Flurries On The Wind

julian-berengar-solter-sHZc-ZHz08Q-unsplash

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.)

 

A Bit Of Stir

mads-schmidt-rasmussen-v0PWN7Z38ag-unsplash

Photo: Mads Schmidt Rasmussen on Unsplash

 

She was always one to cause

Quite a bit of stir

In every entrance,

In the very way the air around

Her every move

Would shift

To agitated waiting,

For something breathless

That was not easily worded

Yet nonetheless remained

Indelibly perceived as

Inescapable.

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille poetry challenge: stir

 

Flecked History

wadi a dawasir M.Bin HMQ

Photo: M.Bin HMQ; Wadi ad-Dawasir, Saudi Arabia

 

“He is an infidel,” Abdul grumbled about his employer. “Ad-Dawasir history shouldn’t be fouled by non-believers.”

“So were your ancient ancestors,” Umm Habib noted, her fingers flying as she shaped the dough with the practiced moves of innumerable meals prepared.

The adolescent startled. Such accusation would’ve necessitated a fist-fight if it hadn’t come from his grandmother.

“Many Taghlibi remained Christians well after The Prophet came,” the old woman’s face remained placid. She didn’t need to look up to sense the anger flashing in the boy’s hereditarily flecked eyes. But youngsters’ dark moods and opinions were like moving water. Truth remained.

She plucked freshly baked bread from the earthen oven with bare fingers, tips hardened by life’s constant flames. “That history is long passed, but it bears remembering some of our ancestors even fought against Muslim, and many stayed Christian …” she paused, considering. “Before finally embracing The Prophet’s teachings and Islam.”

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Wadi-ad-Dawasir, Saudi Arabia

 

 

No Known Gnome

homeless-gnomes CrispinaKemp

CCC #69

 

No matter how much he tried to recreate the last exchange he’d had with The Tall, he couldn’t wrap his head around how he ended up in the predicament he now found himself in.

Open-eyed-blind, blunted, turned away from everything and everyone. He was but a nub of his former self.

It never should’ve come to that.

He didn’t think such drastic measures had ever been taken before against any of the garden folk. Certainly not against a gnome (shorter and tricksier than most or not). Sure, there have been tales of persecuted fairies. Of elves’ homes trampled. Of spirits sent to cemetery quarantine. Perhaps the less-than-fair Fair-Folk had to sometimes be kept in check. But gnomes? Why would anyone get even with a Grandfather of Gardens? Gnomes were made to evoke trust and smiles, not fury.

And yet. There he was. Exiled. Helplessly turned against the blank, black wall.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

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

 

 

Ain’t Got Much Of

FF RogerBultot

Photo prompt: Roger Bultot

 

“She keeps the shelves half-empty.”

I turned at the voice. A gnarled hand leaned heavily on a carved stick. The man’s chest was almost parallel to the stained cement floor.

I crouched so I could make eye-contact yet spare him the strain of lifting his head. He smiled. For such an ossified body, his expression was remarkably lively.

“My wife,” he raised an eyebrow at the display. “I’d space the boxes, but she says that what people think we ain’t got much of, reminds them of the empty spaces in their own pantries and how there’s always room for more.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

 

Readied

nicolas-lobos-kGtFjYdm7DI-unsplash

Photo: Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash

 

They donned the new suits

Of exploration

White and fluid for

The deep cold of space

And the vast darkness

Of the Universe.

 

They filed into the

Craft readied to blast

Toward a red Mars

Carrying hope for

Yet another home

In which to draw breath.

 

For the dVerse Haibun poetry challenge: Mars

 

Nostalgia

Hadera Google Earth

Photo: Hadera, Israel

 

The bus rumbled on the narrow road, slow behind the loaded tractor wagon. A mix of diesel fumes, damp earth, and faint notes of orange blossoms wafted through the open crack in the heavy window.

They were going to be late. Again.

She sighed and glanced at her youngest sister, automatically feeling for the change-of-uniform she carried at the bottom of her school bag for the eventuality that her sister’s car-sickness would get the upper hand.

Across the narrow aisle, a woman coughed wetly into a handkerchief and shifted the plastic baskets that crowded the small space under her feet. Those will be packed full on the ride back from Hadera, their area’s shopping center and nearest ‘big’ town.

Finally, past Gan-Shmuel, the snailing tractor turned into a field and the bus picked up speed. Houses marked the city’s boundaries. She nudged her other sister awake. “We’re getting off soon.”

 

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Hadera, Israel

Note: Depicting a very true (almost daily) childhood memory …

 

Epoch’s End

sunset Ramon Crater AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

As her eyes finally

Closed

And her breath

Not returned,

She knew

What awaited her

Just

‘Round the bend:

A new journey

Ascends

Life beyond

Epoch’s end.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Epoch in 27 words

Note: Dedicated to all who face the final journey … and thus to all … for we all would. May we walk life’s path the way we can and should.

 

Against The Flow

under-new-bridge Crispina Kemp

CCC #68

 

“This won’t do,” Marc shook his hard-hatted head and lifted the dreaded red marker to the clipboard.

Nicholas scratched under his own protective gear in effort to control his irritation. Marc’s been insufferable ever since he’d been promoted, parading with his supervisor’s  paraphernalia as if it made him a demigod. For the millionth time, Nicholas wondered whether Bob The Builder — their blue coveralls donning boss — had assigned him to Marc’s team just to get back at him for the moniker. As if it was Nicholas’s fault that the man fit the cartoon character to a T.

“How come not?” he managed when the silence lingered.

“The arrow,” Marc pointed the board across the water.

“What about the arrow?!” Nicholas snarled. He almost fell, painting the darn thing while standing in a dingy.

“Pointing the wrong way,” Marc smirked in evident satisfaction. “Won’t do to go against the flow, you know.”

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge #68