Their Own Continuity

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Photo: Yunming Wang on Unsplash

 

 

He said the world’s come to an end.

“Not quite,” she noted,

“For it keeps revolving.”

Her hand stayed warm

On his chest.

“Uninterrupted sun and set,

The dawn and birth,

Are their own continuity.”

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Continuity in 35 words

 

 

Not Welcome Here

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Photo: Franck V. on Unsplash

 

You are not welcome

Here,

With your

Contaminated fear.

You are not welcome

Here,

With words that hurt

And terms that mean to harm, divert,

Self-aggrandize, and

Smear.

There is a bigger risk

In hate

Than in keeping

Near.

You are not welcome

Here,

If you weaponize worry

To steer

Away from empathy,

Away from truth,

Away from the real challenges we share

As we ride great distances

On this one

Sphere.

Call this by its name.

Not by the rhetoric

Of racist,

Misinforming

Jeer.

Address it not in

Murky swamps

That deliberately

Throw mud into the

Gears.

Humanity is better

Than your insatiable need

To infect the

Atmosphere.

We’re on to you.

We see.

We hear.

We will hold steady to what

Matters.

We support the hardworking, factual and

Compassionately

Sincere.

But you?

You are not welcome

Here.

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS writing prompt: Welcome

 

 

Night Walker

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Photo: Martin Adams on Unsplash

 

She’d appear out of her bed

As if in dream.

An apparition in their kitchen.

A small figure levitating up the stairs

From the nursery,

A flannel nightgown sweeping over the cold floor

And her bare feet.

They might’ve wondered

Why she had become

A somnambulist,

Had they not needed to keep

Any odd thing

Completely clandestine.

So they latched the front door

High,

And kept the very secret

Of her night-walking

Under the covers

Of unspoken sleep.

 

 

 

For the Weekend Writing Prompt: Somnambulist in 78 words

 

 

Quite Simply

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Photo: Zane Lee on Unsplash

 

“Quite simply,” she said,

“The very times when some in power

Are seeking to perplex you,

Are the times when you best make sure

That you are not at all confused.”

 

“For when what should be simple

Is deliberately made unclear,

And what’s logical is spun

Cheaply to cost dear,

It ought to signal your eyes

To remain widely open,

And your ears to insist on holding only

To the truth.”

 

She sighed and touched the blue print

Faded on her arm,

Seared like yesterday

In her heart and mind.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Challenge: Perplex in 90 words

 

 

I Will Wait

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Photo by Jorge Flores via Unsplash

 

“I will wait for you,” she said. “Even in cold ruined places where wind blows in the refuse of the city and where more is broken than is whole. I’ll wait, so you can know I’m here when you are finally permitted to come home.”

 

 

For Three Line Tales #214

 

 

Underneath

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Photo: Morgan Petroski on Unsplash

 

 

She peeled away the stale layers

Of sorrow,

The sheets that wrapped around the core

Of what had once held

Grins.

And underneath the soot of tears

And grit

And grief

She found the gold that had been

Hidden

Soft against reality’s biting teeth.

 

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: Peel

 

 

A Slowly Fraying Memory

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Photo: Free-to-use-sounds, on Unsplash

 

 

From the hollows of despair, they fled.

The shirts on their backs and the children

In their arms, all they could manage to

Take.

Even the abysmal shelters they had recently

Been made to call

Home,

No longer gave any protection or

A chance at repair or

Reform.

They left, dodging death and finding

Further fright to

Flee,

And in their hearts they held on

Tightly

To the slowly fraying

Memory,

Of days when life was softer

And beds were warm,

And babies slept

Well kept

Safe from war and hate and

Harm.

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Abysmal in 93 words

Note: Dedicated to all displaced, terrorized, pressed, oppressed, persecuted persons everywhere, and to the many millions who had, throughout history and in recent memory and in today’s times, been forced to further risk their lives by leaving what had once been home and safety behind, for the unknown.

 

The Way It Used To Be

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Photo: Sue Vincent

 

There were hollows underneath the old ruins. They could be reached through the small shadowy glen that indented the hill where the remains of the stone structure stood.

Da had said that the underground spaces had likely been storerooms, but in Konnor’s mind they could just as easily have been dungeons. People had such things in castles and forts and towers. In old times.

Or perhaps still did. You never knew what could be lurking underneath someone’s residence.

He used to go to the ruins with Baldwin. It had been their favorite play space. They’d crawl through the opening in the rocks which led to a small roundish place with hand-hewed walls that still showed marks of chisels, complete with what must’ve been a doorway to other spaces but was blocked by a tumble of large stones.

They had made a plan to clear those, he and Baldwin, once when summer was long and they were bored and needing an adventure. They were soon disabused of the notion, however. Not only were the stones heavy and the tugging of them sweaty work, but the dust that fell on their heads from the ceiling made them realize that the whole thing could come down and leave them buried.

They weren’t ready to be buried. Not when ghosts and goblins waited to grab any who stepped into Death’s domain.

So they left the rockfall alone and found that their imaginations managed to terrify each other well enough without actually discovering what hid underneath and behind the areas into which they had no ingress.

Then Baldwin got sick, and when the fever subsided his legs did not work anymore and one of his arms was weak and he became morose and pale and could no longer come play in the ruins. When Konnor came to visit him, Baldwin reclined in his bed and frowned and said that dungeon stories were stupid and for babies.

Konnor stopped mentioning their games. He visited less and less until he only went when his mother made him. Baldwin was too angry and there was nothing Konnor could do right and he felt awkward and worried and sad.

His feet still took him to the ruins — they knew the way so well — but it wasn’t the same without Baldwin. The place felt spookier. Lonelier. Colder. Silent in a way that breathed him guilty. The stories that had been so exciting felt empty and Konnor began to think that perhaps the hollow, too, was for babies.

He turned his back on the ruins and tried to forget the way things used to be.

Then one day, as his feet walked him by, he heard mewling. At first he wondered if those were ghosts come to haunt him … but the insistent whines sounded too much like complaints brought forth by small, needy, hungry, living things.

He crawled in. His torch lit an area of newly fallen stones and a squirming mound of furry wobbly creatures.

It had been heedless to enter face first into a den. He would have been taught a painful lesson by the parent, had she not been crushed under one of the stones. It couldn’t have been long. Her motionless form was almost warm.

The pups mewled and one wriggled to nuzzle blindly against Konnor’s palm, seeking comfort. It was only when he picked them up into his shirt that he realized something.

“The stories we told may have been for babies,” he told Baldwin when he unveiled the brown head of a pup that had snuggled into the crook of his arm, “but the dungeons seemed to have produced some real younglings.”

“And this one,” he planted the helpless creature in Baldwin’s withered lap, “needs someone who understands. Da says her back must have been crushed. Her hind legs are paralyzed.”

Baldwin’s eyes grew round and as he reached to touch the pup, she licked his finger. “I’ll call her Dungeon,” he said gently and his voice held a hint of sparkle. “For the way it used to be.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto challenge

 

 

 

Slip Slidin’ Away

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Now that it was time, she couldn’t get herself to do it.

The ice around her heart mirrored the slick coating on the deck, the driveway, the car. The accumulation of cold thinned. Her resolve cracked.

It dripped and melted into tears where the memories took hold. Where the sweet moments were as real as the many that weren’t.

Perhaps she should just wait longer. Hope for spring. Pray for summer’s warmth. Forget the frozen tundra that their relationships had become. The hurt. The broken bones.

The more she was nearing her destination, the more she was slip slidin’ away.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Bonus track of the song that played in my head as soon as I saw the photo:

 

The Two Stones

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

She shivered in the early winter chill and pulled the woolen cloak around her. The wind whipped her hair – always unruly – into her eyes. Her fingers stung. The day was above freezing, but the cold damp still had a way of swimming through her clothing to steal away her body heat. Her face felt stiff and she rubbed her hand over her cheeks and chin to warm them.

She picked up her pace only to slow down again once she neared the stream. The slope was treacherous and she did not fancy the possibility of a dunking in the bone-chilling water. How different this was, she mused, from the summer days of her childhood, when along with friends she had raced down the slope with the absolute intention of being the first to splash in.

The stream had seemed bigger then. Wilder and yet in some ways tamer.

She did not know at the time the other stories it could hold. The risk it would foreshadow.

She was still an innocent then.

As if in answer to her mood, the wind picked up and buffeted the edges of her cloak around her legs, threatening to unclothe her. She pressed her lips together in determination and shook her head. Not here. Not now. Not ever.

Not again.

The stream was lower than expected for the time of year, but she knew the looks could be deceiving. It wasn’t just depths that could kill you. Or the flow.

She picked her way carefully to the bank. She stood a few yards downstream from the ancient laundering stones that jutted at the widening where the narrow brook burbled into a seemingly placid pool before splashing down in tiny waterfalls at the other end. The women still used the flat rocks when she was a young girl. They’d crouch on the stone to slap the fabric as the stream carried away the suds and dirt and the occasional bloody stain.

Moss now covered the stones and she knew it wasn’t just the change of season that had led to the greening. Women had laundered in all seasons. They’d break through thin ice to brave the numbing cold if they had to.

But no one had used the rocks for a long time now.

Perhaps not once since.

It had been a late summer day, the warm air filled with scents of aging flowers and over-ripe fruit and a whiff of sweat. There was the ‘thwack, thwack’ of scythes from the fields and the hum of bees and the calls of children and the wailing of a baby, cranky for the breast. The laundering stones were draped with wet fabric, the water foaming slightly with the soaps.

Then came the scream.

The rush.

The hush.

The wide-eyed horror.

Two small children, tangled in a vine, floated to bump against the rocks at the end of the pool, the current threatening to carry them over and downstream. Like broken puppets on a string.

They’d been playing and must have banged heads under water, or on a sharp rock, or on some other, less understood, thing. Their thrashing would have been noticed, but they must have been lost to the loud playfulness of others, or to the slap of clothing and the scrape of washers against stone. Or to how quickly they dropped.

She shuddered as the image superimposed itself on the empty coldness.

Everything changed after that. She only came here one other time since. And not with company.

The family of the man who had been a child at the time still wielded power in the town. She wouldn’t have been believed if she had told, that the dreamy boy who liked to twirl in the sun and who no one dared tease, had drawn a slingshot in mid-dance and used his spin to hurl small sharp stones into the children’s temples. The “thwack, thwack” was not only from scythes. She wouldn’t have been believed if she’d blamed him for the death of her pet rabbit, even though she’d seen him kill the trusting ball of fluff. Or for holding her down and poking her where no one should. She kept quiet and let the secret nibble holes in her insides.

It wouldn’t have brought the children back.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, bending to touch the water with her fingertips.

The bodies had long been buried, but their souls could not be. Not without the truth.

She rose and wrapped the cloak tightly around her. The clouds gathered and she saw a crack of lighting in the distance. A low rumble chased it, chastening or soothing, she could not tell.

She forced the air into her lungs and turned away.

She will be leaving again. The secret will remain.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto