All Things Considered

 

All things considered, she had everything she needed.

More than she thought was there, really. More than some might consider necessary.

She leaned back in her chair, then leaned forward to straighten a stray implement. Adjust another.

“Orderly desks make orderly minds,” Papa always said. Pointedly.

She might not manage to get much order in the latter, but she sure could try to tame the chaos of the former.

And it did look better organized, she had to admit.

Now, if only the desk could fill loan applications. Or order funds to her account so she could pay the bills.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: Jan Wayne Fields

 

 

 

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

 

Subdued Sacrilege

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“Simply look down instead of up,” Manny pushed his hands deeper into his pockets and hiked his shoulders up against a chill no one else probably felt. It was 99F outside.

“But the basilica is right here, and so beautiful!” Danielle exhaled wonder.

My point exactly, Manny thought, but did not say. Recruiting was a subtle thing.

Instead he nudged the water with his shoe, rippling the surface to distort the reflection of the edifice. Almost spitefully the puddle settled back into the sharpest mirror, and Manny half expected his superiors to appear in frowning disappointment at his dismal conversion pace.

“What it is?” Danielle responded to his sigh, her eyes still gazing in the opposite direction of the Netherworld, and therefore opposite to where he needed them to be.

“Nothing,” he muttered, deflated.

Her softly luminescent hand appeared. “How about we go into the church and pray about it?”

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Seeking Silver Linings

Looking up NaamaYehuda

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.

 

Back In Time

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Photo: Ronan Furuta on Unsplash

 

After years of failure, ridicule, he was finally ready.

To find out the truth. About himself. About where he’d come from. Where he would’ve belonged.

He turned the dial. Held his breath. Grasped the handles. Stepped on the lever.

The world spun.

Time thumped.

A banshee screamed in his ear. Perhaps the wind. Perhaps his own voice.

When vertigo subsided, he swallowed bile. Inhaled. Opened his eyes.

A man in furs crouched near him. Spear in hand.

Boron’s heart flooded with relief and delight.

He knew it!

He was, down to his DNA, a troglodyte.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Troglodyte in 95 words

 

Not Forgotten

 

It was his favorite saying, so of course it was the one they chose. Never mind that no one else would understand the meaning. “Others,” he’d say, “have their own stories to hoard or trim or bloat or be rid of.”

They knew that no matter how far Heaven was, he’d see this and smile.

He’d taught them to let go of what held them down.

“Gone!” he would announce, tossing fistfuls of dirt to the wind to aid the transformation. “You’re free of this. You can move on!”

His motto gleamed above the desert sand.

Gone, but not forgotten.

 

 

Photo prompt © Trish Nankivell

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Waiting

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(Photo: Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash)

 

He drooped as hours

Lingered

Without any

News.

He tried to read but

Worry clogged his

Views.

He paced awhile but

Found his feet too heavy

As his hope grew

Weak.

The moments stretched

Their languid

Endless

Streak.

“It’s done,”

A soft voice filtered

To him

Through the mist.

“She’s resting comfortably.

So is your newborn son.”

 

 

 

For Sammi‘s Weekend Writing Prompt: Languid in 57 words

 

Elfie’s Solution

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“Not every elf can be on a shelf.”

Elfie heard this all his life. From his teachers at the Santa Academy. From his parents, Elfonso and Elfinia. From his judgy Aunt Elfisia. And now from his insufferable brother Elfonso Junior (who everyone called EJ), who just had to rub in the fact that he had gotten into the EFS (Elves For Shelves) program, while Elfie did not.

“But what if I want to be an elf on a shelf?” Elfie protested.

“It’s not about what you want,” his mother scolded. “It is about your Efltitude Score.”

“…and,” EJ added with an elfin smirk, “as we all know, you don’t quite measure up.”

If it weren’t for his mother’s presence, Elfie would have tossed EJ under a reindeer.

Thinking of reindeer. And reins … gave him an idea.

No shelf? No problem.

He’d hang out as an elf by himself.

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Unintended Consequences

 

“This is the stuff of nightmares.”

Nina grinned and admired her handiwork. “This is the idea.”

Daniel shuddered. This thing was creepy even in full daylight. He could only imagine how it would appear in twilight or moonlight or through a flashlight’s beam. “Did you have to make it so KKK?”

Nina’s grin slipped and quivered but returned. “Not the intent, but perhaps the effect will nonetheless be meaningful.”

Daniel scratched his afternoon whiskers. Itchy stuff, all that growing up. “How so?”

“A dilapidated, pathetically-desperate-for-a-shower bully racist figure protecting a multi-racial, pluralistic graveyard is perhaps quite apt. Don’t you think?”

 

 

Photo prompt: © Sandra Crook

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers