Monday, 28 May 2012

CRC #80



"Your wine, sir!" the young man said, and popped the cork.  He poured for them, and then left the bottle in the cooler on the little table by their side.

"Wine!  What's the occasion, Kyle?" Diana asked avoiding his gaze.  

"If you have to ask, Diana, then why are we here?"  He touched his glass to hers, and caught her chin in his other hand, raising her face and waiting till she looked at him. 

When Diana looked up, he smiled, and she watched as his eyes crinkled, his lips curved upwards, his cheeks sank into deep pooling dimples.  If she had ever thought that she was "over" him, this one moment proved her wrong. "Cheers!" she said, dragging her gaze from his, and touching her glass to his.

"What shall we drink to?" he wondered, watching her averted face.  When she did not respond, he continued,  "Let's drink to friendship, then.  Like I promised, and you always reminded me, we should always be friends."  He touched his glass to hers again, and took a gulp of his drink, to stop himself from saying all the things he knew he should not say.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

K's FIAF #89


My maternal great-grandmother had that very piece in "the big house".  The effect that the sight is causing is going to cost me this prize, if I lose my cool.  No one must know who I am!  This plan will not work if I am discovered!

I inhale slowly, deeply.  The lawyer begins to speak.

K's FIAF #88


"What am I supposed to feel, again?"

Silence, then a very audible huff of disapproval.

"Are you seriously saying you feel nothing?"

A pause, then, "No.  I feel something alright.  I feel the drizzle that's about to turn to a steady downpour...and angry that I let you talk me into another lame-brained 'enrichment tour'!"

K's FIAF #90


He shook his head.  Did she really think she could hide from him in plain sight?  He grinned, a predatory thing.  "Oh little one," he thought, "far smarter ones than you have tried THAT game, and I still won!"

He hit the call button.

"Mia's, good afternoon!"

"Only five, Amy?  You were never cheap before!"

"The things you do when no one is looking are the things that define you." If the Chrysler car company has that figured out, and is using it to push their newest vehicle, how come we can't? Since when is an advertising team smarter than the average Joe/Jane? (Unless, of course, it's BECAUSE they're smarter that they can manipulate us?) Either way, it IS a truth that should be universally acknowledged (to borrow a phrase of Jane Austen)!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fiction in a Flash #90

This photograph was taken from the Internet.

The "rules" are few and very simple:
* Your entry will come due each Saturday, when a new picture will be posted.
* You may only write 55 words.
* Your entry must be fiction.
* You may not alter the picture in any way.
* Post your entry as a blog on your page, and drop off the link in the comments section on this page.
 Have fun!  (Yes, it's a rule!  )

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Oh good googah moogah!

Hehe!  Want a laugh, and an "Awww!" moment at the same time?  Check this out! 

Macarena Kung Fu fighting dancing!  I LOVE it!  Go Dad!!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Fiction in a Flash #89

This photograph was taken from the Internet.

The "rules" are few and very simple:
* Your entry will come due each Saturday, when a new picture will be posted.
* You may only write 55 words.
* Your entry must be fiction.
* You may not alter the picture in any way.
* Post your entry as a blog on your page, and drop off the link in the comments section on this page.
 Have fun!  (Yes, it's a rule!  )

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Moving Images Challenge #55


He opened his eyes, wondering why he couldn't see past the bottle lamp swinging over his head.  There must be a wind, he surmised, though he was damned if he could feel it.  He blinked, and then blinked again, and again, trying to get the other lights he could see into clearer focus.  No good.  They remained fuzzily flickering just out of his reach.  He wondered why he couldn't see them more clearly, but no answer suggested itself to his still somewhat addled brain. 

He stretched to alleviate the stiffness he felt in his arms, and found that they were bound fast to the arms of the chair in which he had just discovered he was seated.  No wonder he was stiff!  Taking a further visual assessment, he found not only his forearms and wrists bound, but his chest and thighs as well.  And judging by the feeling, or lack thereof, in his ankles and legs, he was as securely bound down there as well.

It figured!  The one time he was on legitimate business -- if you can call a half-hearted vacation in the desert a vacation -- he was captured.  Way to go, Brand!  He shook his head, irritated by the prospect of having to fight to escape.  He was tired, so tired, he had wanted to crawl away from his last battle and hadn't been able to do it without help from a most unlikely source.  And now this.  Can't a fellow get a break?

He listened.  Might as well make use of his enhanced senses if he were to have even half a chance of escaping without serious or life-altering -- or life-ending, truth be told! -- injuries.  He heard nothing, not even the cry of insects.  He only knew of one place that was insect-free, but he could not imagine how he or his captors could have gotten there from where he had been, unless they were...  He stopped that thought in its tracks, because to admit that possibility meant he also had to acknowledge the even more frightening possibility that he was in the last place anyone like him would ever wish to be.

So far, his limited investigations into his situation had made the following things crystal clear -- he was a prisoner, and alone.  No one was with him...the vibrations of their energy would have set his nape hairs quivering, particularly if they were outside his field of vision.  He tried desperately to free his forearms from the restraints which held them down, but he knew it was a futile attempt even as he wiggled his fingers uselessly. 

Giving up on his latest escape plans before they had even gained ground in his mind, he moved on to another of the senses he could deploy in his efforts to gain much-needed intel on his situation, and make better plans than the just-foiled one.  He looked straight ahead, and sniffed, like a dog on the hunt for his bitch in heat.  His acute sense of smell picked up, far out on the very edges of his olfactory range, an odor that sickened him, and made him wrinkle his nose.  It fluctuated in and out of range, a sonar blip appearing and disappearing on the screen of his mind, a vaguely familiar smell having some dangerous import that just escaped his memory, though he tried hard to bring it into focus.

Closer, and more sharply pungent, was the scent of meat at the very end of freshness, or at the very start of rottenness, depending on how sensitive your nose was.  His nose was so sharp that he gagged at the scent and searched for other scents to erase the one that now dominated.  Up close, aside from the sweat that had dried on his skin and clothes, and the scent of incense lingering in the air, as though the stick had long since burned itself out, and the bog that lay somewhere to his right, was the jasmine.  The sweet smell was almost overpowering, and it gave him pause.  Where could there be such a gathering of jasmine that it almost made one swoon?  The only place he knew...  He let that thread go too, as quickly as he had the first disquieting conclusion, but began to feel panic waking from its deathlike sleep in his chest.  He never panicked, and he would not start now.

Only one more avenue was open to him.  The air was cool, but that meant nothing if it was the result of its being night time, which was likely given the lanterns in the space he occupied.  He pressed his feet down, hoping to discern the nature of the ground beneath them, but was disappointed (fancy that!) to discover that his captors had apparently left his sandals on, as all he could feel were the ridges and hollows left by the imprint of his feet on the smoothly supple leather soles.

He shivered as though he were in the freezing cold, because all that he had managed to discover with his superior sensory investigation was what he had known almost from the start.  He was a prisoner and alone.  That was the clear bottle lamp in his situation.  The rest of the evidence -- bringing with it the fear that he was in the hands of captors he would gladly die to avoid -- was as blurry as the lights just out of focus.  He was screwed.  He did not know where he was, who his captors were -- even if he suspected -- or why he had been taken.

He didn't like the odds.  He didn't like them at all.  Best not to think on them, he decided, but how to occupy his mind, and take it away from the path it seemed hellbent on pursuing?  Ah...

He began to count the times the bottle lamp swayed before his eyes...

CRC #79

I watched them, the old woman and the baby, and thought back to when I could have had babies.  It seemed a lifetime ago, as I stood outside the glass wall, watching the volunteer cuddle and coo at the child whose mother was not there.  I had only lost that particular ability three years before, and now, as a woman of middle years with no one to answer to, I felt the loss as keenly as I had when I was a mere girl, and my babies had been lost to me.

I closed my eyes, reliving the horror of my discovery that I was pregnant.  I was sixteen, and the father of my unborn children -- I had discovered I was pregnant with twins at my first ultrasound, three months in -- was a freshman in college, on a football scholarship, with a brain that would have won him an academic one had he been so inclined.  His mother was a single mom, and he had lived on the other side of town from me.  Our lives were as different as day and night, and I had known, even then, that to saddle him with the responsibility of children would have been the wrong thing to do. 

One of my two best friends had advised me to get an abortion, but the thought of asking a stranger to relieve me of my own responsibility as a consenting partner in the creation of these two lives was abhorrent to me.   My other friend told me I could give them away after they were born.  I chose her option, though the months between that and their birth would be hard on me, and on my parents, who were as angry as I had ever seen them, and confused and frightened for me as well.

And then, one day, coming home from school, I crossed the road at the corner of our street without looking, and lost not only my babies but my desire to have any ever again.  What I gained, instead,was guilt.  I lived with the fear that I had walked in front of that truck deliberately, because I really had not wanted them, and had wanted to die with them, rather than have them butchered and washed out of my womb by a doctor.   It was my fault, I was sure of it, and nothing the grief counselor, or my parents, or my pastor said had ever changed my certainty.

Dragging my thoughts back to the present, I watched as the infant slept, and the volunteer nestled her contentedly against her motherly chest.  I wondered where the baby's mother was, and suddenly, as I fought against the painful tears that welled up, I prayed fiercely that God would give this child a home, and keep her safe.  I had volunteered to work in the newborn baby unit of the hospital, hoping to find some peace from the nightmares that had come back (after half a lifetime away) at least once a week now, of the doctor's face as he told me that they had not been able to save my babies.

My babies!  I had never given myself a chance to say those words, because I was afraid I would lose them again, and I knew I had no more heart left over to break.  The broken one had never healed.

"Are you all right, Tansy?"

The voice near my left ear startled me, and shook the welling tears out and down my cheeks.  I tried to brush them away surreptitiously, but she saw, and turned me to face her, hiding me from public view.

"Tansy, you don't have to do this, you know.  There are other places to volunteer here!"

I sniffed like a child, and my face burned with embarrassment that anyone had seen the cracks in my armor.  "I'm fine, Jaz, honestly.  Just point me to my post!" 

I was determined to be like the old woman who had by now placed the sleeping infant back in her bassinet, and was cuddling a squalling little boy.  I wanted peace, and maybe at last I would find it.  Here.

It's What We Do...

Mother is a verb, not a noun.  ~Proverb

Grown don't mean nothing to a mother.  A child is a child.  They get bigger, older, but grown?  What's that suppose to mean?  In my heart it don't mean a thing.  ~Toni Morrison, 
Beloved, 1987

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Fiction in a Flash #88

This photograph was taken from the Internet.

The "rules" are few and very simple:
* Your entry will come due each Saturday, when a new picture will be posted.
* You may only write 55 words.
* Your entry must be fiction.
* You may not alter the picture in any way.
* Post your entry as a blog on your page, and drop off the link in the comments section on this page.
 Have fun!  (Yes, it's a rule!  )

Sunday, 6 May 2012

CRC #78


The dirt road wound by, dipping and rising like the humps on a camel's back.  Most days the traffic, such as it was, disturbed the quiet air only infrequently, and in the drier months, raised the dust devils that flew behind the vehicles that drove by the house on the hill.  Looking out the window, the housekeeper paused in her dusting to watch as the snow fell quietly.  She wasn't worried about the snow.  If it got too deep, she knew her employer would let her use the spare bedroom in the basement of his country home. 

A sound made her turn her head to the right, and she watched as one of the town's snow plows pushed snow ahead of it, mounding it at the end of the driveway.  It was a good thing her employer had a Hummer, or he wouldn't be able to ride over the top of the ever-growing mound of snow at the end of the driveway.  She knew, having been stranded here before, that once the plows began their rounds, it would be impossible for her small Honda Civic to negotiate the the snow to get out, and she was a nervous enough winter driver without having to worry about getting stuck in a snow drift.

The wind picked up as she dusted, and she went to check that the thermostat was set for the temperature her employer liked best. The radio was set on a classical music channel, and though she wasn't a fan, per se, she found the music good to work to.  She hummed along to a familiar tune as she finished the downstairs, and then listened as the alarm for emergency notices interrupted the music with a screech of sound.

"The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the entire northeast region.  Snow accumulations from this system are expected to top three feet in some places.  High winds and drifting snow will increase and continue over the next twenty-four to thirty-six hours.  Listeners are strongly urged to find a safe place and to stay off all roadways."

The housekeeper sighed.  She was stuck here again, and this time it didn't sound like she would be going anywhere any time soon.   It was a good thing that she had no family waiting for her at home, and her friend Jenny knew that when the weather was bad she stayed where she was.  She went to look out the window again, and saw her boss's SUV riding over the mound of snow at the end of the driveway, noting that it seemed to have grown higher since the last time she had looked.  She felt inordinately relieved that he was home, and checked the feeling.  He was her boss, nothing more.

The sound of the garage door opening as she went upstairs made her wonder how much snow had piled up against it, and how much digging they would have to do to get her out when the storm passed, before the guy he paid could plow the driveway.  She walked into his bedroom to begin working, when she heard her name.

"Sandy!  Come help me get your car into the garage!"

The housekeeper put down her dusting brush and broom and went back down the stairs to find her boss standing in the open doorway that led into the garage, his coat speckled with snow, his boots covered.

"You're making a mess!" she exclaimed, without thinking, forgetting he was not family, that this was his house, and that among her other duties she was paid to clean as often as he made a mess.

He turned to look at her, a gleam in his eye she could not interpret, and then said, completely disconcerting her,

"Sorry!  I'll clean it up when we get back inside.   Now get your boots on and come help me, please!"

Outside, they dug her car out of a surprisingly high drift, and he drove it into the garage.  Next to his Hummer, her little Civic looked extra small.  David and Goliath, she thought bemusedly.

"The roads are badly off," he said, pulling her out of her musings, "and I passed four bad accidents on the way, including one in town.  I was lucky to make it home!  I sure am happy I'm not an emergency worker, or road worker these next few days!"

Closing the garage door, he ushered her back inside the house, and said, "I'd like something hot.  Do we have any more of that great soup you made a couple of days ago?"

"In the freezer, yes," she answered, moving ahead of him to the kitchen. 

"Don't let me stop you, Sandy, I can manage!"  He smiled at her as he removed his coat and boots, placing them on the rack in the mudroom before following her in his socked feet into the kitchen.  "Would you like some?" 

'No thanks," she replied, moving out of his way and back to the stairs.  "I need to finish upstairs so I can begin dinner."

She walked away before he could answer, and went back to cleaning.  The road out the window, as she looked out again, was once more covered in snow, and in fact, she could barely see it through the heavy, feathery fall of flakes that blurred her vision.  The trees swayed wildly, and she heard the sough of it around the eaves of the house.  She turned the radio up, feeling oddly uncomfortable in his bedroom with her boss downstairs.  She could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times she had been in his home when he was home, and couldn't imagine how she would handle the next two days.

As she finished in his suite, and went to check the other rooms, she could hear him whistling, and remembered the time when he had told her, as they rode out another storm, how he loved the peace and quiet of his country home, and how he never minded the two-hour commute to get back at the end of every day.   She saw the little town through his eyes -- quaint shops, friendly neighbors, quiet streets (there were more dirt roads here than she had realized), farms, even a drive-in theater, one of two in the towns up here -- and heard his deep contentment in his voice, saw it in his face.  She knew she could happily live up here, too...and then she sighed and went back to her work.  There was no possibility of her dream coming true.  She was alone, and too poor to afford this lifestyle.  Best to remember that, she admonished herself as she tidied the rest of the rooms.

K's FIAF #87


"What do an ordinary chair and a wheelchair in an empty room mean?" she wondered, rubbing her arms to dispel the nightmare-driven chills.

The house was quiet as the grave...great, now she was thinking in clich├ęs!  Rising from the sheet-covered couch where she been asleep, she went into the kitchen.

She needed a drink...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Fiction in a Flash #87

This photograph was taken from the Internet.

The "rules" are few and very simple:
* Your entry will come due each Saturday, when a new picture will be posted.
* You may only write 55 words.
* Your entry must be fiction.
* You may not alter the picture in any way.
* Post your entry as a blog on your page, and drop off the link in the comments section on this page.
 Have fun!  (Yes, it's a rule!  )