Top Dweller

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

She peered anxiously through the glass. He should have called someone. Who climbs up metal ladders in this frost? What if he falls? Breaks something? Who would care for him? Care for her?

She pressed a knuckle to her mouth, too afraid to call out lest her voice startled him.

“Aha!”

The sound came with a ladder-wobble and she almost screamed. How can he do this to her? He knows she cannot stand to be stressed!

A moment later his foot descended.

Wobble.

Stop.

Wobble.

Next.

Then his elbow.

With a miserable-looking kitten cradled in the crook of his arm.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

 

Waterfall

torrent SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

The weather was perfect. The hike had been pleasant. They stopped for a picnic on the bank of the stream as it rushed toward the waterfall. The normally bubbling brook was swollen with recent rains. The white water speeding down the creek and tumbling over the edge was energizing. The sun felt delicious on their faces. The flowering fields were glorious in early spring.

Other families were enjoying the day, too. Most stayed above the waterfalls. Any intrepid hikers who navigated down the steep slope to view the falls from the bottom were met with signs that warned against entering the water. The rocky pool was filled with unseen boulders, not to mention freezing cold with winter flow and melt.

Suddenly, the calm at the top of the falls was interrupted by a cry. A child of about ten years slipped on the bank above the falls. The wet surface, still damp from earlier rains, allowed no traction, and the child slid into the water. The strong flow quickly grabbed hold of her and she was swept toward the 45-foot drop. The girl’s mother screamed. The father tried to grab hold of his daughter but ended up helplessly in the water, too. Another man attempted to help, only to himself be lassoed by the water. The child’s mother and siblings, the Good Samaritan’s wife, and the picnickers watched in helpless horror as all three were swept by the white water and tumbled over the edge, quite possibly to their deaths.

The eldest son of the picnicking family ran down the trail along with a few others, hoping to assist survivors (or at least retrieve bodies so they not be carried further downstream and through additional cataracts). Rescue services were called. People rushed to the head of the falls to try and look down, afraid of seeing the worst.

Miraculously, all three survived the fall. The father and daughter managed to swim to the edge of the pool. The man who’d tried to help had made it through, as well. Both men were wounded. One with a broken nose. The other with an injured hand and lungs. The little girl was shaken, shaking, and freezing, but otherwise unharmed. With the help of others, all three were able to get up the trail back to the top of the falls, where they were reunited with their terrified families.

While recuse was coordinated, the girls of the picnicking family took off their sweaters, jackets, and socks and bundled the freezing little girl, who was drenched to the bone and had lost her shoes in the water, into layers of dry clothing.

It became evident that rescue personnel would need to hike the two miles in, so it was decided to try to walk out toward the paramedics. Slowly, with people assisting the wounded and carrying everyone’s belongings, the convoy of children and adults trudged along the trail, all stunned by what they had just experienced and/or witnessed. When help arrived, the child’s father was carried by stretcher the rest of the way and then all three evacuated in a waiting ambulance.

“I’m still processing this,” a witness shared later that day. “These moments while they were being carried toward and then fell over the waterfall … a mere few yards to our left … and us seeing it all happen … This could have been such a tragedy for the families and an awful trauma for all of us … It is amazing that this is how it ended.”

“How to process what I saw?” another witness wrote. “I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind, that the picture I’d taken of the happy family twenty minutes before all this occurred, could have been the last photo of their complete family … I saw near-death, fear, terror, anguish, redemption, joy, awe, and lots and lots of love. I saw people who came together, oblivious of background, because we are all part of the human race and we all value life and our families … and at the end of the day want to live together in peace and harmony and make this world a better place for our children. I saw people reach out and help one another, and think only of the other, not themselves.”

 

§§§§

 

Note: When I saw Sue’s photo prompt, I knew that this one was not going to be fiction. Not when the photo she chose is so uncannily reminding of the very waterfall where the child had slipped earlier this week. Yes, the story above is true. My sister’s family was the “picnicking family” mentioned above, my nephew had ran down the trail to help, my sister and nieces had helped dry and bundle the child in their clothes. In the photo below, you can see the falls. They’d been picnicking mere steps from where the people in the photo are standing. How all three survived not just the dangerous tumble, but the sharp rocks at the bottom of the falls is still a marvel. Whew. Here’s to humanity first. To teaching children how to swim. And to miracles.

Waterfall A Levenberg

Waterfall A.L.

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo Challenge

 

 

Going to Avalanche

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Photo: Keith Channing

 

The sky was blue when they headed out. Crisp, cold, dry, and sunny, it was the perfect day for some easy back-country skiing.

They planned to be home by lunch.

They did not plan on the weather turning. On clouds so low and so fast that they’d reached zero visibility in almost no time at all.

Joshua could see that Daniel was two steps away from panic. That would not do. Not with the children with them.

“Take the rear,”  Joshua ordered.

If Daniel frowned at his bossy tone, the heavy fog covered it. Joshua stood his ground, literally, till Daniel maneuvered his skis so he was behind the two youngest. Good enough.

Joshua took a breath and tried to get a read from the weather. It was probably best to shelter in place till the fog lifted, but if the weather was about to get worse, it was better they got back before conditions deteriorated further.

There was no way to know for sure, but his gut’s tightening signaled that the latter option was the one to take. His hand tightened around the compass hanging from his pocket. He’d need it.

