Night Flight

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

It was the island that saved her, in the beginning, in the middle, in the end.

At first it had been the noting of it. The realization that there was a place, not large and yet separate enough as to hold its own. Like herself, if she could manage it.

She wasn’t sure when exactly the understanding settled, only that she’d come to trust that if she ever had to, she could go there. To be safe.

That knowledge had held her in the years of interim. The island was the picture that she’d scanned across her mind each night as she tried to not take notice of what was taking place in her, on her, all around her. She took herself there, in a sense, long before she actually did. She nursed her wounds with the option. It was a salve onto her lacerated soul.

Then came the end.

Or the beginning.

Of other things. Of opportunity. Of a rebuilding of what she could be and didn’t until then form into a tangible possibility.

She made her way there under darkness. She’d had all the facts by then, gathered through secreted research and observation: the distance, the temperature of the water in different seasons, the topography, the places where there had been some shelters, and the times when people weren’t likely to frequent.

It rained the night she fled. A calculated risk she took and refused to worry could backfire. To stay would have been worse. She wouldn’t, anyhow.

The chill sucked her breath but also numbed her agony. She swam. She swam. She slammed laden limbs into the water and took herself onto the island and clenched her teeth against the chatter. The crossing had taken all she had. Almost. Just almost.

For from the flicker of willpower that remained, she lit a shallow fire, and the flame sustained her through the night and into dry clothes and the final ease of trembling. By the next night she slept, and by the third she made her plans for what else she’d need to be doing.

And she laughed.

For the first time in a long time.

Because she was safe.

She was not large, but she was now separate enough to hold her own. And she was strong.

He’d look for her, but he would not risk telling others, and he would not seek her where she was. She knew.

Her father feared the water, and from the moment she’d realized how the island could offer an escape, she’d made sure he believed she feared the water, too.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo challenge

 

None To Be Had

crater view OfirAsif

Photo: Ofir Asif

 

There was no shade to be had.

No shelter from onslaughts

Of glaring heat,

Too bright.

There was no shade to be had.

Exposed as they were

To everything

In sight.

There was no shade to be had,

Other than what they

Conveyed in

A shrug.

No shade other than the small frowns

That communicated how

Very much in need

They were of a

Sheltering

Hug.

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS writing prompt: Shade

 

 

A Piece of Peace

To ride AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 
She wanted just

A slice of peace.

A piece of what she’d seen

Available

To others

And advertised as

Something one could

Reach.

She wanted just a taste

Of what it could be like

To know

Release.

Meanwhile she knew

She had to make do

With

Internal

Armistice.

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Peace

 

Warehoused

Photo: © J Hardy Carroll

 

The cells were small. Sturdy enough to keep them separated. Aerated enough to keep them alive. Near enough to let them marinate in each other’s misery.

What the jailers did not foresee, however, was how they were just close enough to offer comfort. Fingers laced through fencing let them hold hands. Almost.

Oh, they moved to corners when anyone came. Pretended to hate each other. Endured each other’s fake bullying that so amused their captors.

But in the silent moments they sat close, back-pressed-through-chain-to-back. Their ‘caretakers’ warehoused them like animals, but the children’s defiance held: they remembered they were siblings.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Just A Crack

andrew-buchanan-2wLGsN6rREg-unsplash

Photo: Andrew Buchanan on Unsplash

 

“It is just a crack,” she said,

“A splinter off of perfection.”

‘Twas more than that, she understood,

Knowing what effort it exacted of her

To keep her direction,

To balance scales just so

They did not tip life

And hope

Into utter disconnection.

 

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: Crack

 

 

In The Blackest Night

hongmei-zhao-tcxmxmnj-SI-unsplash

Photo: Hongmei Zhao on Unsplash

 

In the blackest night

She woke

To hear the flutter of her

Heart

Singing melodies of courage

In her ears.

As the hours ticked

Long seconds full of

Ink,

And stretched worries

She had long learned how to

Blink,

She held on to

Wisps of memories

Mirrored in her unshed

Tears,

And recalled the echoes

Of abandon

In the giggles

Of her very early

Years.

 

 

For the dVerse Poetics challenge: Black

 

 

Life’s Cliff

cliff smadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

Until you manage to get

Past the jagged edges

Of life’s cliff,

You’ll dream of rivers

Soothing through

The valleys

Of What If.

Till then you’ll hold on

To old anchors

That keep you

Safe from doom,

And luxuriate only

In dreams of

Rappelling out

Of your fear’s womb.

 

 

For the Word of the Day Challenge: Jagged

 

 

They Live In You

jorge-sa-pinheiro-1VQRywqoMtY-unsplash

Luanda, Angola; by Jorje sa Pinheiro

 

“Why is the top of that mountain rusty?” he asked.

His grandmother’s hand tightened gently around his wrist, then released it, almost in apology.

“For your ancestors,” she said.

He looked at her, uncomprehending. She had a way of speaking without saying everything she meant or with saying more than she meant and then cloaking it so it was still a tangle of implied meanings. He didn’t always know which it was. Or both. Her lined face was held up in what looked more like grief than awe.

“Grandma?” he asked.

“This rust is the mountain holding up the iron bled by your great-grandfather’s chains and the chains of those before him, and before, so many generations that the rust of those shackles rose up. It is the blood of the mountain and like the blood in your veins, it is them. They live in it. They live in you.

 

 

 

For the What Pegman Saw challenge: Angola

 

Delicately

Delicate AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

She flitted gently by his head.

The slight bow noted, the sorrow that was there

But perhaps not heard.

 

She knew he had to hold himself up

All this time

That it was the only way

He’d learned.

And yet she could discern the hidden

Effort that it took

To rise against the gravity,

In times where drought of hope

Returned

Again and again and again.

 

She understood the energy required for

Making the Herculean appear effortless,

To constantly correct

The wobble under

Winds and strain.

 

She hovered for a moment

Letting a space of permission

Manifest

Before she landed, feather-weighted and,

Delicate

On his chest.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Delicate in 106 words

 

Light Ahead

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

After weeks of gray and thistles and ceaseless wind that scraped her raw, there was light.

She could scarcely believe it at first.

The cloud cover had been so complete for so long that she’d began wondering if there was even a real sun still behind it. The revolutions of soupy daylight and inky nights felt equally murky as every step became oppressive. She had waking dreams of being lost inside a massive warehouse, a mouse in a maze, endlessly seeking an exit yet seeing none.

She wondered whether there was still use in trying. She was oh so tired.

Now there was a break. The sky spawned a cavity and the leaden heavens began to dissipate. She could discern a layer of ease in the distance.

And light, streaming like caressing fingers ahead. Showing the way home.

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to the all-too-many who are staggering through their personal wilderness, caught in the molasses of gloom, and thinking of giving up — keep on, hold on. There’s light ahead, and we’re leaving it on for you.

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto challenge