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Photo prompt: © Douglas M. MacIlroy

 

“Do you still have it?”

“Let me see,” he nodded at the screen even though he knew she couldn’t see him.

“Okay.”

The tremor in her voice told him everything: How tender she felt, how brave she was, how she couldn’t bear for him to ask directly lest it shatter what brittle control she managed to maintain.

“Got it,” he breathed. Attached. Hit ‘send.’ “Check your email.”

The line was silent. Then her voice, full of tears. “I knew it. I knew it hadn’t been a dream. She said she’d visit. From the after. Exactly this way. … And she came.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

His Promise

Photo prompt © Jeff Arnold

 

It took him months, but he stuck with it.

It took a lot of coffee, and a great deal of wine, and a good bit of yelling at the keys and cursing at the window, and a heap of crumbled sheets of paper flung across the floor in balls he sometimes let stay there, staring dejectedly at the ceiling as he wished to do, too.

A million times he wanted to give up.

He didn’t.

Not when he had promised her he’d write her story.

One finger at a time or not, he was going to learn how to type.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Taking Off

Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll

 

He packed his bags late at night, tiptoeing around the sleeping figures of his flatmates. His plan would only work for one.

Well, two, perhaps … But much as he wanted company, he knew from experience that the only person he could truly rely on was himself, and he couldn’t afford to add the caprice of another human into an already iffy situation.

He made his way through quiet side-streets, ears perked and eyes peeled. He would approach the lot from the back, scale the pole, rope and lug his luggage up, distribute the weight, check the dials.

Takeoff before dawn.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

Once Upon A Swing

Photo Prompt © Ceayr

 

“It’s where he comes to make a wish,” Johanna whispered over her swing’s ropes as the girls passed each other on the swing-set, ringlets flying in the breeze.

Marie’s eyes widened and she forgot to pump her legs. The old man looked like many others she’d seen. Or was he? She’s never known anyone grown who made wishes. In real life. Into a fountain. Like in stories. It made her wonder what other things in tales were true. Perhaps goblins? Or princesses?

“His wife died, you see,” Johanna added, impressed by her cousin’s reaction. “He wishes for her to return.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Ain’t Got Much Of

FF RogerBultot

Photo prompt: Roger Bultot

 

“She keeps the shelves half-empty.”

I turned at the voice. A gnarled hand leaned heavily on a carved stick. The man’s chest was almost parallel to the stained cement floor.

I crouched so I could make eye-contact yet spare him the strain of lifting his head. He smiled. For such an ossified body, his expression was remarkably lively.

“My wife,” he raised an eyebrow at the display. “I’d space the boxes, but she says that what people think we ain’t got much of, reminds them of the empty spaces in their own pantries and how there’s always room for more.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

 

Upstaged

 

The lights seemed brighter than usual that night. The music louder than remembered. The movements blurred. The words slurred. The heels on the wood rung jackhammers in his head.

He clenched his teeth and dug his nails into the worn velvet of his seat to keep from squirming.

She’d worked so hard for this.

The years of training. The months of practice. The weeks of rehearsals. The days of excited anxiety as the premiere neared. The long awaited curtain calls.

He was not going to let his daughter’s performance be upstaged by a migraine. Or a stroke. Or an aneurysm.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Slip Slidin’ Away

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Now that it was time, she couldn’t get herself to do it.

The ice around her heart mirrored the slick coating on the deck, the driveway, the car. The accumulation of cold thinned. Her resolve cracked.

It dripped and melted into tears where the memories took hold. Where the sweet moments were as real as the many that weren’t.

Perhaps she should just wait longer. Hope for spring. Pray for summer’s warmth. Forget the frozen tundra that their relationships had become. The hurt. The broken bones.

The more she was nearing her destination, the more she was slip slidin’ away.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Bonus track of the song that played in my head as soon as I saw the photo:

 

Out Focus

Photo prompt: © Ted Strutz

 

He wanted to take the glasses off but it was not allowed.

The penalty was devastatingly permanent.

True Focus was reserved for a selected few. A privilege. Stealing it would result in losing all sight. Both eyes.

He blinked and tried to calm the nausea that came with the distorting lenses. He never got used to the dizziness. Or the headache.

He didn’t think they were meant to.

“Loyalty above clarity; Fealty, not facts.”

It was chanted. It was law.

A disoriented population was the goal.

He grieved for the realities that had been ignored when freedom still had hope.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Wait For The Light

Photo prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

“Can we go to the playground, Mama?”

The woman stroked the small forehead to compose herself and smiled into the over-bright eyes. “It is the middle of the night, Cara.”

“Can I see?”

The woman tucked the blankets under the child and lifted her. The bundle in her arms felt devastatingly like the infant Cara had been a handful of winters ago, and heartbreakingly almost as light again. She turned so her daughter faced the window.

“It’s dark,” the girl sighed. “I’m tired, Mama. Maybe I wait for the light?”

“Yes, Cara,” the mother whispered. “We wait for the light.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

Last Course

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

“So nice of them to give us ice-cream!” Sheri grinned. It was her favorite brand, too. On a plane! How fun!

“Even people on death row get a last meal.”

She elbowed him. Her friends said Robert was a party-popper. A fuddy-duddy, spoil sport, malcontent. Sometimes she wondered if they were right. Her husband did have a way of deflating. She felt bad for him. Life must be so gray, to experience life his way.

“Well, I’m going to enjoy mine,” she announced, infusing extra-cheer into her voice. “If it’s my last course, I’ll be halfway up to heaven already.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

(Note: Thank you, Rochelle for using my potentially boring 16 hour direct flight photo from JFK to Hong-Kong from the summer before last … While this is not an ad, the ice-cream sure was a comfort … 🙂 )