Yesterday had been so much fun, except when Kai, his older brother, and he nearly came to blows in front of the whole family. Kai accused him of cheating in their speed snorkeling event. He’d won it for the first time ever and wasn’t going to back down to Kai’s arrogance. The claim was made that he had grabbed onto big brother’s ankle which was ridiculous. But Kai produced evidence in the form of red and purple finger marks above his foot. A shouting match turned into a shoving match and if his brawny uncles hadn’t intervened, who knows what would have happened. It was decided to break for their picnic lunch before entering the water for a more relaxed shallow scuba diving experience. The two avoided each other until day’s end. Stars twinkled and the moon looked larger than ever on the horizon when Kai approached his little brother beside the bonfire on the beach. Looking at his hands as one finger traced the rim of his sweating beer, Kai whispered to him, “I heard her, Noa. She spoke to me clear as day.” Kai had taken Tutu Lulu’s disappearance the hardest. She had named him after the sea and had been her sidekick longer than he. He hadn’t really recovered from their loss. “I’m sorry. But when you, someone, grabbed me Tutu Lulu spoke to me.” “What did she say?”…
It is entirely your choice to use either one or both of the images as prompts. I chose the image below.
Prudence became momentarily frantic while searching for her cellphone. She needed to know the time! How long had she been ambling along the serene, wooded path? What time IS it?! “Okay Prudy, breathe…just breathe.”
Moments ago, she’d watched chipmunks scurrying in and out of a tree trunk. But for “How long?” She still grasped a little of a blissful, weightless, freedom. She hadn’t known the time and, for once, didn’t care. But now, Prudence needed to know! She’d been a slave to time since… well, forever. Forever was indisputably a long time and “NOW” couldn’t work without the anchor of a clock. Everything needed a time stamp- a before and after. It was the lifeline and essential compass that sustained her.
A distant voice came out of nowhere, just in time. “Prudence? Prudence, open your eyes.” A white light made her wince as her eyelids separated. The first thing she was able to focus on was a large analog clock with a bright red second hand on the recovery room wall. Her heartrate immediately slowed to the rhythm of that ticking time and she relaxed. Next, that same nurse’s voice announced from somewhere behind her, “You’ll need to take some time off to fully recover, Prudy. Maybe somewhere where you can stroll in the woods?”
While drawing in a jagged breath in order to scream, Prudence fainted.
Heather kept an organized home. Next to “neat as a pin” in a Google search was (see Heather). One could stop by any hour of the day, and they’d be treated to a pristine environment. Little did anyone know that Heather’s cleaning took place in the middle of the earliest hours of the morning. Her inability to sleep, as well as her need to have ‘perfect order’, was because her life was filled with debris. Poor decisions, Pop culture interests, and a lack of Faith, kept her scrubbing and cleaning to no avail.
The rules are: Maximum of 250 words. Based on photo prompt above. That’s it.
There he was, still an hour or so, from home at the mouth of the fjord!
It had been a long, long, time-too long. Her heart raced with excitement as her eyebrows drew into a scowl. Was she happy or angry? God made men with a purpose. He gave them talents and proposed that they make a mark on the world. Why weren’t children and family enough? The science, art, and exploration, however grand and celebrated, did nothing for the rearing of children and warming her bed.
He’d be awkward in the doorway…a stranger. Then, he’d settle in offering exotic gifts and wild adventurous tales to the boys as they danced vying for his long-awaited attention. It would take a few days for the ordinary to set in. The sense of safety and completeness that was only to be shattered in a few months by his new driving focus that didn’t include any of them.
She was tired of waiting for his ‘purposes‘ to dry up and his body to lose its untiring fitness. Their house was in need of long overdue repair. Keeping him home, where he belonged, would require an accident.
Let’s see how you choose to open and decode this message 🙂
Marj was in a dark dilemma. She’d done so much crying that her eyes were nearly swollen shut. What would she tell her parents when they returned from their overseas trip in ten days?! He was 7 years older than she at 24, and her “first”, but he’d romanced her in a way that made her feel completely safe and valued. What a naive child she was! Now, that was all a tortuous month ago and he had since vanished. The early pregnancy test had come back positive this morning and she now found herself rummaging in the attic for luggage to run away… or something else. Another rush of panic made her fall to her knees praying to God for direction and it was then she spied the envelope between the rafters. It was stiff-almost crispy- and it was sealed with wax like was done in the ‘olden days’. When she turned it over, the three bold words on the other side made her audibly gasp.
FOR MARJORIE ONLY
The letter must have belonged to her great-grandmother whose name she had always worn proudly. Marj had heard that she had raised her grandmother all on her own after a “tragic accident” of some kind had claimed her first husband. Later on, when Grandma was 10, she’d married Grandma’s stepdad -the man she knew as Grandpa-and had twin sons.
Marj waivered a bit then opened the note:
My Dear Marjorie, It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I did love you! Never forget that. We were impulsive kids full of lust and got carried off in a few passionate moments. Now I hear you’re “in trouble”. I know a doctor in Memphis who deals with unmarried girls who are “in the family way” and sets things right. I’ll help you pay for travel, if you wish. Do what’s right.
As Ever, Roger
“Great-grandmother Marjorie had never opened this letter. She probably knew what it was going to ask her to do. And I’m here because she chose not to do it. I hear you, God!.”
Marj placed the letter back, a little more carefully hidden, between the floorboards. Straightened her posture and went back to her room to look online for a job, and possibly later on, research ‘baby names’.
Granddad never threw anything out. What distinguished him from a hoarder was the clever method he used in repurposing his ‘treasures’. He never failed to surprise me with his ingenuity. Granny was amazingly patient with his “collection”, but she demanded a neatly kept yard adjacent to her house. They lived in a remote valley on a dead-end near a secluded pond. I didn’t know what I’d find there this year as I arrived to spend the summer with them again.
Granny met me first.
“So happy to see you, Charles! It’s been a ‘dog’s age’. Why you look ‘fit as a fiddle’, dear!”
“I work out a little. Thanks! Where’s Granddad?”
Granny and Grandad had a way of talking that always included cliches. They made me smile but I’d be afraid to try to count them.
“‘In a nutshell’, he’s ‘in hot water’ with me. I’d like to ‘knock his block off’! Look at the old skiff he dragged onto my lawn. I just finished ‘laying down the law’ to that man so he’s ‘licking his wounds’ behind the shed.”
“It looks like he intends to make you a little garden in the old wreck, Granny. It could be pretty with paint. I’ll help him make it nice.”
“‘Over my dead body’, Charlie! I have too much to grow to use that contraption for a garden. ‘Mark my words’ “you’re going to need a bigger boat”. The ‘long and short of it’ is he’ll have to keep it out of my sight.
“I’ll drag it around back then. Maybe we’ll just make it an herb garden. Okay?’
Granny waved me off and stomped inside. As I rounded the corner inching the skiff along with a rope, there sat Granddad on an old stool. He was chuckling to himself.
“I heard ya talking to Granny. ‘Come hell or high water’ that ‘squeaky wheel always gets the grease’, doesn’t she. But I hope you know this is all ‘a blessing in disguise’, my boy. The ‘ace up my sleeve’ was ‘making a fuss’ enough to get her distracted into letting me keep the dang thing. It worked ‘fine and dandy’! I’m on ‘cloud nine’.”
Welcome to Four Line Fiction, a pix-to-prose challenge. Each Tuesday, at 9:00am Eastern Time (Canada/United States) I will post an image I have captured myself, featured from another blog or plucked from one of the Interweb’s many royalty-free image sites. You as the writer are to use that image as a point of inspiration to craft a masterpiece of fiction in four lines.
Our photo prompt:
It was the absolutely worst thing she could have been told about her developmentally delayed baby girl and the pediatrician sat patiently by, as she sobbed, before telling her about the definitive test he’d planned.
He highly suspected a rare untreatable cancer that had been growing in Hallie’s brain even before her birth 8 months ago.
Unable to eat or sleep she waited for the call from the lab and when she grabbed the phone on the first ring, she nearly tore it from the wall before hearing the words she’d prayed for, “We’re happy to report that the test was negative. There’s no sign of cancer.”
Hallie’s Mommy weightlessly walked out of her front door and straight down the middle of the highway -shedding all her desperate and dark “What ifs?” along the way -as there would be nothing that could ever paralyzingly frighten her again, like those expectations of losing her baby.
Since so many other online writers have blogs dedicated to their writings, I’ve decided to jump onto the bandwagon. All posts published here will be either fiction or poetry, some new, and some previously published on various places on the Internet. Some of my works are conventional, and some are quirky. All fiction posted here, except for fan fiction, will include the letters "rose" somewhere, as a tribute to my Baba.