Whistling Into Wind

 

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(Photo: Janko Ferlič on Unsplash)

 

She had vowed to not come back. Ever. Not to live. For sure not that.

It did not mean she would not try to visit. Or to glimpse. To set out in a morning’s determination only to curl around via rambling roads and pause at every bridge and barn until it got too late to see a thing or she lost nerve and drove home steeped in a tired mix of relief and disappointment.

“I’ll come with you,” Elmira finally said. She placed a warm hand on the base of Anastasia’s neck, hoping to soften the tension it held whenever memories threatened flood.

Anastasia shook her head. “There is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles.”

“And yet,” Elmira kneaded gently, “the Orphanage’s whistles still tell stories. Perhaps the likes of which your soul insists ought to be heard.”

 

 

Prosery prompt: “there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles” from “Drawings By Children” by Lisel Mueller

For the dVerse prosery challenge

 

 

A Matter Of Scope

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(Photo: Anna Sullivan on Unsplash)

“It was never a matter of reach, but of scope,” Morris mouthed the words around his pipe.

Ethel harrumphed under her breath, but gently. She had to take care to not move the petals or she would have to restart the lot, and there was nothing she disliked more than having to redo tediousness. Be it in business or in marriage.

“Cannot see what you find in him,” her mother had criticized her daughter’s choice of man.

“Perhaps we look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time,” her father had chuckled in knifing disapproval.

“Too long a telescope it must be,” her mother had deadpanned.

Her parents were both gone now. To the shorter end of cholera. Left Ethel and Morris the house. And a failing botany business which they were slowly but assuredly pressing into sought after art.

 

 

Prosery quote: ‘We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’ (Hummingbird, D.H. Lawrence)

For the dVerse prosery challenge

 

Night Camp

 

During the days there was glare and heat and baking sand and the parched tongue hoping for good water.

But at night, when they made camp, and the chill spooled at their feet and the camels chewed their cud and the humans picked the last crumbs of quick bread off their lap and the blankets were unrolled and small sounds of conversation carried on the breeze; there was ease, and sweetened tea, and the slowing beats of hearts ready for sleep.

And the sky, a dome of diamonds, flowing over them, the old and young and man and beast, as in their dreams they sleep with the moon and swim in the waters soon to ripple under the sun to the east.

 

 

 

Prosery prompt: “In their dreams they sleep with the moon.”–From Mary Oliver, “Death at Wind River”

For dVerse Prosery challenge

 

 

Their Bag End

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Photo: Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

 

They never did make it back from their destination. Not for lack of trying. Not for lack of plans. Not even for lack of courage or stamina or all the things that make a journey circular. There and back again. Like Bilbo Baggins looking for an adventure and finding more than he had bargained for (or perhaps precisely what he needed); they, too, found more along the way than they had intended.

The path slowed everything. Time turned to stone.

And when it was over, said and done, it was a time and there was never enough of it.

They took too long.

So much that life passed by before it could lead them back to where they had come from.

Perhaps where they ended was precisely where they needed to go.

Only that unlike Bilbo, they did not return to their Bag End.

 

 

(Prompt: from “A Time” by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke)

For the dVerse Prosery Challenge: A Time

 

 

Red Moon Riding

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Photo: Niklas Priddat on Unsplash

 

She let the shudder travel from the roots of her hair to the nape of her neck and down her spine to the place where the calving of her body started. The skin on the small of her back awoke. She sighed.

It wasn’t the chill in the air that had her trembling, even though the breeze could explain the raised goosebumps on her skin. It was the vista that had shaken her. And the memories it sought.

Oh, this was a different place. A different time. Yet somehow these still were the same sky where a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills spreading below it. Transporting her. The earth roiled under a tapestry of dark and starlight, of shade and voids and hidden stars. Her breath drowned in wonder and sorrow: for lost beginnings, for hopes come dawn.

 

 

 

Prosery Prompt: “a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills” (Carl Sandburg’s Jazz Fantasia)

For the dVerse Prosery challenge

The Street

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Photo: Robert Almonte on Unsplash

 

 

The night is not as I’d expected it to be.

The sirens are silent. The windows dark. The very air seems still.

It had been a close call. Too close, almost.

I glance at Malachi. He returns a tremulous shrug.

