Rail Road

rail road PhilipCoons

Photo: Philip Coons

 

 

Where the rail

Meets the road

And the gravel

Kisses tracks,

Linger not

At the cross-point.

For the trains

Will chug on

And engines run

Because they can.

 

 

For the Which Way Challenge

 

Not For Sale

three line tales, week 163: a special deal

Photo: Artem Bali via Unsplash

 

I will not be for sale. Not today. Not tomorrow.

Limit not my conditions. Offer no terms for me.

There’s no deal worth my special. Shelves or fly off – I’m free.

 

 

For Three Line Tales

 

Out Played

Photo prompt: © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

 

“It’s an effing eyesore.”

“I don’t care.”

Martin balled his fists but Susan just gazed at him.

She said nothing but he knew: Raise a finger on me and off to jail you go. The judge was clear: Anger-Management or prison. Martin took the former but could swear Susan’s infuriating behavior intended to get him the latter.

He inhaled slowly before turning away. “When Sanitation fines us,” he growled, “it’s all yours to pay.”

“Fine,” she shrugged. “Though I think they won’t.”

He glared. “Why? Got connections?”

“Nope,” she patted the rotting piano. “I’ve registered it as street art.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

A New Dawn

pink sunrise KarenForte

Photo: Karen Forte

 

“…There’s a special beauty to the world resuming definition. I always loved pre-dawn and the gradual emergence of the world from under wraps of darkness. A hesitant light followed by a glorious brush of sunrise obliterating the black with oranges and yellows so bright you must look away and blink, only to find morning had arrived.

I walked faster now that I could see more of the ground in front of me. Brambles and tangled roots were easier to avoid and step over when I didn’t need to test every step.

Sunrise in the forest felt gentler than the ones I’d sat through on my porch. Not so much a blinding line of light across the sky as it was a filtering of color working its way from the canopies above and down the foliage, branches, trunks and finally the ground. Tired and worried, I still found myself mesmerized by the wonder of it all. Goosebumps covered my arms not only from the morning chill but also from something that felt almost like a memory: pink sky chasing blue across the ceiling of the world, the dazzled dance of dust along the shafts of molten, golden light. It felt familiar. Maybe I had seen a forest-sunrise during my own life’s dawn. …”

(Excerpt from “Outlawed Hope”)

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Sunrise

 

Black Friday

Photo prompt: © CEAyr

 

“We’ll call him Friday,” Emmaline stated.

Roger glanced up. They’d just left the restaurant and he had urgent emails to check. “Call who?”

“Him.” She pointed toward the bike, which was parked across the alleyway between a bush and a wall.

He squinted and frowned simultaneously. Emmaline’s cryptic tendencies were sweet sometimes but annoying most other times.

He saw no one. His frown deepened. A stupid black cat perched on his bike’s seat, fur puffed as if it had just stuck a paw in a socket.

“See?” Emmaline laughed. “He adopted our bike on Black Friday. Let’s call him Friday.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Living Wild

Female Nubian Ibex Osnat HalperinBarlev

Photo: Osnat Halperin-Barlev

 

You have come to my

Backyard,

To my desert,

My home.

So why look

So surprised

To see me coming

Along?

 

 

Trivia:

Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana) are desert-dwelling goat species that are found in mountainous areas of North Africa and the Middle East. The wild population is considered “vulnerable” and is estimated at only 1,200 individuals. Nubian ibexes stand around 65–75 cm (2.1–2.6 ft) tall at the shoulder and weigh around 50 kilograms (110 lb). They live in rough dry mountainous terrain and are a light tan color, with a white underbelly. Males also have a dark brown stripe down the back. Nubian ibexes have long thin horns which extend up and then backwards and down. In males these reach around about 1 meter (~ 1 yard) in length while in females they are much smaller and reach around 30 cm (~ 1 foot).

 

For Terri’s Sunday Still challenge: Wildlife

For Becky’s Spiky Squares challenge (even though this is not strictly a square …)

 

The Key

Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

 

Practically everyone but the real-estate agent had been against him purchasing the place.

“That heap of rot is a death trap,” his friend Tomas had said.

“It is haunted,” Fran had shuddered. “You’ll get murdered in your sleep and become another ghost, just like them.”

Others hadn’t been much subtler:

“The place is a wreck!”

“This monster will eat up all your money and spit you out broke and homeless.”

“Are you out of your effing mind?”

“Gosh, Dude, you need a shrink!”

To be fair, the last two statements were probably true. … Not that this stopped him from finding ways to manage all these years without a shrink. Not that there weren’t times during the first year in the house, when the old thing seemed intent on falling about his ears and his bank account skied a Black Diamond toward zero, when he didn’t wonder whether his mental health was sliding south just as precipitously.

