Man of the Streets

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PHOTO PROMPT submitted by Courtney Wright. © Photographer prefers to remain anonymous.

Man of the Streets…

Jerome. That’s the name we knew. A good man. Always polite when he chose to speak, which wasn’t often. This was his place for as long as I could remember. He guarded this small corner of the park. The kids all knew him. Many brought him sandwiches sneaked out of their Mom’s kitchen. He was a ‘shadow’ hero. A veteran of a long ago war who came home in body, but not soul. The park was his jungle to guard and defend. Everyone in town loved him…

I wonder if he knew how much?

Wc: 98 – title included!

 

Authors Note: It is May, and with May comes Memorial Day in the USA. As is my want this month, I sway towards tributes to soldiers, first responders, and the like. When I saw this picture I thought of the homeless man who helped me out of the street last May when I was hit by a car that took off after. He was the ONLY one to help. I don’t know his name, but I do know that he was a Veteran of Vietnam. This past winter, in sub-zero temps, he was found frozen to death on a park bench. So often, I feel that we overlook the homeless and even disparage their character based upon their appearance and living conditions. But, in my experiences over the years with both homeless peoples and homelessness, I can tell you that I’d rather spend a life with them than with most folks. Oddly enough, I’ve missed this gentleman and his gentle smile. So, this story is for him…

 

This work of fiction is written for  Friday Fictioneer ‘s 100 word writing challenge hosted weekly by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff-fields.  Come on out and join us at: Friday Fictioneer ‘s if you’re up to a good challenge, or even a really great read. These little stories are well worth your time! A Huge thank you goes to Courtney Wright for sharing this week’s photo prompt with us.We’d love to see you around the table.

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Captured in the moment…

Just a little brainstorming, born out of procrastination. In reality, I should be cleaning house. Apartment temperature before 8am was in the upper 80’s. Have AC set to 80, just to keep it tolerable. So, I should be cleaning and instead, I’m sitting here doing a little writing to kill time.  Out of an hour’s brainstorming, I got one halfway decent paragraph… maybe the start to another in my Hope Ranch series? Not sure where it will lead if anywhere…but hey, I did delay the start of housecleaning by an hour and a half.

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Photo prompt: Pixabay.com

Where did she go from here? That was the question at the forefront of her mind. The war was over. She was  home. And, she was more lost and confused than she had ever been. Her confusion had nothing to do with the bandage that encircled her head, and everything to do with the man waiting for her as she stepped into the airport terminal from the plane.

wc: 68

 

 

Paradise Channel

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Photo prompt from Google images: Gwynedd, Wales

The channel was not as narrow as it had been the last time I’d walked this rocky land. Still, I took extra care with each step. Shale was known for being very slippery even when it was dry and there had been a brief shower this morning already. But the trek would be worth it. At least, I hoped it would. Coughing as I struggled to breathe, I looked up at the sheer walls that stretched to the sky and smiled.

So much of the land above was destroyed by the war, but this… this one place… Oh, how I hoped it had been spared. As hidden as it was beneath the level of the landscape… maybe. Dare I to even hope? Geiger counter in hand, it was time to slip through the gap and see… Ah, just like I remembered…

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Photo prompt from Google images: Golwern Quarry, Wales

wc: 141

“What Pegman Saw” is a grand writing adventure taken via Google maps. It is hosted each week at: https://whatpegmansaw.com/ . The goal is to write a 150 word or less story that corresponds with the location of the week, taken from either the street view, or google images. If you care to join us on the adventure, feel free to follow the link!

City’s Heartbeat

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PHOTO PROMPT ©Jill Wisoff

City’s Heartbeat

The beat was off.

The buildings blocking sky.

Bright lights hide the stars.

The image blurs my eyes.

Home,

for my ancestors,

gone forever.

Gone the sloping hills that met the rolling sea.

The deer no longer lapping at the water’s edge,

the children no longer swinging from trees

with eyes glittering in the sun

now the city loomed

dark, dismal, blurry in my eyes.

The vision of the past extinguished

as the traffic light changed

life continues

the beat of the city sounds

out of rhythm with the earth.

Home,

gone forever.

wc: 95 Title included.

 

This work of fiction is written for  Friday Fictioneer ‘s 100 word writing challenge hosted weekly by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff-fields.  Come on out and join us at: Friday Fictioneer ‘s if you’re up to a good challenge, or even a really great read. These little stories are well worth your time! A Huge thank you goes to Jill Wisoff  for this week’s photo prompt.We’d love to see you around the table.

