Tchotchkes

shoes SmadarHalperinEpshtein

(Photo: Smadar Epshtein)

 

“Oh Mama, look!”

The woman raised eyes from the screen to follow her daughter’s arm. “Kitsch to the max,” she wrinkled a lip at the stall.

“But Mama!” The child checked her tone before it thinned into a whine. She loved the shoes! She would need finesse. “I mean,” she shaped a grin, “for Purim?”

Her mother shook her head. “What are going to dress as, Queen of Tchotchkes?”

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Kitsch in 69 words

 

 

Long To Fade

hazelnuts-3663419_1920

(Image: Alicja_ from Pixabay)

 

“Where have you been?!” her mother’s elbows speared the air like wings on a falcon, keen to dive.

The lass lowered her head and hiked her apron in an offering. The contents would not account for hours wiled away from chores, but they might reduce the heat of what promised to be imminent suffering.

“I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head,” the child demurred, unpinning one side of the apron to reveal a mound of early hazelnuts, “in eagerness to bring your favorite, Mother. Seeing how the morrow is your saint’s day.”

The woman’s scowl budged none. “A flatterer as well as an idle hand. I know a hasty crop when I see it. Now, as you are so eager, fetch a switch of hazel and I’ll give your hide a fire that will not soon fade.”

 

 

For the dVerse prosery challenge

Poetry prompt from W. B. Yeats

 

 

Blindsided

ccc-106 CrispinaKemp

 

“Once you’re out the other side you’ll be one of us.”

Marco hiked his chin to try and eye the larger boy through the slits of light underneath the tight blindfold. He wanted to take the stupid thing off. It was scratchy and smelly and made him feel sad.

But to do so would be to give up and be left out. He didn’t want to be left out. Again.

“What if I crash?” he tried but didn’t quite manage to keep the quiver out of his voice. He was afraid of the dark. And of falling. The others knew it. That’s why this test. To weave a skateboard, blind, through the concrete blocks in the underpass.

“Then,” Roberto replied haughtily, “you will have only yourself to blame for not being good enough.”

Marco blinked. It sounded wrong.

Before he could pull the blindfold off, someone gave him a push.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Magical Immersion

cutest bookworms AmotzBarlev

Photo: Amotz Barlev

 

When the sunlight ends early

And twilight follows

Close,

Grab a book and dive into vast

Worlds where anything

Goes.

Immerse yourself into the realms

Where magic is the

Norm

And ride the wings of imagery

All night into the

Morn.

 

Note: I just had to share (with permission, of course) the absolute delight of this photo of my grand-niece and grand-nephews so utterly absorbed in their books. A bookworm myself, I’ve spent many an evening immersed in reading. Still do. It shaped my life. This gift that keeps on giving offers riches that all the money in the world cannot, and I am so so heartened to see it in children. I hope you read. I hope you read to your children. Your children may well follow your lead, and love of reading is a ‘bug’ well worth ‘catching.’

 

Sentient Sorrow

“She won’t come.”

The woman raised her head.

“Who?”

“Grandma,” the child repeated. “She won’t come.”

The woman sighed. “Grandma’s dead, Lottie. It means she can’t come anymore.”

Lottie shook her head, brown curls dancing with insistence. “She can, but she won’t. It’s time to move on. She said.”

The silver stripe in the woman’s hair blinked in the light as her head tilted. “When did she say that?” she asked carefully.

“Last night.”

The woman’s eyes filled. “In the den! I thought I was sleeping!”

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Sentient in 86 words

 

 

At Arm’s Length

gy-row-at-night CrispinaKemp

 

“You cannot avoid her forever,” Mom’s sewing barely paused as she cut the thread and got another length through the eye of the needle, “not when Alice lives but an arm’s length away.”

I hunched miserably over my own sewing, the tip of my tongue lodged against my teeth where it would not show but can still provide me some security. The ‘hidden’ stitch kept sprouting comas of thread on the side of the hem one wasn’t supposed to notice any. I was hopeless at needlework. Mom still insisted.

I avoided you finding safety pins in my hem, I thought to myself, and our cramped quarters allow even less than arm’s length.

“I’ll go around,” I tried.

Mom actually snorted. “You think Mrs. Munster will become your thoroughfare?”

I shrugged. Mrs. Munster’s house bridged the alley. She was a dragon, but I just couldn’t face Alice. I was too ashamed.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

 

 

Backseat Jostling

thais-ribeiro-rgrfJPE6Yjo-unsplash

Photo: Thais Ribeiro on Unsplash

 

“Mama, he’s touching me!”

She tightened her grip on the steering wheel.

“Mama, he’s breathing on me!”

She inhaled.

“How come he always gets the window?”

She sighed.

“I don’t have room!”

She braked.

“Stop this or you can all walk home!”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Jostle in 42 words

 

 

Time’s Tread

worn-steps SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

She could swear the old house breathed at night. That the walls spoke.

It was the age of things, she thought.

She’d ask, but the next door neighbors gave off a distinct air of distance and her mother was too occupied with damp ceilings, leaky pipes, and bone-dry bank account. There were questions one did not bring up unless adults were in the right mindset, which was rare enough during calm times, let alone through times of grown-up strife.

So Sally kept her own counsel on the matter of whispers between bricks and words in languages that sounded just a step to the side of comprehensible. It had scared her at first to hear them, but when she set her heart to listen she came to realize that there was no malice in the voices. Or none that raised the hair on the back of her neck, which had to be good enough.

After some time, Sally thought of them as friends.

She had few besides.

A moldy suitcase in the attic spoke of travel and held the faint smells of smoke and grime and sweat. There were some clothes still in it: Petticoats holey with moth and yellowed with time; a faded dress that might have been dark blue or purple at the time; a pair of shoes with buttons, the leather wrinkled like the face of Grandam in her casket; some papers in ink-spotted writing that mice or something else gnawed on; a locket.

She fretted about the latter. She wanted to open it. She shuddered at the thought. She dared herself to do so. Hefted it. Stared at the latch. Could not bring herself to undo it. This felt more personal than the split drawers in the suitcase, with the faint brownish stains on them.

She left the locket closed. But she did find herself drawn to hold it. Dreamed of wearing it. Of the dark blue dress. Of bonnets and petticoats.

One morning, when no other dreams found space and her nights became filled with whispers, she decided to wear the locket on her necklace. The small, intricately carved metal heart felt cool against her chest. She hid it underneath her shirt.

Sally could hear her mother arguing on the phone with yet another contractor, voice shrill as she tried but could not quite keep desperate frustration out of her voice. Sally tiptoed down from the attic to the landing and slipped quietly out of the house to sit upon the stoop. The damp chilled her bottom, seeping through the fabric of her pants. She shuddered.

And it was no longer pants she wore, but skirts, dark blue, cascading around her knees and covering the indentation in the steps. Ancient, those.

The door of the adjoining house opened, and a butler poked his head, complete with white gloves and pocket watch.

“Good Morning, Miss Grenadine,” he bowed slightly in her direction.

She smiled, entranced by how neither her lips nor her eyes were her own.

“It will be a sunny one, once the mist burns off,” he said.

She nodded and plucked a petal off of her skirts. She did not quite trust her voice.

The butler bent to pick a newspaper off the stoop, tipped his head in her direction, and closed the door.

Her hand reached for the locket, which was hanging over ruffles and a row of tiny buttons. It felt warm.

“The longer you sit the further you will travel.”

She turned her head to the sound but saw no one. A crow perched on a stone across the next door’s stoop, beady eyes regarding her with something between expectation and reproach.

The bird did not open its beak but the words unfurled clearly in her mind. “Some things are better left unopened.”

The locket.

The crow nodded, reading her mind. “But that does not mean keeping your eyes shut.”

She did not understand.

“Listen. Watch. Observe. Live on.”

Riddles. Crows were known for riddles. She shook her head and looked down at her knees to see a woolen skirt, knit stockings, an apron. Her arms in sleeves.

“Visit the past, but don’t forget to leave your own steps on the stairs,” the winged messenger noted, bobbed its head. Flew on.

“Sally?” Her mother’s voice sliced through the air.

She blinked.

The crow was gone. Her legs in sneakers on the step. The stairs the same.

She rose and eyed the door, the bowed indentation in the stones that led to it. Walked down to the pavement, turned, and pressed her feet into the tread.

She climbed. Making a path for someone from another time.

“Coming, Mom!”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’ WritePhoto

 

 

The Twins

syd-wachs-ws8XXuc-i_4-unsplash

Photo: Syd Wachs on Unsplash

 

They are twins but

They are not one

Being.

Identical, so many call them,

Breathless with

Duplicated magic.

But underneath the outward

Appearance

They are

Anything but.

Individually

Tempered

By the nuanced

Realities of who they

Really are.

 

 

 
For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Nuance in 38 words

 

 

When It Leaves

shimmer SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“What is that thing?”

Melanie squinted against the glare. Shrugged. “A microscope with duck feet.”

Tony frowned. His sister was easily the most annoying person to ever occupy the Earth. Well, after James. James was worse.

The boy stole a look behind him as if expecting James to manifest, even though he knew that the youth was many miles away. You just didn’t know. With James.

Melanie rested her chin on her knees, hummed under her breath, and played imaginary piano with her toes, watching the sand swish around her soles. She was hungry. She wondered what they’ll have for dinner. She lifted her head to glance around. The beach was slowly emptying but it was too early to check the bins.

And anyway, it was Tony’s turn.

She couldn’t keep doing everything for him. He was never gonna learn.

Her stomach growled and she sighed and squinted again at the odd shape on the sand. “Yep,” she pursed her lips. “Definitely a microscope with duck legs.”

Tony made that sound in his throat that she knew meant he was distressed but didn’t want to show it. She ignored him. He had to toughen up.

The quiet between them lingered. It felt stretchy. Like a taught rubber band wound over a finger. Melanie stared. That thing didn’t move.

“It’s an alien,” Tony finally said.

Melanie nodded. Could be.

Tony breathed. “I wonder where the spaceship is.”

“Yeah.” Melanie sat up, suddenly intrigued. “And I wonder when it leaves. You think that if we ask, it would agree to take us with?”

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto