The Porch #WritePhoto

 

summerhouse

 

She was about five when she stopped crying. But she still crawled into bed with me. Me. The broken one, the brave one, the older one.

My identity was older sister.

I’d been alive three years longer than she. That’s all I had to offer.

She snuggled with me, her raggedy stuffed rabbit tucked tightly to her chest.

Sometimes, on summer nights, we’d tiptoe to the porch. I’d point to the trees and tell her they were our watchers. They would protect us.

I remember those evenings the most. When the skies were beautiful watercolor paintings of our bruises.

 

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts this week:

#writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent which asks writers to use photos for inspiration (the photo above is this week’s prompt)

 

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and Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch which asks writers to pen a piece in 99 words (this week’s prompt: Watchers).

February 16, 2017 prompt: Watchers In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a watcher.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Cast Out #WritePhoto

 

flame

 

Fingertips touching, never leaving, they dance.

Embers glowing, wind blowing, they move.

Hair whipping, voices crackling, they sing.

Fire curling, stars fading, they twirl.

Calling for the flames to grow…

Round the circle ringed with stones…

Towering bonfire casting shadows…shifting…

Faces alight, flickering rust and gold…features rearranging…

 

They are ancient. Forgotten. Lifeless.

They are born. Pulsing. Alive.

 

On the damp beach,

atop the cliff,

in the forest,

the desert,

the mountains,

marshes,

plains,

valleys…

 

They are everywhere and nowhere. They are here.

 

Fallen angels. Cast out.

They absorb this world. Theirs now.

Blessed innocence laced with fragmented memories.

They will destroy. It is in their blood. It is in their subconscious.

They are human.

 

 

 

My attempt for #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

I’ve edited a previous flash, Home Fire, to change the meaning. Hope it works but, still, fun. Try out Sue’s prompt.

 

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Reflections #WritePhoto

 

lantern

 

“I see colors,” she traced her fingertips along the glass. “And a lantern. It’s so bright I could walk the street at midnight. Bright, bright, midnight, bright…”

“Mum, stop.”

“The cobblestone streets, shop windows dark, dark, so dark for the night.” She swayed to the sound of her own voice. “Dark for the night, the lantern so bright, a walk at midnight…”

“Stop!”

She froze, turning to her son.

“Look,” he flung his hand. “It’s no window. It’s a mirror. Shit,” he muttered. “A mirror.”

She turned back, seeing herself clearly in the full-length mirror. “So it is…”

“Yeah. So it is.”

She stared at his reflection, tilting her head slightly. “You don’t seem particularly concerned.”

He rubbed the side of his cheek.

“Give mummy a hug now.”

He stood up, wavered, and walked to the door. Gripping his keys so they left indentations in his palm, he stared at the doorknob for a moment. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

 

 

Here is my attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

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Headstone #WritePhoto

 

cracked-ice

 

“It used to be a lake,” she prodded the patch of ice with the toe of her boot, cracking the glassy surface.

He bent to wipe some dirt from the shards. “Nah. Maybe a stream. A tiny one at that.”

“Look,” she pointed down the path. “It goes on for, like, miles.”

“It wasn’t a lake,” he rolled his eyes. “Too much overgrowth on either side. Too thin.”

She looked at the sky, blowing out a puff of icy breath. “It’s what my grandma says. A lake.”

He reached inside his coat pocket, and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. “Smoke?”

“She says my grandpa died fishing. And lots of other people drowned here. It’s like a frosted graveyard this time of year.”

“Huh,” he lit a cigarette and sat on a nearby rock. “Well…not sure what to say, actually. Um, sorry.” He peeked around her at the sunset. “Nice place to die. I mean… Nice view for, you know, the ones…”

She crouched next to him, tracing her fingers on his leg, staring at his lap.

He froze.

“Get up,” she grabbed his jeans, pushing him away. “That’s not a rock.”

 

 

This is my first attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent – Join in the fun

 

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Summer’s Song

 

BlogBattle Sarah B Tea - sig

 

She ran barefoot in the grass, hair streaming behind her in strands of moonlit ribbons.

Her mother called her inside but she wouldn’t go.

She was searching for fireflies.

 

Last year, right before her father died, he pulled her aside and asked her to listen to the crickets. Summer’s song, he called them.

They had iced tea that night in late July, the ice melting, glass beading up with droplets of water in the humid heat.

The sun cast desperate rays through tree branches, glowing orange fingers reaching out for someone to hold them. But she didn’t. And they nestled in the bushes waiting for morning.

Fireflies danced around their heads, lighting up the porch, and her father beamed with them. Nature’s nightlights, he said.

They sipped sweet tea to a chorus of insects.

She traced a line down the side of her glass, peeking through her hair at her father. Will you be here to listen to the chirping and watch the blinking bugs tomorrow? she wondered.

Her father was dying.

She was old enough to know he would be leaving soon and young enough to ask him not to go.

He had laughed. She remembered that vividly because it startled her and the sweaty, cold glass slipped from her hand.

And it felt so good to cry. For the lost sweet tea that pooled near her toes and for her father who was being forced from the world he loved with a smile on his face.

 

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#Blogbattle is a weekly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey – Join the fun every Tuesday

Read more wonderful stories and vote for your favorites here.

Week 67 Prompt: Tea
Genre: Drama

 

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Guides

 

BlogBattle Sarah B Feathered Skull Stone - sig

 

She’d always welcomed the voices.

Though Greta knew not to let on she was hearing people speak inside her head, she didn’t think it was a bad thing. They were her angels. Guides.

Despite her family’s worry that she would end up alone, Greta was far from it. She had friends, a job, and her books. Admittedly, she was by herself quite a bit of the time but she liked it that way. And, with her guides, she never felt lonely.

She didn’t have a boyfriend, as her brother predicted. They were teenagers when he had teased her about it. It had hurt then but it was a distant memory now, like looking back at an old friend and feeling a remote sense of pity. Greta wasn’t a pretty girl and she didn’t “grow into her looks”, as her mum used to say. But friends often described her as having a “Mona Lisa smile”.

It was the voices that formed her knowing grin. They moved with her in a steady rhythm, galloping alongside her own thoughts.

Until the day her father died.

The voices began growing urgent, aggressive. They became a stampede that trampled her mind.

 

#Blogbattle is a weekly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey – Join the fun every Tuesday

Read more wonderful stories and vote for your favorites here.

Week 59 Prompt: Voice
Genre: Drama

 

This is a piece I extended from a 99 word flash I wrote in February.

 

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Sour Milk

 

She squirmed in her chair at the meeting. Something about a new filing system. A co-worker glared at her. She stopped tapping her pencil, immediately beginning to bounce her leg. Could she leave? This stupid meeting had been planned for a month.

No. She’d lose her job.

Thoughts of the milk carton facing the wrong way plagued her. The front, with the cartoon cow on it, was turned toward the orange juice. She had seen it from the front door just as her son opened the fridge for breakfast.

“Excuse me,” she grabbed her bag and left the office.

 

 

 * This was a challenge I created for myself (99 words – no more, no less) from micro fiction I wrote on Twitter. Just thought it needed more space to breathe. Here’s the tweet:

“She squirmed in her chair. Something about a new filing system. Thoughts of the milk carton facing sideways in the fridge plagued her.”

The #FP (Friday Phrases) prompt was “obsession”. 

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Empty

 

“It’s cool that you don’t say stupid shit like ‘How do you feel about that’ or whatever.” She picked up a grey rock from its shelf and examined it.

“Well,” he swiveled in his chair, “glad to hear that. But I do need you to talk to me.”

She turned the rock over in her hand, “Okay. I’ll talk. You have this like professional office with expensive leather couches and shit then there’s this ugly, little rock. Seems out of place.”

“It’s special.”

“Why?”

“My father gave it to me when I was a child.”

“Look at you. All sentimental and shit. Who knew? You one of those losers who still lives with his daddy?”

“He died last year. You think it’s ugly?”

She looked up. “Not anymore.”

“Why?”

“You know why. If it’s really your father’s.”

“True story. Still. Why does that make a difference? It’s the same rock.”

“Ha. You got me. Fine. I’m the same person.”

“Are you?”

“What the hell. Isn’t that what you’re saying?”

“Actually,” he leaned back, “it’s not.”

She gripped the rock, “Whatever. Not playing.”

“It’s not a game. That rock is the same rock but it has changed in your eyes because of its background just as you have changed in your eyes because of what happened.”

“Tick-tock. Look at the clock. Only like 20 minutes until I get to walk out of here.”

“The question now becomes whether you are going to return that rock to the shelf because it means something to me, drop it wherever in here because it’s just a stupid, ugly little rock anyway, or pocket it because it has become precious.”

“Screw. You.”

“What would happen if I said you could take it?”

“Fifteen minutes,” she pointed at the door. “Me. Walking.”

“Okay. You can have the rock.”

“Already in my pocket.”

“On one condition,” he added. “You return it to me when you finish the program. When you learn your worth and treat yourself accordingly.”

“Deal,” she smiled. “I like this rock and now it’s mine because that’s not happening and, oh, look, time to walk. Later.”

“Not by my watch it’s not.”

She stood up. “You didn’t even look at your stupid watch.”

“Marcia. I want that rock back. Understand?”

She looked over her shoulder before shuffling into the waiting room.

 

~~~

 

He rubbed his eyes. “Anything in particular you’d like to talk about today, Jon?”

“Yeah. What’s with this empty shelf? Run out of money to buy stuff?” The boy laughed.

“Something like that.”