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Untouched

evening dandelionEvening Dandelion © Anthony Beyga

I can’t find my coffee mug…my wedding album…my grandmother’s quilt…my neighbor…my car; nothing is where I left it. In fact, if I hadn’t been home when it hit, I’m not sure I’d be able to find my own street.

I close my eyes and push lazily with a bare toe, setting my swing in motion, imagining it’s just another peaceful May evening in the park, the sun’s last golden rays warm against my eyelids. I open my eyes and ponder a perfect globe of a dandelion, fuzzy seeds ready to be launched to far-flung corners of the carefully manicured soccer field. Ironic that just one block over, the noble, gnarly live oak that has graced my front lawn for more than a century is now impaled through the side of the neighbor’s garage.

I lean back and pump my legs, hoping I can soar high enough to rise above the sirens, the cries and shouts, the scrape of debris being pushed around, high enough to see my husband walk through the devastation to find me here in the park, where our disaster plan says we will reunite.

 

Although I’d love it to be so, I just couldn’t work my schedule to be able to participate in StoryADay May. It’s a personal problem…it takes me hours upon hours to churn out any fictional story, no matter its length or how much prompting I am given. However, I fully expected to find lots of inspiration in the month’s worth of daily prompts, so I have been archiving them for future use. I decided to pull one out today, as I had no original inspiration of my own for this week’s Tuesday Tale. As instructed in the 2 May prompt, I went to the Flickr Explore page (never been to Flickr before…what have I been missing!?) and chose the first photograph that caught my eye. Okay, so most of them caught my eye for one reason or another, so I picked the first one that immediately led my sluggish brain to a story. My heart goes out to all those affected by the devastating tornadoes in the States this week.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Fiction, Tuesday Tales

 

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Impasse

They had nothing to say to each other. Everything that could have been said, and a few things that shouldn’t have been, had been. “I’m not changing, you change,” each one had shrieked in outrage upon emerging from her respective bedroom to find her flatmate attired in nearly identical accoutrements. “I can’t be seen on a double date with the hottest guy on campus looking like your twin!” The argument had raged for hours, and had finally spent itself only when the chiming of the hall clock intruded to remind them that the doorbell had not rung at the agreed upon time. Meanwhile, across campus, two of the university’s hunkiest frat brothers, wearing ensembles that could be differentiated only by the color of their socks, had nothing to say to each other…

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Off-season

imageMaria paused by the window as she shook the heavy down pillows into fresh cases. There wasn’t much going on two stories below, and to be honest, she was partial to the winter months in this old canal city. The tourists preferred to come when fluffy grey cygnets paddled down the waterways behind their graceful parents and flowers dripped like jewels from window boxes. Winter meant fewer rooms to clean, which meant a back that wasn’t killing her by the end of the day, which was a godsend to her budding relationship with the lusty young artist with the smudgy charcoals, recently come from France to capture the grandeur of the city’s architecture in his sketchpad. Scrutinizing the telephone table beside the neatly made bed, Maria replaced the notepad and pen pilfered by the last guest, then scooped up the dirty linen and closed the door on Room 321 for the final time this week. Once the day’s soiled towels were spinning their way to dazzling whiteness in the bleach-filled drum of the basement’s industrial washer, Maria bundled up, climbed to the hotel’s ground floor exit, and stepped out into the gathering darkness of a crisp winter afternoon, anticipating the ways her creative Frenchman would welcome her home.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Caged

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“Damn you, Daisy,” I fume for the umpteenth time, picturing her brown eyes pleading for liberation behind a chain link gate at the rescue kennel, “you could have chased that rabbit’s trail clear to the next county, but now you’ve cost us both our freedom.” Jeb from the pub found the stupid beagle dragging an unmanned leash and baying beside the canal like her heart was broken, then noticed something familiar about the balloon of fabric barely visible below the surface of the water. The air trapped by Randall’s jacket as he fell into the canal prevented his body from sinking to the muddy bottom as it should have done, so it was quick work for the police to fish the hateful ogre out and discover the hole that marked my bullet’s path through his heart. When the officers at the door saw my black eye and split lip, “Ma’am, we’re sorry to tell you that your husband was found…” quickly became, “Were you having any sort of marital issues?” It seems the sympathy and outrage law enforcement officials normally feel on behalf of domestic violence victims vanishes like the London fog when a victim’s abuser turns up dead. I thought I’d found my freedom when Randall toppled into that watery grave, but in reality I’ve only traded one prison for another; the cell of threats, insults, and blows in which I paced for more than fifteen years has been replaced for the next twenty-five by cold concrete walls and unyielding iron bars.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Freedom

103_0300No sooner had the bells finished ushering the last of the faithful through the oaken door into St. Mary’s than the men who revered the gospels of Remington, Winchester, Smith, and Wesson lifted their arms in praise. The wind blew in from the southwest, transmitting the rifle reports of the Sunday morning gun club clearly across the stubbly winter fields, the sharp tattoo echoing off the stone cottages as I walked through the empty lanes of our quaint little village. Randall stumbled to a surprised halt when I stepped from behind the shadowed arc of the bridge onto the towpath directly in front of him; Daisy had not sent up her usual baying alarm because she had not scented a stranger as the twosome ambled along the deserted canal. His face and fists began to clench with rage when he realized that I was not in the kitchen fixing the “full English” he had commanded as he clomped out the door, and I couldn’t help but wonder once more how a man so tender and patient with the witless, intractable beagle straining at the end of leash could berate, belittle, and beat his own wife so mercilessly without the slightest provocation. With one swift, sure movement of my gloved hand, I swung the tiny revolver from my jacket pocket and pressed its muzzle to his heart, the solitary crack of its discharge a declaration of freedom, yet an indistinguishable voice in the weekly chorus of the gun club’s riflemen. Noticing a sudden lack of tension in the lead against which she constantly tugged, Daisy took off through the hedges, nose to the ground, hot on the trail of some unseen rabbit or fox, the racket she made crashing through the underbrush nearly disguising the splash of Randall’s limp body as it toppled into the murky water of the canal and obscured the concentric rings of ripples where my discarded revolver had sunk.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Fiction

 

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January

100B1071January was as cold as the month for which she had been named. After six months of torture at the hands of a sadistic teenaged boy, the mutilated, emaciated kitten was tossed behind the dumpster of the Chinese take-away, where the weeknight delivery guy valiantly rescued her from the bitter winter night, ignoring her attempts to maim him with tooth and claw. In the years since joining the young man’s household, January had done nothing to repay his kindness, pinning her ears and stalking out of the room whenever he entered, hissing and spitting if he or his new bride reached a hand to pet her, shredding the entire perimeter of the cherished antique carpet they’d fought hard to win in the online auction. January’s savior and his wife had grown accustomed to her irascible disposition, sheepishly warning visitors to steer clear of the cat, but steadfastly believing their patience and love would eventually melt the ice around her heart. Now, with an ill-advised swipe of her claws across the flawless ivory cheek of the pink-wrapped bundle that had been ceaselessly wailing since its arrival two weeks ago, she had found the limits of their devotion to her. Banished to the garden on a frosty afternoon, January was left to ponder whether her ruthlessly defended desire for solitude in the household had just become a lifetime sentence of solitary confinement outside its walls.

Today’s challenge was taken from the 9 January prompt on storyaday.org  The instructions were to write a January story in six sentences–how I chose to incorporate January was left entirely to me.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Fiction

 

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