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

 

The List

 

“Are you sure about this?” Raymond wrinkled his nose at the parcel.

“Surer than sure!” Mara squared her shoulders. She will fight him, if need be. This was not something she was willing to back down from.

“It is morbid,” Raymond huffed.

“Yet it says so right on his bucket list,” Mara soothed, recognizing her brother’s retreat. “A coast-to-coast trip.”

“But …” Raymond shook his head in confused surrender. “I don’t think he meant to do so in an urn.”

Mara petted the label. “I’d rather err on the side of caution than be haunted by his restless ghost …”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Ted Strutz

 

A Leap Of Faith

 

She always knew the road could end.

Rickety throughout, it got almost impassable in places. It was a folly, she’d been told. A fool’s errand. Doomed to fail.

The way had never been fully completed, quite possibly never fully traversed. So many had abandoned it that there would be no rest stops, no soft places to lay one’s head.

Indeed, each step confirmed the lack of maintenance.

Still, it was her path to take, her journey to attempt.

And when she faced the maw, the utter void of all support, she knew.

She could turn back.

Or she could leap.

 

 

 

For Rochelle‘s Friday Fictioneers

Photo Prompt: © Alicia Jamtaas

 

 

Not Rolling With It

 

“No way I’m doing that!” Ming shook his head.

“Oh, come on, don’t be a wimpy dimpy!”

Ming narrowed his green eyes at Mei-Mei, whose body was swishing in what he knew was part-dare, part-enticement, part-mockery.

“Not happening,” he turned to leave.

“Ha! I knew it! Told General Tso you’d be too chicken to give it a whirl.”

Ming hissed. That hurt. Mei-Mei was beautiful, but mostly on the outside.

He swished his tail at her. “You wanna ride the toilet paper? Go ahead. Roll with it. Be my guest. I’m not falling into that bowl.” 

Again … Once was enough.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Trish Nankivell

 

Water Wait

 

“Who put it there?” Moe grumbled.

The waiting room was almost empty, but it only added to his resentment. Don’t people know it is cruel?

Alisha looked up from the small screen that consumed her waking moments and too many of what should have been her sleeping ones.

“Put what where?”

At least she was sort-of-paying attention.

“That,” he put as much contempt as he could manage with a parched brain into the word. He hated clinics. Especially this one.

“Oh, it’s yours,” Alisha handed him the water bottle. “Nurse said to have some. Told you no need to fast.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Marie Gail Stratford

 

One More Time

 

It was going to be a stretch, but the alternative was silence.

And they could not. Not with the possibility that someplace, someone, was still listening.

After all, you never knew what people managed behind closed doors with all kinds of inventions that obscured their virtual footprints from those who’d mine their minds for false and profit.

Hadn’t there been exploitation in them, too? In their own broadcasts?

“We hold to truth,” Boss said.

And fastened onto truth, they nodded.

“Good evening, folks,” they said with tight smiles flickering. “We have the news. After which we will bid you goodbye.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Reality Check

 

The audience filed in. Excitement filled the air. A buzz of swishing coats and hushed conversation. Flash of cameras.

A few fans sidled reverently to the still-empty stage.

“I see his water bottle!” Millicent pointed.

“I know!” Brenda answered breathlessly.

The two grabbed hold of each other, starry-eyed with anticipation.

Their idol.

They could hardly believe they were about to breathe the same air as he.

A curse sounded. A figure stumbled into sight. Two men rushed behind to all but drag it back offstage.

“Could it…?” Brenda whispered, crestfallen.

“No!” Millicent demanded. “He won’t. Let’s find our seats.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

All Things Considered

 

All things considered, she had everything she needed.

More than she thought was there, really. More than some might consider necessary.

She leaned back in her chair, then leaned forward to straighten a stray implement. Adjust another.

“Orderly desks make orderly minds,” Papa always said. Pointedly.

She might not manage to get much order in the latter, but she sure could try to tame the chaos of the former.

And it did look better organized, she had to admit.

Now, if only the desk could fill loan applications. Or order funds to her account so she could pay the bills.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: Jan Wayne Fields

 

 

 

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!)

 

Not Forgotten

 

It was his favorite saying, so of course it was the one they chose. Never mind that no one else would understand the meaning. “Others,” he’d say, “have their own stories to hoard or trim or bloat or be rid of.”

They knew that no matter how far Heaven was, he’d see this and smile.

He’d taught them to let go of what held them down.

“Gone!” he would announce, tossing fistfuls of dirt to the wind to aid the transformation. “You’re free of this. You can move on!”

His motto gleamed above the desert sand.

Gone, but not forgotten.

 

 

Photo prompt © Trish Nankivell

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers