Writing Prompt Response #2

Prompt: Capture a moment of utter peace in the autumn afternoon.

A flock of Canadian geese angles across the sky, honking loudly and startling a pair of dogs out for a walk with their families. One dog, a sand-colored Shi Tzu, starts barking loudly while its playmate, an Australian Shepherd mix, looks on stoically. From her window, an old woman in a leaf-patterned apron watches the V-like flight pattern as she stirs a bowl of batter. The sky is a startling, pollution-free blue, except for a few clouds scuttling low from the tops of the mountains in the west.

Down the road, cars move slowly through the intersection like a lethargic bloodstream. Children on their bikes with brightly colored hoodies hoot and holler as they fly down the street, glad for a day of good weather and no school to keep them cooped up indoors. A man holding a paper bag of groceries precariously in one hand jiggles a small key to open his mailbox with the other, frowning slightly when he realizes the box is empty. He locks his mailbox again, uses another key to open the door, and miraculously arrives at his apartment without spilling any apples that were rolling at the top.

At a small hospital that afternoon, no emergency calls have been made and the EMTs enjoy a rare chance to chat in the cafeteria over Styrofoam cups of warm apple cider and sugar cookies. In a nearby corner, a nurse wearing teddy-bear patterned scrubs naps in a chair with a bright pink neck pillow. Upstairs, a doctor wraps up his notes about his pregnant patient, confirming that all is well and the parents are well-prepared for the babies due to arrive by New Years. A text message on his phone buzzes, telling him that his brother has safely arrived at the local airport.


Originally written for Writober 2017.

Image credit: Pexels

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Vuori Drabble #1

The moment Jouni saw how much blood Hannele had withdrawn with the needle, he turned an astonishing shade of snow, pale as an early spring blizzard, and then his eyes rolled to the back of his head and he slumped down over the table.

“Oops,” Hannele said as she carefully stored the filled syringe within the icebox. “I don’t think he’s ever given blood before.”

“You don’t say?” commented Suvi, poking him on the nose with a finger and getting no response. “I hope the Suojelija don’t mind the blood of fainters too much.”

Hannele snorted. “They’ll be fine. Remember when Arvo and Lauri drank an entire cask of that southern ale and then decided to donate in the same night?”

That night was far in the past, but Suvi still had vivid memories. The Suojelija, post-feeding, had lost their normal stoicism and had actually tried to nuzzle her before they trundled off into a deep, rumbling slumber. The herbalists and city council had raised quite a fuss about that, giving Arvo and Lauri a stern talking-to for accidentally getting the mainstay of the city’s defense drunk. Notably, after this event, the would-be donators who were known partakers of green blossom were conspicuously absent. Perhaps, Suvi mused, they felt guilty for the sensory abnormalities they might have previously given the Suojelija.

“Well,” said Hannele, washing her hands in the room’s solitary basin, “We can’t keep him down here. He’ll freeze.”

Suvi eyed the bulk of the man, which normally served him well during guard duty or games of strength but was not so manageable for two teenaged girls. Years of hauling her younger siblings around hadn’t prepared her for this. “I suppose we’ll have to make the best of it,” she told Hannele. “How about you take one arm and I’ll take the other?” (Or, you could stop being stubborn and ask Kaisa for help, an internal thought whispered to her, and she shushed it up. She couldn’t even look Kaisa in the eyes these days, much less ask her to haul a blood donor who had fainted on her watch.)

Hannele and Suvi managed to move Jouni at least off of his resting spot on the table but then he toppled backward from the bench to the floor with a groan, but still wouldn’t wake up.

Unless Suvi started thinking rather creatively, then preventing Jouni from freezing or avoiding Kaisa’s sharp tongue had turned into mutually exclusive scenarios.


Originally written for a Writober 2017 prompt.

Image credit: Pexels

Dial Tone

Nothing is more horrifying than hearing the breaking voice of your self-destructive parent on the other end of the line, a parent who has repeatedly lied and cheated and run and stolen so much from you and those you care about. That same shaky voice, minutes from possibly being so destroyed that it will no longer return asking, “And why do you need me?”

There is a second, colder horror when you hear a voice in your head whispering, “I don’t need you; I haven’t needed you for a long time. When you were needed, you weren’t there, and I had to scrabble up the cliff without you. Yet here you are, at the end of your rope and speaking as though I’m your final rock to cling to. But let me be clear: No matter what happens, I will survive and become stronger than ever before.”

So you experience a third horror, perhaps the kindest one of all, as you lie to your parent and say, “I need you for so much.”

Because it’s too hard to be honest and say, “I love you. Please don’t go.”

WIP Drabble #1

“I’ll go if you want me to, but I don’t want to leave you here alone,” Opal said. She clenched her hands around the folds of her skirt. Asa still refused to look at her, his bandaged head curled out of sight into his pillow.

Opal couldn’t bear it.

Rage flooded her veins, hot and threatening to burst. She hated this; she hated that Asa wouldn’t speak, that the bullet had taken his eye, that he had been hit in the first place by a shot that should have been hers. War Tramp. Battle Harlot. Death Witch. It was her magic and her gunpowder that had blown up Pine Village. By all rights, that untoward bullet should have been hers.

They had attacked Asa, the favored healer, and it was all Opal’s fault.

Shame and guilt rumbled within her. Opal didn’t know how to heal or mix medicines; she couldn’t give him back his eye or remove the scar that would mark his features. Her hands were weapons, stained in the eyes of the gods by years of blood and gunpowder. Instead, she did what he had done for her so many months ago. Gently, she took his hands between hers and offered a quiet prayer to his healing god, asking for peace and a swift recovery.

Asa said nothing in response, but didn’t pull his hands away.


Photo by George Hodan

Note to Self

You bottle up your emotions
Like liquor on a shelf
To drown yourself in
When the world is too much


Photo Credit to Pexels

Note: I recommend the Moodnotes and Pacifica apps, but there are many helpful ones out there. It might take a while to find one that you like and can use regularly, but it’s so worth it.

Embers

 

Let’s build a little
matchstick house
and burn it down together,
let the flames warm the world
as we walk on ashes
and charcoal words.

Silence doesn’t burn,
my dear.

Let’s dance in the fire storm,
crackling and sizzling
as everyone watches
and they will see
we are embers.


Photo credit to Pexels.

Note: I hope you all have a great New Years Eve if you’re celebrating now or later tonight. Happy New Year to those who live further from me.