The Hidden

green-shed-in-trees CrispinaKemp

Photo: Crispina Kemp

 

It had been their favorite place to play as children. Filled with old tools and lopsided shelves. A leaky roof that hindered the rain from soaking them when the weather turned and they had misjudged the time.

She never would have thought that the shed would become a shelter from a lot worse than the rain. And without end. For there was no place to return.

There will be no welcome in the farmstead. Not anymore.

No warm soup waiting. No blanket. No fire to steam wet clothes as fingers thawed. Instead of of comfort, they’d likely send the dogs.

She still could not quite understand how quickly times had changed. How she’d gone from part-of to pariah.

Was she the same? How could she be, when the patch she was made to wear now defined her?

A jew, she was their plague. How long would the shed conceal her?

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Call Home

Photo prompt: © Douglas M. MacIlroy

 

“Do you still have it?”

“Let me see,” he nodded at the screen even though he knew she couldn’t see him.

“Okay.”

The tremor in her voice told him everything: How tender she felt, how brave she was, how she couldn’t bear for him to ask directly lest it shatter what brittle control she managed to maintain.

“Got it,” he breathed. Attached. Hit ‘send.’ “Check your email.”

The line was silent. Then her voice, full of tears. “I knew it. I knew it hadn’t been a dream. She said she’d visit. From the after. Exactly this way. … And she came.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Scale Things Down

giant-plug Crispina Kemp

Photo: Crispina Kemp

 

“We’re gonna have to scale things down,” The Earl noted.

“Yep,” Monterey scratched the stubble that sprouted, stubborn, on his chest. He was going to refuse the grooming nonsense next time.

“Got the shrink?”

Monterey nodded. He’d put up with the thumping for the last bit of journey. Annoying though it was, the noise did save him the trouble of going into the back compartment to check whether the cargo was still alive.

“Have him at it, then.” The Earl turned and strode back into his cab.

Monterey waited till The Earl disappeared from view before bending to rummage through the vehicle’s boot. He plucked the squirming figure out of its perforated container and held the furious man between finger and thumb.

“You’re a shrink,” he rumbled, pointing another hand at the air-ship’s anchor and chains. “These are too big. Can’t have’em stay this way. So you best shrink this.”

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

His Promise

Photo prompt © Jeff Arnold

 

It took him months, but he stuck with it.

It took a lot of coffee, and a great deal of wine, and a good bit of yelling at the keys and cursing at the window, and a heap of crumbled sheets of paper flung across the floor in balls he sometimes let stay there, staring dejectedly at the ceiling as he wished to do, too.

A million times he wanted to give up.

He didn’t.

Not when he had promised her he’d write her story.

One finger at a time or not, he was going to learn how to type.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Pathfinders

crown SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

They filed into the toothy circle, a long double line, holding hands over the green strip that split them apart.

The stone pillars stood, immobile, ever present, waiting.

There have always been golden fields in all directions. Wild, then cultivated. The rustling of the ripened plants replacing a hush that would otherwise feed unease.

For there will be no voice heard.

No word.

No song.

No shout.

Nothing said.

Just a long line of humility, stepping up the path and through the eye of the ancient circle. Waiting to be cleansed.

To be whole.

To be seen.

To walk on.

Ahead.

Out the other side and down the second path where a widening triangle fanned into the distant horizon, mirroring the measure of relief.

And from the far far spaces, well beyond the hills, the sound of voices, whispers freed, a humming on the breeze.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

Color Me Home

 

It would be the last place anyone would look, and the first thing everyone would see.

It made it perfect.

She always gravitated toward hiding in plain sight. There was equity in the blinding effect of what people learned to not see or did not know could be there in the first place.

How long would it take, she wondered, for her cover to be blown?

The longest had been almost four weeks. The closest call had her discovered before the first patch of paint dried. She’d almost lost everything that day, and the consequences were brutal, but she’d learned from it. As she had from every challenge and obstacle. Even those that were not meant to be instructive.

That was how she rolled. How she wrest back some control.

For now, this box of aqua perched on sand, seasonally emptied of its contents, was home.

The surf a lullaby.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Taking Off

Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll

 

He packed his bags late at night, tiptoeing around the sleeping figures of his flatmates. His plan would only work for one.

Well, two, perhaps … But much as he wanted company, he knew from experience that the only person he could truly rely on was himself, and he couldn’t afford to add the caprice of another human into an already iffy situation.

He made his way through quiet side-streets, ears perked and eyes peeled. He would approach the lot from the back, scale the pole, rope and lug his luggage up, distribute the weight, check the dials.

Takeoff before dawn.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

The Bubble

KeithKreates254

Photo: Keith Channing

 

“It is the only way!” he insisted.

She shook her head. She understood his urgency but he’s been going on about a string of crises for the last two hours, and her bladder was threatening to win the Battle Of Emergency.

“Are you even listening?” his voice rose, reedy with strain.

She took a breath, curbing the depth of it as to not add to the internal pressure. There was no rest-stop in sight. She began wondering if the wall of a nearby metal shipping container would have to do. With any luck, no one would be peeking out their window or strolling by or who knows.

“I really have to go,” she tried.

He exploded. “Can you stop thinking about yourself for a moment and actually take this in?!”

Her bladder cramped. Did he seriously just say “take in”?!!

He was known for working himself into a tizzy, but his anxiety and whatever issues the current times awoke in him, did not give him license to be disrespectful. “Start the car,” she bristled. “We’re leaving.”

He glared at her as if she grew antennas, which she thought was hilarious given the circumstances and his ideas. Laughter began to bubble in her belly, but she didn’t think her pelvic musculature could manage the added demand.

“We can talk more about building your floating sphere,” she added, regretting her choice of words almost as soon as it left her lips, yet finding herself unable to conjure any other imagery. “But if you don’t get me to a bathroom in the next three minutes, you’ll have to wade through bigger waters than what this world saw during Noah’s flood.”

 

 

 

For the Kreative Kue challenge #254

 

Things To Come

 

Perhaps it had been the mark of things to come, though till it arrived they did not know it (or, as some stated, they’d preferred ignoring the possibility).

There were so many explanations: Bad weather, a change in allocation, inability to keep up with need, aging infrastructure, decline in the number of those who knew how to fix things with handiwork instead of keyboards.

Of course, the sidewalks didn’t crumble overnight. It took years. Yet somehow people had dismissed a steady rise in ankle injuries. They merely shook their heads when accessibility was reduced to the long-legged spry. There was no outcry. After all, most people didn’t ambulate with strollers, walking-sticks or wheelchairs.

In the end it was the roller-bags that tipped the scale. What unconscionable disrepair allowed wheels to break in ways manufacturers won’t cover? People could not be reduced to lifting suitcases when they needed to go somewhere!

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

A Hole In The Sky

dusk SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“There’s a hole in the sky,” the child’s voice rose then hushed in part-fear, part-wonder.

“Indeed there is,” his father nodded.

The boy flicked his eyes away from the luminescent heavens just long enough to discern that his father wasn’t joking. He’d half-hoped his father would be, and his chest flooded with something like alarm when it did not seem that he was. What does it mean to have a rent in the ceiling of the universe? Would something fall through it? Would the world cave in like a shattered egg?

“Will it repair?” His voice was small.

The man put down the kindling he’d been arranging in preparation the evening’s fire. He straightened to a stand and leaned a heavy hand on the narrow shoulders of his son. Bird-like, the boy was. Fluttery and slight.

His youngest had always been a bit prone to the dramatic. The first to pick up on a change in atmosphere, the first to be reduced to tears, the first to wail at even the smallest prickling. Also the first to smile a welcome, the first to notice a green leaf peeking out of the frozen ground, the first to note the song of birds or a task well done.

He worried about such a skinless child, walking a life that did not always refrain from brushing far too crassly against tenderness. There were plenty of those who had repeatedly pressed him to be firmer with the youngster. To “toughen up the boy into a man” or “teach him how to grow a thicker skin.”

“How would I change the stripes upon a tiger?” he’d find himself replying. “Can I will a doe to become a lion?”

He could not bring himself to pain the boy as means to scar him into roughness. The child was made to be whomever he was made to be, and all a father could do was try to shepherd him toward maturity. Such as when taking the boy on this father-son hunting journey.

He squeezed his son’s shoulder and the boy raised a frightened face to meet his eyes.

“The sky will repair, Son,” he said, “though it may not go back to what it was before. For nothing can. It will move on — from day to night to cold to warmth to wind to storm. It will tear holes in clouds for sun to stream through. It will shred them to no shade. It will sew the threads together to again cover the sun. It is all as it is and all as it should become.”

The boy nodded. He swallowed down the tears that threatened, and tried to still the tremulous vibration of the world inside his mind.

“Now, as the sky does what it can,” the man handed his son a water-skin. “Let us do what we must. If you will fetch water, I will light the fire in tonight’s hearth.”

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Challenge