Story For The Week 4-13-2021

Solitude

Solitude didn’t both him, that wasn’t it, but his brother, Silence, was a different story. Nights when he was the only person alive and the vast silent expanse of the sky cupped over him like a giant’s hand. Those nights he curled up in his blankets and shivered, eyes tight closed, not wanting to see the Nightly Things creeping up on him. If he didn’t see them, they couldn’t see him, no matter how close they crept. Nightly Things couldn’t peer inside closed eyelids, that was the rule.

The Doctor didn’t look over at Mrs. Marshall as he spoke.  “As you can see, he hasn’t gotten any better.”

“Do you know why?”

“The workings of the mind are still mostly a mystery.  There  is so much we don’t know about mental illness.”

“He isn’t mentally ill.”

“Look at him, Mrs. Marshall. He has no connection nor concept of the world.” He paused, feigning sympathy and patience. “He isn’t going to get better. The best thing for him is to put him into an institution so he gets the care he needs…” Droning on until his words turned into blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Care for him yes, but not love him. Not like a mother.

Mrs. Marshall stared through the window at her son. She knew so little about him, his world, but one thing she did know was he was not mentally ill. Those words he scribbling over and over – Nightly Things – scared her. What did he mean? What was he trying to tell her, his mother, the one person who loved him unconditionally?

She thought his words were a cry for help, for protection; to be heard. Something somewhere terrified him. Something, real or not, chased him in his silent world.

On the drive home, she thought about being a mother. Mothers didn’t give up. They didn’t leave their child behind.  She stroked his hair, silky even at ten. Mother’s protected against Nightly Things, whatever they were. Mothers loved. Mothers listened even to the silence.

Mothers didn’t walk away.

Response – JSW 4-12-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

Copyright csk 2020

He stood on the bank, just beyond the sea grasses, staring out at the rolling ocean beyond. The day was grey, promising a rain he hoped would never come. He needed sunshine and brightness, not rain and gloom. Either way, he’s survive, he supposed, though there were times he wanted to not survive. Times he wanted anything but to survive.

Another marriage down the tubes. You’d think he would have gotten good at it by now, but somehow things always got screwed up. Usually him, but this time her. She’d lied to him since the day they met, claiming love, but in the end she’d just wanted his money.

Stepping over the sea grass, he walked out onto the wind-swept beach, shoes squeaking in the sand. Loosening his tie, he pulled it over his head and dropped it to the ground, shucked his jacket.

What good was love when it could never be trusted? What good was life without love? Why couldn’t he just get it right?

He stopped on the edge of the surf, foam washing up and around his shoes, dampening the edges of his trousers.

Overhead, seagulls called his name. A Sandpiper scurried along the edge of the surf. Beyond the breakers, pelicans rode the waves.

Alone, he walked into the sea.

JSW 4-12-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

Copyright csk 2020

Response JSW 4-5-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

I dropped my head, groaning. Why couldn’t one day, just one day, with him be normal?

“You seem unhappy.”

“To say the least.”

“Why are you unhappy?”

“Because you just shot our chance of being normal.”

“They weren’t going to think we were normal anyway.”

“But you didn’t have to go drop fire on their heads?”

“Why not it was pretty.”

Pretty!

“Look, idiot, pretty doesn’t keep us alive. Pretty doesn’t help us blend in with the normal folk.”

“Why would you want to blend in?” he asked.

I could see he was truly curious. “Because I want to live for one thing. And I’d like a normal life like any normal being.”

“Not all that it stacks up to be.”

“I don’t care,” I screamed. “I want to be normal.”

He was silent for a long time, watching the burning village in the valley below. “I’m sorry. I’d take it back if I could.”

“Humph. Little good that does us now.”

“Sor-ry.”

“Well, let’s move on before they start to look for us.” It didn’t any good to get angry at him. As much as he said sorry, he really didn’t understand the meaning of the word. He thought just saying sorry made all things better.

He followed me back down the hill and away.

“But can you please not drop fire down on the next village?”

“Sor-ry.”

“Can you?”

“No.”

“No what?”

“I can’t drop fire on the next village.”

“Good. Now that’s settled, let’s hope we find another village soon.”

We trotted away, tails wagging, hoping we’d find a master over the next hill.

Friday Fictioneers 4-2-2021

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

“Chris, your brother has something for you!”

