Too Strange – Another Prompt Response

I’m not loving this one; it’s too Stranger Things for me and too much like some of my other prompt responses. But I did tell myself if I did these writing prompts I’d share what I wrote. So…here’s my response to Random_Michelle’s latest photo fiction challenge. Previous prompt responses can be found by using the search feature on this site; many of them are much better than this, I promise.

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Little Red was a girl who fell victim to a wolf attack. That’s not the story her grandmother told. We all need our fairytales to cope.

Big Red hears the anguished cries as the community she’s tied to searches the woods for a missing girl. Pain has a way of bleeding through realities. Big Red knows pain is catching; she’s never been sick but has felt ripples of things felt by her twin. Or used to, before Little Red died. That residual pain would have been preferable to being alone these 20 years.

Big Red squints through the veil and sees the girl where she is caught in a wolf trap, one of many that have dotted this woodscape like landmines since Little Red got eaten.

She wants to keep the girl for herself and does for a time after freeing her from the trap. The girl will always have a slight limp but with love and care and some suru leaf, she heals. When she cries for her mommy, Big Red sings her lullabyes Little Red’s grandmother used to sing after everything happened and she went mad.

She hopes the girl will forget. But she doesn’t. As she grows, she searches obsessively for rips in the curtain around their world. She is thirteen when she finds one she can squeeze through. It’s been six years since she left.

Her mother holds too tight to her and all the villagers look at her like she is a miracle. At night, when it’s really quiet, they hear anguished cries that set the wolves mourning in reply. After a time, the adventure becomes a memory but the girl, even as an old woman, sometimes wakes up damp and afraid, from nightmares of a woman in red stealing her away.

Colin and The World Beyond

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Random_Michelle’s latest picture prompt (see above) and viewing the Goosebumps movie last night has me tapping in to my inner R L Stine. How’d I do?

When Colin returned he was a nine year old boy. Nothing unusual about that; the world is full of nine year old boys. But Colin was no ordinary nine year old. There were 50 year olds in the village who had gone to school with him.

His mother had been old, dementia riding her like a favourite horse, since her boy fell in to the well. When the historical society unsealed the well, meaning to add it to the village tour, and the nine year old boy climbed out, only his mother rejoiced, her eyes clearing, seeing finally what they’d been searching for.

“But where were you?” the bolder of the village children asked.

“Oh it was the best place,” Colin said.

The way he described it, it certainly seemed so: water that tastes as sweet as milk sap, cascading down a fall that disappeared in to the forever and ever forest and spilled out in to a sea so clear you could see turtle and fish just beneath, but so bottomless it disappeared to beyond beyond.

The villagers knew they had a problem when children started disappearing.

When they came, his mother positioned herself between Colin and the wound-up villagers. They attempted to wait her out. She was an old woman after all. But she was also a mother and she had lost her son once before, and so she stood there.

Eventually, someone simply went around her.

“He’s not here!”

Neither Colin nor the other children have been seen again and, though the well was re-sealed, some of the villagers, spooked by the idea of a whole other world beneath their world, left.

Colin’s mother is still there though, her spirit outlasting her body, standing there in the path between her son and danger, waiting for his return.

Empath

untitledRandom_Michelle is at it again challenging us to keep our story writing limbs nimble. I saw this picture of the boy and I had …nothing. But then a few things coalesced (random things: things on my mind, some fan fic I read once, and this poem by November Rain in response to the same prompt) and this inner monologue from the perspective of the boy’s mother came out. It’s spontaneous and unedited (except for cutting for length) as these prompt responses are.

He comes to me crying again. School is a war zone of hurled insults to which I send him each day with only the armor of my love. They say boys must be tough, but he has a sensitive soul and here that is a crime. He must toughen up. Even my own mother says so. She was the same way with me. If I brought her any hurt, she wanted to know if I hurt back. It was how she could be sure I would survive life. But I want him to do more than survive. I want him to live. I want him to feel the fullness of an open heart, to dance, and laugh, and touch the people he loves, to be gentle with fragile things. I want him to be human. I want to tell him that I see him. Not only the little boy he is now with tears in his eyes and confusion as to what it is about him that stirs such scorn but the giant he will someday be. I tell him that the giant is strong but has a tender heart, is careful even when walking so as not to disturb the earth. I tell him he’ll be so big and strong someday that people will see him and be afraid, but that he will be a giant fed on love and acceptance of everything, of everyone, of their right to be as they are. I tell him that he is meant to change lives just by being an example of goodness in the world. And I wipe his tears as he smiles, wanting to believe me, squinting, trying to picture the shadow of this future giant he is destined to be but not able, quite yet, to see.

38: our Meet-Cute

meet cuteI wanted to do more with the cracks but by the time I finished editing this down to 300 words, playtime was over. But such as it is, have a read of my latest response to a Random Michelle Photo Fiction Challenge.

The bullet hole is tattooed over the scar covering the left side of her chest. Anyone who sees its cracked lines up close, usually, sees their death. Don’t cry for them. She doesn’t go looking for trouble.

Being a factionless mutant in such times is dangerous. The scar on her chest is evidence that that danger’d nearly ended her. Few could survive a bullet through the heart. Self-healing is a part of her mutation but there was only so much her body could do against a bullet. It spit it out and a lot of her blood with it. It was after that that her skin took on its strange bluish-green tint, due to anemia; that light had unleashed another aspect of her mutation, a protective heat as deadly as radiation.

The night I met her I was bedded down in an alley with nothing but newspaper for cover. It had President Blowhard’s orange face on it. His mutation was a karizma that hypnotized many. Not me. I had resistance. I planned to wipe my ass with his face when I did my business in the morning.

I recognized her right away; her aura was bright like she was fresh from a fight. But she was shivering – it was her curse that the heat she emitted only made her colder. She stopped when she saw the alley was already occupied.

I didn’t see death. I saw a girl alone and drained of everything. I raised myself up slightly, silently offering her the questionable warmth of my newspaper blanket and the heat from my many days unwashed body. She looked at me for the longest while, aura wavering. My mouth dried. Then her light abruptly dimmed and she all but fell in to me.

We’ve been together ever since.

 

The Wafer

This prompt came not from the same place as my recent writing prompts but from Chattinatti whose challenge was to write a poem about food. Hers went to a happy food place; mine went …in another direction…

It tastes like paper
Of a flimsy texture
Dissolving into the tongue
Without satisfying hunger
The entire Mass to a child
Is the length of Lent
And as void of satisfaction
You take in the Word
But yearn for the wine He sips between each step
Like punctuation in a run-on-sentence
When will it ennnnddd
You dream of Sunday breakfast
Saltfish, eggs, chop up
Cucumber sprinkled with salt
Maybe fried plantain
As a reward for all this patience
You’re aware that you’re “bad”
For all this mourning dreaming
Will have to remember to add it to
The tally of your sins for Confession
Catholic Guilt is a mighty thing
As
To a child
Is the epic Hunger
That is Sunday Morning Mass
Pre Breakfast

 

Love is Magic

Another day, another writing prompt; flexing those muscles. Though I’ll admit the 300 word count felt a little confining this time; I still have so many questions (lol). Like my previous prompt responses,  Photo Fiction #23 is courtesy Random_Michelle

I bury him at the edge at the edge of Forever, a sand-covered planet where you could go blind, from the whiteness. It is the fate of adventurers. I plant a cross fashioned of white-wood-and-weed, the only thing that grows here.

“Still trying to make a convert out of me?” he teases in my head.

He didn’t believe in any kind of magic, not even love.

“It’s hormones, luv,” he’d say, “the girl hormones, I think we call it in our worlds, oestrogen, meet the boy hormones, what are those called again, ah, testosterone, the skin flushes, lust sparks everywhere…”

I’d laugh and roll my eyes at the same time.

“Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin…with that drug cocktail, it’s a wonder we don’t go insane.”

He’d be performing by this point. I was a rapt audience.

“Oxytocin and Vasopressin getting us all wrapped up in each other…don’t leave me! Why hasn’t she texted me back? Aaargh… ah love.”

“You’re such a romantic,” I’d tease.

“I am …Science, your Pheromones are intoxicating!”

And then he’d kiss me.

I return to the carrier, my booted feet dragging and heavy, and not just because of the unyielding sand.

I actually disagree with him that love is just science. Sometimes it’s circumstance. What are the chances of two like us – an Indiana Jones for the Many Worlds age, and a science nerd who grew up barefoot on an island back on Terra Firma – meeting light years and many planets away from where we’d started. The age difference is one thing – he was already 50 and moving through galaxies with the ease of experience when I met him, I was 22 and just out of college and had answered the ad for an apprentice on a whim. He was lonely, I was eager; we were magic.

Lamplight: a Photo Fiction Challenge response

When I respond to these prompts I usually just write and post (very minimal editing) to keep the process pure-ish…or something. This is kind of a blend of an idea that’s been pushing at my consciousness for a while (and which I might still build on) and this picture prompt from RandomMichelle because writing prompts can help you move ideas forward or, worst case scenario, just get you writing. Here’s a link to some I’ve done before… and here in response to Photo Fiction #28 is Lamplight:

I like to think of that night. Of all the days of my life. Shorty is still with us, with his big muscle bound self. That’s who I’m looking up at in the picture. He chatting some shit. Nobody love stupidness like him. Couldn’t be serious to save his life. In our house, it helped to have someone like Shorty to lighten things up, to make even mammy-self laugh. Because that picture is a lie. We never laugh like that. I look at that picture and I see a pretty girl – lacy tank, gypsy skirt, wild hair, big grin. That girl doesn’t really exist outside of that moment. She is a lie.

Shorty is at 1735, locked up in that place because of that girl and the lies she told. A leaked video from behind the prison’s big red gate showed the hell Shorty and other ghosts like him are living in. Ghosts because we, all of us, would rather forget them piled on top of each other, up there; disease, foul air, violence, and shit. Shit!

Is me cause it.

Mammy would’ve killed me if she knew I was hanging around New Deal, a badjohn from down the block. So when someone told her they saw me talking to him I lied, lied and said he was troubling me. And Shorty, stupid fool, dutiful big brother, for all his laughter, had a temper.

When the fighting done, New Deal dead and Shorty in cuffs. And Mammy had another reason to hate me.

And that picture of my sixteenth birthday sits on my dresser taunting me. Shorty there but just out of frame; that big stupid lamp he bought me because he knew I liked antique-ish things we could never afford, casting a dreamlike glow.