As the shadows lengthened
At the end of day,
On the direction
Of her way.
And while we’re at it, for today’s Which Way Challenge
He kept it all these years.
A memento of sorts. Something to remember things by. A penance, perhaps. Or a tribute. Sometimes he wasn’t sure which one it was. Or both.
Some nights he’d leave their bed, her light breath highlighting the heaviness that had kept him from sleeping, and walk to the garage just to look at it. To remind himself of what is real and what was possible and what should never once again take place.
Even if it could.
It was the only lie he’d ever told her, though in truth it had led to many more lies — of omission, of deflection, of withholding aspects of himself he could not let her know about. Not ever.
Or did he someplace hope to one day let her know?
For why else would he keep it?
Sometimes he thought that his refusal to do away with it was his way of warning. Himself. To not allow himself to fall into an illusion of what he was not. Perhaps a warning to her, too, to read between the lines of what he couldn’t tell her.
Of the damage he could do. Even in accident. To the ones he’d loved.
For the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge
“One day my name will be up there,” Tommy declared.
Amy rolled her eyes, but he didn’t let her dismiss-your-sibling reflex offend him. She came with him, didn’t she?
“You’ll see,” he reiterated calmly.
He’s been practicing in front of the mirror ever since he’d seen the mime in the park two summers ago. And he’s been getting good. So much so he’d sometimes crack himself up mid-sequence. He was ready!
The talent show was in three hours. He’d used all his holiday and birthday money for the entrance fees. He had $10 left to his name.
“Hey, Sis, want pizza?”
“How would this work, exactly?”
Jason shrugged and bent to scratch a bug-bite on his ankle, shaggy mane covering his face.
Mark narrowed his eyes. “Seriously, Man, who’d put a mailbox on a crypt?”
Jason straightened, and not for the first time, Mark couldn’t help but think of puppets with too many strings and too few fingers to operate them. Everything about Jason was too long, too lanky, too loose. It was as if someone had forgotten to tighten the screws in his friend’s joints. He’d known Jason since Second-grade, yet something about seeing his classmate’s movements in this setting, woke a bell of alarm in Mark’s belly.
He moves like a mummy, he realized. Shuddered. Shook it off.
“My Granny says some use it,” Jason replied, oblivious.
The tow-headed boy nodded. “Requests for revenge, mostly, she says. After all, it is the crypt of a mass-murderer.”
He wondered if the trains will still run after it happens.
If the luggage, piled in little mountains of possessions, will wait patiently for familiar fingers that won’t come, or will surrender, indifferent, to any rummaging hand.
If there’d be any.
When its all said and done.
He felt the urge to check his watch but curbed it. The digits never changed sufficiently when you were waiting.
Instead, he let his eyes glide over the other passengers, then up the columns where the dual landing strips awaited the incoming spaceships, already brightly lit.
Had to mean it was almost time.
She’d never have believed the vastness had she not been there to see it.
On the edge of endlessness.
The breath of eons crashing at her feet.
The spray of ancient rhythms that had been there
Through war and storm and hope and flood and cold and warm and days like this when no one but herself was there to witness it.
She’d never have believed the power that it held, contained within each curl of wave, in every roll of whitecap licking sand.
It filled her.
With awe and ache and gnawing yearning to something that went beyond her words and into thoughts unformed, or perhaps ones made of memories in utero: the hiss, the beat, the drums of hearts.
To merge into
In endless harmony.
For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto (2nd week)
They walked around, eyes wide, not touching anything.
“It’s like a museum,” Lilly breathed.
“Only with ghosts,” Samantha shuddered.
Lilly shot her a warning glance and slid her eyes toward Mikey. As it was the boy woke up screaming every night.
This was the first intact house they’d seen. Well, almost intact. It had a roof, walls, and shutters that had protected some of the windows. It even had a wood-burning stove. They needed the shelter more than any ghost might, and Mikey didn’t need additional terrors.
She forced a smile. “Let’s find some water and make tea, shall we?”
It cracks the rock and pushes forth
To skies that swirl in
“Are you sure this is the house?”
“It says 345.”
“What if it’s the wrong number?”
“It’s not.” She unfurled a sweaty fist to show him the piece of paper and its slightly smudged pen marks. “It says right here.”
“What if you wrote it down wrong?” His eyes met hers, mirroring her apprehension and amplifying the seeds of doubt that tightened shoots of worry in her stomach.
She shook her head, courage evaporated.
It was one thing to flee their miserable surroundings. Another entirely to knock on the door of the father who’d rejected them even before they were born.
original fiction, rhyme and photography
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