Thursday, 30 September 2010

RWC #43


"It'll only take a moment," he said in my head, staring hypnotically into my glassy eye.  "You won't feel a thing!"

I rolled the eye closest to him, and wriggled like the fish I was then.  Was that supposed to make me feel better?  

"You say that every time!" I complained.  "When will I get to be the bear, and eat you?" I wondered, taking a deep breath in anticipation of the painful end to this game.

"When you learn to shape-shift faster than me!" he answered.  "Now shut up!  I'm in a hurry.  I have a lunch date!"

I heard the crunch...and then the screen went white.

"Same time tomorrow?" Tom asked, as he wrapped his robe tightly around his wide shoulders.  I eyed him admiringly.  He was one big, hunky dude!

"Yes, please!" I answered, smiling up at him.  "I'll get you yet!"

"In your dreams, Pint-Size!"  He returned my smile, his deep brown eyes twinkling. "And don't lie...I know you dream!"  

He chuckled at my expression as he walked out of the simulator.

I hate being assistant to a god!

Copyright © 2010 by Teri K D Bannerman

For more fun, visit this site: Real Writers Challenge #43

Saturday, 25 September 2010

RWC #42 ~ "Stupor"

Kitty had never been drunk in all her life.  And she wasn't drunk now - she was sure of it.  She wasn't stumbling around on unsteady legs, or singing bawdy songs at the top of her lungs off key, or picking fights with the little people.  That's what drunks did, wasn't it?  There was her proof!  She was just sitting there, quietly trying to figure out where she was, and what she was seeing. 

 If she were to believe her eyes, there was a giant troll standing before her, with horns like a billy goat lying on his bald head, ears like a fairy, fangs growing up like stalagmites from his otherwise toothless gums, jewelry made of teeth and bones adorning his neck and left wrist, a loincloth of animal skins around his very ample waist, thankfully covering his probably quite scary private parts, and leather strappy sandals tied to the hams that were his feet.  Oh, and he was leaning on a huge bone club.

Well, really!  Obviously she must have hit her head on something, because creatures such as the thing standing before her, scratching his bald pate in a puzzled sort of way, only existed in children's fantasy stories, and were conjured up to frighten the little ones into behaving.  She was not a child, and she had not been misbehaving. And even if she HAD been, a little bit, with that delicious hunk who had come to sit next to her and who had kindly offered to buy her a drink, she hadn't done anything to warrant THIS kid of nightmare!

She turned her head, and wondered what that thing was that was making her cheeks itch. Raising a hand to scratch at it, she screeched at the sight of a paw.  What the heck!  She tried again...and that pesky paw swiped at her face.  What on Earth was going on?  The itch continued to torment her, and the troll stood still, looking as puzzled as she felt.  She looked around her, trying to get her bearings. What she saw confused her even more...

When had she gone outside?  And when did it become day?  She didn't remember going to bed! Heck, she didn't even remember leaving the bar!  That delicious morsel had been chatting her up, and she had felt herself getting more and more turned on by him, but they had still been in the bar till a moment ago...hadn't they?  The sky was bright as day, and the light hurt her eyes.  She squinted...and heard the troll sigh.  At least, she thought it was the troll. No one else seemed to be around.  

This is what she got for going out to a bar on her own.  She, who had never ever been in a bar, except for that one time, with her friend, who had turned out to be a dud as a date, and a total turn-off as a man.  She had been uncomfortable then; why had she ever thought she would be better off on her own now?  She shook her head, and decided that she had better get a move on.  If day had dawned, she wasn't home, that was for sure, and though it WAS Saturday, she would rather be at home, to sort out this confusing turn of events, and get her dull life back under her control.

The seat she was on seemed pretty high off the ground when  she looked down, but she wasn't afraid.  She stood up - on all fours!  WTH???  Now she was really scared! She sat down again, and heard the caterwauling howl that escaped her throat with a distant kind of horror.  She almost sounded like a cat!  Oh God, what was WRONG with her?  Who was the delicious, but obviously dangerous hunk she had been letting chat her up and ply her with drinks?  And where was he now?

The troll moved.  Or at least, it seemed like he did.  She closed her eyes, and opened them again...but the troll had disappeared.  The delicious hunk was back, and staring at her with something akin to concern in his deep brown eyes.  And his lips were moving.

"Kitty, are you okay, hun?"

She stared up at him, and realized she was lying across his lap.  She tried to sit up hurriedly, and felt the world spinning again.  She closed her eyes, and swallowed.  

"Kitty?"  His voice was frankly alarmed now.

She could not speak, so she reached for his face and smoothed her hand over his chin.

"Don't try to sit up, love!  I'm taking you back to your hotel!"

How did he know where she was staying?  And did she want him to take her there? Trying to tamp down the panic rising inside her, and still confused about what was happening to her, she struggled against the waves of nausea, and against his restraining hold, and sat up, weaving on the plush leather seat of the car - a limo, by the looks of it.  She had not accomplished any of the goals of her evening, except meeting a sexy hunk.  She had met one, all right...but what if he was really a troll?

Copyright © 2010 by Teri K D Bannerman

To read other entires, visit the site: Challenge#42

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Real Writers #41


and the heavy clouds of smoke
furl upwards
into the lightening air.

and golden beams of sunlight 
stain the clouds
and rim the spreading smoke.

still-dark veins against the sky,
stands the oak,
bearing itself erect.

Copyright © 2010 by Teri K D Bannerman

To read more, visit this site: Challenge #41

Friday, 10 September 2010


Welcome to September 11, 2010!

If you're expecting the usual platitudes, recriminations, vituperation,'d better move on.  

This is not going to be bitterly outraged anger against the infidels who committed such sacrilege against a defenseless and unprepared benevolent nation.  Nor will it be a bitterly impassioned review of the multitudinous and egregious sins of the US against poor and unsuspecting countries.  It will certainly not be a free-ranging condemnation of anything and everything American, or of American xenophobia, or other such excoriations.  And it will definitely not be a maudlin and sentimental memorial to the thousands of undeserving innocents who died at the hands of the rabid and pitiless bastards of an alien and murderous religion.

This is a marker, plain and simple.  

It marks an important date in the history of humanity.  Not just Christian or Muslim humanity.  Not just American or non-American humanity.  ALL humanity.  People who felt their cause was just, and people who felt the weight of that justice. People who embraced violence as a means of protest and retaliation, and people who abhorred violence as a means of solving the problems being protested.  People who loved and hated - each other, and most others.  People who were lost, but thought they had found the answer.  People who were angry, alone, frightened, desperate.

This is a marker, plain and simple.  

What happened nine years ago on this date has marked us all - the lovers and haters of America, the lovers and haters of Iraq.  It has marked all the rest of us, too. Those who try to steer a middle course between rabid nationalism and rabid imperialism, between an irrational fear of the infidels and an irrational hatred of the oppressors.  

What you choose to do with the mark that remains will say a lot about you as an individual. Don't assume that because you weren't there, or weren't touched personally, or have no love for the US, or no love for Iraq, or are a peace-nik, or whatever your reasons for distance may be, that you are unmarked.  Every global event marks us all, because we all participate in the event called being human.  Your anger is a sign of that mark, no matter who you're angry with. So is your sorrow. So is your glee.

How will you "celebrate" your humanity on this date that has marked you?

Welcome to September 11, 2010!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

PP ~ "Sayings" (Much Modified)

I'm not a member of the Picture Perfect group, but I like the challenge they've put out this time - quotations.  I've chosen the one below, which is actually the first stanza of a Christmas carol, "In the Bleak Midwinter", by Christina Rosetti.  I've posted the song after the pictures - that's one of the perks of NOT being in the group: you can add your own twist to it!  

I took these pictures last winter!  And I'm eagerly anticipating winter again this year, despite the horrendous five days we had with that storm!  I know...I'm the weirdest West Indian, eh?  LOL!

In the bleak midwinter, 
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, 
Water like a stone.
Snow had fallen, 
Snow on snow, 
Snow on snow, 
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago. 

I could have chosen the video of the Kings College Choir of Cambridge, which you can see if you go here - - but I chose this one because it was a service in which the congregation also sang.  I love that!

And yes, Christmas time is my favorite time of year!


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

I Spy... - Game 01

I've just joined this new group, Creative Members, and something lighthearted and fun that I have chosen to do is play a little game of "I Spy" - something beginning with 'G'. 

The 'G' word that comes to mind here is "grandeur", to describe Niagara Falls. (Click on the picture to enlarge it, and so get the full impact of it.)  However, I'm not sure this will be acceptable, and so, I've chosen a second picture, which is a direct 'G' word, and not merely a descriptor - my older girl's "graduation" from high school.  She's the child with her face turned to our right, wearing the glasses.

I took both pictures myself this summer!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

RWC #39


The wrist band said "breathe."  He opened his eyes slowly again, and checked to make sure that he had read it right.  "breathe", it said.  He tried...inhale.  Oh my, but that hurt!  Exhale quickly.  Inhale, but not deep.  Still hurt, but not as bad.  Exhale.  The things at the other end of the room were a blur to him.  Was that a door?  Where was he, again?  He tried to focus, but his eyes weren't functioning properly.  In fact, the only thing that seemed to be functioning normally, aside from his mind, which was in a state of panic, was his lungs, though he feared he had broken some ribs.

He tried to focus his mind, to take shallow breaths, so his brain would get enough oxygen so he could concentrate.  The last thing he remembered was the phone ringing.  He couldn't remember who had called.  And then he woke up here, on the floor, far from lucid, and hurting. He hated being unable to help himself.  He was a man, dammit, he should at least be able to get himself to a phone.  His disgust at his weakness puffed past his lips as he exhaled again.

He thought about his children.  Three of them all grown, the youngest just out of college. What if they never found him?  What if he died before anyone noticed he was missing?  He had not always been a kind father.  In fact, as he lay there, trying to feel his feet, he remembered the many times he had made their lives a living hell.  He knew they resented him, even if now they were grown they understood his way.  He suddenly wished he could take back some of the harsh words he had spoken to them, and given them more of his time, his patience, and his love.

Breathing was becoming more difficult now, even shallow breathing.  He puffed carefully, trying to stem the rising panic that threatened to swamp him.  He had to keep breathing till help came.  He berated himself for not letting his daughter get him the "child minder" as he had called it then.  If he had it now, he could press the button, and someone would have been there already.  Stupid pride!  It would be the death of him!

Best not to think about death.  he was old, but he wasn't ready to die.  The great beyond could wait a while longer.  He had no one there who wished to see him.  He thought with regret of the mother of his children.  He had loved her, but he had never known how to show her.  He supposed she could not be blamed for thinking his work was more important to him than she was.  But he never understood why she couldn't see that he was doing it for them, for their future.

They never had a future.  Once she started relying on his brother, and he let it happen, their marriage was over.  No use to lie to himself now, though at the time he was blind with fury.  He really had screwed up his life - the love of his life lost to him, a brother estranged, and children who hated his guts.  

The emotions he had fought his whole lifetime not to feel welled up inside him.  He struggled to hold them back.  He had to breathe, to live until someone came to find him.  He couldn't waste his breath on feelings.  They would only cause him more pain.  He couldn't afford any more pain.  He couldn't feel his legs, but his arms hurt, and his neck - and breathing hurt like a bitch.  Where was help?  Why had no one come?  How long had it been?

He looked over at the wrist band again.  Whose was it?  Where was he?  He couldn't remember, though he pushed his mind to think. Was this what Alzheimer's was like?  Did he have Alzheimer's?  Why couldn't he remember?  He felt the panic rising again, and he cried out with the pain of it against his broken ribs.

"Mr. Holley!  Mr. Holley!  Are you in there?"  He heard the voice, a door creaking, and then footsteps.   

Breathe.  He must remember to breathe.

Copyright © 2010 by Teri K D Bannerman

For more, read here--->Challenge 39

RWC #38 (37B)


"Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high, there's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby!" The little girl sang the words quietly, her voice sweet, in tune, lush, for one so young.  She brushed her doll's hair, and braided it as she sang, "Somewhere, over the rainbow, blue birds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow.  Why, then, oh why can't I?"

It was raining up in the mountains, and she could see it coming down to wash the valley, to rid it of the last snows of winter.  She could hear her mother and her big sister outside talking as they hurried to take the washing off the line.  She looked up at the view outside her window, and hummed the song some more.

"It's a beautiful rainbow, isn't it, Amy?"

The voice made her jump up quickly, dropping the dusky-faced doll where she had been sitting to throw herself gleefully into the arms of the man who stood just inside her door, smiling at her.

"Uncle Dan!  Uncle Dan!" she screeched in excitement, and hugged his neck tightly, gifting him with a smacking kiss on his dimpled cheeks.

"Hey, Pigtails!"  Daniel Collins dropped his bags and hugged the little girl, kissing her soundly on both cheeks.  "Boy, have I missed you!"

"I missed you, too, Uncle Dan!"  Amy pulled her face away to peruse his whiskered one, and the look on her face made him smile wider.

"Keep looking at me like that, and you're bound to get your candy sooner rather than later!" He chuckled as she laughed merrily, and wriggled her way down and out of his arms.  Pulling him along with her, she raced as fast as she could go with a six-foot-six 250-pound man in tow to the back door, where her mother and sister were just entering, a few minutes ahead of the rapidly approaching rainstorm.

Miranda, her sister, put her basket down and rushed as elegantly as a teenager would over to her favorite uncle, hugging him and letting herself be kissed.

"Prettier every day, Miranda!  Will I have to ride shotgun while I'm here?"

Miranda blushed prettily, but he knew she was pleased at his compliment.  "I don't have anyone you need to protect me from, Uncle Daniel!" she answered with a sedate smile.  "The boys aren't interested in me."  There was no wistfulness in her tone, just a plainness that told him she was okay with that.

"Then they're all blind, or stupid, or both!" he declared.

"Wade likes her, Uncle Dan, but she doesn't give him the time of day!"  Amy made her pronouncement with typical childlike enthusiasm at having said something grown-up, and having added to the conversation in a meaningful way.

Daniel watched his older niece frown slightly, and then remove all expression from her face. Hmmm...something to find out more about, he thought, and turned his attention to their mother.  Joy Collins was the most beautiful woman he had ever known, and his deep love for her was unabated.  That she was his brother's widow was only one reason he did nothing more about his feelings than watch out for her and the girls, and come for a visit as often as he could.  

The other reason was that he did not know how she felt about him, and he knew if she knew the feelings he had been harboring for her for all the time he had known her, she would have barred him from her home.  She had been married for ten years before Rick had died in a fiery collision on the Interstate.  Now, a year later, he was home on leave from duty, and as always, his first stop was her home.  He watched her now as she put her own basket down slowly, and turned to face him.

"Dan!  How lovely to see you!"  Her smile was as warm as her voice, but he noted that she avoided his eyes.

"Always a pleasure to come here, Joy!" he said, keeping his tone and his words light.  He reached for her, and she bestowed a light peck on his cheek before moving away, and he let her go with only a small, light, one-handed hug.

"I was about to serve lunch when we noticed the storm coming," she said, "so you're just in time!"  She went to the counter, where she had begun to lay out food. "Girls, help me set the table while your uncle washes up."

"Same room, Joy?" he asked.

"Yes!  Don't hurry!  There's still the sandwiches to make!"

Dan turned away, retrieving his bags on the way to what he had come to call "his" room.  It was small and neat, a double bed, prettily spread with a rainbow-colored blanket, sheer curtains at the windows, and a chest of drawers with a single yellow rose in a bud vase atop it. He threw his bags on the bed and went into the small adjoining bathroom, deciding to remove only his uniform shirt, and put on one of the black tees he favored.  By the time he walked back into the kitchen, there were three place settings, and soup was being carried to the table to complete the lunch settings.  There were sandwiches in a plate in the middle, a jug of what looked like lemonade, spoons, and three glasses.

"Would you like coffee now or later?" Joy asked, motioning him to sit in the chair his brother had always sat in.

"Probably later, thanks!"  He smiled at her, and swallowed the emotions that had been threatening to swamp him from the moment he had walked up the path to the front door.

"Uncle Dan, have you ever walked to the end of the rainbow?"

Amy's question shook him out of his reverie, and he chuckled at her.  "No, Pigtails, I haven't! And I doubt anyone has!  Why do you ask?"

"Can we say grace first, please?  I'm starving!"  Miranda brought them to attention, and after she hurriedly said grace, Amy said,

"Well, don't they say there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?"

"Yes, but that's just a story, little one!"

The little girl seemed to ponder that as she ate her sandwich first, obviously waiting for the soup to cool.  The rain, which had come minutes before, pounded down on the roof, the windows, the earth, and the dark it brought was such that they had to switch on the lights to see.  

"It's gone," Amy said suddenly.  "The rainbow's gone!"

"Well, it's storming now, sweetie.  The sun has to be out for there to be a rainbow," Dan explained patiently.

"You mean it's not there all the time?"  She seemed particularly offended by that possibility.

"I'm afraid not, Pudd!" he answered, finishing his soup, and swallowing the last of his lemonade.

"So the song is wrong then?" she asked, her soup forgotten.  "Birds can't fly over the rainbow?"

How on Earth was he supposed to answer that?  He looked up, and found Joy's eyes on him, piercing, swirling with emotions he did not understand.  He swallowed the sudden lump in his throat and said,

"Well, remember how we talked about the world of our imagination last time I was here?" he asked.  

"Yes," Amy replied, and got up from her chair to come and sit in his lap.

"Well, in that world, birds can fly anywhere they like, and so can we!  But it's only there, Pigtails!  Only there!"

"And there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow there?"

Dan smiled into her hair.  "Absolutely, Pudd!"  He pulled her away from his chest to say, "Now, if you finish your soup, I'll give you one of the special candies I've brought home just for you!"

His eyes wandered out the window to look at the mountain in the distance, and watched with a kind of awe as a splash of color began to hover over it, gradually deepening as he stared, as fascinated as his niece would have been had she seen it.  The sounds of rain slowed above and around him as the rainbow strengthened its hold on the sky, and he felt as though he was experiencing a kind of renewal, as though something significant was happening to him. He realized with a start that he had never seen a rainbow begin.  

"Look, Amy!" he said, directing the child's gaze out the window.  "It's back!"

There was no hope of getting her to finish her soup now.  She jumped up to peer out the big bay window, and soon he heard her humming again.  His eyes went back to Joy, standing before the sink, rinsing the dishes before stacking them in the dishwasher.  He was not aware of Amy leaving the room, nor of Miranda taking the laundry to the adjoining room to fold.  He could only watch Joy, and think how much he wished the world of HIS imagination could somehow make it into this world, into this kitchen.

"Birds fly over the rainbow.  Why, then, oh why can't I?"

Dan smiled at the exuberance of Amy's voice as she belted out the final words of the song. Why not, indeed?

Copyright © 2010 by Teri K D Bannerman

For others, read here------>RWC-37

RWC #37


The little boy slid nonchalantly onto the back of the huge beast, his staff in his hand, unaware of his audience.  I snapped a few more shots of him.  He was unconcerned, as much so as the creature upon whom he perched, a David on Goliath's back.  I watched him as he stared with curious concentration into the distance.  I knew what he saw.  I had seen it too, but my response to it was nothing near as quietly composed as his appeared to be.  Nor as disinterested in the way of children whose curiosity may be peaked without any attached importance being given to that which makes them want to see.  It was not an event to spark any other than passing curiosity, even the piercingly intent kind that marked the way of a child.

I watched him settle himself on the back of the ox, which kept its own counsel as it tore the grass and swallowed, oblivious to all but the call of its first stomach.  An idle thought flitted through my mind...aside from the lean kine in the Old Testament story, I had never seen or heard of a thin cow.  And yet, all it ate was leafy green "veggies".  The absurdity of my wayward thought brought a rueful smile to my lips, as I turned my attention in the direction of the boy's gaze.  The cloud of smoke that rose into the morning sky was far enough away that he knew it was not his village.

What he did not know was that the ones who caused that smoke were headed his way, and soon his peaceful morning rides would forever be interrupted, discontinued, and he himself, if not a corpse, might be a refugee, wounded, lost, apart from those who cared for him.  I sighed for the loss of his innocence, and wished I could do more than record its end.  But I was not a soldier.  My job was to record events for posterity, so others could learn from the mistakes of their neighbors, and possibly avert another catastrophe.  This was the order of the world.  I struggled with my cynicism as I walked away.

I could not save this bull rider, but I could preserve his memory, if nothing else...

Copyright © 2010 by Teri K D Bannerman

Read others here----->Challenge 37