Daily Post One Word Prompt – Borrow

It started on Sunday.  Everything started on Sunday.  He’d borrowed the chain saw on Sunday to cut down a tree and it fell on his house, crushing half the roof.  He’d borrowed a car to get materials to repair the roof and had an accident. Well, he hadn’t had an accident. Somebody had an accident on him. The week before, he’d borrowed a pair of clippers and nearly sheered his hand off. Borrowed a plastic bag to take his clothes home from the Emergency Room, fumbled the bag with his bandaged hand, slipped and ended up back in the hospital with a busted head.

Monday through Saturday were fine. Dandy. Pleasant even. But come Sunday…

This Sunday, he’d decided to stay home, read the paper in bed. Breakfast on the patio. Nap. Drink tea. Settle in to catch up on his favorite TV shows.

Waking, he picked up a magazine, settling back with a sigh of contentment. The paper’s edge sliced three fingers.  He’d borrowed it from his neighbor. Burned himself on his sister’s pan. Dropped his Aunt’s teakettle on his foot. Rolled off the sofa he’d borrowed from his parents. Shocked himself setting up the borrowed DVD player.

He was never going to borrow anything ever again.  And, next Sunday, he was staying in bed.

 

Borrowed

Heroes and Villians

“Every villain is a hero in his own mind.”
Tom Hiddleston

Who wouldn’t be? The majority of us don’t want to admit our faults and mistakes. We want to be seen as the hero, not the villain. This desire is basic human nature. I am one of those who believe our basic nature is good, or maybe I just want this to be true. I don’t like to think that I might be a villain trying to be a hero.

But, if I am totally honest, I have to admit the truth of the above quote. Worse case scenario, Hitler. He had to think he was doing right for his country, so he must have seen himself as a hero for the Aryan race. While I might never agree with his belief – I can’t think of many who would – I have to believe he believed. If he didn’t, then the world descends into chaos where no rules apply. Maybe, I just want to think there is some redeeming quality in all men, and women, whether Hitler, Papa Doc or Al Capone. My belief does not condone their behavior (I am, to the end, an Aragon fan), but it allows me to see them as human.

Then again, I have been listening to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The tortures perpetrated by the Japanese against the POW’s were beyond cruel. I reached the point where, if she had gone on much longer about their captivity, I would have stopped listening. For what they did to helpless prisoners, the Japanese guards were evil. So how do I understand that they, too, might have looked at themselves as heroes? Do I need to?

What about the CIA?  During the Cold War, they experimented with various ways to create the perfect assassin.  Who cared if their attempts included giving LSD to unsuspecting people?  Does this make them evil? Does it make them responsible when one of their subject jumped to his death from a 10th story window? Yet, I know they must have considered themselves heroes.

I’ve blogged about good and evil before, but the questions keep turning in my mind. I need to understand why the Japanese did what they did because, if I understand, I might figure out how a man who kills millions of ‘inferior’ people could possible call himself a hero, how men with no reason to hurt those prisoners under them, tortured them daily, hourly, minute by minute, just because they could.

Quote For The Day 8-1-2015

In any story, the villain is the catalyst. The hero’s not a person who will bend the rules or show the cracks in his armor. He’s one-dimensional intentionally, but the villain is the person who owns up to what he is and stands by it.

Poetry Moment

I lay awake,
staring out past
the confines of my window,
sky soft and blurry.
Dark is complete.
I trace the rooms of this house,
shapes, sizes and even
the rough corners of the room’s elbows.
All the while dark lies
on my chest like a cat,
licks my cheek, fingertips.
I could reach out and turn
this night like a page,
one loud voice and
the dark would shatter
like crystal.
We did not touch –
never did you see
the dark universe I house
between my ribs
or the dull ache in my breast
that needed only stroking.
We walked together
in the cold night snow,
breath streaming behind us
like exhaust
from a car
turning circles
over a cliff.

JSW Prompt 7-23-2015

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Come on!  Tell me a story!

JSW Prompt July 23, 2015 Response

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He crouched in the dark, one knee down, toe of his boot pressing rocky floor, his other boot poised to propel him forward when the moment arrived.  And it would arrive.  He just didn’t know when.  But knowing when wasn’t his job.  Getting in and out safely, prize in hand – that was his job.

His eyes adjusted slowly to the dark, allowing him to pick out the rough rock walls of the tunnel, the scattering of broken stones and bones across the ground.  Bones left as a warning.  How nice.

If he could have snorted silently, he would have. The bones were a challenge, at least for him. He’d already left two dead behind and he’d leave more if needed. Life meant little to him less’in it was his own.  And even then, only marginally.  So what if they planned to kill him if he failed?  He would not fail.  He never failed.

The rock around him started to shake and heave.  He sprang forward, running through the darkened tunnel, leaping stones, avoiding jagged protrusions on the walls, ducking low-hanging stone. Arms out for balance, he stumbled, rightened himself and ran on, counting silently.

Ten, nine eight.  Around the first bend. Drop to his knees and shoot through the narrow opening under a rock fall then back to his feet and running.  Gathered himself and leapt across the snake pit, rolling to his feet on the far side.

Seven, six, five.  Dropped into the rock chimney and slid, boots and gloves against the walls to direct his fall.

Four, three, two.  Almost.  Hitting the ground, he ducked out of the chimney and ran, reaching the next turn of the tunnel as the chimney collapsed behind him.

One.

He slid into the cavern, freezing for a moment to listen, sense.  The silence was empty, vibrating around him the way a tuning fork vibrated to a touch.

He was alone.

He rose and walked to the pedestal, staring at the two-fisted size gem resting upon a velvet cloth.  Warily, he circled the pedestal, searching visually for the small catch able to release the stone.  Reaching the front of the pedestal, he moved closer, removing his right glove to ensure a better feel. Fumbled for a moment and then pulled the catch forward and up, freeing the stone.  As he worked, he felt something brush his hand but ignored it.

Rolling the gem into his left hand, he let go of the catch, hearing the crack of stone. Pulling his hand back, he frowned at the black glove encasing his flesh.  The moving back glove……

He shrieked, shaking his hand violently to dislodge the black mass…

Spiders!

SpidersspidersspidersspidersSPIDERS!

Dropping the gem, he brushed frantically at the creatures with his gloved hand, whole body shaking with the feel of tiny hairy crawling feet.

Falling back against the wall, he drew in long panicked breaths, fighting the shivers consuming him.  S-pi-d-er-s.  Threw away both gloves and ran his hands frantically through his hair, brushing away imaginary spiders.

Garden spiders.  Freaking garden spiders, but he didn’t give a damn.  Just the thought of them touching his skin sent him into violent spasms, fighting for breath. Stomped the ground around him with both feet to squash any that dared come near. Scratched his hands through his hair again, hard.  Wiped at his clothes over and over but the feel of them wouldn’t go away.

Spiders.

Just on your hand, just on your hand, he repeated over and over, trying to wish away the feel.  Hand, hand, hand!  It as no use. He still felt the anguish of their legs on him. Coming to his feet, gem forgotten, he started to run.  Where, he didn’t care.  How, he didn’t care.  All he needed was to get away.