Sitting Duck

https://crimsonprose.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/ccc133.jpg

“It has no feathers.”

“Of course it doesn’t,” Molly noted. “It’s a duckling. It has fuzz.”

Duffy was not impressed. The small thing was squeaky and looked utterly too squeashy. She wasn’t even sure it was waterproofed.

She shook her head. She never was good with small squeaky, squeashy, clingy things.

“It’s only for a short while,” Molly’s voice was soft, but Duffy recognized the little waves of irritation that signaled turbulence just underneath the surface.

Best not mess with that.

Duffy sighed and peered closely at the fuzzball. “So what am I supposed to do with it?”

Molly flapped with such relief that Duffy wasn’t sure whether to be reassured or terrified.

“Just keep it out of trouble,” her sister called, already on the wing.

“What kind? How…?”

Silence.

Then a squeak.

The fuzzball waddled, pooped, and attempted to preen its zero feathers. Ridiculous.

Her nephew.

Also kinda’ cute.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

The Seeing

 

“When I die,” she’d say, “I will not be truly away from you.”

Both sides of the statement used to worry him when he was little.

“Will I see you?” He once fretted. It was the day they had buried the pup who did not last the night. The runt who never whined and did not wriggle by the time the sun awoke. They’d laid the tiny bundle under a small mound of dirt in the yard. And it was lost to sight.

“In a manner of speaking,” Grandma had replied, untroubled. “For not all seeing is done with eyes.”

He did not understand her then.

Or when she died.

He wasn’t sure he understood her still, with many years passed.

Her absence a hole in his heart.

Then he came across the giant burl.

And he felt her in it. Waiting. Smiling. Seen.

He carved her out.

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

A Rare Root

 

It took her sixty years, but she finally did manage to maneuver the tangled maze of history and silence.

“Why do they make it so difficult?” she had demanded one day, flooded with frustrations.

“Shame, I suppose,” the woman at the records office had shrugged.

And a shame it was.

One that too many women carried, and too many cultures reinforced.

Sealed hopes.

But shame could not, in the end, keep her story from being told.

She watched the ancient lady in the market. Half-bent. Wholly recognizable.

Her birth mother.

A rare root unfurled inside her heart. Sprouted. Took hold.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Brenda Cox

 

 

 

Wrinkled Thorns

 

She always left one rosebush alone. Let the flowers bloom as they wanted, curl and unfurl as they wanted, dry and droop as they wanted.

“It is an eyesore,” her mother-in-law criticized, ever eager to point out imperfections to the daughter she did not birth and that her son had chosen to love more than he ever did the one who’d labored to bring him into the world.

“Perhaps,” she smiled, but did not yield.

Thorns and wrinkled petals seemed fitting. Frosty resentment prevented closeness, but the old woman had given life to the man she loved. It was enough.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

His Hummingbird

ccc117

 

The day had been dreary so far. The cold. The damp. The boring wait for the car’s repair. The need to keep her body still and her mouth from chattering.

Gran did not let her wander. Or climb. Or touch things.

“You’ll get filthy.” Gran had stated. Like an ultimate sin.

At first Beth did try to argue. Daddy always said that filth is easy to wash off and that a bit of dirt was no excuse for sitting out good fun.

Gran did not think highly of Daddy.

“What judgment that man could have had in him,” Gran grumbled, “he’d given it up when he chose to leave my uterus early … and it only went downhill from there.”

Or up, Beth thought. He had promised to watch over her. Before the angels called.

“My Hummingbird,” he’d called her.

Her eyes rested on the sign. She smiled.

Hi Daddy.

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Seeking Silver Linings

Looking up NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

It wasn’t about giving up. It was about silver linings.

Or about looking for them. At least.

Better than seeing the mess inside her mother’s house. The junk that kept arriving, accumulating, suffocating. Better than listening to the endless arguments between her parents. Or to the cries of the neighbor from across the street. The police there every other week. Mostly on payday, when the neighbor’s husband was drunk. Fancy neighborhood. Broken lives.

So, she curled up by the window, eyes to the sky, watching fluffy clouds drifting by.

Perhaps the silver lining will ride in on the next one.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers (I mean, how could I NOT participate when Rochelle chose to use one of my photos today?! Happy, healthy, and a BETTER 2021, everyone! And to all the children in homes-of-crisis: Hang in there, it gets better, you are worth it, you are seen!)

 

All Color Gone

 

They will not be coming home.

She paced the few steps from her door to the deck’s edge and back again. She gazed up at the washed out sky. Watched as the shadows encroached on the small lawn to blanket the rocks in the graying garden. Her breath was heavy in her chest.

They will not be coming home.

With every blink, the hues were fading. Taking with them memories of laughter, of pitter-patter, of wet wool and hot cocoa steaming by the fire.

The telegram emblazoned in her mind.

The boys will not be coming home.

All color gone.

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all those who knew and know such loss.

Photo prompt: © Sarah Potter

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

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.’

 

Not Much Sweeter

ccc105 CrispinaKemp

 

There was not much sweeter than Grandpa Gulliver’s honey. Then again, there was not much that was sweeter than honey. Berries, perhaps, in their short season. Or maple syrup, when they found it. But there were not many maples left anymore, and those she knew of were not particularly generous with their sap now that they had to parse energy for growing.

But there was Grandpa Gulliver’s honey. The slow pouring amber liquid of deliciousness. As valuable and as glorious as gold. The warmth of happy in her mouth.

Grandpa Gulliver had built Hive Homes for the bees. Tiny mansions of industry where workers and queens could shelter from the rain under eaves that shed the snow and cut the wind.

She used to watch the ins-and-outs for hours. The buzz. The promise.

Now they stood desolate.

No bees. No Grandpa Gulliver.

Who knew they’d all be taken, sweetness gone?

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Fall Festive

 

It was barely fully fall but the weather seemed intent on ensuring none of them would be able to ignore the coming winter. Morning frost. Freezing rain. Evening flurries. Weekend snow.

“So much for global warming,” Moise moaned.

“It’s Climate Change, Pops,” Ben interjected. “It makes mayhem to let us know how much we’d messed things up.”

“Whatever it does,” the older man waved at the window, “it is not as it should be.”

“Perhaps,” Bernice entered with arms full of pine bows, lights, and tinsel, “but we can still make it as festive as we want in the interim.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers