No Time For That

 

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There was never enough time.

For that.

No time for the things that mattered but were not deemed essential. 

No time for the space that was given no paths to traverse.

None for the slow breath that could have allowed a pause

In the constant

Race.

Because there was never time.

For that.

Too much buzzed already

From the break of dawn to the collapse of night.

No time for

Time.

And so, she stopped it.

 

Stopped time.

 

She let the hands rest.

Let the heart expand inside the fluttering confines of the

Chest.

She let the breeze

Set

The pace.

The leaves, believe.

The ground stretch long and wide beneath

The feet.

The skies expand across

The dawn.

To let

The space that had

Held on,

To finally

Allow itself to be

Redrawn.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Nana’s Will

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“So how exactly will this work?” Maria scanned the detritus left by the fire. Remains of a lifetime of work and investment. Gone. Shards and a handful of charred pots. Is all.

“We start from seed, as it were,” Steve pressed. “We get Dad’s old truck out of the garage. Use it as a wheeled nursery.”

Maria sighed. It could work, but was she even up to it? Where there’s a will there’s a way, Nana had always said, and it matters most where there’s little will with which to find a way.

“A willed nursery…” Maria nodded. “Nana’s way!” 

 

 

For Friday Fictioneers

Photo by: © Jan Wayne Fields

Inside Job

 

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“It doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside …”

“Yea,” Elianna intoned, “it’s what on the inside that matters.”

“Exactly,” Jennifer winked. To be easily discouraged was a privilege of the young. Something time cured. Or tanned into tough old leather. She chuckled. 

“What?” Elianna sounded wounded.

“I was laughing at myself, Eli.” Jennifer tested the length of her chains. Sink to bed to door. “We can do not a thing about that horrid gate or those who guard it, but let’s put some elbow grease into this door and make our inside view a good deal better.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Brenda Cox

 

Wild Away

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Margot leaned closer to examine the stake. Her smile grew.

The child should be called Gretel, with such clues.

Then again, Margot was no evil stepmom. Or at least, not evil … The two of them couldn’t help not being biologically related.

Not any more than the girl could help being wild.

The social worker believed the latter a hindrance. Understandable, perhaps, given how many placements the child had lost. The system found it inconvenient to have a lass with more wilderness than tameness, who needed space and took it. Knowing Grenadine’s history, how could they not see why she’d tolerate no leash?

“This child will run away,” the social worker had warned when Margot said she’ll have her. “You’re so rural, you’d have no help keeping her contained.”

Margot had no plan to do so.

The child was free. The sticker meant that she’d be home by dinner.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Playing Along

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(Photo: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

 

He wasn’t going to win this game.

He learned that much from many

That he had

Lost.

And he did not care

To have his face made pie

Against another Juke

Box.

So he played along,

As if it was all

A big

Joke.

 

 

 

For the dVerse 10th Anniversary (!!) poetry quadrille challenge: Juke

Dedicated to all who had to play along, because that was the safer – if fake – choice.

 

 

A Long Way Down

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“This place will never do,” Aaron shook his head.

“It’ll have to,” Ella tucked the edges of frustration back into the crevices that practice had made almost foolproof. Almost. One could not get complacent.

She’d seen what happened when one did, and the cost was never worth the temptation of release.

“We’ll make it work,” she added before Aaron could add argument to what they both knew will have to be managed anyway.

The steep plot of thicket-covered land was all they had. A measly inheritance, perhaps, but better than the debtor’s jail … and the ways one had to pay debts with one’s body. Piecemeal. By the hour. By the man. They could neither of them survive it again.

“It is a long way down,” Aaron acquiesced. “The stairs are rotted.”

“A longer way up for those who do not know the path,” Ella smiled. “We’ll do fine.”

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Only Cooler

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(Photo: Chagit Moriah Gibor)

 

It was going to be a gargantuan effort, but that had never stopped her before.

No matter what others always said she could do.

The skis were first. Adjusted to work over the wheels like skids on seaplanes. Only cooler.

Literally.

She slid through the ice and snow to find a clean patch. Shoveled up the snow onto her lap to press into a ball. Rolled and patted. Devised a ramp and pulley to hoist the second ball. Plopped on the third. Poked in twigs.

There.

Lopsided, but so was she.

Her snowman. Wheelchair be damned.

