Temptation

 

The sun beat on his nape and his shirt stuck to his body, too wet to do any good in absorbing the sweat that trickled maddeningly down the center of his back and soaked the waistband of his pants.

His arms ached. Granite did not easily yield.

The soft ripples of the water mocked him, parading a breeze he did not feel. The pillar blocked what small air movement could be had. To add insult to injury, the hot stone reflected the stifling heat back at him. The path was an oven.

A dragonfly skimming the river caught his eye and he paused, mallet in mid-air and chisel in position, muscles bunching under the folds of his damp sleeves.

What if? he pondered.

He shook the thought out of his mind. Let the mallet land.

Who knew what lurked under the surface of seemingly inviting water. Better hot than drowned.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

 

Out Of The Blue

Photo prompt: © David Stewart

 

The streets still shone with wet but the dome of sky stretched clear above. The wind had swept away the clouds.

She shivered even though the air was warm. Perhaps it was the damp that had her reaching for her shawl.

She hugged herself and wondered if she’d ever know whether he had left because he wanted to or because he had no other choice or because he did not know any better.

“Where are you?” she whispered.

She jumped when the fountain unexpectedly came to life and bathed the roundabout in blue.

It felt like a hello. From Hugh.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Treasure In The Sand

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Galway, Ireland (photo: Fum Bally on Unsplash)

 

He leaned on his elbows and watched, periodically checking the clock and the tide-chart that hung next to it. Any moment now.

The briny air tickled a sneeze out of him, and he debated whether he had time to go fetch a handkerchief or if he could just use his shirt. Laundry day would not be for another full week. The handkerchief won. He rushed back to the window, flushing with a combination of exertion and embarrassment.

It was sobering to be faced with his own obsession.

The waves hissed and brushed against the beach. The ocean sighed. The breeze picked up. It would rain tonight. He believed his bones.

Then he saw her, walking on the exposed strip of rock-spattered sand. Her head was down, searching. She held a plastic bucket in her hand. It had seen better days.

They both had.

She was his treasure in the sand.

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Galway, Ireland

 

 

The Reporter

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Photo: Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

 

He reports first thing in the morning.

He reports again every night.

There’s little that could dissuade him

From being absolutely forthright.

 

He records every scene with a flourish.

His voice reflects every sight,

As with journalist’s flair

He spells data in ample delight.

 

He would not be distracted from telling,

The minutia has got to be tight.

After all, he is in potty training

And to him no discharging is trite.

 

 

 

For RDP Sunday: Journalist

 

 

If It Rains

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Photo: Javardh on Unsplash

 

“If it rains,” she said.

“It pours,” he answered.

They laughed and touched palms

Over glass.

The barriers that divide

Not keeping them

Apart.

“And when it shines,” she said,

“It glories,” he responded.

She grinned and then the corners

Of her lips

Shook and her palm pressed

Again

Toward his

And her eyes unleashed a

Downpour of

Longing.

“Don’t cry,” he whispered.

“I’m almost ready

For the transplant.

My cells will welcome yours

Into my own.

As they had

In the womb.

It is like coming home.”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Downpour in 88 words

 

 

 

The Ball And The Bread

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“You’ll stand on one side of the bridge, and I’ll cross it to the other.”

Millie considered.

Sylvia could be tricky. Sometimes the spunky neighbor was a delightful friend. Other times … not so much. And that’s not counting mishaps. Millie lost tally of how many times her playmate had landed her in trouble.

Millie’s hand rose to absentmindedly rub her backside. It still sported a bruise from the last ‘adventure’ Sylvia took them on. That tree limb would never grow again, and Millie’s piggy bank was half-emptied from the fine her parents had levied.

She looked at the pond. The water lilies floated serenely on the surface. A dragonfly hovered before dipping elegantly to paint a ripple. A frog leaped and splashed and swam underneath a wide green leaf. A bird chirped nearby.

It was perfect.

“I’m fine just relaxing here on the bank,” Millie decided.

“We won’t disturb anything,” Sylvia countered, flinging a braid behind a shoulder.

Millie shuddered. It was one of the things that were uncanny about Sylvia. Millie was positive the girl could read minds.

“I brought a ball,” Sylvia enticed. “And bread.”

The ball must be Denny’s, Sylvia’s brother, and almost certainly swiped without permission. The bread? Well, that was probably not ill got.

“No ball,” Millie said, then sighed. Somehow she always gave in to what became a kind of bargaining, when she in fact wanted none of the options to begin with.

“Great!” Sylvia scampered across the narrow bridge. “I’ll toss bread crumbs in the water and make some waves. You corral. Let’s see how many frogs we can get!”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo

 

 

 

Look Again

 

“Can you see her?” Emma rose on tiptoes and lifted her chin to add inches to her five-foot frame.

I smiled. What Emma lacked in stature, she made up for in sheer stubbornness. She felt tall.

We had parked on the far side of the marina and were approaching from behind the stage, facing the crowd. A sea of heads corralled by masts.

“She isn’t in the first row,” I noted, puzzled. Aunt Tilda was a front-row fixture in all local concerts.

“Look again,” Emma insisted. “If it’s free, you bet she’d staked her claim since the day before yesterday.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

If It Ain’t Broke

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Photo: Will Malott on Unsplash

 

She refused to budge

Or borrow.

She would not allow herself

The slightest

Reach.

“If it ain’t broke,” she said,

Hiding sorrow –

Holding on to life

In tatters

Yet refusing to

Give in even

A stitch –

“There is no need to seek

A fix.”

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: Fix

 

 

More To Overcome

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Photo: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

 

As soon as he arrived, she would be able to make her exit.

Take time for herself. Have a moment of calm.

She was oh-so-tired. She urged him on.

“On my way,” he said. “A few more minutes and I’ll come.”

She waited.

The minutes then the hours ticked their slow molasses of seconds. Time puddled, sticky, in her mind.

Around her the demands of life continued and her body obeyed. Her hands found zippers and did and undid buttons and washed dishes and stirred pots and hung wet linens and kneaded dough and bandaged a skinned knee and broke up fights and interrupted arguments. Her mouth managed to answer questions she did not remember being asked.

At some point her eyes no longer rose to check the clock. The sinking feeling curled up and took residence inside her gut.

She fed. She bathed. She put to bed.

She rocked. She soothed. Not knowing what she said.

As dark deepened and the night grew long, she knew.

He would not arrive.

There will be only more to overcome.

 

 

 

For RDP Sunday: Overcome