“Mark! Sally!” he cupped his hands and called for the two older children who, true to form, used any break in skiing for a snowball fight. The wind snatched his voice and he realized that it, too, had gotten worse in the last few minutes.

“Daniel, get them!” he shouted. “Timmy, Ronny, Sid, and Shirley, stay close to me.”

Shirley nodded and clung to his arm. “Are we going to Avalanche?” her voice shook.

“Avalanche isn’t a place, honey,” he replied over the thunder in his chest. “It’s when a lot of snow slides down the mountain. We’re not in an avalanche zone, so you don’t need to worry.”

“But it’s all white,” she sniffled, “and I’m cold.”

“I know, little one. The weather turned on us. We’ll get everyone in line and we’ll get moving and you’ll soon get warm. Timmy, Ron, and Sid, you okay back there?”

The boys nodded unconvincingly.

Daniel herded Mark and Sally closer to the rest and sandwiched them between the younger children and himself.

“Let’s go!” Joshua yelled, his voice barely audible in the whistling wind. “Keep your eyes on the person in front of you. Daniel, use your whistle if you need help.”

Daniel lifted his ski in response.

Joshua concentrated on the compass, on the next few steps. Everything he loved in this world was behind him. The white settled all around and he felt small. Like when he was ten and the world had come down around him in a tumble.

He shook the memory away.

This time he was not going to Avalanche.

He was going to get them — all of them — home.

 

 

 

For Kreative Kue 239

 

 

A Home For Joey

joey at the beach InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

He did not know how to play

But they knew he’d be

Okay.

He was scared of every thing

But they knew that he was

King.

He had to learn life from scratch

But they knew they’d love him

Much.

He’s the sweetest boy there is

Even unsure how to

Please.

And whether he’s a bit autistic

His kind of love is

Simplistic.

He is now a happy boy

Who gets his life to

Enjoy.

 

 

For the Sunday Stills Challenge: Pets

 

 

Stone Face

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

She stood on the ledge and watched the edge of the world dissolve into fire.

It had been a long day, waiting. He did not come. She did not know when he could. Only that he would when he managed to get free.

As she had.

It was their place. Before. It will be their home. Now.

They’d found the small cave down the rock-face when they were still children frolicking in the waves. They’d been rolling with a large piece of driftwood one day when the currents had taken them farther than they’d expected. They’d tried to reverse course but it was futile to fight the sea. It was after reality had set in and they’d began to fret in earnest, that they’d spotted what looked like a black tooth on the jagged cliff. As Merlin tried to point to it, the log rolled, depositing the two of them into the waves and bestowing a farewell knock on Marla’s head. It had gone black behind her eyes after that.

Merlin had managed to drag her to and onto the surf-beaten rocks, scraping both of them raw in the process. He claimed the seals had helped him and she never doubted it. Nor that the seals had likely rolled the log in the only spot the two of them might’ve had a chance of getting to the shore unbroken.

They had clawed their way slowly up to the ledge, crying and more than a little frightened, only to find that what had appeared a black tooth from the sea, was in fact a cave’s mouth that was dry and deep enough to offer shelter. The marvel had calmed them enough to explore, and they’d found a precarious but doable foot- and hand-hold way to gain access up to the top of the cliff. And from there across the moors home.

They’d made a pact to never tell anyone about “Stone Face” — named for how the features could be read in the rock above the ledge. They suffered the indignities of being mocked for slipping into a whirlpool — the story they’d made up to explain their miserable condition and the lateness of their arrival home — and they endured the punishment of being forbidden from going to play in the water for the rest of that long summer, and the drudgery of extra chores.

It did not matter. Their secret sustained them. As had their rare visits to Stone Face via the barely-there climbing way. It was their refuge and all the more a miracle to them for how no one had known of it (or at least not in their lifetime, for there were signs of hearth-fires on the blackened ceiling and some stone flakes that could cut deep and might’ve been a tool in someone’s hand). It was their place of hopes and dreams and stories.

Then time came and Merlin was indentured to the Smithy, and Marla was sent off to scrub the floors and bear the fists and the bastard children of Lord Bowery, a man of no nobility in deportment or form. She tried to endure him, but the core of her rebelled against his injustices and his brutal invasions. She fled.

The Smithy’s apprentice was due to bring brackets to the manor’s door that week. She had to trust that he would find out she was gone.

And that he would come for her.

To make Stone Face, home.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto: Stillness

 

 

No Longer Forlorn

 

Joey asleep InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

In the echoing

Hearts

Of the gnawing

Alone

There blooms

Hope

For the day

They’re

No longer

Forlorn.

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

The Cutest Seal-Pup Rescue

The tenderness and adorableness factor of this video were just impossible to not want to share …

So glad these good people rescued this baby (even if they did at first think he was a girl … that’s okay … I don’t think the pup minded, with them making sure he was comfy and treating him ever so gently).

May tenderness lead the way.

May compassion to all being override hate, denial, apathy, and ignorance.

Compassion in action

In these times of headlines of corruption, fighting, obfuscating, conflict, and ego-led officials and executives; it can be difficult to remember that they are the exception, not the norm. Most of us would sooner help another than take what isn’t ours. How healing to be reminded that it is so!

Enjoy this beautiful, heart-opening video, and may your day be full of the expansion of soul that comes with sharing the magic of empathy, and with reconnecting with the truth that most of us are good.