Chris slammed the door. Just what he did not need right now. His mother. Just another fight waiting to happen.

Davies swung around when he entered the kitchen.

“It’s us,” he said in his strangely high voice, his way of responding to the fight.

“Who’s the one without pants or a shirt?”

“Susan.”

He laughed. “Yeah, figures. Which one is me?”

Davies pointed to the cookie with the green sweater and necklace.

“Why?”

“You going to be Rock Star!”

His eyes met his mother’s. She smiled.

JSW 3-29-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

Picture copyright csknotts

“Look at that idiot! Out in the wind like that.”

“He is a seagull.”

“Well, so are you, but are you out there in the wind like that?”

“Seagulls like wind.”

“Well then he should be flying, not sitting there like a lump on sand. Do you see any other seagulls out there? Huh? Huh?”

“No, but…”

“But nothing. He’s a disgrace to seagullkind.”

“Just because he enjoys a little wind?”

“A little wind? A little! It’s almost a hurricane out there.”

“Don’t exaggerate.”

“I’m not, much, but you know what I mean.”

“I bet any minute he is going to take off and do some daring stunt, some spectacular flying, some sheer magic in the air.”

“Humph.”

But he didn’t. The seagull just sat there in the wind, moving a few steps now and then to keep upright.

“See, told you. Nothing. A disgrace.”

“He’s just different, Ma.”

“Different my tailfeathers. He’s a disgrace!”

“Come on, fly!”

“Humph.” Ma waddled away, back to the safety of the inlet.

“Come on, fly!”

But Jonathan stayed on the sand. Waiting. Enjoying the wind in his feathers.

He really wasn’t like any other seagull.

Friday Fictioneers 3-26-2021

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

“Do you really think it is?” she asked in an awed whisper.

“Maybe.”

“Where is the wardrobe?”

“You can’t see it from here,” I told her. “It’s to the left of the lamppost.”

Eyes wide, curls dusted with snow, she started into the empty space.

“Do you think we can find it?”

“The wardrobe?”

A firm nod.

“One day,” I said.

She nodded again as I took her hand.

“One day,” she agreed. “I am going to find it.”

I glanced right, at the faun peeking around the tree.

“You will,” I said. “I know it.”

JSW 3-22-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“Nay, she just hinted.”

He was sitting across from my desk, in his dirty clothes, smelling like a whiff of sewer.

“I don’t want you to tell her where I am.”

“Look, your mother doesn’t care where you are as long as you are safe,” I said roughly, “And if you do go see her, I’d suggest a bath first.” A little white lie never hurt anybody, and besides, as long as he thought it was his mother who was looking for him, my client was safe. He’d figure it out, but hopefully, not soon enough.

“I smell?”

“Like a sewer.” I was reeking the same scent after tunneling down to find the man, much to my chagrin.

He seemed to be thinking and it looked like a hard task.

“Just call her, let her know you are safe. That’s all I ask and my job is done.”

“I don’t want to.”

I sighed, rubbing a hand over my hair. “And why not?”

“She never gave a damn before so why should she care now.” As he said the words, something came over his face, a thought or a suspicion that he wasn’t yet ready to believe.

“It was my mother, right?”

“Does it matter at this point?”

He slumped in the chair. “I suppose not.”

The look on his face said otherwise. Maybe he wasn’t as dumb as I’d thought. Now the look was on my face, something just on the edge of my mind, something I couldn’t catch for the life of me.

Just then my door opened. A ragged man stepped in, stench preceding him. Behind him were several more men.

On instinct, I turned towards the window behind my desk, kept unlocked for this very reason, but as I did so, a group of men pushed the window open and started climbing inside.

In my client chair, he smiled. “You didn’t think I really believed my mother gave a damn about me did you?”

I was back to the wall, pistol in my hand. Shrugged. “It was a thought.”

The men moved closer.

“You can’t shoot us all,” one of them chuckled, grubby hands reaching out.

I shot him. One down. Two down, but before I managed the third, they were on me. They crushed me to the ground, fingers digging into my skin, hands locking my limbs, arm around my throat, somebody taking the pistol from my fist. Lifting me up, they took me out the back door, to the sewer entrance I’d used just moments before.

He knelt down behind me as I hung, limbs held firmly, between the men. “Welcome to my world.”

“I’ll never tell you,” I spat between clenched teeth.

Somebody wrenched the sewer lid off and they threw me down.