By The Sea

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When he happened upon the village, he had been traveling for a long time. Wandering from place to place. He stopped in the small restaurant for some dinner and that’s when he saw it. There was a sign advertising a position for a lighthouse keeper. His breath caught in his throat. He had worked as a lighthouse keeper many times in his life. Those were the only times he had been a good person. When he had a connection to the sea.

He called the number on the sign. There was a small room he could live in at the bottom of the lighthouse. It had been standing empty for a while now. Workmen came to set its light. He moved in the few things that he had.

That night, he went about the business of calibrating the light. An image came into the path of the light and he realized it was a large ship sailing too close to the coast. When the light began to work, he watched as the ship steered away from the coastline.

He sighed with relief. This Christmas he had done a good deed. Unlike so many Christmas’s in the past.

 

*Thanks to Susan Spaulding and #SundayPhotoFiction

 

 

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Hidden – #writephoto

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I wish I could have spent the last ten days hidden among the wild things along the bank of the stream behind my home. Having been confronted by a terrible tragedy that can happen to any of us as we make our way out in the world, it’s made me wish for the greenery of summer to hide me away and the babble of the brook to keep my ears from hearing.

A severely impaired child and a grown-up young man lost their mother ten days ago. A man lost his wife and almost lost his own life. That little girl almost lost her father as well. A family lost a daughter and a sister. The world lost a beautiful woman. A community lost a friend and a participant. My street lost a neighbor and I lost one of my next-door neighbors.

We lost her to a traffic accident. A severe one and something that could happen to any of us. It was violent and her death was instant. In the blink of an eye, so many lives were affected and her life was snuffed out forever. We don’t realize how our lives affect so many others.

It’s made me do some real thinking about the fragility of life and how we take our lives for granted. We waste time, days, even hours and minutes, that we shouldn’t waste. My neighbor walked out her door never dreaming she would never be back. I’m sure much was left undone. Things she wished she’d said and done. She didn’t know time was coming to an end for her. Most of us don’t. Many of us procrastinate doing the important things. Telling people we love them. Making arrangements for people we care for. Spending more time with our friends and family.

There are things in life which you wish you could unsee and unhear. I wish I could unhear the news about my neighbor. I wish I could unsee the look in her husband’s eyes when I saw him today. Still in shock but with pain deep inside. So many people’s lives will never be the same.

As for me, these are the first words I’ve written since I heard the news. My fingers and my mind have been frozen. I think of the poem called “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry and wish I could be at that babbling brook behind my house and that I could unhear the terrible news about my neighbor.

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— “The Peace of Wild Things, by Wendell Berry

Mashed Potato Surprise

The family sat down for Thanksgiving dinner. She had cooked quite a dinner and he had helped. Everyone was at the table and they were both carrying the dishes of food to the table when she heard a crash. She turned around and he had dropped a large bowl of mashed potatoes on the floor, splattering them everywhere. They were everyone’s favorite dish.

He smiled, walked to the table, and pointed his finger. A lightning bolt appeared and at the end, a large bowl of mashed potatoes.

She said, “Hmm, so why have I bothered cooking all these years?”

 

Thanks to Charli at the Carrot Ranch

 

 

#weekendcoffeeshare – 11/3/2018

Good morning, everyone! Thank you for joining me for our #weekendcoffeeshare this week! It’s cold outside today. I hope you can make your way through all the fallen leaves on the ground. You can see a picture of our fall color above. Those trees are in my backyard! We measure leaves in the fall here by the foot! Please come in and fix yourself the hot beverage of your choice. I have several kinds of coffee and tea, so pick your pleasure!

I haven’t had a #weekendcoffeeshare for a couple of weeks and I apologize. It’s been a very busy time at my house. I try to find four or five hours to write every day, which is sometimes difficult, and then the rest of the day is taken up by a million little (and sometimes big) things. The most important thing is always my writing, but sometimes, the most pressing thing is Tucker, my eight month old Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Oh, Tucker! That boy not only requires, but demands a great deal of time. He looks like a grown dog, but he’s still a baby with a puppy brain. When I look at how big he is and how much he looks like an adult male, it’s hard to remember. Tucker is now 35 pounds which is very close to the size he should be at maturity. Cardigans don’t mature until they are two or even three years old so I shudder to think of his size at maturity! 🙂 He’s very sweet, but he requires a lot of training. You can see a picture of Tucker, my yard long dog, above!

Now, down to business! I am still working on characterizations and settings for my novella that may actually become a novel. I have no way to know at this point. Novellas are usually around 40,000 words. Above about 60,000 words and you are approaching the word count of a novel. Since the public’s attention span seems to be getting shorter all the time, the word count of novels is getting lower. So I don’t know what I’ll have when I’m finished!

One interesting setting I’m developing is New York City, circa 1943. I need to develop two settings, one in Brooklyn where I’ve never been and one in the middle of Manhattan, where I have been but obviously not in 1943! Manhattan is surely proving to be the easier of the two. I’m having to do a deep dive into research to find much about Brooklyn in the middle of World War II. This is a novella (novel?) full of different settings so I’ll gradually mention a lot of them! Both my protagonist and antagonist are traveling around a lot.

Traveling is another issue I’m having to deal with. Travel in 1943 and today are completely different. My antagonist has travel provided. My protagonist does not. I’ll talk more about this next week.

Feel free to stay and finish your beverage. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll hope to see you next week!

 

Thanks to eclecticali

 

 

 

Haunted

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“It’s always darkest before the dawn.” That old quote popped into her head at 4 a.m. It wouldn’t be daylight soon this morning since the Earth was spinning toward the shortest day of the year. She was still awake at this ungodly hour, as she often was, yearning for the light.

She couldn’t sleep until it was daylight. The old dreams, the terrible dreams of her childhood, haunted her, and she knew she couldn’t sleep until dawn when they would subside. She remembered them when she awoke, screaming, but only for a few seconds. Only the light chased them away.

 

Thanks to Charli and the CarrotRanch!

Beached

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Do you know what it feels like to be drowning? Not to be able to catch your breathe? It feels like you’re a fish out of water. Flopping on the shoreline. Gasping. Choking. Even if you manage to wriggle your way back to water, it hurts to breathe. You can’t swim very powerfully.

It feels like it does when your beloved leaves you and you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut. You can’t catch your breath for a few seconds. Even when you finally do, it comes in short, hard gasps. You might take a few steps, but you grab at your stomach. Overcome with pain. Bending over as if that will help.

Some people are like wolves or bald eagles or penguins. They mate for life. If their mate is gone, they find their way alone. Lonely, but with their memories. Occasionally gasping for breath like the beached fish. You may see them walking along the beach and if they raise their head, you’ll see the pain shining out of their eyes.

175 words

Thanks to Priceless Joy and to Jodi McKinney for the photo prompt.

 

Don’t You Love Me?

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”I thought we came to the Beach Bar to have a drink and then go parasailing, Michael? We haven’t even made it to the bar. You captured me way out here,” Gale exclaimed.

”C’mon, honey. I’ve missed you all day,” Michael said as he tried to steal a few kisses.

”Later, Michael. I’m thirsty for a beer and I really want to do some parasailing this afternoon,” Gale said as she pushed against Michael’s chest.

She pushed away and Michael turned away. With his back to her, he said, “Honey, don’t you love me?”

”Michael, don’t you even use that line on me,” Gale said.

Michael turned around grinning and grabbed her, kissing her again.

”Do we really have to go parasailing today, Gale? Let’s have one beer and then go to my apartment.”

”I know when I’ve lost an argument,” she said and started walked toward the bar.

Michael didn’t know that, once she made it to the bar, she wasn’t going anywhere with him after this.

168 words

 

Thanks to Priceless Joy and Michelle DeAngelis for the photo prompt.

 

The Stake Out

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“Don’t you think it’s obvious to rub the fog off in one spot, Stan?”

”No, Joe, I think it would be more obvious if he saw two guys sitting here in a car on a side street just hanging out,” Stan replied. “It would look like we’re on a stake out.”

”This guy is a nasty piece of work, Joe. Plus, he’s smart. He and his buddy had to have real smarts to pull off that bank heist.”

”How smart can he be? He’s covered in that red stuff from the marked money.”

The two men noticed a man in a business suit walking down the street. No car was around. It was many blocks to the business section of the city. The man kept looking around.

After the man walked a block up the street, Joe and Stan started the car and slowly followed him. He started to run. Joe jumped from the car and ran after him. He pulled out his gun, started to shoot, and Joe dropped to the ground.

 

Thanks to Priceless Joy for the prompt and wildverbs for the photo!

@Rosemary Carlson 2018

My Epic Workplace

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Job: Environmental and ecological freelance writer focused on climate change. Epic workplace: A house located in the woods. Connected both by wire and wirelessly to the Internet and the news channels. A powerful Mac computer and a standing desk. Subscriptions to all major research databases. Memberships to all major news organizations such as Getty. Three televisions to access the major news channels at the same time.

In today’s world, this would be my epic job and my epic workplace. A workplace where I could advocate for responsible ecological policy that would have a positive impact on slowing climate change.

 

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

Overtaken

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Ruth knew there was a burn ban. The ban was until 6 p.m. and it was almost dark. She thought she could burn the trash. The fire had gotten away from her. She and Sam were using blankets to try to beat down the flames.

The small volunteer fire department was on its way. Sam had called them before he ran out to help her. The fire was heading toward the forest behind their house. There were homes back there. Families, children, wildlife.

“Sam, I don’t hear any sirens yet,” Ruth screamed.

”You know they’re all ten or more miles away. We have to keep it at bay until they can get here,” Sam replied over the increasing roar of the fire.

Ruth and Sam were both members of the fire department. They couldn’t leave the blaze long enough to get their fire-fighting equipment. Ruth knew they could stop the fire on the ground with their equipment, but she had just seen it jump to the top of a tree.

The volunteers started pulling in the driveway, putting on their gear as they jumped out of their cars. Someone got the pair’s gear out of the house.

The fire was roaring through the underbrush, advancing fast.

“We have to build a berm to try to stop this,” Sam said.

”It’s too hot. You can’t get in there,” someone screamed at him.

Sam grabbed a shovel and went in. Just as he did, the fire took on new life and overtook him.

 

Posted to IndiesUnlimited. If you like this story, please go to this site and vote for it after 5 p.m. Tuesday. Thank you!

Photo attributed to K. S. Brooks