Archive for September, 2012

Friday Fictioneers 9/28/12

Posted: September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s once more time for the weekly photo prompt exercise known as the Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Madison Woods and all of her generous photo contributors, a lucky group of us get the chance to read, or write our own 100 word stories based on the prompt. Mine is below the picture, the link to find the other stories or directions for adding your’s is below.

It had been twenty years since her feet tread this soil. When her father died, her unscrupulous brother, named executor, didn’t waste any time in turning her beloved, ancestral home into a cheap tourist trap. Come one, come all! Traipse through my memories, gaze at the relics of our heritage. Gaze at my father’s office, wander through my childhood bedroom and tread the stairs that she knew so well. In one year he had turned the home of one of the countries most respected statesmen into a money-making attraction.

Knowing her father was turning in his grave over the state of his beloved home, and unable to stop her brothers plans, she left, vowing never to return.  It took a single meeting, a single announcement to change her mind. When the doctor removed his glasses and wiped his face before speaking, she knew he had nothing good to tell her. He uttered word after word that passed through her numb brain, but the only thing that stuck was the fact that she month to live, tops. Not willing to spend the last days of her life connected to tubes and hoses designed to make the care givers feel as if they were doing something, she went home and cried.

She searched for comfort, but estranged from her family with few acquaintances she  found herself alone. It was a dream that reminded her of the lake and the majestic cranes of her childhood. Cranes, long thought a symbol of  longevity in her culture had been a large part of her youth. She grew up with the majestic birds and decided she wanted another day with them before the cancer won.

She quit her job, broke her lease, emptied  her bank account and left the funds with the local food bank before heading home. Not wanting to taint the visit with her brother’s greedy vibes, she kept it a secret. When the plane touched down she walked to the nearest cab stand, no luggage needed, and gave the driver the address. When the taxi stopped all she could do was stare. What had he done? What used to be a simple path through the woods was now a garish gate surrounded by signs announcing entry prices, generic characters and ads. She hoped against hope that the lake remained untouched as she paid the driver and stepped onto the path.

Sneaking past the gate, she made her way to the lake, found her favorite tree and nestled into its familiar bark, watching the birds as she alternated between sleep and slumber. Her last thought was that all was right in the world as she closed her eyes for the last time. When the birds took to the air she was sad at first, then full of joy when the wings unfurled on her back. One of them, her spirit free, she rose to join them, briefly mourning over her discarded body before soaring across the sky. She giggled when she thought about her brother struggling to explain her body.

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Picture it & Write 9/23/12″

Posted: September 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

A photo prompt is provided and all are invited to write a story in their own style based on this prompt. You can read the stories or add your own at Picture it & Write


She was an artist, she either created faces in her mind or used those of people she met in her  imagery. It had served her well for years, create a painting, sell it and create another. Never had she felt connected to, no, haunted by, one of her creations, but that changed one morning as she entered her favorite diner. Distracted by a shadow she noticed a reflection in the window, it looked like a face she recently put to canvas. Blaming her jitters on a lack of caffeine she flung open the door and headed to the counter.

Kate greeted her by sliding a cup of coffee over the counter before putting in her order for bacon, toast and eggs, over easy. Feeling a hand on her shoulder she turned, puzzled to find herself alone.

A hesitant Kate brought her food, asking if she was alright.

“I think so, just a bit under the weather today. Hopefully the coffee and food will fix me right up,” she said, mustering a smile.

“Call me if you need anything,” the concerned waitress muttered on her way to the kitchen.

From time to time she would catch a glimpse of the mystery man’s reflection on the napkin holder or the mirror behind the register. He even had the nerve to show up in the sheriffs sunglasses when he stopped for coffee.  Dropping money on the counter she ran home, determined to destroy the painting. Making her way to the kitchen she grabbed a knife and headed to the studio. Flipping on the light she stopped as a scream ripped from her throat. The mystery man she painted was no longer alone, a woman with blood-red lips was nestled behind his ear, a woman she never painted, it was her.  When a hand fell on her shoulder she dropped the knife. His cold breath caressed her neck as his teeth penetrated her skin.

Kate and the others at the diner wondered why she quit coming in for breakfast, but chalked it up to her being a quirky artist who had moved on.

Friday Fictioneers – 9/21/12

Posted: September 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s once more time for the weekly photo prompt exercise known as the Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Madison Woods and all of her generous photo contributors, a lucky group of us get the chance to read, or write our own 100 word stories based on the prompt. Mine is below the picture, the link to find the other stories or directions for adding your’s is below.

“It goes,” she shouted.

“It stays! It was created out of love!” he yelled.

“Love? It looks just like your brother, the leech who stole our money and disappeared, I don’t want it here! And, I paid a  fortune for the view that garbage is blocking !” She shouted, emptying her wine glass.

“It STAYS!” He shouted, jumping on the cable holding it in place.

The behemoth shifted, dangling over the cliff before swinging back to hover over the expensive marble. When it fell, she was prepared to kill her hubby, but screamed instead when the broken stone revealed the face of her dead  brother-in-law.



Picture it & Write 9/12

Posted: September 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

A photo prompt is provided and all are invited to write a story in their own style based on this prompt. You can read the stories or add your own at Picture it & Write

 

 

 

Staring into the mirror she wondered if her mother was right. Had she come to depend on it so deeply that it changed the way she related to her family? A new world opened up to her the day she found the mirror. Images of other young women around the world began to appear. After time, she learned to communicate with these woman, to leave the isolation of the kingdom for the cherished contact. So much so that her schooling suffered. She was punished for missing family dinners and celebrations. She didn’t care, the people in the mirror were her real friends, the only ones who understood her.

Unable to understand her mother’s anger she locked herself in her room the night the mirror was taken from her. Sleep was impossible as she focused on the messages and images she was missing. What would her friends think when she didn’t respond to them? That night, with nothing else to do she joined her brother in the game room. They played cards and told jokes well into the night.  Cook brought some special cookies with a sweet topping that they enjoyed with cider pressed that very morning.

 

She also learned of her older sisters new child and  a batch of puppies born in the stables.  What else didn’t she know? Had the mirror stolen that much of her life? Running to her mother’s room she held the mirror in front of her face, fighting it’s pull. Sweat oiled her palms as her arms began to shake. She wanted her life back, she wanted to eat dinner, play with her brother, ride horses, take walks, read and learn from her mother. None of this was possible as long as she let the mirror rule her time.

Closing her eyes, she raised it over her head, took a deep breath and slammed it onto the hearth. Sweat formed on her brow and her hands shook, but she knew life would be better if not connected to the mirror. Those people were far away and didn’t really know her in real life, her family and friends were within arms reach. Wiping her hands on her dress she headed downstairs to join her family.

 

 

It’s once more time for the weekly photo prompt exercise known as the Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Madison Woods and all of her generous photo contributors, a lucky group of us get the chance to read, or write our own 100 word stories based on the prompt. Mine is below the picture, the link to find the other stories or directions for adding your own are beneath my story.

Nihancan, (Nih-aw-thaw) or spider trickster to the Arapahos, appeared in one form and betrayed you in another, or how the white man earned the name of Trickster. Her Slavic family believed a spider seen after midnight was a dead loved one watching over you; she saw the web as a sign she needed to clean. Somewhere between sleep and consciousness, she felt the blanket slide over her shoulder as a gentle hand nestled it under her chin.

She awoke the next morn with the memory of someone tucking her in as the scent of her mother’s favorite perfume caressed her nose.




I met a wide-eyed boy, full of life who loved his family, survived a failed marriage, laughed, and reached out to others. This young man would NEVER think of saying anything hateful to someone dealing with stress or trouble. This young man was always open to new ideas and experiences. He embraced  the good and left the bad at the curb. He spoke of his family with pride, he loved animals, nature, gardening, hiking and more. He listened to new ideas and considered each one on its own merit.  We double dated with his parents, we took kids and nephews with us to the zoo, bumper boats, shows, the zoo and more. He was upbeat and marvelous with the kids, they loved him!

Ruled by a domineering father this young man was unable to see his full potential and often based his actions on past experiences with this father. He lacked the courage to strike out on his own, to take charge, work with his hands and more. I saw this potential, and the goodness in this man. Realizing his mind always carried the shadow of his fathers words and how he should react to them, it took some time for him to break free and fly. But fly he did!  He morphed into his own, taking charge of his surroundings. He learned to work on his own cars, he mastered the art of roofing, he returned to school at an age when many start to coast through life. He took jobs others were afraid to tackle, he pushed his talents, learning about computer ladder programs, combustion, hydraulics, electrical work, plumbing, how to handle toxic waste and more. He schooled and earned a license in boiler operations at an age when most people were happy to flounder in a long-term job. He continued to work, learn, build his store of knowledge and experience.

Along the way he learned tolerance and the ability to communicate with people other found difficult. He quickly gained respect at work, earning the title of “go to man” if you wanted a job done and done right. He also saw me as an equal, always proud to back my choices, brag about my accomplishments while urging me to reach farther, follow dreams, try new things.

I started out liking this man, then I loved him, then I fell “in love” with him.  Thrusting out my chin I committed myself to a life by his side. We lived through many, MANY rough years with one of my children from a previous marriage. She tested us to the max, bankrupted us and left us with three babies to care for. We separated more than once, wanting to walk away from each other and the situation, but we came together each time, sought help, made “us” a priority and got out.

I saw him begin to change, but chalked it up to the trauma known as our life. Then ever so slowly, I realized I was hiding things from my mate, unpleasant things about my daughter that I knew would send him into either a rage, or a deep depression. I ate this stress daily so that he could enjoy life.  After pulling my daughter out of bars and  shoving strange men out the door I was coiled like a spring. One night I had to pull my daughters boyfriend, father to the babies  off the road. He was on his knees on the center line, drunk and high, screaming at me to let a car kill him. I never told my mate at the time as he would have over reacted and wrung every drop os stress out of every hour. I arranged for help for the young man but he gave up after one session with an addiction and mental health professional. All you had to do, as a child in the house was shrug your  shoulders, say “so what” or talk with food in your mouth.My mate would spring from his chairs, threatening them with violence and intimidation if they did not behave as expected. One night he chased my son from the table, grabbed his arm and pulled him from the ground to swat at his backside. The infraction was so small I don’t even remember what it was, I just remember the  ball of lead in my chest when I was unable to stop it.

He began to shatter kitchen chairs, slam doors, threaten to leave and more. We all walked on eggs shells, hiding unpleasantness from my mate. Now, being a hard-core feminist I was PISSED! What a typical male being an ass! But, I couldn’t ignore the fact that I had fallen in love with this person for a reason. I tried to sever ties, I embarked on a new adventure with an up and coming band, pretending to have a relationship with the vocalist as an excuse to throw my mate out of the house. It worked for a time, but I kept feeling the pull. Eventually I ended the charade and my mate was willing to try again.

After that, I was committed to this relationship as one deemed to exist by the cosmos. I reveled in the good and clenched my jaw through the bad. My mate however fell deeper and deeper in anxiety and anger. Even when things were good, he saw only the bad. A simple walk in the yard became a point of stress as I would marvel at the baby birds, or flowers, plan our garden etc. as he focused on a tree that my die, a crack in the ancient sandstone foundation of the house etc.

He began to ruin every walk with his pessimistic attitude. He stopped noticing the beauty around him, the good parts. Seeing, and enjoying the good, doesn’t mean you ignore the bad. You still have to deal with a problem, but you don’t have to let it color your whole world. Just because I am marveling over a spring flower, enjoying a nice day, doesn’t mean I don’t recognize a tree may have to come down for safety. I just don’t let it take on a life of its own, becoming a sense of worry that clouds my thinking. I am not a Pollyanna, I can enjoy by home and yard while tucking away notes of things that need tended to.  My mate focuses on the negative with laser like precision. I finally starting declining these walks for my own health.

One of my mates earliest memories is of a parent night at his school. He loved his school and was proud of his desk and his work. After the tour the family headed for home. The one thing that stuck in his head to this day was a comment by his father. He said something like; “that was nice, but I notice you were the only kid who didn’t have art work on the wall.”

I felt this was a good sign, meaning he would know how awful he felt to be shot down after trying so hard. I figured he would use that experience in raising our grandkids. I was wrong. If a kid cleans something, he points out what wasn’t done. If they washed a dish he that was left with a spot he would scream at them and stand over them until they did it his way. I know in his mind he thinks he is training them for adulthood, but all it does is push them away. Kids are kids and they will learn how to wash dishes as they become adults responsible for their own home. He doesn’t always compliment them on what is right, or what worked, he points out what was wrong and how to fix it. This is what his father did to him. I watched his father take a tool out of his hand to do things his way, making it clear his son wouldn’t do it correct he talked down to him, making him feel inferior if he didn’t do things his way. He took it to heart, doubting his own ability to learn and perform, it left a deep scar. Hell, his dad would wrench his wife’s birthday gift from her hand to slit the tape with a knife instead of letting her tear the package open herself. My mother wanted to reach across the table more than once to return the gift to its owner.

My mate does the same, he hovers over me, itching to grab something from my hand to fix it, open it or fold it.  If he grabs for something I fall into sarcasm, saying something like, “Ok dad, ” he usually gets the hint. I tell him I am NOT his mother and I will not tolerate his urge to grab tasks from me as if he is the only one who can do it right.

Realizing he had issues, he finally went to a therapist supplied by his employer. They clicked and things went well. Medical tests showed that he suffered from anxiety, depression and anger. He started taking medication and he morphed into the boy I fell in love with. I worked with a therapist friend of mine and learned to manage my own reactions to situations without reacting in anger or anxiety when he was in a snit. I put my head on the shoulder of a friend who happened to be a psychiatrist, she helped me see that that he was dealing with not only an unbalanced level of brain chemicals, (organic) and emotional baggage from living with his father.

Once he embraced some medication and therapy with a long-time friend, he was back. He embraced yard work, gardening and getting to know the neighbors. Things were back on track. We left our daughter to make her own life, we took in the kids and built a home in our new location. Things were looking up. I promised to stop hiding unpleasant things from him and kept that bargain. Life was good.

Then, he decided he didn’t need pills to remain stable, he stopped taking them. A short time later he began to over react to everything from requests for a ride to a friend’s house from one of the kids to a flea on a dog. He was short-tempered, and when not working at a furious pace in the yard, he spent hours laying in bed, thinking agonizing, fretting over things every human deals with daily. We talked and he got back on the meds and I had my mate back.

I rode this experience out three times. The good times turning into my walking on tip toe in the course of a month.  If our youngest gave him lip over cleaning her rabbits tank, he would loom over her on the couch, threatening to kill the rabbit if she didn’t jump as soon as he spoke. “He said things like “you are not going to like what happens to that rabbit if you don’t clean that tank!” Ominous, scary words that will remain embedded in her brain until the day she dies.

One of the biggest stories about my mates father is how he reacted if he felt his children acted anything less than perfect in public. He was offended and angry if they didn’t behave perfectly in a public setting. He would be angry and mortified if his children misbehaved, made a mess or miss-spoke while visiting relations or out in public. He would berate them for embarrassing him. He put  the thoughts of what others might think of him over the feelings and well-being of his family. He instilled shame if they were not perfect in public. These verbal abuses scarred the children and were a source of arguments for my mates husband and wife. The next day, all was well. You didn’t air fights or hurt feelings, you ate them like sour candy. Nothing was ever resolved or talked about, it was buried no matter how  the outbursts hurt the children.

