Passing

The minister intoned ‘tis more blessed to give than to receive’ and the plate was passed from pew to pew, some checks placed face up and unfolded, for all to see the largesse, though most checks and cash were discreetly folded. The plate clinked with unclutched coins from children who were rewarded with approving nods and smiles from their parents and the parishioners. This was a time in the service when a certain amount of surreptitious stretching and surmising happened, as many eyes followed the plate as it filled up, moving hand to hand then to the pew behind.

So the pause was noticeable when a slight, scruffy person, sitting at the end of a pew, head bowed, did not take the plate that was held out to him. After an awkward pause, the plate was handed back to the person in the pew behind the stranger, whose fervent focus was disconcerting to a congregation that did not recognize him.

But later some would remark on the play of light when the plate had been passed behind the stranger, how the refracted sunlight that glanced off the plate shone over his bowed head, illuminating him, appearing for all the world like a halo.

 

A six sentence story written for  Unchartered Life under the Radar cue word “plate”.

 

Harvest Tours

“At Harvest Farms, we believe in recycling and reusing, and we compost year round.”

He appraised the gaits of the elderly tour group as they went ahead into the facility. There were sure to be titanium joints, probably pacemakers, definitely hearing aids. The door closed.

The next tour, a busload of young recidivists, would be harder. It always was but even without the hardware, it’s where the profits were. Their organs and tissues brought twice the price as those of these old people.

After work he drank heavily, with the full knowledge that he was devaluing his own liver.

 

For Carrot Ranch; September 21, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what it is to gather a harvest. You can use the phrase or show what it means without using the words. Go where the prompt leads. Respond by September 26, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published September 27). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Moon Tide

They called it moon bathing. They lay together on a blanket, crickets and breezy leaves lulling them as the golden light lapped the shores of their backyard. Flowing through the tree canopy, moonlight shimmered on their skin like water. As the moon rose higher another wave of light washed over them, pooling and receding, rendering them breathless. They gasped when the moonlight rushed and curled around them, swept them up. Tumbling and rolling in the powerful swirling current, they careened over the trees, were hurtled across the night sky, drawn inexorably towards the moon. Far below, Earth’s oceans sparkled.

Carrot Ranch. September 14, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a riptide. How can it be used to move a story? It could be a stretch of turbulent water or a pull of another kind. Go where the prompt leads even if you find it unexpected. 

Tidings

Usually he slept through her early morning swim or at most was pouring coffee as she flip-flopped out the door, towel over her shoulder. Today they both arose early. Today he watched her disappear down the beach path.

Today, her flip-flops and towel left behind, she walked where waves erased her footsteps, stopped finally to face the dawn-jeweled ocean. The deep breath she drew before plunging in was sweet with the scent of beach roses.

Today she floated, let the rip current carry her out beyond the breakers, far away from shore. Today she wouldn’t make her doctor’s appointment.

Carrot Ranch. September 14, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a riptide. How can it be used to move a story? It could be a stretch of turbulent water or a pull of another kind. Go where the prompt leads even if you find it unexpected. Respond by September 19, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published September 20). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Wolf Man

Back for a visit, oh it’ll be like old times.

In front of our mother, the children, the grandchildren, you start. Remember the time…

Your wife, she might have seen me tense, my breath tightening, maybe saw my hands raise slightly, involuntarily. Did that happen? Did she see it if it did?

What you want me to remember with you, did that even happen?

Remember the time, you say, when we were walking at the bottom of Crow’s Field…

A common path; which time? Reels are cuing.

…and we saw the wolf.

Oh, that memory of yours. That time. You claim to have seen a wolf. That I do not remember.

I remember exactly where we were when you saw it. Not far from the seasons-strewn stonewall that marked the blurring boundary of overgrown field and damp softwoods, right at the spot where the trail leaves the sunlight and twists into the dark of thickening hemlock and balsam where we might have paused to let our eyes adjust.

Notice that even now, I do not contradict your sighting even though it would have been, would still be, unusual. But you have always known the woods and its animals well. I do not contradict that part of your memory. But now, in front of our mother, the children, the grandchildren, I will not agree to having seen your wolf too. It is not for you, but for them that I do not tell why I wouldn’t have seen your wolf even if one was there.

Did your wolf make you defensive?  Did you become instantly alert, did your vision narrow and focus, that you might read the wolf’s face, its body language, its mood? Were you anticipating its moves, ready to minimize the damage it might inflict upon you? Notice I didn’t say ready to fight or even suggest fleeing, for what chance, with either tactic, would you have against a wolf?

I don’t know what you saw. I know well what I saw. You were stepping further into the dark woods. I, expected to follow, was still at the edge of sunlight, the field at my back. I was alert, watchful, my vision, as always, narrowed and focused, my eyes on you, wondering if you would lope off or if you would attack.

Ask me again if I remember the time we saw a wolf. I did. And I think your wives and children have seen it too.

He Says

Hi. This was recently posted at thedrabble. Pardon the repeat if you read it here already. It has been slightly modified from the posting for Six Sentence Stories here at shiftnshake.

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By D. Avery

He sees himself as a learner and a teacher. Adventure, yes, but never conquest, he says.

He loves, he says, says love is a borderland, its borders permeable and transient, a place for walls to crumble, for barriers to come down, an exercise of dissolution, a pursuit of communion.

Each encounter, he says, is the coalescing of commonalities and of differences, exploring paths of shared experiences while discovering new paths that lead to new territories, unbounded.

Yet inevitably he withdraws, retreats behind invisible lines, already looking to the next frontier, while she surveys the breach, takes stock, shores up.

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Weather Cast

The spell of summer was broken, its blue skies faded and grayed, awash on cloud-strewn winds. Trees champed and tossed their manes as the winds reared and galloped. Leaves and small branches came unberthed, wildly skittering and wheeling about, finally ending in twisted, dreary piles, pelted by unrepentant rain.

With nightfall, winds diminished, yet mustered petulant gusts to usher the last of the clouds away, until, weary, it murmured quietly in the silver cast treetops. In the crisp light of a full moon, the night sky sparked and shivered.

Somehow fall had come; somehow another spell had been cast.

Second take for Carrot Ranch August 31, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a speller. You can deviate from the primary meaning if magic catches your imagination. Go where the prompt leads. 

The cue this week, 9/14, over at Unchartered is CAST. Thought I was too busy to write this week, then noticed that this flash piece is ready to go, six sentences exactly and featuring the cue word. Forgive me for recycling.

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Spellbound

The spellbound weren’t always easy to detect, until revealed through their words or actions. Their dark power of hatred grew daily, spreading to more and more people. It gathered strength, consuming even as it was consumed. The counter-spell must be found before it was too late. To fail was unthinkable.

Desperately they searched, unsure of what the solution could even be. Magical potions? Arcane rituals? Mystical incantations? Finally the realization dawned; the spell of hatred can only be overcome by loving words and actions.

The whole earth is my birthplace and all humans are my siblings.*

This they believed.

*Kahlil Gibran

Carrot Ranch August 31, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a speller. You can deviate from the primary meaning if magic catches your imagination. Go where the prompt leads. Respond by September 5, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published September 6). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Sashay

He was a very demanding man, not easy to live with. “Attention to detail!” his battle cry, he expected perfection and hard work from everyone, especially his wife, rarely made mistakes himself. “I only ask that things be done right”, he’d say.

Here’s a detail she noticed that morning. He left the gate open. That’s right. Upon leaving after mending a nesting box, he left the gate open.

She did her chores; hung the wash, picked beans, sat on the front porch to snap them, all the while watching the hens, one after the other, sashaying down the road.

 

This week, August 24, 2017, Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch would have us considering escape in 99 words (no more, no less) . Chickens came to mind.

 

He Says

He sees himself as a harmless adventurer, a learner as well as teacher. It is never about conquest, he says.

He loves, he says, says love is a borderland, its borders permeable and transient, a place for walls to crumble, for barriers to come down, an exercise of dissolution, a pursuit of communion. Each encounter, he says, is the coalescing of commonalities and of differences, exploring paths of shared experiences while discovering new paths that lead to new territories, unbounded.

Yet inevitably comes the withdrawal, the retreat behind invisible lines. One already looking to the next frontier, the other surveying the breach, taking stock, shoring up.

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This week’s cue is BORDER.