Gone Fishing

 

“Where is that boy gone to again?!”

Mama’s head appeared at the open doorway, floured hands held in the air as to not touch the shutters. The afternoon sun chose to appear from behind a mass of clouds and lit the hair around her face. The braid she’d pinned in place each morning was unruly by this time of day, and the hairs glowed like a golden crown. A smidge of white colored the edge of her eyebrow where she must have wiped at it with her baker’s hands.

“I’ll go look for him, Mama,” I tapped my sister’s shoulder and readied to rise.

Mama glanced at the sky and shook her head. “No, Mauve. Stay and finish this while there’s a daylight.”

I nodded. Bethany’s long hair was draped across my apron, with parts already pinned away as I went through it strand by strand to clear it of the unwelcome visitors we had found in it the other day. We would all of us suffer the consequences if my younger sister’s locks were not tended to immediately.

“Perhaps Lena knows,” Bethany mumbled, her cheek flush against my lap.

“Hmm.”

I would almost feel Mama’s eyebrow rise.

Lena lived in the next farm over.

A moment stretched, then the bottom flap of the door swung open and Mama stepped into the yard. She circled around so that Bethany could see her without having to move her head and upset my nitpicking.

“Well?” Mama prompted.

Bethany squirmed. Even at six, she knew a shaky ground when she was on it. Gossiping was tricky. Gossiping about one’s older brother was trickier still. Especially when one may want to stay in the favors of that very brother so he would carry one’s tired self on his shoulders or share a piece of his bravely harvested honeycomb.

“Out with it, Lass!”

Bethany sighed. Being out of Mama’s good graces would be far worse than anything Jimmy could dish out.

I caught Mama’s eye on the sly. She appeared cross, but I knew she was controlling her expression, and I did not trust my giggles (or hers) if our gaze met.

“I saw Lena sneak behind the barn earlier … with …” Bethany hesitated, “with a picnic basket.”

The path behind the barn led to the small meadow that terminated in a small wood on the banks of the stream.

“And?”

Bethany’s sigh deepened. Once Mama had someone on the hook, there was no slipping off it.

“And … I saw Jimmy with the pail and rod.”

Mama’s hands landed on her hips, flour forgotten.

Bethany gasped. I bit my lips.

“So the lad’s gone fishing,” Mama stated.

She turned half-away but I could still see her purse her lips against the chuckle. “He better not become the bait.”

 

 

 

 

For KL’s WritePhoto writing challenge – Thank you for continuing Sue Vincent’s weekly prompt!

Photo: Neptune Image by KL CALEY

 

 

Speed Dating

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He was the shy one of the waddling. Afraid to take the lead or be left behind, he maintained his place in the middle of their paddling, webbed feet rowing furiously as to not lose his place.

“Too tightly wound, that one,” his mama tilted her head in puzzlement, for there was naught wrong with him. Middle hatched, middle weight, decent feathering.

“Good thing he’d never have to lay eggs,” his aunt quacked laughter. “Or sit on them, rain or hail or thunder!”

He pretended to not hear. Bobbed amidst the plump. Scanned the water. Dove. Rose. Dove.

“They’re just a bunch of hens,” a soft squeak sounded.

He pulled his head up too fast and almost dove back just to cover up his clumsiness.

She rested effortlessly on the water, a perfect Duckess from the skein that had dropped by their pond.

“You could leave,” she added. “Come with.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Up And Up

 

“Find the red door,” the note said. “Climb up, then up some more.”

Michael felt a smile spread inside his belly. Helen never could resist a rhyme. It’s how he knew it had to be her. Even after all this time. Even when the printed letters could have been typed by anyone.

He knew.

And it warmed a place in him that he had forgotten could be thawed.

The basement’s entrance was not much to look at. The stairs and walls had all seen better days.

So had they.

And yet, there they were.

Climbing up, then up some more.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Roger Bultot

 

 

A Constant Tangle

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(Photo by Steven Weeks on Unsplash)

 

He believed all fair

In fight

Or wrangle,

Even if it left his life

A constant

Tangle.

For the mere thought of loss

Any would

Dangle,

Had him target max

Potential

To mangle.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Wrangle in 33 words

 

Fall Festive

 

It was barely fully fall but the weather seemed intent on ensuring none of them would be able to ignore the coming winter. Morning frost. Freezing rain. Evening flurries. Weekend snow.

“So much for global warming,” Moise moaned.

“It’s Climate Change, Pops,” Ben interjected. “It makes mayhem to let us know how much we’d messed things up.”

“Whatever it does,” the older man waved at the window, “it is not as it should be.”

“Perhaps,” Bernice entered with arms full of pine bows, lights, and tinsel, “but we can still make it as festive as we want in the interim.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

The Long Wait

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“You coming?” Betty scanned the space to make sure nothing was forgotten, slung her pack over her shoulder, and headed for the door.

“Nope.”

“Are you serious?!” she swung around to stare at Ron.

“Yep.”

Her arms began to bend and she was just about to press her palms to her hips, when she exhaled, shook her head, and stuck her hands in her jacket pockets instead.

That’s what he wanted. Another argument. Another delay.

Not this time.

“Suit yourself,” she said.

His incredulous intake of breath was almost worth a glance. She resisted the urge.

“You’re a coward!” his words chased her in a continuation of the arguments they’d had. “I’m not a quitter. I’m gonna stay and see this slump through, and when you come crawling back, I will not let you in.”

She drove away.

The town had since dissolved but apparently Ron still waits.

Sort of.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Better Happy Than Sad

 

“You think he’ll win?”

Shlomi shrugged. Elections or not, he was distracted by the scents wafting from the cart across the stone-paved alley. His wife would kill him if he drank any of the juices. Diabetes would kill him, too. So it was just a matter of whether it’ll happen on his terms.

Or not.

He sighed.

“Get that pomegranate juice,” Abdul urged. “You know no one makes it like my father does.”

Better die happy than sad.

“Abu Abdul,” Shlomi called across the narrow alley. “One pomegranate?”

“For sure, Habibi,” the old man grinned. “Want that fake-sugar in there?”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers 

 

 

Conclusively Lucid

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(Photo Michal Balog on Unsplash)

 

She couldn’t have been clearer.

She couldn’t have been more firm.

Still he chose to disregard and

Pretend it wasn’t him.

She told him to pack his stuff.

She told him he must leave.

Still he chose to linger and

Refused to cleave.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Lucid in 43 words

 

The Catch

 

“What’s with the basket?”

Sharlynn’s lip curled up. “For the catch.”

Robert raised an eyebrow. “Thought you went vegan.”

“I did,” Sharlynn grinned. “But Bertrand resists, and I thought I’d shock him and prepare fish for his birthday dinner. It’s not every day that a man turns half centenarian.”

Robert groaned. At forty-nine, he was next in line.

“So,” Sharlynn’s eyebrow matched her brother’s. “May I come aboard?”

“Sure,” Robert waved in half-invitation, half-defeat.

“Don’t look so worried,” Sharlynn laughed. “I’m gonna clean’em up myself. Also, Bertie’s getting kale quiche. What I truly hope to ‘fish’ is some fresh seaweed.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers  (Photo prompt © C.E.Ayr)

 

 

 

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