September 18, 2018 – Prompt – I never believed they existed, but this one is staring right at me.

Jackalope

It sat there
Useless….wet
From running
A joke of nature
This thing
With antlers
A bushy tail
Hopping away
I had heard
About them
Read about them
Even the
Occasional picture
This freak of nature
Yes….a freak
Created by what?
You may ask
Isn’t it obvious
It’s the mating
Of a deer
And jack rabbit
And it’s starring
At me right now
Nose twitching
You know it
As the illusive
Jackalope

Tim Segrest

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September 11, 2018 – Prompt – “I will see you in a hundred years for my heart is old and I am not like other people.” Charles Bukowski

This week’s prompt was a take home one with up to 1000 words allowed. One of our members requested that we do it. It too was from the Ladies at Reedsy.

 

“I Will See You in A Hundred Years….”

“I will see you in a hundred years, for I am old and not like other people. I was mainstream once, back when my age was less than the number of countries in the world today. That was so long ago I can barely remember the time of it. But even then I was off center. I tell you now, the times on this planet are changing. The speed is faster, the edge is sharper. If you can’t keep up, you perish by the blade. You, my young friend, are leaving today on a fantastic, historic venture and I envy you the thrills to come, the new things you will see and learn. I rather wish I could be surprised once again, I miss that. The sameness sometimes becomes tiring. But you will go, and I will stay, at least for now. Hold on to your humanness, you will transcend as I have if you meet this challenge. But don’t hold too tightly to the known, reach out for the stars, they will be there to guide you and give you a pull in the direction you aspire to go. Bon Voyage, and Godspeed.”

I stood outside a doorway and listened to the one sided conversation, thinking at first someone in the office must have left a radio on, because the voice was deep and lulling. A very good reading voice. But I realized quickly that what I heard was a man in the inner office speaking. I should have made my presence known then, or else moved on, but I was too caught up in the story to abandon my spot. I was hidden from view behind a large fake tree, not concerned about being discovered. Rather, I was more concerned that my view didn’t afford me a clear look at the person who was speaking. I moved slowly away from my concealment in order to get a better look. As I stepped toward the voice, a small mouse chose that moment to scuttle across the carpet directly under my feet. I screamed and jumped, landing against a large fish aquarium, startling an eel who had been gazing at me from his watery home. He backed up under a shelf of rocks, his beady eyes accusing me. I straightened up and came face to face with the man who I assumed was the source of the voice I had been listening to. He didn’t look at all like someone well over two hundred years old. He was good looking in a very classic way, his age not much over thirty, I guessed. I would be thirty-one next week, and I didn’t think he looked any older than I. He smiled at me, then reached out to help me steady myself. I hadn’t realized until he put his hands on my arms that I was swaying side to side.

“Hello, I’m Chad,” he said.
“I’m Joyce, sorry to disturb you,” I squeaked out, my voice much higher than normal. What was wrong with me? Was it the conversation I had overheard? Or the electric pulses that went through my body when he touched me?
“Nice to meet you Joyce. May I ask, why are you lurking in the tree outside my office? Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Just curious. Would you like to come inside and sit down for a minute? You seem very pale, do you feel faint?”
I was, in truth, feeling quite faint, and also breathless, but for some reason, I didn’t want him to know that. I backed away, shaking my head.
“Uh, no thanks. I’m fine. I’m going to go back to my desk and grab my stuff. It is quitting time, and I should go home now.” I realized as I spoke that I really didn’t want to leave him. I felt like our paths had crossed for a reason, and I didn’t want to take my eyes off him ever again. On the other hand, the things I had heard him say were spooky. I may have fallen in love with him at first sight, but I wasn’t in the habit of dating ancient men outside my species.
“I hope you aren’t put off by what you may have overheard while hanging around in the tree.”
“Well, it wasn’t the most normal thing I’ve heard while eavesdropping,” I said, willing myself to break the hold he seemed to have on me.
“Let me explain, I was reading a short story submission aloud. It’s science fiction, not my strong suit, and it helps to hear it spoken. I’m trying to decide whether to give the author a spot in our magazine.” Chad looked into my eyes, and I believed him. How could I have been dumb enough to think what I overheard was anything other than science fiction?
“Thanks for explaining that to me,” I said.
Chad frowned, putting a hand to his middle. His stomach made a loud grumbling sound, echoing in the room. He looked embarrassed.
“Joyce, I apologize. I haven’t eaten since this morning. I was out of town for a while and consequently I have been trying to catch up on my work. How about coming out to dinner with me? We can go to the restaurant downstairs. They serve a duck a l’orange that is out of this world.”
“Well, that certainly seems appropriate. I would love to go to dinner with you,” I said to him, daydreaming about how beautiful our babies would be.

by Karen Hydock

† † † † †

1000 Years of Loving Sophia

He lifted his hand to knock on the door, he hesitated. What would she say? Would she welcome him? Would she turn him away without listening to his story? He straightened the knot on his tie and tightened his hold on the pink roses.
He had been on this same doorstep 100 years ago. It had been the grandest house in the neighborhood. The Victorian mansion of James White was the railroad baron’s showplace.

As he looks the home over he sees it’s lost its luster. The brass door knocker which had been one of the unmistakable fittings of the wealthy was gone all that remained were scars of the screws which had attached it to the door. The house was in need of a fresh paint job. The porch which wrapped around the front and right side of the house sagged, and some of its posts were broken. Some of the window panes in the fourth story tower were broken.

He had loved Sophia for 1000 years, and as his life evolved and re-evolved, he sought her out. In 89AD they had first met. Domitian was the emperor of Rome, and Anthony was a member of the Senate. Domitian had curtailed the Senate’s power, and there was talk of assassination. Sophia was a servant girl in Domitian’s palace, and Anthony sought her out hoping to get her assistance. She would serve the wine with the deadly hemlock in it to Domitian. Sophia agreed to help them with their plan for she despised the emperor and the advances he made on her. She put the water hemlock in the goblet with his favorite wine. She sat in on the table at his place, but Titus having emptied his cup picked it up while Domitian was looking away and drained it. The next morning Titus was found barely breathing and soon died. Domitian’s physician recognized it as poisoning with hemlock.

We had to flee as one of the other slaves reported seeing Sophia putting something in Domitian’s drink. During their planning, Anthony had fallen in love with the beautiful and gentle Sophia. We were captured brought back to Rome and executed by being thrown into the Colosseum with hungry lions. Sophia died in my arms as a lion pounced on my back and bit into my neck.

In 189 they had again been united. Only sixteen when they met. Children of local farmers they encountered each other at harvest time. Madly in love, they were about to marry when a plague struck their small village, and both succumbed to the illness. It was now thought the dread disease was smallpox.

In 889 one of the most tumultuous of their lives. They resided in Strathclyde. They had a small home on the River Clyde. The kingdom was under constant invasion up and down the coast and along the river, Clyde by the Vikings. The Norse men raped, killed and pillages the area. During one of the invasions, Sophia and their daughter Deidra were kidnapped and never again did Anthony see them. He died by his own hand two years later.
In the most recent life in 1889, they had lived the happiest of all their unitings. Sophia’s father James was the wealthiest man in Harmony. At the time Harmony was a small village built along the new railroad. Anthony worked for James as his assistant and was respected for his diligence. He remembered how he had come to call for Sophia in the most elegant carriage the livery stable had pulled by two matched black horses. He would take her to the Easter Pageant practice. She came out in a white lawn dress it fell from her natural waist to her ankles, and she wore a matching bonnet. For the pageant, she was dressed in coarse brown cotton. She portrayed Mary Magdalene on her knees before the crucified Christ. That night he made the decision he would ask her to marry him. He requested her father’s blessing that very night, and it was given. On Easter Sunday after the pageant, he proposed to her. Before the summer was over, they were wed. They lived happily in Harmony fifty years raising five children. They survived into their late seventies seeing the next generations of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Now it was 1989 and the car sitting at the curb was his new Buick Riviera. It glittered in the sun. Its tire fixed. He could have been on his way in the morning, but he had stayed the night, and while having a beer with his dinner he heard a laugh. He recognized it. It was her Sophia, but before he could catch a glimpse of her, she had left. His waitress was an amiable sort and flirted throughout his meal.
“The woman I just heard laughing, who is she?”
Marta batted her lashes, “Oh, that’s Sophia Wills.”
She seemed to have no regrets in telling him who she was or where she lived. “She’s lives in the old run down house on James Street.”
He paid for his dinner leaving Marta a sizable trip, but that was all he left. I’ll go by in the morning. He had thought. I can’t wait to see her again.

Now he was at the door, and it all had come pouring back. He rapped on the door. He heard voices. It sounded like a child crying, “Mummy, Mummy.”
The door opened. It was her. “Sophia,” he groaned.
She looked at him with those turquoise blue eyes. He saw fear in them.
“Sir, do I know you?”
“It had been 100 years perhaps she did not remember their love. That they were soul mates and would always be. He looked down at her swollen stomach.
“Oh, excuse me I thought someone I knew lived here.”
“Someone named Sophia? That is my name, and I have lived in this house all my life. But I assure you, sir, I don’t know you.”
“Pardon my disturbing you, it must be in another town much like this one I know a Sophia. I will take my leave. Good day.” He turned and walked down the cracked and uneven sidewalk to his car. He tossed the roses in a trash bin set by the curb.

“Goodbye Sophia,” he said as he drove away. “I will see you in 100 years. For my heart is old and I am not like other people.”

Christine Howard

August 28, 2018 – Prompt- Lost and Found

Thanks to Arielle & Yvonne at Reedsy.com for the weekly prompts they post for their short story contests. Liking them we are using them now and then for our weekly prompts responses at our meetings. There are always five choices and “No one will ever find it here –you thought,” Was the one we choose for our ten minute write. It came under the main heading “Lost and Found.”

No one will ever find it here—you thought

What am I going to do with this big pile of $100,00 in bills? I know DEA is watching me. I got rid of the hash, but now what will I do with the cash?

Burying it in the back yard is too obvious. I know—a dear friend of nine just passed away.

I head to the funeral home dressed in black, wearing a big skirt. The undertaker was very sympathetic to a grieving friend and he gave me time alone with my friend.

Half the coffin was open and I could admire the good job the make-up artist did. No evidence of the bullet hole in his head. I took the money out of my pants and stuffed it into the coffin. I had just finished when others arrived. I stayed for the service thinking the whole time about digging up the casket after dark.

Finally the service was over and I watched the coffin being removed. It was then I learned he was to be cremated immediately.

Ellynore Smith

July 10, 2018 – Prompt – Strawberry, AR

 
The strawberries were red and luscious. The weather had cooperated this year and fields of sweet, dark red berries abounded. Everything was quiet when David checked his field one final time before he retired for the night. He was antsy because the next day he had set aside for harvesting and packing his strawberries for the strawberry festival.

It was two a.m. when David was awakened by the sound of thunder. He got up from his bed and looked outside to see that the wind was blowing the tops of the trees around. Still, he thought, maybe it wouldn’t be bad enough to damage his beautiful crop. That was when the hail started. Half an hour later, it was all over.

David gave up on strawberries. He opened a petting farm and changed the name of his town to Billy Goat Hill.

©Karen Hydock

July 3, 2018 – Prompt – Flag, Fireworks,Parade & Picnic

It was twenty-nine years ago, yet I can still remember when I close my eyes.

I can’t recall why we missed the parade. I hate standing for those anyways, and she wasn’t there.

Our picnic spot was good of course with her there—anywhere would have been perfect.

Once the sun set it wasn’t the fireworks, but the dark between them I waited for, stealing kisses to avoid my father’s notice.

The flag and the anthem arrived all too soon announcing the end.

©Graymayne

Prompt – June 26, 2018 – Use the following words: drink – call – space – ladder – jam – cliff

Hiking along the trail that led to the Kilauea volcano, I looked forward to experiencing the beauty and peace that I always felt when I visited this beautiful area.  I needed to get away from my hectic life in Honolulu.  It seemed as though my days were spent trapped in traffic jams and crazy nonstop days at work.

Today is my day; I thought as I finally reached a cliff overlooking the island below.  Taking a drink of water, I felt my body relaxing as I inhaled the fresh air and the beauty of this incredible island.  Just for today, I knew that I could forget trying to climb the ladder of success.

Yes!  Aloha!  This is my time!

Jean Dunston

*****

I can see into space

Up the ladder I went

I couldn’t find the name

I couldn’t see a face

But time is short

I mixed myself a drink

I made the call

The man in the moon

Was in a jam

He fell off the cliff

He was

All over the room

I fixed him up

The best I could

I just happen to have

A jar of Elmer’s glue

A fable of time and measure

A fable of just what

Not to ever do

When given a prompt

You can’t pull

Yourself through

©Tim Segrest, 2018

June 12, 2018 – Prompt – What is you were born in a different decade? What would you day be like?

Had I been born before 1910 I would have become a number one flapper. Suddenly the women stopped wearing corsets, cut their hair, wore short skirts and learned wild dances like the Charleston, black bottom and muskrat.

In the States alcoholic drinks were outlawed, but speakeasies thrived. Police raids were common and to spend a night in jail became a status symbol.

I can see me heading out with a boyfriend wearing heels, a fringed dress, long beads and a perky little headband with feathers. The long cigarette holder would be hidden walking past my father, but the camel would have been lit as soon as the car pulled away from the curb.

Ah, the freedom of short hair styled in a finger-wave over long hair piled on the head. Then the music, the free and easy music of jazz and honky-tonk. It was a time of social revolution and fun.

Submitted by Ellynore Seybold

*****

It isn’t a decade I am drawn to, but a time. A time when I feel I have lived before and it is the 1860’s during our Civil War.

What would my typical day have been—I had followed Clara Barton and become a hospital nurse. In the war I worked in a field hospital which was really a home requisitioned by the army for its use.

My days began early long before the surgeon arrived. My duties were to prepare the operating room. I washed the blood from the floors, filled the cabinets with clean linens and rolled bandages. I checked the supplies of the few medications that were available. I laid out the instruments for the many surgeries we would do in just this one day. I had seen to their cleanliness the evening before: the knife for incising the skin, the saw for amputations, probes to search for bullets, needles and thread to close the wounds.

By seven all was in readiness and in wait for the carnage of the day. As the sound of the guns sounded in the countryside around us. I took a deep breath soon a line formed of young men screaming in pain or passed out in its agony.

It became my responsibility to decide which of the wounded should be the first treated and which would be left to lie on the floor and later sent to be buried. If I had a few moments I would sit with a dying boy, hold his hand and do my best to comfort. I would pray or sing a lullaby.

Christine Howard

 

Write a scene with a dog, a window and a green hat using one of the three’s POV

A dog, a window, a green hat include all three and write from the perspective of one. I wrote from the window’s perspective.

Charlie was digging again, out under the apple tree in the shade. It was noontime, and the sun was bright overhead. I saw him lie down in the cool hole he had made. His eyes closed as he began his nap, but I could see that his ears were still on alert. It was a good thing too, for as I watched, a strong wind kicked up. Charlie opened his eyes and jumped up just as a limb fell out of the tree right next to where he had been lying.

Charlie sniffed the limb, then began to bark. I couldn’t see why he was barking until he moved to one side and I then I could see a green straw hat nestled into a fork in the limb. Inside the hat were five baby squirrels. June was inside the house and heard the noise. She ran past me and out the door.

“So that’s where my hat went to,” I heard her say as she went by.

Karen Hydock

 

May 22, 2018 – Prompt – Sage, Match,Corner, Light and Border

It was a dark corner with hardly much space to find shelter but you could collect some dried sage and straw, twigs and garbage to make a small fire. The ruins of the house had stood there all the time Ross had been around. It had been a burned down building with just a few walls standing but the corner was the most sheltered from the south winds to build a fire to warm yourself up.

Ross had be homeless for several year and now and each time he arrived at this ruins he would come to this dark corner and build a precious little fire religiously, and sit by it warming his hands, till the embers glowed and died and the wisp of smoke would rise announcing the close of the ceremony. Then Ross would gather his odds and ends and shuffle off to the next ritual site on his circuit.

He pulled out a tattered box of matches and struck the match. The flame lit the dark corner for a brief moment and out of the corner of his eye he saw the dull gleam of metal. He wondered what it was as he reached for the coin lying on the floor.

“Must hav’ dropped out of Ol’ Henry’s trouser pocket,” he mumbled as he pocketed the quarter.

Tim Bhajjan

April 24, 2018 – Prompt – salt, light, hand, cover, water

It wasn’t long before her hand started to shiver, the water was ice cold and with the light going out it felt eerie and depressing all around.
“Where was Robert after all,” she wondered. She looked anxiously all around at the darkening sky.
“Will he make it safely over the icy bridge and come looking for me,” she wondered.
The car was a total wreck and her hand was turning numb and cold, stuck in the mangled, bent, metal of what was once a car door. Yes, her wrist was broken, crushed probably with the impact, as the car had skidded over the wet pavement and hit the rock on the side of the lake. It all seemed such a loss, and now the wave of darkness slowly crept over her consciousness as she fell asleep.

Tim Bhajjan

*****

The beach where I live has a wide sandy area. One day I took a walk in the morning sunlight, and something on the stretch ahead caught my eye. A section of cardboard laid on the ground near a grassy overhang. Wary some crab or jellyfish might be under it, I extended my hand and turned the covering away. Much to my surprise, I found a hill of salt. A trickle of water ran around the white grains from the runoff above.
Bending down, I looked at the mound closer and saw small black bugs depositing one salt grain at a time onto the salt hill.
This was most curious. So, I followed the trail of beetles up on the grassy ledge above me. There, someone had dumped a load of road salt on top of the bug’s home. They were busy removing the grains away from the entry to their tunnel.
This taught me a good lesson. That there is more intelligent life beneath our world.

(c)A.Nation2018

Nancy Nation