Can something broken ever be whole again? Life can be full of shattering moments. Broken relationships, broken possessions, broken dreams. Yet shards are not the end. Sometimes, it’s the beginning of a different appreciation.
Writers explored the possibilities of shards, this week. They explored the human condition revealed by the prompt, sharing different perspectives on who or what was broken.
The following are from the January 24, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about shards.
PART I (10-minute read)
Mommy by D. Avery
I am a ghost drifting formless
undead, unliving, in between
strung out at the margins.
You haunt me with your memories.
Leave me be.
Rattling chains of your broken dreams
piecing together shards
hopes cracked and scarred like my junkie arms.
My babies, chanting shamans
mediums; you’d have them draw me to the side of the living.
It’s so hard. I don’t come over.
My body is crumbling dust
my heart empty shortsighted eyes
searching for one thing only.
The next fix
might be the one
the last one
Will you dare dream again, for my children?
Picture Perfect by Janice Morris
The cardboard frame has yellowed and the picture of the young girl has faded but not her sweet innocence.
She looks wistfully out at the world. There is no bitterness in her warm gentle smile.
More and more I find myself wanting to linger in her youthful dreams, shards from the past, knowing they will soon end and she will be bound to walk in the weighty footprints that life has fashioned.
If I am to have solace, I think I shall find it in this child for she is brimming with hope and hope is what I seek.
Shards by Anita Dawes
The small church stands alone on the hill.
Beautiful stained glass windows,
sun streaming broken colours of ancient light
illuminating the walls, the floors, the pews.
People’s faces, colour changing
From red to blue, green and yellow
Those broken shards of light
every bit as beautiful as any pottery
found in any old Egyptian bazar.
A jewel made by man, lit by nature’s light.
How long will it last?
Will the light last forever?
Will the broken shards of light
keep shining through the woods
for my grandchildren, great grandchildren?
Will ancient shards of pottery still hold man’s interest?
Melancholy by Susan Zutautas
Remembering back sitting in a dark dingy room, my mind constantly thinking that all I wanted was to feel normal. No desire to eat or get out of bed but most of all I just wanted to be alone.
At times I would think so rigorously, try so hard to make sense of it all, yet concentration was impossible to come by and all I would do was escape into sleep. Darkness was my only friend and I welcomed it.
People would walk around me as if they were stepping around shards of glass.
When would this all end?
Shard by Robbie Cheadle
Her son’s death shattered her life like a stone hitting a mirror. The shards pierced her heart and soul making it impossible for her to experience love or joy in any way.
She stood with her sister’s baby in her arms. Little Monica looked up at her with large, trusting eyes. She walked around the room singing softly to the tiny girl just as she had sung to her own boy more than twelve years ago.
A burst of love surged through her, vapourizing the shards. Acceptance of the past brought her acceptance and a welcome sense of peace.
Shards from the Past Cut Sharper Than Glass by Anne Goodwin
When Matty awakes, she is hugging that dratted photograph. Brushing her hand across her torso, the glass splinters on the floor tiles, jingling like xylophone keys. The maid will sweep up the shards.
Of greater concern is Matty’s doppelgänger, now free to make mischief with no protective pane. Everybody knows Matilda told such dreadful lies, it made one gasp and stretch one’s eyes. But a dissembler gets her comeuppance eventually, and rightly so.
Matty must distance herself from Matilda, however, lest she be punished for her crimes. Otherwise, when Matilda shouts Fire! Matty would be mocked by Little liar!
Closing the Circle of Life by H.R.R. Gorman
I cup my mother’s hand and hold it tight. She stares at me with unknowing eyes, scared, reluctant or too weak to squeeze the hand in return. “Ma?” she asks.
I rub the wasting arm, glad that even a shard of a memory is poking through. It’s been a while since she’s asked for anyone. “I’m your daughter,” I answered. “Do you need something, Mama?”
The words come slowly to her. “Just sleepy.”
I smile, hand her a baby-doll, and tuck her in with a kiss on the forehead. “Then rest, Mama. I’ll be here when you wake up.”
Darn Memories by Ruchira Khanna
“Thank heavens it broke!” Jules said with relief as she raised her hands in jubilation.
She was quick to call for help to clean up the mess.
As the helper was collecting the pieces that got scattered around the room; Jules watched with a keen eye.
Her fragile grey neurons of 80 years old were quick to make synapses as that cup’s history took her to her home surrounded with laughter, and then to an old age home all alone.
Memories were threatening to overwhelm her, but she would be seen fighting them with an expletive now and then.
