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From the Quarry

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quarryCracking away at hard-rock or sifting layers of metamorphosed sandstone, these are tasks of a quarry. Slab by slab, useful material emerges from a hillside or plateaus. Such is the efforts of writing.

Writers quarried for stories this week. What would be found in the quarry or the process? Read to find out.

The following stories are based on the January 19, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a about a quarry.

***

Love Carved in Stone by Kerry E.B. Black

Heinrich chose marble with an artistic eye. He shook the quarryman’s hand as he paid.

“Be needin’ more next week, I reckon.”

The quarryman avoided eye contact. “I’ll set ‘em aside for you.”

He chiseled the message with a practiced hand. A daisy drooped atop, sprinkling petals below the words, ‘Helen. Beloved wife.’

Helen’s husband wiped tears as he approved the final piece. “You do fine work, Heinrich. The daisy’s a nice touch. She’da liked that.”

As Helen’s widower walked to his car, Heinrich devised another tombstone. Next week, he guessed, and the old man’s would reside beside hers.

###

Devil’s Work by Sherri Matthews

“This is it, ‘The Devil’s Punchbowl’,” panted Scott as he bent forward to catch his breath.

Donna swiped at her hair as the wind flicked it back into her eyes. “It’s deep, you’re right, it does look like a massive punchbowl.”

“Yeah…erosion caused by water running beneath the sandstone caused the earth to sink, so it said up there on the information board…but I always thought it was an old man made quarry.”

“Or maybe the Devil really did make it, like the legend says,” Donna laughed as she lunged forward.

Devil or not, Scott never saw it coming.

###

Mining Disaster by Lady Lee Manilla

People in this remote island were naive. They thought that foreign companies which invested to mine for copper would give prosperity to the island. But disaster happened and leaked a lot of chemicals into the river, the foreign investors left the island fended for themselves without any support. It was the locals who suffered, serious health and environmental problems had placed the community at risk. Mining in the area polluted waterways, killed fish, and flooded agricultural fields. People were being poisoned indirectly through the fish and water, but also, workers were dying from direct contact with the mining operations.

###

Abandoned by Neel Anil Panicker

Long after the last of the trucks laden with earth’s richly loot had left, their monstrous wheels kicking up toxic spirals of dust and smoke, its fumes angrily billowing into an ever blackening atmosphere, Robert stood, his legs as if transfixed to the brackish grounds that hollowed out in front of him.

It was time for the chief works supervisor of Trump Constructions Inc. to move on__to another site, another site, another excavation, another emptying out of the earth’s bowels.

His reward: a further scraping out of his soul.

One day, he resolved, he would fill the void.

###

More Curbless Ruins by Elliott Lyngreen

At a designed opening; yet splitting land’s running road; spans long salient gazes under the girders that support the tube crossing, imagining we could be pneumatic; snuck in the dip of the long hill, in a dead silent pocket of the other side. .

Rock-plate, jagged Limestone, the sorrow finally interrupted by thoughts sped in that intimidating right there, “everything makes sense here,” and fear vanished and we began burning for the impossible.

Red setting never quite went, or traveled as deep into all the shaping of the formation and color ever-bending the quarry as when Heather said that.

###

Endless by Jane Dougherty

“It has no bottom, you know.”

“Don’t be daft. It’s an in-filled quarry not something out of a fairy tale.”

He shrugged. “Whatever. I’m not going in anyway.”

It was her turn to shrug. She peeled off tee shirt and shorts, ran to the edge. Her hair glinted gold until a cloud passed before the sun. He frowned.

“Don’t. I mean it.”

She waved and dived, her red swimming costume flashed, bronze limbs sliced. The water closed over her heels without a ripple.

In the dark, the thing the quarry had disturbed heard and rose to meet the intruder.

###

Quarry Quandary by Kate Spencer

“Mom, you’ll never guess what happened!” Emma ran into the kitchen, the back door banging shut behind her.

“There were cop cars at the quarry today. Simply everywhere! I know you told me I shouldn’t ever go there, but I just KNEW I had to have a look. I’ve been LONGING to do this ever since Joey told me there were ghosts there. It was SO exciting Mom. I even helped the police,” she said holding up a bundle of fur.

“See, I rescued the dead man’s puppy. The officer said I could keep him. I can, can’t I?”

