Respect

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All the children worked in the garden. It was hard, back-breaking work, especially since the crows had descended, picking everything clean. When Abigail’s brothers talked to their father, the farmer, about the crow problem, he discussed possible solutions with them. When Abigail mentioned it to her father, she felt the back of his hand and heard him say that she was just lazy.

”It isn’t fair,” Abigail said to Frank, her oldest brother. “He talks to you like you’re a human being. To him, I’m just a slave.” Frank just laughed and told her she was just a girl. Abigail had heard that all of her life. She worked as hard as any boy or man.

They had tried a scarecrow in the garden. A pitiful, spindly thing that wouldn’t scare anything away. Abigail knew that scarecrows worked in the neighbors’ gardens. She went to work building a female scarecrow with all the accoutrements.

Her father and brothers laughed at her creation. They said she wouldn’t work. That Abigail was stupid.

Suddenly, their problem with the crows stopped. Abigail’s scarecrow was scaring them away. Her father didn’t acknowledge her, but looked at her with a new respect in his eyes.

 

200 words

*In remembrance of Aretha Franklin. When I first heard this song, it was likely the first time I’d ever heard the word “respect” associated with women. She had an effect on an entire generation.

*Thanks to sundayphotofictioner for the great prompt and to Anurag Bakhshi for the photo prompt.

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The Comet Hale-Bopp

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They found the darkest possible spot, that night in the spring of 1997. A flat rock on a mountain top called Lochegee. They had to climb and up they went, right at dusk.

They sat and waited for this much hailed comet. They heard voices and a group of college students joined them. It seemed like a magical, almost spiritual, time, knowing the comet had been visible 4,200 years ago.

They all saw its blue-white brilliance at the same time, right above the horizon.

When they climbed down, it was in silence, knowing they had witnessed a rare and wondrous sight.

 

*Thanks to Charli Mills and the Carrot Ranch for the prompt!

The Writer

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”You can tell I left here in a hurry last night,” she thought to herself as she attempted to clean up the mess on her desk.

“At least I took my laptop out of the filth,” she thought as she wondered why she had put a liquor bottle on her desk. She must have really been desperate.

She was on the third draft of her third novel. It had been a late night. The door swung open and there stood her agent.

”I have news,” he cried. “Your second novel has just been accepted by the publisher.”

She fainted.

 

 

99 words

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff for the prompt and Yvette Prior for the photo!

 

 

Mania

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“Gavin, I’m writing my comprehensive exams for Oxford. I am not going to worry about him right now.”

”How long has he been gone?”

”I’m not sure. You know there are days when I don’t see him. From the looks of the soap in his shower, it looks like he’s been gone for a while.”

Gavin walked into his bathroom and looked in the shower.

“Everything is certainly dried up in there. That soap. He’s just used that little corner,” he said.

”He’s always afraid he won’t be able to buy anything, even with that huge fortune sitting in the bank at his disposal.”

Gavin paced around the apartment. “Any idea where he went?”

I finally sighed and laid down my books.

”A few weeks ago, he mentioned a craving for Indonesian food. If I were you, I’d try Amsterdam.”

”Is he manic right now?”

”Gavin, when will you learn that he’s always manic and get him some help?”

Gavin just looked at me and said, “Where in Amsterdam?”

”The red light district. That’s where his favorite Indonesian restaurant is. As well as a lot of available women.”

 

Thanks to Susan at Sunday Photo Fiction for the prompt and Fandango for the photo!

Summer – #writephoto

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Summer was not her favorite season. She preferred fall and even winter. Here she was, in the dog days of summer, looking at a meadow that stretched out before her. She pulled over to the shoulder of the narrow, two-lane road in her car, got out and started walking. It was hot. She didn’t enjoy the weather, but the meadow reminded her of a long ago and far away meadow where she and her husband had once picnicked.

That day, that picnic, came back to her in living color detail. How long had it been? 35 years? 40 years? It had been a lovely day. Her husband had squashed down the beautiful white flowers and laid down a tablecloth. The flowers in that long-ago meadow had been a combination of milkweed, yarrow, and wild indigo. The white flowers in this beautiful meadow looked to be the same. This was a little bit of deja vu for her. She stepped from the shoulder of the road into the meadow and sat down on a little rise at the edge of the road with the flowers tickling her ankles.

She’d been carrying the picnic basket that day. He’d been carrying the drinks. She could hear the tinkle of their laughter as they walked through the meadow that long-ago day. They were just married. Newlyweds. So very much in love. They sat down on the bright blue cloth and spread out some French bread, cheese, grapes, and a vintage white wine. She had brought two wine glasses. The sun beat down on their heads as they ate, laughed, and talked and became drowsy. The smell of the flowers was as intoxicating as the wine.

She felt tears well up in her eyes. They didn’t have any baggage back then, but that changed. A popular thing to say currently was that people needed to unpack their baggage. How did you unpack your memory? Forget the events of 40 years? She thought that saying was silly. Their’s was a life fully lived, both together and apart. They were always happier together, but they had spent significant amounts of time apart. The first time her choice, the second time his. That had led to a very odd history for them as a couple.

