A Simple Christmas

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The cabin was deep in the heart of Appalachia. She was a city girl and he had worked in the city for years. They weren’t on the same page any more. They had been fighting, constantly bickering. He was desperate to save their marriage.

He surprised her with a trip to the cabin for a simple, country Christmas. She didn’t think she’d like it. Just the woods, a tree, their dog, and them. It was awkward at first, but then they began to talk. They rediscovered what they loved about each other at that cabin in the woods that Christmas.

100 words

Photo Credit Sandra Crook

The Palace at Versailles

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It was one of their many times in Paris. Their hotel room was small, but intimate. They had spent time together in Portugal and were on their way home to the States. He had business in Versailles and they made an adventure out of it in their favorite city of Paris. No one knew them there. They spent most of their time in their room, feasting on wine and food from the grocery down the street, and each other.

He had business at the Palace in Versailles and she went along in order to experience it. They passed the fields of lavender and all the other flowers in bloom that were used to make French perfume. She walked the grounds of the Palace while she waited on him. They couldn’t get back to their room in Paris fast enough.

But that was a million years ago.

Portal: The Escape – #writephoto

The only way she could think was to walk. She had found a long, lonely road where no one lived on the island. It was filled with the shade of the low palms and the unfamiliar sounds of the tropical birds as they swooped above her head. She couldn’t think at her home. He was there. Right beside her. Confusing her thoughts. She could only escape occasionally. On those occasions, she either went to the ocean or this lonely road.

She suddenly saw a house lying off the road, set back in a palm grove. She’d never walked this far before so she didn’t know the house. A manor house. It looked deserted. She could cool off there. The vegetation was grown up around the house. It seemed as if no one had been here in a long time. She pulled the door open. She was shocked at what she saw before her.

There was a long hallway in front of her. Then an opening and, seemingly, another hall. As she walked down the hallway, she saw an old man sitting at the end of what she could only call a portal. She kept walking and felt no fear. When she got to him, he greeted her and invited her to sit. They were both silent for a few moments. Then he spoke.

”Are you going to make a decision before you run out of time?”

”How do you know anything about me?” she replied.

“You won’t live as long as I have. You must make the right decision and quickly,” he said. “You’ve already wasted too much time.”

”What should I do?” she asked the old man..

”You only regret the things you don’t do. Are you happy?” he said.

”No, but I’m afraid.”

”Do you remember, when you were young, the thrill of jumping into a creek or riding your bike or kissing your boyfriend for the first time?” he asked.

She replied that she did remember.

”Go, my dear, and feel that rush again.”

He smiled at her. She got up from her chair when he looked as if he had fallen asleep. She thought of his words all the way back to where they lived on her beautiful island. She went inside, got out her suitcase, and said she was leaving. She said goodbye to her island, only for a time, she hoped. She packed, loaded her car, and inside a few hours, she was on the road – by herself.

She had fear because of what she had just done, but deep inside, she felt as if she were 20 years old again and knew she had done the right thing. For the first time in her life, she was doing something just for herself. She was escaping.

She felt the rush because of the man in the portal. Who had he been?

#metoo

Fright at Lake Superior

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They arrived at Shelter Bay on the south shore of Lake Superior. It was almost dark. The old cabin looked out on the beautiful lake and had cots around the wall, under all the windows. It was 1956.

The little girl needed to use the bathroom before bedtime. She was only four. Back then, the only bathroom around the old cabin was an outhouse. The little girl and her mother made the trek. They weren’t familiar with the Michigan backwoods.

When they came out of the outhouse, they were met with a surprise. They stopped still. Porcupines surrounded the outhouse!

99 words

Photo credit to What’s His Name

Death in the Lab

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The entomologist found him in the park. Struggling in the gravel that surrounded a flowery border. When he bent down to look at him, he could tell that he was still alive but probably had a broken leg. He was walking home from the local university, but he always had a plastic bag and tweezers on him for specimens.. Entomologists study insects. He was teaching a class right now where they were dissecting and studying herbivorous insects.

He bagged the grasshopper and, instead of going home, he turned around and went back to his lab. He was considering trying to save this grasshopper. He had never tried to save one before. He’d always killed them in them name of research and science.

He sat the grasshopper on the table and walked out of the room to get his supplies. When he walked back in, one of his students was leaning over the grasshopper. He walked over to him. He had already dissected the grasshopper.

The entomologist felt a real sense of loss.

171 words

Photo credit any1mark66

 

The Next Chapter

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As she stood on the pier and watched the sunset, tears streamed down her face. She had finally done it. She had put her house in her hometown up for sale today. It had been hard but necessary. Her family was gone. She still had friends there, but she had been gone a long time and they had moved on. She had as well.

It was time to physically move on. To a place that she loved. To a new start. To somewhere she didn’t feel the loss of her family so deeply. To where she could possibly forget…..certain things. She hoped her house would sell while she was here for the winter. She didn’t want to go back there again. She would hire someone to pack and move her.

She hoped she was entering a new chapter of her life. A different life. Someone here on the island had said to her, “We’re all hiding from something.” She knew what he meant. But, what she was hiding from was in her own head.

175 words

The Spoiler

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”Why do some people have to spoil everything?” I wondered out loud, as I stared through the mesh of the screen door into the jungle of the yard. I was thinking of the old man at the pier. I had thought, last year when visiting here, that he was my friend. This year, it was clear he wasn’t.

I loved to go to the pier at sunset. The Gulf was so peaceful. The sunset so beautiful. A man was there who I used to enjoy talking to. No more. Now he only wanted to argue. I didn’t know why.

A Story in Petroglyphs

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Dr. Michael Hurst and his team of students, from Harvard University, studying archeology and anthropology had been called in to study the rock face of a cliff in New Mexico. A new set of petroglyphs had been discovered.

”Petroglyphs are usually pictorial stories carved into rock faces by the Pueblo Native Americans who lived in this area,” Dr. Hurst explained to his students. “This small set of petroglyphs has just been found. The theory is that they are Navajo in origin.”

”Dr. Hurst, what do these petroglyphs mean?” asked one student.

”Jack, they are difficult to interpret. We’ve been able to interpret some of the most common. I’m not an expert, but the one of the left represents a person. The one on the right is more of a mystery to me. The two symbols together say that a person is doing something. Our job is to figure out what by interpreting the petroglyphs. It’s time to get to work!”

160 words

any1mark66

The Moles

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”It’s sunny outside, Theo. A dangerous time to go up above. But, the baby needs some food.”

”Cleo, I’ll be careful. It doesn’t look very busy out there.”

”it’s always busy in New York City. You can’t get caught stealing.”

Theo, Cleo, and their baby were three of the mole people who live in the tunnels under New York City. Theo had been homeless for more years than he could count. He had his own nook under the streets. Cleo found herself in the tunnels when she had the baby and her parents kicked her out. Theo took her into his nook. They were happy.

The baby was young and wouldn’t nurse. Cleo was only sixteen. They didn’t realize something could be wrong. Theo was going out to try to find solid food for her. He went into a small grocery and stole some baby food. When he tried to leave, he was caught and arrested.

Cleo kept watching for Theo out the openings to the street. She watched for three days. The baby was sick and she came to the surface. The baby was taken to the hospital just in time after Cleo walked to the police station.

199 words

The Past

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It was fall. The leaves were just starting to turn and it was still warm. Not hot, but warm. The nights were crisp. They were on vacation in a beautiful place. There was a crescent moon and they went for a walk to get a better look. It had been years since they had even taken a walk together. There was no romance between them.

The landscape was flat, but there was a small hill in front of them. They climbed the hill to get a better look at the moon. In front of them was the ocean. He took her hand to help her up. He held on. Her instinct was to let go, but she made herself let him hold her hand. It had been years since they had even held hands. His hand felt foreign to her.

The moon over the ocean was beautiful, casting another moon into the ocean. He had always enjoyed the moon shadow but had never seen it very often over water. Usually just on land. She was a child of the sun. Over the years, she had become afraid of the dark. She didn’t know why. She found herself taking deep breaths, hoping to avoid a panic attack because of being in the dark. He gripped her hand tighter. He knew.

They stood there for a long time. Talking. Reminiscing about all the past years. He wanted to talk about the good times. She could hardly bear to remember the good times, but she tried. Good times with him seemed so very long ago. When he mentioned them, she tried to remember and laughed with him even when she had forgotten something he remembered completely. She had blocked out so much.

He told her he’d like to spend the night there on the beach. That he had sleeping bags in the car. It was his birthday. She hated to disappoint him. She felt like she had spent years disappointing him so she agreed. He found a good place and put the sleeping bags and a cooler with her water and some snacks down. They got in their sleeping bags. If he had done this years ago, she would have been pleased.

They laid there and talked for a while. Not about anything significant. Just about the beautiful place they had found here ten years ago. He reached for her hand. He fell asleep while they were holding hands. She laid there awake for a long time, thinking of how they had been only roommates for so long. How she didn’t know how to be anything else with him now. His hand was warm and made her feel safe. It made her remember the night they met. How he’d made her feel safe that night too. So long ago. She listened to the ocean all night.

She thought of what his mother had said all those years ago.

”It doesn’t matter if you love each other. You come from two different worlds. It will never work out in the long run.”

How right she had been. But, for some reason, they had always hung on to each other even though they would have been so much happier with other people.

She watched the sunrise, her hand still in his. What he didn’t know is that, now, she was sick.