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The Finns of the Keweenaw have an enduring core of strength called sisu. An English equivalent doesn’t exist, but stories across place and cultures capture the ability to overcome adversity. Sisu is not short-term like a moment of courage. Sisu is life’s marathon.
Regardless of familiarity with the word, writers searched their experiences and imaginations to craft stories of sisu. It’s a world-wide look at Copper Country Strong.
The following are based on the May 7, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social.
PART I (10-minute read)
Sisu by Floridaborne
“Hey, mom!” Callie shouted. “I learned a new word today.”
Mom rolled her eyes and asked, “What is it now, skooder-do?”
“What!” Mom shouted, reaching for homemade soap to wash her daughter’s mouth out.
“It’s not a curse word, Mom! It’s a word that describes you.”
“This better be good,” Mom grumbled.
“You sew clothes from remnants, make all our curtains and you reupholstered our furniture,” Callie said. “You grow our veggies in the summer and can the rest for later.”
“We can’t afford anything else.”
“Mom,” Callie said, hugging her warmly. “You’re the strongest person I know.”
Bricktown Boys by Pete Fanning
Mom pulled me into her, holding me as she sobbed. “Sam, I’m so sorry you got hurt.”
I hugged her back. A stale, bitter smell clung to her shirt, to her skin. I realized it was the smell of our apartment. Of our lives. How we smelled to people. The stench of desperation, mistakes, of dating the same men over and over again.
She rocked along with sobs and apologies, but I wasn’t about to wait for Troy to hurt us again. I was tired of the stench. Of our lives.
I would take matters into my own hands.
Sisu by H.R.R. Gorman
“What’s this two year gap in your resume?” The hiring manager pointed to circled dates on the paper. “What did you do there?”
Joaquin clenched his fist. “There’s a Finnish word – sisu. It means to keep trudging through multiple adversities.” He tapped the circled words on the resume. “That’s why I’m here. I want this job because I can overcome my past.”
The manager scowled. “So you were traveling? To Finland?”
“No, I…” He coughed. “I was in prison.”
“Drug charges,” he squeaked.
She handed Joaquin his resume. “Thank you, but we won’t be needing your services.”
Abundant Optimism by JulesPaige
The man has sisu. Very close to living to that century mark. Served his country in the Navy. Got into computers at the git go. Loved his wife for over fifty years with unflappable devotion.
The Vets Administration told him he was legally blind at ninety five. Sold his car to a local dealership, who then drove him back to his house.
The man has sisu. He’s lived alone for over twenty years. Refuses to leave his home. Finally accepts help from the neighbors, on his terms.
enduring strength, life;
living as you choose daily
the man has sisu
Sisu by Brendan Thomas
Jane opened the door, I was shaken. Back to back to back Cancers took a toll on her body, but not her spirit. We sat, drank tea, talked, laughed long and loud, planned for future meetings.
“I can do that, I’m in remission. My calendar is filling up with fun appointments again.”
As I was leaving I remembered the t-shirt, removing it from the bag to give to her.
“This is for you.”
Unfurled it read SISU, blue letters against white.
“What does it mean?” she asked.
“It’s Finnish for Jane,” I responded. I’m not sure she believed me.
After The Funeral by Joanne Fisher
I had just come back from the funeral of my girlfriend. We had been in a car crash. I survived, she didn’t.
“How do I go on without her?” I cried out to my father who had come back with me so I wasn’t alone.
“With sisu.” My father replied.
“Sisu?” I didn’t understand.
“It’s a Finnish word for having determination, or possessing inner strength. I know you are strong Kathleen. It may not seem like it now, but I know you will get through this, like I did with your mother.” he told me.
I really hoped so.
Sisu – DNA by Sally Cronin
They found the old bones in a cave in Southern France. They were packed carefully and dispatched to a laboratory where they identified them as the remains of a woman in her 40s. This was elderly for her time, with arthritis and healed broken bones evidence of her hard life. Her mitochondrial DNA was matched to millions of women who migrated across the continent as ice thawed, populating almost every part of Europe and beyond. Her genes survived through the centuries and 20,000 years later matched to a young woman, who discovered where all her strength had come from.
More Strength Than Meets the Eye by TN Kerr
It is born from bitter winter cold
Not a nip or chill, but a biting, vicious cold
A cold that comes with long, nights, and
It has nothing to do with gain
It’s about diving into the water
Simply for the sake of it
It’s about laughing in the face of tragedy
It’s about mocking and defeating whatever adversity is thrown your way
Always getting up
Something akin to, yet more than,
Intensity that thrives in the long days of summer
You are stronger than any one of us, or even you, could ever imagine
Plowshares by D. Avery
Her little boy and her daughters worked chores according to their size and ability but he, the youngest, wasn’t scolded when he sometimes fell to playing. But this?
Flinging the stick, she stalked off to the barn.
“Ma, it was just pretendin’!”
He had never known his father and older brother who used to do the heavy fieldwork. ‘Back before harvest time,’ they’d said, left together, eyes bright with adventure.
Pressing her forehead against the horse’s broad neck she confessed her worries.
She wouldn’t allow another son to play at war.
She harnessed the horse and hitched the plow.
Snow Storm by Abhijit Ray
Mikka was out to do some fishing, catch up with reading and have some quiet time in his cottage up north. He must have missed weather forecast. Storm caught Mikka unprepared. Running low on food and fuel, and suffering from poor cell phone connectivity, Mikka realised the extra can of gasoline in the trunk will only last so long.
“Either I make an effort to reach home or freeze here to death,” Mikka reasoned and made his way following a weak GPS signal.
“Show Sisu, when in trouble,” dad taught him. In his country, “sisu” meant grit to overcome hurdles.
Make It Work by Kelley Farrell
“Find your inner strength. We all have something we’re good at. Something we’re prepared for, even if we don’t realize it. What ignites that fire in you?”
That was when Becky had one dollar to her name.
Joe was right of course. Everybody has something to be fanned from sparks of passion.
Becky had three mouths to feed and an extensive debt to the local sex shop.
“Made it work indeed!” Joe admired Becky’s new business locale. “Mistress Cyan’s Pleasure Room.”
“Number 1 in the city.” Becky smiled, “Want to try it out? No charge for my oldest friend.”
Dedication by Shane Kroetsch
Langdon sat staring at his hands. He scratched at the dry skin on his knuckles. “I did what needed to be done. It wasn’t easy, but I found a way.”
“That’s something to be proud of, isn’t it?” Emma said.
Langdon shrugged. “I gave my word. Not much more to it.”
“I think it says a lot about your character, the fact that you dedicated years of your life to the cause.”
Langdon’s lips went thin and he looked up to Emma. “Maybe it does say a lot. What it doesn’t say is whether it was worth the cost.”
Sisu by Anita Dawes
Sisu is woven into our DNA
lying dormant, waiting , trapped quicksilver
hoping the day never comes where we will be tested
Do we freeze, or jump into action to save a life?
where we meet a part of ourselves
we would not recognise in the mirror
the hero who hides behind that pinstriped suit
mild-mannered like the man of steel
we would you run into a burning building
because you heard a cry for help?
many think we could go one step beyond
if called upon to act
would you leap without thinking
does quicksilver run through your veins?
Sisu Book-su by Ritu Bhathal
Finally, time to sit down and read.
“Mum! I’m hungry!”
Don’t worry book, I’ll be back.
Child fed. Back to my book.
“Honey, do you know where my tie is?”
Tie found. Where was I?
Raised voices and screaming.
“What is the matter with the two of you? Okay, Tom, you sit here with that Lego. Amelia, draw me a picture over here. No, not near your brother!”
Ah, chapter two I think–
“Hello? Hi mum…”
Twenty minutes later.
“Okay, bye mum. Speak to you tomorrow.”
That book. I will get it read.
PART II (10-minute read)
Says You by Bill Engleson
In that moment, he prepared to let go.
Time had stopped.
Nothing moved in the room.
A spike of sun slipped along the ceiling.
No breeze ruffled the curtains.
Outside, there were street sounds.
Jill held his hand. Steady. No squeezes. Just steady.
“You’ll be fine,” he thought.
“Says you,” she said.
“Says me,” he thought.
“A lot you know,” she said.
“I know you,” he thought. “I might waver without you, but you, you have a steel spine. A Viking’s heart.”
A gust of warm wind blew in.
A candle flickered.
New Bride by Ruchira Khanna
“Dad, I can’t take it anymore!” the new bride lamented over the telephone.
“Give it some time. Don’t make a hasty decision.”
“But, Dad his family’s so different than how I’ve been brought up! They have weird tastes, and most of the time they live with us,” she sobbed.
“Look at the positive side; you have a loving husband. Give it some time; otherwise, we’re always there for you!”
She put down the phone as she wiped her tear, “For the sake of Sam, I shall become sisu for a few days and then decide what to do next.”
Cross Roads by Saifun Hassam
As a marine archaeologist, Pierre Yandeau loved exploring deep ocean waters. Then his fiance and colleague Georgina was killed in a diving accident off the Great Shelf Peninsula. Sisu. Pierre returned to his research at the Pacific Institute. He would never forget Georgina. He knew he had a decision to make.
The Great Shelf Institute invited him to join their ecological and archaeological faculty. He walked along the endless desert shores of the Shelf. Once this was under deep ocean water. Who had carved those ancient runes on the rocky plateaus inland? He would explore, he would learn. Sisu.
Sisu by Kay Kingsley
She’d been through a lot more than most but she knows it’s not as much as some others. Described as a rock, strong and sturdy, people were drawn to her strength like a magnet. And when she was young that need fed her soul, gave her purpose, direction, and she felt like a mountain.
But as the years passed, she learned that even the toughest rocks are worn smooth by a gentle trickle of water and strong winds can erode mountains into dust.
It’s a fine line she thinks between sisu and stubbornness and she walks it with grace.
Claire’s Sisu by calmkate
Claire a vivacious 32 year old roamed the world sorting out ‘awkward’ situations for a billionaire for over a decade. Confronted with aggressive breast cancer her imminent demise was her greatest challenge.
Resilience is our inner strength, our ability to deal with overwhelming even impossible challenges. It has a strong spiritual component supplemented by mental and emotional factors. Most don’t realise they have it until they are truly tested.
Claire had to dig deep and with the right support her sisu kicked in empowering her until the brain tumour took over. She died with dignity, love and real peace.
Seeding by Sascha Darlington
he rains come early. My granddaddy used to say: can’t put seeds in drenched soil.
Almost immediately it’s hot. The cool weather crops produce little. Too hot, too soon.
And then there’s more rain, and Daniel yells at me and the kids, while taking off his Cardinal’s cap, splaying his fingers through his crop of hair, his eyes searching here and yet remotely for answers that won’t come.
He sits on the edge of the bed, staring at the floor. “The seeds rot in the soil, Cam.”
“We’ll start them indoors.”
“Might work. But we’d need a butt-load.”
Sisu by Ann Edall-Robson
Some mornings she watched the moon set as the sun rose. Night and day blended into each other. Days off became planning time for the days to come. Often the work made her brain weary and physically worn, yet Hanna continued to push herself.
Mrs. Johnson understood Hanna’s tenacity, her sisu. The older woman had seen it before. There was no doubt why the young woman would not rest until she had accomplished what she had quietly taken on.
Others didn’t understand Hanna’s attitude, but Mrs. Johnson could see the reasoning in her eyes, her stance, and relentless perseverance.
We Got Grit by Susan Sleggs
“Remember when we were teenagers, we thought we had the world by the tail,” Lillian mused.
“Those were the days,” Maude answered.
“Guess we learned life wasn’t easy didn’t we?”
“Yeah, about my 40th birthday I figured out I didn’t know sh*t back then.”
“Now you’re 90, what do ya think?”
“The truth; there are only tiny snippets of peace in any one’s life. Responsibilities, hardships, and illness are ever present and only thing means anything is how a person handles all the crap.”
“That’s grit my friend.”
“Good thing we both got it. It’s what’s kept us goin’.”
Paid in Full by Nicole Horlings
He sat down heavily. She looked up with disappointment. “No overtime?”
“Not today. And I may come home early tomorrow. The market’s been dead lately.” He leaned back and groaned. “I promised to provide for you.”
“And you are. I was able to pay all of our bills in full today.”
He looked surprised, then a grin broke across his face. “Really?” She nodded, and pulled a letter out of her pocket, handing it to him. “Your artwork won first place? That’s fantastic!” She grinned, took the cheque, and slipped it into a jar of loose change labeled vacation.
No Lion Sleeps Tonight by Susan Zutautas
One scorching sunny morning everyone gathered together by the Quiver tree, deep in the forest to discuss the shortage of food.
Leo starts the meeting with, “Good morning” to the pride.
“Tonight, we will go and hunt a zebra. I spotted a dazzle last night and if we’re quick and stealth there won’t be a problem.”
“Papa, papa, can I come too for the hunt?” said Leo’s cub.
“Yes, I think it is a fine time for you to join us, time to develop your sisu.”
“Okay all, we’ll meet back here at dusk, don’t be late,” said Leo.
The Animal Facts of Life by Chelsea Owens
“Elephants are pregnent fohr two years!”
“Uh-huh. Dhey also have duh biggest bwains of mammals.”
She smiled in the rearview mirror at her son. He sat hunched over his animal facts book.
“You know,” she ventured, “there’s a saying that ‘an elephant never forgets.’ Maybe because of their big brains.”
He didn’t answer. She knew he heard; he always did. That, the slight speech impediment, and his obsession with one topic made adults think he didn’t.
She sighed and rubbed her stomach, wondering how he’d handle being a big brother. Unlike an elephant, they only had nine months.
Targets Targets! by Anurag Bakhshi
“Get up,” he called out, insistently, incessantly.
I shook my head and tried to get on to my feet, but tumbled down, again.
It was just too cold, and my body needed rest, desperately.
But he just wouldn’t give up.
“Get up,” he cried out again, “they’re counting on us.”
And that, more than his pushing, is what led me to dig deep into my sisu, my inner strength, and with a huge heave and a loud wheeze, I finally got up.
Harsh winters or not, Christmas Eve was no time for one of Santa’s chief reindeer to sleep!
Sisu by Roberta Eaton
I have been thinking about my situation. Now that my headache has receded, I need to formulate an escape plan. I must exhibit sisu and find a way out of this locked room.
I have no idea why I have been locked in, but I know that my wife and son must need me. Someone brought me food and drink while I was sleeping so my superiors are clearly monitoring my movements. I need to find a way to fool the microchip in my head into believing I am sleeping. Then, when someone comes, I can make my move.
Something Evil in the Night (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Successive gun shots startled Danni from sleep. 2:04 a.m. She reached for Ike’s AR-15 resting between the dresser and wall. Years of Ike drilling her lent a strange familiarity to her husband’s weapon. But he was halfway around the world in Iraq. She dialed 9-1-1. The nearest deputy was 25 minutes away. Stepping outside, rifle cradled in the crook of her arm, Danni watched a silent pack of wolves run like liquid silver across the frozen pond in moonlight. Danni understood: Wolves run with sisu in their blood, outpacing the malevolence that follows – men with no regard for life.
His Darling Susi by Di @ pensitivity101
Her name was Susi, but to him she was his little Sisu.
From an early age, she had always been the stronger of the two of them. She had this way about her, would accept anything that life pushed her way and simply deal with it without complaint or fuss.
He’d read to her that night and like every other night, she told him she loved him.
‘Don’t worry Daddy,’ she said snuggling into his chest and pointing to his heart. ‘I’ll always be in here.’
God came for her that night, his darling Sisu, just ten years old.
Marathon Reversal by Anne Goodwin
At fifteen miles, she hits the wall. A stich in her side, legs in cramp, she staggers, sapped of juice. But she’d run through the pain in training. Today, the crowds and her fellow runners would cheer her on.
Wolfing down an energy bar, she recovers her mojo. But what the fuck? When she turns around to jog back to the beginning, they ask if she’s lost her mind.
If all goes well, she’ll do the distance. And a little more. She laughs at the thought of missing that marathon medal. ‘My way’ fills the hollow in her head.
Keeping Promises by Jo Hawk
Eino said caring for his invalid mother wouldn’t be easy, but his work took him abroad for months. The cabin had been her home since childhood. I didn’t imagine it would be this difficult. The closest neighbor lived miles away. We were alone.
Daytime was bearable. Aiti’s care and the daily chores kept me busy. I marked the calendar, counting days.
Then the storms descended. Howling winds crashed waves against the cliff, and spray pelted the windows. The house creaked, while my mind played games. The meager fire staved off ghosts while the clock counted the minutes until dawn.
Ranch Yarns by D. Avery
“Pal, you been on the ranch yer whole life?”
“Yep, reckon ya could say so. In thet I cain’t remember nuthin’ afore bein’ here.”
“Well, that’s a whole lotta hard work, all that ranchin’, day in and day out.”
“Yep, I reckon. Jist what a ranch hand does, Kid. Roll out ever mornin’ an’ jist do what’s gotta be done.”
“That’s sisu, Pal.”
“How is thet Japanese physical combat training?”
“Says you. An’ finish whut? Ranch work ain’t ever finished Kid. No matter the weather or season. But it’s who I am. It’s what I do.”
“Sisu, Pal. Means yer tough, resilient.”
“If ya say so, Kid. Jist know I like ranchin’, an’ this here’s a good outfit. Shorty’s good ta work for.”
“Ya sure ‘bout that, Pal? This job have benefits?”
“Lots uv’em. Fresh air, wide open spaces, good folks,—“
“No, Pal. Benefits. Health insurance, fer instance. What happens if ya git hurt on the job?”
“Reckon Shorty’d take care a me.”
“Ya’d let Shorty take care a ya?”
“Now that’s true grit. Heard she heps till it hurts. Might wanna talk ta her Cowboy ‘bout her care givin’ skills.”
“That’s cold, Kid.”
Exhaustion can grind down even the most energetic person. It fogs the brain and slows the limbs. Slumber, rest, reprieve, all or sought as remedies. Sometimes we get a second wind.
This week, writers overcome exhaustion to write about it. That doesn’t mean these stories will put you to sleep!
The following is based on the April 25, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes exhaustion.
PART I (10-minute read)
Comfort Food by Saifun Hassam
Diamante struggled with the Abbott’s decision. To be a scholar, yes. But to be a priest? He loved to teach the village children. Being a guardian of the ancient temple was fine. He was exhausted emotionally and mentally, trying to find a way out.
From the cliffs overlooking the sea, he trekked down to the ancient temple. He sank into the shadows and fell asleep. A fragrant aroma of mint and giggling laughing children woke him up. A feast was ready for him: potato patties, fried fish and sun drenched peaches. He would find a way through his dilemma.
Exhausted by TN Kerr
“Raul, please rest. You can’t help us if you’re dead.”
“I’m sorry, Alondra. I have to finish before the rains come.”
She shook her head and returned to the house, where she made a big jar of Sandia Agua Fresca. Then she made Pambazos and wrapped them in a napkin, to keep him going. He was bleary-eyed when she returned with the food.
“Raul, you need to rest.” She took his hand and led him to the cool shade of a large Alamo tree. They ate. They made love in the dappled sunshine. Afterwards, she watched him sleep, exhausted.
Making Hay by D. Avery
“Hey. I’ve got dinner warmed in the oven. You’ve been haying since before sun-up till after sunset. You must be exhausted.”
“No, just tired.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Hmm. Well, this is good work that matters. It had to be done, especially with the rain forecast. Luciene helped us then I helped him. Our cows are provided for and our families. I’m a little sore and tired but it feels good. Especially coming into this kitchen seeing you, knowing our Hope’s asleep upstairs, safe and sound.”
“Hmm. Are you too tired? For more good work?”
“Not if we’re working together.”
Exhausted Love by Bill Engleson
He went to bed late. It was after nine.
He told the cat, “You should’ve reminded me.”
The cat squawked as if to say, “Yeah, right.”
It was only him and the cat these days. Sal had packed up and split a month or so earlier.
He’d said at the time, “The cats yours,” meaning quite clearly, he thought, “take the cat.”
All she said was, “I can’t hear you.”
He thought that an odd thing to say but he didn’t tell her.
There would’ve been no point.
The upside was, he’s almost sure the cat listens.
Exhaustion by Pete Fanning
I couldn’t believe she would show up like this, tapping on my door. Like I had nothing to do but sit and wait for her. She was drunk, or close, her hair up in a lazy bun, curls dangling, spilling in a way Hollywood could try to replicate but never get right.
She was breathtaking. And she knew it. And she wasn’t supposed to be within 100 yards of my door.
Her smile widened, like her path of destruction. “Hi.”
I closed my eyes. From exhaustion—no, to stop seeing her, stop wanting her—when her lips found mine.
Heavy on Dark by Michael B. Fishman
Table, paneling, carpet, the room was heavy on dark.
She cited “irreconcilable differences”. Two dark words.
I said, “Is there anything in life that’s really irreconcilable? You know, outside of death and taxes.”
She looked at her lawyer and said, “See?” He looked at me like I was a child and offered a dark nod.
I said, “Would it have been easier if I’d cheated?”
She and her lawyer exchanged a dark glance and they both gave me the disapproving parent look. “You’re exhausting, you know that,” she said.
I signed the paper. Stood and walked into the light.
Catching a Nap by Susan Zutautas
Flopping down on the couch with pillow in toe, I knew I’d be asleep in no time at all. Hopefully Sandy would let me get an hour’s sleep or so before calling me. Exhaustion had kicked in and out I went.
I woke with a startle, looked up and saw Ian standing there.
“Oh no, I hope I didn’t wake you, Meg.”
“No, that’s okay I was just sneaking in a few zzz’s while your mom was resting. I should get up and check on her.”
“No, no, you stay put, I’ll tend to her for a few hours.”
Bonding Via Fabric by Susan Sleggs
Lillian leaned on her cane and perused the only two shelves of fabric she had left. She needed four complimentary ones to make the project she had in mind. After trying many combinations she exhausted her options so limped to her chair and eased herself into the worn seat. After a little nap, she called her granddaughter. “Would you have time to take me shopping.”
“I can on Friday.”
When they returned from their excursion, Sally said, “My youngest starts school in September. Could we schedule time to sew together?”
Lillian’s misty eyed response was, “Of course my dear.”
Exhaustion by Anita Dawes
There isn’t enough hours in the day to do all that needs doing
I can’t afford a maid, I don’t have a rewind button
Although I could do with having one fitted
Maybe some new batteries, like the ones that keep the bunny running
Now I don’t have the strength to run, to hide just for a while
Sleep does not help much, I awake with a backache and sore feet
Head spinning with the thought of all that is yet to come
The day is full before I start
I can get through another one because of love…
Taking What it Wants by Dorinda Duclos
Exhausted. The mere thought of the word makes me tired. I suppose staying up until the wee hours of the morning isn’t the best way to overcome it, but writing has a way of taking what it wants. There’s never a choice.
Still, finding the chance to sneak a few winks before Marsha shows up is difficult. Once she is here, there is no hope of relaxing. She is a spitfire, a jumble of energy. I am just a tired old woman. She never understands. But then again, editors never really do.
Chapter 1… my mind is a blank.
Sleepless in a Dormitory by Anne Goodwin
What an eventful day! Matty could sleep standing up.
Yet she lies on her back. Then on her side. Her thoughts racing, jumping, spinning: packing one away, another springs up.
When the guests retire, she must contend not only with her own mental disarray but the groans that are the external manifestation of theirs. Could she smother them one by one with a pillow? Simpler to step outside.
Shivering in the cobbled courtyard, she cinches her dressing gown. Finally soothed by the diamond-studded sky, she makes to go indoors. But, when she tries the handle, the door won’t budge.
Exodus by D. Avery
“I know she’s old but just two days ago she was walking and talking and taking meals with us. You try talking to her.”
“Come in child, sit. I’m old it’s true but I see and I hear. Come, talk with me but do not talk to me of getting out of bed, of eating food. I tell you, I am done.”
“Why? Why are you giving up on life?”
“I’ve seen enough. I’ve seen too much. When I was a child. And now in this country. At Passover no less. I’m tired of the hate. I’m exhausted.”
Getting The Right Signal by Geoff Le Pard
‘You look exhausted, Morgan.’
‘It’s mum and her death wish.’
‘Well, wishes. This whole “when I go…” malarkey.’
‘It was the music last week…?’
‘Oh that was easy. She told me yesterday she doesn’t trust me to carry out her wishes.’
‘She still hasn’t decided on cremation or burial?’
‘That’s part of it. It’s after that.’
‘She doesn’t want to be lonely.’
‘If she’s cremated how can she guarantee I’ll spread her ashes near her friends so she can keep up with the news.’
‘She’ll take a radio but will she get a signal?’
The 36 Hour Day by tracey
Last night’s game had gone thirteen innings followed by a long flight across the country. A 5:00p first pitch the next day left no time for a nap.
The radio announcer found himself giving an involuntary snort of laughter over the airwaves. An unexpected foul ball in the booth started the infectious chuckling. The announcers couldn’t look at each other for fear of bursts of mirth escaping. Their words came out strangled with laughter.
Punch drunk with exhaustion the radio announcers lost it in the seventh inning. Baffled listeners were confused, not recognizing sleep deprivation when they heard it.
Night Watch by Joanne Fisher
They had spent the entire day walking south and now they were both exhausted. In the darkest part of the night Aalen kept watch. She could see quite well in the starlight.
She looked at the sleeping form of Ashalla covered in a blanket. She had grown fond of this human. She would never have thought that possible. All her life she had been trained to keep humans out of their forest, or to hunt them down if they dared to enter. And now she was friends with one. Maybe they weren’t all as bad as she’d been told.
Exhausted by The Dark Netizen
Living on as a survivor is not easy in this wretched world.
I have fought countless battles through my life: For glory, for food, for money, and some times for the sheer fun of it.
In my youth I courted war, but as the years passed, my disgust of those who fuelled conflicts began increasing.
Every man that I have ever killed, every instance when I ended a life, sometimes swiftly, cleanly and sometimes slowly; they are still fresh in my memory.
I am exhausted now, awaiting a quick death.
However, my blade still remains hungry for more blood…
The Royal Bodyguard by Anurag Bakhshi
The sword almost slipped from his hand, as his opponent feinted sharply. He was weary with exhaustion, but giving up was not an option.
Giving up meant breaking the trust of the king who had made him his royal bodyguard.
And so, he dug deep into the inner recesses of his soul, and attacked, one last time.
A fountain of blood spurted out, followed by a cry that shook the palace to its core.
And as he looked in alarm at the king’s bloodied nose, and the triumphant fly flitting about, all that the monkey could say was, “Oops!”
Exhaustion by Shane Kroetsch
“I can’t do this anymore.” Sabine said.
“Do what?” Kalvin said.
Sabine spread her arms wide. “Any of this. Put up with people who refuse to use their brains. People who care so little about their own responsibilities that they don’t see the rest of the team struggling to pick up their slack. Why should I be the one working after hours and losing sleep over whether or not the job that these idiots refuse to do gets done?”
“Come on, Sabine, we can figure this out, can’t we?”
Sabine shook her head. “No. It’s too late. I quit.”
The Hard Life of a Hector by H.R.R. Gorman
Home defense is no joke. I thwart dozens of attempted break ins, assaults, and thefts every day.
Look at that two-legged creeper. “BARK!” I shout, warning him that my house is occupied by a threatening set of teeth.
“WOOF!” I combine it with a growl to ward off that four-legged menace. Other dogs make me so mad – sometimes I get a little over the top and attack the walls. Hooman doesn’t like that, but at least the house is still standing, I say.
Guard duty’s exhausting. It’s nice to settle down with a peanut butter Kong and a snooze.
DIY by Di @ pensitivity101
‘My get up and go has got up and left,’ Hubby said.
‘Lucky you,’ I replied. ‘ Mine hasn’t got the strength to actually get up!’
These days, our energy levels are a fraction of what they were and it takes weeks to get over any additional exertion.
Despite being exhausted though, both of us have had restless nights this past week, managing only a few hours sleep.
Our routine is the same, and we take our cue from Maggie who puts herself to bed at 9pm. Wish we could sleep at the drop of a hat like she does!
PART II (10-minute read)
The Author of a Long Night by Chelsea Owens
The cursor blinked from an empty screen, the only light in a night-draped house. Walls slept; world slept; he, for a moment, slept. She looked over at his backlit-shadowed features; they frowned.
She sighed and could not frown. Or smile. Expressions felt as elusive as the absent story arcs on her page.
I must write something, she thought.
Blink, answered the screen.
Then; through morning oatmeal mind mush, an idea came. Her fingers poised to type…
He groaned. Sat up. Named her.
She turned to his care.
The cursor sighed, yawned, and went to sleep without her.
Life in a Wakeful Trance (two parts) by JulesPaige
You know you’re a parent when you seem to be exhausted all the time.
Especially in early years when multiple night feedings happen.
Or when the little tyke has regular two and four o’clock nightfrights.
To bed by ten, and up at six the child; not remembering the screams.
The advice is; don’t turn on the light, coo and calm the itty bitty.
And you wonder how many months or years this is going to go on.
the confident adult who
just now needs some sleep?
Life goes on, they grow up, move out; and you retire?
You know that you’re a child when you seem to be exhausted all the time.
Especially in years when multiple calls to your old folks occur.
When your elderly parent starts to have memory and health issues.
You’ve the same ten minute conversation three times in thirty minutes.
Mother or Dad never seem to sleep or be awake when they should be.
You offer support, loving them; trying to keep your own sanity.
that confident adult who
you wanted to be?
Life goes on, and you can only that hope your own children remember you… with kindness too.
The Longest Days by Susan Zutautas
Meg never realized how fatiguing it would be being the main caregiver for Ian’s mother who’d fallen and broken her hip.
It had only been four days since she’d been released from hospital and Meg still had six to ten weeks of this to look forward to.
If there weren’t so many stairs in Sandy’s house it would be so much easier but at the same time, Meg knew she was helping someone and getting exercise.
On one trip Sandy said to Meg, “I’m so lucky to have you and so is Ian.”
That made all the exhaustion worthwhile.
Exhaustipated by Ritu Bhathal
Seriously, you don’t have a clue.
Yes, so what? You get up, get ready, catch a train and work 9-5. The evening commute is hard, so you need a drink at the end of the day. Then you sleep. And repeat.
At least you sleep.
I’m not sure what time I wake up, because I’m not entirely sure I go to sleep. It’s an endless round of feeding, changing, getting housework done whilst he sleeps, then all over again. Babies don’t have a clue about tiredness.
No. I’m exhaustipated.
Simply too tired to give a sh*t!
Exhausted 24/7/365 by Ann Edall-Robson
“You’re exhausted?” Hanna’s voice reflected her disgust.
Tal lay stretched out in the shade next to the hay bales. His hat covering his face so he didn’t have to see the look in Hanna’s eyes. He knew what was coming next. She was right, but it still didn’t make it any easier to watch her work as hard as everyone else. She shouldn’t have to. She was a woman, but he would never tell her that.
“You’d think by now you would have learned that ranching is 24/7/365. It doesn’t stop just because you think you’re exhausted!”
Expedition by Miriam Hurdle
It had been thirty-five days in the ocean desert. Their boat was beat up brutally. The sun was on their right, but the boat was drifting.
“We have exhausted the food supply and fresh water.”
“Such a pity we couldn’t pass Cape Town.”
“We set out together and will end here together.”
“Some of us could hang in a little longer.”
“We’ll draw the lots to decide who goes first to sustain us.”
“What? I’m throwing up.”
“I’m in the same boat. Here are three straws in my fist.”
“Wait! I spotted something.”
“Ay, the land.”
Exhaustion by calmkate
Emily was totally exhausted after another sleepless night.
All that worry and anxiety caused her so much fright
The abuse had been hideous, nobody had the right
to violate a child who always felt as if no end were in sight
Her experience had left her with nightmares pale and white
Victimhood wrapped tightly around her with all her might
Family and friends tending to avoid her odious plight
could she now become victor by wise choices in spite!
Experiences shape us but our attitude and choices define us
Forgiveness can heal although we never forget such blight …
Exhaustion by Floridaborne
We run, from church to church, telling our story.
People smirk, as if they know it can’t be true. Then the accusations begin.
“No one bombs a peaceful congregation. What did you do to enrage them?”
“We prayed,” I said. “And they beheaded our children for believing in the wrong religion.”
Still, it gives me no joy to read about another church being bombed, or burned. Exhaustion is our constant companion as we make our way north.
We have lost our family, our home, and tire of arrogant people who will not listen. Perhaps the human race deserves extinction.
Our Hero? by Joanne Fisher
She walked out of the smoking crater in the middle of Kingsport City. A crowd stared at her in fear and excitement and at the blasted remains of Dr. Hat, the latest super-villain to threaten their world.
“I am so exhausted.” Giant Explosion Girl said. The Mayor congratulated her.
“It’s amazing the job you do for us. Can I ask a question?” The Mayor asked.
“Sure.” she replied.
“Why do you put your life on the line to defend us every time?” She looked at him.
“Because I want it to be me who destroys the world, not them.”
Drama Lama by Annette Rochelle Aben
Legs with the strength of over cooked spaghetti, kept her from being able to stand at the kitchen sink. If she could raise her arms from the dead, she’d move the shock of hair that had fallen, blocking her view. Instead, she made a feeble attempt to blow it out of the way.
“I am sooo tired!”
Mother had heard it all before. Of course, her daughter didn’t have the energy to get the dishes washed. If she expended all that effort doing chores, then she’d have no energy left to spend the evening with her friends.
Bad Decision by Tina Stewart Brakebill
God she was exhausted. The constant questions. The scrutiny. Knowing she was being judged. Constantly. About every single thing.
Her friends had tried to warn her but she didn’t listen. “It’s not like I’m new at this this.” Her naïve arrogance dripping off her words. But California isn’t like New York they insisted.
Now she believed. Too late.
What it would feel like to escape it all? Just run. Dive in. Sink. Just rest.
“Ms. Emma? … Ms. EMMA!”
The kids weren’t even the worst. It was the parents. Private school teacher in Malibu. Worst decision ever.
Pilfered by Violet Lentz
The pen wasn’t worth anything, but Maddie pocketed it anyway. It wasn’t about the pen. It was about the rush. Stepping so far outside of her exhausted reality, that she could feel the hair on the back of her arms standing at attention.
Sometimes Maddie believed, stealing was the only thing that made her life worth living.
Mindlessly whisking her toddling two year old into the car seat, Maddie caught a glimpse of something sparkly dangling from her daughters tightly clenched fist. A necklace pilfered from the display adjacent the cash register, where Maddie herself had pocketed the pen.
Tramp’s Heartbreak by Sally Cronin
He had been walking in the lashing rain for hours. He contemplated the long straight road ahead known as tramp’s heartbreak and bowed his head in exhaustion
Cars had ignored his raised thumb all day as they sped past. In the distance he heard a vehicle approaching and braced himself for icy spray. Instead the truck stopped.
‘Hey old timer, hop in’. The teenager smiled from the warmth of the cab.
The lad chatted away as he sat in grateful silence. His eyelids fluttered and he slept, leaving his fate to a boy with the heart of an angel.
Exhausted Possibilities by Norah Colvin
Jolted awake when the bus reached the terminal, they grabbed their belongings and stumbled out. The driver shrugged when asked about accommodation.
‘NO VACANCY’ signs flashed along narrow streets. ‘NOT WELCOME’ lists accompanied the few with vacancies.
Trudging back to the terminal, hoping for seclusion, a ‘VACANCY’ appeared where none before. An old man bade them enter, waved away their money and installed them comfortably.
“Thank you. Thank you,” they bowed, and collapsed into sleep.
In the morning, they were alone. A note lay on the table:
“When you think you have exhausted all possibilities, there is always more.”
Tired No More (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Trench work became harder with an archeology field school of newbies. The questions exhausted Danni more than digging on her knees.
“What’s this,” was the most common question.
By late afternoon the scrape of her trowel sang a different tune. Instead of soft forest duff, the trowel made the higher pitched scrape against something hard. “Do you hear that,” Danni shouted to any close enough to hear. They all came running.
As she revealed the flat of something large and human-made, they all lost their sense of exhaustion. Curiosity woke them up and eased the aches of hard digging.
Exhaustion by Reena Saxena
Feeling exhausted is not worth it, when a world of opportunities awaits out there. Maybe, it is time to shed old skin and don new apparel. Maybe, it is time to refill the tank. Maybe, it is time to find new inspiration.
The immediate world around has shown its true colors, and changed those again like a true-blue chameleon (or is it true-green?). I’m ready to paint on a new canvas.
Moving on is not quitting. It is well, just quitting something that has outlived its course.
To be exhausted speaks of a limited stock. And I am unlimited…
NanoWriteMore by Liz Husebye Hartmann
She dropped her pen, hand cramping. Why had she defined success as the number of pages she filled?
She’d been sure that using paper and pen would slow her thoughts, access a deeper, more creative part of her brain, that would result in less typing and less editing.
She squinted at the stack of curled, etched paper, unable to decipher her scrawl.
Certainly what she had was good, publishable work, ready for the next stage?
Except her hand was cramped, her vision blurred, and her stomach roiled with hunger and nausea.
And most of all, she needed a nap.
If Ya Try Sometimes Ya Git What Ya Kneed by D. Avery
“Hey, Pal! Where’s Sho-mmmfff?”
“Kid, I will remove my hand from yer big mouth if ya kin hush and jist whisper. Okay?”
“Where’s shorty at?”
“Shorty’s Cowboy finely got inta the sawbone’s. Done got a new knee.”
“Tellin’ ya Kid, ya wake Shorty up whilst she has a chance ta rest, I’ll more ‘an cover that mouth a yers.”
“Ah’m whisperin’. Shouldn’t Shorty be celebratin’? This is good news at last.”
“Ain’t really news, Kid, more like the happy endin’ to a long story a the frustrations a gittin’ ta here.”
“Reckon Shorty’s exhausted.”
“Now Shorty’s heppin’ her Cowboy git on his feet after the surgery.”
“She’s some sweet on that Cowboy. An’ he let’s her wear his shirt.”
“Don’t be givin’ Shorty shit over that shirt Kid.”
“Who’d ever give Shorty shit over a shirt that her sweetie shared with her?”
“Mebbe a shithead thet don’t know enough ta look where he’s steppin’.”
“Reckon Shorty’s Cowboy’s gonna have ta learn ta walk right agin. Pal, with jist one good knee ain’t there a possibility he’ll end up walkin’ in circles?”
“Reckon thet’ll make it less exhaustin’ fer Shorty ta track him.”
From high above, a distinct vantage point is set. A view from an eminence of land, a hillock, the hump of an anthill, a sand dune. People can also place themselves above others and claim a position of eminence. Those who bow and scrape, acknowledge, “Your Eminence.” And some confuse the word for a white rapper.
Playful or serious, writers set out for the hills to wrangle stories from eminent advantages. A few even found spiders and webs along the trail.
The following is based on the March 26, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that uses the word eminence.
PART I (10-minute read)
Eminence by Michael Groban
His Eminence the Good and Virtuous Cardinal read the morning paper and cringed as he read of another abuse claim.
He felt a twinge of guilt as he read the charges against one of his priests. It wouldn’t be long before they’d come knocking on his door. But he was a cardinal, and they’d believe his story over any kid who claimed he knew or did anything.
He’d taken years to reach this pinnacle within the Church. Hiding and denying, who’d a thought he be so good at it. He took up his pen and started on the crossword.
What You Don’t Talk About Doesn’t Exist by Papershots
He took a milk carton from a kitchen cabinet, then put it back there even though it was now open – it should have gone into the refrigerator. He took a sip of water. The smell of oranges about to go bad wafted from the fruit bowl on the table (made of wood ever so slightly darker than that of the fruit bowl.) The party at His Eminence swirled in his hangover – its theme: “What You Don’t Talk About Doesn’t Exist” – they called him His Eminence after his ascetic countenance by day, and his “torrent of bizarre gaieties” by night.
Mongolian Pie by H.R.R. Gorman
The jester bowed before the king and queen. His coat, a tattered, borrowed thing, seemed unfit in the presence of royalty’s eminence. “I will sing you a traditional overtone song of my people.”
The jester pulled the bow across his khuuchir, and the two-stringed instrument wailed. The voices of the people came from his throat, some deep and worrisome while others were clear, melodic.
After the song finished, the king stood from his seat and clapped. “Excellent show!” He bent to look down on the jester.
The jester reached up and snatched the king’s gloried crown, then dashed away.
Oh to Be in England on Non-Brexit Day! by Anne Goodwin
We voted to abolish experts. Let the people have their say! Don’t bore us with details, wave your magic wand and make it happen. Would a surgeon go through such a back-and-forth to amputate a limb?
Yes, the Leave campaign deceived us. Yes, the rich will win whichever way we go. We’ll wave our flags as pigs fly in eminence above us. We’ll plug our ears when boffins threaten to explain.
We are the mother of parliaments. We are the brave who take back control. We are the laughing stock of Europe. We are the fools of the world.
Long Live The King by Nobbinmaug
His rise to eminence was halted by my hand. He wasn’t hard to find. Everybody in town knew where he hung out.
I pulled out the gun I took from dad’s nightstand and pointed it at him.
“Whoa! What are gonna do with that, little man?”
“I’m gonna be 10 next month.”
“All right, big man. Put it down before you hurt somebody.”
He reached for it, and I pulled the trigger. The kick knocked me down. The bullet knocked him down.
He was the only person I ever killed. My sister was the last his drugs would kill.
Portrait of Marion Gray by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Marion stared at herself, staring at herself, daring the other to step over the line.
“What d’you want me to do about it?”
“Can’t you absorb one more?”
“I’ve run out of room to absorb your blemishes.”
“Just one more. I’ll never ask again…Promise!”
“You said that last time.”
She stared at herself, daring herself to step over that line.
“Fine, but come closer. Touch your nose to the glass.”
A moment’s touch, the eminence was grabbed, pulled in.
Marion stepped free, no longer the face in the mirror.
She waved farewell and turned the mirror to the wall.
Your Eminence by Sally Cronin
As I pass him on my way to the village, I remember to say ‘Good morning your eminence’. To ignore him is to invite untold misfortune. Wise ones tell of signs of impending death if he is seen close to your window. And should that be open to the spring air, thefts of gold and silver. I laugh at the warnings, for I am young and carefree, but ancient beliefs stir in my blood, for lone magpies bring sorrow. So I pay him respect, wishing him a mate for life, to bring joy to those who see them together.
Prelude by Joanne Fisher
Aalen and Ashalla were hiding on an eminence looking down on the soldiers in the distance. Aalen’s wolf Vilja lay between them.
“Last year there was a drought and game was scarce. These soldiers came to our village demanding food. When we refused because we needed our food stocks for the winter they began killing all the hunters until we acquiesced. I came back to find my brothers had been killed. I painted my arrows black and started hunting them down.” Ashalla said.
Aalen looked down at the army. Once they set up camp, that’s when they would attack.
My Scar by The Dark Netizen
It is rightly said that behind every scar there is a story of survival.
My story took place many years ago, during the invasion of the dark king.
Led by our Prince, we were fighting for our survival in a battle that defined ages.
Our Prince’s eminence in warfare was unquestionable on the battlefield, as he skewered numerous dark minions in front of my eyes.
In the heat of battle I saw one minion slip behind the Prince, ready to end his life, when I jumped in between.
My sacrifice won my kingdom’s freedom and won me this scar…
Shattering Illusions by Jo Hawk
Jules was his father’s second son. He was deemed the spare heir to the kingdom. Always second best, he fought to win favor, to stand free from his brother’s shadow. Each passing year, the competition between them grew.
Their rivalry forced his vision higher, to the eminence of Mont Aiguille. He imagined looking down onto his brother’s domain. Determined, he focused on his goal, fought through doubts and fear until his kingdom became a reality.
He grew stronger than the mountain, hardening his heart he stood alone, freed from the shadows, he realized there had been nothing to prove.
Cross Roads (from “Diamante”) by Saifun Hassam
Near the ancient cypress and olive trees, silky spider’s webs interlaced thorny yellow thistle. Early morning dew drops on the silvery threads glittered like tiny jewels. Fleeting and fragile, the jewels would disappear into the warming air.
From an eminence of boulders on the cliff, Diamante gazed out at the seashore. He would miss the coastal villagers deeply. He was a village teacher and became a temple guardian after Father Martinez died a year ago. The Abbott was sending another priest and he had plans for Diamante to enter the Dove’s Ministry, to become a scholar. And a priest.
Glad Tidings of Nymble by Chelsea Owens
Nymble didn’t stand so much as gently flit above the waving grass, the first of the season’s signs of change. Leaning back as much as her grass and sunlight mote companions; she drank the deep, fresh air.
“Spring,” she whispered. She breathed.
A smile tickled her dimples. It pushed at her mouth-corners. As she looked out and over the gathered folk and fae, the smile spread to every feature of her pointed face. She grinned and opened her arms to hold the warm sun from toe to wing tip.
Atop the eminent rise, she addressed the expectant crowd. “SPRING!”
Owls and Auks by TN Kerr
He chose to stand atop a grand eminence, banked by steep outcroppings; a sentry, ever vigilant who watches over the Pacific. He has stood this post for more than fifteen hundred years. He is a giant towering over 300 feet high. He is massive, with a base of more than 30 feet in diameter. A Giant Coastal Redwood, a landmark with owls and auks living amongst his branches.
I come here to admire him from time to time. I always come alone. I am humbled.
Majestuoso y eminente, por derecho propio, es bien conocido a lo largo de esta costa.
The Judge by Roberta Eaton
The judge sat on a chair high raised high above the platform to ensure the accused understood his eminence. My son was forced to tip his head back at an unnatural angle to meet the judge’s eyes while stating his case. The comments made by the defendant were meaningless. Any defaulters who ended up on trial in the arena knew they were guilty in the eyes of the law. The punishment for wasting limited water resources was a swift death. The bodies of the guilty were buried in the surrounding forest to fertilise the trees that provided vital oxygen.
Eminence by Tracey
I dragged myself into the kitchen and apathetically checked the fridge. Spouse and small child would be home soon and looking for dinner. That was part of my “job”, cooking, meal planning, grocery shopping. I could feel the surge of pre-menopause hormones coloring my brain. I wasn’t even hungry, why should I cook dinner? I checked the freezer. The emergency frozen pizza had already been eaten this week. I started to cry and told myself, “enough”. The eminences would have to fend for themselves this once. I retreated to the couch and a movie. “Double Indemnity” suited me perfectly.
Age of Imminence by D. Avery
“What? Her Eminence drinking alone? Where’s Ernest?”
“Can’t I be somewhere where Ernest isn’t, Nard? Like you should talk. Where’s Kris?
“Visiting his mother. I just couldn’t.
“Hey, Lloyd tells me Ernest gave you a ring.”
“Thought you gals were supposed to be all giddy at a time like this.”
“Ernest’s giddy enough for the both of us. Driving me nuts.”
“Am I a peckerhead for being glad Kris is gone for a couple days?”
“Not if you’re looking forward to him coming back.”
“We’ll have to get used to being happy, huh, Nard?”
Two Meanings by Susan Sleggs
“Look at all those eminences in the back yard.”
“What are you talking about? Speak English.”
“If you did crossword puzzles like I do, you would know I was referring to all the little mounds of dirt.”
“Oh, yes. We have a mole problem.”
“And if your furry, four legged friend lounging in the sun over there knew she was a cat instead acting like a feline eminence, she might go outside and kill the moles.”
“She’s an indoor cat and I don’t think it’s funny that you used the same word with its opposite meaning.”
“Glad you noticed.”
Lost In Translation by Geoff Le Pard
‘You look smart, Morgan. In court?’
‘Ha. I’m meeting a rather special person. Very influential. I hope he can help me.’
‘He understands how the system works, you know, all those back passages.’
‘Corridors of power?’
‘A sort of eminence grise.’
‘You what? Immense Grease? That sounds like what you get before an outbreak of spots.’
‘Eminence Grise. Someone who works in the shadows.’
‘He had the lights on when I saw him.’
‘It’s just a figure of speech.’
‘Like Imminent Cheese?’
‘Is it French?’
‘Thought so. They’re greasy and like cheese.’
PART II (10-minute read)
Your Eminence by Norah Colvin
She glided in, regal robes flowing, loyal subjects lining the path.
“Your eminence,” they bowed as she passed.
She occasionally extended her gloved hand to receive their kisses of adoration or stopped to bestow a gift of royal chatter.
Though her crown and responsibilities weighed heavily, she held her head high as she proceeded towards the throne.
Decorum dictated every move. She dared not breathe out of sync. Her subjects depended upon her.
When seated, she motioned for all to sit. They obeyed, listening respectfully.
“I decree– “
“Lunch is served, Your Majesty.”
Blessing by Anita Dawes
My school was buzzing today, the nuns were all running around like deranged penguins. We were to receive a special throat blessing from the Bishop and were to address him as Your Eminence if spoken to.
The blessing involved two large candles joined in the shape of a V.
Sister Margaret held my hair away from the flame as the candles were placed around my throat and I have never suffered from a sore throat since.
Not bad going for 72 years.
I have wondered whether it was the blessing or just good luck
It still puzzles me today…
A Special Guest by calmkate
“It’s highly eminent that His Eminence will join us for tea in the forecourt this morning. So please ensure that our sandwiches have more than an eminence of cucumber!”
“But in high society the bread and filling must be thin to tempt. A sliver to tease”
“Please indulge my preference for something a bit more substantial”
“Will His Eminence be requiring a particular blend of tea or the usual earl grey?”
“I would prefer that you serve a selection of three or four for this highly honoured guest.”
“Your every wish is my command sir!”
“Thanks so much Jeeves”
Eminence by Deborah Lee
The house is a lovely lakeside pile on a low eminence above its neighbors, cocooned among trees. Jane lugs her few belongings up the slope easily, eagerly. Hangs her few clothes, arranges her few toiletries.
Hers, hers, for six whole weeks, in exchange for being present and tending to the animals while Audrey is in Europe.
The kitchen gleams, the den lulls, the shady deck beckons. But, she decides, luxuriating, paradise is a bathtub. And it hits her, making her sit up so abruptly she sloshes wine and bubbles. Is housesitting something she could do as an actual career?
Celebrity Chef by Macy Brown
As I locked my office door and headed down the stairs to leave the building I heard all kinds of commotion coming from outside. What could be going on?! I thought to myself. When I stepped outside I saw a crowd of people surrounding a town car that was parked in front of the building next door. A thin blonde in a perfectly pressed skirt stepped out of the car and the crowd went wild. I did not know who she was, but based on the people around her, her eminence was clear. Maybe she was a celebrity chef?
The Leader of The Pack by Susan Zutautas
From the day we brought Bruce home Maggie let him know that she was the leader of the pack.
It was sad to see how she showed her eminence over him. Bruce was such a laid-back kind of guy that we were never sure if this bothered him.
I’m sure they had this telepathic thing going on between them. Bruce would go to eat his food and Maggie would look over at him as if to say, “Leave it”. He’d not eat until she had left the room or until she started eating.
I suppose dogs have pecking orders.
Power by Janice Golay
“So I hear you are your husband’s eminence grise. “
“His imminent grease?”
“No, my dear. His gray eminence. The power behind the throne. That shadowy figure, peering from behind a velvet curtain, who holds and wields the real power.
“Well, we don’t have any velvet curtains in our house, just over-laundered hangings from Bed, Bath and whatever.”
But if you really wanted some velvet curtains in your house, they would appear. Right? You could manage that, couldn’t you?
Of course! But if I had the power and wished for velvet curtains, I tell you they wouldn’t be GRAY!
On the Couch by Michael B. Fishman
“Did you see ‘his eminence’ on the news today telling us how good everything is?” she said.
“You’ve got M&Ms?”
“I don’t watch the news anymore. You really got candy?”
“I’ve got M&M’s.”
“It’s all a front, you know.”
“Let’s both have some candy.”
“Plain or peanut, I’ve got both.”
“Then let’s have both!”
She went to the kitchen and returned with two bags. “Guess what?”
“Dead Reckoning is on.”
“Ooh, Lizbeth Scott.”
“You like her.”
“Not as much as I like you.”
“Not as sweet as those M&M’s.”
Feeling Like A Fraud by Ritu Bhathal
“Jill, could you just glance over this, please?”
Nancy thrust a piece of paper in Jill’s hand.
“I’d really appreciate your opinion. Would you mind?”
“Sure, why not.”
Jill smiled and turned around, surreptitiously rolling her eyes.
Ever since her book had been released and had shot to the top ten in the charts, she’d been inundated with ‘friends’ who wanted her advice on their writing. It’s like her eminence in word craft meant she was now a fully-fledged expert.
But that was furthest from the truth.
All she’d done was write from the heart.
And readers had appreciated.
Teaching by Reena Saxena
“It took twenty-eight long years of struggle to reach eminence.”
My father’s story was interrupted,
“Granpa, are you Eminem?”
“No, darling, the word is eminence. It means reaching a certain height where you tower over others – metaphorically.”
“Two difficult words – what is metaphorically?”
“Like, you are the magic which transformed my life, when I was about to give up. You are not magic, but I describe you as such.”
“Me? Okay, show me which Eminem…”
“I received the Best Writer’s Prize for 2018,” he pointed towards the trophy.
“Can this Eminem sing and rap?”
Teaching is a tough job.
Eminence by Floridaborne
Their Jaguar stopped, rolling down the tinted windows to sneer at me. I knew the look, people of eminence…northerners!
He frowned at my ramshackle house and asked, “Is this Azalea Avenue?”
“Yep,” I replied, stroking my beard. “Why?”
“We might buy the property across from you.”
“It’s full of rattlers. “
“Rattlers?” A teenager with a Gucci bag asked.
“If you don’t kill the 8 inch daddy long legs, they eat 3 inch roaches like this one,” I said, pulling one out of my pocket.
And another irritant flees the trees, never to know my doctorate is in entomology.
Eminent Domain (Or, Why I’m Moving Out Of My House) by John Rieber
I was just stepping on the front porch when Jill screamed: “SPIDER!”
The Tarantula was a BIG one. I instinctively jumped backwards as it raised itself up on eight powerful legs and announced its eminence. Jill raced to the back of the house and grabbed a bottle of bleach. I poured it on our guest. It got angrier.
In a panic I called Animal Control. “We have a Tarantula on our porch!”
“No you don’t”, the voice calmly replied.
“Yes, we have one!”
“No,” they said again, “you have many. They never travel alone.”
I still miss that house.
Queen Wolfric Returns by Joanne Fisher
Her Royal Eminence Queen Wolfric III returned to her Court in the cellar after inspecting her Royal Domain. She addressed her assembled subjects:
“It’s great to be back. While it is true I got caught Upstairs, one of the giant denizens that live there managed to free me, but not before another one of them performed a rather energetic dance before me in my honour. I was most impressed.
All this said I think it should a while before I tour those regions again. Those giant denizens seem friendly, but if the truth be told, they really terrify me.”
The Weight of Time by JulesPaige
From the edge of the field, five deer emerged from the wood line, a brief view.
The car on this long highway emerges from fits and starts of traffic.
Heading south from seven hours north I see emerging signs of late spring.
While away yellow daffodils emerged in the side and front gardens.
A soft smile emerges from my lips, the front of my home looks happy.
On the road home an emerging issue from a distance; Hubby’s work
his eminence to
solve issues drains our time
rising ground slip slides
Heavy sighs emerge, shoulders sag… as day ends
Eminence by Frank Hubeny
After moving to the beach town whose eminence attracted him he no longer got up early to join the seagulls as the sun rose above the ocean. He no longer paid attention to the tiny lizards running on the sidewalks. He stopped celebrating the tropical climate and started complaining about the heat.
It shocked him to realize that he no longer wanted to go to the Cuban-run bakery for a cortadito. He made his own coffee.
His relatives from northern lands were still awed by palm trees and lizards, but by moving to paradise he had become a local.
Find What Glints (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Eminence of sand rolled across flats, forming dunes. Danni recalled following an old pioneer trail across the Forty Mile Desert of Nevada in her dad’s Jeep, top down, spring sun beating warmly. What was that he said? Turn around and look for the glints among the dunes. Every time he pulled over, Danni scrambled among the hollows of sand, sun to her back. She trotted toward the glints – a purple glass nob from a dresser, a marble, an obsidian arrowhead. Even today, trained as an archeologist, she heard her dad’s voice coaxing her to find the discards of history.
A Legendary Demise by Anurag Bakhshi
The old man rasped sharply,”How many times did they shoot me?”
The younger man asked tentatively, “Twice?”
The old man immediately corrected him authoritatively, “Make that three times…and… just add that I was poisoned too.”
The younger man nodded, and had just shut his notebook when the old man said, “And just for kicks, also say that I almost managed to claw out of my grave in the frozen river.”
As his PR Head left, Rasputin smiled in contentment.
Nothing went further in helping one attain a position of eminence in history, than a death that was legendary.
Typo by Sarah Whiley
The neon glow enveloped the city built by and for corporations.
It was late and Sandra was alone in the cavernous office. Pounding the keyboard furiously she tried to finish the never-ending paperwork her boss delighted in giving her.
Bastard, she thought. He actually enjoyed the power, dictating when she could leave and knowing it was her weekend with her daughter.
Her email pinged.
She despaired as she saw yet another assignment.
Gazing out at the city lights, Sandra contemplated her reply. His eminence wouldn’t like it, but life was too short.
Smiling, she typed two words.
His Eminence by Ann Edall-Robson
On Hanna’s first day of the job she figured she would meet a few people, be shown some of the ropes, and get her bearings.
There was no surprise when the foreman drove in the direction of the outbuildings.
Along the way, he showed her where she would stow her gear, pointing to the living quarters and the cookhouse. Both, he explained vehemently, were Mrs. Johnson’s domains.
The barnyard came into view, and so did a large grey cat wandering out to meet them.
“That,” muttered the foreman, “is His Eminence. He thinks he runs the show around here.”
Crowned Eminence by D. Avery
“Kid, yer emanating fear.”
“I ain’t afeared a nuthin’.”
“Ever one’s afeared a somethin’ Kid. It’s okay ta admit it. Then ya kin face yer fears. So jist admit what yer afeared of.”
“Well, what are you afraid of, Pal?”
“Me? I ain’t afeared a nuthin’.”
“Huh. Was afraid you’d say that. But you gotta admit yer fears Pal. You said.”
“Well. I don’t like spiders Kid. Jist don’t.”
“Right? All scrunchy and hairy and sudden moves. But do ya fear ‘em, Pal?”
“Mebbe… Why ya pushin’ this Kid?”
“I’m afraid one’s bein’ an eminence on yer hat, Pal.”
What does it mean to chisel? To begin with something raw and peel back layers until a shape emerges. What does it take for a sculptor to chisel marble, a woodworker to cave wood, a conman to chisel money from someone unsuspecting? So many questions for writers to explore with the unusual prompt.
Many felt stumped. Chisel? Others jumped in with characters who possessed chiseled cheeks and rippling bodies. All pushed through and came up with a fascinating look at humanity. Put a tool in an artist’s hands, and you’ll be surprised by the results.
The following is based on the March 14, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a chisel.
PART I (10-minute read)
Red Carpet by The Dark Netizen
He put on his best smile, and began walking down the red carpet, flashing his perfect set of teeth to the cameras.
The paparazzi had all gathered to one side of the carpet.
He was unperturbed even when he knew the press wanted a piece of him.
He had been nominated for best actor this year, as he showed flashes of sheer acting brilliance, in addition to his chiseled features.
Dressed in his well fitting tuxedo, he posed for the flashing cameras.
The fitting had turned out quite tight, and as he turned, he ended up flashing the cameras…
Deception by Ann Edall-Robson
His chiseled features had softened with the years. Still handsome, with a rakish look, and eyes that flashed like lightning bolts when his thoughts turned to what his son had done so many years ago.
He stood with his hip leaning against the workbench, looking out the window of his saddle making shop. The cloudy expression changed when he spotted his grandson working with a young colt in the corral across the way.
Watching the young man, he could see himself at that age. The family traits, and looks had definitely not missed a generation, but would the deception.
Chisel by Robbie Cheadle
Dan slammed his toolbox down on the table. “My new paint scrapper is missing. I haven’t even used it yet.”
“Are you sure it’s gone?”
“Yes,” he opened the box. “See, it’s gone. You haven’t seen it anywhere, have you?”
“No,” said Julie, thinking of the little fondant man who was reposing on the paint scrapper in her art cupboard. It was a great tool for moving her artworks with and she planned to keep it.
She smiled at him. “Why don’t you leave your toolbox in the kitchen until you find it?” His chisel had caught her eye.
Princess and Pauper by Abhijit Ray
Princess Pihu had five maids taking care of her every needs. Laborer Ramu had to take care of needs of his family. Pihu had never done any work, Ramu had not done anything but work.
Watching Ramu’s sweat soaked body, chiselled by hard labor would evoke unexplored feelings in Pihu.
Land lord’s daughter has fallen for the daily wager’s son was the story in the grapevine. Jealous coworkers, raised the matter with Pihu’s father.
Pihu saw Ramu being beaten up tied to a pole. Neither Pihu nor Ramu uttered a single word. Pihu was mute and Ramu was deaf.
The Assault by Anurag Bakhshi
I woke up to see someone leaning over me, as if he had just kissed me, and was about to do so again.
The man had blue eyes, a chiseled jawline, an equine nose, and that blind confidence that only comes from lifelong entitlement.
“You creep,” I screamed, as I pushed at him, hard. His face registered shock as he went flying back.
I jumped up, and landed next to his supine figure. The last words I heard before I choked the life out of him were, “I’m Prince Charming, Sleeping Beauty….”
I wonder why he called me that…
An Interlude by Joanne Fisher
Aalen had made camp for the night. Not feeling like sleeping she had found a piece of wood and used a sharp stone for a chisel. She began chiseling it into shape, though she had no idea what she was making. She heard movement in the bushes near her and then there was a loud panting by her ear.
“I wondered when you were going to show up.” Aalen said as she looked at Vilja. “They’re all dead Vilja. Killed in cold blood. We need to make things right.” She hugged her wolf and wept. Vilja licked her face.
Those Beaks Are Made for Eating by Susan Sleggs
Outside my window suet feeders for woodpeckers hang on the crabapple tree. They are chained because climbing critters like to steel them. The little Downy Woodpecker feeds with the tiniest beak, the size of a push pin, but it’s the fiercest of the bunch. The Hairy is next in size and its beak resembles a small nail. The Red-bellied sports a picture hanging nail and the Flicker’s beak is long and sleek, like a sharp needle. The extra large Pileated Woodpecker has a huge beak in comparison. It looks like two chisels on a hinge. He takes big bites.
Carve the Cake by H.R.R. Gorman
The cake melted like butter beneath his carving knife. He chiseled through the icing and fondant, into the raspberry jam and vanilla center.
“What did you wish for, Pop-pop?”
Pop-pop gave the granddaughter a toothless smile. Though his eyes were clouded from cataracts and his body now feeble, he put the knife to the table smoothly and handed his “little pet” a slice of cake. “If I tell you, will you promise to make it come true?”
“I wished to share another cake with you next year, sweetie.” He pinched her cheeks and cut another slice of cake.
The Hospital Closure Is Announced by Anne Goodwin
Excitement flutters inside her like the start of a baby. Could it happen, or is it a fairy tale? Amy Johnson flying so high she could chisel a chunk of cheese from the moon.
“Who decided the hospital had to close?” A woman jabs a gnarled finger at the Belgian. “Was it you?”
Rather than solving a mystery, the detective has created one. But, Mrs Christie having summoned him for a reason, Matty wracks her brain for a solution that would appease her guests. “Buck up! We must all forgo some comforts in wartime. Even our dear King George.”
Scraped by Tanushka Dangayach
I found myself Lying on the ground. Silver and metallic, scraping the ground. I glance around the area. Shoes lay about on the ochre ground. Kids loitered in the parking lot. Lying there, I looked up at the sky. The sun shined in my eyes, bright and brilliant. Shoes thudded on the pavement. Dropping down on the ground, a person bent down grasping my handle tight. “Aah! Look what I found!” said the raspy voice. Picking me up, he pushed my head against the ground.
I walked up to Larry. There he sat with a chisel in his hand.
Learning Curve by D. Avery
“What did you say Marlie?”
“Basswood. Google said it was a good carving wood, and then I learned we had it in our front yard, except we’d been calling it Linden, and I cut a piece of it to carve. Daddy taught me how to carve, Mommy! Mommy! You’re not even looking at my carving.”
She wasn’t, either; she was looking quizzically from Marlie’s bandaged hand to Marlie’s quiet father.
“Daddy taught me how to be real careful with the knife and chisel, but that was after I’d used the limbing saw. That’s when Daddy taught me about first-aid!”
TImeouts by Ruchira Khanna
“I don’t want to go to school tomorrow!” Nate announced loud and clear when he entered his home and sat down with a sulk.
“What happened, honey?” Mom was quick to take the eight-year-old in her lap.
The Mom continued to tickle and caress.
After a couple of minutes, he blurted, “My teacher gives me a lot of timeouts!”
There was silence.
“I’m sure you cannot identify what is right and what is wrong,” said Mom as she gently stroked his arm, “These timeouts are like a chisel. They will help you recognize and analyze your behavior, going forward.”
Perspective by Norah Colvin
The monumental task cast a shadow deep and long, miniaturising the toolkit at his feet.
He shook his head, muttering complaints and impossibilities.
The supervisor appeared. “Better get started. No time to waste.”
He rummaged through the toolkit, lifting, inspecting and replacing each implement in turn.
“What’s the holdup?” bellowed the supervisor.
He grabbed the mallet and whacked the stone. “Take that!” Chunks smashed around him. He wiped his brow and whacked again.
“Great. You’ve started at last,” encouraged the supervisor.
Later, as the light turned, the shadow faded and diminished. He lifted his chisel and refined his work.
Perfection by Reena Saxena
“Don’t be afraid of gathering enemies! It shows that you have chiselled your life to perfection.”
“How can enemies make a life perfect?” She was still reeling under the impact of a breakup, and the threats she received after that.
“Chiselling involves making a choice – you keep what you like, need or want and delete the rest. You revise your opinion on seeing the final outcome, and then, refine it a little more…”
I’m happy to see the glow in her eyes. Happiness shows in the pink flush of renewal on her cheeks.
“Welcome and embrace the New You!”
Chiseled Cheekbones by Susan Zutautas
You’re so bubbly, Sarah? Her mother said. What’s up?
It was going to be a surprise but I’m going to get my cheeks done.
Oh, for heaven’s sake don’t tell me you’re serious!
Sarah’s father was in the other room and heard the conversation. He went out to his workshop to grab a tool thinking he might be able to change his daughter’s mind.
See this Sarah, showing her a chisel. This is a tool they use to chisel your cheekbones.
Oh, Dad, you’re so silly, the one they use is much smaller and besides I won’t be awake.
A Muse by Goldie
was styled to perfection.
A stray lock,
gently hanging off the side
of his forehead added
to his “good bad boy” attitude.
The piercing blue eyes
beckoned to me,
causing me to almost get lost in the moment.
The face chiseled.
with pronounced cheekbones
I kept analyzing him further.
An impeccable six-pack.
An ideal specimen.
Could be Praxiteles’ muse.
“There’s pressure on men, too…
Not only women need to look a certain way.” –
I thought with contempt,
As I put the glossy magazine away.
Even if Flawed by Kerry E.B. Black
Michaelangelo saw the angel in marble and carved until he set it free. The world admires him. For hundreds of years, people have clamored for a mere glimpse of his work.
I’ve studied, learned every technique.
My teachers whisper appreciation of my creations, yet I’m poised with a chisel, too pertrified to begin. I touch smooth, unblemished stone so flawless it glows.
Yet I imagine my inadequacies disrupting its natural perfection.
The master’s words return then, and an angel’s wings pound beneath the placid surface.
Art must be freed, and even if flawed.
I place the chisel and swing.
The Fisherman by TN Kerr
My father was an artist; a sculptor, usually working in clay or stone. One day he, and six of his drinking buddies, brought a large stone and sat it in the centre of his studio.
“What are you going to make from that, Papa?” I asked.
“I won’t make anything from it,” he said, “I think I can find something.”
He told me that he believed a fisherman was hiding in the stone. That he would find the fisherman by knocking off small bits and pieces. He promised he’d take care not to cut the fisherman with his chisel.
Laurie’s Nature Journals by Saifun Hassam
Laurie often visited Mira and Jade at the Farmers Four Market. Their intricate designs in jewelry of metal and precious stones fascinated her. How had Jade captured bluebirds and wispy clouds in that silver filigree pendant?
She remembered her grandfather. With his keen eyes, a deft hand and a fine blade chisel, his oak and butternut wood carvings captured rich details of woodland deer, fox, owls and eagles. His chisel weaved along the grain of fallen logs, vividly portraying backyard visitors: sparrows, woodpeckers, hawks, mice and squirrels.
That had sparked Laurie’s own passion as a nature observer and writer.
Rain Pending by calmkate
An eerie stillness pervades
following some super hot days
a clear warning to one and all
that calm before a big storm
as I reel off some mantras [sacred sounds]
awareness arises fully aroused
heavy clouds drift swiftly over
as swallows dart and glide
eagerly catching erratic currents
to glide and play up high
as more dense clouds
skid across the sky
the birds call out warnings
each species on high alert
to the pending deluge
do they tuck each other in
sounds and visions gently collide
emotions deeply chiselled inside
all creatures weather together
whatever nature does provide
PART II (10-minute read)
The Master’s Hands by Jo Hawk
Turner’s left hand skimmed the tools on the workbench, each tool in its assigned space. To his right, the lathe hummed, a familiar cadence to the master’s tune. His ear told him his piece was unbalanced. Spinning at twelve hundred RPM, the music didn’t sing.
He found the required chisel and returned to his work. Touching his chisel to the spinning form, the tool bounced, and the wood chirped. Firm against the guide, severed wood spiraled in curls, deflected by his visor, the continuous curls covered his hands. He worked meticulously, immersed in the rhythm of his spinning reality.
The Attic by Anita Dawes
Clearing out the attic
I found Grandads chisels
carefully wrapped in cloth.
He is no longer with us
But I remember him telling me
Always look after your tools.
He was the same with all his tools
Paintbrushes must be thoroughly cleaned.
Unwrapping the cloth, five chisels
as good as the day he bought them
Rosewood handles, each blade sharp
as the last time he held them.
I could feel him beside me
nudging me to find the wooden train set
he made for my twelfth birthday.
I found so much more, I rediscovered
My grandfather, his lost wisdom…
Seeing by Nascent Ederren
It is that secret joy, which none may ever notice, those things stolen in a moment yet still left behind.
It is not loneliness which drives the urge to see. But a pause, a thought, a reason to remember why the silence is so blessed.
To come and go unnoticed, to spend time with and without. To stare at all around, and chisel into memory, the thoughts and faces all left behind.
It is time to retreat again and listen to the silence. Where words echo so loudly though spoken long ago, and flame alone will light the world.
My Grandfather’s Chisel by K. J. Watson
I never met my paternal grandfather. I have two mementos of his life, though: a photograph of him in his silversmith’s workshop, circa 1947, and a chisel with a split handle. In the photograph, my grandfather leans over a clamped silver dish, a chisel in his hands. The chisel is possibly the one I now possess. Family lore says that the V&A Museum in London has a silver cup with a design my grandfather conceived and engraved. I did go to the museum, but I could not find the cup. No matter. I have the photograph. And the chisel.
A Light in Dark Places (A true story from the Curious Archaeologist) by Gordon Le Pard
He struck the chisel with the wooden mallet, carefully. There was hardly any light as there was firedamp in the mine. Any flame or spark and the explosion would be devastating.
Then he saw it – a flame. It was approaching, he had nowhere to run, he shouted.
“Stop! there’s firedamp, stop!”
The flame approached, he continued to scream, the man was trying to shout something but the miner didn’t hear, as he fainted in terror.
He came too to see his vicar looking down, by the light of an impossible flame burning in – the world’s first safety lamp.
Dumbfounded Duplication by Papershots
“It’s in that drawer.” He marched to it confidently. “Found it?” He opened the drawer but found various types of tools, of which, let’s see… pliers, a kind of screwdriver… this looks like a hammer with a double blade at one end, it has to have a name, and, hold on, two more. So one is a chisel, the other is not. They do look similar, though. Small chisel and big chisel? “I didn’t know which size you preferred.” She grabbed the small one. “You do know that’s not really a chisel?” “You mean the big one?” “Yes.” “Yes.”
Technology: Chisel by Frank Hubeny
Brad knew he didn’t have the proper tools to do the job right, but he rarely did. The door and opener cost under $50. He’d reuse the old hinges.
He did have to buy a chisel. They told him he couldn’t return it when he was done. He could live with that.
After sort of measuring everything, he realized it wasn’t as easy as he thought to carve out where the hinges should go.
Eventually in spite of everything he hung the door.
Happy wife happy life: she was happy. For the most part the new door even closed.
Businessmen by Macy Brown
My stomach did back flips in my body as I mentally prepared myself for what was about to happen. My whole life, everything that I built, was on the line here. One wrong move and it could all be over; all of my hard work and late nights all for nothing. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I force my feet to move into the room as I repeat the same words to myself over and over again, “I will not let them take control over my company. I will not let them chisel into my hard earned profits.”
Repeat Offenders? (subtitle: For those ‘Groupies’ who need to get a different grip!) by JulesPaige
I want to chisel off the barnacles.
Those leeches, those hanger on’ers
That have no connection to my creativity.
I’ve just got a simple sailboat
I do not run with the ‘big dogs’
Yachts, cruise ships; not for me
I’ll get my news from where I choose
Not from another’s opinionated feed.
I don’t do greed…
I have chiseled out my own niche
Letting the wind blow through my hair
I set my own course, by my own rules
I use my eyes to see, ears to listen
If you’ve been asked to leave;
Then please, just go away…
Charli the Chiseler by CG Brik
Charlie wandered the streets of Dublin chiseling everything he could.
Bread from the baker, pills from the apothecary, meat from the butcher, shoes from the cobbler, kisses from women, dosh from men.
Sauntering and swaggering, smiling to all who passed by, fingers too quick to catch, hands seemingly perpetually in pockets.
One day a bobby had enough, knocked him upside the skull with a billy club.
Charlie had no business being in prison, but he never stopped chiseling.
Cutlery from the kitchen, brushes from the bathroom, and he’d bring his booty to his secret corner, every day, always chiseling.
The Dancer by Sally Cronin
His chiseled good looks and toned body set the dance floor alight as he twirled one girl after another around to the music. But he was performing for one particular beauty, sat in a booth with her friends in the corner. Finally, having discarded his latest partner to return desolate to her table alone, he sauntered over to his quarry.
‘Wanna dance babe?’
Without replying, the stunning blonde stood and brushed passed him. She gathered all the girls he had danced with before, and led them onto the floor, where they boogied for the rest of the night together.
Drop Dead Gorgeous by Ritu Bhathal
All the ladies stopped what they were doing and stared.
Zeus sighed. He was used to it.
No matter where he went, the first sight of his chiselled features always rendered the opposite sex speechless.
His mates would often comment jealously about his ability to have any woman he wanted, falling at his feet.
But it’s not all it’s made out to be, being drop dead gorgeous.
A mute partner, who is always staring at him gormlessly, falling at the sight of him, or even dropping dead on occasion…
Not quite the kind of relationship he was looking for.
Chinese Whispers by Geoff Le Pard
‘What’s made you look so smug?’
‘Sure. I know you, Morgan. Spill.’
‘That woman over there? The one with the purple hair…’
‘A fine arbiter of good taste…’
‘She told her friend I look chiselled.’
‘Is that so strange?’
‘Oh come on. Your Mum might call your features angular but even Lego people have more curves.’
‘Sure. Have I chiselled you out of a compliment? I’ll check. Miss…’
‘You don’t… Bum.’
‘They said you look frazzled, not chiselled.’
‘That comes from knowing you.’
‘I love you, Morgan, just the way you are.’
‘Bog off, Logan.”
A Corrosion of The Heart by Bill Engleson
I see them there, burning the proverbial midnight oil, hunched over their devices, adding wealth where it likely isn’t needed, chiseling away at social programs.
Out in the hinterland, their minions, the simmering feudalists of hate, wind up their scabrous hearts, seek out their weaponry, plot heinous acts, all in the name of their purity, their virtue.
They meld, these separate trajectories, the political, the wastrel, the fanatic, the idol.
They serve each others darkest desires.
And where am I in this collision of hateful terrorist evil?
What part do I play?
Am I simply a shaving?
A Classic Swindle by John Rieber
“He chiseled me out of my savings!” Perhaps I shouted louder than I needed to, but he was walking away.
“Come back!” No one was really paying attention. Perhaps this scene was normal to them, but if they had been cheated the way I had, they’d be screaming too.
As I turned to leave the “Chiseler” returned.
“Mr. Turner,” he said quietly, “we warned you about volatile investments.” He leaned in closely. “But I do have a tip for you…”
He winked at me and I reached for my wallet – we both knew it was time for a comeback.
Sunday Morning by Michael B. Fishman
“Hey,” she says. “Trick or cheat.”
“Trick or cheat.”
“You mean ‘trick or treat’?”
“No, trick or cheat.”
“I don’t get it.”
“The crossword puzzle, doofus.”
“How many letters?”
“Sure I’m sure. Don’t you trust me?”
“When I’m using a pen I don’t even trust Will Shortz. Wait… Fits, OK, I trust you.”
“As you should.”
“What’d you say?”
She gives me a sidelong glance. “You said something.”
“Your ears OK? I said I love you.”
She leaned over, kissed the top of my head. “That’s what I thought you said.”
Necessity by D. Avery
“Jeez, Marge, you’re turning the trailer upside down these days.”
“It’s needing a good spring cleaning, Ernest.”
“Now with a hammer and chisel?”
“Ending the ice age in your freezer.”
“That’s a brilliant solution, Marge.”
With a sculptor’s eye Marge placed the chisel and hammered out great chunks of hoary frozen food while Ernest looked on.
“We should name our kid Invention. Get it?”
Marge told Ilene about it on their walk.
“Ha! Good one. You, the mother of Invention.”
“Ilene! I don’t want to be a mother! Damn it. Things were so good.”
“Go talk with Ernest, Marge.”
First Day Volunteers (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
“I found something, Dr. Gordon.” Danni followed the volunteer who grinned.
She noted the group was digging near the mystery foundation. She expected these greenhorn volunteers to soon lose interest. Ruby City held no treasure. Danni confirmed the woman had found the edge of a tool. She instructed the group to continue peeling back layers centimeters at a time.
To her surprise, they did. At the end of the day, the volunteers left what looked like a chisel in situ. Two days later they cheered its liberation. Danni realized her first day fear of volunteers was unfounded. She grinned.
Tea with Mr Windsor by Anne Goodwin
A street so grand the houses had names chiselled on the gateposts. Like gravestones. As at the cemetery, trees lined our route, pushing through the pavement at intervals, as if Briarwood was so healthy, vegetation reigned over stone.
I did not slurp from the saucer or forget to extend my pinkie on raising my cup. I did not drop jam on the Chesterfield or gobble up the dainty sandwiches in one bite. But I thanked the lady who offered me the plate as our host’s wife. How could I know she was the daily woman if she wasn’t introduced?
Like Michelangelo by Kelley Farrell
Why couldn’t my parents be dream crushers? My proclamation of wanting to become a marble sculptor should have scared them.
Perhaps the pieces which are grand are worth it but starving artist isn’t just an expression, and who buys marble sculpture anymore?
Men who spend on everything and still afford sculptures of themselves. Naked.
“Make sure it’s a testament to my … manhood. Like Michelangelo.” The man, overweight and sweating, purs.
“Michelangelo was the …” Not worth it. “If you insist on staying you’ll have to be quiet. I’d hate for my chisel to slip and … reduce your manhood in anyway.”
My son is a woodworker. He does chip carving.
The tools he uses for this type of woodworking are a knife and a gouge rather than a chisel. However, one day he would like to try different types of woodworking, some of which involve the use a chisel.
People worry about him working with sharp tools. They say that he should beware when working with gouges and knives. It is true that he must be prudent when using imprudent (or perhaps impudent) tools. However:
The cuts that hurt worst
Come not from the sharpest knife
But from jagged edge
No Means No by Annette Rochelle Aben
She hated their Michigan Basement; cement brick walls and a dirt floor. If not for the washing machine being down there, she had no reason to be down there. She started her laundry and turned to run back upstairs, when the sight of her father’s work bench caught her eye.
Hammers, hand saws, baby food jars of nails, all lined up neat and tidy. She noticed, but wondered why he didn’t, that something was missing. A shudder ran through her body to think what would happen if he found that she stashed his chisel under her mattress and why.
PART III (5-minute read)
Some Things Are Not Chiseled in Stone by Sascha Darlington
Conversations weren’t easy with Dad after Mom left. What he said, went. Case closed.
The case for my art didn’t close, not for me. I spent hours at Megan’s in her father’s workshop chiseling aspen, Foo Fighters pounding through my head. When I qualified for the art competition, I lied to Dad about where I’d be and forged his name on the permission slip.
At the show, Dad stood by my carving of our dog, Dali. My stomach dropped.
“I’m not a monster,” he said. “You lied.”
His finger drifted across the first-place ribbon. “We should talk.”
Chisel by Eluminora
Her mouth is the last thing to chisel into existence. He does not know why he left it until the end, when all the rest of her is already finished. Perhaps she does not need a mouth. The smooth plain where it should be intrigues him. But she is his companion, the fulfillment of a promise to himself: he will no longer be alone. Damp with effort, he lowers his chisel yet again until its tip barely touches the stone. Sweat beads on his temple as he strikes the first mark. Then his hand slips and gashes her cheek.
Poured Out by Alexander De (Zander)
“Chisel me this, Batman!” she said, laughing.
“Riddle,” I corrected her. “It’s riddle me this.”
She silently shuffled the salt and pepper shakers. I drank my coffee; stared out the window. Cars passed.
She always says the wrong thing, like she doesn’t quite get the punchline and I feel this stupid need to correct her. Me, and everyone else.
“I don’t really fit in the world,” Her sadness slipped into a smile.
I smiled back, took her hand. Held it, as it turned out, for the last time over pancakes.
She poured out the entire syrup jug, slowly, deliberately.
Ruth Signs Up for a Woodworking Class by Molly Stevens
“What in blazes are you gonna do with a chisel?” asked Chester.
“It’s for my woodworking class. I signed up for a two-day session in Rockport,” said Ruth.
“Dadblast it, woman! I suppose you think because you’re goin’ outta town, you’ll learn more. That class is likely run by some hippie who moved here from California who doesn’t know his dovetail from his biscuit joint. And I bet he learned it all by watchin’ YouTube. You’re wastin’ money! Why didn’t you ask me to teach you?”
“Because for all your experience, there’s something you don’t have.”
She Knew Him So Well by Di @ pensitivity101
The smile brought out the dimples in his cheeks, creating a path to the laughter lines around the eyes perfected to capture their charm, sparkle and warmth.
His chin showed strength of character. She had even managed to reproduce the scar he got from horse riding as a child.
It was her best work, but there was something not quite right.
She studied the photograph again, tracing the lines on the image and comparing them to her art.
Taking her narrowest chisel, she gently scooped away the blemish.
Not on her beloved’s face, but a blot on the photograph.
Chiseled Beauty by Nancy Brady
Julie and her friends had gone to the art gallery. She saw him first across a crowded room. He was tall, lean, and his face was chiseled, the penultimate male. He was the man she had seen in her dreams so many times even though he was turned away from her. She would have recognized him anywhere, but he was surrounded by many admirers.
She just had to get closer and hope that a few of those hangers-on would have left. She would be patient. She slowly made her way towards him, waiting to see Michelangelo’s David up close.
Three Spirits by Sarah Whiley
The djembe is West Africa’s best known instrument. This goblet-shaped drum is traditionally carved from a single piece of African hardwood and topped with animal skin. Its name is derived from “Dje” (gather) and “be” (everyone).
It is said, each drum contains three spirits – that of the tree, the animal whose skin is played, and the carver who chiseled and shaped the wood.
The djembe is a vessel for these spirits to come through. The sound is past, present and future; that which is not in us until it comes into consciousness through our hands and into the world.
Wood Be Artist by D. Avery
“What’re ya doin’ Pal?”
“Bless you. Looks like yer carvin’. When’d ya learn ta carve?”
“I’m a learnin’ jist now as I’m a doin’, Kid. Try it.”
“Oh, I cain’t carve, Pal, not even a whittle bit.”
“You could if you’d wood, and a knife. Jist try.”
“I don’t know how. It won’t turn out.”
“Won’t if ya don’t start ever. Here. Cedar wood.”
“Yeah, I see da wood Pal. An’ cain’tcha see I cain’t carve?”
“Jist shush. I’ll teach ya.”
“There a charge?”
“Yeah, sure Kid, pay me in bacon.”
“You chiselin’ me?”
“Maybe a whittle.”
A mouse in a house, a wardrobe, a Victor trap, rescued and orbited to outer space. Mice are everywhere, including our technology. Somehow the vehicle that takes us into the depths of the world wide web got dubbed a humble mouse.
This week, writers chased the tails of mice to produce mouse tales. They will take readers on a merry chase of imagination, tenderness and hard lines. Use your mouse to navigate through a collection arranged into 10-minute nibbles.
The following are based on the March 7, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse.
PART I (10-minute read)
Meanings Change by Susan Sleggs
“My mouse isn’t here,” my son lamented
“He better not be running loose.”
“I’m talking about my computer mouse, not Whiskers.”
“That’s a relief. Where could it be?”
“Probably at school. I used my laptop to work on an assignment about archaic words. I had a lot of windows open looking for examples.”
“Windows used to let air in, not information. Come to think of it, RAM, byte, virus, web, boot, spam, and cookies have all taken on new meanings in this techie age.”
“You’re a genius. I’ll write my report on those words and easily get an A.”
My Mouse by Sally Cronin
I am extremely attached to my mouse, small and demanding at times, but I need a muse that is easy to maintain, and doesn’t demand three walks a day and half my dinner. It sits quietly by my side, observing my every move, and eager to be handled at every opportunity. I have owned several mice in my lifetime, but this one has a special place in my heart, as it has supported me thorough my latest book and editing process. But it is showing signs of burn out. Perhaps it will perk up if I change its battery.
Other Worldly by Frank Hubeny
I move my black mouse and click. I know I should be doing other things.
“Like what?” That silent voice inside me asks.
Well, like watching this orange sunset or bothering that white bird sitting for no good reason on the railing or contemplating the other worldly mysteries of this grand universe.
Knowing I have no clue, I hear. “Really, like what?”
So I let my inner squeaky wheel, my imaginary “friend”, guide me downward into the depths of another suspicious, weedy, mosquito-loving rabbit hole I have no business exploring. But what else, really, do I have to do?
Due Credit by Reena Saxena
You won’t be able to use all those fancy products, if they are not tested on me. I put my life and limb to out to help you. I’m an extension of your hand, when you navigate that space you can’t live without. I think you call it the internet. I don’t find it very useful though….
You give me food and sometimes – space to live, but I don’t think the equation is balanced.
You need to do a lot more to give me my due credit. Killer cats and dogs have been honoured for too long now.
Chaircat Mao and Cheeser the Mouse by H.R.R. Gorman
“Chaircat Mao,” asked Cheeser the mouse, “Why don’t you ever chase me?”
Chaircat Mao rolled his rotund body over and readjusted his luxurious gray coat. “Well, have you ever chased me?”
“No, Chaircat Mao! That would be silly!”
Chaircat Mao closed his eyes as if the question were answered.
Distraught, Cheeser scurried onto Mao’s flesh. Without response, she balanced down to his nose and pulled on his whiskers. “It’s not right, Chaircat Mao! God made cats to chase mice!”
“Don’t be silly. God made cats to be worshipped. Now stop disturbing my nap.” So, at last, Chaircat Mao slept.
Wrong Mouse by Anita Dawes
Our cat Merlin loves to bring us gifts
I wish he would leave the mice outside
I told him the other day, it was the wrong kind
Jaye needs a new mouse for the computer
Of course, he didn’t take any notice of me
He loves to catch butterflies in his mouth
He lets them go unharmed
Maybe he likes the flavour of them
I have no clue, as I don’t speak cat too well.
After buying a new mouse, Merlin stopped
bringing his gifts for a while
was he trying to tell Jaye that
her mouse needed replacing?
The Mouse That Came in from the Cold by Di @ pensitivity101
I heard scratching and told partner we had a mouse in the bedroom.
He flicked on the light, looked around, then switched it off.
The scratching resumed. Another nudge, he got up to look.
I saw a shadow and turning on the light saw a little mouse disappear behind the wardrobe.
Partner threw himself out of bed and whacked everything in close proximity.
With the bedding wrapped around me, I was in hysterics.
Not that I was afraid, but the ridiculousness of the situation as he’d been charging round the bedroom stark naked, in all his dangly glory.
A Mouse Backfires by Norah Colvin
“Eek!“ shrieked Granny, toppling back on the chair, arms and legs flailing.
“Thwunk!” Her head struck the wall, silencing the children’s sniggers.
Granny slumped motionless, eyes closed, tongue lolling from her slack jaw.
Barney gaped. “D’ya, d’ya think she’s dead?”
“Don’t be silly,” admonished Eliza, older and wiser. “She couldn’t be. Could she?”
The children tiptoed closer.
“What if she wakes up?”
“What if she doesn’t?”
“I’ll check her pulse,” mouthed Eliza.
Suddenly, Granny jolted upright, eyes staring blankly.
The children gasped.
“Gotcha!” laughed Granny. “But that is a clever mouse.”
“How did you —?”
Granny winked. “Granny knows.”
What Happened to the Mouse? by Miriam Hurdle
“What is that box?”
“That’s my infrared camera.”
“What’s that for?”
“Did you see the oranges fell from the tree? Something ate up the cores. I wanted to see what happened.”
“What did the camera catch?”
“Look for yourself.”
“OMG! A mouse! I thought all the mice were dead.”
“I guess not. This one escaped.”
“Did the camera take the pictures last night?”
“No, these were taken two nights ago.”
“Was the camera on last night?”
“Did the mouse come back?”
“No, something else did?
“Oh no, I know what happened to the mouse.”
My Life As a Mouse by Macy Brown
Quickly I scurry across the dilapidated, plywood floor, covered in dust, careful not to step on the wooden contraptions my brothers and sisters have succumbed to. Last week dad went in search of food, but he did not return. Now it’s up to me to find food to keep the last of my siblings alive. I come around the corner of an old, water damaged box, and that is when I smell it – salty peanut butter; but before I have time to react I hear that ear shattering CLAP as a metal hinge comes crashing down upon me.
That’s Mice — A Conversation for Musicologists by Bill Engleson
“Ah, Mick, do you ever ask yourself where we belong in the grand scheme?”
“Gee, Squeak. Not a lot. Why?”
“Well, I was thinking. Take music. Sometimes we just pop up in a song…its neat.”
“Glad you asked. I’m thinking of that great Johnny Cash ditty, I Still Mice Someone. Sure brings a tear to my eye.”
“I do like Johnny Cash…but…”
“Or, Little Richard’s, Good Golly Mice Molly. That sure shakes the floorboards.”
“Squeak, don’t take this the wrong way but I think you oughta get your hearing checked.”
“I hear ya, Mick. I hear ya.”
Little Miss Mouse by Susan Zutautas
She was a tiny little woman with whiskery gray hair. At times she’d be talking to you and her little pink nose would rapidly twitch. Much like that of a rodent smelling something good to eat. Speaking of eating, sunflower seeds were always nearby but never an empty shell to be seen. Listening to her talk was quite annoying with her squeaky pitchy little voice. There were some days you would feel a swish of wind go briskly past you, only to find out it was Little Mouse. Yes, that’s what we had nicknamed her. It characterized her perfectly.
Mousetrap by Ritu Bhathal
It sears through my body.
I know no one will find me.
They were all much more sensible, listening to Mummy. I had to be the one who had to go and look.
Curiosity killed the cat. That’s the saying. Not the mouse, the cat.
But it was just so tempting.
I could smell it.
That whiff of cheesiness.
I knew it was out there somewhere.
And I found it too.
Sat there, right in front of me, was a huge chunk of the best cheddar.
How was I to know it was on a state-of-the-art mousetrap?
The Night of Forgotten Chores (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Snow crunched beneath Ike’s boots. Danni hastily stepped into them with her slippers, throwing a jacket over flannel pajamas. She grimaced against the blast of cold air. How did she forget her chores? The animals relied on her, especially when the weather turned. She pushed open the barn door, flicking on lights. Three mournful dogs glanced up from the cocoon of their cedar houses. Blackjack nickered his discontent, and the chukar fluttered in their cage. Sluggish with guilt Danni slid her hand into the grain bag to find the scoop. She yelped when instead she grabbed a live mouse.
The Little Ones by Ann Edall-Robson
The tiny flecks of dust shimmered like specks of gold in the early morning sunlight streaming through the six-pane window. The building was old, but it was obvious someone was keeping it weatherproof, save for the tiny knothole in the corner, near the back door garden entrance.
The wooden bung had shrunk over time, slipping to one side, going unnoticed in the overgrown flower beds, and allowing those who knew of its whereabouts to come and go as they pleased through its odd shape.
Thanks to the friendly garden mouse, the Little Ones now had a new home.
Laurie’s Journal by Saifun Hassam
On a sunny cold February morning, Laurie walked gingerly over the snow and ice-covered grass and stone steps, to the rose and blackberry bushes, pine and oak trees. Fallen branches, twigs, pine needles and acorns poked through the snow.
In a tiny space among the maze of roots, some snow had melted. A bright-eyed mouse sat quietly on a root. Laurie sat quietly on the old scarred log. Last autumn, she had found tiny tunnels running along the blackberry bushes. In her mind’s nature journal, she was already drawing and making observations of these tiny settlers in the garden.
Mouse in House by Ruchira Khanna
“Oh God! We have a mouse in the house!” I shrieked as I announced to my family. My son sitting on the couch was quick to pull his legs and cross them over. “Where! Where!” he inquired in an equally high-pitched scream.
“It’s in the bedroom!”
I was now waiting restlessly for my husband to take some action. Instead, he continued to work on his laptop unperturbed of what I just announced!
I repeated it this time in a higher decibel.
He looked up with a sense of calm, “Relax! It’s the door. It needs oiling at the hinges!”
Peace Offering by D. Avery
It had to be done. *I won’t have them on my countertops.*
In the hardware section she reached for the wooden Victors. *Can’t improve on those.* Very effective, though she didn’t like setting them, flinched if they snapped, worried about her fingers. *At least it’s just my fingers*.
She moved on to the toy section. *There, little doll dishes, perfect.* She took her purchase home to do what had to be done.
She cleaned her counters. The doll dishes, filled with tasty morsels, she set on the floor. *We can share the food. But please stay off the counters*.
Mouse by Janice Golay
I am a mouse. I say this without pride or apology. It’s just “I am.” Perhaps in a previous life I was someone or something else, someone bigger, stronger, who could roar or soar. But here I am with this life, making the best of what I am. For example, this morning I checked my winter stash of corn, seeds and old apples. Looks OK. It’s sunny today, so I poked my head out of the barn, saw a flying creature’s slow shadow — wide wingspan — soaring, searching…..for me! Pulled my head back in fast. Next life, please.
PART II (10-minute read)
Minnie and Me by Goldie
There it was again – an unexplained pit in her stomach. As if someone was watching her.
There was no one in sight, but she couldn’t shake off the uneasiness.
She tried to run, but tripped and fell to her knees.
A tall shadow appeared in the puddle in front of her.
She raised her head hesitantly to assess the situation.
“There you are, sweetheart” – he said, and extended his hand, but Emma remained on the ground.
“I said I would take care of you. I’d never let you fall” – he said, pulling her up by the hair.
Visitor by Abhijit Ray
Six months before, one night I woke up from my intermittent sleep. Something ran over my body. There he was eating my leftover meal. We have gotten used to each other.
He stares at me curiously. Sitting on his hind quarter he wipes his face and his moustache. I think he prepares himself for the dinner.
I wait for his arrival. He visits me everyday without fail. He does not need any permission or any pass. He is the only friend I have, as I count my days in death row for murdering my business partner and my wife.
Cosmopolitan Collapse by JulesPaige
The Fashionista thought she’d replace her dogs toy.
The only place she could find Mookies favorite
mouse squeaky toy was through the internet.
The Fashionista attempted to order the toy herself.
But there was a Troll waiting to capture
and sell her personal information.
The Fashionista used insecure protocols
allowing the nasty Troll to unleash a virus
that crashed and burned The Fashionista’s
personal site, the Pet Place and
several major operating systems.
The Troll thought it was hilarious
that his virus was called the Black Plague.
All because The Fashionista wanted
a squeaky rodent toy for her dog.
My Life As A Mouse by Joanne Fisher
Ever since a company began briefly downloading consciousness’s into other species the holiday industry has been transformed. Last year I spent two weeks swimming around the Pacific Ocean as a fish. When I returned to my usual body it felt strange for a while to have arms and legs again. This year I decided to be a mouse. I got some strange looks, but they’re quite cute. Though I did spend most of my time trying to find food. One time I saw some peanuts on the floor, as I scurried to them I didn’t even see the cat…
Experiments by The Dark Netizen
Mark my words, this novel research is going to put us right into all the books out there: journals, encyclopaedias, history books; maybe even novels and comics.
We are going to become celebrities not only in the science community, but even in the outside world.
Now, we only need to hope that this experiment works during the trials.
The serum should have the same effect as it had on mice.
If it gives the mice intelligence in comparison to humans, imagine what it would do for human subjects.
Aren’t you in agreement about starting human trials early, Dr. Mouse?
I’d Like to Mouse Wheel a Motion by Chelsea Owens
“Now, now, Mrs. Snigglewhiff; that’s hardly mouseylike. Would you please consider using the shavings over-
“MISTER Cheesebiter, if you wouldn’t mind-
“I say; what are you doing at that drink station? Refreshments are for after our-
“What is it, now, Whiskershins? …The Society for Capybara Welfare wishes to be heard? They’ll just have to submit their request in shavings like the rest of us!-
“My word! Will the ringtailed children kindly refrain from using the wheel till after our meeting has adjourned?-”
“I now call to order The Semi-Regular Meeting of Tame Rodentia. First item of business: queuing.”
Mouse by Robbie Cheadle
Yesterday morning I saw a mouse dash across the kitchen floor and slip under the dishwasher. We live near a bird sanctuary so we do get the odd furry visitor. My husband catches mice using a method involving rat glue smeared on a piece of cardboard. I hate it but we cannot have mice taking up permanent residence in our home.
The gluey cardboard worked and this morning I found the mouse stuck to the cardboard. It was still alive and had to be drowned in water. That is the down side of rat glue – it doesn’t kill quickly.
I Hate Those Meeces to Peeces by Geoff Le Pard
‘Why the long face, Morgan?’
‘Aunt Annette is coming.’
‘Is she a tyrant?’
‘No. We have mice; she hates mice. She’ll flip if I say or if she sees one.’
‘Get a trap.’
‘Can’t. She’ll see it and know.’
‘You’re screwed then.’
‘Could she stay with you? She’s as quiet as a mouse.’
‘What if I’m phobic, too?’
‘I’m not murophobic…’
‘… get you with the long words…’
‘… but I am syngenesophobic.’
‘Fear of aunts?’
‘Great, I’ll bring her round then.’
‘But I just said I’m sygenes…’
‘Sure, but she’s not your aunt, is she?’
Friends by Kay Kingsley
“Charles, help!” A shrill voice shouted from the living room.
Fearing the worst, he dropped the plate he was washing in the sink and came running. “What is it Ida?!” he said, panicked.
Standing on a chair Ida swore it was the biggest mouse she had ever seen. HUGE. GIGANTIC even.
“Sweetie. Come down off the chair. It’s not that big.” he chuckled.
“What? You knew it was in the house and didn’t get rid of it?!”
What he hadn’t told her yet was that since the accident, the mouse was the only friend he had to talk to.
Silent as a Mouse by Kerry E.B. Black
Make-a-Wish interviewed my daughter, Bear, and she wanted to be a princess. Her consultant clapped. “No better place to be a princess than WDW!”
However, costumed characters terrified Bear. I read the promotional materials and discovered what I hoped would calm her. “They don’t talk.”
Consoled, she reluctantly approached her favorite cartoon, Minnie Mouse.
We turned to leave when the dear costumed actress forgot her training and reassured, “It’s okay, honey!” She covered her perpetually smiling mouth with white-mittens, but the damage was done.
I wondered if little Bear would ever trust me again.
Little One by Sarah Whiley
The shadow of the moon danced on the lake. A light breeze whispered gently through the tress and the air was filled with a symphony of insects, clamoring to be heard.
Lucy trod carefully in the filtered light, glancing behind her guiltily. Her mum and dad would be furious but since the trap hadn’t killed it, Lucy figured it was a sign.
Kneeling at the fence line of their property, she reached into her pocket and tenderly scooped out the mouse.
With a grateful “chit” of thanks, it promptly ran into the darkness.
“Take care little one,” she whispered.
Of Mice and Girls by Nancy Brady
Mighty Mouse was Julie’s favorite cartoon; she sat enthralled on the living room floor every Saturday morning. When the mice got into trouble, he would fly to their rescue, saving them from the mean old cat. She thought him handsome in his tights and cape as he sang, “Here I come to save the day, Mighty Mouse is on the way!”
He was Julie’s hero, and she had a crush on him.
Julie had a little doll with a brown ponytail, just like her. When Julie played with her doll, she pretended she was Mighty Mouse’s girlfriend, his love.
Tasha’s Gift by Nobbinmaug
“Aaaahaaha! A mouse!”
“You’re such a woman.”
“Women can’t be sexist.”
“I think that’s also sexist.”
“Men don’t get to decide what’s sexist.”
“That is definitely sexist.”
“Will you just get the mouse, please?”
“Why? Because I’m the man?”
“Because your cat brought it in, and it’s your apartment.”
“You wanna move in?”
“Hell no! You have mice.”
“Tasha and her gifts. They’re usually dead.”
“Yeah, it’s gross, but they’re easier to catch when they’re dead.”
“I am not staying here tonight if that mouse is here.”
“I’ll get it. I’ll get it. I will find it.”
Bed Fellows by Annette Aben
A little girl needed a room of her own, especially when her siblings closest in age, were all boys. She was given the space off the bathroom. A space normally used for storage. Besides, she could lock the door. She could find privacy there.
She didn’t mind sleeping on an old mattress, covered in quilts. There was a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling, so she could read. She gladly traded the feel of the mice that ran across her legs at night over her father’s demands. She chose sleeping in mouse turds rather than her own blood.
Lionhearted by Nan MykelI
I smell a cat in the house. That means my time on earth is limited.Hmmn. What can I contribute to the world during my shortened lifespan? I know! The stepfather who sneaks into his stepson’s room at night silently, on tiptoes to molest him!There he is, stealthily approaching the sleeping boy. Now on his knees, pulling back the covers. Strike now! Nails extended, I rush up his feet, up his legs and high on his head. I dive triumphantly onto the boy, whose screams are echoed by the perpetrator. Lights throughout the house. Goodbye mouselife, hello glory.
Mighty Mouse by Jo Hawk
I stumble to my desk. The coffee sloshing in my cup slips over the edge trickles down the side and drips onto my freshly printed manuscript.
I blot the drop, but the damage is done. Adding insult to injury I mark the draft with a giant coffee ring. I have no fear. Mighty Mouse will save the day. The laptop purrs, Mighty Mouse chases clicks across the laptop’s screen while I sip my coffee.
The printer springs to life, spitting out pages as the Mouse commands.
The pristine draft restored, it awaits the torture session of the red pen.
Moondarby the Mouse and the Mischievous Macaroni Penguin by K. J. Watson
My pet mouse, Ellroy, is by my keyboard, twitching his nose at the computer screen.
“You dislike the title of my latest children’s story, don’t you?” I ask him.
He twitches more vigorously.
“Is it the alliteration? Or the name of the mouse? Or is it the macaroni penguin?”
In response, Ellroy darts across the keyboard: ]’pl[;ijokyguhrdtfwaesq.
“I assume that means you’re averse to it all?”
Ellroy stares at me.
“Okay. How about ‘Ellroy the Magnificent and the Naughty Cat’?”
Ellroy curls up on my notebook.
I begin typing and wonder: Who else has a mouse as a muse?
Focus by Tracey
“Guys listen up. This is the pre-mission briefing for flight 7044.”
She went quickly but thoroughly over the slides. Tanker crews liked fast and funny. No jokes today though, this was a new mission and she needed to keep their focus.
To the great surprise of the pilots she suddenly stopped in mid-sentence and jumped onto a chair. The entire room silently watched a mouse scamper across the floor and under the canvas wall.
The Lieutenant climbed down and resumed briefing the astonished pilots, picking right back up in the middle of her sentence. She had their full attention.
Mus Musings by D. Avery
“Rats, this is a tough prompt Pal.”
“You also complained when Shorty said cats. No pleasin’ some folk.”
“Jist sayin’, Pal. Ya know, Pal, there’s all kinds a mice.”
“So? The Ranch is a diverse place.”
“Reckon Aussie’ll write ‘bout kangaroo mice.”
“Sure, an’ D. Avery’ll write about deer mice.”
“Punny, Kid. *Mus musculus* is the house mouse. Deer mice and kangaroo mice are actually a different family. But yer not outta order, rodent’cha know.”
“Now who’s punny? Pal, how come it’s mice and not mouses?”
“Jist is thet way.”
“Mebbe all your grouses are grice.”
When a polar vortex slips its arctic boundaries and spreads across Lake Superior, two snowmakers clash. Keweenaw photographer, George C. Bailey, captures the lake in her many moods. While the vortex hovered, Superior’s waves pounded ice heaves on shore, illuminating sea mist and water the color of icebergs.
Writers followed sea mist into the photo. Journeys, emotions, and wisdom of the land emerged in the stories this week.
The following are based on the January 31, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about sea mist.
PART I (10-minute read)
He Never Left Us (BOTS) by Susan Sleggs
We called the seaside motel to book a room.
They said we’re closed for a private function.
Yes, we said, the funeral of the owner.
You know that? You may have a free room.
In a local diner dressed in our best we were asked,
Are you here for Dick’s funeral?
Our friend was very well liked.
His companies employed half the town.
A church so full, people stood.
Back at the motel well after dark.
The sea mist rose.
The fog horn sounded.
We knew Dick was still with us.
The horn will always be his loving voice.
Sunset By the Bay by Nobbinmaug
The sea mist dances through the sun’s waning glow. Each droplet catches the light creating a rainbow shower. The distant clouds take on a hue of orange, pink, and a faint purple, as the fading disc melts into the horizon. Somehow, the roar of the waves and their crash on the rocks only adds to the tranquility.
The breeze catches the ocean, and it sprays my face. Though salt is all I taste, it’s refreshing on this summer evening.
There’s only one thing keeping this from being a perfect evening.
I reach for your hand, but you’re not there.
The Sea Wept by Di @ pensitivity101
Icebound, blocked, cracking,
This world is a mass of layers.
From the deepest depths
A blending hue
Of black and green
To four shades of blue,
Frothy curls of white
Crumble in the weak sun,
Rushing to meet the shore,
But falling short,
Layers forming, meeting
Joining, becoming one,
For many it amounts to
Uncertainty and fear.
Scrolls and wisps
The sea mist gathers,
Not to hide or cover
More to caress and blanket,
Holding the surface together,
Who is to say it is trying
To shield us from
Witnessing the sea crying.
Canned Sea Mist by Norah Colvin
No more than a hint of sea spray and she was flown back on wings of joy to carefree childhood days frolicking in the shallows, basking on golden sands, fossicking for hints of life in rockpools and amassing precious collections of shells and other treasures arranged for her pleasure by the tide. Lulled by a gentle breeze and waves whispering a heart’s rhythm, she dosed, uninterrupted by seagulls squawking, murmured conversations, hushed laughter, or the shuffle of approaching and receding footsteps. As the sun glowed bright above, she sighed her last, now and forever one with the sea’s mist.
Sea Mist by tracey robinson
Everyday for fifty-two years she went for a morning walk. No matter the season or the weather. Three miles. First alone, then with her partner, now alone again.
She loved all the weather she encountered, it made her feel alive. This morning a soft gray sea mist spilled over onto the beach, curling her white hair.
She tried not to play favorites, enjoying what each day gave her but secretly she liked the fog the best. Maybe because it was the rarest. Maybe because it softened the day. Or maybe because it obscured the fact that she was alone.
Have You Seen the Mist by S. Zutautas
Brings romantic illusions
Letting mind wander
Relaxed in a jacuzzi
Sipping a fine chardonnay
After a long day
As the warm wind blows
Across the lakes hardened ice
One can see, sea mist
Appearing as clouds
Close onto ground, thick moisture
Billows blocking sight
Lighthouses warn boaters
Vision obscured volatile
Mist has unfolded
Shining brightly the
Mist from the sea causes fog
Thickly stands resting
Will mesmerize you into
Over lakes and seas
Dawn or night you may see
The mist of the sea
Sailors have ignored warnings
Crashing into rocks
Erie Kai by Nancy Brady
From the Canadian side comes the wind. The sustained wind buffets the Ohio shore of Lake Erie, and we can hear the roar of the waves from a block away. The longer the wind blows, the louder the “Wildcat’s” roar. The lake is aptly named for the native American word for wildcat.
This winter the snow came as well as the northern wind, blowing wave after wave of water over the quarried slate blocks, which protect the beach. With dropping temperatures, the water begins to freeze, though, coating the blocks, forming a lacy, layered ice sculpture of sea mist.
Sea Mist by Sally Cronin
After tea and some shared biscuits, the little dog’s mistress sent him down to the quayside to wait for the return of his master. This late January day had been overcast and strangely still, with sea mist rolling in during the late afternoon. The boats were overdue, and wives anxiously peered out of their windows towards the shrouded harbour. The terrier’s ears pricked at a slight sound, nose lifting into the damp air. Whimpering he shot to his feet with quivering tail and one front paw lifted. A voice echoed in the fog “It’s okay Patch boy, I’m home”.
Landlocked Mist by Ann Edall-Robson
It settles again over the rocks, across the land. The morning mist portrays an eerie light to all who wake early to see the beginning of another day. Wandering along the craggy outcrops on the mudded gravel path, the damp penetrates to the bone. Hair and mittens become saturated from the fine spray slapping against faces, shrouding all signs of life with a wet, misty blanket. Landlocked, the mist will only go when the sun burns through and the temperature warms. It is a sign of real moisture to come in ninety days hence. So the old timers say.
Foretold by Reena Saxena
“Have you ever seen lightning strike water, and electrocute life beneath?”
The fortune-teller spoke with a furrowed brow,
“I foresee a clash of strong, opposing forces happening in your life, in the near future.”
I recall the legal notice sent by the brother I trusted most in life, over an inheritance issue. It can leave me with scarce resources in my sunset years. It caused ripples in the calm, placid waters of my life, but this guy is warning me of a storm.
The sea mist is clearing off, as I see people for what they are.
Master of the Sea by H.R.R. Gorman
A slender hand helped him spew water from his lungs. “It is good you lived, but I’m afraid your countrymen died.” Her queenly presence was clothed in radiant stones from the ocean, her hair glistened with sea mist.
She had a fin in place of legs and loose webs between long fingers.
“She was a good ship… and my friends were good sailors.” The man shook as tears welled in his eyes.
“Before the storm, you said you were masters of the sea?”
“Why not? His Majesty’s navy is the world’s finest.”
She flicked her tail and swam away.
Thar Blows retold by D. Avery
The giant Maushop shared whales and fish with the people. Only Maushop could stop the monstrous bird that ate children. The people showed thanks with gifts of tobacco. With ashes from his pipe Maushop made a second, faraway island. The fog from his pipe shielded for a while but was not enough.
Then the people took the others’ god. The others said he was the devil; Maushop obliged. He turned his children to fishes and his wife to a stone before taking to farther seas. They’d see him again, misty smoke now urgent spout of a great white whale.
Sea Mist by Floridaborne
“Once, this entire area was under water,” my geology instructor said.
I looked at the sun bleached sands and asked, “How did a place this dry end up underwater?”
“Eighty million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, this was swampland.”
“My mental movie of dinosaurs frolicking in sea mist is ruined,” I sighed. “Why did the climate change?”
“Humans will never do as much damage to the Earth as the volcanic eruptions and asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.”
He laughed at my reply, “And I thought the Pacific garbage patch was bad!”
Behemoth? by JulesPaige
I just wanted to hurl at humanity and strike them all dead. My breastbone was fraught with fantods. I really wished the newsfeed would downgrade the Occam’s Razors they were slinging and really glance into my eyes. Perhaps if I just concentrated I could crash the video feed or even the whole system. And then in the darkness of everything absorb all the passivity of those who wished me no harm so I could extend my wings and fly away, into the sea mist.
I really wasn’t a monster. “They” only portrayed me that way… Mommy still loves me.
The Legendary Sea Mist Bite by Marjorie Mallon
Misha pushed her glasses up on her nose and wiped them with a tissue but it made no difference. Sea mist doesn’t wait. Sea mist consumes everything.
She didn’t know whether to move ahead or to turn back. A chill crept through her.
She felt something near her. She imagined jaws, and sharp teeth.
‘Look where you’re going, you idiot!’ said a crab, grabbing her ankle.
‘Something threatened to bite me!’
‘No, the mist did. Aren’t you wearing your mist specs?’
‘What are they?
‘They’re magical spectacles to protect you from the mist.
‘I don’t need protecting, I’m dead.’
Another Way by Jo Hawk
I’ve seen them walk into the sea. You know the ones, plagued by constant misery. Their eyes cast down, always looking at the ground. The sea mists rise, reaching for cloudy skies. All around, the grey days bring despair, and in the mist, I could surely drown.
I want something else as I stand here with the sand between my toes, struggling to survive. I’m amazed I’m still alive. But I won’t say goodbye.
They say there is another way. So even on the cloudy day, even in the misty grey, I keep my eyes looking for the sun.
A Turn of Event by Ruchira Khanna
“I hate my life!” Jaya kept growling with anger teary-eyed as she walked with stern steps towards a mid-sized wall that faced the ocean.
She climbed the wall and eyed her home with a sulk; then looked towards the ocean.
“I do not belong here!” she closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath to take the plunge.
Just then her face got wet by the sea mist. That made her freeze on her drastic step.
She was in tears.
This time for good since memories of Love, Care, Play and Laughter with family changed her mind.
Sea Mist by Kay Kingsley
I thought he was joking when he asked me to join him at the beach for a swim. “It’s minus degrees… in January!” He looked at me with a mischievous smile. His charm. Sigh. “Alright.”
We arrived at the beach to see the ocean violent and churning. It looked like it was at war with itself. We approached the shore as I shivered, chilled to the bone. Mark had already stripped down and was smiling ear to ear. “Three words… Polar. Bear. Club.” Yelling, “YeeHaw!” he ran into the surf as I watched the sea mist swallow him whole.
Mountain Passage (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli MIlls
At the top of the pass, Ike pulled over. Danni radioed the lead forester to verify any logging trucks. The Forest Service road tapered to one-way traffic. For the next five miles, loggers used the narrow switchbacks to haul loads from an active site. If they met a truck on the grade, there would be no way to pass. Danni surveyed the steep ravine, waiting for a reply. Morning fog obscured the forest and hid the road. Before an affirmative crackled over the radio, Danni heard grinding gears in the distance like a rumble of surf beneath sea mist.
Dry Breeze by The Dark Netizen
The dry breeze stings my face.
This sand, this air, are slowly choking the life out of me. I want to get back to my old life. I had power, I had purpose, but most importantly, I had freedom. Here, I feel trapped. My injuries did not kill me, merely forced me to retire. However, I wish I had died before I retired. I wish I was buried at the sea, like a true captain.
I long for the darkness to find me, as much as I long for the sea mist to caress my face, one last time…
Unclear Clearwater, FL (Late December 2018) by JulesPaige
This isn’t normal.
Windswept, double bent,
facing the wind head on.
Feeling like a cartoon character
being pelted by every single
grain of sand from the beach.
But we get there to what was
the beach a few days ago anyway.
The rain may have stopped
but the misty hurricane air
sucks at closed shop door,
where we finally have chosen
to take some relief.
The door rattles and is threatened
to be removed from its hinges.
We’re at least a block from the shore line,
where the tourist pier, for safety was shut down.
At least we’re together.
Better Be Worth It by Teresa Grabs
The frigid sea mist stung as it slapped his face. At midnight, under normal circumstances, he would be in bed watching the late-night movie. Today had been anything but normal. He would not be standing by the lake in sub-zero temperatures had it not been for Meredith. She was the most beautiful woman who ever paid a moment’s attention to him. He just couldn’t say no. “No one can ever know,” she said, handing him the bag. He hoped getting hypothermia and frostbite was worth it. Seemed like a lot of effort just for disposal duty of teenage diary.
Sea Mist by quiall
Angelina and Edward walked hand in hand down the beach. Their feet gently sinking into the still damp sand as a soft mist enveloped them. They could hear a pod of whales singing just off shore. The day was still young, the sun had yet to burn off the swirling miasma of water laced air.
“Is it true? Have the scientists proven it beyond any doubt?”
“Yes, my love they have.”
“Edward, how can we tell people the truth? They will avoid the beach, our economy will collapse!”
“It’s the mist Angelina, they need to know: It’s whale farts!”
PART II (10-minute read)
Mist Agin by D. Avery
“Ah, Jeez, Kid, you writin’ agin?”
“Why not? I’m likin’ this prompt. Jist cain’t decide on my topic. Might write about the mornin’ mist in the river valley. Or the clouds that don’t clear the mountaintop an’ leave it sparklin’ with frost. Mebbe the steam waftin’ off the water trough or even the warm breath of the cattle like fog in the crisp air as they chew their hay.”
“Kid, you cain’t write about none a thet.”
“Why not? Jist goin’ where the prompt leads.”
“The prompt specifically said sea mist.”
“Yeah? Ever’ where I look I see mist.”
The Shoreline by Joanne Fisher
Aalen’s path took her northwards. As she went further the forest became more sparse until she came to the shoreline of a wide sea. She had never seen the ocean before and although her sight was partially obscured by the sea-mist hanging around the shore it looked as though it went on forever. She began to realise the world was far larger than she had ever dreamed. Where there other distant shores? Her heart yearned for revenge, but also to explore this world she barely knew. She watched the tumultuous waves and then turned away following the tracks eastward.
Not Here But There by Carol J Forrester
It reminded her of home. The sea mist rolling in onto the shingles.
Of course, it wasn’t quite the same.
Peat mist rises different. The earth sort of oozes tendrils that simmer and thicken on the low lands. Stretches of green that look beautiful and safe but turn to bog at the first hint of rain.
It’s similar enough though. When the mist rolls in and she’s standing inside it, condensation on her cheeks, damp in her hair… she can pretend it’s England. Pretend she’s inland, back where she belongs.
It never takes long for someone to wake her.
Avalon by Anita Dawes
Two weeks holidaying on top of the cliffs,
overlooking the sea and ragged rocks of Cornwall.
Sea mist rolling in, invisible hands unfurling a white carpet across the bay
between the cliffs either side. Nature’s magic moment.
This morning, the mist cleared quickly, there between the sky and the edge of the sea sat an island that didn’t belong there.
How can the mist have carried an island into view like something from Gulliver’s Travels.
No, wait. I believe I am looking at Avalon, the island where Arthur was carried
by the blind ferryman to heal, while Merlin watched.
Scylla and Charybdis by Violet Lentz
we remain rootedly positioned
between scylla and charybdis*
the chasm that separates us
to your truth, or mine.
clash- two worlds colliding
yours a rock and mine a hard face
your forlorn forced inflections
emanating from the belly of your god.
my belligerent brawling outbursts
clutching tight the hand-
of absolution sure demise.
just once, can’t we beg off?
let hoar fog obscure our fracas
cleanse us both in salt sea brine
cast off weighted chain and anchor
just once, let dead dogs lie??
foundation built of rock, on hard place
just this once- oh mother mine?
Sea Mist Dreams by Colleen M. Chesebro
I walk along the sandy path strewn with starfish and seashells which seems to beckon me toward the sea. Pearls and aquamarine crystals dot the trail. The salt water scent of the sea mist wafts over me as the sound of stormy waves crashing against stony cliffs draws me closer to my goal.
I imagine the mer-people, undines, water nymphs, and sirens who assist with the flow of life, balancing emotions with healing, cleansing, love, and beauty. I can’t help but wonder how I got here.
Childish dreams bring hope—
as past and present conspire
to present new paths.
Lookout by TN Kerr
Roger stood in the bow and watched the fog roll in. He hunched in his Pea Jacket to stave off the weather. His hands were in his pockets where he clutched a silver flask of brown whisky.
He felt it before he saw it. He watched it emerge from the haar that obscured visibility to the north. It was an old Soviet boat, running on the surface, twin screws churning the water.
Roger reached for the handset of the sound powered phone, “Bridge – Bow. Surface contact bearing tree fife zero, fife hundred yards, moving left to right slowly.”
Misty Majesty by calmkate
The roar of MiG jets draws our attention to the ocean out front. A majestic aircraft carrier peers through the mist billowing smoke appears ominous. But it’s a decoy as various aircraft chase one another with destroyers joining in from below. The earth vibrates as a few more bombs explode.
If all goes as planned nobody will die as four nations rehearse war games in our front yard. A regular feature for locals who grew up supplying refreshments to the chopper pilots training for Vietnam, their rotor blades had nominal clearance they had to master. Peace lovers abhor war!
Sea Mist by Faith A. Colburn
The waves looked soft as he peered through tropical rain. The island was only a ragged outline. Crawling down the rope netting into a landing craft, he watched it grow closer, more distinct. It would be his first combat. Would he stand up to it? Was he brave as he thought—hoped? Somehow he knew he would survive, but what about the others? Weeks earlier, in the middle of the ocean, he’d looked through a light mist silvered by soft by moonlight and realized survival wasn’t enough. Seeing the guy next to him fall—that’s what made him sick.
Sea Mist by Margaret G. Hanna
She stood on the pier, head cocked. Sea mist enclosed her in a shroud of impenetrable greyness, hiding the bay. Only sound existed. Unseen waves crashed against an unseen rocky headland. Unseen leaves rustled. Overheard, unseen gulls mewled. The sound she longed for – unheard.
Mist moistened her face, disguised the tears. Tears she had shed these past three days. Three days without sleep, three days of waiting, worrying, hoping. Three days with no news.
Behind her, in the house, a phone rang. A muffled conversation seeped through the mist. The screen door squealed open.
“Martha, they’ve found the boat.”
Out of the Mist – A Tale of Humanity in War by Gordon Le Pard
The privateer came out of the mist, the sailors had no chance, their ship was moored by the waveswept rock where the engineers were working.
The French captain laughed at their ridiculous tale, no one could build a lighthouse on a rock in the middle of sea, it must be a trick of the damnable English.
King Louis heard the tale, but he believed it, they could do such a wonderful thing. He released and rewarded the men saying;
“I am at war with the English, not humanity”
A year later the light shone from the Eddystone rock.
Figurehead by D. Avery
With Destiny tied to the bowsprit branch, Marlie took command of her tree fort. She steered the pitching ship into the roiling sea of fog-drenched backyard, the surf of snow rising underneath the plunging bow. Over the howling wind she barked orders at her frightened crew.
“Should they really be out there in this weather?”
“They’re dressed for it and they’re under cover in the tree fort. Tommy will let her know when he’s had enough.”
“Maybe. Oh, here he is now. Tommy. Are you okay?”
“I had to walk the plank.”
“There’s hot chocolate in the galley, Mate.”
Mist Opportunities by Bill Engleson
It rose out of the sea like a smack in the face.
“I can’t see the trail anymore,” I bellowed.
“Some leader!” came from behind.
“Oh, yeah. I suppose you can do better?”
I wasn’t in the mood to take guff, even if I couldn’t tell who my detractor was.
“I didn’t say that,” the voice said.
“I don’t know. Sounds mutinous to me.”
“What’s mootinus? You calling me a cow?”
“Hold your horses,” I said, complicating the emerging animal theme, “Mu…Tin…Knee.”
“Whatever! Hey guys, Old Tin Knee is lost.”
Street kids, I thought. You have gotta love ‘em.
Insult to Injury by Anurag Bakhshi
I could sense its presence much before it came into view, and the shiver that ran through my body had nothing to do with the ice-cold seawater. I knew the monster was coming for me.
I saw it now, piercing through the sea mist and looming ominously over me like a kraken. Very soon, it would attempt to hunt me down, and finally, vengeance would be mine.
I could forgive him the leathery taste of that rotten leg, but Captain Ahab deserved the tortures of the nine circles of hell for naming a majestic whale like me, Moby Dick!
Sea Mist by Joanne Fisher
Whenever the sea-mist came in the villagers knew to go inside their homes, lock their doors and ignore all sounds.
One afternoon Lilith had been away picking apples from the nearby orchard. When she returned she saw the sea-mist rolling in. In a panic she dropped the apples and ran to her house. She got to her door but couldn’t find her keys. Tendrils of mist were already snaking around her and she felt the chill. She started to frantically knock on the door when she suddenly felt the chill go through her. The other villagers heard her screams.
Sea Mist by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
“Come on,” Colin called, moving purposefully into the thick, swirling mist.
Mary hung back. There was something about this mist that disturbed her. She could hear strange and distant noises like an animal feeding. The smacking and slurping sounds upset her.
“Come on,” came his voice again, already sounding some distance away.
Mary took a deep breath and plunged into the whiteness which immediately swallowed her.
“I’m coming,” she yelled loudly. “Wait for me.”
Her ears suddenly filled with terrible screams, followed by a loud crunch. A fine spray of blood splattered across her face and dress.
Help by Kerry E.B. Black
Mist floated above the water, ghostly aspirations undulating as the river swelled and dipped like lovers’ sighs. Transient by nature, it fettered fine tendrils around Erin’s poetic heart.
She plopped to the moist ground and beckoned the cloud. Perhaps within its obscuring she could find clarity.
Waves lapped the shore with the steadiness of a heartbeat. Erin’s own inner workings joined the pace as though engaging a dance. Delicate as dew, fog surrounded her until all she could see was the problem at hand.
Thoughts thick with worry, she stared into a luminous blank and surrendered.
“I need help.”
It’s All in the Packaging by Deborah Lee
Jane hesitates at the entrance to the marina, fighting impostor syndrome. But the Lake Union Dreamboats antique yacht show is free and open to anyone, and it’s something to do.
Sleek vessels line the piers, shining even under cloud cover, and her breath catches as she steps aboard the Sea Mist and takes in the tiny space. Efficiency kitchen only big enough for one, built-in bed and furniture, handmade throws, gleaming teak, fresh flowers. Do people really keep flowers in vases with water at sea?
It’s not much bigger than her own tent, but what a difference accoutrements make.
Yandeau Harbor by Saifun Hassam
The evening sea mist threaded its way into Yandeau Harbor. Sailboats and yachts rode gently at anchor. The day’s work was done along Fisherman’s Way.
Mist drifted past Trevor Pierre Yandeau. He was a biologist, and had been an ardent fisherman all his life. Fishing was part of The Yandeaus’ lives from the days in Marseilles, and still influenced their lives in the New World.
Trevor grew up exploring and fishing along numerous bays and coves of the Pacific. He loved to return to Yandeau Harbor: it had sparked a lifelong commitment to protecting and understanding vital natural habitats.
The Eyemouth Disaster by Lance Greenfield
Despite the warnings, despite the storm, they rolled out to sea from Eyemouth on that fateful day of October 1881.
For weeks, they had been unable to sail because of prevailing weather.
They were not greedy. It was their livelihood. They just wanted to earn enough to feed their families. 45 boats left harbour; only 26 returned. 189 men perished. 93 women were widowed. 267 children lost their fathers.
Two days later, out of the sea mist, Ariel Gazelle returned with all her crew. Out of the darkness of tragedy, shone a shaft of light and life.
Depressurized by Jody Kish
It comes like the mist, creeping its way to the depths of my soul.
The anguish bears down, consuming every fiber of who I am.
And just when I’m overwrought; I see a beacon of light in the distance.
The sun blinks through the heavy fog. It transforms the grey and dreary to a Monet painting of purples, pinks, and orange that dance together in a harmonious symphony.
Until the next storm comes like a percussion of drums.
But for now, the haze lifts.
Like a defeated monster it dissipates.
I’m content once more.
Deep Waters Run Still (Part I) by D. Avery
“Cat gotcher tongue Kid?”
“Ack. I’m a pony.”
“Yeah, a little hoarse. I ain’t spoke fer ages.”
“Bet thet bothered you.”
“Dang right it did. Jist ‘cause D. Avery wants ta turn tail and hunker down, why do I have ta? What d’ya s’pose she was up to anyway?
“Ain’t my business. But mebbe she was hopin’ ta quiet you down.”
“Hee hee. It didn’t work. I got bored an’ wriggled all aroun’ her head with nowhere ta go. You sure musta missed me, huh, Pal?”
“Sure, Kid. Like a headache when it stops hurtin’.”
Deep Waters Run Still (Part II) by D. Avery
“Ya know, Kid, it ain’t about you.”
“I know Pal. I jist love it here is all. Where were you all this time Pal?”
“Was visitin’ ol’ Ornery.”
“Ta have some a his whiskey.”
“Mebbe. But he’d busted up his still. An’ all his Mason jars— shards. I found him sittin’ an’ listenin’ ta the waterfall freeze, a whispery tinklin’ sound. An’ if ya listen up close ta the ice ya kin hear water inside, gigglin’ about spring a’comin’. Here, Kid, it’s a Mason jar Ornery glued back together outta 99 shards.”
“It says Moans.”
“It’ll hold water, Kid.”
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.’
“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.
Colonnades of white lend a regal elegance to a building or porch. Until you realize what happens in the shadows and that not all institutions uplift humanity. Thus begins the stroll through colonnades of many different origins.
Writers used the architecture as a literary device — to support ideas. Take a stroll through stories on an unexpected journey.
The following are based on the January 17, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes colonnades.
Part I (10-minute read)
Never Give Up by Norah Colvin
The solid grey wall stretched without end, both left and right —impenetrable, no way around, no way through. Perhaps a way over? Even from that distance, it appeared unscaleable.
He removed his backpack and rested his head upon it as he lay, gazing upward. He sighed heavily. He’d trekked so far believing this was the way. How could he have been so wrong?
He closed his eyes and drifted into a deep sleep. Refreshed, upon awakening, he decided to continue rather than retreat.
As he drew closer, the wall separated into columns spaced perfectly to allow an easy passage.
Pillars by The Dark Netizen
The colonnades have stood for ages.
Tall, sturdy, and white, they stood strong in all weathers. They sheltered my grandfather when he watched the black slaves toil in our fields. It sheltered my father when he freed the slaves and paid them honest wages to work the farms. And now, the great pillars shelter me as I fight alongside my friends of colour against the invaders. We will stand together, to make sure that the pillars stand for our sons. The pillars will shelter my son as he watches a free, united nation take birth.
The pillars won’t fall…
In the Orchard by Anne Goodwin
In the orchard, I kissed him. Between the colonnades of conference, comice and Cox’s Orange Pippin, tasted nectar on his tongue. Amid the scent of ripened fruit, I smelled the sweat of weeks on the run. We made a bed of fallen leaves, the drone of drunken wasps mingled with our moans.
I knew I had no future with a freedom fighter. Right then, I didn’t care. But when the soldiers stood in line and raised their rifles, the shot sent swallows screaming from their roosts. They left me his bloodied body, and his child blossoming in my womb.
Supports by D. Avery
“It’s an epic occasion,” Lloyd announced as Ernest and Marge wedged themselves into the booth. “Gotta send Ilene off with a hearty breakfast.”
The diner that was in the same half dead shopping plaza as the community school served breakfast 24/7, perfect for commemorating Ilene’s first day of evening classes.
They walked her from the diner to the lackluster painted over storefront that veiled the higher learning within.
“Ok. Thanks. See you around campus.”
“Wait Ilene.” Ernest posed the others then had Ilene take a picture of them standing in front of the community school.
“We’re your colonnades.”
The Epitaph of the Reverse Snob by Sascha Darlington
We were supposed to be impressed with his primping, his crisply ironed clothes which all bore logos, his affectation for mentioning who he was wearing if a logo wasn’t in evidence.
Rachel, of course, pitied him. “He’s insecure.”
“He talks all the time. About himself.”
I thought he was like the columns on the front of McMansions, all façade. Even in retrospect, I wouldn’t have changed my mind. Rachel’s wealthy now, wearing her own logos and baulked, momentarily, when he wanted columns on the front of their new home.
Me, I’m writing layered material, barely making ends meet.
Front Porch Sittin’ by H.R.R. Gorman
I pour sweet tea
But just last night
My mama crept
From field slave house
To where I slept.
“Take this,” she said,
Offering a bag.
Inside was a hex
Cast on heart of stag.
My mother cried.
“Crush this heart and
Your daddy’ll die.”
I pour the tea
In nice tall glass.
I think about
What mama asked.
Master sits in
Beckons me stay
For ‘work’ unpaid.
I squeeze the heart.
From shady spot
My master drops
To Hell so hot.
Maybe It Won’t Be So Bad by TNKerr
Dario was a cad, a reprobate. He knew when he died because the pain disappeared.
Dead Dario rose, brushed imaginary dust from his shoulders, and looked ahead; there was no behind.
He was on a covered walkway surrounding a garth filled with souls of the suffering damned. Tapered stone columns stood like sentries between him and the wretches. Each column, labelled with a lie, that he recognized as one of his own:
Promises he’d never intended to keep, yet made to women he’d wanted.
Yarns spun to investors whose monies he stole.
It’s All in the Cards by Colleen M. Chesebro
Tara laid the faery tarot cards carefully on the table. From between the colonnades of the Major and Minor Arcana, the universe cradled her in a divine hug. From the Major Arcana she drew the six – The Lovers, the five – Unity, and from the Minor Arcana, the Six of Summer.
Past, present, and future. Her past spoke of true love, while the present, reminded her to remain true to her principles. Yet, the future hinted at her becoming fast friends.
The cards spoke the truth. What did she have to lose? She tore up the divorce papers and smiled.
Folded by weejars
It’d been a long day. Kihei, Maui had deceptively more on offer than I’d thought.
I sat my weary self down, noting the lazy colonnades made by benches and umbrellas. Even they had had it – pulled in and folded down for the evening.
I sat swirling my cocktail, hoping it would ease my aching muscles. The sun dipped below the tree line, drawing long shadows on the ground and I’m almost tempted to ask a passing cyclist if I can hitch a ride. The thought of walking up the hill, is overwhelming.
Bus Stop by Anita Dawes
Outside my living room window stands a bus stop
One afternoon, I counted fourteen people waiting
Watched as a colonnade of human souls were
Swallowed by a red giant
The two o clock journey had begun
Where are they going?
Will their day be a good one?
This I will never know
I will not see their journey back
The return bus stop is further down
The road where I cannot see
I make up my own stories
About the faces standing waiting
The old lady with her green scarf
She is off to see her grandson…
Colonnades by Gordon Le Pard
It was strange.
He was watching the traffic passing on the bridge, as a cart moving behind the colonnade the spokes of the carts wheel seemed to bend. When a faster carriage followed it, the spokes seemed to bend even more.
The scientific magazine he edited was short of copy that month, he needed a few hundred words, remembering the odd effect of the wheel behind the colonnade he wrote, An Account of an Optical Deception.
A week later Michael Faraday read the article, he was fascinated and began to experiment.
The first steps on the road to Hollywood
Author’s Note: In 1821 John Murray made the observation that led to the discovery of Persistence of Vision, the reason that films work.
Semi-Colonnaddled-Donnie’s Secret Diary by Bill Engleson
Alone at Christmas this year.
I’d never been so alone in my life before.
How sad is that.
The fake newsy floozies expected a pity twitty…er…tweet.
Maybe I mentioned it in passing.
Melania did a bang-up job of decorating the East Wing this year.
Redder than in a Vlad wet dream.
I wonder what he did for Christmas.
I should give him a call.
Was he alone as I was?
Last year, the East Wing was a beaut.
Talk about a White Christmas.
I hate being alone.
Pelosi’s Shutdown has made Washington a morgue.
I think it’s personal.
A Word From Our Sponsor by Nancy Brady
As a pharmacist, I dealt with all sorts of people with digestive issues. Through the years I counseled people on various problems like indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, and other maladies of the gastrointestinal tract. Depending on the problem, remedies were suggested.
Products like Tums and Prilosec for heartburn; products like Ex-Lax and Miralax for constipation, and products like Imodium for diarrhea, Emetrol for nausea and vomiting, and the ubiquitous Pepto-Bismol used for everything.
The newest category is probiotics, which helps restore good bacteria to the gut, specifically the large intestine or colon. Thus, probiotics could be classified as
The Problem with Dreaming by Geoff Le Pard
‘What’s that, Logan?’
‘Nothing. You know…’
‘Not unless you tell me.’
‘Someone at work had this thing about designing their dream home and, well, I thought it might be neat…’
‘I thought a sheltered walkway leading to double height doors…’
‘This folly’s in England, right? Bit optimistic, worrying about sunstroke. And you’ll get a rupture opening those. These? They look like columns.’
‘I always fancied having a collonade.’
‘Is it worth that? I’m all for ambition but getting a hernia and buggering up your colon’s a pretty high price to pay for a fancy country pad.’
Sky to Fly by Reena Saxena
“Don’t look for me, because you won’t find me.”
Dylan almost wanted to put the letter down, and call the police, but then, he stopped to read on.
“Thanks for all the support! You are the colonnade that enveloped my existence, helped me stay afloat, but also separated me from the skies I dream of reaching someday. I’d like to carve my own life.”
Years later, the father and son stand facing each other.
“So, did you find your sky?”
“Yes, and I converted it into solid ground for my son. He’ll need it till he learns to fly.”
Temple Builders by D. Avery
He found them outside, each with shovels, each pink cheeked, strands of black hair stuck to damp foreheads. “What are you two up to?”
“Come see what Mommy and me made Daddy!”
Hope led him around the mound of plowed snow where the bank dropped away. Once he’d crawled through the entrance tunnel he could almost stand up.
“Is that a skylight?”
“No Daddy, just a vent. Mommy’s gonna build a fire and we’ll cook dinner.”
While his wife and child continued carving out their snug snow house he stacked snowballs and shaped two elegant colonnades at the entryway.
Demolition Man by Anurag Bakhshi
I looked at my creation again. It was stunning, a virtual masterpiece, as Bird Baths go.
It was a steep downgrade, of course, from the columns of colonnades in my last masterpiece, but…
The owner of the villa inspected the Bird Bath closely now, and said in a mocking tone, “Are you sure this won’t fall down as soon as a bird sits on it?”
I raged silently, but held my tongue. There was little I could say after that crazy monster Hercules had destroyed the pillars of my magnificent, indestructible mansion, along with my reputation as an architect.
Colonnades by Pete Fanning
Molly and I walk in to the kitchen, where her little sister is drawing at the table. “Hey giant,” she says. “Look at this one.”
I take in the carnage. “Um, wow, this is very…realistic.”
She beams. “Do you notice the legs dangling out of the serpent’s mouth?”
Molly sighs. “Ava, I thought we were going to draw mountains. Beaches. Sunshine. Rainbows.” She tosses a hand. “Something besides death and dismemberment.”
“Look under the collapsed colonnade, you can even see the—”
I mouth “colonnade” to Molly, who puffs out her cheeks. “Fine, put it on the fridge.”
Foreseeable Destiny by D. Avery
In the vaulted space beyond the grand colonnades the prophetess grew impatient with the plebeians. How dare they entreat her to wash her hands!
“And where’s your Destiny Doll? Don’t leave Granma’s gift outside.”
The voice of the prophetess rumbled from the temple as if from a deep cave. “Destiny has been swallowed whole by an earthquake. Only a great prophetess can save her.”
The prophetess foresaw trouble. The colonnades were reduced to table legs as she scrambled out of the desecrated temple.
Even with her great powers it was ill advised to clash with the Titans.
The Family Pillar by Teresa Grabs
Davey leaned on the car door and sighed as he looked at the old house. It’s colonnades looked out of place today – still dirty from last week’s storm.
“Never would’ve been like that,” he muttered as he walked up to the porch.
They seemed to groan and weep under his touch as if they knew too. Nothing about this visit was normal. Nothing was the same as last time. The house – the family – was broken. Nana Grace had been the pillar of the family. Now she was gone; the house empty. He hoped the others would filter in soon.
Standing in Respect by Susan Sleggs
The funeral home parking lot was full of cars which hid the numerous motorcycles stashed in the back corner, but their large American flags flapping in the wind gave them away. I had to go look; The Patriot Guard was in presence. To enter the building I had to pass between the colonnade of men, standing at attention, on duty protecting a fellow veteran, a fellow biker and a friend. The haunted looks in their eyes wasn’t for the current grief, it was from a long ago senseless war. I know, they were my friends too. Damn Viet Nam.
Waiting by Nobbinmaug
Martha sits on the porch in her rocking chair, looking longingly past the colonnades. She rocks slowly as her fingers do their dance. Her knitting needles swiftly swirl around each other with a faint “swoosh” as they briefly connect. She occasionally glances at her growing creation.
Inside, Tom and Alex peek through the blinds.
“I’m worried about Mom.”
“She’ll be fine. Mom’s strong.”
“It’s been months. She just sits out there every day. Winter’s coming.”
“She’ll stay in when it gets cold.”
“We should call a shrink.”
“She’s mourning. Everybody mourns differently.”
“She’s waiting. She thinks he’s coming home.”
Colonnade of Condos by Frank Hubeny
Fernando and Pedro walked the boardwalk with a colonnade of condos on their left and the ocean on their right. They stopped at a mural. The artist painted a somber woman with an orange and gold halo walking past an archway.
Fernando remarked, “There comes a time in one’s life when one reaches the age of reason. One only wants the best. And then one wants to give it all away.”
Pedro asked, “And what if we never reach that age?”
In the warm winter winds they admired the mural of that woman.
“Ah! But what if we do?”
Part II (10-minute read)
Colonnades by FloridaBorne
Desert-beige legs like colonnades framed a thirsty expanse, providing support for a woman torn. As I wandered through life, searching for purpose in 1987, I dreamt of being a geologist, loved learning about rock strata and mining the fossils littering a hillside.
They’d lived in oceans for over 270 million years, far longer than human will litter the Earth, trilobites finding their end inside a mass die-off.
They were swept away together…each death a personal ordeal.
As I loosened one from a stone coffin, I wondered if the creatures replacing us will stop to ask, “Did it feel pain?”
Journey’s End by D. Avery
Do you see those three balsam fir trees, those green colonnades holding up the sky, making a temple of the earth they stand on?
Do you wonder how they got there?
You might remember three sisters that took from an abandoned suitcase hope and their best dream to sustain them on their journey.
As the three sisters let go of fear and worry and idle wishing they grew strong, resilient, and wise.
You don’t have to believe they became trees. They’ll still hold up the sky, rejoicing as you walk the earth your own way, dreaming your own dream.
Chester is Not Impressed by Molly Stevens
Chester stomped inside, removed his mittens, and blew on his hands. He barked, “Woman, get me a set of hand warmers!”
Ruth emerged from the kitchen and said, “You look like the abominable snowman!”
“It’s brutal out there, and I’ve still got two hours of shoveling left.”
“Just look at the tunnel of snow from here to the road. Isn’t it grand?”
Chester scowled. “I’m not impressed. Feels like Mother Nature took a two foot dump on me.”
“But don’t you think the snow banks look like colonnades?”
“Only you can take snowmageddon and make colonnades out of it.”
A Monument to Love by kate @ aroused
As we meandered under the arches, leafy green and cool.
This wondrous oasis near the harbour was a find not many knew
While contentedly wandering with my true love the idea came
I could build a colonnade just like these gracious trunks
A monument to true love, a place for quiet reflection
Such a radical new design came instantly to my mind
Tall grand beauty holding a huge ornate dome roof
A special place for worship for the community to gather
Tile then decorate with large brass hanging lanterns
An outstanding majestic temple for rituals to celebrate our lives!
Giant Redwoods by Tracey
She put the lawn chair all the way back and stared straight up. It felt scary, a thrill in the pit of her stomach. The trees towered so far above her, swaying at the top with the clouds holding on to keep them from veering too far. She looked at the thick trunks of the redwoods, sure the movement at the top would topple them. How did the trunks stay so straight? She wondered what would happen if a branch came crashing down. Would she be able to move away, or watch mesmerized as the clouds let it go?
Seeking a Moment of Silence (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Danni nudged Blackjacked and entered the long colonnade of aspen trees. The elk path cut straight through the grove as if it were an engineered road. White bark gleamed like a classical structure. Danni mused that her archeology career never ventured overseas. There was too much history in the West for her to explore. Overhead the leaves fluttered on long stems but held a reverent silence. What could be better than a ride to clear her mind? A sanctuary of nature to ease her anxiety over Ike’s choice to leave. Only here could she ride her horse into church.
A Colonnade of Aspen Trees by Liz Husebye Hartmann
They must pass through the colonnade of aspen trees as sunrise cuts through at the height of a small Greek woman.
She was that woman, barefoot, in a thin silk shift, a blue bowl of fresh oranges from Thessaloniki in her hands.
So the prophecy said.
She shook her head. Why not a packet of Twinkies in a paper bag, gripped in the paws of a tall man?
“I didn’t write the prophecy, Susan,” Gordon apologized. “That’s just what The Sages told me to do.”
“They told you to record and post this online, right?” she snarled, “Buncha Pervs!”
The Village Story Teller (Diamante) by Saifun Hassam
From the seashore, flagstones led to the ancient temple. Once, colonnades of colossal sandstone pillars had supported the roof, one colonnade facing the sunrise, the other sunset. The temple was now open to the skies, the pillars wind eroded, but still rising impressively from giant pedestals.
Diamante had taken to sketching the temple and its ever changing patterns of shadows. In the evening, when he lighted the temple fire he sketched the wildly dancing shadows. As evening deepened, owls hooted, children gathered around Diamante, awed and excited, as he wove tales of vast petrified forests and giant flying ships.
“Asylum of the Obscure” in four parts by JulesPaige
The colonnades were not like those built to honor the ancient Greek Gods. I couldn’t tell if they were older or younger. They just were. Rising out of fissure at the end of the long tunnel I was spelunking. Had the others gotten so far ahead that I lost sight of where they were. And I turned off all alone lost in thought to make a discovery that I might not be able to share. While I was prepared for the coolness of the caves, definitely I was not accustomed to breaking out in a cold sweat of worry.
I was alone in an uncharted cavern. The odd colonnades were illuminated by a calming radiance from the center of stone circle. I briefly paused to check my compass and to discover that both it as well as all the other electronics I carried had ceased to function.
Time stood still. Literally, or at least my watch had stopped. There was an odd beauty, a hum of business that I couldn’t quite get a handle on. Like bees always just outside the periphery of my vision. Once I thought that, the faint aroma of sweet honey reached my nose.
Although there were several paths, up and down, I was drawn to one colonnade. I wanted to touch what appeared to be some kind of script. I felt rather like a jackass, having gotten separated from the group. And yet how could I retrace my steps without finding out more?
Forward motion was all I could think about. I placed my hand on an interesting stone and another portal opened into a fantastical garden. Some of the trees tried to lean away from me. One with odd purple fruit seemed to be making me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
I looked back to the colonnade where I had entered. The portal that had opened, was no longer there. The branch containing the purple fruit seemed closer, within easy reach. I was overcome with a strange hunger. If this was going to be my last meal, I might as well enjoy it.
With that first bite, my hunger was sated. While I closed my eyes my mind opened. I was reading, seeing the birth of universes, civilizations and I was given the opportunity to travel beyond the limits of my body. While not pressured, how could I possibly refuse?
Returning by Joanne Fisher
Something seemed strange when Aalen returned to her village in the heart of the forest. She had been on the borders of their land helping repel an attack from the humans. It was too quiet and Aalen couldn’t see any sentries hiding up in the trees with her sharp eyes. Then Aalen cried out dropping to her knees in despair.
In the centre of the village where there was a natural colonnade formed by a double row of trees were all the villagers hanging from them. All of them dead.
The attack on the borders had been a diversion.
Colonnades by Trailblazer
Reflecting on memories during the late thirties is like taking a walk through long colonnades. She has felt it a hundred times.
The ranked memories, each alcove created for each event from the childhood, adolescence and the glorious youthful days.
Some nights, when we are all alone, we see a full moon shining through the colonnades; whose solemn look befits all the sweet evocations.
On radiant days, shadowy but warm colonnades remind of the unspoken apprehensions, and agonies we once survived.
Just as the colonnades are magnificent, so are our memori es.
Still, somewhere exist fallen colonnades, the vexed memories.
Re: Treat by D. Avery
“Here ya are Pal!”
“Shush, Kid, I’m seekin’ a moment a silence.”
“Oh. Like Danni.”
“Yep. Think we’s the same denomination.”
“Yeah, it’s a poplar one.”
“Yer a pain in the aspen Kid.”
“Punny, Pal. Uh, Pal?”
“Pal, what’re we s’posed ta do when Shorty’s off east cookin’ bacon at D. Avery’s fire?”
“Same as always Kid.”
“Don’t know why we cain’t go too.”
“Shorty needs us ta look after the stock.”
“The stock on this Ranch kin virtually take care a itself.”
“Yer jist worried about yer pie hole ain’tcha Kid?”
“Shorty’s cookin’ sure’s a treat.”
Does enrichment speak to our dissatisfaction? Do we need to add to our food, our wealth and our lives because we want more? Perhaps, instead, we appreciate what enriching life has to offer — nutritious food for children, opportunities for world growth, and sunsets to make us pause and feel the beauty.
No matter where the idea of enriching took our writers, they returned with a wealth of stories.
The following are based on the January 10, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the idea of enrichment.
Part I (10-minute read)
A Positive Outlook by Susan Sleggs
“Grandma, when I bring in each box it sounds like you are saying ‘mint.’ Do you need a throat lozenge?”
“No. I’m saying enrichment over and over to convince myself this move is a good thing.”
“Mom said it was your idea to give up your house. I don’t understand.”
“I have found an unexpected enrichment whenever I have done something new. I know some pleasure or fulfillment will come from living here, but right now the newness is frightening so I am repeating a positive mantra. It keeps me looking ahead.”
“Sounds like it would help me too.”
The Recipe Box by Teresa Grabs
Lacy ran her fingers over the small, well-worn wooden box with a hand-carved rooster on it and sighed. Finally owning it was a bittersweet moment. She opened the box and wiped a tear from her eye as her Grandmother’s handwriting greeted her. Apple pie and peach cobbler, pot roast and her famous Thanksgiving turkey; generations of living, learning, experimenting, and sharing filled the small box. Now she understood why her grandmother said that lives could be enriched through food. Memories of one passed to another; the past and the future captured on a single notecard filled in with love.
Snack O’ a Sunday by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Butter, on countertop, softened with time
Sugar, stored frozen ‘gainst careless craving
Egg twins, room temperature, golden eyes wide
Dash of vanilla, razor-sharp sweet
Whip to shiny, slick peaks.
Mash bananas, fold, spatula stiff.
Elastic Spirit prepared.
Add the Dry:
Flour, slows to human time
Baking soda/powder rises, joins
Sweet body back to Spirit.
Pans glisten like hungry mouths,
Ready to receive the blessing.
Oven clicks, glowing red, sings scent of recipes past.
Further enrichment, Chef’s Choice:
Pinch of cayenne
All you desire, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes,
Give ‘r take.
Fortified Cocoa by Kerry E.B. Black
Fragrant steam wafted from the pottery mugs Oma filled. “Have a seat, little dear. Help yourself to a biscuit in that tin.” Mugs made little thumps on the knotty-wooden table while Oma hefted herself into a groaning seat beside Melanie. “Now, what inspired you to shovel my walkway?”
In the cloud of cream within the hot cocoa, Melanie saw her mother’s smiling face.
“Ah,” said Oma, “you’re Heather’s child. Give your momma my best.”
Oma poured a bit of something pungent into her own cocoa.
“What’s that, Oma?”
“A bit of something to help old Oma through the night.”
Surprise by Allison Maruska
The boy sits in a tight ball in the produce section. Arms clutch his folded legs and his eyes press into his knees. His back shakes with his breath.
Cautiously, I crouch and touch his shoulder. “Sweetie? Are you lost?”
His head snaps up, his brown, tear-soaked eyes fixating on me. “Necesito a mi mamá.” His eyes return to his knees.
“Cuál es tu nombre?”
His head snaps up again, perhaps in surprise that I speak Spanish. “Gabriel.”
“Yo soy Brianna. Vamos a buscar a tu madre.” Smiling, I reach out.
He wipes his eyes and takes my hand.
Wonder Bread by Faith A. Colburn
Hastings once had a Wonder Bread bakery. Grade school kids got to tour the plant every spring. We saw huge stainless steel vats of ingredients, sacks and sacks of flour, ingredients in boxes and barrels. We watched steel paddles rolling and kneading monstrous balls of yeasty dough. We smelled fresh-baked bread.
We learned that Wonder enriched its bread with vitamins and minerals to help us grow into healthy adults. We didn’t learn until years later that they supplemented the bread because they used white flour, milled in a process that removed bran and germ—the grain’s vitamins, minerals, fiber.
What Kind of Enrichment? by Norah Colvin
The meeting dragged. After analysing data, discussing duty rosters and responsibilities, lockdown and evacuation procedures, enthusiasm flagged. Jocelyn itched. Last on the agenda; her topic was enrichment.
As she took the floor, groans and tapping pencils defied her resolve. A phone ban meant some eyes were on her, at least. Her suggestions of enrichment were met with derision.
“They don’t learn what we teach ‘em. ‘ow are we gonna’ enrich ‘em?’ Everyone laughed.
Jocelyn’s mouth opened to respond but gaped as Taya burst in bearing an enormous cake with candles ablaze.
“Now that’s my kind of enrichment.” Everyone cheered.
Enrichment by Floridaborne
Confined to her room. Again.
Her father believed it a fitting punishment. She looked out at a bright blue sky framing the foothills and stopped to appreciate a view that city folk paid dearly to see a few months each year.
People read books, abandoned them, and a growing collection filled the space under her bed.
“Your betrothed is here,” her father said.
“I’d rather stay in my room for a lifetime than be squeezed into a corset and forced into a marriage!”
“You will clean rooms until you listen to reason!”
Books enriched her life. Nothing else mattered.
Over the Years by Ruchira Khanna
“Always look into ways to enrich your life.” used to be the mantra of the moral science teachers of my school.
Initial years I would carry a frown and a confused look, but as the years added on; I realized the true meaning!
Studying in a convent school had its perks since being of service came upon early, along with the environment of my home which was very nourishing as my parents not only took care of my natural nutrition but also fed my soul the right ingredients to carry forth the idea of living my purpose in gratitude.
Learning by Tracey Robinson
For the first week she typed away at her novel while walking on the treadmill. And then she got stuck. She knew more needed to happen. Her characters were flat and lacked interaction with each other. All those mystery books she had read over the years and she had no idea how to pull together a murder mystery? How did Agatha Christie do it? She Googled away but none of the articles helped. She sighed as she turned to the community college website and found an on-line writing class. At her advanced age she was going back to school.
Oak Ridge Girls by Nancy Brady
Newspaper advertisements across the country said that a new firm was looking for young women to work in a factory in Tennessee. The job description was vague, but housing was supplied.
Girls from the Midwest flocked to apply. Many high school graduates were hired for this job. It was good money for the times.
These women went into the job blind, not knowing what to expect. They were trained to keep the dial steady between two points, and they did. Only later did they find out their contribution to the war effort: enriching uranium for the first atomic bomb.
Into Focus by Kay Kingsley
He felt she was a disappointment and didn’t mind reminding her daily. Life with her husband was underwhelming at best but she settled thinking he would have been her only suitor. Now trapped and miserable, they lived together alone, her self esteem non-existent.
Daydreaming from the counter she hears, “Vanilla latte for Kiley” and spun around bumping into the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Apologizing, he offered to buy her a new drink. “Wait, I remember you.” he said. “We went to high school together”. He smiled, she smiled and her once invisible life came into focus.
Enriching by Linda Ward
His only ambition in life was to be rich. Money, Money, Money became his soul purpose and reason for living. The obsession was unbearable. He built his bank account from the money from the oil wells. Searching, drilling, pumping oil was his life. The world needed his oil.
She loved him for his ambition. He loved her for her loving him. His whole life was money and the oil. So she put on a mask (as usual) and robbed his bank account. His empire was gone. The heart attack was massive.
She left for Bermuda and Jimmy Buffet’s condo.
My Treasure by The Dark Netizen
This is mine, all mine.
The gold coins, glowing stones, studded goblets, and all the priceless paraphernalia, every bit of it is mine. They dazzle gloriously all around me. The bits and bones lying among my treasures bother me. They diminish the glory of my place. However, it was required.
Those puny intruders: The bold humans, the headstrong dwarfs and vile goblins, do not deserve to gaze upon my treasures, let alone touch them. Yet, they had the audacity to try and steal them. They were punished.
Not fit for a dragon’s meal, but my treasure satiates my hunger…
Enrich That Rush by kate @ aroused
Financial hardship started this journey of acquiring others identities. Since James passed we no long need the funds but with nothing to lose we enrich ourselves by indulging the adrenaline rush.
There is no sick child to rush home for … and although we haven’t verbalised it we simply don’t have the courage to try for another child. The sickness and then the loss rocked our core.
Try telling that to the courts or law enforcement people! Without the fear we have become most adept at what we’re doing. Numbing our social conscience is essential to our core business.
Found by Anita Dawes
My life became a whole lot better
When my father found me sleeping
In the street, after mum died
Now I sleep in a warm bed
Eat my food from a plate
Coffee served in a china mug
My father explained why
I had been left with mum
This was news to me
My father explained his part in this
He fell in love with someone else
His football partner, a childhood
Love they had to hide
Until my tenth birthday
When mum caught them together
This was when she ran, taking me with her
Now I am found…
Enrichment by Robbie Cheadle
The nightmare recurred every night. My son was dying. Suffocating due to his inability to draw enough oxygen into his lungs.
Jerking awake, sweating and anxious, I believed I’d forgotten to give him lifesaving medication. The need to check on him was overwhelming. Looking at his sweet face lying on the pillow I knew I could not sleep again without him close to me. I collected him in my arms and staggered back to my own bed, tucking him in beside me.
The pain has been immeasurable but my dear one has enriched my life, bringing me immeasurable joy.
Life Experience (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Sitting with Ramona, Danni sniffled. The older woman said, “We all look to enrich our lives, Dear. You might say each experience is like putting dimes in a slot machine. We hope one gives us the jackpot, but before you know it, we’re out of dimes.”
“That’s not hopeful,” Danni said, wiping her nose with a paper towel. She hated crying. Saline didn’t solve anything.
Ramona continued to smile. “Enjoy the gamble, Danni! In the end, we all lose our dimes. You’ll be disappointed if you wait for one jackpot experience and miss the fun in all the others.”
Part II (10-minute read)
Enrichment (Part I) by D. Avery
Lowering her book, Ilene answered Ernest. “You just might like some of these stories.
But here, try this one first.”
Ernest took the anthology that Ilene handed him. “Congress of Rough Writers? Is it a western?”
“No, it’s not a western. It gives background on flash fiction with excellent examples.
These books are for my literary arts course at the community college.”
Ilene and Ernest were still reading when Marge and Lloyd returned from the garage, the poker game over. “If you’re wondering, bookworms, we both won, but didn’t get rich.”
“No? We both got enriched.”
Lloyd beamed. “Epic.”
Enrichment (Part I) by D. Avery
“How’re your classes going, Ilene?”
“Good. I’m getting myself ready for an office job. It’s all about the spreadsheet.”
“So why a literary arts course? What’s this flash fiction stuff got to do with anything?”
Lloyd spoke from his perch at the counter. “Ernest, literary art is cultural literacy. It’s…”
“Lloyd’s right. Honestly, the secretarial skills courses would be such a bore without the Literary Arts class. And it’s going to help me get the job I want, help me to sell myself.”
“Ha! I thought you were giving that up.”
“Marge, don’t be a Nard.”
Hobson’s Choice by Anne Goodwin
He could try kittens chasing coloured ribbons, but they’d have to buy a litter tray, and the baby was allergic to cats. He could film the baby learning to feed herself, chocolate sauce smeared across her cheeks, but, oh, the mess.
Or he could go the other way, pandering to prejudice, make himself the mouthpiece of those who feared foreigners and benefit scroungers had brought country to its knees.
His blog was at a crossroads, he had to feed his family. He tossed a coin: heads for vitriol, tails for cosy comfort. Did it matter if neither was him?
Alternate Prediction by Frank Hubeny
Three crows landed near Pablo. Two of them pretended to peck around for treasure while the leader laid into Pablo with an obnoxious, “Caw! Caw! Caw!. Fortunately, Pablo was fluent in this particular dialect of crow. Crows don’t stop by without a message they feel they must deliver:
“You will experience enrichment beyond your puny imagination. All those plans you’ve been making will fail. They are nothing compared to the reality that awaits you. Any questions?”
Pablo and this crow had previous encounters. “Do I have a choice?”
“Unfortunately, all you can do is mess things up a bit.”
Eating Healthy by Joanne Fisher
Victoria was a vampire who was rather fussy about who she drank blood from. She preferred to target people who did plenty of exercise and ate the right foods. According to her their blood tasted better and was enriched from all the vitamins and minerals they consumed.
She began doing this after an incident when she was needing to quickly feed from someone. She grabbed the first person she found and instantly regretted it. She could taste the fat in their blood from all the cheeseburgers they ate.
That was the last time she would go for fast food.
An Active Man by Bill Engleson
For several weeks, he was sitting all day.
And half the night.
Bereft of energy.
“You’ve gotta get moving,” she said more than once. “If you don’t, you’ll calcify.”
She was right.
Occasionally he put some effort into moving.
He didn’t have a dog, so he made one up.
And took Happy for a walk.
That didn’t last long.
Happy, the imaginary dog, hit the road.
He’d forgotten to imagine a leash.
He came home.
“You weren’t gone long,” she observed.
“I got bored,” he answered.
“You should get a dog, darling.”
“Maybe I will,” he said.
Centering by Sascha Darlington
Sara thought she was good.
She gave to charity, volunteered at soup kitchens, and walked dogs at the shelter. She belonged to a group who sang at hospices and nursing homes.
But two weeks with her prospective brother-in-law taught her maybe she wasn’t that good. After hearing his opinions on gays, tattoos, Asians, she thought she might throttle him until he begged for mercy.
Rather than attending the brewery event with her fiancé, she went to the vets. There she whispered endearments to the dogs and cats in the ICU. She welcomed kisses and purrs. The world spun right.
Blind Faith by Di @ pensitivity101
It was hard to believe it was a year ago that she came into his life.
He remembered how he’d been preparing and looking forward to that day.
It was the first time for both of them, had been a long time coming, but the rewards were endless. She had opened up a whole new world.
Practice made perfect as they took their time to get to know each other.
It didn’t take long to bond, to anticipate each other’s needs and moods.
Now they were inseparable.
He reached for her harness and she was at his side immediately.
What Will Go With Me? by Reena Saxena
I see my father-in-law, aged 90, act in a childlike manner, and hear the reactions,
“He has lost it totally.”
He has to be reminded of his wife’s first death anniversary, and he quietens down for some time. There is no calendar memory.
Suddenly, he grabs an envelope on the table which is somebody’s medical report, reads and gives the perfect prescription for the condition. The medical intelligence of a doctor who was once hailed as a genius, is intact.
I know what will enrich, and go with me till the end. My core competence needs to be nourished.
Janice by Saifun Hassam
Janice passed away the morning after her brain tumor surgery. Tom and Janice knew the risks. The tumor was growing into the cortex. Numb with shock and grief, Tom remembered her last words. “I love you. And thank you, Tom.”
They had plans for their own financial services agency. Having children. Traveling. She was courageous, determined, doing whatever was possible. She worked until headaches made online work unbearable. She continued to tutor the children at the library. Weekends were with Tom’s parents; Janice’s parents drove down from Seasquall.
Each day became a precious gift. “Janice, my love, thank you.”
A Farmer’s Wife by H.R.R. Gorman
Della’s nails always had earth under them. Despite the bonnets and sleeves she wore, her skin would never be as milky-white as fashions required, as the folks in town would desire.
She surveyed the plains, ready for tilling and fertilizer. Her horses swished their tails, her husband stood behind the plow. In one hand she held the reins to another horse that pulled a wagon laden with manure, and with the other she held a pitchfork ready to toss the fertilizer onto the ground.
This smelly job would enrich the earth and keep the farm running, her family fed.
Amelioration for All by JulesPaige
in spring you can smell
the natural enrichment
of the local farms
mixed with petrichor
there is no denying the
return of spring in your face
until then though; smoke
rising from the chimney stacks
in attempts to ward off chills
animal compost happens
so stalls get cleaned daily
farmer’s own gold
enriching the corn
crops packaged for sale
somewhere, everywhere, here and there
ancient kings used the
very same method for their
own private gardens
insecure to dine from the
public crops; were they enriched?
Bio-Enrichment by Chelsea Owens
“Whatcha got in your lunch, Bi890?”
“C’mon. I got plain ol’ Wondermeat again. You can’t have anything worse than that.”
“Hey, humanoids! What’s for lunch?!”
“Greets, Bi880. I’ve got Wondermeat again.”
“Too mortal, Bi896! My parental unit sent me One Smart Cookie!”
“I know. Pretty spaced, yeah? …So, whatch you got, 890?”
“He won’t say.”
“I just don’ wanna.”
“We won’ tell.”
“Sures. C’mon, ‘noid.”
*Sigh* “Homemade chicken noodle soup again.”
“What?! No way!”
“What is that stuff?”
“It’s okay, 890.”
“Yeah, ‘noid. -not all parental units know what’s good for ya.”
Solitude by Joanne Fisher
Gertrude turned up the stereo while listening to Symphony No.2 by Sibelius. It was her most loved piece of music. She looked through the window and gazed down at the world below. The tower block she lived in was built by the Kren after they invaded the Earth and now she was so far up she could barely see the surface. It made her imagine she was down below wearing her favourite dress and among all the other people attending a concert in the new town hall.
The music enriched her drab life and enabled her to carry on.
Enriching by Pete Fanning
Occasionally while sitting down to dinner or passing through the kitchen, I’ll catch a glimpse of a family photo on the shelf. An adoring son in my lap, an arm around my wife. Happiness abounds.
Most of the time that’s it. Other times, however…
—TONIGHT, ON DATELINE. A BELOVED HUSBAND, FATHER…
Perhaps this blip in sanity is a chance to cherish my good fortune or to count my blessings. A chance to better myself.
…be thankful for what I have.
—THOUGHT TO BE A VICTIM OF A BRUTAL…
Or maybe I just need to write it down.
Time to Kill by Neel Anil Panicker
It was his road map. Without it he was lost; like a duck out of water.
With one by his side, he felt like a king, almost empowered.
Books served as his enrichment; his intellectual succor that is.
A life without books he coudn’t fathom.
For this very reason he was chided too, even shouted at___by all, especially those who he knew, and that were quite a small number.
One was Ashni; his girlfriend, the girl he’d been living with for the past year.
Also, the one he’d decided to kill.
Sarthak felt no remorse when he thought about this.
There’s Enrichment And There’s The Other Thing by Geoff Le Pard
‘You ever wonder what dog food tastes like, Logan?’
‘Is this going somewhere?’
‘I saw an old advert, where some dog folder was enriched with marrowbone jelly…’
‘Oh yeah. PAL.’
‘If you can call me ‘pal’ then I…’
‘The dog food. It was called PAL. Prolongs active life.’
‘You’re seriously dull. Anyhoo, dog food. Must be good if it’s enriched.’
‘If you enrich something it’s an improvement.’
‘What about enriched uranium?’
‘Anybody tries anything fancy with my anium, they’ll wish they stayed in school.’
‘Morgan, you’re a complete wassock.’
‘True, but anyway dog food?’
Enrichment, in No Particular Order by TNKerr
art and artists
knowledge and teachers
buildings, builders and architects
children and discovery
dogs and cats
food, farmers, ranchers
coffee and mornings
freedom and soldiers
big skies in Montana
friends and family
oceans and boats
giving without taking
help and contributors
confabs and conversationalists
ideas and thinkers
jobs and colleagues
mountains and fresh air
music and players
amor y novias
New Mexico and wide open spaces
poetry and poets
sculptures and sculptors
seabirds and majesty
shipmates and brothers
when a plan works
stories and storytellers
wives and daughters, or husbands and sons
books and authors
cake and ice cream
Mucking Rich by D. Avery
“Ya know, Kid, Shorty never did strike me as no blogger; this here’s a actual place, virtual or not.”
“Yep. An’ they’s real folks at the ranch.”
“Kid, you writin’ agin?”
“Kinda like the prompt. Got some strong ideas ‘bout enrichment.”
“They’s a strong smell of it it off ya. Don’t think Shorty’s meanin’ manure though Kid.”
“It’s a Ranch, Pal. An’ who else’s gonna muck the stalls?”
*They once was a Kid with good luck, it
Helped that the Kid’uz happy to muck shit
Every week got a prompt
All a Kid could want
Gathered elixir in buckets*
We look back to reflect, to see where we came from, to see what lingers in the shadows. Glancing over our shoulders or peering in the wing mirrors of cars, we try to better understand where we are going. And why.
Writers jumped into 2019 with both feet. Looking back produced a strong round of stories to start the forward momentum of a new year.
The following is based on the January 3, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who looks back.
Part 1 (10-minute read)
Hobos by Faith A. Colburn
“I thought I’d have a family.” He moved to the other side of the fire. “My mom and pop. They were so . . .” He poked at the fire, adding fuel.
“So . . . what?”
“I don’t know. Agreeable. They never fought or exchanged a cross word. They were just so good together.”
“Not at all like that. Sometimes there’d be just a touch or they’d exchange a glance and it was so full of . . .”
“I don’t know. Tenderness? Gives me the shivers.” He stared into the flames. “I want that.”
Looking Back by D. Avery
“I have to settle gran-mere’s estate. Such as it is.”
He watched her zip her duffle bag. She was a light packer. And an impulsive traveler.
“Can’t you handle this over the phone, or email?”
“I’d rather do it in person. It’s not that far. I shouldn’t be gone long.”
He and Hope stood on the porch in silence, watching her go.
She glanced in the rearview, then stopped. She backed up, turned the truck off.
“I bet Luciene would be willing to care for the animals. If you and Hope wanna go with me?”
Hope’s smile said yes.
Away by Mary Beene
Ellen should never have turned her head. Facing forward hid the single tear that stole down her mother’s cheek. Her skin turned to ice. This was not a happy visit to her uncle’s home where she would spend her time skipping on the lawn with her many cousins. She was never coming back to the tiny house in the city. All her mother’s cheer struck her now for the falsity that it was. The woman had finally accepted the truth; there was no way to feed them both. Ellen would now earn her suppers serving in the big house.
Looking Back by Deborah Lee
“Only whores pierce their ears and gad themselves up like that,” Daddy had said. Daddy had said lots of things and done worse, which had a bit to do with her running off at sixteen.
And which had a lot to do with why almost the first thing she’d done, alone and free, was pierce her ears.
And which had everything to do with why the first earrings she’d bought were the biggest, brassiest, whoriest pair of hoops she could find.
She feels eyes boring into back, but when she looks behind her in the mirror, she’s alone. Smiling.
Looking Back by Floridaborne
“You dare ask why?” I chuckled, my voice calm… eyes narrowed.
My friends stormed inside to help me finish off a man who thought nothing of using young girls as commodities.
For my 18th birthday, these same friends had pooled their money for a night of pleasure in the big city. One of the whores standing on a corner was my sister, who’d disappeared the year before!
Rehab couldn’t save the shell that remained. I dedicated my life to ridding the world of pimps, and other parasitic vermin.
“She was only 12!” I said, beating his face to pulp.
Autumn by Tracey Robinson
Kelsey turned her face to the sun. The warmth felt good in the crisp autumn air, the sun so different from a year ago in the desert heat. She could still taste the sand and hear the distant mortar explosions. She shuddered as she thought of the MRE she would have had for lunch. Her mind drifted to John but she would not go there.
Autumn is what she dreamt of twelve long months ago: life back in a four seasons world. Her heart beat with joy as she hurried to the diner and a tuna melt with fries.
Reminiscences by Trailblazer
Being the healthiest, she often prepared the inmates their favorite meal.
The way some recalled their life reduced her to tear s, but nothing from her own made her so.
Neither that she had to give up her st udies for the family’s sake nor that she got repeatedly cheated by the sole man of her life, leaving her and the kids destitute.
Barely the times she forgave him only to repeat the cycle and the numerous times her kids failed her, and finally abandoned her.
She had allowed what came in, let what left her and seen what remained.
The Summer of My Life by Stevie Turner
I’m sure it rained in the East End of London in the 1960s when I was a child, but my memories are of sunshine. The heat would shimmer above the roof of our car, as I roller skated in the road with friends or sat on our front doorstep with a pile of comics and a bag of chocolate buttons. Mum would be in the kitchen doing whatever she did, and Dad would be out in the garden dead-heading roses or cutting the grass with one of those old-fashioned mowers.
Life was good back when it was always summer.
Solace of the Land by Ann Edall-Robson
It calls her name. It always has. The quiet, the solitude, but most of all, the connection to her heart. The echo of the wolves penetrating the valley walls. The lazy hawk floating high overhead in the early morning light. The rustle of the leaves dancing to a summer breeze and the mournful wail of the north wind pushing snow through naked branches. Tiny dots of green and colour carpeting the meadow floor in spring. Where is this place where people are none? Where gravel roads turn into deer trails. It is the one place her soul finds solace.
Looking Back by Pete Fanning
Up until this summer, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t make the baseball team. After all that time practicing, playing catch in the front yard. Dad with his glove, trying not to roll his eyes whenever I missed a grounder—which was whenever he threw a grounder.
“It’ll come,” he said.
It never came. But as team manager I got a jersey, team picture, even a shiny trophy. All without striking out and causing us to lose.
Then, about a month ago, I said forget it. What’s the point? That was also around the time I met Lia.
Decision Reimaged by Nancy Brady
Annie looked back on some decisions all the time, but only one continued to haunt her. In retrospect, she wished she had taken a chance; to be someone other than what she was: an insecure, flat-chested, glasses-wearing brace face freshman.
Annie remembers the autumn day in study hall when Dave, a junior, asked her to homecoming. She wanted to go, but worried this was a joke, she turned him down. If only she could have set her fears aside, acted confident, and laughed it off as a joke if otherwise, then she would have a night to remember, always.
A Different Point of View by Nancy Brady
Annie still shows up in his dreams.
Looking back to his junior year, Dave remembered he wanted to take Annie to homecoming. He’d gotten to know her during the previous summer.
His plan to ask Annie improved once he talked the teacher into assigning them to the same table.
Asking any girl out was always fraught with anxiety and vulnerability, but one sunny autumn day, he asked her. He was hurt when she said “No, my parents won’t let me.”
Dave ended up taking another, but had Annie agreed, it might have been a night to remember, always.
Safety in Snailmail by Liz Husebye Hartmann
She swore, smacking her forehead with her fist, once, twice, a third time. This couldn’t happen, not when perfect delivery was so critical.
She hung her head and shook out her shoulders. She was a planner, not a pantser–not free and spontaneous. She opened her mouth, hoping the words would tumble out, all passionate sincerity.
“I’m sorry I…” She drew a blank, and looked back at her notes on the table of her solitary apartment. The words were right there, but her memory was shit.
“It’s no use,” she sighed. “Delivery will have to be by US Mail.”
Something Sensational to Read in the Train by Anne Goodwin
She mentioned a diary; looked pleased when I invited her to bring it in. A slim substitute for a confidante, but somewhere for her feelings at least.
“January – twenty bananas and sixty slices of toast.”
Strange: the referral didn’t mention eating distress.
“February – fifty robins and three jays.”
A metaphor for escape?
“March – seventy sudokus and fourteen crosswords.”
Life was a puzzle? I shifted in my seat.
“April – eighteen library books.”
I couldn’t stay silent. “Did anything else happen that year?”
She closed the book, her face too. I cursed my impatience. Counting saved her. I should respect that.
Chester Drops His Guard by Molly Stevens
Chester emerged from the bedroom and was surprised to see Ruth sitting on the couch surrounded by photo albums.
“What are you doing up so early?” he said.
“I couldn’t sleep. Guess the end of the year made me sentimental. Look at this wedding picture of us.”
Chester peered at the photo over her shoulder.
“Yup, that’s us. Young and hopeful.”
“We aren’t young any more, but we still have hope!”
Chester looked away, but not before Ruth saw the mist in his eyes.
“Awww, there’s the softie I married.”
“Harrumph. Where’s my coffee?”
Ruth smiled. “Coming right up.”
The End of One Year Just Might Be My Last by Bill Engleson
Some New Years, I think I’m sinking into a bog, a squalid sinkhole of quicksand.
There I am, what’s left of me, being sucked down into the slurp of time.
Those last few days of whatever year is fizzling out, I always want time to stop, to halt the wear and tear on my future.
Every New Year shortens my possibilities.
So, I mention this to my buddies.
They say, “get a life.”
I say, “I have one. I’d like to keep it.”
Then I go off into a corner, look out a window, knock back some brandy, whimper.
He Waited by Teresa Grabs
Erik rested on the hard, wooden bench and waited. The sun warmed his weathered face. Buttered popcorn, cotton candy, and the unmistakable aroma of fried batter swirled on the breeze. Children’s laughter made him chuckle. With his eyes closed, he watched as Alan and Harvey rode the ferris wheel while Mary called, “look at me daddy” from the pony ride. His hand remembered holding Sarah’s as they walked in the glow of the midway. Slow, deep breathing brought the memories closer. It was a warm summer afternoon.
“Join me on the ferris wheel?”
“I’ve waited for you.” Erik smiled.
Old Thoughts by Anita Dawes
The road behind me looks thin, worn out
Too many people have trod this thin strip of memory
Wet tarmac shines back. Old thoughts lay forgotten
Old memories drop like winter leaves
Old friends come to mind
Too many lost to time
The road that lives behind me
Where memories linger, waiting to be revisited
There are many passages in my past
That are worth revisiting
Others I should leave in the dark
Looking back, digging over old ground
Isn’t the best use of your time
If you look back far enough
You’ll meet yourself coming around the bend…
Part 2 (10-minute read)
Treasure by D. Avery
They traveled at night, leaving the uncertainty and danger of the distillation camps behind. They walked, Ahden’s stories a mantra; stories of green, stories of trees that once cooled and soothed the land. Ahden’s most fantastic stories concerned the forked stick he claimed would point to water lying like buried treasure underground. He said he’d find water or die trying.
The three of them sipped carefully from their flask of water. This girl had joined them and hadn’t looked back. Ahden and Leena would tell her what they remembered, teach her all they knew. They lived for her now.
The Right Bank byTN Kerr
The night was wet.
Not with raindrops, but a heavy mist hanging in the air without ever seeming to fall on the pavement.
Luc moved up the Rue des Barres, away from the river as gargoyles from Église Saint-Gervais watched from above.
Glancing over his shoulder he caught a shimmer illuminated in the single streetlight below.
Only a flickering, as though the lamplight were refilling a space hastily vacated by whatever he had not seen.
There could be no doubt. They were on to him again.
He quickened his pace and remembered Aubree; her dark hair, and her laughter.
Don’t Look Back by Norah Colvin
Don’t look back. Don’t look back.
She pulled her coat tight, pressed her bag into her side and leaned into the wind, quickening her pace.
The footsteps pounded behind her, closing in. She knew, even over the wind’s roar, they were coming for her. She breathed in shallow quick gasps.
Don’t look back. Don’t look back. If she couldn’t see them, perhaps they didn’t exist?
Her eyes stung. The wind stole her breath. Her side split.
Lights ahead. Please. Please … almost.
A hand on her shoulder. A deep gravelly unintelligible voice. She twisted. “Noooo!”
“Miss, you forgot your umbrella.”
Ancient Truths by Colleen M. Chesebro
Staring into the river, Dennitsa felt the ancient memories drag her back into the past. As if she had lived long ago, the hazy recollections played out in her mind.
The truth stared her in the face. The Slavic witches were descended from the flying dragons who were the spirits of the fallen angels. They had tumbled out of the skies at the beginning of time. Those spirits copulated with human women, creating offspring who were known as the Vedma. The Vedma became the female witches, and the Leshovik became the dragon men.
Dennitsa had been born a witch!
When the Stakes Are High by Chelsea Owens
It wasn’t till the hungry flames were nearly at her hem that Briar’s thoughts turned to self-reflection. Before that point she was, quite naturally, declaring innocence whilst returning insults.
Her efforts were of no use. The fire rose higher, the smoke stung her lungs and eyes, the cackling jeers grew louder than the crackling logs. She could see her angry accusers through the wafting smoke lines.
“Witch! Witch! Witch!” they chanted.
These simple townsfolk had no brains. If she were a witch, wouldn’t she be gone? She sighed; coughed. She never should have left her staff under the bed.
True Love’s Kiss by Anurag Bakhshi
The memory of last night’s kiss, and what happened after, still lingered in the air. Post our 5th glass of wine, one thing had led to another, and…
What a ravishing beauty! Who would have thought that she would go in for an ugly mug like mine. I still couldn’t believe my luck.
Looking back, it had turned out to be a good, no great year. She had been disappointed, of course, when I hadn’t immediately transformed into a handsome prince afterwards, but she would have to learn to live with it, just like the 27 beauties before her.
Remember Lot’s Wife by H.R.R. Gorman
“Remember Lot’s wife?” Lance asked. He rolled the wire cord out, taking careful steps as he laid it on the ground. “God turned her to salt for lookin’ back.”
“That was Sodom and Gomorra, though, not the bowlin’ alley. You suppose God’d saltify us if we just take a last couple throws?” Despite his reluctance, Drew placed the charge mechanism on the ground and fed in Lance’s wire.
Lance sat down behind the blast shield. “Dunno ’bout that. Place coulda been full of sin.”
Drew nodded. “Boss’ll be mad even if God isn’t. Help me run the final checks.”
Buried Treasure by Jo Hawk The Writer
Cal dropped to his knees and gently lifted the book from the debris. Somehow it survived. If he wasn’t cradling in his hands feeling its weight, the caress of its leather cover, he would not have believed it possible.
Clutching the book to his chest, the memories coursed through him. Professor Dugan stood before him, telling Cal the odds were stacked against him ever succeeding. Cal felt defiance surge through him once again. They could laugh and sneer, but they were wrong. Sitting in the rubble Cal felt his destiny waiting.
He would show them how wrong they were.
Earthrise by Saifun Hassam
Julian was dying on the Moon. Somehow, something went wrong as his space shuttle entered the suborbital space of the Moon. The damaged space shuttle turned cartwheels before landing on the Luna Space Station. The medics had rushed to his rescue. He was barely alive.
Julian was a space-farer. An astronaut, geologist and geographer. It seemed eons since he had left Earth, for the Outer planets, and their satellite moons.
He drifted in and out of consciousness. His last thoughts were of flying in a reconnaissance orbiter, high over the Moon’s Compton Crater, and watching the blue Earth rise.
The Rush by kate @ aroused
I just hope he keeps following me. He’ll never suspect that Rick took the other car.
On reflection I wonder that we didn’t start this earlier but we were too busy conforming to societal standards. It all started when we couldn’t afford the best treatment for little James.
Is he still following me, better slow down a bit?
Now it’s the excitement as the adrenaline rush has really kicked in. We could retire comfortably but what for. Rick and I love these mind games then the chase.
Shame James isn’t here to share the fun of ‘acquiring’ their identities.
Flash Fiction: Wing Mirror by The Dark Netizen
There it is, that blasted black Bentley.
I can see it clearly in my wing mirror. My instincts are telling me to get as far away from it as I can. It’s a wonder that my sedan has been able to keep ahead for so long. In fact, I believe that the Bentley’s driver is toying with me. The black car is close now. I can see the driver’s face. Is that a fucking skull? Wait, where did he go?
Ohhh Lord! He’s in my rear seat!! Carrying a bloody SCYTHE!!
Objects in mirror are closer than they appear…
Looking Back by Frank Hubeney
Dean and Martha sat at the outdoor table after ordering coffee and croissants. They didn’t say anything to each other but started reading messages and typing into their phones. After the waiter delivered the order and left, Dean picked up a croissant from the plate. So did Martha. Then he turned in his chair and looked back.
That was the signal.
By some assessments the winners are those who are still able to walk away after the bullets fly. Other think it is not so simple. Blood creates a blur not only in space but across memories and lifetimes.
Now She Could Move On by Susan Sleggs
Dr. Stephanie Davidson, still limping slightly, came out of the courthouse feeling free and relaxed. Her happiness radiated onto the people she passed. Her divorce from the man that had hired a killer to make her disappear was finalized and both men were serving long jail terms. Thankfully there were no news cameras or questions as a divorce hearing was nothing compared to the attempted murder trials the year before. The police officer that had saved her life when the attempt had been made waited for her. He gazed at her with adoration and said, “No looking back sweetheart.”
Father Time Is Undefeated by @DaveMMAdden
He never should have been there in the first place. Everyone knew it—except him!
“I’m gonna train harder than ever. You’ll see!”
His team, family and coaches alike, bought, though weren’t entirely sold on, the idea of returning to the cage.
The adrenaline, the crowd’s deafening screams, his name printed in bold across the marquee: he needed this fix like a junkie’s blood itches for their drug of choice!
Through a ringing in his ears, he could hear what happened on the forlorn faces surrounding him.
Maybe this time he will hang the gloves up for good? Maybe.
Death Does Not Come by Robbie Cheadle
When I look back over my life, I note that I am lacking in one experience. Death. This greatest leveler of them all has always passed me by unscathed.
I heard it, like a rabid dog, whining relentlessly outside my door during a home invasion, when the car was hi-jacked and while I was perched precariously on the edge of a cliff as a child.
It barked madly for attention during my children’s lives when one stopped breathing, another had croup and throughout the twenty-eight anaesthetics and operations they collectively undertook.
It always slunk away, tail between its legs.
Part 3 (10-minute read)
Nothing Stays Perfect Forever (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Looking back, Danni understood that she gained more than Ike in a marriage. She said yes to the man she fell in love with and the ranch-home he offered with garden, barn, history, and horses. She said yes to his family, getting the grandmother she always longed to have. She said yes to North Idaho, a balm to a harsh childhood. She said yes to finally concluding her studies and working her hard-earned degrees. Looking back, Danni saw all she stood to lose. Would she have said yes that spring day had she known Ike would leave for Iraq?
Salto Quantico by JulesPaige
In retrospect Marietta had a breakthrough year. Though it took up way too much energy,
that long standing grudge that the sisters held for so many silent years. They finally were talking again. Though there were limits that had been set in cement. The two were not friends in their youth and most likely would not be best pals. But at least they were talking, and even laughing.
To be a peacekeeper of the hearth, that too was work. Etta hoped a slight name change helped.
shifting sands cannot
stand still while powerful sea
Looking Back by Kay Kingsley
And with that, I turned and walked away, heart pounding, I exhaled total relief. We were over and a 1,000 pounds of weight lifted off my shoulders. This was the right thing to do… wasn’t it? It only took me 10 seconds to second guess myself for the 100th time and my pace slowed. Don’t look back! But he would be sobbing, crushed by my announcement and only I could console him. I stopped and turned around ready to play the game again and to my utter surprise, he was gone and I was the one left looking back.
Looking Back by tearsofbloodinmyheart
“Stacy don’t do it…..” Carls voice trails off into oblivion as I put my foot on the first step.
“I’m telling you Stace…” By now his voice is fading. I’m on the fourth step of many, I wasn’t listening when Mr Bright and Sunny was running through his speil.
Carl is becoming smaller, although if I’m truthful I’m not looking down. By the time I’m at the top, on the small shaky platform, Carl is just a dot.
Ms Happy tightens the harness. I look back just before I step off the edge and smile. It’s time to go Carl.
Remembrance by Joanne Fisher
Jenny accidentally knocked the cup off the bench. She helplessly watched as it fell in slow-motion to the floor and broke into two pieces. She picked up the fragments crying. This had been the cup that Kirsten always used.
Jenny remembered the day Kirsten broke up with her and moved out, leaving the cup behind as a painful reminder. She never thought she would get over this loss or be able to love anyone ever again, but now looking back some months later she realised she had already come a long way. She would survive this and love again.
Then and Now by Di @ pensitivity101
I am not who I was,
Nor would I want to be
That empty crushed shell,
I am not where I used to be,
Nor would I want to go back,
I have found my way,
Am loved, truly blessed,
My life is refreshed.
I know not where I’m going,
But I am not alone,
I have found my soul mate,
My saviour, my guide,
Always at my side.
It doesn’t matter what we were,
Together we simply Are,
Two drifting halves, forever joined,
Not perfect, but meant to be,
Us, exactly what you see.
Blackened Mirror by Reena Saxena
A penny drops. But he does not bend to pick it up. He moves ahead to grab the gold watch on the mantelpiece.
“He controls time now. He can choose to focus on certain parts, not necessarily in sequential order. Doctors call it selective amnesia or partial memory loss.”
The seer’s words are ignored as the family focuses on medical treatment.
Five years later, he is featured on a magazine cover, as the Most Successful Businessman of the Year. The world hears his bytes.
“I suffer from a handicap. I cannot look back, so I don’t remember any failure.”
Departing Alice by Susi J. Smith
Alice sat on the bench, staring at the rows of unlit buses. Wind rattled the glass panes. She pulled the tattered blanket around her shoulders and lay back, watching the blue and red sign flicker. Tomorrow. She’d leave tomorrow.
Jovial laughter woke her. Light peeked in through the dirty windows.
“Morning Alice.” Ted handed her a steaming coffee. She cupped it, breathing in the aroma.
Coffee downed, Alice crept towards the bus. She placed one foot on the metal step and stopped. “Not today. Tomorrow, I’ll leave tomorrow.” Head bowed, she hurried back to the comfort of her bench.
Happy New Year by Ruchira Khanna
As I ring in the New Year lots of memories flood before me: the good, the bad, the ugly while ‘am so involved with that flashback that ‘am unaware of the various expressions on my face.
When reminded ‘am filled with apprehension yet gratitude to be able to enjoy the coming year of whatever it may bring, as I continue to leave my carbon imprint.
I may be an ordinary person, but my consciousness allows me to breathe with appreciation as I ponder back and realize that I have been able to touch atleast a handful of souls each year.
Back Up by D. Avery
“Look where yer goin’, Kid!”
“I’m enterin’ the new year reflectin’ on where I been. Like Janus.”
“Yer an anus all right, walkin’ bass ackwards like thet. Turn aroun’ an’ look forward, Kid.”
“Looks good, Pal, lookin’ back. They’s a long trail a yarns, fer sure.”
“Yer gonna git tangled in thet yarn an’ trip.”
“Dang, I sure shoveled a lotta shit last year. Shorty even give me a badge. Ow! I’ve hit a wall.”
“Carrot Ranch don’t do walls. Jist backed inta the broad side a the barn with yer behind. Git up, look ta the trail ahead.”
Best Face Forward by D. Avery
“Hey Kid. See yer walkin’ facin’ the right way now. Have a seat.”
“Uh, no thanks, Pal… still hurtin’. Darn barn.”
“Ya looks as if yer hurtin’.”
“This’s ma thinkin’ face.”
“Thinkin’ back ta when I tried ma hand at writin’.”
“Thinkin’ ta do more a it. Send D. Avery packin’. Do ma own writin’.”
“Kid, it don’t work thet way. Asides, it’s a heckuva lot easier bein’ written than doin’ the writin’. An’ what if ya git D. Avery’s voice in yer head, huh?”
“She does claim we write ourselves…”
“Let’s keep our present arrangemint, Kid.”
Buckaroo’s Journey by A. Kidd
“Been writin’, Kid?”
“Gotta 99 word flash then?”
“Better! Jist started writin’, next thing I know, they’s hunnerds an’ hunnerds a words.”
“Yer a known shoveler. Which 99 ya gonna present? “
“No more, no less.”
“Huh. Gotta cut to the chase then.”
“To the quick.”
“Down ta the bone. What’s it about?”
“A buckaroo who looks back.”
“Where’s the plot, the conflict?”
“Looks back while descending.”
“Descending inta a cave? An abyss?”
“Nope, jist cellar stairs.”
“What’s the lesson?”
“Look where yer goin’.”
“Where was she goin’?”
“Think they was some elixir down there.”