###

The Quarry by Pensitivity

We used to take the dogs to the local quarry every day.
They loved it, could run for miles in perfect safety, the most threatening thing likely to be a scared rabbit.
That was 20 years ago.
Some wiseass got the idea he could make a fortune by developing the land into a theme park and holiday resort.
Work started within six months of sale.
And stopped before the end of the seventh.
Now it lays a shambles of overgrown brambles and pot holes, dangerous, even in daylight.
No wildlife at all, not even crows in the granite rock face.

###

Perception Changes by Florida Borne

My 2nd husband’s mother’s cousin was one of two family members who survived the holocaust. The other, my MIL, moved to America with her brother (circa 1930) so he’d have someone to keep house for him.

She’d purchased a place on the outskirts of Chicago for people over 65. At the parking lot’s edge, a fence divided her corner condo from a sheer drop that looked to be at least 1000 feet down, too deep to hear the trucks below carrying stone out of the quarry.

I think it’s safe to say that experience changes your perception of danger.

###

Strike at the Quarry by Luccia Gray

‘Look at him, the great Sisyphus. Ever wondered where his rocks come from?’

‘Rocks? There’s only one.’

‘One, for all eternity? They get worn down in no time, and he’s got an army to roll ‘em up for him.’

‘Really?’

‘Do you know who does all the work?’ He asked pointing a finger at the pickets.

‘We dug those rocks out of the quarry, carried them for bloody miles, and pushed them up, but he gets all the praise.’

‘What a nerve!’

‘We’re going on strike. No more exploitation of the working classes. Get your own rocks, Sisyphus!’

###

The Quarry by Norah Colvin

Old and disused, the bare earth was dry with no hint of topsoil or sign of life. Rock fragments, remnants of its past, littered the surface still pockmarked by tyre tracks. One wall, etched by diggers’ teeth, stood silently telling its story. Circles of ash littered with shards of glass and cigarette butts told another. But tonight it was to tell a story as old as time. Where once huge trucks had carted away boulders carved from its interior, now rough timber platforms stood. As darkness fell, flaming torches cast an eerie light as storytellers wove their epic tale.

###

Samuel Beckles in His Quarry by Gordon Le Pard

The professor looked into the quarry and gasped, he was impressed, and it took a lot to impress the man who had given the world dinosaurs.

When he had seen the tiny fossil, and told his friend he needed more specimens, now buried under thousands of tons of rock, he had never expected this. He climbed down.

“We have them.” Were his friend’s first words. He held out a rock, full of tiny black bones .

“It’s true – mammals did live with the dinosaurs.” The professor gave one of his rare smiles.

“Time to rewrite the text books again.”

###

To Swim in the Quarry by Anne Goodwin

Father Gregory at the wheel, Father Benedict beside him. Three boys and their towels in the back. No room for me. “Get your dad to take you.” Yeah, right, if we had a car.

Kicking a ball across melting tarmac, my envy burned. Why did those scruffs get to swim in the quarry? Snotty nosed kids from broken homes, not even the manners to look grateful.

Years later, I hiked past the quarry, the pool filled in with rubble since the scandal broke. Understood how I’d been the lucky one. Wondered if the boys’ memories were buried so deep.

###

An Ounce of Prevention, or Who’s Chasing Whom? by Liz Husebye Hartmann

Betsy jogged through the underbrush, pounding her Calphalon saucepan with a designer stainless slotted spoon. The rhythm was irregular, to keep the grizzly ahead in a state of terrified confusion.

“Where is that granite quarry?” She should have reached it by now, according to that burly park ranger. Betsy shuddered as she recalled his cloying, musky scent, full beard, and hat pulled low over twinkling brown eyes. She’d hurried away.

Suddenly, she saw the bear rise up on its hind legs, look back, and disappear over the hill. She sprinted, confident, tripped, and plunged screaming over the cliff’s edge.

###

Fitting Pieces…by Jules Paige

Fitting pieces: In observing nature there is a raw beauty of watching
living things survive. The haiku was written based on watching the a
pair of hawks destroy a squirrels nest that was high in an old willow
tree:

Seedy? (haiku)

hawks wanting to plant;
raid the squirrels high nest for
more than just acorns

Red Tails; Non-fiction (and free verse)

Pair of hungry Red-Tail hawks
Carefully shred
A squirrel’s nest
One succeeds only to drop his prey
Who runs into the bushes ~

One hawk flies away while
The other takes up a high post
Like a sentinel
Waiting for sounds of movement
To appease his appetite

###

Rocks for the Fish by Joe Owens

“Frank, I need more of the six inch slabs!” Jerry told his foreman. “They are for a big job at the Mills’ place.”