Drums of Tulum…

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Photo from Google images…. Tulum, Mexico

The closer to the temple that she came, the louder the music of the drums seemed to her. She felt its thrumming in her ears and its energy surging through her muscles. It called her further and further up through its catacombs until she emerged onto the upper levels and stepped out into the afternoon sun. With a sigh of successful contentment, she raised her hands and spun around in triumph. She had done it. She had returned to the plateau of her childhood. She could now be one with the Starbrothers as it had always been destined to be.

Stephen paused at the cave’s entrance and watched her as she held her hands up to the sky and spun around in glee. He’d never seen her as happy as she was that very moment. He sensed her elation though he could not completely comprehend its reasoning.

‘I have come!’ She shouted to the sky in her native tongue, holding her arms outstretched above her head. ‘I am here!’

 

Author’s Note: I have very fond memories of visiting Tulum, and of meeting the local indigenous peoples of that region. I especially remember dancing prayers at the ruins and how it felt as if I could hear the beat of the ancient drums in my ears. This is a scene out of one my books that I wrote back at the time that I was there sometime in the early ’80’s.

 

“What Pegman Saw” is a grand writing adventure taken via Google maps. It is hosted each week at: https://whatpegmansaw.com/ . The goal is to write a 150 word or less story that corresponds with the location of the week, taken from either the street view, or google images. If you care to join us on the adventure, feel free to follow the link!

Remnants of War

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Courtesy of Pixabay.com, copyright & royalty free photo source.

Chapter

Plaster crunched under her feet as Sheata cautiously crossed the threshold of her home. She stared at the destruction with an overwhelming sense of loss; soon replaced with resignation. She was alive, and for that alone she was thankful. Above her, sunlight poured into the living room through what had been a tall, cathedral ceiling. Dust whirled up around her as she reached out to pull a finger through the dust on a table now warped by the elements.

‘The engineers assure me that restoration is possible as the foundation is still sound.’ Stephen broke the silence with a soft voice.

Sheata stilled, letting her eyes move around the room. The enormity of the destruction matched her feelings of loss. She gulped, fighting to find words.

‘Tamai assures me that all the children were evacuated before the bombing, but this –…’

‘… Is disturbing.’ Stephen agreed.

‘I had hoped…’ Sheata’s voice warbled with emotion. ‘…to salvage, to find –…’

‘There was a great deal of looting right after the bombings, and even more as the war progressed.’ He explained. ‘I fear we must not hope for the return of any possessions.’

‘Possessions can be replaced.’ She squeezed the back of a damaged chair as she found a weak spot in the floor. ‘They are only things.’

‘Indeed.’ He agreed. ‘The floors on this level have been greatly compromised. We should stay close to the threshold to the corridor where the support is at its strongest.’ He beckoned her back to the door.

‘Our quarters?’ She dared to ask.

‘Gone, as is the entire East wing. It is where the building took a direct hit.’ He pointed down to the end of the corridor to a shaft of sunlight beyond a missing door.

A sense of overwhelming loss washed over her. It was all so very difficult to understand. The government had bombed the very children they were fighting to protect. None of it made any sense whatsoever. Sheata sniffled, swiping a shaky hand across her dampened cheeks.

Without the need to speak, Stephen pulled her to his chest. Together, they mourned the loss of their home and the life that they’d once had here. Soon, it would be time for them to move on.

‘I hear a shuttle.’ Stephen noted.

‘Charles.’ Sheata identified the wave of human thought that she suddenly felt. ‘He just arrived. We should go and meet him. He will, no doubt, react badly to the destruction.’

Outside, Cutter guided the shuttle through the remains of the front gate. He thought of the irony of security. For all they’d done to protect this small piece of land, the results of the war were even more powerful and unsettling. Sighing, he maneuvered the shuttle over top of the collapsed wrought iron gate. Looking beyond, he groaned at what he saw. It was worse than he’d thought.

‘So much good, gone to kelted Hades.’ He angrily muttered as he set the shuttle down in front of the half-crumbled front staircase. ‘So much kelted destruction, and for what end?’

Still grumbling about the senselessness of war, Cutter made his way up what was left of the stairs. The front door screamed its opposition to being opened as he pressed his shoulder against it.

‘Oh, my…’ He hissed as he saw the true extent of destruction on the inside.

‘Charles! So nice of you to make the trip out to join us.’ Sheata called down from the second floor promenade.

‘Sheata! You are a sight for these aged eyes!’ He called up to her, surprised at the odd lack of an echo. The foyer had always been like a sound tunnel. ‘I was expecting –…’

‘Greetings, Charles.’ Stephen appeared at Sheata’s side.

‘I go by Cutter these days.’ He addressed them as they descended the ladder that had been placed for the purpose of egress. ‘I only wish it were under better circumstances. This –…’ He gestured around him. ‘…- is bad, really bad.’

‘The engineers have assured me that it can be totally restored.’ Stephen noted.

‘It can, but should it be?’ Cutter asked.

‘Why would you ask, Cutter?’ Sheata asked with an air of innocence.

‘Now, who’s being the sarcastic one. It’s not like you, Sheata.’ Cutter snapped. ‘Aw kelts, Sheata, you don’t know the half of what happened here during the war.’

‘You may be partially correct in that.’ She nodded. ‘However, I see no reason why this building should not be restored and put to good use again.’

Cutter shook his head and ran a hand over his face before speaking. ‘People around these parts might take some major offense, for starters. For many, just the sight of the front gate will bring out the worst of their memories.’

‘Does the place disturb you so much, Cutter?’ Stephen asked as he watched the emotions in his friend’s eyes.

‘Yes, it does.’ Cutter slapped the end of the banister, sending a cloud of dust and plaster in all directions.

‘Your quarters are virtually undamaged, Cutter.’ Sheata informed him before he reacted any worse.

Cutter blinked at her.

‘The computer is gone; as are your personal possessions, but the room is intact. And, I might add, you have the luxury of still having a door.’ She pointed in towards the upper level. ‘Our quarters are non-existent.’

Cutter gulped, again. ‘My quarters…?’

‘Yes, your quarters.’ Sheata nodded. ‘You can access them safely, if you wish.’

‘I – uh – maybe later.’ Cutter gulped, shifting from one foot to the other.

Stephen raised a brow at Cutter’ behavior. He’d never know his friend to be so uncomfortable about his quartering environs. He made a mental note to address it at a later date.

‘Please, pardon me.’ Stephen touched the new commlink behind his right ear and headed towards the front door to answer it.

‘So, is this as hard for you as it appears to be for me?’ Cutter finally asked Sheata.

‘Yes. Our quarters are gone entirely. There is nothing left to be salvaged. Anything that might have survived the bombing itself has succumbed to looting or the effects of the elements. There is a feeling of loss that is almost overwhelming. So, yes, it is hard.’ Sheata easily admitted. ‘That said, what we have lost here is merely possessions. Possessions can be replaced. Even then, our losses pale in comparison to your own.’

Cutter sniffed and ducked his head. ‘You are aware then that Tamai was cloned?’

‘I wasn’t, until now.’ Sheata nodded her acknowledgment. ‘The reality is what it is, Cutter. We grieve your loss alongside of you. Tamai was a good friend.’

‘Thank you, Sheata, thank you.’ Cutter swallowed hard.

Sheata stepped closer, touching his shoulder in support. ‘I grieve with you, Cutter. If you need to talk, or anything else, come to me. We’ll get through this together, all of us.’

‘Right now, I need to get us out of here before the storm gets here. Radar had it sitting about twenty out. That gives us just enough time to get to my shuttle before it hits.’ Cutter gestured towards the front door.

At that moment, thunder clapped overhead and Stephen stuck his head back inside the building to call back to the others. ‘We need to leave, now. We’ve just been ordered to report to Gamma Medcenter. There was a building collapse with many casualties on the way in.’

‘Aye, aye, Sir.’ Cutter led the jog down the front steps and up to the shuttle. ‘With the intensity I saw on the radar, we can expect even more casualties before all is said and done.’

‘So much for the day off.’ Sheata hissed as she slid inside the shuttle, pulling the hatch closed behind them.

Love Built

k-rawson

PHOTO PROMPT © Karen Rawson

‘Love Built’

She loved to be by the water,

said the sound was Earth’s song

So, he built her steps

to make the steep hill

easier to traverse;

and, she did, every day

It was an icy spring

just as the sun set

She climbed the steps

looking up to see him smile

she slipped

she fell

dead

to the waters below.

Wc: 62, title included

Author’s Note: I loved this image so much, and was so inspired that I drew a little something in my TN sketcher, and wrote the original there. Here’s a pic, just in case you might be interested.

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C. B.S. McQuinn

This work of fiction is written for  Friday Fictioneer ‘s 100 word writing challenge hosted weekly by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff-fields.  Come on out and join us at: Friday Fictioneer ‘s if you’re up to a good challenge, or even a really great read. These little stories are well worth your time! A Huge thank you goes to Karen Rawson for this week’s photo prompt.We’d love to see you around the table.