Family Tree #WritePhoto

 

 

He built it, brick by brick.

Carved from boulders in the valley or stones found weathered by time… He stacked them. Each one a testament to his regrets.

He spent his life there, in those mountains, building walls to shut out the world he regretted not being a part of. The one he left when his wife was murdered.

He taught his son the art of isolation, sorrow, and disappointment. And, together, they worked on those walls.

When he died, his son continued the tradition, creating something so spectacular, it rivaled nearby castles.

He held fast to what he had been taught.

But, unlike his father, he planted a seed of hope which grew into a fine tree. Sturdy and beautiful. Clinging to sorrow, growing out of the pile of regrets. It survived where it should not have. Some say it was magic. Others, that it was simply hope.

 

“Do you want to know what I think?”

“What do you think, grandpa?”

“I think that this magic and hope people talk about when they see my tree…I think they are the same thing.”

 

 

 

 

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

 

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Between #WritePhoto

 

 

He flies halfway between day and night.

His wings reach out, touch the rooftop of my home.

The silence outside me, the noise inside me…

I hear him.

Tomorrow, he tells me, will be softer. More forgiving. Wait.  

I believe him.

His message quiets my raging mind.

Delivered tenderly, I feel the force behind his words not to go gentle into this good night.

 

Feathered fingertips brush blue sky down into the pinks and purples of evening.

I will live to see him, this paintbrush of the Gods, bring the periwinkle light of sunrise up into sapphire skies.

 

 

 

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

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I offer this as a beacon of hope for the 99-word challenge at Carrot Ranch this week.

In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a beacon. It can be from a lighthouse or other source. Use the word literally or figuratively and go where the prompt leads you.

 

 

Armo’s Love #WritePhoto

 

 

Usually, men carrying axes were unwelcome in the woods.

But Armo was a different sort of man. He respected nature, cherished it even, and the trees knew him.

The day she died, he was there, ax in hand.

He arrived shortly after dawn, telling them he couldn’t bear the thought of her body decaying and asking permission to alter the natural order of things.

They looked into his heart.

They nodded.

They watched as he worked throughout the day, well into the night, until the next morning, not stopping for food or drink.

They marveled at the care he took.

Nothing drew his attention from her form, first cutting her down, then carving her into a smooth, wooden bed.

The Dryads admired their sister’s final resting place.

Tuulikki was gone. She would not be crumbling and returning to the woods but remaining there in a mix of man’s and nature’s peaceful slumber.

 

 

 

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

(Note: This week’s photo shows a bed with a pillow, all carved from a single tree trunk and left in a wood.)

 

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As the Crow Flies #WritePhoto

 

 

The crows land on a tiled roof.

Stones of the old church are unwelcoming.

Ancient and powerful, the birds call to us. We are ignorant of their language. We quicken our pace.

Clouds disperse into the arms of sunset.

 

Their magic is misunderstood. Met with judgement and fear.

The Goddess sighs, asking them away. They take flight, shattering the remaining blue of a fading day.

She folds her wings, settling in the nook of a stained glass window.

 

 

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

 

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My Savior #WritePhoto

 

 

“It’s okay,” a voice echoes, “you can come out now.”

My eyes have adjusted to the dark and all I see is a white oval. “Why don’t you come in?” I ask.

“I’m not sure it’s safe. You really should get out of there.” The voice bounces off the cave walls, words hitting me in syllables.

A shape emerges in the whiteness. I think it might be one of them. “Okay,” my fingers wrap around a knife and I begin crawling. “I don’t know if this is a good idea,” I creep, hands and knees, toward the thing in the light. “They might find out where I am.”

“I won’t tell,” the thing says. And then I know.

I know what it is and what I must do. Pebbles press into my knees, bruise my shins, but I stay low. “I’m almost out,” I say.

It reaches inside, “Good.”

“Could you just…” I stop, sitting back on my heels, and aim. “Help me the rest of the way?”

“You can do it,” it laughs. “A few more steps.”

I adjust my aim. “Help me?” I repeat.

It shuffles its feet, moving to the left a few inches. I see it clearly for the first time and my stomach turns. I never get used to the sight of them. I pull my arm back, prepare to stab it, when a noise from behind startles me. I gasp and lose my balance. “Dammit!” I turn to see a rat. Just a rat, I think. But it is too late. The thing that waited outside has its hand on my ankle. I twist from its slimy grip but it drags me out into the sun, and into the arms of another I hadn’t seen. Others approach. I can’t escape them all. I know where they will take me and what they will do. I will not become one of them.

“We got her,” the first one says into a small box attached to its head with wires.

I examine the knife I carved. My art, my weapon, my savior. “You don’t,” I plunge the knife into my throat.

 

 

 

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

 

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Dawn Arrives #WritePhoto

 

 

They have left me here.

Night settles and I am alone. Dawn is far away. But I will wait.

I am dying. My blood is ink, spilling onto the midnight soil, mingling with darkness and mist. I will hold on. I will make it through the night.

To see just one last time…

“Aaron,” she breathes. Her lips brush my forehead. “Gods. No.”

She is crouching next to me. I lift my arm and she grasps my fingers, ignoring the dry, crusted blood caked on my palm and the slick, new blood running down my arm. “Dawn,” I sigh.

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts again 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: Dawn).

June 15, 2017 prompt: Dawn In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that symbolically, mythically, mystically, or realistically involves dawn, as a noun or verb. Write about the dawn of time or the time of dawn, or the dawning of an idea.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Hope Doesn’t Knock #WritePhoto

 

 

They say we should have hope.

Yet they take away everything that might make us feel hopeful. People seem content. I don’t understand.

One morning, after breakfast, I ask my father. He sits with me. Takes a breath. I think he is going to speak but he ruffles my hair. Tells me to enjoy my day. His eyes flick to the doorway.

I turn and notice my mother, watching us, wiping her hands on a dishtowel.

This is my cue to leave. When the door shuts, I see an ornament on the wood. This is not good for our family.

 

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts again 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: Content).

June 1, 2017 prompt: Content In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story write about feeling content.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Inside Out #WritePhoto

 

 

A woman stood by the wall, gazing out the castle window.

“Excuse me. Are you part of the tour?” He asked. “I seem to have lost my way. Would you mind directing me?”

She didn’t move. “What is your name?”

“Sorry,” he extended his hand, “I’m Kenneth.”

“The rain speaks to us, Kenneth. It sends messages from the clouds when they have become too full of thoughts.” She leaned her forehead against a pane. “Kenneth. Kenny. Ken.”

“Yes, erm, right.” He dropped his hand. “Do you happen to know which of these doors might be an exit?”

She dipped her third finger in a bit of water that had leaked inside and pooled in the corner of the stone sill. “I knew it began with a ‘k’. A bit of wisdom from the rainwater, Kenneth. You want to return to your family? Any door in this room apart from that one.” She pointed over her shoulder to a promising-looking modern door with fresh paint.

“That one it is,” he mumbled. “Thank you.”

“The rainwater has warned you, Kenneth.”

“Right. Again, thank you.” He shook his head and walked through the door.

“They never listen to the rain,” she sighed, hearing Kenneth’s screams.

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts again this week (unsuccessfully):

#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: Wisdom).

May 18, 2017 prompt: Wise/WisdomClearly, I didn’t make the 99-word limit this week as this one is closer to 200. Still, I appreciate the prompt word weaved in with the photo prompt.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Actually…202

 

Evil Stepmother Support Group ~ One Year Anniversary

 

 

MAY 2017

 

The Misunderstood Stepmoms, a support group started by Cinderella’s stepmother, Caroline, celebrated its one-year anniversary this weekend.

“We were pleased with the turnout,” she said. “And we’re proud that this little group has been around for an entire year.”

Caroline’s statement may be a bit modest. The group is not only still around but, in fact, has swelled to over 600 members. Rumors of branches being formed throughout the country have been circulating for months.

We caught up with Gothel, Rapunzel’s adoptive mother, who had to travel quite a distance for the meetings and recently started a local chapter near her.

“It was good while it lasted but it’s been shut down,” she waved her hand dismissively. “Apparently, I’m not technically a ‘stepmother’. According to some people.”

The “some people” Gothel spoke of are the original three members: Snow White’s, Hansel and Gretel’s, and Cinderella’s stepmothers.

Gothel was awarded legal guardianship of Rapunzel in 2003 but, sources say, there may be evidence the document was faked.

A follow-up with the groups’ founder, Caroline, shed some light on the situation.

“I don’t want to throw stones,” she said, “but, yes, we’ve banned Gothel from our meetings and stripped her of any rights to use our name in future group settings. It’s not entirely about her stepmother status, although it has come to our attention that she is in a cauldron of trouble in regards to how Rapunzel came to be in her care. We, personally, have had…issues with her behavior. I can’t say too much due to an ongoing legal matter. And I want to emphasize that we are a caring group of women.”

Cinderella’s stepmom said, “Caroline’s too nice for her own good. Gothel is nuts. Some stepmothers have a reputation for a reason. Poor Rapunzel. ‘Adoptive mother’, my ass.”

Allegedly, Gothel had lost her temper during a meeting in early May, causing damage to the building and endangering members of the group.

When asked about the incident, Caroline admitted a few of the members were injured during “what can only be described as an ‘attack’.” She has since added a clause to her online ad about the group stating “zero tolerance for violence, magical or otherwise” and plans to hold an emergency meeting to focus on maintaining a safe and supportive environment for The Misunderstood Stepmoms.

 

The group meets once a week, on Wednesdays, and any mistreated stepmother is welcome. There is no fee for membership. Apple tart and herbal tea will be provided. Contact Caroline for more information.
UPDATE: Due to recent events, the location of meetings has been changed from the Fuji Warehouse in downtown Darby to the Braeburn Building on Main Street.

 

Evil Stepmother Support Group

 

 

MAY 2016

 

A new support group started up this week in downtown Darby. They call themselves “The Misunderstood Stepmoms”.

The group is led by Snow White’s stepmother, Caroline, who is fed up with all the hostility.

For years, she was despised and discounted, never being asked to join local book clubs or invited to a girls’ night out. Following this past Mother’s Day weekend, Caroline decided enough was enough.

Needless to say, she did not receive flowers or a card on Sunday.

About Snow, she said, “The girl pigged out on junk food. She was always walking around with her hand stuck in a bag of corn chips or jellybeans. I gave her some fresh fruit and, yes, that included an apple. She took one bite and pretended to choke on it, falling down and accusing me of trying to poison her. The girl didn’t want to eat healthy. End of story.”

Caroline went on to say, “I heard similar accounts of stepmothers being unfairly bashed so I created a safe space for them to talk and share their feelings.”

Cinderella’s stepmom claims she tried for years to get her teenage stepdaughter to “take a bath and change her damn clothes.”

While Hansel and Gretel’s stepmom says she spent months warning her stepchildren not to wander into the woods before their disappearance. “They came home with some cock-and-bull story about a candy house and a kitchen witch. Everyone knows kitchen witches live in the city,” she said.

In both cases, these women were blamed for the unfortunate state of their stepchildren.

“Sadly, these stories are not unique.” Caroline said. The three founding members were joined by fifteen others for their inaugural meeting. While there is no official motto for the group yet, Caroline said, “We want women to know that they are not alone.”

When asked about the group dynamics, Caroline admitted there is some tension. “We have a mix. There are a few members with anger management issues, while others are simply disheartened. But, for a first meeting, things went extremely well. We are a supportive bunch and provide a much-needed sense of community.”

 

The group will meet once a week, on Wednesdays, and any mistreated stepmother is welcome. There is no fee for membership. Apple tart and herbal tea will be provided. Contact Caroline for more information.