The Old Professor

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The old professor looked at the beautiful full moon shining over the city.

“Are you sure you’re ready to retire, Robert?” his friend, Arthur, asked.

”I’ll never be ready. It’s my life. It’s time though.”

Robert was packing boxes.

“Do you have to move? No one is left for you where you lived 25 years ago,” Arthur commented.

”I’ll go through my papers. Write my memoir. I’ll always be a professor, Arthur. I just want to read, write, and research, That’s all I need.”

”Live here with me, Robert. I need your company.”

Tears streamed down Robert’s face as he smiled.

 

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff and Friday Fictioneers and photo attribution goes to Gah Learner.

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Caught – #writephoto

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She’d felt like it was her tree since she was a child. It was right at the edge of the forest, quite close to the back of the house she shared with her parents. She watched it grow as she grew. A shy little girl, she spent a lot of time playing in the back yard, usually alone. Often under that tree.

One day, when she was a teenager, her father noticed that the tree, much taller now, had grown a bit crooked and was leaning. He talked to her mother about cutting it down. He feared that, in a storm, it might fall and hit their house. It had a curious opening in the trunk that caused it to branch into a smaller trunk. He thought the wind could catch it just the wrong way.

She overheard the conversation and begged her father not to cut her tree. She used every argument she could think of and told him of how she’d played under it all of her life. After doing some calculations, her dad determined that, if the tree fell, it would not hit their house after all. He agreed to leave the tree. She grabbed him, hugged him, and told him she would always appreciate it.

Two years later, when she had just begun university, a tragedy befell the family. Her parents were killed in an automobile accident. The girl chose to live in her parent’s home after that. She continued her schooling, but grieved deeply for her parents. She was hopeless. She forgot about her tree..

One weekend, she went outside to work in the yard. The sun was filtering through the trees. She was so grief-stricken that she hardly noticed nature or beautiful days. She turned around and looked up and the sun caught her in the face, through the opening in her tree. Remembering her tree, she closed her eyes and let the sun soak into her skin. She felt like she was coming alive again. The sun and her tree were wiping away her grief and bringing her back to life.

She remembered her dad leaving that tree there. For her.

 

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the beautiful photo prompt!

The Muse

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He lived in this ramshackle hotel. He’d caught the ferry to it a year ago after he lost everything in a craps game on the mainland. He couldn’t afford anything else. Now someone wanted to talk to him about painting a landscape.

He found the fine-looking lady at the bar. He bought each of them a drink. She had horses and wanted him to paint them in a pasture on her horse farm.

He briefly dreamed he could still do it. Now his hands shook and the muse was gone.

He turned her down and walked away. Shattered.

 

98 words

Photo prompt JS Brand

The Twisty Stick

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The young boy scrambled into Kay’s kitchen looking for his friend.

”Larry,” he shouted, “I found the wood you need to make one of your walking sticks just for me!”

The old man rose slowly to his feet and followed the boy outside. They found the cut wood lying in the neighbor’s yard.

”Son,” Larry said, “It takes a strong, young sapling with a grapevine wound around it to make a stick.”

”You mean like this?” the boy asked, as he touched a piece of wood.

Larry watched in amazement as the sapling with the vine rose into the air.

 

100 words

Photo prompt by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Cheep, A Serial, Number 5

Number 5:

Lucy hung up the phone. She had been talking to her sister who was flying down to join her for some sister time at the beach. Her bedroom was on the second level of the beach house, but she could still see the man who had sat down beside her over top of the dunes. He was leaving to walk on down the beach as she had seen him do every day. She’d had so much on her mind that she had scarcely noticed him. She was surprised he had stopped to talk and embarrassed he had seen her crying.

Amelia, her older sister, had called to make the final arrangements for her visit to the beach. She was going to spend a week with Lucy there. They were both looking forward to their time together. Amelia and Lucy had gotten to spend little time together as adults. They were six years apart in age and had led different lives. This was their chance to reconnect, although interruptions they hadn’t counted on were going to interfere. Lucy had already been at the beach house for three days alone. Her husband and other guests were going to soon all arrive in the space of two days.

First, Lucy’s daughter, Marie, and her husband, Adam, were flying in on the same day as Amelia. The next day, Gary, Lucy’s husband would arrive. Lucy was looking forward to spending time at the beach with everyone except Gary.

She and Gary had been arguing for days. During one of their arguments, Gary had changed his flight and, instead of arriving when she did, he expected her to stay at the beach house alone for several days. She had to drive almost 600 miles to get there. She had to do it alone. It was right in the middle of Hurricane Irma and that monster storm was going to be making landfall in South Florida as she drove and when she arrived at their panhandle beach house. Lucy had envisioned heavy traffic and even bad weather.

Everything turned out all right on her drive. She stopped and spent one night on the road and went on the next day. It was lonely in the beach house. She had taken the opportunity to do some thinking since she got there. Her relationship with Gary had not been good for over a year. Really for two years. She had been considering divorce. When Ed Gillespie found her sitting below the dunes, that subject was on her mind.

Lucy Hammonds was a beautiful woman. Blonde hair, flawless skin, a killer smile, and those azure eyes. She looked much younger than her 60 years of age.

Cheep, A Serial, Number 4

Number 4:

Ed sat there for a few moments. He had been aware that she was very attractive, but he couldn’t really describe her because he was captivated by those azure blue eyes. She was troubled. He didn’t think she had smiled except when she had introduced herself and only a little then. He didn’t even know the color of her hair. She had seemed laser-focused on whatever was hurting her inside, a bad marriage apparently. He looked back at the beach house, but he saw no sign of her. He didn’t know she was lying on her bed watching him as she spoke to someone on the phone.

Ed got up from the sand dune, dusted himself off, and continued on his walk. He wondered if he’d ever see her again. If she was a creature of habit, she’d be out in the same spot on the beach the next day, gazing at the Gulf or crying. Perhaps both. He hoped she would find peace. He continued his walk down the beach. As he returned to his beach house, she was nowhere to be seen.

Cheep, A Serial, Number 3

Number 3:

Ed sat down but not too close to her. He felt like, if he did, she’d run off like a wild thing. The two of them just stared out at the ocean for a moment or two.

Finally, Ed introduced himself. He held out his hand.

“I’m Ed, Ed Gillespie.”

She seemed to have to screw up her courage. She finally took his hand and said, “I’m Lucy. Lucy Hammonds. I’m staying in the beach house right behind us.”

“Lucy, if you don’t mind me asking, would you like to talk? I’m just an old guy who has been around the block a few times. I don’t know why such a beautiful woman sits here day after day crying her eyes out, but if I could offer any wisdom or just be a sounding board, I’d be glad to do so.”

Then he smiled at her. Ed had a very engaging smile. He still felt like a dope. He just made this big speech to a total stranger who was sitting here crying. Why should she want to talk to him?

Lucy gave him a soft smile back.

“I’m here alone, Ed, and I’m lonely and scared. I have a big problem. You see, I think I want to divorce my husband.”

Ed thought to himself that he should get up and leave right that second. He’d had his share of relationships in his life, including a marriage. Some of those relationships were with women just like Lucy, either just prior to or just after they were divorced. Those relationships were nothing but trouble. Somehow, Lucy seemed different or maybe it was because she was beautiful. Ed was a sucker for a beautiful woman.

“I’ll have to tell you, Lucy, that I’m probably not the best person to give relationship advice. But, what do you mean that you only think you want a divorce?”

“Ed, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. One year for sure. Probably even two years. I’m afraid.”

“Everyone who contemplates divorce is afraid, Lucy, but what are you afraid of, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“I’m afraid of being alone. I’m afraid no one will ever find me attractive again and that I’ll never again find love.”

Ed was disarmed by her honesty. At that moment, her phone rang. She got up and ran into her beach house, leaving him sitting against the sand dune.

Cheep, A Serial, Number 2

Number 2:

Ed Gillespie, the old, retired private investigator, walked up and down the beach on the Gulf of Mexico every day. There may have been the biggest hurricane ever spotted brewing just off the Atlantic coast of Florida, but no one knew it in the Panhandle. The water was azure, reflecting the color of the sky. The only hint of trouble ahead was more wind than usual.

East of his beach house, Ed saw the same woman every day. She sat with her back to the dunes, just beyond the sea grass, facing the Gulf. Some days, she gazed out at the water, looking haunted, as if she saw nothing. Other days, her head was hanging down and she held her hands over her face. He assumed she was crying. On the days he could see her face, he saw that she was beautiful. It wasn’t difficult to see pain on her face and see that she was also troubled. There was something vulnerable about her and he longed to stop and ask if he could help. Thinking of the women who had burned him in the past had stopped him so far.

Today was different. He glanced at her as he neared her place in the sand and she was looking at him. He could have sworn that her eyes reflected the azure of the water. He found himself walking over to her.

“Hi,” he said, “I see you sitting here almost every day. I thought I’d stop and say hello. I’m Ed and I’m staying two beach houses down the beach.”

He felt foolish. As he gazed at her, he saw the tracks of tears on her face.

“Hello,” she gulped, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t expecting anyone to stop by. I’ve been crying.”

She was hastily trying to wipe away her tears.

“I don’t suppose I could help? I have a pretty good set of shoulders,” Ed remarked, “Would you mind if I sat down?”

She just stared at him.

“Look, I’m not a serial killer or anything. Just a guy taking some time off.”

“Sure,” she said. “Sit.”

 

Cheep: A Serial

Number 1:

CHEEP!

PROLOGUE

Cheep! Cheep! Lucy’s eyes flew open. She listened for a minute. It was the smoke detector. The battery was dying. She was trying to sleep.

Lucy was alone. Gary, her husband, had sent her to the beach house days ahead of him. He had insisted. The smoke alarm was high up on the arch of the cathedral ceiling. She couldn’t reach it. She laid there and tried to ignore it. That incessant cheeping.

Lucy heard another noise. She got up and grabbed her handbag. Her Smith and Wesson was in it. As she stepped out on the balcony to listen, she was grabbed from behind.

When her husband arrived three days later, all he found were her old beach sneakers beside the bed.

Boisterous – #JusJoJan

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He spoke in a most boisterous way, telling her he was never coming home. Asking her where home actually was? Telling her he had no home. That home certainly wasn’t with her. He even emphasized it. He said he was never, ever coming home.

She had given him the run of the place since they had married. It had become his home more than hers. He did whatever he wanted. He’d changed it. With tools and carpentry, certainly, but also just with his argumentative, aggressive presence. Everywhere she looked, it was his home. She knew what he meant. She hadn’t made it official. She hadn’t gone to the courthouse. Put his name on the deed. She was afraid of doing that. One other time, he had essentially blackmailed her into giving up her home. Another city. Another house. In another time. She couldn’t take that chance again. She had never put any constraints on him here.

Now he was using emotional blackmail. With every word he spoke, it became too late. In his rough, tempestuous manner, he was killing anything that was left between them. He hung up the phone. It was done.

 

This post is part of Linda Hill’s Just Jot Jan Challenge 2018