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.

 

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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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The Fair Feline

 

He whipped a rock across the pond. “Nice! Seven skips.”

I grabbed his arm, “Let’s go. We’ve disturbed them.”

“The fish?” He laughed.

I glared. “The fae.”

He eyed my fingers, tightening around his wrist. “Who cares?”

“I do. Which is why you’re still alive.”

“I don’t think so, sis.” He smiled and pointed to a cat perched on some driftwood, tail curled around its feet.

The cat yawned, licked its paw, and said, “Fae know what a cat sith can do, child.” It nodded to me. “Make no mistake, I am the reason you both are still alive.”

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

July 6, 2016 prompt: Cat In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a cat. It can be a cute and adorable kitten or it can be mean old tom that swipes a claw at unsuspecting humans. What cat comes to mind and how does it spark a story?

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

This is what I tapped out on my phone and had to edit down to 99 words. This week, for some reason, it wasn’t easy and I’m not sure I pulled it off for the 99 word challenge.

 

He whipped a flat rock across the pond. “Whoa. Nice! Seven skips. Did you see that?”

I grabbed his arm, “Let’s go. We’ve disturbed them.”

“The fish?” He laughed.

I glared. “The fae.”

He flicked his eyes to my fingers, tightening around his wrist. “Take it easy. You’ve never cared before.”

I watched the water ripple, a dark form underneath swimming closer to the shore. To us. “I’ve always cared. Which is why you’re still alive.” I let go of his arm. “Just…trust me.”

He grabbed another rock. “I don’t think so, sis,” he aimed at the surface.

“After all these years. After…everything. You don’t believe in them?”

“I didn’t say that,” he smiled and pointed to a cat perched on some driftwood, tail curled around its feet.

“What? Why didn’t you tell me you could see them! I’ve felt like a freak all these years!” I smacked him on the head.

The cat yawned, licked its paw, and said, “He cannot see them. I have made myself visible to him. Now. Are you two quite done? While this human drivel is fascinating, I do have other things to attend to.”

I turned on the cat. “Like those?” I flung my hand toward the water, where spindly insect creatures the size of dogs were beginning to emerge.

“Let them come. Let them see what a cat sith can do.” It nodded to me, “And make no mistake, child, I am the reason you are both still alive.”

 

Riding Hood’s Grandmother Reveals Identity as Bestselling Author

 

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Years after the alleged attack on Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, Hazel, the now legendary grandma reveals her identity as bestselling author, Kale E. Pepper.

“First,” Hazel said, “let’s get this out of the way as I know you’re going to ask. The wolf never ate anyone. In fact, he was quite the gentleman. He had lost his way and needed directions to the barber shop. Quite the hairy beast, you know. Red sent him to the local ice cream parlor. That girl couldn’t find her way out of a cardboard box.”

The wolf then ended up at Hazel’s house after being assaulted by a group of school children who threw ice cream cones and popsicles at the poor beast. When asked if she still keeps in touch with the wolf, Hazel answered, “I don’t think he’s around here anymore.”

“But this,” she walked into her kitchen, “is why I called you.”

After brushing some fur off her counter, she showed us a collection of bestselling cookbooks such as Guide to Grilling Wild Game and Savory Large Game: Salads and Side Dishes which she wrote under her pseudonym. “They are selling very well.”

Indeed they are. Her informative new how-to guide, Find it Fresh, Fry it Up, just hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list.

“This one,” she picked up her book entitled Look What’s Coming to Dinner “has been in the top ten for three months,” she said proudly. “Fresh ingredients. That’s the key.”

We declined Hazel’s invitation to stay for supper.

 

Fading

 

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She flipped through the photo album. Empty.

She stared at it, wondering again what kind of flower decorated the cover. Her mind tried to find the word for its color then thought about the emptiness again.

Running her fingertips over the delicate petals, she closed her eyes and started humming a lullaby she used to sing to her daughter at bedtime.

Notes floated around her room and she frowned trying to recall the name of the song.

Round and round like the seasons. Cycles of summer, autumn, winter…spring.

Yes. Those flowers blossomed in the spring.

In and out and back again. In the dirt, planting seeds, watering can sprinkles the earth. Stems push through the soil, leaves grow, petals unfold.

Peach. It was peach, that hue. The cover.

Pink.

And the flower, a rose. Carnation. Daisy.

Emptiness. Pink. Flowers. Spring.

With things that are alive trying to sprout from things that look dead.

The album was closed but she knew it was empty. They took the fading photos—black and white memories she was starting to lose.

 

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#BlogBattle is a bimonthly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey 

Join in. Write a story. Read the stories. Vote for your favorites here.

Week 62 Prompt: Photograph
Genre: Drama

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Setting the Bar

 

She was beautiful.

Stunning.

He watched the ice melt in his glass, swirling the whiskey around, just to avoid staring at her.

“Another?” The bartender held up a bottle.

He raised an eyebrow and slid his glass across the bar. “What do you think?”

“Me?” The woman walked over. “I think you drink too much.”

“Yeah? What the hell do you know.”

“I know you’re here every day,” she looked toward the dining room. “I waitress.”

He wanted to tell her to get lost.

Instead, he asked her to join him.

“Absolutely,” she smiled, “but I don’t drink.”

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

May 25, 2016 prompt: Smile In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that changes with a smile. It can be a character, tone, setting or any creative use of smile.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Evil Stepmother Support Group

 

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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.