A Story in Five Sentences – Flash Fiction – October 7, 2014

Good Fortune

Jingua was up at five thirty, had eaten her breakfast of tea and rice and was on the road to work.  She sat with other girls, sometimes younger other times older, sewing sequins on party dresses.  At noon and in the evening more tea and rice with maybe some fish or vegetables. She was asleep by nine. She knew she was lucky, as her mother always said, “At least you’ve never suffered hunger.”

 

Five Sentence Fiction – Hunger

Underground Railroad – August 31, 2014

“Oh lawd … save these your chill’en!” Maimy cried her prayer softly as they trudged along the river bank.

It was a moonless night.  They were 15 between women and children who’d run away from various plantations in Maryland.  They’d been gathered in one “way station” in Pennsylvania.  The owners of the farm were Quakers, also known as Friends. Maimy and her group had been hiding in their cellar now for almost 5 days waiting for the new moon.

The slave hunters had come by the day before with their dogs.  It had been hard to keep the baby silent.  They wouldn’t be safe until they reached Canada.  Sure, Pennsylvania was a free state, but black people had no rights and everyone was obliged to return runaway slaves to their owners … thanks to the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Dred Scott decision.

Soon they would cross the river and exchange guides Maimy thought.  They’d been told that their new guide who would take them the rest of the way to Canada was an ex-slave.  He’d risked his life and freedom for nearly 10 years to help his people.

An owl hooted. The group stopped, hearts in their throat. Then their guide hooted too.  Soon a black man with a “red injun” came up to their leader.

“Okay ev’rybody … we’s gonna cross this here river and go through a mountain pass.  You’s gonna be in Canada next week.  Just have faith and walk.”  said the black man.

And they did.


Written for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie

The link provided in this post informs us that very often slaves never went farther than Pennsylvania especially where there was a large community of Quakers and free “people of color”.  My story is just a mish-mash of various stories I’ve heard since I was a kid and shouldn’t be taken seriously, though I’m sure that maybe somewhere in history a Maimy must have existed … but maybe she was an Armenian, a Kurd or a Jewish woman (et cetera) running from some other “master” though not necessarily because she was a slave, but just because she’d been born into the wrong ethnic group.

Over the last century and into this new century we’ve seen over and over again masses of people having to leave their homes due to war, political upheaval, racial intolerance and famine.  The underground railroad is for me just a symbol of all those throughout history who have helped the down-trodden find a place of safety to live.

For Tale Weavers – August 11, 2014

Foro RomanoThe Forum Cat

There it is … the sparrow.  It’s landed not far from where I am, the silly creature.  Slowly I get into position. Each paw moving ever so cautiously. I’ve got my eye fixed on the bird and my breath is silent.  I pounce … darn it got away.

To catch a bird, of course, means you must be particularly cautious when you move.  My mother was always a great huntress.  I remember when we were little, she’d leave us with Aunt Selma and go off for a few hours.  When she came back we always feasted on her prey.  Sometimes it might have been a rat at others a bird.  She and Aunt Selma took turns hunting and when we were old enough they taught us all we know.

Of course, we don’t always have to hunt. Here in our colony, in a place I’ve heard humans call the Roman Forum, there are the lovely ladies that bring us food and sometimes milk.  They’re called “cat women” though of course they have nothing of us in their veins.

I spy a rat lurking among the stones.  I crouch in position.  Moving very slowly keeping my eye on the creature, my tail shivers of its own accord, then I pounce.  Got it!  I’m finished hunting for the day, it’s time I return to our lair where the little ones are awaiting their dinner.

 

To find the prompt go to Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie

The Rock People – August 7, 2014

 

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Photo Credits – A Mixed Bag – Al Forbes

The Rock People

Down in the back garden, Wilber had put some of his painted rocks. He paints them up for sale, but his better pieces he keeps for himself. He says that they’re like scarecrows and keep the caterpillars and gnomes at bay.

He’s fixated with gnomes ever since his mom read him a fairy story about them years before. Of course rationally I think he knows they don’t exist, but deep down inside …
Last week he told me the gnomes had uprooted a few geraniums to make space for one of their hidey holes. That’s why he put the stones out to scare them off. I imagined that it was probably a gopher or a rabbit and those stones, though making the garden more interesting, were wasted.

He invited me to stay out with him one evening to guard the garden. It’d seemed like it might be fun to sit under the moon light with Wilber, so I said I’d come along.
It was around mid-night when we saw some tiny lights out near the plants. Fireflies I said to myself, except firefly season had long since passed. Then the rocks began to move!

“Collaborationists!” Wilber hissed.

He was a bit hasty, for the rocks with the mouths began to shout profanities and the eye shot out a blue laser beam type light. There, not a few feet away, were some scraggy little creatures dressed in mouse fur robes. I tell you, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The creatures took flight and the rocks were just looked like painted rocks again.

“Well that’s more like it.” Wilber sighed in contentment. Then he put his arm around my shoulders and began to kiss me.

“Not here Wilber.” I said, “Not in front of the rock people.”

BannerSunday Photo Fiction

Rodeo Queen – August 4, 2014

Elizabeth Taylor, Set of “Giant”, by Frank Worth.

Rodeo Queen

Born on a ranch  not far from Fort Worth, Texas she’d learnt to ride before she could walk.  Her father had hoped she’d be the son he’d always wanted but after 6 kids her mom figured she’d done her bit, so Emily was their last child.

Emily complied unknowingly to his wishes.  She learnt to ride, as I said, very early.  From that moment onwards she was destined to walk in her daddy’s footsteps, she was going to be a Rodeo Queen, just like he’d been a Rodeo King. Rodeo was in her blood.  He’ took her all his tours with him. True enough, he was a little too old to get into the heavy competitions, but he’d participate in the horse riding competitions.

She was 19 the day she died.  She was a contestant for at the Calgary Rodeo Stampede.  She could ride with the best of them and had already won many prizes.  The Calgary Rodeo was going to make her into a rodeo star.   It was just pure bad luck that the bull gored her.  She’d been riding a bronk and had just been thrown when an angry bull broke out and ran into the arena.  She’d just gotten up and was brushing her jeans off with her hat so she didn’t see that a bull was charging her. The cow-hands hadn’t been quick enough to distract the bull. He was one mean critter.

Her favorite song was “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.  She’d listen to it at least a hundred times a day singing along with Cohen as her dad and she drove their camper from one rodeo to another.  So her dad insisted that the pastor play that song during the opening of the funeral service.  She’s buried in the private family cemetery on the ranch.

Her dad, from that day on, just kind of wasted away.  He died a few months after she did. He’s buried there too, the king near his princess.

magpie tales statue stamp 185Written for Magpie Tales and Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie

I apologize to anyone who knows anything about rodeos … This is just pure fantasy.  I know there is a Calgary Rodeo Stampede because way back in 1966 going to Alaska from Illinois my parents decided to take the ALCAN highway and we stayed a couple of days in Calgary.

The Victorian Lady – July 17, 2014 (Flash Fiction)

6. © Eclectic Odds n Sods

I was walking down a lane in an old district of London one evening when I suddenly realized that the light of a lamp-post cast a shadow that shouldn’t have been there.

It was in front of an old run down brownstone house. The other buildings weren’t modern of course, but they’d been recently refurbished. To me the windows resembled empty woeful eyes, looking on a world with which it felt no kindred ship.

The street light flickered and suddenly I felt dizzy. To my surprise a beautiful young girl stood not far from me.

“Ohi Gov, would you be wantin’ some company this evenin’?”

She was talking up an elegant gentleman, who looked to be in his forties. He was your classical strait laced Calvinist sort.  I was fairly certain he wouldn’t be interested in her favours.

He looked disdainfully at her then hissed: “Harlot! Can one not walk down the streets in peace without being accosted by the likes of you!”

Then to my horror, he pulled out a knife and began to viciously stab her.

She screamed: “Oh Lord have mercy .. it’s Jack!”

Flash Fiction Prompt – We Drink Because We’re Poets

Apocalypse at Tea Time – July 13, 2014

Photo Credit: Cybele Moon

Photo Credit: Cybele Moon

 

 

 Apocalypse at Tea Time

It’d been a lovely afternoon.  We’d trekked through the fields and were happy to see the town just ahead in the gloaming Irish sky.

We reached our inn at 4:30 and still had time to take a warm shower to take some of the winter chill out of our bones in plenty of time for tea.

Melanie told me to go ahead, that she wanted to repack her backpack.  I’d just finished and was drying my hair when I heard her say:

“Oh damn!  I’ve bought a batch of old biscuits!  The expiration date says June 20th – today’s the 28th! Now I’ll have to pitch them and there’s no market to replace them!”

“Mel, you are so silly about expiration dates!  I mean, if it were something perishable, ok, but they’re biscuits for heaven’s sake! Do you think they’ve become instantly poisonous or something?”

She looked at me and scratched her head and smiled. “Yes you’re quite right! Let’s go have some tea!” and put the biscuits back into her back pack.

Meanwhile at the Akashic library, Anubis was sitting next to Pluto going through the archives.

“Oh now just look at this!  This place has been misfiled!  It should have been pitched already … the expiration date says January 1, 2000 and it’s 2014 now!” said Pluto with a wail.

“Oh really Plu, you do so exaggerate!  It’ll still be good for another couple of millenia.  Ao much fuss about an expiration date, what do you think the whole place is going to instantly go bad?”

Pluto looked at Anubis, scratched his head and smiled, “Yes of course you’re right … let’s go have some tea.” He put the card back into the file cabinet under the letter “E”.


§§§§§§§

The Apocalypse is not one of my oft used ideas … in fact I rarely think of nuclear holocaust or the advent of the end of times … well except in the sense that I think we’re doing a fabulous job of destroying our possible future through our thoughtless energy policies, over population, idiotic political solutions (read war) to issues and a generalized tendency to think only about number one in a get all you can get and to hell about the underdog sort of way.

As I said, I rarely think about the Apocalypse … But Dune Mouse (Cybele Moon) made this comment on one of my stories:

Love the ending of your wonderful tale!! as for myself  “I always fear that creation will expire before tea-time” (Quote by Sydney Smith)

 

This is the story she inspired through her comment and her photo!

 

The Knight – July 10, 2014

(c) Jen from Blog it or Lose it!

“In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.” the knight said as he walked past the corpses of his dead comrades in arms.

He’d been born into a nobel family and when the Pope called for the faithful to free Jerusalem, he being the youngest son had been destined by his house to represent the family, at 16.  He’d decided to dedicate his life to capture and protection of the Holy City.

Jerusalem had fallen in 1069 … his stomach turned remembering his part in the massacre of the infidels, men, women and children who’d taken sanctuary in Temple of Solomon … 10,000 people some said.  Secretly, he asked himself, if this was what it meant to be a true Christian?

Those who fought at the Tower of David were spared, oddly enough, these had been warriors who’d resisted for days against the Franks.  We slaughter the sheep but free the wolves! He thought sadly. Then entered the chapel to pray.


Written for Bastet’s Friday Flash Fiction

This is pure fiction based on real history.

Tale Weaver’s Prompt – July 4, 2014

music, saxophone, curious,  root, garbage

This week Oloriel asks us to weave a story with the above five words!  So here we go!

The Root of Primitive Instincts

“Oh man!  This is just garbage!  You call this music?” shouted the saxophone player as he read a piece of sheet music his friend had composed for him the other evening.

“It’s experimental James, you could at least try to play it.  I’m curious to hear what you can do with it on a saxophone, I’ve tried it on a violin and on the piano of course, but not the sax.”

“Julia, you’re a genius … usually, but it’s not even remotely feasible for me to play this thing.  It’s aweful!”

“Aw, come on … just a try.  I’m trying to get to the root of our primitive animal instincts!”

Tabby was sitting on her lap sleeping.  Toby was over by the fireplace looking curiously them as he sat placidly on his rug. James gave in and as he hit the first cacophonic squeal of high notes moving on to a low bass tone, the cat jumped about a foot and took off, the dog began to howl.

Julia put her hands to her ears and shouted, “Okay okay! You’re right it is garbage on a sax!”

“Told ya so!”


Written for Mindlovesmiserys’ Menagerie – Tale Weavers Prompt

A Different Vacation – July 1, 2014

postcards-300x182

Rome, December 5th, 1941

“When did you know you were lost?” he asked.

“Well, actually about a half an hour ago…I realized that everyone looked sort of strange and I didn’t understand the language and … ” her voice drifted off as she looked at the policeman in an evident state of confusion.

The policeman asked her to sit down.

“Why don’t we start with your name, signorina.” he looked at her carefully, she’d said she didn’t understand the language, but she’d spoken to him in Italian.

“Wilma Cummings,” she replied, again in Italian “My name is Wilma Cummings. And you officer, what is your name?”

“Mario Velasco.” he informed her.  There was something a little strange about her, both in her phrasing as well as in her appearance, she looked like she’d stepped out of a history book. When did you arrive in Italy?”

“Oh! Last week.  April 1st. Yes of course you’re right, we’re in Italy!”

“Yes ma’am, but we’re not in the month of April.  It’s December.  Do you remember if perhaps you’ve had an accident?” he asked but she didn’t look injured.

“No.  I was going to visit Turin’s World’s Fair, that’s why I came in the first place.  I got my ticket in March, my universal translator was installed the day before I left, and I’ve been having headaches ever since.  Not to speak of a strange deja vu feeling. Maybe that’s the problem! Sometimes the translators do strange things”

Now he was feeling lost.

“Excuse me signorina Cummings, but there will be no World’s Fair as was planned, and of course it was to be held here in Rome, not Turin, but alas, the war … and I don’t understand what you mean about a universal translator.”

“Oh my … but this is 1911 right?”

Velasco shook his head, of course the woman had had some sort of accident or maybe she was just crazy … but on the other hand, she may just be a cunning spy for the English.  He thought he’d better call his superior officer. And he began to pick up his telephone …

“Oh damn that agency!” she shouted suddenly “They’ve made a total mistake.  Now I understand! Damn, damn, damn!  I knew I should have gone to Malibu this summer!” She clapped her hands hard, activating the emergency re-entry mechanism, and she dissolved in shimmer of light.

Velasco stared at where the woman had been sitting, then lit a cigarette.