“Does she realize the weight?” Jerry asked.

“Don’t matter, she pays cash, the quarry runs on cash, she’ll figure it out.”

Frank nodded as he climbed aboard his dozer to fetch the load. Two hours later the flat bed trailer sagged under the weight.

“What’s she makin’?” Frank asked.

“A fish pond,” Jerry said.

“Must be a big one!”

“It is for the Marlin her husband caught in Malibu. Poor fella can’t let the fish go!”

###

Last One There . . .by Ann Edall-Robson

The sounds of children laughing and yelling, “Last one there is the rotten egg.” It was alway a race to see who would be the first to jump off the rocks and into the water. Looking out from the jump-in rock brought the memories flooding back.

Someone suggested a park along the edge of the quarry would be a nice touch. HA! The park brought rules. All too soon, the race to the rock to jump into the water was vetoed. No more swimming under a full moon.

At least they’d left the water. But for how long?

###

The Quarry by Michael

The abandoned quarry was once the source of clay for the brick works. Today it’s a swimming hole but fraught with danger. Lots of stuff has been thrown into the quarry over the years. Now filled with water it conceals a multitude of dangers.

Every now and then a kid disappears. Sucked into the middle of the quarry never to be seen again. My mate Brian went that way. We were playing on his dad’s old inner tubes when he splashed once and down he went.

We searched for weeks but found nothing. None of us swam there again.

###

Rationing Information: the Teenage Years by Geoff Le Pard

‘We’re going to a quarry. For geography. You need to sign a form.’

‘What are you going to see?’

‘The quarry. God.’ Penny’s look spoke volumes.

‘I know. But there must…’

Penny shrugged, and turned back to her phone.

Mary signed.

The next day, Mary heard Penny talking to Nadia. ‘It was cool. All these strata, going back millions of years. They found a dinosaur there, like whole.’

At dinner Mary asked, ‘So, how was the quarry?’

‘Like a big hole. What’s for tea?’

Mary smiled; one day they’d share things again, once they’d both grown up a bit.

###

At First Sight (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Mary swayed like corn in a cradle, the wagon rocking, creaking. Her back ached and hands cramped as she drove the team. Ahead Leroy sagged with fatigue in the saddle.  A full moon guided their final push to Rock Creek. To keep alert, Mary forced the first memory when she became interested in Cobb.

The mountain girls gathered at the creek, wading and gossiping. Sarah Shull hung back. Her cornflower blue eyes watched the trail from the granite quarry. He rode shirtless and reckless. Mary smirked. She recognized the twit’s crush. That’s when she decided to woo Colbert McCanles.

###

The End Of Her Miscarriage by Diana Ngai

Saying that she was in a lot of discomfort was putting it mildly. Contractions racked her body as a piece of failed pregnancy moved slowly through her cervix. The doctor tweezed tissue out through the spectrum and Carrie was immediately comforted. The relief from pain was so great, Carrie thought the doctor was a miracle worker. Only days later would she think otherwise. If he were a miracle worker, he would have been able to save her baby. But there was no baby. Her womb was an abandoned quarry excavated of treasure. In that moment, her dreams were demolished.

###

My Quarry by Bill Engelson

“Breathless.”

“Are you?”

“Yes.”

“It is quite a site.”

“Breathtaking.”

“Do you need to draw in air, or something.”

“I’m a little winded. I never thought I would see this beautiful quarry again.”

“Hmm. When were you last in Carrara?”

“In ’68. At the creation of the International of Anarchist Federations.”

“A long time ago.”

“Yes. Time has not worn me well. Nor the quality of the marble.”

“We work with what we have. And today I have to think of the George Washington Statue by Greenough.”

“America. Yes, I think of her too. Lesser men. Lesser marble.”

###


3 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on ladyleemanila and commented:
    quarry tales 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Norah says:

    What an amazing collection and compilation, Charli. Some of them are very moving.

    Like

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