The Colonists

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

They would come out when dark was complete under a moon that was yet to be reborn.

First a scout would be sent. One not quite old enough to have their wisdom be missed, but not quite so young that they’d be careless or uninformed. It was an honor and a worry, both. For not all scouts returned, and laws dictated that no one is to follow and the outing abandoned until the next dark comes. The safety of the colony outweighed any singular life, no matter how heartbroken they were over losing one of their own or how many nightmares wracked the communal dreams for many sleeps afterwards.

Most times, blessed be the hidden stars, the scout would return safely. If they confirmed that all was as it should be, any who could walk would funnel topside through the tunnels that honeycombed their underground world, and out into the rocky canyon which was formed a million years ago by a whip of light from the stars.

The colony would climb over hills of leaves and navigate the muddy ponds at the bottom of the canyon, all in silence that only the heartbeats in their collective chests would pierce. For the predators were many and the colonists were small and peaceable. They lacked fangs or claws and were opposed to weaponry. The universe that sprawled beyond the walls of their rock canyon provided the provisions they required. They took the danger with the blessings.

Once beyond the relative shelter of the canyon walls, they’d fan out to forage and gather: edible leaves, stalks of grass for feed and weave and bedding, acorns, nuts, seeds, berries, and the occasional fallen fruit or discovered tuber that required many hands to trundle back into the tunnels where they lived.

They’d work until the elder who tracked the darkness passed the whisper to return, and they would fall in line to carry the final batches home.

The last to enter the canyon would pull a broom of leaves behind them – a gesture of traditional thanks for the sustenance, and a practical act for sweeping away many footsteps. The ancients had tunneled pathways for them to emerge into the night from, but there was no need to make those very pathways highways to decimation. They took care to not be known.

With all returned, the elders would seal the rocky door and bless it closed, and the colony would sigh relief as the rock itself would seem to whisper as it settled into slumber til the next unborn moon darkened the sky.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Challenge

 

Meet The Rain

Photo prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

“I want to go up, Papa!”

He looked down at the downy head, at the small frail finger pointing at the Big Wheel. “It is too high, Son.”

Your heart can’t take the excitement, he thought but didn’t say. The rain made tracks on his cheeks but he didn’t wipe them. The hospital said he could take the boy home. There was not much they could do for his son anymore.

“I want to go up, Papa,” the child insisted. “I want to meet the rain there. It will be my friend tomorrow … when I go live in the sky.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

  • Dedicated with much love to E., who I’m certain is excellent friends with the sky and the rain … and whose promise to send “hellos with the rain” broke our hearts even as it had become the gift of healing and courage to her parents.

 

Reclaimed Royalty

 

https://naamayehudadotcom.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/7d39a-co.jpg?w=615

Lord O’Neill’s Cottage, Ram’s Island (from article in the Dublin Penny journal – 1830s) 

 

He’d come from royalty. Or at least from those who should’ve been but history had been too blind to realize their value. He’d seen promise in his older brother James: a lust for power and a need to force his will onto others. But James hadn’t shown enough self-preservation for a prince. A pity … but at least it left no issue of seniority.

Since childhood the conspiring doctors tried to claim him ill with “grandiosity.”

His mother failed to see. “We come from farmers, Thomas. Always have.”

Perhaps she truly believed her forefathers were but serfs to the O’Neills, but he knew better. He’d seen himself in the drawing, and it fit what he’d always known: He was destined for more, a royal progeny.

He’d take the island by force. It’ll make them realize it was past time he reclaimed what was his by rights, even if forgotten by history.

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Northern Ireland

 

Not For Sale

three line tales, week 163: a special deal

Photo: Artem Bali via Unsplash

 

I will not be for sale. Not today. Not tomorrow.

Limit not my conditions. Offer no terms for me.

There’s no deal worth my special. Shelves or fly off – I’m free.

 

 

For Three Line Tales

 

Out Played

Photo prompt: © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

 

“It’s an effing eyesore.”

“I don’t care.”

Martin balled his fists but Susan just gazed at him.

She said nothing but he knew: Raise a finger on me and off to jail you go. The judge was clear: Anger-Management or prison. Martin took the former but could swear Susan’s infuriating behavior intended to get him the latter.

He inhaled slowly before turning away. “When Sanitation fines us,” he growled, “it’s all yours to pay.”

“Fine,” she shrugged. “Though I think they won’t.”

He glared. “Why? Got connections?”

“Nope,” she patted the rotting piano. “I’ve registered it as street art.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

When The Ice Breaks

greenland icebergs-933003_1920

Photo: Barni1 by Pixabay

 

He said he’ll be home when the ice breaks.

And every day she waited, one baby tugging at her skirts and another growing restless under her heart, and tried to not look at the field of crosses planted right outside her window. Reminders of the many who the frigid sea or dark winters or the loneliness of this place at end of the world had claimed.

Some days she hated Greenland. The endless nights. The gnawing cold. The monotony of the same few faces and the bickering that eventually picked open old scabs and gauged new hurts for the next arctic dark to revisit.

Other times she couldn’t fathom living any other place. Summer’s endless light. The sparkle on the water. Pups, babies, and not-so-babies frolicking. The wide spaces full of breath and warmth that thawed old sorrows into joy. It felt like coming home.

Will he?

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Greenland

 

Black Friday

Photo prompt: © CEAyr

 

“We’ll call him Friday,” Emmaline stated.

Roger glanced up. They’d just left the restaurant and he had urgent emails to check. “Call who?”

“Him.” She pointed toward the bike, which was parked across the alleyway between a bush and a wall.

He squinted and frowned simultaneously. Emmaline’s cryptic tendencies were sweet sometimes but annoying most other times.

He saw no one. His frown deepened. A stupid black cat perched on his bike’s seat, fur puffed as if it had just stuck a paw in a socket.

“See?” Emmaline laughed. “He adopted our bike on Black Friday. Let’s call him Friday.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Ice Maiden

castell-deudraeth-portmeirion-wales-p

Photo: Castell Deudraeth in Portmeirion, Wales

 

“My room is haunted,” Daria mentioned over toast and jam.

Margaret rolled her eyes and Daria stopped chewing.

Margaret sighed. Vacation or not, her twin was sure to find drama someplace.

“Honest, M! Something kept whispering ‘Aber Iâ’. What does that even mean?”

“Ice haven, Miss,” their waitress manifested with more tea, Welsh rolling heavy on her tongue, “also, glacial estuary.”

“And?” Daria pressed.

“There used to be a mansion on these grounds, Miss. In the 1700s. Was called ‘Aber Iâ’.”

“See?” Margaret looked pointedly at her sister. “You must’ve heard someone say it and it stuck in your mind.”

“Someone said it in my room!” Daria insisted. “All night!”

The waitress shifted uneasily. “What room are you in, Miss?”

Margaret glared.

“Might be the bwbach, see?” the young woman fiddled with her apron. “She can be restless sometimes but she’s never done no one any harm.”

 

 

Trivia:

  • bwbach — ghost or phantom in Welsh
  • Aber Iâ — Ice Haven or Glacial Estuary in Welsh. Also the name of an old mansion that used to stand on the grounds of what is now Castell Deudraeth, a hotel in Portmeirion Village, Wales.

 

For What Pegman Saw: Portmeirion Village, Wales

 

Merry-Go-Round

Photo prompt © Jean L. Hays

 

“Used to be a zoo,” Ol’ Joe stuffed his cheek full of chewing tobacco. No frowning from Mama could make him give it up.

I gazed at the empty parking lot. We kept the market open by sheer willpower and another mortgage.

Mama often argued it was money down the drain, but Pops would shake his head. “History is a merry-go-round, Penny. It’ll come back. We just have to hang in there a little longer.”

Then the two of them would look at Ol’ Joe, and I knew: closing the business would kill him. Grandpop’s life was tied into Route 66.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

The Perfect Shoes

20190224Photo Courtesy of Susan Spaulding

 

She came across them at the thrift store, squashed in a box along with moth-eaten scarves, a pair of slacks with holes that could tell many stories, two helplessly dented hats, and some fabric scraps.

She was about to lift a shoe to ask about the price when the proprietor glanced in her direction. “Those are by the box,” he drawled. “Take it or leave it. No picking.”

“How much?” She swished her hand inside the box and shrugged, worrying he’d overcharge her if he detected interest.

“Thirty.”

Her eyebrows hiked up on their own accord. The shoes alone were worth ten times as much.

“Twenty, final offer,” he misinterpreted her gesture.

She gazed into nearby containers till her thrumming heart settled down and she could pour something less jello-like into her legs.

“I’ll take it.”

She carried the box to the car fully expecting to hear the shopkeeper’s voice calling her back to point out a mistake. No call came.

Finally at home, she rescued the shoes, stuffed them with tissue-paper, and placed them reverently under Great-Great-Grandma’s bridal gown. Family lore was that she’d had big feet and had to wear men’s shoes. Those were a perfect match.

 

 

For Susan’s Sunday Photo Fiction