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

 

Two By Two

twins OfirAsif

Photo: Ofir Asif

 

“Do we have to?”

“For the hundredth time … yes, we do!”

“But no one else is going!”

“No one else will be around for long.”

She felt his pouting through the ground. His clomping had a rhythm for each mood, and this one spelled: I’m thinking of an answer to refute you. She counted his foot-beats and waited. Never took more than a minute, with this kind.

“So Noah says.”

She couldn’t help but smile at his predictability. “So he does.”

His tetchy steps continued, unconvinced.

She said nothing but upped their pace a bit. It wouldn’t do to be late for this one. They cleared the lee of a dune and a gust of wind blew sand into their faces. She shook her head to clear it from her ears.

“And you believe him?”

At that she paused and turned her head toward him. “I’d rather believe him than perish.”

“But look!” He bellowed, and if she hadn’t known him well she would’ve missed the fear under the notes of clear frustration. “There’s not a drop around.”

She sighed. For all her projected certainty, he was voicing the doubts she did not let herself express. The blue skies mocked her loyalty, and the parched ground billowed dusty clouds as proof of the utter lunacy of leaving the herd to follow some two-legged prophet and his nightmare.

And yet, her own dreams had been filled with thunder. She’d wake startled, breathless with the premonition of a fruitless escape from tumbling mud that rose above the highest dune and all the way to the horizon and beyond.

She breathed and chewed her cud a moment before resuming her walking. She’d rather be a fool who lives. Especially with the calf that she could feel kicking in her womb.

“Noah said he’ll have fresh hay and all the food and water we can stomach,” she cajoled.

“Alfalfa, too?”

She grunted her assent along with her amusement. Her mate had always been partial to alfalfa, and the rare treat’s season had long passed.

“He promised some of that, yes. And barrel-loads of dates.”

His footfalls overtook hers, excited now. “Dates?! Why didn’t you say that sooner? Stop dawdling and pick up your feet! How much farther to that ark, you said?”

 

 

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Two

 

Wagon Trail

wagon trail PhilipCoons

Photo: Philip Coons

 

Hitch the horses to the carriage,

Pack the trunk

(Or wagon) full.

There’s a lot yet to discover,

As we hit the road.

Now pull!

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Road

 

 

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

 

Toe in Tow

Lost Sock ArletteLoeser

Photo: Arlette Loeser

 

There’s a little

Big toe

Twirling free

On the go,

As the other

In tow

Hopes its own

Sock

To throw.

 

 

For Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Hands, feet, or paws

 

 

Fuzz Guard

 

Ducky AtaraKatz

Photo: Atara Katz

 

Listen up

Little fluff

There’ll be no mischief

And stuff.

Best make sure

That you stay

In the shallows,

If you don’t

Wish to meet

Claws as gallows.

There will be no

Dissent

Till wings let you

Ascend.

So since you are yet

To create

Actual feathers,

You will heed

Pond-time rules

By your elders.

 

 

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Feathers

 

 

Wheel No More

ToysRUs times square SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

It went up.

It went down.

It went all the slow way

Around.

It’s no more

Nor the store

But it sure was

There

Before.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Wheel

 

Elves’ Dew

Basalt Fog KarenForte

Photo: Karen Forte

 

He was a Shrouder, ordained from birth to emerge in mist and fog to collect Elves’ Dew from basalt rocks. Ordinary persons could not discern the quality of water imbued by the Fair Folk. Detecting the elusive shimmer took innate talent and a good amount of training to trust what one saw right on the edge between the real and imagined.

Elves’ Dew. The world’s very spin depended on it, and yet most people did not know or believe it existed.

Thornsten used to think it odd. “Do they really not see or do they refuse to?” he’d asked Boulder. He must have been no taller than the large man’s knee at the time. Four or five summers old at most, and a wee one at height even for that.

Most of them were. Smaller.

Early born. Sickly. Odd in growing. The ones already half-way here and half-way in the other worlds.

Boulder was in that sense an anomaly for a Shrouder. Six-feet-tall and barrel-chested, he could lift rocks the size of a small man and break little sweat for it. He towered over most of common men, let alone the Shrouders he was training. And yet he was a Shrouder, and perhaps the better of them. Or was, some said, till Thornsten.

“They see only in parts,” Boulder had responded. “Like black and white instead of color.”

“But you do not see color,” Thornsten argued. Boulder’s eyes had been milky gray with whitish film from birth. “And anyway, the shimmer has no hue.”

But Boulder had only nodded and said no more and left the boy to wallow in a prolonged pouting and to wrestle whatever meaning he could out of the answer.

It was the way of Shrouders to do so.

A moody tendency that some saw as obstinacy and some excused as a product of having seen the afterlife and been sent back on delayed entry.

Thornsten thought that was odd, too. How else was one to ruminate an understanding without time spent submerged in one’s own moroseness?

In any event, by the time he reached eight summers, he came to think of others’ lack of belief in Elves’ Dew as more of a matter of need for adequate technology for visualizing the mythical. Perhaps a bit like how people hadn’t believed that germs were real only because they could not see them, and so had refused to wash their hands from the effluvia of death before they tended to laboring women. It had been a costly — and for some, a lingering — ignorance. Same could be said for the stubborn denial of the reality of Elves’ Dew, when the essence was mandatory for life’s survival. Would there ever be lenses that could translate Elves’ Dew into what ordinary people saw?

He asked Boulder about it the next time the mountain breathed in their souls and let them know it was time to go collecting.

The cool air pooled around their feet as they climbed. It filled their lungs with memories of moisture. In the midst of resting clouds there shimmered pearls of Elves’ Dew. It boggled Thornsten’s mind that some could not see them when they were clear as morning.

“Perhaps a way would be found,” Boulder answered. “But we best ensure life remains viable until people evolve sufficiently to manage it.”

He bent his bulk and siphoned a few drops into a cask, careful to leave some behind for the Fairies.

“But evolution itself depends on Elves’ Dew,” Thornsten countered.

The large man shrugged in reply and Thornsten knew he’d get no more out of him at the moment.

They worked in silence for a while. Behind him Thornsten felt more than heard the other Shrouders. The small troop had been listening to his conversation as well as to the mountain’s breath.

He pouted, but in spite of him the calm of the misty fog filled his inside eye and guided his hands from rocky dent to basalt shelf to precious drops to cask.

Long moments past.

“It may be you, if anyone,” Boulder added so quietly that Thornsten wasn’t sure he’d actually heard words. Recently he found that thoughts had their own voice, sometimes.

He looked up to see Boulder’s milky eyes resting on him.

“You will lead the Shrouders, Thor, and much sooner than I had imagined.” The man’s mouth did not move but the words formed, crystalline, in Thornsten’s mind. “And it won’t surprise me if you’ll somehow lead the ordinary folk to the marvels for which they had till now been blind.”

 

 

 

For the Friday Fun Foto challenge: Mythical

 

Waterproof

Girl on Bank CCC25

 

“How come she’s not wet?” Ricky whispered.

Tim shrugged, but his own eyes were round.

The two were lying on the bluff above the pond on damp bellies, and passing a pair of miniature binoculars between them. Tim’s Nan would have his hide if she found out he’d ‘borrowed’ them, but Nan was dosing after an early toddy … And anyway, they needed the binoculars to spy on Gertrude, their new neighbor, who they suspected was a covert operator, or a witch, or both.

“She’s been sitting there forever,” Ricky groaned. Spying was a lot more glamorous in movies. And less muddy. “I’m soaked. How come she’s not wet?”

Tim fiddled with the binoculars. The dials didn’t work much but it made him feel important, if only because he forbade Ricky to touch them. “Must be she used spells. To make her waterproof.”

 

 

For Crimson’s Creative Challenge: #25