Common Ground

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A cramped space this. I need to stretch, feel the earth under my feet. A little less talk and a little more quiet.

Thriving in closed spaces, you’ve mastered the art of contorting yourself, being stashed away.

The air is mine own. My mind lifts off- a sailboat in flight, the air my water, the water grounding me and the earth a vast expanse of ocean I float on.

You and I see the same road.

You are intent; and I never really look.

When did I begin to speak a different language?

Your eyes unseeing, uncomprehending, a thousand miles away.

Your every word, every drawn breath, every expelled curse- so easy to understand, mired in the world.

I surged ahead, wanting nothing.

And yet, here we are.

You lead, your eyes on the road.

I follow. My eyes also on the road.

The darkness is complete till dawn breaks.

The sky bursts. Clouds scud across the palette. Tints shifting settling into a golden hue.

Let us stop here and confront each other in enforced silence.

After breakfast at this lovely place, things will seem a little less intense, our bellies warm with pancakes, omelettes, buttered toast and hot coffee.

[200 words]

Priceless Joy Thank you for hosting this challenge. I’ve missed your challenges, missed writing and it feels great to be back and alive once again. Footy and Foodie, thank you for the photograph.

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L’amour toujours

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Madame Sophie collected the finest things in life first. Waterford crystal. Flora Danica. And then she set her sights on people, for people were attracted to things, mais oui!

She was known for her exquisite soirees. The lustrous rope of pearls felt cool against her fevered skin. She took her place by the piano, accompanied by her dear doting husband.

Alas! La Belle Madame could not sustain the high note. She would reach it but didn’t have the confidence or the passion to stay there. She would break off…Such a pity. Oh, Mon Dieu!

She never gave up though.

Madame began trilling. She scaled higher and higher.

‘Wait for it, here it comes!’

‘Now.’

As if on cue, little Gregory, Madame Sophie’s youngest, held up the bowl of Waterford crystal and put it on his head.

Madame was well into her range when she espied little Gregory and her precious bowl. The notes escaped her glorious throat, soaring higher and higher, as she let herself go completely.

Resounding applause brought her back.

A beaming Monsieur slipped an extra pastry to Gregory.

You see, Monsieur had decided that Madame had had enough disappointment.

[193 words]

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. Thank you PJ, for the awesome opportunity! Thank you Louise with The Storyteller’s Abode for the photograph!

 

 

A Game of Hornes

cow

Presenting-“The Cowntess Moasty-Toasty of the House Cocoamuff, First of Her Name, the Unburnt Toast Almost, Queen of all Ambling Bovines and the First Moos, Cowleesi of the Great Grassland Stretch, Breaker of Great Wind and prospective mother of Prize Heifers…”

A secret tryst in the barn, induced by unlimited Cocoa and muffins, Pat-a-cake being the predominant theme, Moasty-Toasty was christened after her gleaming brown coat reminded the others the toast was almost burnt before her first Moo.

The First of Her Name, and probably the Last. It won’t catch on, really now, would it?

The Queen of all Ambling Bovines, for Moasty Toasty has been known to emulate her mother, the Cowager, who was known errr, for  mooching. The Cowager has long since been forgotten, the public having such short moomory.

Thus, the addition First Moos.

Cowleesi,  note the eyes, the tuft of hair, the distinct resemblance. The sun never sets on the Prairies, Pampas,  Veld,  Rangelands, Steppes, and Savannah, Great Grassland stretches all.

The ABC diet, rich in asparagus, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage contribute to the penultimate title.

Throw in handsome Angus, and you’ll have little Bullah, and Cownnie gamboling in no time at all.

Charmed.

[200 words] Sorry, went overboard!  😀

Thank you majesticgoldenrose for the photograph. A million thanks, PJ, for hosting Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge! I had loads of fun with this!  ❤

 

Stuporia

drinks

it begins with just a glass

 

the thorn in your side

being passed over

a hundred things

clutch at your throat

refusing to let you breathe

 

you plod doggedly

gulping in fresh air

whenever you can

 

a smile feels raw

laughter threatens

to slash your stomach

you are afraid

it might all spill out

powerless to contain it

anymore

your heart crushed

in the vice of a cold hand

 

and then this glass

beckons

 

a sip doesn’t amount to much

 

the blood around your cold heart

begins to unfreeze

 

astonished

it rushes to your head

 

giddy now

the world around you

ceases to be

 

ceases to stifle

 

a film covers your eyes

your senses sing

and then are lulled

 

incredible

huh

 

soon

you cannot do without

this escape

 

illusion

 

this trance-like state

now eludes you

 

years of suppressed agony

threatens to escape

wrenching life from you

as it struggles

a sapling

growing

on impervious rock

 

somewhere along the line

you have become the perpetrator

all because you sought comfort

in that one glass

 

they avert their eyes

they walk away

you are so alone

 

all you have is this one glass

refills maybe

and an olive

that’s just an afterthought

[200 words]

This piece is in response to the weekly prompt at Sunday Photo Fiction. Thank you, Al Forbes, for hosting it.

Photo prompt courtesy – A Mixed Bag

 

Vantage Position

airport

It’s all about waiting.

So that’s where I come in.

A need to break the monotony.  And a quick bite.

They come to me; the aspiring, the ambitious, the smart and the successful. For, invariably, there is a delay and their best laid plans are thwarted.

I take their orders and execute them in silent efficiency.

Newspapers are whipped out. Screens light up and they are lost to the world.

From the corner of my eye, I make note. The regulars. The daily travelers. The once-a-weekers. More than that, I can’t be bothered.

The married, on clandestine escapades, betrayed by hands rendered bare, base of fingers decorated by rings of pale skin, in place of metal twisted off, in furtive haste.

The eyes give them away first.

Nothing much escapes me.

I pick up a card and read the name.

I’ve always kept my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut.

Wait and watch, I’ve been told, and things will come to you.

Jackpot!

[165 Words]

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a challenge hosted by PJ. Thank you!

Thank you Dawn Miller for the photo prompt.

Elegant Exit

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Empty velvet lined boxes

Stand proudly on shelves

Their rightful occupants

Being awaited for

In vain

 

A lesser life this

Than believed

Far from prying eyes

Too hard to bear

Exquisite pain

 

Behind lush foliage

A mansion stood

Anticipating

A fresh coat of paint

In vain

 

The vintage car

Last to go

Larger than life

No discreet way really

Inevitable shame

The pursuit of dignity

In vain

 

Deeds signed

The ink barely dry

Time to call it a day

Finally

Time to leave town

Might as well leave in style

Head held high

A fitting end to a lifestyle

Vain.

 

[100 words]

Thank you, Al Forbes, for the photograph.

Thank you, Rochelle, for hosting the Friday Fictioneers’ Challenge. Shalom!

To read more entries please click here.

 

Immutable

temple

The streets unfold

I’m lost

In a maze

Of my making

 

In the unfamiliar

 

Tongues make no sense

Raucous static

 

I strive

To hear myself

 

A turn

Pockets of Faith

Concentrated prayer

The aura

Unmistakable

 

This is it

I’m home

In a strange land

 

Guided by You

I do not even question

 

The world is my shrine

I close my eyes

In total surrender

 

My Faith transcends

Everything

 

I learned long ago

No question

You know best

 

l am but a flame

Burning with the intensity of your fire

 

I know You

Have always known You

Myriad lifetimes

 

An ancient shrine

Of a long forgotten mystic

 

At the little chapel

You gazed at me

With so much compassion

My heart almost burst

 

I find You in every idol I see

 

Every stone

chant

song

flower

that blooms

 

In the people I meet

 

I now stand here

Before this shrine

And look up

To You

Yet again

 

You wait for me

All I need to do

Is close my eyes

 

Tuning in

I connect

 

Once again

 

[175 words]

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Singledust. Thank you Gina! Such a beautiful photograph! ❤

Thank you Priceless Joy for the lovely opportunity provided for this week’s writing prompt at  Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers !

Finally Felled

The walls came up.

Towers shot up.

Brick by brick.

Layer by layer.

 

Witness to slaughter and mutilation,

I stood,

the sickening creak and crash

everywhere

assaulting my spirit.

 

What was worse?

Waiting or watching?

 

Meanwhile, I grew tall and proud.

I shot branches into the blue.

I dug deep with my roots,

anchoring myself firmly

in the black depths of soil.

 

They walked to me with their motor tools

and the whirr heralded my glorious fall.

My turn.

Finally.

 

First my young limbs

fell, with gentle thuds

and a soothing rustle of leaves

like the whoosh of a shroud

as it falls gently,

shielding the body

from prying eyes.

 

Limbless, I waited.

 

Chips flew about

dents carved me.

The saw,

finally,

broke the stature

I so carefully cultivated.

 

I gave up.

Not without some noise though.

 

I fell.

A mighty crash.

The dust rose and blinded the sun.

 

My roots were pulled out

with the ruthless perseverance

and incompetence

of an intern dentist.

 

I bled, a bloodless sap.

Hewn into manageable chunks, I was taken away.

I didn’t look back.

 

A vagrant stump,

a distance away,

stubborn,

resilient,

soon shot

a few green leaves

into the air.

 

Surreptitiously.

 

[200 words]

tree

Thank you PJ for hosting this awesome challenge Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.

Thank you Shivangi Singh for the photograph!

 

A Home Truth

​I am in my special place, the couch actually, and close my eyes. 

The lights are dimmed and I slip into a trance.

I am done for this minute, hour, day, week, month, year and even lifetime, maybe, and await further instructions from deep within to attain Samadhi state. A state of Nirvana. Having done all I can, having conquered all impulses, except maybe shopping, I am content to wait for eternal bliss to come my way. After some tea perhaps, or some mind-numbing television even.

At least silence works, for the moment.

The telephone. 

Where’s your mobile? 

I don’t know. 

Voices, trying to get into my head. Actually one voice. A voice that asks questions, answers them and makes observations and gives obvious conclusions, sounding pleased, waiting for accolades at such display of life and enthusiasm.

