Lost Halos

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

She’d been surprised to find out there was property overseas. Grandma raised her, yet no word was ever said about it.

“You should go,” Abe said. “Check it out. See about selling.”

She took Daniel with her. Heritage for him. Distraction from grief for her.

The small apartment above the Shuk was dank and cramped. Her grandmother had bought it decades earlier. Investment in the Holy Land.

“We couldn’t pay much,” the ancient tenant said, tears and wariness in her eyes, blue numbers on her arm. “She was an angel. Kept saying we were doing the mitzvah on her behalf.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

The Bag

Photo prompt: © Ted Strutz

 

She stopped by to check on her elderly neighbor and saw a bulging bag on the curb. Odd. Trash-collection was two days away. Ethel could get ticketed.

She grabbed the bag. The thing was heavy! How did the ancient women lug this? She carried it up the path to the door.

“Ethel?” she knocked. “It’s Belinda.”

Silence. Was Ethel sleeping? Belinda knocked again. Waited. Rang the bell. Used her key.

There was no one home. All personal effects gone.

Heart pounding, Belinda rushed to untie the bag.

A mess of photos spilled out, scattering Ethel’s life to the ground.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

The Memo

Photo prompt © Dale Rogerson

 

“What are these things?” Kyle pointed.

“What things?” Patty barely glanced up from the tablecloth she was wrestling for the birthday party. Forecast said “mild and pleasant” but the breeze apparently hadn’t gotten the memo.

“These,” Kyle insisted.

She sighed. Looked. Frowned. The contraptions hadn’t been there last night. Some modern art nonsense?

“Hold this,” she gave Kyle control of the tablecloth’s edges.

It looked like an assembly of pipes, but the closer she got, the less she wanted to go nearer. She checked her watch. Where was everyone?

“Mama!”

She spun at his shriek. A lumbering pipe-man had Kyle.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

The Skylight

Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll

 

She always loved that skylight. The one thing she’d insisted on when they’d rebuilt the old farmstead. Every day since, the sun streamed in or the rain puttered on or clouds swam above, transforming the indoors into a moving tapestry.

They’d kept the bones of the building, but the roof had been rotten. It needed redoing.

Like her bones.

She lay on the flagstone floors, sauce dripping onto her from where she must have upset the pot as she’d slipped and fell and something in her broke.

The skylight her only companion. The light fading. The day still long.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Read To Remember

Photo prompt © CEAyr

 

“I read to remember,” she said, her voice steel and quiver. “I read because he no longer can and because I know he was, most very likely, reading at the very moment his life stopped, evaporated, in mid-word. I read because mine almost stopped in the loss of him and in the enormity of the awfulness that took him and so many.

“I read to not forget. Because there is a bigger spark in life than in sorrow, and because he never would have left us, and certainly not this way. If it weren’t for the planes.

That September day.”

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all the lost, and to all those who lost so much, and to all that has been changed — insidiously and indelibly for so many — on September 11, 2001. I was here. I remember and I understand why we remember and what we must remember about ourselves and about who we can be. May we hold truth. May we be the better, kinder, more humane version of ourselves.

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Fixer Upper

Photo prompt: © Penny Gadd

 

“It that better?”

“No! You made it worse!”

“Sorry. What direction?”

“To the right! No, the left. I mean, to my right, not your right! There. No! Stop! You over did it. Now it’s worse again.”

“Fine. I’ll go slowly. Tell me when.”

“When. I mean, not yet. Stop! No, a little more.”

“Are you sure it isn’t straight? You’re a little lopsided yourself. Have a sip of water, maybe.”

“I’m fine. Stop micromanaging me. I’m concentrating. Shush and let me see …”

“Go ahead. Take your time. Don’t mind me. I’ll just perch here and twiddle my vines.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Driving Mrs. Mama

Photo prompt: © Linda Kreger 

 

“Hope the driver remembers.” Ella fretted.

Lynn shrugged. “He’ll have to run us over if he forgot.”

“You two, line up already and stop the chatter!”

“Shush, Jerry! Let us cherish the fruits of our labor.”

Your labor?! Who manned the table saw and has more splinters than a cactus?”

“Poor Bearded Baby … I sanded them all! Quiet, here she comes!”

The van stopped at the cul-de-sac. The driver walked around to the rear and wheeled Mama down.

“Welcome home, Mama Jean!”

“Hey, Ella, ditch the camera! No slackers till the Driving Mrs. Mama Home Train clears the ramp!”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Whale Of A Time

Photo prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

Finally.

They sent the younger children on their way. They cleaned up after breakfast. Hung the wash. Made the bed. Picked up after the husband, the father in law, the older sons (who in almost all cases were sprawled, asleep, with an empty plate of this or that by their side, as boys of certain ages seem to be).

The market waited. And the dinner to start. But for the next hour, there was just them. Their gossip. Their shared stories of the minutia of struggles and laughter.

It was their sanity’s lifeline, midday at Juanita’s “Whale Of A Time.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Gravity

Photo prompt © Jan Wayne Fields

 

“The box said up to 20 people,” Martin insisted.

I gazed at the purple awning below and my eyes rested momentarily on my cousin’s bare feet. He inherited Uncle Georgie’s hairy toes, I noticed. His impulsive stubbornness, too, it seems.

“That’s not what they meant,” I shook my head.

Martin glared at me as if my IQ wouldn’t make it past the bottom inch of a ruler.  “Twenty people is twenty people, Ralph. Math is math,” he announced and launched himself from the garage’s roof onto the tent.

CRASH!

And gravity is gravity … I sighed. I had 911 on speed dial.

 

 

 

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A Look Out

Photo prompt © Randy Mazie

 

“What is this place?” My eyes were glued to the small window. Next to me Bertie shuddered and it shook the rickety bench we stood on.

“The place we’re in, or the place out there?” he croaked. We were both of us hoarse from crying, but had moved beyond fear halfway into resignation.

At least it was daytime.

“It looks deserted,” I didn’t really answer.

It’s been hours since all movement above us ceased. Hours since we woke, terrified and hungry, in this basement. The men had left us crackers. At least they didn’t mean for us to die. Yet.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers