Balefire – #writephoto

“Ladd, come along, we’ll be late. They are lighting the balefire for Wizard tonight,” Mercy said.

“That old goat,” replied Ladd, Mercy’s older brother. “I didn’t like him anyway. The way he crept around, watching all of us. Making his silly predictions.”

“Oh, Ladd, hush,” Mercy cried. “Wizard is powerful. We dare not say things like that. Come, let’s run. We must get to the funeral. Mama is waiting and will be angry with us.”

Ladd and Mercy set off from their hut in the village through the woods toward the funeral pyre. The people of the village were all frightened. They didn’t know that wizards could die. After a session in the street when Wizard was making a series of predictions for his people, he suddenly crumbled and dropped to the dirt. The people left him there for three days. They thought he would rise again. Finally, the medicine woman who served the village examined Wizard and determined that he was dead.

There was much weeping and wailing among the people of the village. They had never heard of a wizard dying and they thought they had done something wicked to cause it. The men started building a funeral pyre outside of the village. The women prepared Wizard’s body, including Knowledge, Ladd and Mercy’s mother.

Knowledge told the children that she had heard from the other women that one of Wizard’s predictions was going to come true. The Grand Wizard from the King was coming to the village to talk to the people. She didn’t know when the visit would take place, but she was very uneasy about it.

Within a few days, the funeral pyre was ready for the balefire to be lit and for Wizard’s funeral to take place. Knowledge told Ladd and Mercy it would be that evening and they were expected to be there. She and the other women had to accompany Wizard’s body.

When Ladd and Mercy reached the funeral pyre, the balefire had been lit and was beginning to burn high. The people were standing back. They were fearful of what a balefire meant for a wizard.

Then, someone appeared from the shadows. Everyone gasped. It was the Grand Wizard sent from the King. He roared as he stood in front of the funeral pyre. He said that a wizard would be dispatched from the kingdom to the village to train someone to take Wizard’s place. The people of the village all looked at each other, wondering who would be the chosen one that would be trained.

The Grand Wizard raised his arms to the sky and a lightning bolt struck the ground right next to Ladd. The Grand Wizard declared that Ladd was the chosen one and that he should prepare himself for training to be the next wizard. Knowledge swooned and fell to the ground. Ladd stood there in shock, not knowing what to do. He didn’t want to be the wizard, but he was struck dumb.

The Grand Wizard disappeared, leaving the people of the village to the funeral and Ladd and his family to absorb the news. Mercy, standing off to the side, contemplated the trouble that would likely follow.

Above the Weeds

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She took a walk that hot, sweltering day, taking her puppy who was learning to walk on a leash. She lived in the country and the road in front of her house was deserted. A day could pass, hours would go by with no traffic coming or going. She thinks that her sneaker caught on broken asphalt and down she went. She was walking too fast. For some reason, she couldn’t get up. Hours passed. Her puppy laid down beside her. She raised her hand in desperation, hoping someone would see it above the weeds.

3LineTales

Lost Life

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The old man and the boy slowly walked into the old factory facility even though there was a “No Trespassing” sign.

The boy said, “Why have you brought me here? There’s nothing I can do.”

”I worked here for 24 years. Then, they closed it up. I didn’t get my retirement. You’re going to help me get it going again.”

The old man’s eyes were wild in his head. His hands were shaking. The boy came to the old man.

”Grandfather, it’s gone. There’s nothing we can do.”

He put his arms around him. The old man shook and cried.

 

99 words

Photo Credit J Hardy Carrell

 

#MarquessaChallenge – At First Sight

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It only happened to Rachel once. Maybe because, after that one time, she never let it happen again. If it had happened again, she hadn’t recognized it. She had walked into his office that one day, the day she’ll never forget. His desk faced the right wall. The door was open. He was at his desk, looking down, reading something. She reached in to knock at the open door which swung open to the right. As she knocked, he turned toward her.

She had to keep herself from gasping when his eyes met hers. They were laughing eyes. Dark, dark brown in color. Mesmerizing. They grabbed her eyes and held them.

He said, “Can I help you?”

Rachel couldn’t speak. She had forgotten why she had come to his office.

She mumbled, “Sorry, wrong office.” Then she fled down the hall. Back to her own office. She was breathless when she sat down at her desk. She knew his name. She quickly remembered why she had gone to see him. She couldn’t go back, but she had to. He was going to be her professor in a class this semester.

Rachel was a research assistant at the University of South Florida. She was pursuing her Ph.D in Computer Science and Technology. Peter Fitzgerald was an Associate Professor in the Department and her professor in an upcoming class. Rachel felt like she’s just been hit by a train. Could you really fall in love at first sight? Rachel was far too sensible to think that. It was just a moment. Everyone had moments now and then. It would pass and the next time she saw him, he would be just another man on the street.

What Rachel didn’t know is that Peter had felt the lightning bolt as well. He wondered who that girl was. Was she an undergraduate student? A graduate student? He had to find her. See her again. He walked around through the halls of the Technology Building, but he didn’t see her anywhere.

Early that afternoon, Rachel had Peter’s class. She dreaded it. How would she face him after fleeing his office. She slipped in from the back as he was calling roll. After class, he walked up to her.

“You didn’t get here in time for roll call,” he said.

“I’m sorry, Professor Fitzgerald.”

“Please follow me to my office to fill out some information for me.”

Suddenly, Rachel realized she was daydreaming. That day had been so long ago. Rachel couldn’t imagine why it had popped into her mind while she was driving down the road in South Florida. She hadn’t thought of Peter in many months, although he did pop into her head from time to time. She was successful in shoving him out of her head these days. She was happy with her life. When she did think of Peter, she usually thought of the end of their relationship. Today, instead, she had thought of that very first day.

The Glory Days. They had certainly had them. For years. The last time she saw him, those brown eyes didn’t sparkle any more. He said he was happy, but his demeanor and his eyes said something different. He had settled. Settled for what made him content at the moment. That was all right with Rachel. He wasn’t hers to save or care for.

Only one thing made Rachel sad now. She wished she could have emotionally let him go sooner. She would have lived a happier life. Instead, she had waited and hoped that one day, they would be together. But, it was not to be. She’d had relationships. Lots of them. She’d even been married. No one had ever touched her heart and soul like Peter. Now she wondered if it was because she never gave anyone else the chance. It was probably too late now.

Rachel remembered the day when Peter looked at her, after they made love, and said, “In your eyes, I’ve found the missing pieces.”

She felt bound to him then. That was right before he left her forever.

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#fictionfriday is brought to us by Simply Marquessa

Desolation

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Photo credit to courtney065 flikr

Callie knew she shouldn’t have come here. She was glad her cousin, Daniel, was with her. She had been gone from Kentucky, the state where she had grown up and lived most of her adult life, for five years now. It had been at least ten years since she had been to the old homeplace deep in the heart of the eastern part of the state. Deep in the heart of Appalachia. If her uncle’s old house on the farm looked like this, she wasn’t sure she wanted to see the main house, her grandparent’s old home. The home she had spent so much time at as a child and teenager.

Eastern Kentucky was decimated. It had been sliding downhill for years. When coal mining started to decline way back in the 1980s, the whole region started to decline. The farming that was secondary to mining also declined when the subsidies on growing tobacco were stopped. There used to be tobacco bases everywhere you looked around here. Her grandparents lived on tobacco and oil money. There wasn’t a tobacco base to be found now. All the tobacco was grown overseas.

As Callie and Daniel drove around Eastern Kentucky, where their mothers grew up, she thought of what could be done for these poor people who loved their culture and their way of life but had very little means to support themselves. Coal mining would never come back in any big way. There was a bit more mining going on under President Trump because he had done away with most of the mining regulations. All that did was make an unsafe working environment for the miners and pollute the environment. It would only last until the first big mine disaster.

The obvious solution to the job problem in this area is to let the people grow marijuana. At the very least medicinal marijuana and, in Callie’s opinion, recreational marijuana. This was the marijuana capital of the United States anyway. Why not let them grow it legally? It was used medicinally for so many good things. Regulate it if they want. President Trump was trying to do away with laws in the states that allowed legal marijuana purchases, even for medicinal marijuana. Callie and Daniel both thought that was criminal. It was a pain reliever for cancer patients. It could be used as a pain reliever for so many things, even the crippling rheumatoid arthritis like her mother had.

Letting these people in Eastern Kentucky grow marijuana legally would be such a good thing for this area. It would bring it back from the desolate state it was in. Eastern Kentucky was known, now, for its high drug use. Mostly prescription drugs but heroin had crept into the picture. Drug use was high because the unemployment rate in many areas approached 40 percent. The people felt hopeless and helpless. Give them a cash crop to grow in the valleys between these mountains and make them feel a useful member of society. The drug problem, in Callie’s opinion, would drop.

Hemp was another cash crop that these people could grow. It had been grown on an experimental basis on the University of Kentucky farm. It could be used to make clothes and other products. Trump had promised to bring back manufacturing to the United States. If he kept that promise, hemp could be used in manufacturing. Just like the Eastern Kentucky area was a prime area for growing marijuana, it was also a prime area for growing hemp.

Before Trump became President, there was progress being made on the legalization of marijuana and hemp production that would have helped Appalachia so much. Any progress made had been rolled back under his administration. He seemed to want to take us back to the days of his youth. The people she knew were in one camp or another. Either they were still Trump supporters or they were scared to death he was leading the country straight into Fascism. She was in the latter camp as was Daniel.

People seemed to be trying to go on with their lives. That’s why she and Daniel were taking this tour of the land where their mother’s grew up. The only relatives they had here now were very distant cousins who they didn’t even know. So they were visiting the places familiar to them, taking stock of the changes, probably for the last time. Callie had come to Kentucky for a visit and she and Daniel had decided to do this on a whim.

There was her grandfather’s house! Just as rundown as the shack her uncle used to live in. She could see the oil wells behind it in the same place they were when she was a child. They were pumping. She had noticed that her oil royalties had gotten a little better recently, but she was sure it was a short-term thing. She and Daniel and the rest of the cousins feared the wells were just about dry.

Oil, health care, and education were just about the only jobs left in this area. A few oil workers were needed as were primary and secondary teachers. A lot of health care workers were needed but they were hard to attract to the area unless they had family here. There was a lot of illness. President Trump’s immigration policy had swept all the foreign physicians out of Eastern Kentucky and they had been the backbone of the health care system.

As Callie and Daniel started home, depression hovered over them like a cloud. It used to be so beautiful here. If the federal government would provide the right kind of help, it could be again. As long as Donald Trump, or anyone like him was President, they knew it would never happen. Callie knew she would go back to her home in Florida now and would never look back. She had worried about this area and looked back too long. Time to move on.

My Face

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“My face looks sort of cracked,” the little boy said as he looked at his reflection in the water puddle. When he looked up, if anyone had been looking at him, they would have known why. His face was screwed up because he had been crying.

The little boy looked back in the puddle of water. He said to his reflection, “Where is my mom? She said she would be here a long time ago to pick me up.” His reflection didn’t answer him.

He looked up, but he was afraid to go toward the street. He looked back down at the water puddle at his reflection.

“My school is closed. I don’t know what to do. I can’t call her.” He saw his face screw up again. He started sobbing.

Suddenly, he heard his mother’s voice as she comes running toward him. Her car had trouble.