Portal: The Escape – #writephoto

The only way she could think was to walk. She had found a long, lonely road where no one lived on the island. It was filled with the shade of the low palms and the unfamiliar sounds of the tropical birds as they swooped above her head. She couldn’t think at her home. He was there. Right beside her. Confusing her thoughts. She could only escape occasionally. On those occasions, she either went to the ocean or this lonely road.

She suddenly saw a house lying off the road, set back in a palm grove. She’d never walked this far before so she didn’t know the house. A manor house. It looked deserted. She could cool off there. The vegetation was grown up around the house. It seemed as if no one had been here in a long time. She pulled the door open. She was shocked at what she saw before her.

There was a long hallway in front of her. Then an opening and, seemingly, another hall. As she walked down the hallway, she saw an old man sitting at the end of what she could only call a portal. She kept walking and felt no fear. When she got to him, he greeted her and invited her to sit. They were both silent for a few moments. Then he spoke.

”Are you going to make a decision before you run out of time?”

”How do you know anything about me?” she replied.

“You won’t live as long as I have. You must make the right decision and quickly,” he said. “You’ve already wasted too much time.”

”What should I do?” she asked the old man..

”You only regret the things you don’t do. Are you happy?” he said.

”No, but I’m afraid.”

”Do you remember, when you were young, the thrill of jumping into a creek or riding your bike or kissing your boyfriend for the first time?” he asked.

She replied that she did remember.

”Go, my dear, and feel that rush again.”

He smiled at her. She got up from her chair when he looked as if he had fallen asleep. She thought of his words all the way back to where they lived on her beautiful island. She went inside, got out her suitcase, and said she was leaving. She said goodbye to her island, only for a time, she hoped. She packed, loaded her car, and inside a few hours, she was on the road – by herself.

She had fear because of what she had just done, but deep inside, she felt as if she were 20 years old again and knew she had done the right thing. For the first time in her life, she was doing something just for herself. She was escaping.

She felt the rush because of the man in the portal. Who had he been?

#metoo

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Journal: My Respite – Wildlife Sightings

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This island is a wild and beautiful place. It’s also a place where one has to be careful because it is home to interesting wildlife. A virtual  zoo. Some live only in the tropics. Some live out on this island because they feel safe and, for the most part, they are. Since we share the island with them, we have to be sure we are safe as well. We also have to make sure our pets are safe. I would guess that the majority of people who live on the island have a dog and so do the majority of tourists. People who come to my island and who live here have to remember that we are, indeed, in the tropics.

During the last few days, there have been wildlife sightings, not just on the island but in the development where I live. Very close to my home. In the case of the dangerous wildlife, like alligators, the management tries to keep them out. Alligators are a part of life this far south in Florida. We have three small lakes, perhaps ponds, Today, an alligator was sighted in one of them, slithering into the water. Even though I’ve always known alligators are here, I’ve never seen one on the island. There’s a first time for everything!

This island is a nesting spot for the bald eagle. I love to watch them nesting in the fall to have their babies in the early spring. One has to remember that they can be dangerous. If you are walking a small dog, they have no problem swooping down and picking it up. There is a nesting pair in a tall evergreen tree in my yard. I’ll be guarding Hanna, my small dog of about 25 pounds, when we go for walks.

In the last few days, a bobcat has been spotted at night in the back of the development. I’m used to bobcats since my home is in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky and I’ve heard them scream in the trees in my backyard. But, I don’t particularly want to encounter one when I’m walking Hanna at night. To complicate matters, the management of the development says that coyotes are encroaching on our development. Suddenly, island wildlife has decided to live right here with me.

Life is never boring on this beautiful island. Any ideas on how to walk Hanna after dark? 🙂

 

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

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.

 

The Reluctant Traveler

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The housesitter has been employed. Everything is packed. It’s time to leave. I have a little reluctant traveler on my hands. Hanna, my seven-month old puppy who has owned me since mid-July. She is, in equal parts, adorable, stubborn, sensitive, and special. She is also unhappy in the car to the point that she is car sick, like a child.  She is so sweet and innocent and so incredibly attached to her home that I can hardly bear to make her travel for 1200 miles in the car.

She tries to enjoy it. She really does. Last time she was in the car, she tried to look out the windows, enjoy the view, but then it happened. She started drooling heavily and was car sick. We tried every medication known to man and vet. So tomorrow, we resort to the last resort and try a heavy tranquilizer, hoping Hanna will just sleep through it. I’ve added a day to the trip hoping she will adjust. Tomorrow will be a short day. We’ll only go about 200 miles and stop for the night, and we will gradually extended the length of the driving days. I hope it will help her get used to it, but I fear it won’t.

You see, when it was prime time to socialize Hanna, the breeder didn’t bother. So I bought her at almost four months old and she hated travel, she hated other people, and she hated other dogs. My trip to Florida is partly  about Hanna. She will meet people and other dogs. I will help her learn that people and other dogs will not hurt her. By the time we get home, she will be over a year old and all grown up.

I will spend the month of November doing NaNoWriMo, which for me this year, is writing a mystery novella. 50,000 words, but I will write a little less since I’m writing a novella. My goal isn’t to win, just to finish my WIP.

So wish us luck. I will write part of the day and the other part of the day, I will show her the birds, wildlife, and scenery of South Florida on long walks. She will see the ocean and the beach. I will gradually introduce her to people and other dogs. Then, I will give her time to process it all.

Off and on, I’ll post here. A blog post entitled “The Reluctant Traveler.” Stop by and read about Hanna’s progress and about my progress on the novella. If you are doing NaNoWriMo and need a buddy, seek me out! I’ll blog some, but not as much as usual, especially during November since I have to write 1,667 words per day.

After November and NaNoWriMo, I’m back to work on my novel, but I hope to spend long hours enjoying and drawing inspiration from my island and I want to take a number of side trips. Some ecotours, a trip to Epcot, trips to the most outer barrier islands, a trip to the Tortugas, and much more, getting photos as I go. I’d like to go to Miami and spend a little personal nostalgia time at South Beach, getting some good photos while I’m there. I hope Hanna can go with me, wherever she is allowed. All good material for books and blogs.

Off to see the wizard!

 

 

#SoCS – 10/28/17 – Creativity

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Which should I take, the black or the navy? That was one of the questions I asked myself as I packed my clothes last evening. I am soon off to the ocean and, along with color-coordinating my wardrobe, I found myself thinking about all kinds of things while packing. One of them was how busy I always am and how I look forward to my months by the sea. My thoughts aren’t exactly rocket science, but I do want to share them with you. The busier I get, the less creative my writing becomes. My inner finance professor is screaming at me to call that a negative correlation. The writer in me simply calls the lack of creativity a problem.

My months at the ocean are a time when my life slows down and simplifies. I’ve always thrived on being busy and the complexities of life. As I’ve taken up this career of writing, particularly the writing of fiction, I’ve found that my previous way of life doesn’t work as well for me. Being busy and having a complicated life does not foster creativity. My head is simply too full of the details of my life for creativity to find a foothold. Perhaps that’s why my first career was in finance. Numbers and even the explanation of what those numbers mean do not require much creativity. They are right or wrong with explanations that are obvious. There may be a bit of creativity, but not much.

My creative outlet during my years as a finance professor was primarily music. Specifically, playing piano, generally classical music. I could lose myself, and everything that was in my head, during hours at the piano. I always wrote, but during those years, I wrote either academic writings or non-fiction.

Fiction writing is a completely different experience. Unless I give myself time to be quiet and still, to slow down and make myself feel instead of think, then the creativity needed to write fiction just doesn’t come. This is a tough gig for someone like me. Being still and letting myself feel is a new experience and I’m not very good at it. Developing these skills makes me feel vulnerable. Out of control. I haven’t allowed myself to slow down and feel in a very long time. It’s scary.

Scary or not, writing fiction makes it necessary. So soon, I’m off to my island in the sun. To experience a slower life where I don’t live inside my head quite so much. Instead I let myself have new experiences and actually feel the feelings they arouse. For me, that’s what arouses the passion that it takes to write good fiction. We’ll see what I come back with when I incorporate it into the books and stories I’m writing. Perhaps I’ll even come back as a more well-rounded human being again?

SoCS

 

 

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

Amsterdam

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“Why is the stupid door pink instead of red,” Katrina mumbled to herself. She had just rented a room in the famous red light district in Amsterdam. An American girl in Amsterdam. No money, no way to get home, no job. It was just sex. She scratched a smiley face on the door and went inside.

It wasn’t bad. There were new linens. She had heard that putting a bowl of pasta puttanesca out drew in clients. A knock at the door. Her first client. He took one look at her and said, “Let me help you get home.”

99 words

The Song of the Horns

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When they were children, they would lie on the bank of the river and watch the barges and boats as they passed by. It was a game to count them. A way to fill their lonely existence at home. They only had each other as playmates.

As teenagers, they started feeling romantic feelings for each other as they watched those boats pass by. They held hands. They chased each other along trails by the river. They pitched a tent and spent the night by the river, but in separate sleeping bags. They listened to the lonely horns of the boats sound their song.

Finally, they parted. She was older and went off to college. He missed her, but there was nothing he could do. It was many years before they saw each other again. When they did, at her mother’s funeral, the old magic was still there.

They walked back down to the river after the funeral. She didn’t know he’d thought of her every day. They clasped hands, heard the horns, and knew.

174 words

Photo Credit to Barb CT

Obsession

WARNING: ADULT CONTENT. MATURE AUDIENCE ONLY

Sighing, Rebecca finished her Coke, paid her tab, and started back up to her room in Atlanta. Patrick had asked that she meet him there. Even though they had been lovers for the most of 35 years, it had been a long time since she had seen him. Rebecca had just escaped to the hotel bar. She hadn’t known Patrick had once again remarried when she agreed to meet him. He had just told her, along with telling her that his wife was a vindictive woman with the capability of harming both of them. Rebecca was quite upset.

She went upstairs and let herself into the room. Patrick was watching television. He didn’t speak as she came in. She put down her purse and sat down in the chair by the window.

“Patrick, can we talk some more?”

“When you left, Becca, I didn’t know if you were coming back. How could you make me feel like that?”

“Patrick, don’t be ridiculous. My luggage and all my stuff is here. Of course you knew I’d be back. I just had to think. You told me some really shocking stuff.”

“So what do you want to know?”

“I want to know more about Wendy, Patrick, since you say she could actually hurt me.”

“I didn’t mean physically hurt you.”

“Why don’t you explain exactly what you do mean, Patrick. You said she went to your ex-wife and told her about the two of you. That is pretty shocking to me since you had three underage children.”

Patrick got out of bed and put on his robe. Rebecca noticed he had obviously been to his room as he had brought some of his stuff over to her room. He sat down in the other chair at the table by the window.

“Becca, she would be likely to do to you just what she did to Elizabeth. She tried to ruin her life. I told you that she is a computer hacker, right?”

“Yes, Patrick, but that is against the law.”

“Becca, hackers are seldom caught.”

“So what would she do, Patrick? Spill it.”

“She might try to hack into your bank accounts and credit cards, Becca. She could clean out your bank accounts and run up your credit cards.”

“There is fraud protection on all of that, Patrick.”

“Yes, but it would be a giant pain for you to take care of it all before real damage was done to your credit. She could also steal your identity through your tax returns or credit records, Becca, and that is much more serious for you.”

“It would also be much more serious for her when I lead the feds right to her.”

“Becca, you wouldn’t do that to me, would you? I’d already be in enough trouble with her if she found out about us.”

Rebecca just sat there and stared at Patrick. Who was this sitting before her?  What had Wendy done to him? Was he really married to such a woman? He said he loved Wendy. How could he love someone like that?

“Becca, are you going to walk out on me?”

Rebecca sighed and looked at Patrick. “No, I’ll stay, but Patrick, you really should have told me about Wendy so I could make an informed decision.”

“I knew you wouldn’t come,” Patrick said.

“No, Patrick, you didn’t know that.”

Rebecca got tears in her eyes and her voice sounded choked up as she spoke, “I’ve loved you for so many years. Even these past twelve years, I’ve never stopped loving you. I had to come. I had to see you, to see how you are, to be with you. You knew this. You took advantage of it. You should have thought enough of me to at least tell me that you’re married to a crazy person.”

“She’s not really crazy, Becca. Just insecure,” Patrick said softly.

“OK,” Rebecca said. “Whatever you say. I’m going to bed. If she comes here, don’t let her chop me up in my sleep.”

Rebecca undressed and got into bed. Patrick followed her, turning out lights as he went.

In the dark, he said, “Becca?”

“What?”

“Do you still love me?”

“I’ve always loved you, Patrick, and probably always will.”

“Do you regret meeting me?”

“Patrick,” Rebecca said, “Don’t you think it’s about 35 years too late to worry about that? To answer your question, no.”

“How could you possibly not regret meeting me? I’ve ruined your life.”

“Patrick, we’ve had this conversation before. You haven’t ruined my life. In many ways, you’ve made my life.”

“Could you tell me what you mean? I know you’ve told me before but I need to hear it again.”

“I can’t ever remember a time when you weren’t good to me, Patrick. We’ve had our fights, but you did your best to be kind under the circumstances. I can’t imagine that any two people could have loved each other more intensely than we’ve loved. You’ve shown me the world, from Europe to the Caribbean to South America to North Africa. I would have never gotten to see any of that without you and you made it as romantic as you could possibly make it. I still think of the nights we spent in those castles in Portugal. You’ve made me laugh more than any other person ever could and love harder than I thought possible. How could I possibly regret knowing you?”

As she talked, Patrick listened. Not the Patrick who had the plan, but the Patrick she met all those years ago. He was the Patrick who had finally been diagnosed with bi-polar syndrome when he was in his 20s. It had plagued him all his life. Rebecca was the only woman who had ever accepted him as he was. They shared some common characteristics. Not his bi-polar tendencies, but they both liked to have fun, take a little risk, and they just seemed to fit. He often wondered why he’d never asked her to marry him.

“I still love you, Becca,” Patrick said. “I always have.”

On the other side of the bed, silent tears slid down Rebecca’s face. She knew that on some level, Patrick meant what he said. She knew he couldn’t sustain any relationship. He’d also loved Elizabeth. In some way, he probably loved Wendy. Not only was his bi-polar condition uncontrolled, but he was a highly intelligent, very complex man with many facets to his personality. The bi-polar syndrome made him very insecure.

“Patrick,” Rebecca said, sobbing, “Surely you know that I would get down on my knees. I would do anything for you.”

Patrick took her in his arms and they began to make their kind of love.

Copyright @2017 Rosemary Carlson

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