On steroids? 

Nope. A blithe spirit. A friend. A well-meaning, genuinely caring friend.

A devoted soul, brimming with concern enters the zone with all energy, brimming with cheerfulness that grates on my frayed nerves.

What are you doing?

What is this? Why? How? Where? 

And why are you so quiet? What did I say now? What did I do? Shouldn’t I have called? Shouldn’t you have answered first?

Hmm. Yes. No. Really. For the next ten minutes.

 I reel from the onslaught and ignore it while I can and then – Enough!

As expected, easy tears, the waterworks. The works! The efforts to pile guilt on me. 

GUILT.

I refuse to feel any, for I know I am in MY space, it’s MY time and MY life.

Don’t snap at me! How dare you treat me this way? After all  that I have invested into this relationship!

Oh Hell! That’s not how I remember it. Anyway I don’t think so.

You have not got any returns from this relationship?

 Only  incurred losses?

I’m not going down that road. I know she is itching for an argument now. I hold the receiver a little away from my ear and pace the room, now lit up in harsh lights, the blood rushing to my head.

From my window, I now look at the dog that won’t let go of a bone, worrying it till it cracks into splinters and then looks surprised as to why its mouth is bleeding. It yelps in pain. Some children playing on the street rush to call for help.

So I say- Could you please not think aloud? Resolve the way you feel. It’s not my problem.I am the problem here. So you need to let go. Deal with it. I want to be alone. I want silence. I don’t want to talk about anybody. To anybody. For anybody. Sometimes I just could go through the motions and not disturb the very air around me.

Nothing works out. The assault continues.

So I say, in all exasperation-Would it make things easy if I quit? OK. I quit. Even if it makes me more miserable than I am. Move away? Fine.  Even die? Yay! Why not! 

I will go. Why should you? Anyway, I do so much for you. I am such a good friend. You never think about me. In fact I watch out for you…

Yes, I’m so tired of all this now. Listen! You are the good one here. Miss Congenialty.You are the best. Could you now go spread some sunshine in other lives? Please? And if you have a real problem, you know where to find me. You have millions of friends, a wonderful family even. What can you want from a loser like me? Do you want to finish the job life started? Annihilate me?

Does nothing matter to you?

No.

Don’t people matter? 

No.

Who behaves like this?

I do.

Oh, the times you take ‘U Turns’ and behave so unpredictably. I never know where I am with you!

Yes. The U Turn. It’s called survival.

Don’t be sarcastic! AHHHH! Nothing matters to you!

Well, you see, so much matters. Peace, silence, and solitude matter. I feel stifled with all this attention. You’ve helped me, I am grateful to you. You are a wonderful friend. I get it. I’m eternally grateful. But I never asked you for help. Never. You did it out of the kindness of your heart. Don’t kill me with so much kindness. Find yourself another project to work on, another relationship to invest in. This here is done. You are flogging a dead horse. I have nothing to give. I am Nothing. Let me slip into Nothingness. No, I don’t need anybody to rescue me. I just want out. OUT! It cannot get more specific than that really!

But then, she chooses to think I’m in a bad mood. I know she thinks I am fraught with stress and other problems and I need tender loving care. Lol! Despite the blood pressure shooting up to alarming levels, I cannot suppress a smile. I am glad she cannot see me smile for she’d be really mad!

After what seems an eternity it comes.

I’m sorry. I know you didn’t mean anything bad. 

I know. I didn’t mean anything bad. 

Sob! Then why do you do this?

Hell, woman, haven’t you any sense of space? Any sense of self?

 I am a bad person. A horrible friend. Face it. I can’t be what you want me to be. I will be quiet more times than not. I will look into far away spaces and sit still. I will walk away inexplicably. I will be myself. I will take U turns. I refuse to pretend to be happy and jolly when I am a shattered being trying to make pieces of my self whole again.

And it is all my fault. Please accept this. And, I won’t change. I cannot. 

You don’t mean it!

But, I mean it all.

Every single word.

Specific

Lead, Kindly Light.

dark-night

The winter evening drew on, enveloping all, in a shroud of mist and darkness. The clay stove where wood fires burned with the occasional crackle and pop, was where they all huddled together, the dying embers burning orange, reflecting on their faces as they tried to get closer to the heat, tempted to touch the ash laden coal, still molten hot at the core.

Tearing at unleavened bread, dipping it into bowls of hot piping stew, the warmth of the food seeped into their bellies and there rose a silence more blessed than joyous laughter.

The orphan waited patiently for his share. Every other benevolent family in the village took turns through the week to feed him.

Wolfing down his bread, he wiped his bowl clean, sponging up every drop of stew. Muttering thanks, he walked away into the cold winter night.

While the village slumbered on under layers of quilts that barely warded off the cold, he sat hunched over his books.

The lone street lamp, his only companion, blazed on, in the darkness of the night.

[178 words]

Thank you, Maria, for the beautiful photograph!

Bless you Priceless Joy at Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers for hosting such a wonderful challenge!