Relative Safety

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

“Should be safe to rest here,” Ron lowered Percy’s carrier. The straps left red gouges on his shoulders. The boy was too big to be carried but we had to leave the wheelchair behind.

Ron rolled his neck, glanced at the underpass’s puddle, and reached for the tablets. “I’ll purify some water.”

“Will they find us, Mama?” Percy put words to my heartache. He’d endured silently through miles of jarring terrain.

“We’ve been careful,” I looked into his worried eyes as I massaged the contracted limbs. “Also, new laws or not, we won’t let you be taken by Leave-Only-Abled-Children raids.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Crowned Castle

Castle SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

“It doesn’t matter where you live,” they said.

She knew they lied. It most certainly did!

When rain leaked onto your mattress and the wind snuck in through the window and mice crawled over your cheek in the middle of the night, it more than mattered.

“The only thing that matters is who you are,” they said.

Perhaps. But what good was it being a princess if your room was drafty and the tower creaked and the stairs were grooved with age and slippery with sloshed-over chamber-pots?

She’d swap her chamber for a page’s pallet by the hearth, if she could.

 

 

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

 

Good Enough

PHOTO PROMPT © J.S. Brand

 

“Do you really think you can do it?”

I nodded into my coffee but my heart fluttered an I-don’t-know.

“You’ll ruin the whole thing.” Stacey stuffed the last bite of bagel in her mouth and grabbed her bag, leaving me the clean up. How symbolic.

I rinsed the pot and the grounds swirled like time into the sink.

My eyes gazed out the window. We hadn’t touched Dad’s stuff. The almost-finished totem. His tools.

“You’re good at this,” he’d once said.

His praise had sustained me, but was I good enough to complete the carving that now he never would?

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Hold The Rainbow

April Pearson

Photo credit: April Pearson

 

She’s always loved rainbows. Even if they’d signaled more endings than beginnings and more lost pots of golden dreams than she could count. Perhaps that’s why rainbows were so colorful: They distracted you from the fact that they weren’t much more than a trick of light, air distorted through the sheen of still held tears. Would double rainbows herald double sorrow or a chance at joy?

“I wanna hold it, Mama!”

She glanced down at the curly head and her eyes followed the small hand that pointed at the docks across the narrow inlet. “I wanna hold it!”

“You can’t hold a rainbow, Marly.”

The finger remained trained on the colorful arch, and Laurie didn’t needs to see the toddler’s face to know the little girl was scowling. She recognized the full-body-speak from memories in her own bones.

“Come.” She bent and scooped the child into her arms. She was going to make sure life was different for this one. “Such a pretty rainbow, isn’t it? We can’t hold it, but I can hold you, and,” she reached into the go-bag that held everything they still possessed since they escaped, “you can hold your unicorn.”

 

 

For the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge

 

She Checks, Mate.

PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

 

Matt tapped his lip and danced his foot but I knew it had nothing to do with planning his next move.

“Is your mom home?” he grumbled.

“Yep.”

“So?”

“She’s not going anyplace,” I answered.

“Not like she understands any of this.” Matt was too proud to admit that her presence affected his concentration.

“Tammy’s staying.”

He scowled but must’ve heard the edge in my voice, and dropped it.

No one messed with my little sister. Nonverbal doesn’t mean stupid. Also, Tammy was memorizing all his moves. She’d show me, and next time Matt and I play, I’d win.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

First Anniversary


 

He was coming home for the first time since and I wasn’t sure what to do with the mixture of emotions swirling in me.

Trepidation. Hope. Regret. Grief. … And woven between them the pleading thread that it will magically make it as if nothing had happened. For I wanted — oh, so wanted — to undo what could not be undone …

Nothing subdued the anxiety, so I just stood by the window and waited. For days now anything I touched and every room I’d entered was seen through his soon-to-come eyes: the new cover on the sofa, the oval mirror at the entryway that had replaced the one I’d broken in a fist of pain, the small rocking-chair just where it had always been. This window.

And the steps. The wretched spot where Ella’s head had hit so hard when she fell that the stair’s edge chipped.

“You should’ve watched her,” was all he’d said at the morgue. Or since.

Twelve months ago today.

 

 

(Wordcount: 162)

For the FFfAW writing challenge

 

Dastardly Display

IMG_1432 (2)

Photo Credit: Rick Spaulding

 

“Which one’s yours?”

Mary shrugged.

“C’mon, which one?”

There was a moment’s hesitation before she shrugged again, and I grinned. Perhaps she wanted me to guess.

I took another look at the display. Mary was talented enough to create any of those pumpkins, but she wasn’t one to think outside the box. So maybe not the clown or minion. Did she even know about ninja turtles? I pointed at the shark.

She shook her head, and I was about to guess again when I noticed how tightly she held on to the edge of her blouse. Mary was taciturn but not prone to nervousness.

“Is everything okay?”

Her chin was halfway into a nod when she paused and her upper lip trembled.

A ball formed in the center of my chest. She’s scared, I realized as my body mirrored hers. Suddenly all I wanted was to get her out of there.

“Forget the silly display. Let’s get some air and you can tell me what happened.”

“But it is the display,” Mary murmured, her eyes darting to the table. “I’d made a unicorn. I came early to set up and…” she shuddered, “… I saw the clown eat it.”

 

 

For the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge

An Arrow Spent

boats trees SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

She used to splice the water like an arrow, undeterred by swells.

She’d always been better than him, though he never admitted it and she was too proud to brag and sometimes too overconfident.

They pretended playful competitions but those inevitably turned into dogged races that left them near exhaustion. Luke even capsized once, far from shore. He was upset by her gaining on him and so tired that all he managed was to slap the water with his oar and spin his boat into the wide belly of a wave. Nearly spent herself, she barely managed to help him into hers.

She’d give everything to race him again.

She gazed into the bay. She could no longer row. Her boat rested, overturned. Perhaps it kept her brother company. He, too, was beached, six feet below.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Arrow in 135 words

 

 

Sail Away

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

 

It was taking so long.

His uncle had instructed him to not leave the hall till he returned. He knew better than to defy the order.

He circled the room and looked at the paintings. He imagined conversations among sailors on the merchant ships, between soldiers on the frigates. He polished the marble counter with his sleeve. When he tired, he sat against a lamppost and pretended it was a smokestack.

The hall echoed emptiness.

He was getting cold. He was growing hungry. He needed to pee.

Only when night fell did he finally cry.

His uncle had sailed away.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Mr. Stormled’s Undoing

 

SPF 09-23-18 Fandango 2

Photo credit: Fandango

 

“How long does she have to be here?”

I’m sure Martin’s eyebrows would’ve reached the ceiling if they weren’t tied together in a unibrow.

“Mr. Stormled said, at least a month.”

Martin twisted one side of his mouth to bite the corner of his lip, and I knew there were many words he wanted to say and wasn’t. Afraid, perhaps. Many were. There was something about people – if they were people at all – who controlled such things.

Stewart Stormled didn’t frighten me, though. At least not more than most things did. I bent to straighten the small pillow.

“Making her comfortable?”

“Can’t hurt.”

“Dad won’t like this.”

Martin had a point, but Dad wasn’t in charge of this any more. He’d given up that right when he dabbled in what he shouldn’t and left us to clean his mess. Like always.

A moment trickled by.

“You think it’ll work?” For once, Martin’s voice was small.

I sighed and traced the handle of Mr. Stormled’s broken wicker chair. “Yeah. Or Mama will remain a branch forever. Julie says that’s what happened to Grandma … last time Dad tried to use magic.”

 

 

 

For the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge