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.

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 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.

 

Mean Girls

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The two girls with bright red hair gazed at their creation hanging on the wall.

“See, Alicia, the one on the left.”

”Oh, she’s the smart bitch. The one the teachers all call on. Her Daddy drinks. She’s nothing.”

They giggled.

”The next one is the Marilyn Monroe chick, Katie. Ms. Beautiful. All the boys want her!”

”Oh, so is the next one, Alicia. She thinks she’s so tall and gorgeous, she’s going to be a model and smart to boot. Who wants to hang around with her?”

”I like the next one, Katie. She’s nice and just seems to be one of us girls. She even kisses the boys, she says! Let’s invite her to our next slumber party.”

”Don’t even mention the next one, Alicia. Her Daddy is some big shot and she thinks she is really something.”

”Alicia, the last one. I like her. Her mom is sick though and she doesn’t get to go anywhere.”

”That makes four of us at our next slumber party, Katie. We just need to find four more out of our high school class.”

After high school, when the ostracized girls weren’t heard from again, the two redheads couldn’t understand why.

200 words

Photo Credit to J Hardy Carroll

 

Assault

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He didn’t leave the cool confines of his apartment very often. There, he was safe. Safe from from the broiling sun of the equatorial city. Safe from the cacophony of noise that assailed his ears when he opened the door of the hotel. Safe, most of all, from the germs that he could feel penetrating his skin when he wasn’t in the filtered air in his suite. An assault on his senses.

What he was in search of today couldn’t be delivered. He smiled to himself. It could be delivered but refused to be. He walked several blocks through the city. As he walked, he became less aware of those things that assaulted his senses and more aware at the prize at the end of his journey. Ahead of his, he saw the hotel that was his destination. He stopped and gathered his composure.

He walked into the hotel bar. He saw her immediately. His daughter, waiting for him,     for the first time in twenty years.

171 words

Photo credit to dorothy