Broken by Sally Cronin
She swept up the broken glass, briefly regretting throwing the vase across the room. It had missed its target, thankfully, since going to prison for murder was not the best start to a new life of freedom. It had been a wedding gift from her dead mother-in-law, who had never thought her good enough for her precious son. Sunlight streaming into the room was captured by a large shard that sparkled with brilliance, as if celebrating its release from the confines of the vessel. She laughed; perhaps the old girl was sending her approval from above at long last.
The Mirror Cracked by Di @ pensitivity101
The bathroom mirror was still cracked after all this time, a reminder of tempers lost and love destroyed.
Now suddenly the pieces broke free of the frame, crashing and smashing into the sink below. Was it an Omen?
Splinters, slithers and shards glistened up at him, each representing a part of what was.
The whole had been beautiful, reflective, serene. Now all that was left was an empty canvas having ejected the shattered remains.
It was a solid base upon which to build.
Taking the smallest piece, he put it in place.
Always best to start with the heart.
She’s Made Whole Again by Miriam Hurdle
“Oh! It’s strange. I heard my sons, daughters-in-law, brothers, sisters and niece.”
“Yes, they came to see you.”
“My sisters and niece from the US?”
“They said they loved me, Jesus loved me, and God loved me.”
“They still do.”
“There was an avalanche inside me. My sister called the nurse, said I was bleeding.”
“Your organs collapsed. The blood gushed out of your nose.”
“But… I look fine. I feel like dancing as I did for the Championship on November 4, 2018.”
“You’re made whole again. Come with me to enter the gate of eternal wholeness.”
Repurposed by Kay Kingsley
The voice on the phone stopped time in an instant and all she knew, everything she’d ever felt, exploded and as her world broke apart she lay in pieces on the floor and wept from a place so deep that she never knew it existed.
In time, she was able to locate most parts of herself, gathering them up with mixed emotions. She was happy to have found them again but the picture of herself that they made was one she needed time to adjust to.
Reborn, rearranged, repurposed, renewed, she now has more parts of herself to give.
Jeff (Crater Lakes) by Saifun Hassam
Millennia ago, Green Crater Lake was formed from a volcanic eruption. In this very unique environment, another crater lake formed some hundred miles away: Lizard Crater Lake, when a meteorite crashed into the lush green valley.
Lizard Lake’s shores were strewn with shards of obsidian meteorite rock, mixed with shards from Earth’s crust. Rain and snow melt drained away through cracks in the lake bed.
In the summer, the dry lake was home to lizards and rattlesnakes. Green Lake’s waters and marshes attracted songbirds, deer, and fox.
Jeff, a ranger for Special Ecological Habitats, loved to explore both craters.
Fooled Once by Ann Edall-Robson
The creek had become a fast-moving lake. Crossing the muddy water was for those who were stupid. Today, he would be one of the stupid ones. He had to check the cattle, regardless of Mother Nature.
His eyes were drawn to the West, and he smirked. The thunder was like a drum roll followed by the ebony clouds opening to brilliant shards of light streaming through. Was it another one of Mother Nature’s false hope sign that a break in the weather was on its way? He’d seen the sky like that before. Fooled once, but never again.
His Dream Graveyard by calmkate @ aroused
An unkempt blue tractor blocked our entry. We just managed to slide in the gateway when the majestic race horses nudged us demanding their feed.
I caste my gaze around and realise its full of shards of this man’s dreams. Specialised tractors left to rust. Large frames leaned against the corral … they only cost a hundred but the horses shelter was never built. The ice cream cart was rotting, tyres and rusted bits lay about.
It felt voyeuristic to wander through the graveyard of this man’s dreams. 73.8 acres paid for … could the bank reclaim that 0.2?
Shards by Faith A. Colburn
Entering the abandoned house, we tiptoed on shards of glass. The windows must have shattered long ago; the oak floors were badly warped. We smelled damp wood, wet wallpaper paste, molding plaster. This house once sheltered a family—our great grandparents and their ten children.
We couldn’t see shards of the lives lived there, the storms that destroyed a year’s income, the recession that nearly ruined the family, the trauma that resulted in hitting and punching.
Yet out of the love that survived in the house came this clan of descendants—the doctor, the lawyer, the merchant, the chief.
Shards by Floridaborne
An “A” student, high school cheerleader, her only worry what she’d wear to the prom, sat at the intake desk at a home for unwed mothers two states away from her parents wondering why, in 1960, no one cared that her drunken father …
“Every counselor here understands,” her mentor said. “It’s not your fault.”
“My mother said once the baby’s given up for adoption, you’ll help me find a job in another city.”
“With your grades, we’ll help you find a scholarship.”
“Someday I’ll be the counselor offering a shard of hope.”
Her mentor smiled. “I’ve no doubt.”
Vase by Nobbinmaug
The crash echoed throughout the house.
Sam and Pete stared motionlessly and silently at the shards of the former vase strewn across the floor. It was their mom’s favorite. It was her mother’s.
They both considered running, but where? It wasn’t a big apartment. The only way out was through the front door. That meant getting past dad. It was afternoon, so he had been drinking for hours already. He wouldn’t even drink his morning coffee without whiskey.
Before either could move, dad stomped down the hall with fists flying.
Sam broke the cycle.
Pete broke his daughter’s arm.
Having Faith, One Root Vegetable at a Time by Geoff Le Pard
‘Wassup? You look like someone’s shrink-wrapped your brain.’
‘It’s this prompt; I’ve to write about a shard.’
‘I hate that word.’
‘Reminds me when I broke Grandpa’s urn. Mum went bonkers.’
“Used it as a wicket…’
‘Morgan, you didn’t?’
‘Yeah. It shattered. Mum goes mental, Dad tries to rescue me. Told me to collect the shards to stick it back together.’
‘Mum said I’d about as much chance of remaking the urn as I had of remaking a potato from a bag of crisps.’
‘She a one, your mum.’
‘Tell me about it.’
A Partial Conversation Overheard in the Centurion Lounge During A Flight Delay at LaGuardia by Bill Engleson
“Two glasses of white wine, please.”
“Whatever you have will be fine. Sauvignon Blanc, maybe…unless you have Chardonnay?”
“I do. Coming right up…”
“How long’s it been, Jeannie? Two…three years?”
“The conference in Chicago. October 2016.”
“Right. Not that long.”
“In years, maybe. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime. You know…”
“Right! The clown in the White House. What a disaster. It’s like he’s grabbed everything we understood about the world and smashed it on the floor. The proverbial bully in a china shop.”
“Let’s not talk about him. It’s great to see you.”
Polar Vortex and Privilege by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Hunkered down in double socks,
Layers of wool and moisture-wicking long johns.
It’s a quick hike to the kitchen for more
Coffee hot soup the sweet pungency
Of Sumo oranges in a hand-turned bowl.
I could go out. I could stay in.
Do I trust the slippery overpasses for a writing class in a historic cottage supporting local art?
Grateful for my privilege, but feeling detached.
Worried for those living rough
On our Twin Cities streets,
And rural roads.
Predicted windschill 60 below: Our people may literally freeze to death,
Shatter into shards of never were.
PART II (10-minute read)
Shards of a Life by Tracey Robinson
The line of soldiers walked slowly, cautiously, testing each step. The IED detonated anyway, shattering the Sergeant’s leg and leaving him mercifully unconscious.
Thousands of miles away a phone rang. The love of his life found her heart shattered by words as easily as his leg by explosives.
Months passed. Months filled with hospitals and surgeries. A leg put together with pins and rods. A person put back together with therapy and exercise. A heart held together with patience and hope. A couple linked together by the past.
Their bodies may have been shattered but their love remained whole.
Chester Helps Ruth with the Crossword Puzzle by Molly Stevens
Chester flopped into his recliner, cracked open a beer, and turned on the football game. Ruth poured over the weekend crossword puzzle.
“What’s a five-letter word for fragment?” Ruth said.
“Chip away at ‘em with short passes!”
“I said five letters. Chip only has four.”
“One piece at a time.”
“Starts with ‘s.’ Piece doesn’t fit.”
“There’s the scrap you needed for another set of downs!”
“No, it’s not ‘scrap.’ The word ends in a ‘d.’
“Smash the defense!”
‘Smash doesn’t end with ‘d’.”
“Shard, the word is shard, woman.”
“I love it when we do the crossword together.”
Fractal Features by Kerry E.B. Black
After their argument, she retreated into the museum until she no longer heard the derisive laughter and tinkling of toasted congratulatory conversation.
Cold air buffeted from a neglected hallway. The percussion of her footfalls punctuated until the crescendo burst her dammed emotions. A torrent smeared makeup while suppression unknotted.
She beheld glass fingered with frost. Backlit, it reflected her amplified imperfection. Within the fractal features resounded his criticism.
Instead of accepting the carnival-mirror version of herself, she punched the unfair portrayal. The window shattered into a crystalline spider web. Pain shot through her wrist and left shards for remembrance.
Intermission by Pete Fanning
I was alone, near the stairs, clutching popcorn and beer when the lights dimmed, summoning me to seat 112 in Row EEE.
