Scale Things Down

giant-plug Crispina Kemp

Photo: Crispina Kemp

 

“We’re gonna have to scale things down,” The Earl noted.

“Yep,” Monterey scratched the stubble that sprouted, stubborn, on his chest. He was going to refuse the grooming nonsense next time.

“Got the shrink?”

Monterey nodded. He’d put up with the thumping for the last bit of journey. Annoying though it was, the noise did save him the trouble of going into the back compartment to check whether the cargo was still alive.

“Have him at it, then.” The Earl turned and strode back into his cab.

Monterey waited till The Earl disappeared from view before bending to rummage through the vehicle’s boot. He plucked the squirming figure out of its perforated container and held the furious man between finger and thumb.

“You’re a shrink,” he rumbled, pointing another hand at the air-ship’s anchor and chains. “These are too big. Can’t have’em stay this way. So you best shrink this.”

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Color Me Home

 

It would be the last place anyone would look, and the first thing everyone would see.

It made it perfect.

She always gravitated toward hiding in plain sight. There was equity in the blinding effect of what people learned to not see or did not know could be there in the first place.

How long would it take, she wondered, for her cover to be blown?

The longest had been almost four weeks. The closest call had her discovered before the first patch of paint dried. She’d almost lost everything that day, and the consequences were brutal, but she’d learned from it. As she had from every challenge and obstacle. Even those that were not meant to be instructive.

That was how she rolled. How she wrest back some control.

For now, this box of aqua perched on sand, seasonally emptied of its contents, was home.

The surf a lullaby.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Things To Come

 

Perhaps it had been the mark of things to come, though till it arrived they did not know it (or, as some stated, they’d preferred ignoring the possibility).

There were so many explanations: Bad weather, a change in allocation, inability to keep up with need, aging infrastructure, decline in the number of those who knew how to fix things with handiwork instead of keyboards.

Of course, the sidewalks didn’t crumble overnight. It took years. Yet somehow people had dismissed a steady rise in ankle injuries. They merely shook their heads when accessibility was reduced to the long-legged spry. There was no outcry. After all, most people didn’t ambulate with strollers, walking-sticks or wheelchairs.

In the end it was the roller-bags that tipped the scale. What unconscionable disrepair allowed wheels to break in ways manufacturers won’t cover? People could not be reduced to lifting suitcases when they needed to go somewhere!

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

No Known Gnome

homeless-gnomes CrispinaKemp

CCC #69

 

No matter how much he tried to recreate the last exchange he’d had with The Tall, he couldn’t wrap his head around how he ended up in the predicament he now found himself in.

Open-eyed-blind, blunted, turned away from everything and everyone. He was but a nub of his former self.

It never should’ve come to that.

He didn’t think such drastic measures had ever been taken before against any of the garden folk. Certainly not against a gnome (shorter and tricksier than most or not). Sure, there have been tales of persecuted fairies. Of elves’ homes trampled. Of spirits sent to cemetery quarantine. Perhaps the less-than-fair Fair-Folk had to sometimes be kept in check. But gnomes? Why would anyone get even with a Grandfather of Gardens? Gnomes were made to evoke trust and smiles, not fury.

And yet. There he was. Exiled. Helplessly turned against the blank, black wall.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Against The Flow

under-new-bridge Crispina Kemp

CCC #68

 

“This won’t do,” Marc shook his hard-hatted head and lifted the dreaded red marker to the clipboard.

Nicholas scratched under his own protective gear in effort to control his irritation. Marc’s been insufferable ever since he’d been promoted, parading with his supervisor’s  paraphernalia as if it made him a demigod. For the millionth time, Nicholas wondered whether Bob The Builder — their blue coveralls donning boss — had assigned him to Marc’s team just to get back at him for the moniker. As if it was Nicholas’s fault that the man fit the cartoon character to a T.

“How come not?” he managed when the silence lingered.

“The arrow,” Marc pointed the board across the water.

“What about the arrow?!” Nicholas snarled. He almost fell, painting the darn thing while standing in a dingy.

“Pointing the wrong way,” Marc smirked in evident satisfaction. “Won’t do to go against the flow, you know.”

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge #68

 

Tacked On

whitewashed-mill-in-mist-cp CrispinaKemp

 

The house was there first. Small and determined, it huddled against constant winds, braved the sun, stood fast through raging dust-storms and the terror of lightning.

Years passed. The land yielded. The silo was built. A practical thing, meant to store the grain in. However, tacked on as it was, snug into the back wall of the cabin with nary a breath of space between, it also contained hope. It held the promise for winter stews and for bread rising in the oven even long after the growing months had gone and there was little sign of nascent greening, let alone of next harvest’s ripening.

The silo became another sturdy thing to be led home by. There when ice rode in and clouds breathed snow and the cabin was too lonely in the vastness of being. Together they formed a home. An oasis of nourishing.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Bauble Bob

tolhouse CrispinaKemp

 

His father declared him hopeless. His mother bemoaned his daydreaming. His brother called the boy a fool. His teachers rapped his knuckles, dressed him in the dunce’s cap, slapped his head. Nothing helped. His mind continued meandering and his pockets remained filled with bauble nonsense.

By the time Bob turned sixteen, the village elders had resigned themselves to him becoming one who loitered by the stream, carried water for the old, and attracted the cruelties of the young.

The last thing anyone expected was that Lord Bailey’s new wife, who hired the young man for the price of bread and ale to repair some fallen stone in her abode, would so enjoy the river rocks and pebbles utilized as repairs by Bauble Bob, that she’d have him adorn her gate, her walls, even her door.

Soon enough there wasn’t a manor around he hadn’t been called to restore.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge #66

 

 

Sentry Sign

 

“Can you believe this weather? The sun is …” she stopped cold, her jaw frozen in mid-sentence. Her heart thundered, threatening to escape the confines of her chest.

“Mauve?”

Eric’s voice sounded as if filtered through molasses. Someplace in her stunned mind she noted to herself that she finally understood why cartoonists slurred speech and movement into agonizing slow-motion during moments of high-drama. It was as if the world itself spun differently. Time simultaneously lingered and lost all definition.

Her finger labored against a suddenly-too-heavy gravity. She pointed at the gravestone.

“The swirls,” she managed, her tongue was a parched brick in a desert.

She forced herself to breathe and swallow. Paradoxically the motion released some moisture back into her arid mouth.

“It is the mark of my ancestors,” she whispered. “A sacred, secret, rarely-used Sentry Sign. I’d only seen it once. I didn’t even know they’d been to this land.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

 

The Joneses

 

“Did you see what the Joneses got?” Marco gazed out the window.

“Don’t tell me you are falling for this nonsense!”

Marco swallowed a retort. His wife often yelled first and considered second. Getting into an argument in ‘phase one’ only delayed (or destroyed any possibility for) ‘phase two.’

“So?” her hands left wrinkled wet spots on her kitchen apron.

“I’m considering it,” he allowed. Silence tended to increase her ire.

“And for what Godawful blasted reason?”

He shrugged and tried for his one-sided smile. It used to work like magic in the past. Still did, sporadically. Worth a try.

The corners of her eyebrows shifted slightly away from each other. Good or bad, he wasn’t sure, but it was now or never.

“We could tie our Blimp to it, Dear. It is all the rage to have one’s own anchor. Makes it so much easier to unload the groceries.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge #64

 

 

Darn Yarn – Take #2

(You aren’t seeing double, this is a second helping for Crispina’s latest Crimson’s Creative Challenge – jotted in response to Shona, who wrote in the comments to my first attempt: “And there’s your next prompt — to have the alpaca speaking!…” And I thought to myself, Oh, how fun, let’s! So, here it is, Shona — this one is for you …)

 

She never did like the whole thready business. The fascination the two-legged had with locks of her hair.

Yet there they were, shearing it, bathing it, pulling it through nails, spinning it into thin ropes lacking any fluffiness, hanging it on sticks they cluck together to make some form of net to then cloak themselves with and strut about in, reverently wearing what had been atop her skin.

It’s quite uncanny. Then again, they do seem to worship everything about her: They house her. Feed her. Protect her. Cater to her (almost) every whim. They openly fawn over her offspring (not that she could blame them that particularity — the young ones do pull on one’s heart-strings).

Odd beings, are the two-legged, in how they wrap something else’s hair around their bodies, bizarrely mesmerized by fleece.

Then again, perhaps in their nakedness, all they can do is have her reign supreme.