the landscape.

“No villas, no mansions. No golf courses,” the solicitor had stated, only half in jest.

“No worries,” he’d answered.

All he ever needed was a room, a roof, a hearth.

And solitude.

For sanity.

Crowds made his belly flutter and his ears ring and his feet fidget with an ache for fleeing. The chatter made him cringe. The swift ticking of clocks made his heart skip some if its own beats.

The open spaces slowed his panic.

Calmed the bickering voices that would otherwise ricochet between his ears.

He built. He farmed. He slept. He woke. He walked.

He didn’t think much of the place at first. Then the old house became a home, the plot of land became his gem, and the hills became both fort and fortitude.

His very spirit soothed.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto challenge – Welcome back, Sue, we missed you!

(Photo credit: Sue Vincent)

 

A Broken Wing

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(Photo: Michael Carruth on Unsplash)

 

They stumbled

Broken

On the wind,

Dragging behind

A shattered wing.

Still chanting with

The roar of

Mobs,

Dispersed a faction

That from the

Truth’s been

Robbed.

Their memory

Fogged

By lie’s

Remorse,

Will they attempt to

Correct course?

 

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

 

Newfound

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(Photo: Jon Tyson on Unsplash)

She lay in bed and let the day’s words wash over her.

A soft stream in the mayhem.

“You’re a tenacious child,” her teacher said, eyes smiling. “You’ve tried and tried and made this grade your own. Not everyone would have continued, but you did. I am so proud.”

Tenacious, she mouthed into the dark and tuned off shouts and thuds and cries. So proud, she curled into the glow of newfound understanding.

 

 

For Sammi‘s Weekend Writing Prompt: Tenacious in 73 words

 

A Marginal Way

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(Photo: Karen Forte)

 

At the very fringe

Of hope,

And even as embers

Of warmth

Barely flickered,

A marginal way

Lived on

In her heart,

Its waves crashing

Full of breath

Against

Life’s rocks.

 

 

 

For Sammi‘s Weekend Writing Prompt: Marginal in 31 words

 

Seeking Silver Linings

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Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

It wasn’t about giving up. It was about silver linings.

Or about looking for them. At least.

Better than seeing the mess inside her mother’s house. The junk that kept arriving, accumulating, suffocating. Better than listening to the endless arguments between her parents. Or to the cries of the neighbor from across the street. The police there every other week. Mostly on payday, when the neighbor’s husband was drunk. Fancy neighborhood. Broken lives.

So, she curled up by the window, eyes to the sky, watching fluffy clouds drifting by.

Perhaps the silver lining will ride in on the next one.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers (I mean, how could I NOT participate when Rochelle chose to use one of my photos today?! Happy, healthy, and a BETTER 2021, everyone! And to all the children in homes-of-crisis: Hang in there, it gets better, you are worth it, you are seen!)

 

Watching

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“See there?”

Marie squinted against glare. “The windmills?”

“No.”

David’s finger shook along with his head, and Marie felt the wheelchair’s handles vibrate. The sorrow hit her, unexpected as always. Most days now she managed to surf life without being blindsided, but it was harder to do in this place, his favorite, where everything reflected the losses. His. Hers.

“The bird,” David insisted, his reedy voice robotic with timed inhalation.

His inflection was one of the first things to go, and its absence had robbed away a part of David that she’d adored from the moment he had first looked at her, dewy-eyed from birth, and mewled a symphony of baffled indignation.

“Ah, yes, the bird on the poles! I see it now,” she filled the space with words to compensate for his worsening inability to speak in sentences.

“Watching,” David exhaled, satisfied.

For the end? Marie silenced her sigh.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Note: Dedicated to all parents and caregivers, and to all who are navigating the throws of progressive illness. May you find peace, and space to breathe in, and may you know moments of joy and an abundance of love through life’s difficult path.

 

The Present

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(Photo: Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash)

 

She was shaking when I entered the room. Hands wringing, lips trembling, her eyes a shade of numb I had rarely seen.

Mary had called me. She had come to check on her and bring a midday repast. Mother being too proud to ask for help, even though her legs no longer held her sturdily or long enough to cook herself a decent meal.

Appearance and stoicism were Mother’s barometers of standing.

Socially and otherwise.

Not that you’d know it from her mascaraed cheeks.

She pointed to the antique book I had gifted her the previous evening. 

I understand, therefore I’ll live,” was scribbled in the cover. “R.B. 1941

Mother pressed a notepad on me. Scribbled on it were the same words. Same letters. An older hand.

“I forgot,” she whispered, caressing her initials. “But reading what I have just written, I now believe.”

 

 

Prompt quote: “Reading what I have just written, I now believe.” (Afterward by Louise Gluck)

For the dVerse prosery challenge

 

Windmills

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(Photo: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash)

 

So he shouts

At the wind

For blowing

To where he did not

Want it,

And demands

Others swear

There’s no wind

Because he’s so

Quixotic.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Quixotic in 26 words

 

Compliance

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(Photo: Isaac Holmgren on Unsplash)

 

When all was said and done,

There was no question

Of whether or when

Or why,

She would be expected

To abide by all

The rules they had

Intended to

Apply.

The law was set.

The outcome clear.

She was to follow

And adhere.

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille poetry challenge: abide

 

Do Or Die

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(Photo: Brunno Tozzo on Unsplash)

 

There were no two ways about it. The situation was dire.

He pressed his weight onto the box to seal it.

Nailed it shut.

He stood back then to admire his handiwork.

A wall of boxes. Most of them no longer wiggling.

It was do or die.

And it wasn’t going to be him who did the dying.

 

 

 

For Sammi‘s Weekend Writing Prompt: Dire in 58 words