Watch Out

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“See that thing?” Holly whispered.

“What thing?” Harold mumbled, eyes barely lifted from the miniature screen of his new smart-watch.

That thing!” Holly covered her brother’s wrist with her hand. “Over there.”

Harold sighed and looked around. Old metal fences that once cordoned lines of people. Rotten concrete. Musty dankness. A deserted skating rink. What’s to see?

“Nothing,” he shrugged.

Holly exhaled exasperation. “That bird,” she hissed.

“Oh. A brown pigeon. Unusual coloring.”

His sister’s fingers tightened around his wrist and he grimaced at the pressure on his watch. It was new. She’d ruin it before he could show it off. “Hey, let go! What?!”

“I don’t care about its coloring. It is staring at us!”

“It’s just a bird.” He scrutinized the gate. His friends were very late.

“Yeah? Bet you won’t say that when it calls millions of its friends to dive in and peck us to death!”

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Worse Things

 

“At least you got a day off and a pedicure out of it.”

There was no mistaking the jealousy in Marianne’s voice, and Belinda glanced at her scowling co-worker before returning her gaze to her toes. She had an urge to wiggle them but thought the better of it. It’ll hurt.

“I guess I did,” Belinda responded. No use adding that she ‘got’ pain out of it, too, and the sorrow of forgoing dancing at her sister’s wedding. Marianne will only make it a competition of misery.

There were worse things than torn ligaments.

She could’ve been born as Marianne.

 

 

Photo prompt: © Susan Eames

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Blindsided

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“Once you’re out the other side you’ll be one of us.”

Marco hiked his chin to try and eye the larger boy through the slits of light underneath the tight blindfold. He wanted to take the stupid thing off. It was scratchy and smelly and made him feel sad.

But to do so would be to give up and be left out. He didn’t want to be left out. Again.

“What if I crash?” he tried but didn’t quite manage to keep the quiver out of his voice. He was afraid of the dark. And of falling. The others knew it. That’s why this test. To weave a skateboard, blind, through the concrete blocks in the underpass.

“Then,” Roberto replied haughtily, “you will have only yourself to blame for not being good enough.”

Marco blinked. It sounded wrong.

Before he could pull the blindfold off, someone gave him a push.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

All Color Gone

 

They will not be coming home.

She paced the few steps from her door to the deck’s edge and back again. She gazed up at the washed out sky. Watched as the shadows encroached on the small lawn to blanket the rocks in the graying garden. Her breath was heavy in her chest.

They will not be coming home.

With every blink, the hues were fading. Taking with them memories of laughter, of pitter-patter, of wet wool and hot cocoa steaming by the fire.

The telegram emblazoned in her mind.

The boys will not be coming home.

All color gone.

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all those who knew and know such loss.

Photo prompt: © Sarah Potter

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Not Much Sweeter

ccc105 CrispinaKemp

 

There was not much sweeter than Grandpa Gulliver’s honey. Then again, there was not much that was sweeter than honey. Berries, perhaps, in their short season. Or maple syrup, when they found it. But there were not many maples left anymore, and those she knew of were not particularly generous with their sap now that they had to parse energy for growing.

But there was Grandpa Gulliver’s honey. The slow pouring amber liquid of deliciousness. As valuable and as glorious as gold. The warmth of happy in her mouth.

Grandpa Gulliver had built Hive Homes for the bees. Tiny mansions of industry where workers and queens could shelter from the rain under eaves that shed the snow and cut the wind.

She used to watch the ins-and-outs for hours. The buzz. The promise.

Now they stood desolate.

No bees. No Grandpa Gulliver.

Who knew they’d all be taken, sweetness gone?

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Fall Festive

 

It was barely fully fall but the weather seemed intent on ensuring none of them would be able to ignore the coming winter. Morning frost. Freezing rain. Evening flurries. Weekend snow.

“So much for global warming,” Moise moaned.

“It’s Climate Change, Pops,” Ben interjected. “It makes mayhem to let us know how much we’d messed things up.”

“Whatever it does,” the older man waved at the window, “it is not as it should be.”

“Perhaps,” Bernice entered with arms full of pine bows, lights, and tinsel, “but we can still make it as festive as we want in the interim.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Whistling Into Wind

 

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(Photo: Janko Ferlič on Unsplash)

 

She had vowed to not come back. Ever. Not to live. For sure not that.

It did not mean she would not try to visit. Or to glimpse. To set out in a morning’s determination only to curl around via rambling roads and pause at every bridge and barn until it got too late to see a thing or she lost nerve and drove home steeped in a tired mix of relief and disappointment.

“I’ll come with you,” Elmira finally said. She placed a warm hand on the base of Anastasia’s neck, hoping to soften the tension it held whenever memories threatened flood.

Anastasia shook her head. “There is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles.”

“And yet,” Elmira kneaded gently, “the Orphanage’s whistles still tell stories. Perhaps the likes of which your soul insists ought to be heard.”

 

 

Prosery prompt: “there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles” from “Drawings By Children” by Lisel Mueller

For the dVerse prosery challenge

 

 

What She Left

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(Photo: Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash)

 

There was not much there for her to

Bequeath:

A bit of lore.

A song no one had sung

Before.

Handwritten maps of forest paths

That others were likely yet to

Find.

A man’s sweater someone must have left

Behind.

Assorted photos of odd things,

Like stumps of trees

And rocks

And feathers that her favorite cat would

Bring.

There was not much for her to

Bequeath.

But what she had,

All could concede,

She loved and therefore

Was itself

A gift

Of life well-lived.

 

For Sammi‘s Weekend Writing Prompt: Bequeath in 85 words

 

The Long Wait

Waiting CrispinaKemp

 

“You coming?” Betty scanned the space to make sure nothing was forgotten, slung her pack over her shoulder, and headed for the door.

“Nope.”

“Are you serious?!” she swung around to stare at Ron.

“Yep.”

Her arms began to bend and she was just about to press her palms to her hips, when she exhaled, shook her head, and stuck her hands in her jacket pockets instead.

That’s what he wanted. Another argument. Another delay.

Not this time.

“Suit yourself,” she said.

His incredulous intake of breath was almost worth a glance. She resisted the urge.

“You’re a coward!” his words chased her in a continuation of the arguments they’d had. “I’m not a quitter. I’m gonna stay and see this slump through, and when you come crawling back, I will not let you in.”

She drove away.

The town had since dissolved but apparently Ron still waits.

Sort of.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Better Happy Than Sad

 

“You think he’ll win?”

Shlomi shrugged. Elections or not, he was distracted by the scents wafting from the cart across the stone-paved alley. His wife would kill him if he drank any of the juices. Diabetes would kill him, too. So it was just a matter of whether it’ll happen on his terms.

Or not.

He sighed.

“Get that pomegranate juice,” Abdul urged. “You know no one makes it like my father does.”

Better die happy than sad.

“Abu Abdul,” Shlomi called across the narrow alley. “One pomegranate?”

“For sure, Habibi,” the old man grinned. “Want that fake-sugar in there?”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers