Knowing

They trudged to the logging road together, loaded the equipment into his truck, rode in silence to the general store where her car was parked.

“I guess he doesn’t exist”, he said to her as goodbye.

“I guess not”, she replied, and went into the store as he drove away.

Resupplied, she returned to where she had seen the signs and had felt Sasquatch’s presence. She was learning that finding Sasquatch doesn’t require any electronic equipment, only being fearless and open-hearted.

She smiled to find wildflowers left for her on a log, smiled that he’d known she’d be back.

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A continuation of The Connection, my 99 word response to the August 9th Carrot Ranch prompt, these 99 words also form a six sentence story. The prompt word this week is “fear”, the  link-up is Thursday. 

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The Connection

The Connection

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“What? The research? The constant camping it requires? Or…us?”

“All of it. I’m just done.”

“Ok. I’m sorry if this crazy venture made our relationship impossible. I’ll hike out with you. I’ve given up on ever finding Sasquatch. I’m done too.”

It wasn’t just his obsession with his work. She’d never felt a strong connection with him. She knew now that she could have more.

While he packed up the equipment, she hid the tufts of hair she’d found under a stone, brushed over a footprint.

Sasquatch peered from the woods, silently thanking her.

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This week the August 9th  prompt from Charli at Carrot Ranch is to write a (99 word) story that includes an act of “peering from the woods.” 

See Knowing for a follow up to this flash.

The Museum

The Museum,       by D. Avery

“Guess I don’t have to worry too much about getting mowed down by exiters”, he chuckled at the hand painted sign that he read out loud to himself, “Caution, Entrance Only”, and continued down the tree shaded lane and into the grassed parking lot of the Museum of Memories and Moments, already pleased with his decision to check out this quirky sounding private museum somewhat off the beaten track, even more pleased when he noted that many of the cars in the parking lot were potential museum pieces themselves, some dating back many decades.

Taking roads less traveled and making impulsive stops at unusual sites was the theme of his meandering road trip across the country, begun soon after his wife finally died, which, he would agree, doesn’t sound so good in the telling, unless one knew that she had suffered from Alzheimer’s and that he had mourned her passing years ago even as he stuck by her side, learning to do for himself as he learned to do for her.

Now he was on an extended vacation, the type of unfocused and unplanned trip that she never would have enjoyed but that gave him the time and space he needed before facing the empty house and a life without her, unencumbered now, but truly alone.

Having seen not one other person, not even the proprietor, he surmised that it was an honor system, expected to pay upon exiting, a cash donation stuffed into a lock box, and he wandered in and out of the old buildings, intrigued by the eclectic displays and intricate models, philosophizing whether it was the collection or the collector being presented for scrutiny, continuing in this manner until a diorama stopped him cold.

When he saw in perfect scale and detail the museum and its buildings as well as the parking lot with the antique and vintage cars he had seen earlier, but including his own late model car, he hurried back to the parking lot, went to its edge, the “Entrance Only” sign visible through the glass wall that contained him.

He went back to the museum grounds, somehow knowing that he’d find his house, but unsure what would be on exhibit, hoping that somehow she might be there, his wife before her illness.

*****

 six sentence story.jpg The prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “sign”. As always, thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or to read other responses from the Six Sentence gang. Join in!

Yellow Tents

Though I complained about her pitch this week,working-template-for-ff-challenges48.png  I swung and got a triple off  Charli Mills‘ 
prompt. Still, I’ll continue to complain. Yellow tent?! I have slept in a number of tents, have seen a multitude and vast variety of tents. Yellow is a rare color among tents. But now Carrot Ranch is dotted with yellow tents of all sorts. Click over to read or write.                          
August 2, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a yellow tent. Where is it and who does it belong to? Think of how the color adds to the story. Go where the prompt leads. Respond by August 7, 2018. Use the comment section to share, read and be social.                                                                                                    Here’s where I was led. 

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Luxury Home

If you’ve ever sat and watched a mountaintop succumb to dusk’s misty cover; if you’ve sat long enough to see the fog reveal the mountaintop again but linger in the cuts and valleys; if witnessed a westward mountain reluctantly letting go its grip on the slanting sunlight that battled clouds all day, now trailing yellow rays grasping at the underside of high branched leaves, streaking yellow ripples across the water, then you know. You’re just a poor camper, with all the riches that heaven and earth have to offer, the late evening sky the roof of your yellow tent.

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At the Midway

It was a yellow tent, not well placed in the carnival midway, but its owner sang out to prospective customers, enticing them to come closer, come curious, come in.

Come in, come in, all will be revealed
Lived well, or sinned, come see how you’ll be dealed.
Step through the yellow tent
See how your end of days are spent.

Most went in just for a lark, laughing.
Some came out beaming, said the tent had the buttercup color of sunshine summer days. Others came out shaken, said the tent was sulfur colored, reminded them of lightning, striking close.

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The Fortune Giver

Also on the midway, an exotic red haired Portuguese gypsy woman spun fortunes from words. Her tent was unmistakably the color of sunshine, which drew people eager to spend their 99 cents for the gift of story. In every story the gypsy spun, people heard their own story and left emboldened enough to tell their stories themselves. This yellow tent buzzed and hummed with stories as more and more people came to hear and to tell. The gypsy woman glowed, basking in her good fortune, measured not in the 99 cents, but the 99 word stories of her community.

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Transformations

Transformations

Since putting Jimmy’s bike away on the day of his funeral I’d hardly left my room, hadn’t seen anyone except my dad, so I was surprised when I heard him yell for me to come down, that I had a visitor; clumsy yet curious under the pall of grief, I stepped into my jeans, pulled on a t-shirt, went downstairs and stepped out onto the porch.

The last person I expected to see was Jimmy’s mom, but there she was with an old backpack of Jimmy’s, and looking so tired, not just because she hadn’t done her hair or make-up like usual, but she tried to smile at me and she said hey, I’m so sorry, then my dad gave her some coffee and left for the shop, left us alone on the porch.

She was able to sip coffee but I didn’t move in that awful quiet, didn’t know what to do or say, so I waited while she drank coffee, waited until she asked me if I would go up there with her, said she wanted to see where Jimmy and I were that day, wanted to see where it had happened, so we drove the old quarry road as far as we could in her car then walked to the trail that led up to the Dry Quarry ledge, she wearing Jimmy’s backpack but easily keeping up, just behind me on that steep climb and, like Jimmy, she did not plop down as I did at the top but immediately walked around, testing the edge, making me nervous.

She finally sat down between me and the backpack and made me tell exactly how it happened and where and she got up and stared for the longest time down to the granite shelf below, stood right where he had last stood before slipping, and though her movements were more slow and careful I was sure relieved when she sat down near me again, away from the edge, sat down with me and we both cried and cried right there, side by side, and she said it wasn’t anyone’s fault, said Jimmy was always careless, too much energy, no common sense, it wasn’t anyone’s fault.

When it seemed we might be done crying she reached for the backpack, opened it up to reveal some of Jimmy’s old toys, his Transformer collection, and told me that she had planned to give them to me since me and Jimmy used to love playing with them so much but then decided I was too old now and also she couldn’t bear the thought of me having to hang on to old toys that might only make me feel sad.

She stood up and looked at me with a grin that was so like Jimmy’s, that gleam in the eyes, and said for me to get up, we were going to transform these toys and so we emptied the backpack on the ledge and Jimmy’s mom and I chucked those Transformers as hard as we could down into the quarry, our cheers when they shattered echoing off the granite walls, and as I followed her back down the trail, I sure knew where Jimmy got it from.

****

 six sentence story.jpgThe prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “Transform”. My entry this week brings resolution to the narrator of three previous Six Sentence Stories, Disbelief, Burst, and One Handed.

As always, thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or to read other responses from the Six Sentence gang. Join in!

 

Unwritten

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The Tuesday poetics at the Pub is hosted by Dwight Roth this evening. He enjoins us to write about the sounds of silence.    

 

 

Words

     stumbling across the page

         tripping on the steps

                  crossing a line.

Clumsy

     inadequate

         words. Futile

    distractions; impediments;

         obstacles…

                                                     Clear the way.

                                                     Cap the pen.

                                                     Close the book.

                                                                              Be silent.

                                                                              Become unwritten.

 

Three Sisters

working-template-for-ff-challenges44.png Below are 501 words in response to Charli Mill’s July 26, 2018 prompt at Carrot Ranch to: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what happens next to a stranded suitcase. Go where the prompt leads you, but consider the different perspectives you can take to tell the tale. The 99 word version is beneath the longer version. Click over to the Ranch to see other 99 word stories about a stranded suitcase, or to leave a story of your own.

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(501 words)

The three sisters spied it at once, a worn suitcase in their path.

“Unattended baggage!” the first cried.

“Abandoned,” lamented the second.

“Lost,” declared the third. “We should clear our path.”

The first sister refused to go near the suitcase.

The second sister found the suitcase too heavy for her to manage.

The third sister found that she could manage to carry the suitcase and she set it upon a bench.

“We’ll get blown to smithereens.”

“I doubt it,” said the third, “look, there’s a tag.”

                         Contents may vary

“Hmmm”, they intoned at once, and two of the three sisters agreed they should open it, the better to identify its owner.

The first sister moved some distance away with her fingers in her ears.

The second sister kept fumbling the clasp and found she could not open the suitcase.

The third sister studied the clasp and, on her third try, managed to unlock the suitcase.

“Don’t lift that lid”, pleaded the first sister.

“Yes, maybe we shouldn’t look inside”, wavered the second sister.

“We’ve come this far”, resolved the third sister. “We’ll find out what is inside this suitcase that was in our path.” She lifted the top of the suitcase.

When the suitcase was opened wide without incident all three sisters gathered round it to peer inside.

The first sister saw fear, all her fears from all her years, the little ones as well as the big ones. Some began to appear silly to her, looking in on all of them as she was, and she wondered if she might give some of them up. “Let’s abandon this suitcase, leave it,” she suggested.

The second sister saw worry, all her worries from all her years, the little ones as well as the big ones. She saw they were a tangle and she wondered if she might unravel them or just give them up. “I agree. Let’s leave this suitcase. We’ve no need for it or its contents.”

The third sister saw hopes, dreams and wishes. Some were from long ago, some forgotten, and some she hadn’t even realized yet. She rummaged through the suitcase, enthralled and distracted.

“Sister!” the other two finally yelled. “Let’s get going. Do you agree we should abandon this suitcase and its contents?”

“No! I’ll take it.”

But now the third sister found the suitcase clumsy to carry and she kept stopping to review and examine its contents. Their progress on their path was slow. Finally she had to agree with her sisters. She sorted through the hopes, dreams, and wishes, deciding on what she might take with her and what she would leave behind in the suitcase. Shiny as the wishes were, she left them. Hope was light and easy to pack. All three sisters took hope from the suitcase and carried it close. The third sister then chose her biggest and best dream and wore it like a medallion over her heart.

The three sisters continued on their journey, their steps lighter and more certain.

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(99 words)

Three sisters came upon a worn suitcase in their path.

“Unattended baggage!” the first cried.

“Abandoned,” lamented the second.

“Lost,” declared the third.

The first sister would not go near the suitcase.

The second sister found the suitcase too heavy to move.

The third sister found that she could manage the suitcase.

All three sisters gathered round to peer inside.

The first sister saw fear.

The second sister saw worry.

The third sister saw hopes, dreams and wishes.

She left the wishes. She took hope and her best dreams. Continuing the journey, her steps were lighter and more certain.

