While the old man watched the sun rise over the city, he heard the old woman stir. He quickly left his sunrise and went to her. She was still sleeping. She was ill. Worse, for days, he had been able to tell she had lost hope.
They had come to this city to find the medicine she needed to survive. He was determined. He had loved her for 50 years. She was too sick to feel much at all.
He walked back to the window. It was a new day. New hope. More determination. He would prevail for his sweetheart.
Thanks to Rochelle for hosting #FridayFictioneers and Dale Rogerson for the photo
Every morning when she took her walk, she passed beside an old, weathered board fence. It didn’t seem to hold anything. No horses, no other livestock, not even a house. Every third or fourth board was missing.
She didn’t know why she came this way. She thought of her family each time she saw that old fence. The family that didn’t want her anymore. The family that was gone, that had left her alone. The family that didn’t care now.
Her feelings for them were gone. They’d slipped away like the wind slipped through the gaps in the fence.
Carrot Ranch prompt:
July 12, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a broken fence. You can mend it, leave it, or explain its place in a story. Go where the prompt leads.
There was an old tree, crooked and bent after all these years, at the back of their property. It was obscured from view if you were in the house or yard by the jungle-like growth of the taller hardwood trees and vigorous undergrowth. In the winter, it couldn’t be seen from the house since it was over a small bank and near the 40-foot dropoff down to the creek. She never came back here. He considered it his tree. His wishing tree.
When he looked at his wishing tree now, it looked like it was decorated for the holidays with all the colorful pieces of cloth attached to the branches. It was a wild area. He was sure people occasionally hiked down the creek bed below when it was dry. They must have wondered about the old tree with the colorful cloth. They probably thought children tied the cloth to the branches or some eccentric old person. Children didn’t do it. He was getting old, but he didn’t think he was eccentric. He’d had many wishes over the years, all having to do to with her.
Maybe his expectations of her had been too high. Maybe he’d never given her a chance. They came from very different worlds. He had started at the bottom of the old tree, hanging his colorful fabric for each wish. The branches were covered all the way to the top. So many wishes. Too many expectations.
Things were better now. He had realized his expectations had been too high. He had finally let her live her life. After all they’d been through with each other, it was a miracle, but she seemed to be responding to his efforts. They laughed together now. She seemed to enjoy being with him. She smiled at him for the first time in years. They weren’t young anymore. Maybe they had just needed the wisdom that age brings. He felt the beginnings of happiness for the first time in so long.
He had a feeling he wouldn’t need his wishing tree in the future unless it was for wishes for the two of them. He knew what wish every piece of cloth represented. Smiling, he started at the bottom and began to remove them. She was his wish come true.
Thanks to Sue Vincent for providing this wonderful writing prompt.
A comment. Seagulls remind me of my mother. Even though most people see them as the birds who clean up garbage on the beach, my mother saw their beauty. When I was a very young adult, she showed me their beauty in the series of short stories published by Richard Bach about a seagull who seeks life outside the typical and flies off to seek self-actualization.
Our family took a trip shortly after that to Isle Royale National Park in the northern part of Lake Superior in Michigan. A seagull spent the week we were there sitting on the window seal of my mother’s motel room. No one else’s room. Just her’s. It was the time she was heavy into reading the “Jonathan” stories and books. Coincidence? Perhaps. I’ll let you decide.
I read the Jonathan stories even now. They help a non-conformist like me. Try them on for yourself! You can read about them here,
Thank you Priceless Joy for the wonderful prompt!
Photo Credit to wildverbs
It was 1943 and World War II was raging. His Destroyer Escort had docked in New York City after a long stint in the Atlantic. She was a girl from Appalachia who had left home for the first time. She had traveled on the train to the City to meet him, her new husband, when his ship docked. They had three weeks together to look forward to. He had rented a tiny apartment.
It was her first time out of the hills of Kentucky. The bright lights of the City astonished her. Her husband and his Navy buddies pooled their money and decided to treat their wives, who had spent months not knowing if they were dead or alive. They bought tickets to see The Rockettes.
She thought the show was the best she’d ever seen. Afterwards, clutching her new husband’s hand, they all went to a club and danced the jitterbug. She was star struck.
They knew their happiness was fleeting. The ship would soon pull out again to go back to war. They returned to their apartment and made the most of their time together, knowing it might never happen again.
Thanks to Susan and #sundayphotofictioners for the prompt!
Photo credit to Susan Spaulding
They approached the old bridge silently, hand in hand. They had taken this trip together, knowing it would probably be the last time either would be able to travel this far. It was one of their favorite places. They both had a lot on their minds. He was experiencing the first wave of dementia, caused by another illness. It only cropped up occasionally. It was apparent in his map-reading and directional skills. He was depressed, morose. He knew he would never pass this way again.
An illness was not plaguing her. She was concerned about him. She was also concerned about her age, her level of fatigue. She couldn’t do what she used to do. She was terribly fatigued from this trip and had become increasingly introspective. She wondered where you crossed from middle age to being old. Everyone liked to quip that age was only a state of mind. If they could feel how she felt right now, they would know better.
She also liked to think, most days, that the crossing was in your head and she felt young almost every day. Maybe 30. Some days even younger. That was in her head. When she looked in the mirror, she wondered who was looking back at her. Surely that couldn’t be her. Someone must be standing behind her. Some days, her body failed her and she knew she couldn’t be the 30 years of age she felt in her head. She must be that chronological age number that she hated so badly. When she felt like that, she felt guilty. Many didn’t ever have the opportunity to live as long as she had.
