Overreach

Photo prompt © Roger Bultot

 

“I never meant to hurt you.”

Samuel’s words were sincere and still she found herself looking away as to not see his eyes, where a lie was sure to peek.

“The gardener should’ve never let this grow so,” she responded.

Samuel stilled, confused.

She did not explain, for perhaps it was not only the leafy fingers arching over the path and latching onto her living quarters that had been given leave to cross beyond what was sensible.

“Some bridges need be cut,” she added cryptically. “Good-bye, Samuel. Will you send the gardener to my drawing room on your way out?”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

That Night

Photo Prompt: © Ronda Del Boccio

 

That night, when the children went missing, they fanned out, flashlights in hands and a dark crawling about in their hearts, which even the large projector brought out by the local sheriff’s office could not stop the spread of.

They looked in every corner, under brambles and in culverts and in places too small to hide a squirrel, let alone a child. The three had vanished so completely, one could have believed they had been naught but phantoms.

Yet phantoms wouldn’t have left canyons in souls, eroded deeper with the daily grief. For the kids were never found.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

The Tour

Photo prompt: Sandra Crook

 

“We’ve come a long way from small children crawling under looms,” the proprietor boomed, arm sweeping proudly across the antique refurbished mill.

The group of portly men nodded sagely.

One of them patted a balding pate, florid face sweating in tailored wool. He was gratified to see another man masking a yawn.

The two-hour Textile Investors Tour satisfied requirements for business expenses, but the real draw of the area was a manicured golf course, good wine cellars, and a particularly discreet hotel concierge.

Too bad, the balding man thought to himself. A few crawling kids would’ve been right fine.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Meet The Rain

Photo prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

“I want to go up, Papa!”

He looked down at the downy head, at the small frail finger pointing at the Big Wheel. “It is too high, Son.”

Your heart can’t take the excitement, he thought but didn’t say. The rain made tracks on his cheeks but he didn’t wipe them. The hospital said he could take the boy home. There was not much they could do for his son anymore.

“I want to go up, Papa,” the child insisted. “I want to meet the rain there. It will be my friend tomorrow … when I go live in the sky.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

  • Dedicated with much love to E., who I’m certain is excellent friends with the sky and the rain … and whose promise to send “hellos with the rain” broke our hearts even as it had become the gift of healing and courage to her parents.

 

Out Played

Photo prompt: © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

 

“It’s an effing eyesore.”

“I don’t care.”

Martin balled his fists but Susan just gazed at him.

She said nothing but he knew: Raise a finger on me and off to jail you go. The judge was clear: Anger-Management or prison. Martin took the former but could swear Susan’s infuriating behavior intended to get him the latter.

He inhaled slowly before turning away. “When Sanitation fines us,” he growled, “it’s all yours to pay.”

“Fine,” she shrugged. “Though I think they won’t.”

He glared. “Why? Got connections?”

“Nope,” she patted the rotting piano. “I’ve registered it as street art.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Black Friday

Photo prompt: © CEAyr

 

“We’ll call him Friday,” Emmaline stated.

Roger glanced up. They’d just left the restaurant and he had urgent emails to check. “Call who?”

“Him.” She pointed toward the bike, which was parked across the alleyway between a bush and a wall.

He squinted and frowned simultaneously. Emmaline’s cryptic tendencies were sweet sometimes but annoying most other times.

He saw no one. His frown deepened. A stupid black cat perched on his bike’s seat, fur puffed as if it had just stuck a paw in a socket.

“See?” Emmaline laughed. “He adopted our bike on Black Friday. Let’s call him Friday.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Merry-Go-Round

Photo prompt © Jean L. Hays

 

“Used to be a zoo,” Ol’ Joe stuffed his cheek full of chewing tobacco. No frowning from Mama could make him give it up.

I gazed at the empty parking lot. We kept the market open by sheer willpower and another mortgage.

Mama often argued it was money down the drain, but Pops would shake his head. “History is a merry-go-round, Penny. It’ll come back. We just have to hang in there a little longer.”

Then the two of them would look at Ol’ Joe, and I knew: closing the business would kill him. Grandpop’s life was tied into Route 66.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

The Bouquet

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

He’d always forget the flowers.

Birthdays. Anniversaries. Valentine’s Day. Births of children.

It’s not that he didn’t love her. She knew he did. He showed it in how he always cleared ice off her wind-shield. In how he took the garbage out and did dishes she’d left in the sink for the morning. In how he put the toilet paper ‘over’ even though he preferred it ‘under.’

But he always forgot the flowers.

The day of the biopsy results he came home with a gilded bouquet.

“These won’t wilt,” he said. “You’ll see them and not forget me.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Unwelcome

Photo prompt © J Hardy Carroll

 

They left for the summer and came back to find new neighbors had moved in.

The intrusion wasn’t noticeable at first. They’d come home at night and were busy settling back in after a long absence. It wasn’t till the next morning that Abby screamed and they ran upstairs to see the child frozen in terror, hands still on the windowsill.

A swarm of buzz swirled around her.

“Call 911!” Simon pushed his wife out of the room before slamming the door behind her and grabbing the blanket from the bed. “Tell them a nine-year-old has disturbed a hornet’s nest!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Not a Hare

Photo © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

 

“Mama,” Benny shook me. “Something’s in the bushes!”

I must’ve dozed off.

It had been nice to have the campgrounds for ourselves.

Till now.

“Perhaps a hare.” I tried. Would a campfire keep out cougars? I felt for my utility knife. Our only weapon. Ridiculous.

Benny frowned. “It’s crying.”

It was. My heart thumped as I stalked toward the sound.

My flashlight illuminated the tear-stained face of a child. A child?! She had to be younger than Ben. Alone?!

I gasped.

She shivered. Fear or cold or both?

“Come, Sweetie,” I cooed. “We won’t hurt you. Let’s get you warm.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers