Barry’s Safari

 

“Don’t look!”

Melanie’s voice was low and urgent.

Naturally, I tried to look.

“No!” she hissed. “Stay still, Bethany! Don’t move!”

Naturally, I disobeyed. No way I was letting Melanie see something interesting and miss out on it! Bad enough she was born thirty minutes before me, and had to constantly remind me how she “was normally positioned” and I was “the butt-instead-of-head” one.

I looked … and almost had a heart attack! Not that I was gonna let her see it. I molded my almost-shriek into a grin. “Cool!”

“Bee!” she hissed.

She rarely used her baby name for me. Perhaps she was genuinely terrified.

“It’s fine, Meh-Meh,” I returned. The syllables felt simultaneously odd and soothing in my mouth. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d used my baby name for her. Being the younger twin, and always the smaller, I’d been self-conscious about not appearing babyish.

“It’s a rhino!” she mouthed.

“A baby rhino,” I tried hopefully. “I mean, I think it is.”

“Babies have mamas and even that so-called baby has a horn,” she shuddered. Her voice shook.

Suddenly suspicious, I chanced a look around to seek Gary. A moment earlier, our safari guide had ‘conveniently’ needed to go get something from the truck.

Even his silhouette appeared smug.

“So, Gary!” I called out, eliciting a gasp and a fetal position from Melanie. “Who’s that little one?”

The khaki-clad man stepped into the light of the fire he’d lit earlier. More for ambiance than for warmth. His grin was someplace between satisfied and embarrassed.

“It’s Barry,” he chuckled, clicked his fingers, and pulled a carrot out of his back pocket. “Our resident rhino.”

The gray beast sauntered closer. If Melanie could have drilled herself into the ground, she would.

“You terrified my sister,” I glowered at the guide.

I wasn’t really worried about her. I could see that she was trying to regain her composure (if not her self-respect). In fact, I was definitely going to get a lot of mileage out of this. But … she was my sister to torment. No one else had the right!

“Sorry,” his voice was only marginally contrite. “Barry is an unofficial part of the tour.”

“For those who survive,” Melanie muttered under her breath. She was still shaking.

The rhino lipped the carrot and chewed it noisily, then took a step in our direction. Melanie squeaked.

Well, those who come out butt-first apparently have stronger constitutions. I stood up. “Got more carrots?”

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue

 

 

The Twins

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Photo: Syd Wachs on Unsplash

 

They are twins but

They are not one

Being.

Identical, so many call them,

Breathless with

Duplicated magic.

But underneath the outward

Appearance

They are

Anything but.

Individually

Tempered

By the nuanced

Realities of who they

Really are.

 

 

 
For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Nuance in 38 words

 

 

Ice Maiden

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Photo: Castell Deudraeth in Portmeirion, Wales

 

“My room is haunted,” Daria mentioned over toast and jam.

Margaret rolled her eyes and Daria stopped chewing.

Margaret sighed. Vacation or not, her twin was sure to find drama someplace.

“Honest, M! Something kept whispering ‘Aber Iâ’. What does that even mean?”

“Ice haven, Miss,” their waitress manifested with more tea, Welsh rolling heavy on her tongue, “also, glacial estuary.”

“And?” Daria pressed.

“There used to be a mansion on these grounds, Miss. In the 1700s. Was called ‘Aber Iâ’.”

“See?” Margaret looked pointedly at her sister. “You must’ve heard someone say it and it stuck in your mind.”

“Someone said it in my room!” Daria insisted. “All night!”

The waitress shifted uneasily. “What room are you in, Miss?”

Margaret glared.

“Might be the bwbach, see?” the young woman fiddled with her apron. “She can be restless sometimes but she’s never done no one any harm.”

 

 

Trivia:

  • bwbach — ghost or phantom in Welsh
  • Aber Iâ — Ice Haven or Glacial Estuary in Welsh. Also the name of an old mansion that used to stand on the grounds of what is now Castell Deudraeth, a hotel in Portmeirion Village, Wales.

 

For What Pegman Saw: Portmeirion Village, Wales

 

Doctored

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

 

“I am not dressing up as a doctor!”

Twins or no twins, he’d had it with his sister deciding their costumes. He’d been Prince Charming, Prince Un-Charming (consort to Princess Uglyanna). He’d been Mr. Smee. He’d been a screw (guess who was the screwdriver), a nail (yep, Maya was the hammer), a flower (to her bee). And those were the less embarrassing ones.

“You could be an evil doctor imprisoned by an eviler scientist,” she enticed.

“In your dreams,” he replied.

She grinned. “Or in yours. As in, literally. Tonight.”

 

 

For The Friday Fictioneers Challenge