Dream Come True

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It only took him 300 years. A breeze, considering.

Many took longer. Some – like Olives and Redwoods – required a millennium to achieve Elder. No fault of theirs, of course, but still … many times longer than he’d had to.

His from-seedling brother had thought him nuts. Literally. “Wait and wait to reach Elder and all you get for your trouble is being bent out of shape, your roots hanging out, and critters crawling in your innards.”

His brother had other aspirations. “Sail the world, I would. Ride the ocean. Move on the wind.”

Elder hadn’t had the heart to tell him that he’d be just as likely to end up planked as some dark closet, with no fresh air or birdsong or butterfly-kisses. Or worse, chopped to burn.

It’s been centuries since lumberjacks carted his brother away.

He was Elder now. Guardian of the path. Home of many.

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Lady In Waiting

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(Photo: Na’ama Yehuda)

 

If he could make it there, he’d make it anywhere.

It was the axiom he had placed everything on.

He held on to the promise when his body hurt from beatings. He played the image of it in his mind when emptiness of heart and stomach kept him from shut-eye. He whispered small encouragements to himself to drown the insults that insisted he was nothing.

For he was. Someone.

He had to believe.

The words she said.

About where he could be.

Himself.

If he lived.

So he did.

And lit beneath storm clouds, she stood, waiting.

For the day.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers (Thank you for using my photo as a prompt this week!)

 

Writing In The Sand

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She shifted her weight and sand squeezed warm between her toes. Heated not by sun – the orb still far too distant in such early spring – but because she’s been standing still so long that the permeating chill under her soles relented to the constant pulse of lifeblood in her veins.

A bird called. Another bird returned. An insect buzzed a disharmonious song. It will be summer soon.

She felt her chest rise in a breath and her eyes skimmed the expanse of shimmering ground, patient, waiting for the tide.

Today, perhaps, he’ll come.

Today, maybe, he will return home from the wild, where waves rose high and ships dipped low to the ocean’s floor.

There was a writing in the sand. A code left by the crabs. The gulls. The seaweed.

She waited. Wavelets licked her feet.

Perhaps today something of him will wash ashore.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Everything

(Photo: Inbar Asif)

 

It was everything

To her

To tend the naked vines that sprawled

Across her soul,

And through the long cold

Winter

To let the sun pour 

Over

The sprawling expanse of not-yet-sweetness,

As she hoped

And prayed

For fruit

Ripening amidst abundance

Into wine.

 

 

For the dVerse poetry quadrille challenge: Wine

Waiting To Travel

 

He left the house each morning as he always had, a bag with his lunch slung over a shoulder.

The harbor was no longer where he had to be, but work never was just an employment. It had been his world. Even more so since Marissa left to roam the realms beyond this world.

To him her current travels were as real as the ships that left for unseen places only to return with goods that others had stacked for his crane to unload.

One day he will sail to where Marissa was.

Till then, he watched each day unfold.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers 

Photo prompt: © Roger Bultot

 

Ruby Rudder

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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

 

 

 

If Tied

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“If tied,” she said, “come by.”

“If not…?” he asked.

Her shake of head stilled any of the questions he had swirling inside his. It cooled his urge to argue. He knew it wouldn’t help. He knew it would only make what was already unlikely, impossible.

In the days that followed he found every reason to visit the gatepost. He wasn’t meant to come too close, but the nearby field offered cloves that his mare suddenly required, and there were numerous trips to town that merited taking exactly the dirt road that hugged parts of the property.

He drooped with every thread-less passing.

He couldn’t sleep.

He felt angry, worried, sick.

Till one day, as he rode by on an errand for a parcel, he saw it. A pink thread. Tied.

Her parents relenting.

They’d let him court her. Even though his father, in his drunkenness, had killed their son.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

River Run

 

She could not sleep for the excitement.

A dream come true. A lifelong prayer answered.

She lost count of the times they’d gone without, made do with little. They saved. They scrounged. They worked. They sought. They searched. They found.

Only to be turned down. Back onto the merry-go-round.

It was not for sale. It was too old. It was rotten. It was tied up in legal battles. It was too large. Too steeply priced. Too small.

She almost lost hope.

Then this. Beat up and needing some work. Their Goldilocks perfection.

He didn’t want to sell. His late wife’s boat. Her family’s name. Nope.

They begged. They pleaded. They tried to explain.

Finally … he relented. Perhaps they wore him down.

They drew the contract. Argued. Fretted. Signed.

The boat was theirs.

“You must rename her,” he stressed, pen in hand.

Of course.

Tomorrow it will become her River Run.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Eventually

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

He spent the day lying in the field. Waiting.

Eventually someone would miss him, or wonder about how come he is so late.

Eventually they will think of sending someone to check.

For the moment, all he could do was gaze up at the skies, his leg in an angle that no leg should be in, and his breath curtailed to the smallest gasps as to limit the stabbing pain that traveled through him – like a snake’s bite and a red-hot poker combined – if his lungs filled up enough to move the lower part of his torso. He’d never been more acutely aware of how all joints connect.

A marvel, really.

And a pain.

He almost laughed at his own joke only to remember the infinite well of torture that he’s been finding over the hours he’d been this way. There was no bottom. Only crests of agony he could know and not know of, ride and fall off of, let be and let go.

In the first hour after it happened he’d been angry at himself for the stupidity of attempting to leverage boulders that should not be attempted solo. The stick, not sturdy as he’d hoped, snapped in half, sending him to the ground in an way he could not reconstruct for the blinding nausea of torment that had ensued. He didn’t know what part of his leg it was that broke, or not exactly. Raising his head even just a little led to the world spinning and a blackness closing in, and not only from the clouds that seemed to gather.

He wasn’t angry anymore. There was nothing left in him to spare on blame.

The grayness above grew heavy. It would not be long before the rain.

He’d be miserable in the muddy wet.

It would also bring people faster. They would not expect him to misread the weather. They’ll question. They’ll come.

A drop tickled his nose and he suppressed a sneeze, almost crying with desperation to avoid more pain.

A call sounded, and for a fraction of a second his heart soared. But in the next, awareness filled in: it was not a human’s.

He opened his eyes to a quartet of geese flying overhead. Wings flapping asynchronously against a rising wind.

“Fly safe,” he mouthed, eyes overflowing with misery in spite of himself. They could move. He was jealous. He was helplessly alone.

More drops fell. Tears or rain, it did not matter.

He held on to the imprint of the silhouettes against the spitting heavens.

Soon, his family will realize he hadn’t come home. Soon they’ll wonder about it enough to worry where he was. They’ll send someone.

For the moment, all he could do was breathe, and hold in all the sobs, and let the pain wash over him like rainfall.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

The Visitor

 

“He should be here soon,” Ernest’s inert body belied the excitement in his eyes.

“It might not be today,” Gertrude noted. She knew he had to hold on to hope, but she could not bear to see him wade across another disappointment.

There have been far too many of late. And more coming.

“Oh, it will,” Ernest insisted.

Gertrude nodded. When he got something firmly into his head, there was little use in trying to dissuade him. Nor much to gain from it, really.

She wheeled him to a sunny spot out of the wind, arranged the blanket over his lap, and brought herself a stool. The both of them could use fresh air as well as what vitamin D they’d manage making.

They sat. She dozed off.

His cry woke her. Joy. Not pain.

“He’s here!”

Merlin, he’d called him. The osprey rested twice-yearly, mid-migration, on their chimney stack.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge