Nesting

tokens SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“Why did they leave these things here?” Farrow scratched his head with a sharp talon.

“Decoration?”

Farrow glowered at the brown excuse for a mate. She lay good eggs and she did not complain when the worms he’d brought home to the nest were torn or half-eaten. He had to give her that. But she never did learn to keep her beak shut when rhetorical questions were posed. Where someone with a bigger birdbrain would know to quietly wait for him to impart wisdom, she thought she had something to contribute. It was exhausting.

“There is no such thing as decorations, Ferrolina,” he attempted a didactic tone, perched atop the side of the nest and peering downward at the log below them. “All actions have a reason, and even those that end up beautifying have another motive underneath.”

“There’s moss underneath,” she quipped, egging him on.

Oh, she knew he held himself in puffed regard and thought the lesser of her. He could be tedious. But she had the best nest location in the area, and his pride meant he could not let her (or the offspring, when they hatch) go hungry. It was enough. And under all his bluster he was not cruel, only vain. Better than the lowlife who’d left her mama half starved and the lot of them freezing in an exposed nest when she was growing. Two of her nest-mates hadn’t made it, and the dud was unceremoniously rolled out to splat frighteningly to the distant ground. None of that was going to happen to her four egglings. And she was adamant all four would make it. She knew it in her heart that none were duds.

He narrowed his eyes at her. Sometimes he thought he’d detected some snark mixed in with her idiocy, but her expression was so mild he determined it impossible. He must be putting wit where there was naught but simple-mindedness.

“Yes, there is moss there indeed,” he noted, as patiently as he could muster. Mates were a lot like younglings. You couldn’t fault them for what they did not have. “Some concepts are too difficult for females to understand. You are better suited for the nest, to concentrating on keeping the offspring warm.”

Ferrolina swallowed a chirp. He was so easy to poke. “They sure are pretty to look at,” she added. “But they will not fill tummies.”

Farrow straightened. It was his expression, oft repeated, that she had finally managed to internalize. It deserved a reward. “Indeed,” he nodded his head and preened a moment. “And I shall be soon back with something that will.”

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

4T

max-headroom CrispinaKemp

 

Luke eyed the sign ahead.

“I won’t be allowed in,” he sighed.

Sarah scrunched her forehead. “Maybe they won’t notice?”

Luke raised an eyebrow. He was 6’8″.

Of course they would notice. It was a stupid thing to say. She blushed. “I’m sorry, Luke. I mean, it’s just so unfair!”

He nodded. Such rules often were. Still many tended to accept, even embrace, ‘patriotic regulations’ … until caprice hit close to home. Or in his case, on the way back to it.

He had pooh-poohed the risk. What folly.

He wouldn’t be allowed into the City. Even though he’d been born and raised and lived there. Had committed no crime. He was banished. They’d expel him if he were still home.

The militia could shoot him on sight. Neighbors would be expected to report his presence. As of that morning, anyone above 6’6″ feet was considered a 4T security risk – Too Tall To Trust.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

By Heart And Hand

desert pool AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

There is water

For the thirsty

Even

In the desert,

Where heart and hand

Were put to work

With foresight of what

Must be done,

To hold

What would otherwise

Be lost

To shifting sands

And blazing sun.

 

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Manmade

 

 

Of Moods And Bangs

https://dalectables.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/horned-cattle.jpg

 

“Are you guarding the entrance?”

There was no response.

He didn’t really expect one. Not when she was in a mood.

She was going to just lie there by the narrow path between the wooden pallets that served as makeshift bridge and entrance, and stare at it as if the others would miraculously manifest by the force of her willpower alone.

“I think there’s a new herd coming from the east,” he noted.

No movement. He didn’t think she’d fall for it. Still, was worth a try. One never knew.

For his part, he did not grace her with a turn of his head. She did not deserve a sway of his magnificent woolly bangs, the pride of Farmer Jones, the envy of his peers, the feller of many a heifer.

He stood his ground. She guarded hers.

The flies buzzed.

It was going to be a very long afternoon.

 

 

 

For Cristina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Out Focus

Photo prompt: © Ted Strutz

 

He wanted to take the glasses off but it was not allowed.

The penalty was devastatingly permanent.

True Focus was reserved for a selected few. A privilege. Stealing it would result in losing all sight. Both eyes.

He blinked and tried to calm the nausea that came with the distorting lenses. He never got used to the dizziness. Or the headache.

He didn’t think they were meant to.

“Loyalty above clarity; Fealty, not facts.”

It was chanted. It was law.

A disoriented population was the goal.

He grieved for the realities that had been ignored when freedom still had hope.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Fallen

Fallen NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

I’ve lost connection

With over-tired roots

Fragile

With the passage of the elements

And time.

I’ve let go

To the shifting earth

And to the rocks

Repeatedly cracked open

By frost and sun.

And toppled to lie

Finally

Atop the ground.

Ready to go back

To that from which

I had

Become.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Trees

 

 

Allegiance

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

They called her Allegiance.

Contract and insurance, she was. Revered and guarded, both.

So well revered and so well guarded, in fact, that with time she became almost forgotten and had turned more a symbol than a soul. She sometimes wondered if she was in that way not too dissimilar to many of her kind through time, even if they had been so for far shorter spans.

Women often were made ornamental. Used as symbolic pawns, utilized as cementers of allegiances, then blamed for those that broke.

It helped her feel less lonely, knowing that even in her immortal isolation she was still in some way a member of a community of others who’d been perched into positions, as she was, without much of a choice. Possessions and producers, keepers of the continuity of power, serfdom and thrones.

They called her Allegiance.

And she sat in her fortified tower, aware of the two rows of guards: One row looking out against any who may get it in their minds to sabotage, the other row looking in against any indication that she may get it in hers to leave.

They needn’t have worried. At least not about her.

There was enough of misery without adding heads to spikes in any kind of rebellion, where those most likely to be harmed were those least likely to have been given part in the decision.

She accepted her place. A figurehead to keep the heads of others firmly on their shoulders and their children’s hearts safer from the sorrows of orphanage and war.

So she stayed.

As centuries passed, those who’d placed her there took less care with guarding her and the promises she’d represented. The tower crumbled. The guards played cards and drank and slept and grew lazy, and she took comfort in knowing that at least this meant they weren’t in battle. Even if she shivered, windowless, her walls crumbling all around.

Perhaps, she thought, as winds whistled and the stories of her had become lore printed onto metal plaques for tourists to ignore, it was all as it should be.

Perhaps one day there will not be a need.

Perhaps one day allegiances will be built-in, rather than built-up and set with guarded fences that time and lassitude and apathy were certain to erode.

Till then, Allegiance waited.

For the moment, the ruins of her tower stood.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

After-Party

Prompt photo: Pixabay

 

They were going to put them there to remember, they said. To frame the recollections of the community, so none of what had happened be forgotten. That’s what they said.

It was meant as a memorial of sort, they said. A referendum of the eye. Intended to draw the faces upwards and lend a sense of a somber chaos, carefully controlled.

Perhaps it was all that. Yet it was so much more.

For the installation was also meant to keep the chairs out of reach. To take away the possibility of seating. To have people stand and look and move on, rather than linger or make themselves oh-too-comfortable. Again.

Because it was the idleness – those in power believed but did not say – that had led to the gatherings and speeches and protests and that weekend party-turned-riot. People got too comfortable in using public spaces as if those were a right rather than a privilege. They sat. They lingered. They huddled together and began to think they should have the power to decide how they passed their spare time, where and who with they sat. Mutiny, it was.

The police were sent to squash it.

And put all the chairs up.

 

 

For Donna’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt