Gateway

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She pulled the reins gently, but Mathilde was already slowing. Perhaps the mare knew where to stop. Perhaps she understood Elana’s shift in the saddle.

The horse tensed under her thighs.

“I know you want to gallop,” Elana patted Mathilde’s sable neck. “We’ll just stop here a minute.”

Mathilde snorted, then lowered her head to nibble on a cluster of dandelions by the gatepost.

“It’s been too long,” Elana whispered. To herself. To the plaque the ancestor she was named after had placed at the property’s threshold. A crest. A warning. A gateway.

Elana reached and Mathilde pranced sideways, bringing them flush with the square of gray granite. “Thank you, Em,” Elana breathed.

Her fingers traced the carvings and rested on the wheel of time.

The air around them shimmered. Bent. Restored.

The pasture rippled in the sun and she heard a clash of swords. Laughter.

“Let’s go visit Great-Grandam!”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

The Raise

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“Will you stop it already?”

Davie swallowed a sigh and lowered his eyes. He was making them stick out like sore thumbs.

“Only tourists and amateurs look up,” Bessie admonished, kicking a dry piece of sidewalk gum. “Real New Yorkers have already seen everything.”

Perhaps, but he had yet to. And he wanted to notice. Everything. Who lived in the tall building? Whose shoes were tied overhead? Why? Was it a memorial? A gangster’s territorial?

“Raise plow,” he read, imagining. He was looking up again.

“If we’re caught,” Bessie hissed,”the only raise you’ll get is welts from belting.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Roger Bultot

 

Green Grace

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“I didn’t even know where she lived.”

Maya shook her head, agreeing. “Don’t think anyone knew.”

“I did,” Sydney whispered.

Deena and Maya turned to her and stared. Tears made a path through the makeup on Sydney’s cheeks, ruining an hour’s worth of work in front of a mirror.

“Spill …” Deena demanded after Sydney said no more. “You brought us here!”

“Yeah,” Maya echoed, encircling the overgrown garden and weed-filled greenhouse with her arm. Goodness knows the condition of the stone cottage. “How come you know where Rock-For-Heart…” she shrugged apologetically at Deena’s kick. “Sorry, now that she’s, um, gone…where Professor Rockfort lived?”

Everyone gave a wide berth to the gruff professor in musty tweeds and bushy eyebrows. Her snap was prodigious, and her marks were stingy. Why would anyone even want to know where she lived?

“Her name was Grace,” Sydney sniffled. “And she was my great-grand aunt.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Anew

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She took the bus to near as possible. Then walked. A few cars honked, perhaps to offer a ride. Perhaps to get something she wasn’t offering.

She waved them off. Walked on.

It made sense to arrive by foot. As in the times before.

The times she should have no way of knowing, yet did.

Remember.

They’d tried to put her behind locked windows between soft walls when she first tried to speak of it.

She had learned not to.

But her soul knew.

And there it was. As then.

Almost.

The stone crumbling, yet still her olden home.

Anew.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Hallowed Sleep

burial cave israel

(Photo: Amitai Asif)

 

She didn’t know that where they lived was sacred. She thought all places of sleep were.

“When the body rests, the soul may travel,” her grandfather taught. “The dark makes space for dreams to manifest.”

She never doubted this referred to sleep of various lengths.

Hers, which ended when she woke. Others’, who slept on.

The catacombs were home.

To her.

To them.

One day her grandfather did not wake.

His voice now traveled in her dreams.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: catacomb in 77 words

 

Inside Job

 

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“It doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside …”

“Yea,” Elianna intoned, “it’s what on the inside that matters.”

“Exactly,” Jennifer winked. To be easily discouraged was a privilege of the young. Something time cured. Or tanned into tough old leather. She chuckled. 

“What?” Elianna sounded wounded.

“I was laughing at myself, Eli.” Jennifer tested the length of her chains. Sink to bed to door. “We can do not a thing about that horrid gate or those who guard it, but let’s put some elbow grease into this door and make our inside view a good deal better.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Brenda Cox

 

Stable Home

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They thought it mattered to him that it wasn’t fancy. That he’d care it was damp. Or old. Or cobbled together from what materials could be found.

They were wrong.

All he ever wanted was a roof that did not leak, a hearth that could be lit, food enough to fill his belly, safety in his sleep, a bed that did not bite, walls that did not threaten to collapse about his ears.

The cabin was all that.

And more.

Sure, it had housed horses, and smelled of them, sometimes.

It only made it more a home.

A stable home.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Lisa Fox

 

She Will Not Become

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(Photo: Roberto Martinez on Unsplash)

 

She will not become a mannequin.

Her mother may have images of what a daughter looks like.

Her father may hold his of what she must not, at any cost, resemble.

Her teachers may believe she found bad friends.

Her brothers had supplied them.

 

To all she says –

In mind if not in volume –

That she will not become,

A mannequin.

 

She will find her own way.

Her look.

Her path.

Her mirrors.

 

Enough already lost,

As childhood magic

Left,

And stripped

Her life austerer.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Mannequin in 85 words

 

A Case of Spoiled Rotten

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“You’re pouting.”

He hated crowds. “I’m not having fun, Ma.”

“Then why come? You could’ve stayed behind, along with the long face.”

Mani sighed. “I tried.”

“So now I tied you up and carted you along?”

Pretty much, emotionally. He shook his head. “Sorry, Ma. I’m in a mood.”

“A mood? What’s a mood? If you bled like a woman, you’d know about having a mood. You just have a case of spoiled rotten.”

“Yes, Ma.” It was easier to agree.

Ma craned her head. “Ah, now, lets see if these Jewish Greeks can cook anything worth eating.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Roger Bultot

 

Almost Time

Storm Approaching Naama Yehuda

(Photo: Na’ama Yehuda)

 

The skies darkened. A distant rumble rolled.

She stared out the window and tried to suppress the nub that tugged and pulled and nibbled at her innards. The others seemed oblivious. But she knew.

It was almost time.

She’d foreseen it.

They had dismissed her premonitions. Her knowledge of things hidden. How what she willed, was.

The clouds gathered. Answering her call.

Her mind wobbled under their layered, quickened swirl. From the effort of control.

A flash of movement.

A voice.

“Come away from the window, Ms. Bentley,” Nurse Tabitha manifested at her elbow. “It is time for your medicine.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers.

(And how fun that you chose to use my photo! 🙂 )