Inside Job

 

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“It doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside …”

“Yea,” Elianna intoned, “it’s what on the inside that matters.”

“Exactly,” Jennifer winked. To be easily discouraged was a privilege of the young. Something time cured. Or tanned into tough old leather. She chuckled. 

“What?” Elianna sounded wounded.

“I was laughing at myself, Eli.” Jennifer tested the length of her chains. Sink to bed to door. “We can do not a thing about that horrid gate or those who guard it, but let’s put some elbow grease into this door and make our inside view a good deal better.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Brenda Cox

 

Stable Home

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They thought it mattered to him that it wasn’t fancy. That he’d care it was damp. Or old. Or cobbled together from what materials could be found.

They were wrong.

All he ever wanted was a roof that did not leak, a hearth that could be lit, food enough to fill his belly, safety in his sleep, a bed that did not bite, walls that did not threaten to collapse about his ears.

The cabin was all that.

And more.

Sure, it had housed horses, and smelled of them, sometimes.

It only made it more a home.

A stable home.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Lisa Fox

 

Storied Stories

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They climbed in silence, single file, the occasional foot scraping a bare concrete step.

Lindon pressed his lips. It helped stop the trembling. This was his first ‘trip’ off the ward and he wanted to look around. To look at others for their reactions. But new or not, he’d learned enough to understand that it was better not to. He kept his head low.

A scent hit him. Like Grandma’s house. Last month. Eons ago. He blinked.

The stairs ended. He looked up. His eyes grew.

His heart, too.

A room of books.

Stories. Escape.

He knew he would survive.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Ted Strutz

 

 

The Gall

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(Photo: Abigail on Unsplash)

 

She steamed and paced and stomped and stewed.

The temerity. The audacious liberties he’d taken.

It was one thing to sell the house.

Another, to have removed her name from the deed.

To have kept the change hidden.

Her parents’ house, no less.

The place of hers – not his – childhood.

Cruelty was why she’d left him.

But this?

He, vacationing on islands.

She and the children, homeless.

 

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Temerity in 69 words.

 

 

The Gift

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(Photo: Jennifer Burk on Unsplash)

 

She was not there.

Of course, she did the work. She wiped the sinks. She did the wash. She peeled the taters. Washed the floors.

But she was not there.

Not when people stopped by. Not where there were any windows open or any blinds up.

She’d been smuggled to them as a child.

A gift.

From someone.

To the man and lady of the house.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Smuggle in 66 words

 

No Reflection

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(Photo: Pixabay)

 

The full-length glass was bedecked in heavy gilded glory. A forest of paintings crowded around it, their layered oils glistening in the candlelight.

She stopped and stared back at the faces. Unsmiling figures in stiff postures clad in roiling silk and velvet cloths.

Perhaps they ought to have felt familiar. The line of jaw, the slant of brow, the coil of hair above a hooded eye. She had seen all those before. She could again. If she just let her eyes glide toward the mirror.

She would not.

Know them.

Her ancestors.

Her captors.

Both.

 

 

 

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

 

The Scene Setter

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“And then what happened?”

The soft-spoken woman in ugly tweeds shifted in her chair, and Thomas knew he was in trouble. He almost told. She expected him to. She was nice so he’d do what she wanted.

They all wanted to trick him. Especially those pretending to be nice. So he’d do stuff. Make mistakes. Be punished.

Thomas fiddled with the pencil. He wanted to pull Santa’s head off. Instead, he drew circles. 

He hated circles.

He put toys inside them.

Made the toy-boy lie down. Ran him over. 

“Well,” the woman sighed, “perhaps you’ll be more talkative tomorrow.”

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to the brave children who find a way to tell, even when they tell without words, even when those around them may not see that they are, indeed, trying. May you find someone who understands.

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo: © Jennifer Pendergast

 

Untenable

 

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(Photo: The NYPL on unsplash)

 

They didn’t plan to bring

With them

A legion of

Trouble.

They only wished

To find,

For their

Loved ones,

A measure of

Escape.

A new home where

They could

Be safe.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Legion in 32 words

 

Forgotten Power

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She took another sip of coffee. A small one. To make it last.

A dreary morning meant the outdoor cafe wasn’t busy. Still, the waiter would surely clear her table as soon as her cup ran dry. He’d already deposited the check to flutter underneath the saucer. Hastening her to remove the eyesore of tattered bags and unkempt hair from the establishment.

Her chest tightened and her hand trembled. She forced in a deep breath.

She used to own the place. In better days.

She could still see it, riding through her mind’s eye. Her colorfully beloved Flower Power Cafe.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Brenda Cox

 

A Heart of Stone

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“All you have is this little wheelbarrow?”

Marsha nodded.

Shelly shook his head.

“I don’t mind how long it takes,” the despair in Martha’s voice was overshadowed by determination. “And anyway, this won’t be too heavy.”

Shelly shrugged. “You’d change your mind after you make a few trips pushing this rusty thing uphill against the wind.”

In the weeks that followed Marsha wondered more than once if her brother had conjured the wind just to spite her. Dust and grit found purchase in her eyes and throat. Her palms grew red, then raw, then rough.

And still, she pushed the loaded wheelbarrow through gravel and scrub brush and small canyons of cracked earth that manifested overnight upon the path she forged across the steppe.

Slowly the grave-marker took shape.

“I’ve brought the stones from our creek, Mama,” she whispered as she placed each carefully. “Your heart will never again thirst.”

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge