New Neighbor

 

“What on earth?! Have you seen her?”

Molly looked up from her coffee. The swirl of mocha infiltration on the milk froth in her cup was fascinating. She licked her upper lip, tasting calm and morning.”Seen who?”

“Her!” Abby flicked her head urgently in the direction of the kitchen window.

“Do I have to?” Molly pouted. Her sister was altogether too excitable. Surely there was naught wrong with sitting idly with one’s breakfast. However, she could not recall the last time Abby did anything but gobble down her toast, gulp her tea, and pop right up in search of dishes to wash, counters to wipe, cabinets to put to order, or lists to make.

Abby’s chest rose in what was certain to turn lecture.

Molly sighed, stood, and craned her neck to see. White uniform. Red crosses. Pink rubber gloves. “Oh, her? Sheri. Our new neighbor. A nurse or such.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

His Lamppost

 

They didn’t quite expect him to show up as he had, but most of them who’d known him weren’t all that terribly surprised. Not really.

Not when he had made himself comfortable under that very lamppost, every evening and in every weather, for as long as anyone could remember.

It almost made sense, then, that he would.

Manifest.

From the beyond.

Some began to keep a distance from that corner after dark.

Others, though, just walked on by.

“Evening, Mr. Barns,” they’d tip their head in the direction of his halo.

Even when alive, he hadn’t been known to respond.

 

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Definitely Not Pie

 

“Is that where it goes in or is that where it comes out?”

Shirley thought it was obvious, but it was true one should not assume, let alone when something appeared to be mundane but could be the exact opposite. She took a step forward and leaned closer.

“Step back, you fool!” Daniella pulled her neighbor away from the bin that had just manifested onto their shared driveway. She should have known Shirley would be impulsive. The woman once cut into her own potentially-prize-winning rhubarb pie before the contest was even over. “Are you trying to get abducted?”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Rowena Curtin

 

 

A Point Of View

green-gate CrispinaKemp

 

“He’d left it that way on purpose,” the late owner’s grandson pointed.

Sarah regarded the old fence with its mossy stains. Bushes crowded near and the trees grew so close they’d soon be integrated into the fence. A thorny climber threatened to lock the gate from within, and she wondered how many times it or its predecessors had done so, how many times it had been gently pruned to keep the portal functioning.

“For a trellis?” she bent her knees to peek out through the slats on the ladder-like bit of fencing adjacent to the gate. The front of the property was fenced in stone. Only this portion in the rear was wooden. She almost liked it better. In her mind’s eye she saw roses. Or sweet peas. Or jasmine.

“For a view.”

She glanced up.

“Old blood feud with the neighbors.” The man explained. “But he loved their daughter.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

At Arm’s Length

gy-row-at-night CrispinaKemp

 

“You cannot avoid her forever,” Mom’s sewing barely paused as she cut the thread and got another length through the eye of the needle, “not when Alice lives but an arm’s length away.”

I hunched miserably over my own sewing, the tip of my tongue lodged against my teeth where it would not show but can still provide me some security. The ‘hidden’ stitch kept sprouting comas of thread on the side of the hem one wasn’t supposed to notice any. I was hopeless at needlework. Mom still insisted.

I avoided you finding safety pins in my hem, I thought to myself, and our cramped quarters allow even less than arm’s length.

“I’ll go around,” I tried.

Mom actually snorted. “You think Mrs. Munster will become your thoroughfare?”

I shrugged. Mrs. Munster’s house bridged the alley. She was a dragon, but I just couldn’t face Alice. I was too ashamed.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

 

 

Window Washing

Photo prompt @ A. Noni Mouse

 

Her husband thought she loved to cook, which she did, but not exactly. He thought she liked the cleaning up after, which she did not, or not for the reasons he believed.

She didn’t correct him. It worked right fine for her that he would sigh contentedly after they had finished eating, and then transfer his happy belly to the den to read the paper or watch some TV.

Washing up gave her the perfect place.

Her neighbor, body glistening, exercising in the room he’d made into a gym, its window facing her sink.

She thought of it as dessert.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Ruby Rudder

cosmin-serban-PUPVs0bIU3I-unsplash

Photo: Cosmin Serban on Unsplash

 

The boat was old and holey, but that did not matter. They never intended for it to be sea-worthy. Haruto didn’t like to get his feet wet, and Miyu had seen enough leave for the waves who did not return. Neither one of them had a hankering for sea-sickness or for gutting fish or for seaweed tangling the rudder and weighing down the nets.

They had a different goal instead.

The neighbors raised collective eyebrows when the couple hauled the vessel, hull protruding in the air, baring barnacles and showcasing slime.

Haruto and Miyu just nodded, plopped the boat against the workshop’s wall, and disappeared into it without a word of explanation.

They didn’t owe it to anyone and they didn’t know how well the end result would be. Better to keep mum until they saw for themselves how well the idea translated from a dream to action. And the neighbors’ bafflement was fun.

For days they sawed and sparked and banged and nailed. One morning the boat got swallowed by the workshop with only a small bit of the aft sticking out. The next day it was the other end. The smell of primer and varnish and paint permeated the air.

The neighbors mused and wondered. A few doors down the street, Mrs. Adachi placed bets with Mr. Chinen.

Holes were dug in the backyard. A mixture was poured. Poles wedged in.

Mrs. Adachi’s bet went up. Mr. Chinen raised his.

Then one early morning there was a new commotion. Ropes and pulleys, a few curses, far too many bangs.

The neighbors came out. Offered a hand.

By the time breakfast was ready, the boat was securely perched like an awning over a diamond of poles. A hammock strung below, shaded but for a dapple of golden strips of sun. The rudder, painted ruby, pointed to the stars.

And for the next year, Mrs. Adachi was going to have the benefit of Mr. Chinen washing her car. …

 

 

 

For RDP Tuesday: Ruby

 

 

 

The Light On

Photo: Sue-Z

 

They left the corner light on at night.

A habit.

A ritual.

An understanding.

The stone path had been there before they bought the property, and the remains of a lantern post. It was right where they’d wanted a vegetable garden, and so at first the plan was to plow the area clear and remove the slabs and pebbles.

But then the hoe broke.

And then the belt on the mower.

And then there was the matter of their daughter’s bellowing every time they tried to work on that part of the yard.

She was barely two at the time. Not quite talking. And yet she managed to throw “No! No!” tantrums and pull at their clothing and plop herself in utter-toddler-dejection right onto where they aimed to work.

“You best give up,” their neighbor nodded her warty chin, sage eyes not unkind in understanding.

It was the Fair Ones, she explained. They had their own paths. Their own energy highways.

“The ancients had marked it. To hold space and to deter the mischief. It is easier. And the young ones can still see.”

They left the light on.

Repaired the path.

Moved the vegetable garden.

Life was better calm.

 

 

 

For Sunday Photo Fiction

 

 

Hide And Go Seek

memory SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

It was the best place to play hide and go seek.

At least, that’s what they wanted him to think.

It was also the best place to go missing.

Not that they’d tell him. …

He had no reason to suspect anything was amiss. Not when the whole troop of them had ran together all the way to the weathered monoliths that dotted the small glens by the ancient cliffs. Not when the game had ensued with much merry running and grabbing and stone-circling. Not even when most of the children had headed back home for supper as dusk neared, but he was invited to stay “and play a bit longer” with a handful of the most popular kids.

He was new in town. He felt included. He felt welcomed.

He should have felt scared.

“He just disappeared,” they later said. “We thought he’d gone home with the others.”

“It has happened before,” their parents nodded, wrapping arms around the shoulders of their feet-shuffling children and forming a united wall against the ashen faces of the boy’s parents, the newcomers who never should have come, who never could belong. “The boy must have wandered away in faded light and fallen into a sinkhole.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

The Joneses

 

“Did you see what the Joneses got?” Marco gazed out the window.

“Don’t tell me you are falling for this nonsense!”

Marco swallowed a retort. His wife often yelled first and considered second. Getting into an argument in ‘phase one’ only delayed (or destroyed any possibility for) ‘phase two.’

“So?” her hands left wrinkled wet spots on her kitchen apron.

“I’m considering it,” he allowed. Silence tended to increase her ire.

“And for what Godawful blasted reason?”

He shrugged and tried for his one-sided smile. It used to work like magic in the past. Still did, sporadically. Worth a try.

The corners of her eyebrows shifted slightly away from each other. Good or bad, he wasn’t sure, but it was now or never.

“We could tie our Blimp to it, Dear. It is all the rage to have one’s own anchor. Makes it so much easier to unload the groceries.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge #64