Refusal

ccc136

 

“Not all orders ought to be obeyed.”

The old man’s head was bent over the leather, but Owen read more than concentrated focus in the bony shoulders, in the jab of awl then needle bearing sinew through the holes.

“They said ‘Everyone’, Grandfather,” the youth fretted.

The fingers stopped moving and rheumy eyes met his in shared cornflower. The hue used to comfort him. A confirmation of family and familiarity. Now Owen wondered whether it also reflected the age he may well not live to be. Especially, he thought, if he did not obey …

“Look up,” the elder’s chin bobbed.

Owen squinted against glare. White sun on milky skies and swift-moving darker clouds of gray.

“You can no more change the sun’s course than a moral compass,” Grandfather noted. A cloud blotted the sun and a chill traveled down Owen’s back. “Do not obey evil. Fight it, or hide.”

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Hard Earned Wisdom

 

Heart Stone was in the path so people would slow pace as they neared Sentinel Rock.

It was a caution.

And a point of respect.

One did not pass by without giving Sentinel Rock at least that much in respect, and almost all knew better than to try and trick the ancients.

Oh, you could gallop past without a care in the world, but care was sure to catch up with you soon enough: A broken foot, a crack in your mount’s hoof, an ache that kept you up at night and led to carelessness the next day or the one after.

Heart Stone was there for a reason, and only fools rushed in.

Fools like him.

He should have known better.

Now he nursed a bee sting in a place no bee should sting, and he had no one to blame but himself for the carelessness and the ensuing punishment.

He told no one. Ashamed at his foolery.

Tossing in distress upon his pallet he pledged to pay his respect the very next day, and to bring with him an offering. He should have known.

Sentinel Rock saw everything, and Heart Stone kept no secrets. Stone spoke to stone.

On the other side of the hut his grandmother placed her hand upon the rock wall’s foundation and sighed in quiet realization. It was the price of youth.

She knew.

Long ago she, too, had to learn to heed the ancient’s lessons and slow her pace to match. Her crooked wrist still carried her own scars of hard earned wisdom.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

 

Nailed It

stable-door CrispinaKemp

Photo: Crispina Kemp

 

He could never abide a wiggle.

Not a wriggle. Not a waver. Not the smallest bit of leeway.

Give an inch they’ll want a mile. He was one for nipping any jiggle in the bud.

Sure, the place was old, but it was built a-sturdy, and it stood the test of time. A war. A drought. A famine. Years could lend a touch of wrinkle, but that was no excuse for creaky hinges or a swinging that was anything but right.

Doors should no more need replacing than the people who had built them. Neither ought be done away with when they’re ripe.

So at the very start of wobbling, he cut a bar to measure, took the hammer and the odd-and-ends crate, and firmly nailed the wood across the geriatric slats.

Not unlike the way the surgeon had patched his hip and clinched his femur on to that.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

To Know Good

valario-davis-knAVZEz2Dfw-unsplash

Photo: Valario Davis on Unsplash

 

 

“So how do you,” he asked,

“Know good

From bad?”

 

“By the heart,” she replied.

“By the actions that

Build

And prop up,

And the words that

Support

And patch the

Cracked places

Inside broken parts.”

 

“And how,” he pressed,

“Do you know what

Just needs

Giving up?”

 

“By the soul,”

She patted the warm place

On her lap.

“For breath

Matters,

And hope

Matters,

And kindness

Is superior to any

Pass-by-night

Emperors

Full of promises

Of might,

Touted

For our good

But seeped in

Falsehood meant

To bring on

Plight.”

 

He shuddered

And she stroked his wet cheek

And held a cool

Palm to his brow.

“Now sleep,

And let spirits

Of light,

Hold back the bad

And

Fill your cup

With good

Till the world grows

Up.”

 

 

 

For RDP Sunday: For Our Good

 

 

 

Flecked History

wadi a dawasir M.Bin HMQ

Photo: M.Bin HMQ; Wadi ad-Dawasir, Saudi Arabia

 

“He is an infidel,” Abdul grumbled about his employer. “Ad-Dawasir history shouldn’t be fouled by non-believers.”