But he’d held on to his bootstraps and soldiered on. In part to not lose face but mostly because he had indeed sank so much of his limited assets into the house that there was no way out but through. He gave up his rental apartment in town and erected a tent in the middle of the mansion’s living room where the roof leaked the least. He uncovered the well and hauled out buckets of muck before clean water once more found purchase. He cleared paths through the overgrown hedges and the man-height weeds that overtook what had been a lawn around the house. He scraped moss and mold off of stone walls. He evicted pigeons, rats, squirrels, countless spiders, and a skunk that made sure her discontent lingered. He discovered woodwork under paint, a carved gate under briars, a clubfoot tub under rubble, and a door to a hidden passageway behind a rotting cabinet.

Here and there a friend would agree to help with this or that, and twice he’d hired someone with engine-muscle to lug out things that needed more than human-power. But most his friends couldn’t help (and some refused to ‘enable’ what they declared an insanity), and hiring anyone ate big bites out of a budget that wasn’t hefty to begin with. So he buckled down and did much of the work himself, making small but steady dents in a mountain he did not think would ever yield to order. The list of things left to do only kept growing: parts of the roof needed repair, the kitchen floor needed replacing, the electric lines were too ancient to hold power, the pipes leaked, and the sewers were more roots than flow. The work was Sisyphean.

And still … between moments of sheer desolation and utter despair, he realized that he was actually sleeping soundly for the first time in his life. A smile would sneak onto his lips as he sanded this or patched up that or cleared another mess of spider webs or thickets. He hummed an ear-worm for a whole weekend and no one shushed him for not being able to carry a tune.

It was as if he’d accepted the house and its flaws, and the house in return had accepted him. He felt happy. He felt at home.

The realization stunned him.

Though he wouldn’t have been able to articulate it at the time, he came to understand that the reason he had been drawn to purchasing a run-down estate with overgrown grounds in the middle of a god-forsaken forest, was in part because of memories of another building surrounded by a tall stone fence: the “Home” that never truly was one and yet had been the only model he’d had.

He’d accumulated more moments of abject misery in the “Home” than he ever wanted to recall. Countless nights yearning to be old enough to leave … even as he’d feared the day he would be made to do so.

This long-neglected house with its aged stone fence and beautiful wide gate, was his. No one could tell him he’d aged out and could not stay. No one could tell him that his bed is needed to make room for someone else, or that it was time for him to fend for himself and no longer rely on the charity of others to feed and clothe and put a roof over his head.

It didn’t matter that the repairs would take years and that most of the rooms would not be usable for just as long. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have a clear plan for what he’d use all these rooms for. What mattered was that this old place was real. That it was full of history and memory. That it stood firm onto the ground and offered to be the roots he’d otherwise have no way to lay claim to. This house was him. Healing it was the key to who he could become.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo prompt invitation

 

Layer By Layer

layered trek OsnatHalperinBarlev

Photo: Osnat Halperin-Barlev

 

Layer by layer

They go back

In time,

Descending through eras

They can carefully

Climb.

What whispers

What stories

Does the wadi

Impart?

Will their souls see

The footprints

These rocks know

By heart?

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Layer

 

The Perfect Shoes

20190224Photo Courtesy of Susan Spaulding

 

She came across them at the thrift store, squashed in a box along with moth-eaten scarves, a pair of slacks with holes that could tell many stories, two helplessly dented hats, and some fabric scraps.

She was about to lift a shoe to ask about the price when the proprietor glanced in her direction. “Those are by the box,” he drawled. “Take it or leave it. No picking.”

“How much?” She swished her hand inside the box and shrugged, worrying he’d overcharge her if he detected interest.

“Thirty.”

Her eyebrows hiked up on their own accord. The shoes alone were worth ten times as much.

“Twenty, final offer,” he misinterpreted her gesture.

She gazed into nearby containers till her thrumming heart settled down and she could pour something less jello-like into her legs.

“I’ll take it.”

She carried the box to the car fully expecting to hear the shopkeeper’s voice calling her back to point out a mistake. No call came.

Finally at home, she rescued the shoes, stuffed them with tissue-paper, and placed them reverently under Great-Great-Grandma’s bridal gown. Family lore was that she’d had big feet and had to wear men’s shoes. Those were a perfect match.

 

 

For Susan’s Sunday Photo Fiction

 

Fly By

fly by moon OfirAsif

Photo: Ofir Asif

 

Fly by

The moon

And kiss a new star

Goodnight.

 

Fly by

The sun

And let its light touch

Your mind.

 

Fly by

In play

To draw a blue skies

Outlined.

 

Fly high

Today

And know I’m not far

Behind.

 

 

For the Sunday Stills challenge: High flight