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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

On The Road Again

 

All those of little faith who did not think he’d go for it!

They must be turning in their graves or keening over walkers. Also the doctors who shook heads at him. The nurses who fussed with his linens as if treating him as an invalid would have him forget that he’s a grown man who had lifted others and carried them first across burning sands and later out of burning buildings.

He always knew that where the rubber meets the road is where he’d meet his maker.

He’d left the Rolex.

The aide can always get another motorcycle.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Lisa Fox

 

So Much More

“It is so much more than just a game. It’s our future.” (Molly Wright, age 7).

This is science. This is humanity. This is potential. This is simple. This is profound. This is truth.

A not-even-eight-minutes video can change the future. Watch it. Share it.

 

 

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.