The Blame Game 2-13-2021

Dan strode back and forth in his tiny one-room apartment, teeth clenched, fists opening and closing.

What had he done? Nothing!

Nothing! He’d done nothing to make her treat him like this.

He stopped at the far wall, staring at once blue wallpaper.

What had he done?

Nothing. He’d done nothing to justify this, but he’d also done nothing to avoid this. To make things better between them.

He dropped his head, forehead touching the cold wall.

This was his fault. What had happened to the flowers he’d once given her daily? The odd card now and then? The dinners… the nights out dancing.

The truth was, he’d forgotten as the years passed by. What with work and kids and a house to pay for and maintain and upgrade whenever she felt the need for something new.

So why was this his fault? It wasn’t really. She’d forgotten, too. What happened to the nights of passion? Coming home to find her wrapped in a bow and nothing else? The nice dinners on the table at 6:00.

Kids were what happened. This was their fault. They would have been just fine if they’d never had kids. Plenty of nights for passion without the endless loop of ‘I’m tired,’ or “I have a headache.” Dinner out every night maybe. Candles on the table. He would have been able to afford the flowers every day. Could have afforded nice vacations, trips to Mexico or England.

No kids to slow them down, to take their focus away from each other.

All that money down the drain.

But he loved his kids. Sarah and Tommy. God, the day they were born. Delirious with joy and fear. Where he’d expected one baby they now had two. Could he afford two? How was he gonna pay for the house and the bills and food and diapers and…

So he’d worked longer hours. Had to, really. He couldn’t let his family live on the street. He was the man. It was his responsibility to take care of his family. To feed and clothe and support them.

Long hours worked. A second job for many years. Too tired when he came home to play ball with his son. Tea parties with his daughter. Damn too tired to talk to his wife. Eat dinner and collapse in front of the TV for the night while she bathed the kids and put them to bed. And then went to bed herself.

So it was her fault. She’d never come down, never tried to engage him…

But she had. Night and night after night and he’d been too damn tired to try. Snapped at her enough to give up.

Somewhere between one kid and the other, they’d gotten lost.

Tears burned his eyes, pain stabbing through his belly all the way to his toes, flowing out around him to envelope him in a greater loss than he’d ever known before.

Who would have thought the one thing they’d wanted more than anything would destroy them?

Maybe he could blame it on the dog. Just one more mouth to feed, one more responsibility on his plate. Not like he’d done much with the dog. It was her dog. She walked it and fed it and took it to the vet and spend money they didn’t have on teeth cleaning and removals, medicines for kidneys and stiff joints, and things for which he’d never received medicine. Couldn’t afford it so he went without.

Now his kidneys didn’t work very well and his joints were stiff. Hurt like a dickens when it rained but the damned dog didn’t suffer. Not even dying.

There was a knock at the door and he turned, terribly afraid. She stepped inside in the blue dress she’d been wearing the first time he’d seen her. So beautiful. Long thick brown hair. Brown eyes sparkling like sunshine. Full lips.

“It’s okay,” she said with the smile which had won his heart. “It isn’t anybody’s fault. It’s life. We did okay.”

All he wanted to do at that moment was hug her. Hold her tight and close and never let her go. Take back all the years they had lost, all the moments which could never be replaced. But, as he held her, she slipped silently away, to sunbeams then to smoke, and then gone.

He had buried her that morning.

JSW 2-8-2021

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.

Use the following line to begin…

“Once upon a time is such a cliche way to start a story but here we are.”

Response JSW 1-11-2021

It wasn’t like the water I was in was boiling hot, steaming might be more appropriate. Nonetheless, it was an uncomfortable situation.

“It’s rude to hold a gun on somebody,” I said, leveling my voice as best as possible.

“I didn’t do it,” I said, using the distraction of my voice to inch my hand towards my coat pocket.

It’s a weird thing to stare down the barrel of a gun. You’d think you wouldn’t see much, the barrel being so small, but it’s like your vision, your life, telescopes down to a single pin-point of being. I imagined I could see down the inside length of the barrel, the spiraling lines which might soon striate the bullet.

“Can we talk?”

I stared down the darkness of the barrel of the gun, imaging I could see the bullet nestled deep inside.

“Look, I wasn’t the one.”

Just a little more time.

“I wasn’t there.”

My hand inched closer.

“”You have the wrong guy.”

My fingers closed around …

JSW (Just Start Writing) 1-4-2021

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.

Friday Fictioneers 1-3-2021

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Ye

“How’d you like to have an office there?”

“In the clouds?”

“At the top of the building.”

“The human equivalent of clouds.”

“They can’t help it. They’re human. They’ve forgotten how to be in the clouds.”

“Forgot or too afraid.”

“That too.”

“I wonder what the clouds look like from in there.”

“Not as pretty as out here.”

“I’m sad for them. Think of all they are missing.”

“They’ll learn one day.”

“Hopefully, while alive.”

“If not, that’s where we come in.”

They sat in silent contemplation.

It must be wonderful to learn how to fly.

Friday Fictioneers 12-25-2020

PHOTO PROMPT © Trish Nankivell

Gone

This was a fine fettle. Like “Croatoan” if one wanted to think of it that way. He didn’t really, but he could tell the road to the ranch hadn’t been used in years. Had she left this message here for him?

She’d said she’d wait, but that obviously went out the window once he was locked up. His cellmates had warned him, but he had stupidly believed her.

Tossing his cigarette away into the dust, he turned and started hiking back towards the main road. One day he would find her. One day.

Words – 99

“Croatoan” – One of the only clues left to the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony in 1590.

Response – JSW Prompt 2-24-2020

Feel free to join in and respond to the prompt. Please try to keep your response between 200 – 250 word (recommended, not law). You can write a story, poem, essay, anything which strikes your fancy! Link your work back to this post so people can read it.


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It was the endlessness of the miles which staggered him. Mile after mile after mile through the rugged ruins of the world which Once-Had-Been. Mile after mile after mile of wilderness reclaiming all he might remember if only he had the chance.

Nothing was the same, yet nothing had changed. He was foolish to leave the enclave, they said, but they didn’t understand. Their focus had narrowed in the years since the End to nothing more than that which they could see. Circle-Turning People he called them. Always circling around what was left; never remembering what Once-Had-Been.

A Visionary, they called him mockingly. A Rememberer.

Yet the dream memories haunted him like the random skeletons of what Once-Had-Been rising suddenly through the tangle of the wilderness, more forgotten with each vine and branch and wild-bush.

The mouth of the tunnel was barely visible, hidden behind years of trees and brush and deadfall. Far, far away he heard the dream-sound hum of tires on pavement.

 

JSW Prompt 2-24-2020

Feel free to join in and respond to the prompt. Please try to keep your response between 200 – 250 word (recommended, not law). You can write a story, poem, essay, anything which strikes your fancy! Link your work back to this post so people can read it.


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JSW Prompt 2-17-2020

Feel free to join in and respond to the prompt. Please try to keep your response between 200 – 250 word (recommended, not law). You can write a story, poem, essay, anything which strikes your fancy! Link your work back to this post so people can read it.


Elixyvette : Lohoot? What happened to your other boot?) Lohoot : The giant mud puddle you guys left me to be devoured by desired a sacrifice if I was to remain who I am.) Elixyvette : Lohoot! I just polished those! -meanwhile Prideaux is very fascinated by the idea of a puddle talking.


Response – JSW Prompt 1-28-2020

wp-1580231020488.jpgFeel free to join in and respond to the prompt. Please try to keep your response between 200 – 250 word (recommended, not law). You can write a story, poem, essay, anything which strikes your fancy! Link your work back to this post so people can read it.


“What the….” Jason asked as he pulled the car over to the side of the road. The front lawn of his house was covered with limbs and debris. “Did a tree explode?”

“You have exploding trees in your neighborhood?”

“Apparently.”

“I wish our neighborhood had exploding trees.”

Jason looked over at her. “Really?”

She looked at him seriously. “They would protect us from the Maurding Marchmonsters.”

His eyebrows raised.  “What do they have to do with all that… stuff on my yard?

Her look said it all. “Protection, remember.”

“From the Marauding Marshmellows?”

“Marauding Marchmonsters!”

“Oh, so no marshmellows?”

“No!” She crossed her arms and looked out her window.

He smiled.  “Do you think we can in past the exploding tree?”

After a moment, she nodded firmly and he parked the car across the street, stepping out and around to lift her out of the car.

She slid her arms around his neck.  “You won’t let the Maurding Marchmonsters get me?”

He kissed the top of her head.  “Of course not, baby,” he said softly, closing the car door with his hip.

Half way across the street, she was asleep.