 

 

 

For Sammi‘s Weekend Writing Prompt: Gargantuan in 96 words

 

 

Clara Of The Clock

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Photo: Sue Vincent

 

There were bells above the clock in the tower. A tiny room above that, with blue shutters that could close themselves to everything or open to the four corners of the world. A taller turret still above it, its naked windows whistling in the wind. And over that a peaked roof with a metal creature perched wide-winged, inviting lightening.

To Clara, this was home. The keeper of the hour and the minder of the rectory below, she was forever scaling spiral steps and ladders.

Up and down the narrow stair that spun inside the tower to the clock-room, then up and down the ladder that hiked along the breezy bell balcony to her room, and up and down again on the metal rungs that climbed the room’s wall to the turret and the vast horizons beyond.

Father Brown used to climb up and down, too, though thankfully he’d grown too corpulent to lift his body up so many stairs or hoist himself up the ladder. She did not think he would even fit through the entrance in her room’s floor anymore.

Good.

For he was never meant to fit into any of her entrances anyway.

She was better off with him too fat.

Fearless, they said she was, to live so high above the village, buffeted by winds half-way into the sky, not to mention, in total loneliness. Unnatural, they called her, to prefer the company of birds and clouds to that of other people, or a man.

They were right. About the latter.

Birds did not raise a hand to her. The clouds did not box her ears or pull her hair or force themselves inside her.

There was solitude in the small room where the air was clear and the noises of the village did not reach. Just the swish of the wind and the clarion sound of the bells and the heavy heartbeat of the clock, ticking like the heart she’d almost forgot, the heart inside the chest she must have laid a head on in the first weeks of her being and before her mother – and her life – turned cold.

Through years of misery in the orphanage, with cruelties of every kind meted by the nuns and priests and older children who sought to repay their own experienced agonies onto those smaller than them, she gazed at the part of the clock-tower she could see, and dreamed of heartbeat.

When Father Brown came to the orphanage to pick a new housekeeper to “serve God” in the rectory adjacent to the church (and tower), they lined up the girls for him to choose from. She trembled with both hope and horror.

Perhaps he liked seeing both feelings warring in her, for he let his eyes travel the length of her body before curling his finger in her direction and telling Mother Superior that “this one would do.” She had just turned thirteen.

She kept house and cooked and cleaned and tried to keep away from his fondling hands and pinching fingers and the parts under his robes. She wondered if the former housekeeper had wished to ail and had welcomed the opportunity to die.

Then again, perhaps the previous girl did not know of the tiny room above the bell-tower. She herself only found out about it when Father Brown twisted an ankle and she was required to complete a few tasks there on his behalf. She was immediately entranced. By the openness. By the freedom. By the possibilities.

The next day she went to see Mother Superior under the pretense of needing salve for Father Brown’s leg but with the real aim to have someone clothe her request in piety. “It is but a small room, but I feel nearer to God there,” she told the nun, hoping to mask her awe as faith.

“And,” she whispered, “it could be more proper for Father Brown, too, to have me in separate lodging.”

The head nun frowned in reproach then tented her fingers to consider. The rectory had only the one sleeping room, and so housekeepers slept on a pallet by the kitchen stove. Even the most pious man may need a drink of water in the night. Best to put away any Eve where she could not lead a man to sin.

“You are wicked to even have such thoughts,” Mother Superior admonished. “Perhaps it would be best to remove you to the tower.”

Clara lowered her eyes in relief.

Father Brown was farthest from enchanted with the new arrangement, but he could hardly argue with Mother Superior’s suggestion. Nor could he claim that a woman should not scurry up and down the tower ladders in her skirts when he himself had sent Clara to do so.

Oh, he made sure to let her know there was no sanctuary from him in the tower. But she focused on the heartbeat of the clock and let it speak louder than his thrusting, and she bade her time, and fed him.

He grew fat. And old. And rheumy eyed.

She grew taller. And confident. And limber in her climb. She became the sole caretaker of the timepiece, the sorter-out of the bell’s ropes, the heartbeat of the tower.

Clara of the clock.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

A Thorny Issue

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Photo: Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash

 

There would be no smooth solutions

No easy way to extract

Themselves

From the tangle

They had let grow

All around them.

 

Only one way out was left:

Through the bramble,

Through the sorrow

Through the scars that would

Need nursing

Back to truth.

 

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: Bramble

 

 

 

When It Leaves

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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