Do Not Engage

Photo Prompt © Roger Bultot

 

“It’s covering its eyes.”

“Say what?” Sergeant Frank was always gruff but Leon knew a warning when he heard it. He could (almost) visualize his superior in his boxer-shorts, remote in one hand and beer in the other. One did not get between the Sergeant and his beer.

“The new statue, Sir. In Rockefeller. It’s covering its eyes.”

“Leon, are you drunk?!”

“No, Sir. The hotdog man saw it, too. And a bystander.”

“Statues don’t move, Leon. That’s why they’re called statues.”

“This one did, Sir.”

Silence.

“Sir?”

Sigh. “I’m sending Marco. Meanwhile, Leon … sit tight and … do not engage …”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Relativity

Photo Prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

“Your grandfather must be turning in his grave.”

She’d made bitterness her trademark, so finding meaning usually entailed having to decode gradients of dismay.

He figured this one was a 67 out of 100. Enough disgust to call attention to how the “good old days” were better than modern progress, while not completely dismissing the comforts of advanced technology.

“Clean power is good for the lungs,” he cajoled, half-hoping for an argument. It was his Grandma’s genes he carried, after all.

“Pah,” she wrinkled her nose. “Nothing wrong with a bit of soot to get people appreciating real power.”

 

 

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Lost Glory

Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll

 

“Did they tell you what you’d find there?”

Vince shook his head. His eyes sought the window and rose along the flagpole to its top. The silence lingered.

“No,” the Veteran said quietly. “We’d heard rumors, of course, but nothing could’ve prepared us for the conditions there.”

He took a deep breath. His hand tightened around his cup and his eyes remained glued to the flag outside. “People crammed into cold, bare rooms. Without necessaries. Not even a place to sleep. Frightened, sick children. Belligerent guards. I’m ashamed, Son. The flag I fought under now flies over American concentration camps.”

 

 

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Future Gig

Photo Prompt © Ted Strutz

 

“One day my name will be up there,” Tommy declared.

Amy rolled her eyes, but he didn’t let her dismiss-your-sibling reflex offend him. She came with him, didn’t she?

“You’ll see,” he reiterated calmly.

He’s been practicing in front of the mirror ever since he’d seen the mime in the park two summers ago. And he’s been getting good. So much so he’d sometimes crack himself up mid-sequence. He was ready!

The talent show was in three hours. He’d used all his holiday and birthday money for the entrance fees. He had $10 left to his name.

“Hey, Sis, want pizza?”

 

 

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Incoming

Photo Prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

He wondered if the trains will still run after it happens.

If the luggage, piled in little mountains of possessions, will wait patiently for familiar fingers that won’t come, or will surrender, indifferent, to any rummaging hand.

If there’d be any.

When its all said and done.

He felt the urge to check his watch but curbed it. The digits never changed sufficiently when you were waiting.

Instead, he let his eyes glide over the other passengers, then up the columns where the dual landing strips awaited the incoming spaceships, already brightly lit.

Had to mean it was almost time.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Left Behind

 

They walked around, eyes wide, not touching anything.

“It’s like a museum,” Lilly breathed.

“Only with ghosts,” Samantha shuddered.

Lilly shot her a warning glance and slid her eyes toward Mikey. As it was the boy woke up screaming every night.

This was the first intact house they’d seen. Well, almost intact. It had a roof, walls, and shutters that had protected some of the windows. It even had a wood-burning stove. They needed the shelter more than any ghost might, and Mikey didn’t need additional terrors.

She forced a smile. “Let’s find some water and make tea, shall we?”

 

 

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What If?

Photo prompt © Ceayr

 

“Are you sure this is the house?”

“It says 345.”

“What if it’s the wrong number?”

“It’s not.” She unfurled a sweaty fist to show him the piece of paper and its slightly smudged pen marks. “It says right here.”

“What if you wrote it down wrong?” His eyes met hers, mirroring her apprehension and amplifying the seeds of doubt that tightened shoots of worry in her stomach.

She shook her head, courage evaporated.

It was one thing to flee their miserable surroundings. Another entirely to knock on the door of the father who’d rejected them even before they were born.

 

 

 

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It’s The Tropics

Photo prompt © Susan Eames

 

“How long has he been sitting there?”

Brody shrugged. “Was there when I got here.”

Linda glanced at her husband’s torso. Brody had two hues: pasty-white or lobster-red, and it took him about an hour to transform from one to the other. He was reaching lobster status. At least an hour, then.

“What’s he doing?”

Brody scratched under his shades, and Linda noted to herself that his face was following his chest’s example. “On the phone?”

“Put your shirt on, Captain Obvious. But why there? Is he watching for something?”

“It’s the tropics, Dear. Pirates, runaway coconuts, or tsunamis.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictoneers

 

Pinned Hopes

Photo prompt © J Hardy Carroll

 

She planned every detail.

The dress. The cake. The decorations.

What games to play. Who to invite. The invitations.

She fretted over treats and props. The seating arrangement.

The day dawned bright. The weather fair.

The flowers gifted blooms. Butterflies came to visit.

The cake turned out close to perfect.

The dress fit well. Even her hair cooperated.

She breathed it in.

She smiled.

She waited.

The only thing she did not foresee

Was no one showing up,

And only her mama there

To wrap a scarf around her eyes

To hide the tears

As she pinned the donkey.

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all the children whose parties turn to pain. To those who are all too often left invisible due to social awkwardness, adversity, disabilities visible and invisible, social isolation, bullying, and the myriad ways indifference (let alone direct cruelty) can a child’s soul maim.

 

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Dive Right In!

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

The water glistened.

Gloria shook. “I don’t think I remember how.”

“Just do it,” Jody said. “It’s like riding a bike. Your body never forgets.”

I never had a bike, Gloria thought,  and there is much I worked hard to have my body forget. Especially since that day.

“It’ll come back to you,” Jody urged. Ordered, almost. “Dive right in!”

It was the edge in the trainer’s voice that did it, and what it brought back was not welcome.

“No.” Gloria pulled her swim cap off. “Not here. Not yet. Not today.”

 

 

 

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