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Covering

He almost bumped right into me on the sidewalk, a cell phone held to an ear with one hand, his other arm cradling a fiddle case, all the while striding rapidly down the hill towards Broadway. Suddenly he stopped and turned, I thought maybe to apologize, but he didn’t say anything for a while, just looked me all over, me with my knapsack and guitar in its beat up case, he just standing there without saying anything long enough that I started to get edgy and move away, but then he asked could I play the classics?

I stood up tall and told him I could play fairly well, could sing too, knew the classics but didn’t play covers.

“Oh, an artist, yeah, me too, I don’t do covers either, except when I’m in need of a paycheck, and right now my guitarist is stone-drunk somewhere and I didn’t know if you’d be interested in covering for his paycheck in forty-two minutes.”

I told him if he could get me something to eat within forty-one minutes, and if I could perform just one of my own songs on stage, he had himself a sober guitar playing back up singer.

He laughed, said you never say no to your last resort or to your first real opportunity, and we walked together to the honkytonks on Broadway, carrying our instruments to the one where, in forty minutes, we had a gig.

 

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The prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “resort”. My entry this week features a character seen before in Nashville Dreams, and in Mother Church, both 99 word flash responses for Carrot Ranch. I am continuing her story in these six sentences. As always, thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or to read other responses from the Six Sentence gang. Join in!

 

Inside Out

dverselogo.jpgLillian at dVerse Poets Pub has poured a stiff challenge for Haibun Monday this week, stipulating the prose paragraphs be a true accounting, not fiction, and that the prose take us on “a journey into an interior”, that we “go back in time to one of the very first houses you remember living in. Try to recall a room or place in that house. The accompanying haiku should be traditional.” This is my attempt at meeting the challenge. 

What does it matter what the inside of this log house is like? Inside you will see that the inhabitants are ready to go back outside. There are boots just inside the door, some arranged around the woodstove, felts pulled out, wool socks and mittens draped over. The dining room chairs each shoulder a wool jacket or sweater, sometimes even pants, as it gets hot inside with long-johns on and the woodstove going. Just outside the door are everyone’s snowshoes and my skis; the wax on the skis will do for another outing, the temperatures are constant just now. They’ll be brought inside to warm when they need to be waxed again. There’s also a trapper basket on the porch, with an ice chisel leaned against it. The auger for ice-fishing got left here too; it gets used too often lately to bother carrying it back through the bulkhead to the cellar. In the cellar ice skates are put on near the dwindling woodpiles then walked on through the bulkhead to the small pond behind the house where neighbors might join in too.

Back inside, the dining room table has topo maps on it, and magazines and butterflied books, unless the readers are flopped over the armchairs and couches in the living room, occasionally getting up to stir the stew that is simmering on the woodstove, (bear this time). The books take the inhabitants outside too; they’ve each read the entire Farley Mowat and Sally Carrighar collections at least twice. And Jack London can make them feel bone deep cold even in this snug little log house, which, oddly, makes them want to go outside again.

 

Deep snow cloud walkers

laughing under bare branches.

Sleeping seeds sigh and stir.

This Floating Life

While Marcia’s away telling tall tales at Sue Vincent‘s I snuck into her place.

The Write Stuff

2383793_9b0ef8a2.jpgIf you haven’t stopped by the Annecdotist’s blog lately you should. In addition to thoughtfully thorough book reviews, Anne Goodwin will also treat you to her thinking on matters related to writing, recently on how to deal with “writerly disappointments”, to, as she says, “feel the disappointment without wallowing in despair”. Anne notes in this post that the cure for disappointment is success and says that, “alongside mourning lost dreams, a writer must work to celebrate any success, however small”. She has promised a post on celebrating success and I am looking forward to it; the discussion has already begun in her comments. Initially I’m thinking it might be a greater challenge for most to celebrate our own successes than to admit our failures even. Writers have to balance the seesaw of setbacks and successes, walk the beam between self-indulgence and self-promotion, all the…

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