On Full Display

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(Photo: Pop & Zebra on Unsplash)

 

They were going to hem and haw and huff and pout and stare.

She knew, already, from little-disguised cold shoulders

And from frowns

And neighbors’ glare,

That there will be no escaping their displeasure,

Anyway.

Even though they did not explicitly say,

Or outright forbid

Or demand that she

Obey,

She had no doubt that there will nonetheless be some community hell

To pay.

So might as well she do things as her heart designed,

And let her spirit play.

The vivid laughter of her soul

On full display.

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: vivid in 89 words

 

The Creek Don’t Rise

 

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“Tomorrow, God willing and the creek don’t rise!” Mama smacked the rug one last time, stepped back to admire her handiwork, nodded to herself, and shouldered the beater.

“But Mama,” Marlee whined, “everyone else is going!”

I watched the exchange from the safety of a leafy fork on the big tree. If Mama didn’t see me, she could not call on me for chores.

Mama stopped. “Everyone?”

Marlee straightened. Hopeful and suspicious.

“Every. Single. Person?”

Marlee’s shoulders dropped.

“Thought so.” Mama’s dress swirled prettily as she turned toward the cabin, and for a moment I could see the lass she’d been before Bobby and I and Marlee came and brought with us gray hairs and wrinkles.

“But …”

“But nothing. The creek is swelled with rain and more may be coming. No swimming. And,” she added, “You come down from that tree. I need help with the washing.”

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

The Last One

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(Photo prompt © Na’ama Yehuda)

 

They passed through the neighborhood with trucks and flags and camouflage uniforms.

Clean-up crews. Of sorts.

Sterilizers, they called themselves.

They traveled under the cover of night, removing festivities, restoring streets to what they saw as law and order and conformity.

They gave no warning.

“Better,” they were told, “to ask forgiveness than to get permission.”

It also prevented protests, dodged chaos, and avoided the otherwise inevitable secreting.

They were ordered to “take everything.” To make it fact.

And they did.

To the last one.

Or almost.

Because walking the dreary city after the Holiday Decorations Ban.

She saw.

One.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers. Also, thank you for using my photo for this week’s prompt. Curious to see where people will take it!

 

Dream Come True

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It only took him 300 years. A breeze, considering.

Many took longer. Some – like Olives and Redwoods – required a millennium to achieve Elder. No fault of theirs, of course, but still … many times longer than he’d had to.

His from-seedling brother had thought him nuts. Literally. “Wait and wait to reach Elder and all you get for your trouble is being bent out of shape, your roots hanging out, and critters crawling in your innards.”

His brother had other aspirations. “Sail the world, I would. Ride the ocean. Move on the wind.”

Elder hadn’t had the heart to tell him that he’d be just as likely to end up planked as some dark closet, with no fresh air or birdsong or butterfly-kisses. Or worse, chopped to burn.

It’s been centuries since lumberjacks carted his brother away.

He was Elder now. Guardian of the path. Home of many.

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Not Having A Ball

 

“I found it!”

Minerva sighed. She never did do well on conveyances. “Found what?” she mouthed, careful to not move her head.

“The perfect place!”

Minerva attempted to open her eyes, but the world whizzing by, combined with her daughter’s bouncing on the seat while turned in the opposite direction to the train’s travel, was too much. She clamped her eyes shut and groaned.

“Mom! Just look! We’ll pass it!”

One eye. A blur. Space under an overhang. Speeding rails.

“For what?”

“For the ball!” Swinging arms. “Can’t you just see us waltzing?!”

The bag! Where was the barf bag?!!!

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll 

 

 

The Longest Walk

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The dappled path grew arms of shade to shackle her so that her legs refused to move.

Earth’s gravity cranked itself up and higher.

It needn’t be so hard, and yet each cell in her begged an excuse.

She couldn’t.

She had to.

She shouldn’t.

She must.

She wouldn’t.

She better.

Or else.

The tree-lined corridor – so outwardly calm, so beautifully straightforward – was but a hall of mirrors.

An amplifier of her agony.

For who would see it and believe her, when none had yet, and perhaps no one ever would?

The careful greenery imposed a form of blindness on others.

A willingness to only selectively see.

Appearances, she already knew, could become everything.

It made the manicured life into a wall beyond which no one saw. Or wouldn’t.

Leaving her to take.

Again.

As in every day.

The longest walk.

Home.

And its unspoken of.

Relentless,

Tortures.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Dedicated to all who live behind the veils of appearances and are kept hidden in plain sight under a mirage of perceived privilege. Abuse knows no socioeconomic boundaries. Torment knows no race, no age, no god, no faith, no intellect, no education, no level of income. May you be heard. May you find a way to be safe.

 

 

Indispensable

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(Photo: Catt Liu on Unsplash)

 

She checked the items off the list.

One by one by one by one.

She’d learned to not look too far down. Better to not confront endlessness. To not have to face it that today, too, there will not be a moment when the job is done. When she is free.

Only another task.

Another chore.

Mistress claimed she was “indispensable.”

Praise or curse for why she could not get a few days off to see her ailing mother. To rest. To marry.

“We’re your family,” Mistress had said. “We need you. It is a requisite you stay.”

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Challenge: Requisite in 98 words

 

Stumped

 

“We shouldn’t do this.”

Laura pulled the ax out of her backpack.

“Stop! It’ll hurt the tree!”

Laura directed a querying finger at the wormy stump before planting her feet and lifting the tool.

Monique stepped closer.

“Don’t be daft,” Laura sighed. But she did lower her arms and gave her little sister a long look.

Monique’s eyes glittered. The gal was going to cry. Over a tree stump.

Then again, she’d bawled over a crushed ant and pouted for a week after Laura ate the goose’s egg.

“The bark will compost.” Laura tried. “And … we need fire wood.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo: © Sandra Crook

 

 

Blue Sentry

 

“Can you see them?” Lizzie swayed with anticipation. The waiting has been endless. Endless. Endless.

There was no response.

“Blue!?” she prompted.

“Hold your horses,” Lily soothed, always one to keep the peace. “He takes time to formulate and produce.”

Lizzie knew that, and that it wasn’t proper to press others to do what they physically could not. She tipped her head in guilty acknowledgement.

Still, she wished someone else was standing sentry. Not that Blue had any say. They were each placed where they were placed, and had to make the most of it. Slow as time, Blue would have to do.

And yet, it was so hard to wait.

Especially when she was finally dressed in all her finery and wanted to show it off before any got wilted.

“Car,” Blue said.

Finally! Lizzie wriggled.

“Such Impatiens,” Petunia rustled. “No finesse. All is hurry hurry hurry with them.”

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Hopeless Case

 

“Just how long has this been parked?”

The youth’s shrug managed both disinterest and disdain.

Edith pressed her lips. Inhaled. Her students had called it her “Schoolmarm Face.” They didn’t know it was just as effective at getting her own body to comply.

She pointed at the wheels.

“Grassy stuff,” the youth noted. “It grew.”

Edith knew a hopeless case when she saw it.

“Well then,” she thrust her purse at him.

For the first time, he looked marginally awake. “Um…, Ma’am?”

“Hold it.” She rolled her sleeves. “And help these old knees down. Someone’s got to check the undercarriage.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Russell Gayer