We’re asked to use the photo below as inspiration for a story and we have only six minutes to write it.
They had made it! Two young urban professionals who were a ‘perfect’ match. They’d met in the workplace, of course. Were on their own ‘perfect’ trajectories for advancement too. They had an apartment that suited them both only minutes from work AND had planned their lives together right down to having car rental agreements that alternately expired for a well-planned system to avoid even the smallest financial conflicts.
The wedding was the crescendo! “Perfect” couldn’t even have described it. The sun shone, the guests had been generous, and the photo shoot outstandingly artful.
A week later, a home pregnancy test was positive. Nine months later, their marriage was ‘on the rocks’ and their ‘planned lives’ in shambles. Having discussed everything, how had they overlooked the possibility of unplanned children?
It only took one of them to want to leave thus ending their ‘perfect’ marriage. She certainly had no choice but to sue the birth control manufacturer for ruining her life!
In the tender gray, I swim undisturbed. by Celia Dropkin, from, “In Sullivan County”
In the tender gray, I swim undisturbed
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to incorporate the above quote into a piece of prose. This can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction, but it must be prose! Not prose poetry, and not a poem. And it must be no longer than 144 words, not including the title. (It does not have to be exactly 144 words, but it can’t exceed 144 words.)
One More Winter
She tried to focus on the morning scenery covered with pristine newly fallen snow. It was smokey gray now through the prism of her ancient eyes. Her heart raced as fun filled memories flooded her brain. Sliding, most often on her belly, effortlessly in high-speed tumble bumble ‘rat races’ as crystals danced in the air beside her family and friends. Over and over one game inspired another! As the matriarch of her tribe, instinct whispered to her that this winter was her last. Now, infertile and infirm much of her time was meant to be spent alone. It was just as well, she was tired. As she slipped into the half-frozen life-giving river a calm peacefulness spoke to her.
“In the tender gray, I swim undisturbed.”
She couldn’t feel the cold or fight the current anymore. Final blessings gifted from Nature to elder otters.
There is no restriction on length or format of the piece. There is no last date either, unless you wish to be featured in the Weekly Wrap.
Cee abruptly stopped in her tracks. The finely detailed map that she held did not depict the glassy pond which obviously lay directly to her right. The sky reflected on the pond’s surface was sharp, but the image was sepia-toned. A gasp from directly behind her made her jump with fright. She spun around with fists at the ready nearly knocking the youngest survivor into the copper-colored water.
“Zee! You scared the salt out of me! I told you to stay at camp.”
“I got bored, Cee. You get all the fun these days.”
“These days? You call the end of human existence THESE DAYS!”
Cee instantly realized her fright had gotten the better of her. As third in command, she took her role of steady leadership seriously, so she just grabbed the younger woman and hugged her.
“Sorry Zee. I lost my cool for a moment.”
“No worries. What’s wrong with that water?”
“I don’t know. It’s not on the map. Probably minerals or something else in this environment.”
Cee stepped toward the pond and squatted placing her fingers on the still surface. Not one ripple spread from her touch. That odd experience caused her to retrieve her hand in a jolt as if it had been burned only to observe that her fingertips weren’t the slightest bit wet.
“This isn’t good, Zee. Not good at all. I don’t remember much but I know how water in my cup behaves and this is not water.”
Suddenly, two dark pointed shadows crossed the mirrored surface. Both females instantly looked up, but there was nothing between the sun and the reflection. Then their slightly startled eyes met, and the air filled with a deafening roar followed by ear-ringing waves of explosions all around them! Instinctively they dropped face first to the ground.
As abruptly as it had erupted, the clangor ended.
When Cee and Zee lifted their heads, all was calm, and the sepia pond was gone!
Over the next few months, visits to that area were forbidden to all but Leader Ay, who returned every time pale and visibly rattled.
Forevermore it was hence declared a haunted area, to the 26-member troop, and given a wide berth.
Marked on the map with a bold red ring it was officially labeled TheMemory Pond.
My whole life I respected authority. Of course, the teen years meant I resented authority too, but the overall trust in my elders was strong. Then, I raised a family. As I aged, I realized that elders, doctors, and experts were not perfect. They don’t actually know everything, but I was cautiously confident that they all were dedicated to the best possible outcome. Hey… life’s dangerous and a personally complex journey. Then, I became an elder. It was humbling to realize that the ‘truth’ was hard to ‘nail down’ and that the state of ‘perfect’ didn’t actually exist. Enter 2020. An unknown ‘novel’ virus threatened us all. Experts step forward to reassure us. Media offered us information and statistics. We were going to ‘work this one out’ together. THEN things started to smell suspicious. Mistakes were bound to be made. We were taken by surprise, after all! BUT they weren’t being admitted nor were they corrected. This was not a ‘novel’ virus but a version of other viruses we knew. The handling of this pandemic was the only novel part! Soon, the media numbers were exposed as arbitrary… and later it was clear they were manipulated. We weren’t protecting the vulnerable and we weren’t taking swift action in early treatments. Governors assumed extreme powers never citing clear scientific suggestions. Then we found out that the Chinese government purposely spread a deadly experiment through the world. Whether it escaped or was released may never be known. All trust left the building once Big Tech, our federal government, and our health agencies spoke in unison, telling us their ‘facts’ (never backed with scientific studies) and censoring ‘misinformation’ (which was any contrary commenting). This was science, right? Scientific research is an ongoing diverse questioning not a conclusion. World famous scientists and hands-on doctors were being silenced. They wanted to focus on therapeutics because they wanted to save lives. They had data to share and ideas! Ultimately, most people were never offered treatment but were asked to come to the hospital once they were dying! Hospitals were paid large incentives to label hospitalizations and deaths with Covid-19. The FDA gets 45% of its funding from vaccines. They pushed vaccines… only vaccines. Big powerful companies (with lobbyists) were allowed to flourish while small businesses were sentenced to ‘die’. Churches (with specific Constitutional protections) were militantly closed, while liquor stores, lotteries, and large chain stores remained open. And people kept dying… kids were kept out of school, our economy ground to a halt, and our Southern Borders were sprung wide open. (Covid-19, Fentanyl, terrorists, and criminals uncounted) No longer was there any hope that the ‘best outcome’ was even a consideration. Our health wasn’t the highest concern. Our well-being wasn’t important. Our children’s futures were cast aside. (The added debt will be only a part of their future struggles) Our compliance was the only goal. Power and greed prevailed. Fear, blind trust, and ignorance worked wonders.
Dear 2022, Trust may be gone but, Fear is waning and Our eyes are open. We’ll work this one out, together. Better days ahead…
This week’s Story Starter teaser is: Cold and wet, tired and exhausted, she…
Cold and wet, tired and exhausted, she winced, and closed her eyes tightly, at a sudden imposing brilliant light. Inhaling deeply, she let out a cry, the sound of which startled her into more crying. How she longed for her former dreamy existence; warm and safe! Her flailing arms were suddenly restrained and a warmth wrapped her tightly like a hug. A familiar voice whispered in her ear and, as quickly as it came, her panic dissolved. She squinted and flexed her fingers while trying to focus on the source.
“Hello there sweet baby girl. I’m your Mommy. Can’t wait to get to know you.”
Mensen maken de samenleving en nemen daarin een positie in. Deze website geeft toegang tot een diversiteit aan artikelen die gaan over 'samenleven', belicht vanuit verschillende perspectieven. De artikelen hebben gemeen dat er gezocht wordt naar wat 'mensen bindt, in plaats van wat hen scheidt'.