This brings me to this month. We are in a battle with the city over a hedge. Long story short, to get a variance that would allow this hedge to shield us from a bar, tattoo parlor and head shop, we have to file papers, pay 100.00 and provide a detailed drawing or photo of the item in question. The city inspector left us with a satellite photo of the property so I decided to attach that to the papers as evidence. Well, my cat from hell slept on the paper, he shifted it enough to put the ends in a pile of glue I was using to fix a kid’s backpack. I straightened it out, trimmed the edges and wiped off the glue. They had already hinted that we would have no trouble in keeping the hedge as we had a gas station next door. So NO grand measure were needed to file the paperwork.

My mate went ballistic! His face turned red, the veins in his neck popped out in an unnatural way and he screamed his words. When I tried to tell him it was glue and not animal feces from our pets, he cut me off, calling me a liar as he knew what feces looked like!  He continued to bulge and turn colors as he said he wanted to present himself as respectable with the city. I instantly remembered the stories of his fathers berating his family if the kids did anything to embarrass him. My mate was so worried about what a group of strangers would think of him he screamed, yelled and treated me like a liar. A true mate, a soul mate takes your side, they do not debase you over how a stranger will judge them. He has reverted to anger, he wants anything that demands his attention gone. He wants the dog gone, he wants to snap the cats neck for doing something he does everyday? His is consistently angry, treating strangers like an angel while his family walks on eggshells? Did  I mention that  he views taking  medications as a weakness, not as a fix for an organic lack of chemicals fueling the brain?

Just today, the dog  needed out. He got up to let her out then forgot her. When we heard her bark outside the door he put down his computer and let her in. When he returned to his chair the imaginary character in his game had died. His face was inflamed with anger and a severe scowl as he growled, “that dog has to go!” He was angry over the game, ignoring the love of a pet. Looking to defuse the situation I started telling him about the good feedback I had received on one of the stories I had posted on my writers group. The man who used to show happiness over my accomplishments and encourage me, talked over my, shutting me down as he spewed profanity and told me the dog had to find a new home. I never did share the story with him.

Did I mention that this is about the 4th time he has gone off the medication? I don’t know this man and I don’t like him. I am tired of riding this merry-go-round. I am tired of waiting it out until he decides to give the medication another try. I am tired of the anger, the judgement, being called a liar and watching a child wilt in despair over his words.

He fought a good fight, but he is morphing into his father. If he doesn’t come back to earth and embrace the medication I can’t promise to keep this union together. I will not live the rest of my life walking on eggs, watching my kids and grand kids shrink when he turns red and berates them.

I love my mate, but I don’t like him when he is like this. If he wants to break chairs, scream and present himself as perfect to those around him, he may have to do it alone. His dad was often a street angel and a house devil and I have watched this wonderful, young soul adopt this personality. He thinks good thoughts, functions wonderfully when with company, but he is a different person when we are alone as a family unit if he stops taking the meds. I can’t get him to see that taking meds is no different from wearing glasses. They are not evil, nor do they make you a bad person, they are just a tool available to us that can improve your life and live it to its full potential.

I’m not sure how many  more rides I can take. Eventually I may have to get off to save  my sanity and the mental health of the children. I hope not.

Friday Fictioneers – 9-7-12

Posted: September 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Each week Madison Woods posts a picture prompt and a group of us write a 100 word story from the thoughts or emotions invoked by the image. You can read the entries or add one of your own. My entry for this week is below. I am a few words over this week, but it is what it is.

It was a simple book signing, she never anticipated the looming trouble.

“I know,” the man whispered over the table.

“What?”

‘I know about your father and your love life.  Anything to say before I publish?”

Leaving the table, she met him outside. He knew about  her murdering father and Stella, her long time lover and partner, a fact her agent kept buried. If the story was gonna break, she wanted  it in her own words.

Lured by the promise of an interview he met her at the dock the next morning. She warned him to stay seated but he jumped out as soon as they bumped into the river bank outside her ancient home. His designer shoes proved no match for the terrain and all she could do was watch as he fell in. She reached out as the gators slid down the bank to investigate the commotion, but he was gone.

“Problem solved,” she grinned, running to Stella.