Until recently, she didn’t think there was a chance they could live together for the rest of their lives. She thought their relationship was over and only the dregs remained. She didn’t know quite what either would do. They weren’t young anymore.

Then, life happens as it will and he started to become engaged in their marriage again. She was suspicious at first and didn’t believe it was real. He started to seem more himself, that boy she had picnicked with that summer day. She became hopeful. It had been so long since she had seen that boy that she had almost forgotten him. Gradually, she became convinced. He did seem to be that boy but with the wisdom and fatigue of age. She started to let down her guard.

As she looks at the familiar meadow with the white flowers, she remains hopeful, but still not sure. Will she live the rest of her life unsure? Perhaps. He may feel the same. She’s decided it’s worth the risk although this time, if it doesn’t work, it’s too late for them both. There isn’t enough of life left to start over, together or apart. They will each be alone.

 

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the excellent photo prompt!

The Fawn

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She watched him when he was a fawn. Come summer, he grew spikes. A young buck. He was unafraid of her. He grew accustomed to her apples. He came to the porch and snatched the food from her hand. She grew to love him that winter. She was alone.

The next summer, he was a four-point buck. He came to the porch. She tried to make him go away, fearful he was too accustomed to people.

It’s been ten years. An old buck comes to the porch. He takes the apples. She knows by his eyes that it’s him.

 

*Thanks to Charli Mills and the Carrot Ranch for this prompt that is so very appropriate.

The Prisoner

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She doesn’t want them watching her. She has secrets. Secrets that could spell the end of her. She’s tried everything to insure her privacy.  She has instructed her crew to plant the tall grass. Maybe this will deter them and their prying eyes.

They want to destroy her. They are jealous of her. All the people buzzing around her door. All wanting a piece of her. She won’t have it any longer. The tall grass will make her home look uninhabited, run down.

Why does she have to go to these lengths? She knows who the prisoner will be – herself.

 

Thanks to Rochelle and Friday Fictioneers and to Ronda del Boccia for the photo prompt.

The Yellow Tent

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It was fall. She and her friend were going on a weekend camping trip. They pitched their small, camo-colored pup tent in the woods.

Their first morning, she started to awaken. It was still dark, but a beam of sunlight seemed to be shining into their tent. She opened her eyes and their drab tent was yellow from that sunbeam.

As she went outside, she heard a loud, booming gunshot and felt a bullet whizzing by her ear. The hunter ran up to her and said, “Thank goodness your tent is yellow! I would have accidentally shot you otherwise.”

 

Thanks to Charli and the Carrot Ranch for the great prompt and photo!

Track – #writephoto

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As she walked down the long, dark track in the Appalachian forest, she thought of the wild things that used to be so populous here and how few of them remained. The deer had once walked up on her porch and ate from the troughs surrounding her house. There were hundreds of species of birds. It was quiet, peaceful. Over the last few years, humans had stolen their habitat.

She thought of the author, Wendell Berry’s, poem, “The Peace of the Wild Things,” and wanted to lie by a tree and know their peace. She knew she never would. She hadn’t seen a fawn or a pileated woodpecker this year. This was the first year they were gone. All she had heard was the screech of chain saws and the clang of heavy equipment as they tried to turn the forest into a park or a crowded subdivision. Why did they move here and claim they wanted quiet and solitude and then make it like everywhere else? Was this progress? She didn’t think so.

The track wasn’t as deep in the forest and the wild things were gone. It had only taken twenty years in this small corner of the Daniel Boone National Forest. She had once loved it here. Now, she supposed she would have to leave in search of solitude once again. She had been young when she had come here. She wasn’t young anymore and this had become home.

She considered following this track where the wild things walked all the way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where her roots were. She felt she was too old now. Life wasn’t easy there. She couldn’t deal with feet, not inches, of snow in the winter. How could she live without seeing her beloved wildlife daily? She’d kept her blinds closed this summer so she could pretend they were still there.

Suddenly, she remembered that very old movie called “Elephant Walk,” starring Elizabeth Taylor. She thought it was shot in the 1940s. The characters built a home in the jungle and took the elephants habitat. The elephants returned the favor by walking right through the home.

Would the wild things take back their home here someday? Part of her hoped so.

 

Thanks to Sue Vincent for this writing prompt and photo!

 

The Demise of Civilization

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The street looks peaceful doesn’t it? Palm trees, white fences, boys on bicycles going to school this morning. Could be almost any street in Florida. It’s not almost any street. It’s my street.

I live here alone. A 55-year-old lady. Retired. Trying to make ends meet on a small pension and my savings. I’m not nearly old enough yet to quality for social security. I had to retire early because of my vision. I’m legally blind. I’m also scared.

This used to be a wonderful place to live. I knew all the neighbors. We had a nice community. Then the hurricanes came and people moved away. I can’t afford to move.

My neighbors moved and some left their houses empty. Squatters moved in. Those boys on the bicycles? At night, they are part of a gang. They terrorize us by going up and down the street and stealing everything they can find. They spray paint our houses. The police have tried to catch them with no luck.

I don’t have anyone to help me. My family is gone now. What do people like me do? No money to go to a safer place. Is there a safer place?

 

Photo Credit to C. E. Ayr

Thanks Susan and SundayPhotoFictioners for the prompt!