Bookended

lr-prompt

 

She stood back to appreciate her handiwork.

A mix of tidiness and lived-in disarray. The books. The pillows. The cozy afghans on the couch.

“She’ll love it,” he said from behind her, and she jumped. She hadn’t heard him enter.

She leaned against his chest. Felt the thrumming of his steady heart.

“How do you know?” she fretted.

“Because it’s not about perfection, but about having enough support so that no matter how you wobble,” his hand rose toward the bookshelves, “you’re bookended by love.”

She kissed his palm.

“Let’s go get our new daughter, then. Bring her home.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s FridayFictioneers

Photo: Dale Rogerson (thank you for the homey, inviting photo prompt inspiration! This room makes me wanna curl up with a good book on the couch. xoxo, your NYNF)

 

 

The Tallest Tears

Flowers-NaamaYehuda 2022

(photo: Na’ama Yehuda)

 

The tallest flowers caught her eye, but it was the withered daffodils that caught her breath and pressed a fist into her heart.

His favorites.

The stalwart sentinels of spring.

Outnumbered now. Outshone. Outdone.

As was he.

After utterly too short a time.

Her throat constricted. A reflex of holding what she’d learned would be a solitary cry.

“Look, Mama!” a child trilled. “The daffodils are tired!”

“Yes, darling,” a woman’s voice returned. “They did excellent work and are resting now, sleeping till next spring.”

Tears slid. It was something he’d say.

She should have known he’d send a messenger.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers.

Thank you, Rochelle, for using my photo for the prompt this week. And, for all who manage loss, especially of those taken too young in all manners of war – may you know that we remember, and we listen, and we will not forget.

Out-Strutted

 

ted-strutz-street

 

They knew they’d need some help. They knew where to find it.

They weren’t very good at building anything, even less at securing it to withstand the snow, the winds, the cops.

Or so they hoped.

It was better to make use of what was already present.

What others, who had better skill and quite possibly better sense, had built.

Sure, some called it squatting. Some found them vagabonds.

But why not when the struts provided good foundations?

It was a pity, really, that so many did not understand.

The cops raided one night. Tossed the tents.

Kept the struts.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Ted Strutz

 

 

For Now

kananaskis-cafe

 

They didn’t know where she was. She preferred it that way.

The windows were all missing. No doors. Graffiti covered the shell of building.

It was far from town, but sometimes travelers stopped to stare, and some used the empty rooms for all manner of unsavory business.

She spent most days in the nearby woods. Foraging. Snaring. Keeping watch.

At night, she kept to the relative shelter of the basement, hanging bits of chain on entryways to serve as warning chimes.

She dreamed of restorations. Of locks on doors.

She wanted more.

But it was home enough.

For now.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Carole Erdman-Grant

 

Not Cold

chair DaleRogerson

 

“I am not cold!”

“Your lips are blue,” the mother deadpanned.

“They’re not!” the child insisted, her exclaim dampened by chattering teeth.

“I see,” the woman breathed and swallowed a retort. The girl was altogether too much like herself and would only dig in deeper if confronted.

One set of eyes stared at the other.

The shuddering intensified.

“There’s a nice warm bath and dinner waiting inside,” the mom dangled.

A shrug.

“And how long do you intend to be … um … ‘not cold’?”

The little girl narrowed her eyes.

“Very well. Shall I bring you a chair, then?”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo: © Dale Rogerson

 

The Raise

r-bultot-street

 

“Will you stop it already?”

Davie swallowed a sigh and lowered his eyes. He was making them stick out like sore thumbs.

“Only tourists and amateurs look up,” Bessie admonished, kicking a dry piece of sidewalk gum. “Real New Yorkers have already seen everything.”

Perhaps, but he had yet to. And he wanted to notice. Everything. Who lived in the tall building? Whose shoes were tied overhead? Why? Was it a memorial? A gangster’s territorial?

“Raise plow,” he read, imagining. He was looking up again.

“If we’re caught,” Bessie hissed,”the only raise you’ll get is welts from belting.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Roger Bultot

 

Anew

bet-shan

 

She took the bus to near as possible. Then walked. A few cars honked, perhaps to offer a ride. Perhaps to get something she wasn’t offering.

She waved them off. Walked on.

It made sense to arrive by foot. As in the times before.

The times she should have no way of knowing, yet did.

Remember.

They’d tried to put her behind locked windows between soft walls when she first tried to speak of it.

She had learned not to.

But her soul knew.

And there it was. As then.

Almost.

The stone crumbling, yet still her olden home.

Anew.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Inside Job

 

gate-photo-promt-unknown-submission

 

“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

 

Stable Home

lisa-fox-stone-cabin

 

They thought it mattered to him that it wasn’t fancy. That he’d care it was damp. Or old. Or cobbled together from what materials could be found.

They were wrong.

All he ever wanted was a roof that did not leak, a hearth that could be lit, food enough to fill his belly, safety in his sleep, a bed that did not bite, walls that did not threaten to collapse about his ears.

The cabin was all that.

And more.

Sure, it had housed horses, and smelled of them, sometimes.

It only made it more a home.

A stable home.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Lisa Fox

 

A Case of Spoiled Rotten

roger-city-street-tilted

 

“You’re pouting.”

He hated crowds. “I’m not having fun, Ma.”

“Then why come? You could’ve stayed behind, along with the long face.”

Mani sighed. “I tried.”

“So now I tied you up and carted you along?”

Pretty much, emotionally. He shook his head. “Sorry, Ma. I’m in a mood.”

“A mood? What’s a mood? If you bled like a woman, you’d know about having a mood. You just have a case of spoiled rotten.”

“Yes, Ma.” It was easier to agree.

Ma craned her head. “Ah, now, lets see if these Jewish Greeks can cook anything worth eating.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Roger Bultot