“Will we be alright?” I ask. I didn’t mean to say it out loud, but the words could not stay in. The sound — although barely above a whisper — boomerangs in my chest.

“We might be,” he mouths.

At least I think he does. I cannot hear much above my heartbeat thundering in my ears. Everything inside me feels tight. I don’t remember being so unnerved. Not since. You know. The other time.

“Will they return?” Fear dries my mouth.

“Who knows.”

We reach the corner and separate. The night breaths as I hurry home and we go in different directions down the imperturbable street.

 

 

 

For the dVerse prosery challenge

Prosery prompt: “We go in different directions down the imperturbable street” (from the poem “An Aspect of Love, Alive in the Ice and Fire” by Gwendolyn Brooks)

 

 

His Shadow

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Photo: Andy Falconer on Unsplash

 

They want to add more activity to his day. More interests. Better engagements. A hobby. A new skill.

They don’t understand.

He is fine during the days. It is the night that haunts him. Not the dark, but the solitude. The walls closing. The suffocating silence where his breath fills all the space till there is no air left. No room for words.

Then there’s the fatigue and how it erodes all his resistance. Lets the blackness in.

They offered medicine. Said it will help him fall asleep and stay asleep.

It did.

And it made it worse.

Now his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream and he cannot find the door to waking.

He feels mummified. Lost in the abyss of thoughts and memory.

The bombs. The mines. The child.

He couldn’t save him.

Guilt swallows all.

How could there be a dawn?

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all whose deepest wounds are unseen. May you find your dawn.

For the dVerse prosery challenge: maya angelou

The quote prompt: “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream” from “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou

 

According To Plan

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Photo: Jon Sailer on Unsplash

 

So far all went according to plan.

Part serendipity, part preparation, part desperation. Sheer stubborn, too. She needed all of it.

She slunk around the building, her heartbeat almost drowning out the hum of voices reverberating in the air. She used to find the monotone of prayers soothing. Now it was the buzz of wasps.

Thomas had promised to keep any from straying. Promises were at most hopes in the Commune, but indeed the path seemed clear. Where normally there would be at least one man leaning against the door in fake calm that nonetheless effectively barred the exit, there was naught but empty space. The guards imbibed.

She quickened her pace. She’d have to time it perfectly. The once-daily pass-by train was her only chance at freedom. The rails shook. No one left and no on came on the bare platform. She leaped.

 

 

Prosery prompt quote: “No one left and no one came on the bare platform.” Edward Thomas

For the dVerse Prosery challenge: Edward Thomas

 

 

Flurries On The Wind

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Photo: Julian Berengar Sölter on Unsplash

 

She twisted the frayed bit of tissue between her fingers. Tightening and unfurling, tightening and unfurling. Miniature white dots fleeted down onto her black-slacked knees like flurries on the wind.

He shook his head to clear it from the mesmerizing effect of the movement and its impact.

“Say more,” he prompted, hoping his voice would break the trance and end her silence.

She shrugged. Flurries turned a momentary snowstorm and she shuddered, brushed the flecks of tissue off her lap and raised her eyes to someplace between her counselor’s brow and the wall.

“I don’t know why I was surprised every time love started or ended,” she whispered.

He nodded his encouragement. This was more than she’d said in the last two sessions put together.

“I should have known,” her voice turned bitter, “that none of it would last. That he would leave. Again.”

 

 

For the dVerse prosery challenge: surprised or not

Quote used: “I don’t know why I was surprised every time love started or ended.” (Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “I wanted to be surprised.” You can read the full poem here.)

 

For Eternity

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Photo: Freddy Castro on Unsplash

 

He visited her grave every year on the day they’d met. Every year on the day he’d proposed. Every year on the day they’d gotten married. Every year on the day she’d passed on and left him bereft of the best part of himself.

Sometimes if he was alone in the cemetery, he’d stretch on the ground near her headstone and mouth the words she’d left him in her note. She’d given him the sealed envelope shortly after she was diagnosed. Made him promise not to open it. Until. He knew them all by heart.

The Rock cries out to us today,” she wrote. “You may stand upon me, But do not hide your face. You are and always have been my core. My spirit will no longer be bound to this body, but our souls will continue traveling together. For eternity and beyond.”

 

 

(Note: Italics = prompt quote by Maya Angelou)

For the dVerse Prosery challenge