Dan stood at the entrance to the balcony, eyes panning the lobby. When he saw me he grimaced, motioned for me to hurry. I tossed the popcorn into the trash, corn and kernels falling like shards into the bag. I tried not to think about how I my appearance inspired such small misery—a small explosion in my chest. I washed it down with beer and walked towards my husband.
He turned and we entered the darkness.
Lead Came by Nancy Brady
It was Valentine’s Day, and Julie was working. She received a bouquet of flowers from her husband. Her customers would remark, “He really loves you” or some other platitude. It certainly felt like a platitude because she recently discovered that he had an affair with a mutual friend. One he denied up until now.
With two young children, what was she to do? His betrayal had cut her to the quick, and she felt she couldn’t go on. Her heart had been ripped to pieces. Would she ever feel whole again?
the stained glass heart
Broken by Susan Sleggs
The vinyl discs were from his high school and college days. When he left her for another woman she smashed them against the edge of their marble counter. Shards flew. She eyed the mess with a childish glee, feeling she had destroyed something of him as he had destroyed their life together. She slept well that night. The next day she purchased a shiny new bucket and filled it with every shard she could locate then left it by the turntable with a note; “Here is your record collection, in the condition you have left my heart and life.”
Shards by The Dark Netizen
I lay broken among shards of glass, broken like the window I had just fallen through.
It was a four floor fall. My consciousness was fading, just like my life had been for many years. The shards piercing my skin hurt so mucu lesser than the words that had pierced my heart minutes ago. The words I read on the note had struck me hard. It was a suicide note, signed by me. However, I had never written one. I realised only after I was shoved hard through the window.
The last thing I saw was my wife’s face…
Lovesick Mess by Belle Gram
“There are rose petals on the floor of our apartment.”
“There is a giant heart posted to the wall as well.”
“And you’re a little more flushed than usual.”
“I am quite aware of the obvious situation before me, including the complexion of my skin.”
“Is this one of your experiments?”
“Of course not. This pink mess is an abomination of nature.”
“It is a bit odd. Though the handwriting of their confession is curvier than yours. Not mentioning the decorative hearts and exclamation points.”
“You have no idea how odd it is about to get.”
Analyse the Detail by Norah Colvin
The artisan turned each piece to the light, this way and that, fitting and refitting, arranging and rearranging. Finally, it was done. Each piece necessary and perfectly positioned creating the whole— exquisite, harmonious, illuminating—not one greater nor outshining any other. It filled each open heart with hopes of dreams fulfilled.
Another sought to analyse its beauty, the power of its message to explore. He picked out all the pieces one by one and examined each in every detail. Too late he saw that, shattered and alone, not one shard revealed a secret. Only united did their meaning shine.
Porcelain Shards by TNKerr
The last of the dessert set goes into the furnace
Final firing for
cups, saucers, plates and bowls.
There’s a coffee pot and warmer,
a creamer, sugar bowl, and cake plate.
All done in a stylized violet motif
A signature design favoured by my father.
This time there is trouble in the kiln
Most likely the sugar bowl blew
I’ll never know for sure though. I lost that sugar bowl,
and it’s lid,
two cups that had been positioned close by.
Fine porcelain reduced to shards.
Doesn’t happen often, but its part of the game.
Move on, make more.
Intruder Alert by Anurag Bakhshi
Inspector Sparrow stared intensely at the silver-haired man in front of him.
The man started off, “The intruder was a tall man, inspector, well-built, and extremely handsome. In the dark, I saw him standing in that window, and froze. He moved left, I followed. I moved right, he followed. Finally, I jumped at him, and that is how the glass window broke,” he finished, pointing towards the shards on the floor.
The inspector carefully inspected the shards, and got up.” I’ll take your leave now,” he said,” but please feel free to have this broken mirror replaced, Mr. Magoo.”
What One Lady Gave Me by JulesPaige
The of Lady Lake Michigan gave me shards. I was visiting in Wisconsin In August of 2017
I traversed the length of the north and south beaches.
One little triangle white with blue hand painted lines like decorations; I’ve identified that coming from a piece of a Leeds Blue Feather plate.
The Lady also offered up something green on both sides; which I was told came from the 1856 Toledo shipwreck.
entrusted to me;
bit pieces of history
gifted by a lake
These pieces are a part of my Lake Michigan treasures. Bits of memories that make me whole.
Stories in the Shards (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Danni sifted dirt from Ramona’s garden through the screen and shards of glass emerged. She had built the box to hang on a tripod to accommodate her shorter height. Thick brown crockery and glass from household items emerged. Danni would take this year’s haul to her barn, scrub pieces clean, arrange by type, and document. Every fall, when Ike’s grandmother tilled up her tomatoes and zucchini, Danni sifted for treasure. Most people scoffed at broken glass, but to an archeologist, each piece told a valuable story. One day she’d figure out why the crockery and mason jars were there.
Shards to Read by Nancy Brady
A favorite author of mine, Jennifer Estep writes fantasy fiction for teens and adults. I actually stumbled upon her writing when I won a copy of her YA novel, Dark Frost from her Mythos Academy series.
Once I devoured that whole series, I branched into her other series like the Black Blade trilogy, the Bigtime series, the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, and the spinoff series, Mythos Academy: Colorado, which begins with Spartan Heart.
Her humorous, lighthearted style makes for fun reading.
My current read is Kill the Queen, the first in her newest series, A Crown of Shards.
Burying The Dead by Joanne Fisher
Aalen cut down all the bodies from the trees in the village. She spent the day burying her kin in the village outskirts. Every time saying a prayer to the Goddess while wiping away tears. She removed the sacred crystal shards from around the neck of the village Elder and buried her last. She cupped the largest one in her hands praying for a way to find the killers of her people. The shard glowing brilliantly in her hands showed the way. A rage filled her heart. She grabbed all her weapons and followed the path she had seen.
The Unexpected by Joanne Fisher
The vampire advanced towards her. Rebecca was backed into a wall. The vampire smirked. It had her now. Rebecca grabbed one of the pottery shards from a shelf beside her and just as the vampire grabbed her, Rebecca drove the shard into the vampire’s heart. The vampire looked surprised and turned into a cloud of dust. Rebecca sighed and walked to the door.
“Stupid vampire.” She said.
“Stupid human!” Said a voice behind her.
Rebecca turned to see the vampire she had killed with a dark smile on it’s face, just as she felt it’s icy hands on her.
Life’s Puzzle by Teresa Grabs
Ruth was obsessed with puzzles; the more pieces, the better. There wasn’t a puzzle she could complete in record time – except one. Her painful secret and desire remained locked away from her in a tidy corner of the attic. As with any puzzle, she began with the frame. Over the years, she managed to find the right combination for several clusters, but the whole puzzle eluded her. Every night she sat on the attic floor and stared at her reflection in the puzzle shards. A million hers – her true self – screaming forever, imprisoned in the shards of her reflection.
Magic Happens When by Reena Saxena
This is a magical shard, I’m told, and I believe it when it speaks,
“I need to join my counterparts again to be truly effective. The energy will flow only after we connect, and create a channel for the supernatural. Without it, I’m just a piece of glass.”
So, I set around looking for the remaining pieces. Some are retrieved from the bin, yet many others have left no trace. Suddenly, I note the color of the shard changing.
“What does that mean, my friend?”
“Your energy is now beginning to resonate with mine.” Magic was indeed happening.
Grandma’s Tears by Chelsea Owens
The sun-warmed beach felt wet and warm
To tiny feet through after-storm;
A woven bowl within her hands,
A flutt’ring hope within the sands.
Searching, searching patiently;
Seeking out a memory.
A glint! A glare! She shouted, skipped!
She danced in young explorer bliss.
For, bit by shining bit, she found
Crystal shards strewn over ground.
And, ducking leaping dancing low
They came to fill her basket-bowl.
Look, Gram, she told the sunshaft sky;
Laughing, she lofted basket high,
I fin’lly found your present, here;
I fin’lly found your star-shed tears.
Clouding sunset smiles played:
Snug’ling, warming, happy rays.
Whoa. I see the forest. It’s made up of beautiful individual trees. Staying away this week has made me a better more appreciative reader. This is a wonderful collection. Charli, you did a remarkable job making these shiny shards into a whole.
Howdy D.! Good for you to take a break, resettle the eyes and heart. Hope the writing monster yet lives. 😉
I LOVED yours, D.! Beautiful!
You managed to collect a bunch of stories and piece them together to make something beautiful here, Charli. I love ’em all and thanks for including my piece.
Thank you for lending your beautiful shard, TN!
An excellent selection, Charli.
Finer than a museum vase! Thanks, Robbie.
Beautiful shards put together to create an amazing whole 😍
Each piece adds to the arrangement. Thanks for reading, Ritu!
ABsolutely fabulous read Charli … try to pick a few new names each time, hope to get around to everyone eventually <3 😎
That’s a good approach, Kate!
As always a fine collection. Individually each shines, together they positively glow. Well done, everyone, and thanks for crafting a beautiful compilation, Charli.
Each shard shines on its own, and then they come together as something new. Thanks, Norah.
Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
If you love Flash Fiction then here are enough stories to keep you happily engrossed for the next hour or so. From Carrot Ranch, the responses to the 99 word challenge around shards of pottery or glass.