She wondered if, in today’s world of modern medicine, the crossing occurred at 50? Maybe 60? 70? Older? Perhaps it was specific to the person. The same mysterious feeling that always arose grabbed her. She was determined that her crossing had not yet occurred. She was still middle-aged, not old. She was going to fight the forces in her body that told her otherwise. She was going to keep her mind sharp and healthy.
She had to do this. For herself and her husband next to her. He could no longer do it for himself. As women have done for eons, she had to do it for both of them. She would stay young. Her crossing would not occur until the last second of her life.
Thank you to Sue Vincent for this incredible prompt.
The Native Americans called it Gitchee Gumee. The lake that seems as big as an ocean. Lake Superior that straddles the Michigan-Canadian border. With its rocky beaches and big waves. She walked along the beach and climbed over the rocks where she had to. It had been twelve years since she’d been here. Since she’d been home. It was a summer day, but the water was cold and the wind was brisk. She loved it.
She could be at home in Kentucky. At the island in Florida. Nowhere was she more at home than at the big lake. Do we have cellular memory? That’s the only explanation she had for it. This is where her roots were. She’d never spent much time here. Her father left here before she was born and her family seldom returned. Every time she came back, she knew this was where she was supposed to be. When she saw the relatives she had left here, it felt right. They seemed like she felt. She felt at home with them even though she didn’t know them well.
Her bond with her father, who was from this vast, sparsely populated, beautiful region, had been strong. Every time she came here as a child and later, as an adult, that bond extended to her relatives and the population here, as well as to the big lake. She had tried to write when she was on the island at the ocean. She tried repeatedly. It never worked. There was something wrong there. Something missing. There was no inspiration.
Here, there was an utter solitude and she was always better alone. She could hear the muse singing in her ears, touching her skin. She could see it with her fading vision, flying over the big lake, touching the pictured rocks, raising up the big wave, giving her the inspiration she craved. She felt she could write forever.
The Native Americans thought Gitchee Gumee was magical. They had been right about so much.
As she got older, she realized she would not get to fulfill all of her dreams. She sat at her desk, looking out the window at the glorious summer day. The birds were flying in and out of the feeding station. The deer were at the salt block. Her dog was at her feet. All was right with the habitat she’d built around her. There wasn’t enough time left to accomplish all she wanted to do.
She could feel it. It was a gut-wrenching feeling. That sixth sense you have if you’re in touch with your body and mind. She wasn’t old, yet she knew.
She felt a sense of urgency and wanted to work on everything at once. Most of her projects she had laid out in detail. Some she still had to work on. But a curious phenomenon was happening. Her mind was growing wings. She could be working and suddenly she wasn’t there anymore. In her mind she was visiting people and places from the past. She’d lost so many people that she loved.
Her mind would take trips to visit good times she’d had with her family, her friends. Times that made her smile. Times that would never be again. Then, she would find herself back in the present, sometimes smiling, other times crying. The losses had been almost too much to bear.
Her wings would close until the next trip and she would go back to work. Her gut told her she would join them soon, the people in her past. Perhaps that was just grief and loss at work Her side trips also provided her with inspiration. The wings of the mind are a powerful force.
Thanks to Sue Vincent for #writephoto!
She awoke to see the beautiful sky. She hardly noticed it. She padded into her kitchen to get a cup of coffee. She didn’t have much time. She wanted to visit the crypt as soon as possible. She had work to do. She had taken care of her second victim last night.
She didn’t like men who hurt women. Or women who hurt women. She had decided, long ago, that she was going to rid the world of them. Her method was so simple it was silly. She got close to them. She was charismatic with a sparkling personality. Then, one night at a private dinner, she spiked their food with a particularly dangerous concoction that stopped their hearts. She managed to load them in her car and drove them to her crypt.
Her crypt was the basement of an old building in town that was easy to access. No one was ever around the old building. It had fallen into disrepair as had so many of the buildings in the small town. The floor of the basement was soft dirt. She dug their graves there.
This second victim was her best friend’s boyfriend who was mean to her. Her first victim, two years ago, had been her own ex-husband. They had never solved his disappearance. She smiled at that thought. She already knew who the third victim would be. It would take some time.
She kept all of her tools hidden in that basement. After she got there, she dug a shallow grave for the man. It wasn’t hard. She kicked his body into it thinking that she hoped he would rot in hell. It was what he deserved. She covered up her crime as well as possible and left. You could hardly tell anything had ever been disturbed. She was meticulous.
On to the third man, she thought, as she left the crypt. It would be a while before she would be back, but she knew this was only the beginning of her career. They say there are no female serial killers. That’s because women are so much better at it.
They couldn’t keep the homeless out of the old house. They weren’t really the homeless, but the hobos. Those who were homeless on purpose. They seemed to like to congregate in the old house for a night, a few days, a year. No one seemed to know why the hobos were determined to squat in the old house, but they knew they weren’t inclined to leave.
Her husband was selling the house and property. She wasn’t in favor of the sale. It was all she had of her family’s legacy to her. They argued about it, but he wanted to sell it to a buyer who would renovate it. She wanted to renovate it herself, but that seemed out of the question. He wasn’t having much luck.
The hobos wondered who left the food every morning. It was there when they awakened. A veritable feast. Why would they leave the old house when they had manna from heaven? A man kept bringing people to see the house and they had to scatter. They left the house in poor condition, hoping no one would buy it.
That was why she did it and it was working.
Photo Credit C.E. Ayr