“So were your ancient ancestors,” Umm Habib noted, her fingers flying as she shaped the dough with the practiced moves of innumerable meals prepared.

The adolescent startled. Such accusation would’ve necessitated a fist-fight if it hadn’t come from his grandmother.

“Many Taghlibi remained Christians well after The Prophet came,” the old woman’s face remained placid. She didn’t need to look up to sense the anger flashing in the boy’s hereditarily flecked eyes. But youngsters’ dark moods and opinions were like moving water. Truth remained.

She plucked freshly baked bread from the earthen oven with bare fingers, tips hardened by life’s constant flames. “That history is long passed, but it bears remembering some of our ancestors even fought against Muslim, and many stayed Christian …” she paused, considering. “Before finally embracing The Prophet’s teachings and Islam.”

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Wadi-ad-Dawasir, Saudi Arabia

 

 

Ain’t Got Much Of

FF RogerBultot

Photo prompt: Roger Bultot

 

“She keeps the shelves half-empty.”

I turned at the voice. A gnarled hand leaned heavily on a carved stick. The man’s chest was almost parallel to the stained cement floor.

I crouched so I could make eye-contact yet spare him the strain of lifting his head. He smiled. For such an ossified body, his expression was remarkably lively.

“My wife,” he raised an eyebrow at the display. “I’d space the boxes, but she says that what people think we ain’t got much of, reminds them of the empty spaces in their own pantries and how there’s always room for more.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

 

Momma Jean

Photo Prompt: © Jean L. Hays

 

“Don’t you go spendin’ no money!” Momma Jean announced.

In a whirlwind of industrious determination, she began rummaging through shoe boxes and ancient suitcases, closets, and plastic bags, flinging this or that onto the table.

I didn’t dare to offer help. Once Momma Jean got like this, it was best to keep out of the way.

“Now!” She finally straightened, hair askew and dust-bunnies clinging to the edge of her house-dress. My inveterate neighbor was out of breath and in her element. “You tell me what that costume look like, and I make it for you. You win first prize.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

New Passage

Photo: © Renee Heath

 

It had been a long night. It will be a long day and night still.

The old man sighed and watched the spirits paint the sky.

The youth had spent the night secluded in silent contemplation. The elders had kept vigil not far from the tent.

Some elders frowned at the arrangement. “Right of passage should require complete solitude,” they’d argued. “How else will there be quietude enough to hear the whispers of the land?”

“Times had changed,” he’d stressed. “The current world requires the tent’s protection as well as our watchful eye. Surely the spirits, in their wisdom, understand.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Stop to Sip

A drink SmadarHalperinEpshtein (2)

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

Walking along

Paths of life,

Stop to sip

Pause to laugh.

Make small moments

Of cool calm,

Find someone

To lean on.

Take a rest

Take the air,

Live well through

Time’s wear and tear.

 

 

For Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: drinks

 

Tempestuous Times

cmurrey clothesline Flickr

Photo: cmurrey, Flickr

 

“These are tempestuous times,” she said

And her strong hands wrung the laundered sheets

To squeeze out suds

As she would want

To push out infiltrated evil.

“I’ve seen hardship before,” she stirred

The linens

In the boiling vat,

Simmering the despair

Till it foamed and evaporated

Into bleached hope.

“Wrong does not last,” she rinsed

And wrung

And shook

And hung

The wash

Till it fluttered

Free

To dry,

Only the barest of stains

Still visible

In the sun.

 

Merriam-Webster’s word for July 30, 2018:

Tempestuous

This post continues the blogging challenge in which Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, serves as inspiration a-la the “Daily Prompt.”

Want to join me? Feel free to link to this post on your blog, and/or post a link to your blogpost in the comment section below so others can enjoy it, too. Poetry, photography, short stories, anecdotes: Go for it!

For more visibility, tag your post with #WordOfDayNY, so your post can be searchable.

“Follow” me if you want to receive future prompts, or just pop in when you’re looking for inspiration. Here’s to the fun of writing and our ever-evolving blogging community!