Frozen In Time

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“What’s he doing there, Papa?”

“Serving his time,” he didn’t need to look to know what his granddaughter was pointing at. He could see it with his eyes closed. In his sleep. Seared into his very dreams.

“What time?” the innocence in the child’s voice returned him to the present. She could not know. So many died so she would not need to.

“His time in war,” he explained.

“To fight?” the green eyes were round under the cascade of unruly hair. The girl never could abide any hair-ties. Her mother despaired. He found it enchanting. He’d forgotten what it was to have hair

He nodded.

“But he’s just watching,” the child noted.

“Yes,” he nodded.

“Forever?”

He looked up at the man frozen in time. So many of them were.

“I hope not, child.”

She pressed his hand.

“I shall bring him a blanket,” she said. “And a pup.”

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

The Gift

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(Photo: Jennifer Burk on Unsplash)

 

She was not there.

Of course, she did the work. She wiped the sinks. She did the wash. She peeled the taters. Washed the floors.

But she was not there.

Not when people stopped by. Not where there were any windows open or any blinds up.

She’d been smuggled to them as a child.

A gift.

From someone.

To the man and lady of the house.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Smuggle in 66 words

 

No Reflection

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(Photo: Pixabay)

 

The full-length glass was bedecked in heavy gilded glory. A forest of paintings crowded around it, their layered oils glistening in the candlelight.

She stopped and stared back at the faces. Unsmiling figures in stiff postures clad in roiling silk and velvet cloths.

Perhaps they ought to have felt familiar. The line of jaw, the slant of brow, the coil of hair above a hooded eye. She had seen all those before. She could again. If she just let her eyes glide toward the mirror.

She would not.

Know them.

Her ancestors.

Her captors.

Both.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Mirror in 95 words

 

Untenable

 

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(Photo: The NYPL on unsplash)

 

They didn’t plan to bring

With them

A legion of

Trouble.

They only wished

To find,

For their

Loved ones,

A measure of

Escape.

A new home where

They could

Be safe.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Legion in 32 words

 

The Shucker

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A girl’s voice protested. A cackle followed.

Leah kept her head down and her eyes on the task before her. There was a quota to complete if she wanted anything in her stomach, and she could make her body dead to wandering fingers. She’d learned how. The hard way. The only way.

When the foreman finally moved on, she gritted her teeth and tried to not compare slime to slime.

Not that she would ever touch the stuff. And not only because it was forbidden.

Beside her, Mandy sniffled. “How can you stand it?”

“Perhaps she doesn’t mind him,” Becca hissed. “Seeing how she never cries.”

Leah clenched her teeth, locked her knees, and steadied her breath. She focused on the fading light glinting on the blade. “No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”

 

 

 

 

For the dVerse Prosery writing prompt


Prosery prompt quote: “No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” (Zora Neale Hurston, from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow, 1928)

Photo: Hine Lewis Wickes, The Library Of Congress https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/nclc.00919/

The Underside of Recollection

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(Photo: Mick Haupt on Unsplash)

 

It was merely by a feather,

But nonetheless a

Tether

To a life before,

When friends were at the

Door,

And when she did not have to worry

About honor, trust, or

Glory.

She held on to the underside

Of recollection.

To the roots of love that

Promised a

Direction.

For there had been simplicity to life,

An implicit understanding

That words as given were meant

To keep,

And that the sun will rise in

The morn after a

Sleep.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Tether in 80 words

 

Solitaire

 

He didn’t think much of the place at first. A chance to put his head down at night under more than just the stars or rain or ice. A plot of land to grow some food on. A space to store the crops and foraged goods that would hold him through those seasons when there was far less available that required far more effort to find.

The paperwork bequeathed him the abandoned croft and several boggy acres around it. The right to hunt and fish. The responsibility to repair and maintain the stone walls and the property, now a historical site, without altering the landscape.

“No villas, no mansions. No golf courses,” the solicitor had stated, only half in jest.

“No worries,” he’d answered.

All he ever needed was a room, a roof, a hearth.

And solitude.

For sanity.

Crowds made his belly flutter and his ears ring and his feet fidget with an ache for fleeing. The chatter made him cringe. The swift ticking of clocks made his heart skip some if its own beats.

The open spaces slowed his panic.

Calmed the bickering voices that would otherwise ricochet between his ears.

He built. He farmed. He slept. He woke. He walked.

He didn’t think much of the place at first. Then the old house became a home, the plot of land became his gem, and the hills became both fort and fortitude.

His very spirit soothed.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto challenge – Welcome back, Sue, we missed you!

(Photo credit: Sue Vincent)

 

Tested

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Photo: Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash

 

Perhaps they did not know when it would come, or what it would require to what end. But they had to know they’d face the crucible that will reveal a moral fiber, if they had one.

They’d have to choose then: good or bad, peace or harm, truth or falsehood.

It would appear an easy choice, to go for better judgment. And yet they had so tangled themselves in the net of lies, that extrication meant losses they weren’t quite prepared to reap. Not when they hoped for revenue from crouching behind flags of insurrection.

They capitulated.

Dark history, revisited.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Crucible in 100 words

 

 

Back In Time

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Photo: Ronan Furuta on Unsplash

 

After years of failure, ridicule, he was finally ready.

To find out the truth. About himself. About where he’d come from. Where he would’ve belonged.

He turned the dial. Held his breath. Grasped the handles. Stepped on the lever.

The world spun.

Time thumped.

A banshee screamed in his ear. Perhaps the wind. Perhaps his own voice.

When vertigo subsided, he swallowed bile. Inhaled. Opened his eyes.

A man in furs crouched near him. Spear in hand.

Boron’s heart flooded with relief and delight.

He knew it!

He was, down to his DNA, a troglodyte.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Troglodyte in 95 words

 

The Present

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(Photo: Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash)

 

She was shaking when I entered the room. Hands wringing, lips trembling, her eyes a shade of numb I had rarely seen.

Mary had called me. She had come to check on her and bring a midday repast. Mother being too proud to ask for help, even though her legs no longer held her sturdily or long enough to cook herself a decent meal.

Appearance and stoicism were Mother’s barometers of standing.

Socially and otherwise.

Not that you’d know it from her mascaraed cheeks.

She pointed to the antique book I had gifted her the previous evening. 

I understand, therefore I’ll live,” was scribbled in the cover. “R.B. 1941

Mother pressed a notepad on me. Scribbled on it were the same words. Same letters. An older hand.

“I forgot,” she whispered, caressing her initials. “But reading what I have just written, I now believe.”

 

 

Prompt quote: “Reading what I have just written, I now believe.” (Afterward by Louise Gluck)

For the dVerse prosery challenge