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

 

New Passage

Photo: © Renee Heath

 

It had been a long night. It will be a long day and night still.

The old man sighed and watched the spirits paint the sky.

The youth had spent the night secluded in silent contemplation. The elders had kept vigil not far from the tent.

Some elders frowned at the arrangement. “Right of passage should require complete solitude,” they’d argued. “How else will there be quietude enough to hear the whispers of the land?”

“Times had changed,” he’d stressed. “The current world requires the tent’s protection as well as our watchful eye. Surely the spirits, in their wisdom, understand.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Scouts Honor

Photo: © Ted Strutz

 

“Where exactly does your uncle live?”

“You’ll see.”

I narrowed my eyes. Larry relished building tension. Perhaps mandatory in magicians, but guaranteed to annoy offstage!

“This better not be a trick!” I warned.

“It’s not,” he responded. “Scouts honor.”

“You’ve been kicked out of Scouts.”

He laughed.

We traipsed through deserted woods. No house anywhere. Not even a cabin. Just scraggly trees, weeds, and a spooky car wreck. Larry made for the latter.

I followed warily, smelling trickery.

“Here,” he reached under the hood, pressed something, unveiled stairs. “Ta-da! Uncle’s Red’s subterranean house!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

The Gift

 

They didn’t mean to.

They had to think fast.

“What in God’s married name is that?!”

Gary glanced at Gloria. Mom only used the expression when the you-know-what was about to hit the fan.

“I told you this was stupid,” Gloria hissed as they ran to the door. “It only made it look worse!”

Gary shot her a “shut-up-and-let-me-handle-it” look.

“Hi Mom,” he announced and swung the door open so that (hopefully) only the taped side was visible. “Do you like it? It’s a Christmas tree duct tape art. To remind you of the holidays!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s FridayFictioneers

 

Memory Jar

Photo prompt: © Priya Bajpal

 

“Can I take one now?”

“Breakfast first.”

Deena sighed. She ate her oatmeal and drank her milk, but her eyes kept returning to the seashell table Dad had gotten for Mom. Before. To the jar that usually stood on the mantel. Since.

Finally, Grandma rose and put her mug in the sink.

Now that it was time, Deena hung back. She remembered filling the jar, with Grandma, after the accident, when memories were fresh and both their hearts were broken.

Grandma took her hand. “Come. Reach in. Pick one, and you’ll see – the right moment with them will find you.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

The Fence

Photo: © Russell Gayer

 

“We don’t go There,” Mama always warned. “Ever.”

“There” was beyond the fence. Where the embankment locked in perpetual shadows and where the yellow cliffs rose shining in the sun and where the scary things lived and mortal danger was certain to find you.

As a child I never questioned the relative flimsiness of the wire fence and how it possibly prevented such pervasive awfulness from invading the compound.

It wasn’t until much later that it occurred to me to wonder whether both the fence and its electric bite were there to keep us in.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

A Kid’s Rock

Photo: © Randy Mazie

 

“She insists on coming,” he noted without raising his head and even though I hadn’t worded my question.

The quiet breathed and a soft breeze rustled the leaves and made shadows caress the stones.

“She stands by the gate and belts until I take her,” he added and continued to wipe his already spotless glasses. His fingers trembled, from palsy or emotion or both, I didn’t know.

“She misses her, you see,” he glanced at the goat. “Rejected by her nanny, this kid was. My Mary hand-raised her. She was this kid’s rock. Now all that’s left is this headstone.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Tomorrow’s Memory

Photo: Adam Ickes

 

“They do not remember who they are.”

The old man’s voice was somber without judgment. A skill born of patience shaped by the combined weights of history and time.

“It is why I brought them here.”

The elder regarded his visitor. His dark eyes pools of wisdom deeper than the lines upon his skin.

A silence stretched.

“They will not find it in this place,” Sorrowful Skies said finally.

Disappointment filled the woman’s face.

“They will sleep in the lodge tonight,” he added. “Tomorrow, they will walk like their ancestors. In bare feet on breathing land. Then they will remember.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Netted

Photo Copyright –Douglas M. MacIlroy

 

“Looks like a tennis ball on steroids,” Linda squinted at the gray blob.

Ethan rolled his eyes and turned the screen so it faced him again. “Definitely not a tennis ball.”

He shouldn’t have caved and showed her. Not that he ever did manage to withstand her pleading. Linda’s persistence could persuade a zebra to do away with its stripes.

“A cement globe?” She pressed.

Ethan shook his head.

“Am I at least getting warmer? Oh! Is it a post-global-warming thing?”

He sighed. It was hopeless. Might as well give it up.

“It’s Pluto, barely netted by the Sun.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers