Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter R

AtoZ2019R

Today’s Positive Adjective:
Refulgent: a radiant or resplendent quality or state, Brilliance

Errol only ever wanted one thing from life. He wanted to fly. Not like Neil Armstrong but closer to Icarus. His answer was the hang glider. He studied, earned his wings and left the confines of the earth whenever he could.

He trekked to the top of the mountain and strapped on his gear. The wind enticed him, calling him to his flight. One final check and Errol leaped. Under a vivid refulgent sky, Errol broke gravity’s grasp and flew free.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter Q

AtoZ2019Q

Today’s Positive Adjective:
Quixotic: foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals especially, marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action

Maul was an exceptional man. Large well-developed shoulders, sculpted abs and toned quadriceps attested to the hours spent in the gym. He towered above most men and his formidable appearance caused many to avoid him. The respect he commanded carried a price. Forged in the fire of self-preservation, Maul trained in self-defense, marshaling his strength and his anger.

He remembered when things were different when his life dangled over the abyss. Only his will to survive saved him. He had been a small frail child, happy and surrounded with love until he went to school. The trouble began when the teacher called attendance, asking the children to stand and introduce themselves to the class. Meredith Alison Lacey the fourth, stood. Jeers, laughter and snide comments from his classmates filled the classroom. She tried to silence the uproar, then ordering him to sit, she hurried to the next name on her list.

The day marked the start of his miserable life. Throughout school, Meredith endured hateful jokes, pranks, and ridicule. Battered, bruised and bullied, he determined they would not break him. When he was ten, they nearly killed him. A ruptured spleen and a broken arm sent him to the hospital for emergency surgery. He would never be the same.

Rehab introduced him to his mentor and together they developed his physic. Back at school, he won against the bullies, and they tried to move on to terrorize others. He earned his name by defending their new targets. Maul determined they would not suffer as he once had.

Maul became the quixotic bad guy. He launched himself on a quest to protect those who couldn’t fight against intimidation. He turned into the lovable brute, the minority of one intent on righting wrongs and converting those whose goal was to persecute and oppress.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter P

AtoZ2019P

Today’s Positive Adjective:
Perspicacious: of acute mental vision or discernment, Keen

Aunt Edna and Uncle Charlie never had kids. I never asked, my mother would have slapped me upside the head if I ever had the audacity to ask such a personal question. There was a story there, my bones told me. I saw it in Aunt Edna’s face when she held infants and played with small children. Perhaps it was the reason she became a schoolteacher. She wasn’t the normal run-of-the-mill teacher either. She kept in touch with her students over the years, exchanged Christmas cards with them, and attended their college graduations.

I remember little about Uncle Charlie. He died of a heart attack when I was a teenager. If she mourned his death, she didn’t let on in front of me, but she never remarried either. Mother made it my job to check on Aunt Edna after he passed. Once or twice a week I stopped. I visited her on Wednesdays after school and at ten o’clock on Saturday mornings, rain or shine.

My friends felt sorry for me, but Aunt Edna and I settled into a routine of sorts. There were times she helped me with my homework, and times I helped her with housework. She fearlessly taught me to drive with her car, and when I got my license, I drove her to the store or her hair appointment. One summer we painted her whole house. Before Christmas, we spent hours baking for the annual teacher’s cookie exchange. On special occasions, we traveled to the city to visit the art museum.

When I went to college, we began new rituals. I think she realized I missed checking on her and she mailed me letters and care packages. Her notes brought a smile to my face, and the parcels eased my homesickness. I understood why her students loved her. She believed I could do anything, even when I struggled and lost faith, she never did.

Time moves on and it changes us. I graduated, took a job in another town, got married and started a family. I saw Aunt Edna whenever I came home. She made it seem as if we had only been apart a few days, not weeks, or months or years. I never expected the call. The one telling me Aunt Edna had gone to join Uncle Charlie.

Her will left me everything, but it wasn’t the biggest surprise. Aunt Edna’s love of art ran deeper than I ever suspected. She had been perspicacious in acquiring pieces for her collection. I knew she bought artwork, but it never occurred to me that she had developed relationships with the artists. They attended her funeral and spoke as if we were longtime friends. We were, in a way. She included our stories in her letters. The artwork’s value was astounding, but Aunt Edna’s real legacy is all the friends I inherited.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Essential People – Friday Fictioneers

Title: Essential People
Source:  Friday Fictioneers sponsored by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple
Word count: 100 words

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

They canceled schools, closed businesses, and ordered nonessential people home. Six inches of snow fell, and the prognosticators promised more.

Georgie refused. Lives depended on him. He considered his job essential and left for work as usual, at a quarter past three. His daily walk was quiet, but this morning he could hear the earth sigh.

He unlocked his shop doors, flipped on the lights, and began. Incorporating simple ingredients, flour, buttermilk, eggs, yeast, and sugar, he moved with the grace of a ballerina.  When the shop bell jingled, his yeasted donuts were ready, guaranteed to warm his customer’s hearts.

________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter O

AtoZ2019O

Today’s Positive Adjective:
Opportune: suitable or convenient for a particular occurrence

Tierha left his meditative realm and rejoined the monks as they prayed. The temple hummed with their soft chanting. Tierha let the sound sooth his spirit as he prepared himself. His revelation would cause dissent.

He inhaled, and in one fluid movement, he stood, silent among them. Their melodious devotions ebbed then ceased, and their attention resting on their lama. The room was silent for many minutes before Tierha spoke.

“The grey ghost of the mountains visited me,” he said and paused. “I am to undertake a journey to the Great Cave of Conquering Demons.”

A breeze caressed the monks, touching the nape of a neck, quieting a restless hand, and soothing the shoulders of the fearful.

“We will start preparations for a spring departure,” one monk volunteered.

“Make the arrangements, but I leave at dawn,” Tierha replied.

The once quiet prayer space erupted with works of concern and admonishments for his trip’s delay.

“We are entering winter—”

“You can fight demons anytime, anywhere.”

“Wait until the passes are free from snow.”

“The envoys won’t be able to reach the supply drop.”

“You’ll starve—”

“You’ll freeze—”

“You’ll die.”

Tierha’s hand gently petted the air and their voices stilled.

“The opportune place is the Great Cave of Conquering Demons. The moment is upon us,” he said.

His face said they would not dissuade him.

“There is nothing to fear. The snow lion walks with me.”

The monks peered into the dark recesses, searching. A monk pointed beyond the door.  Silhouetted by dawn’s orange glow they saw tiger eyes surrounded by a turquoise mane. The snow lion bowed to them, then turned and walked toward the light.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter N

AtoZ2019N

Today’s Positive Adjective:
Neoteric: recent in origin, Modern

“Why is this so difficult?” Milford Bell shouted as he shoved the blueprints, pushing them away from him. They fluttered from his drafting table, gargantuan butterflies scudding across the floor before they settled on the worn oriental carpet.

Sissy glanced at him from the opposite end of the library and abandoned her work.

“Milford,” she sighed, “what’s the matter now?”

“I wish I had never taken this commission. If we didn’t need the money—” Milford’s words stuttered, then stopped as he shook his head.

“Mr. McCowan has been very generous. He’s a kind man, isn’t he?”

“Yes. Yes, he is a fine fellow. But he asks too much. Or too little.”

“The project is a house?” Sissy asked already aware of the answer. She stood and went to retrieve the drawings. She lifted each page, studying the designs.

“I don’t see the problem. These are competent studies. Surely, he likes one,” she said, as laid them on the drafting board.

“You would be wrong. He has rejected them. This drawing is too ornate, while this reminds him of his friend’s homes. He wants something neoteric, simple, different,” he gestured at his work as he spoke.

Milford rose, paced the room, and ran his fingers through his already disheveled hair.

“I am tempted to design a basic box. A cube containing rooms and windows and nothing more.”

“You might consider a porch?” Sissy offered.

“He will toss me out on my ear—”

“Milford, instead of guessing at what he wished to subtract, perhaps you should determine what he prefers to add,” Sissy paused letting her words drift before she continued.

“Draw your cube. Incorporate the interior requirements and present the sketches to him. Let him tell you the architectural details he wants to include.”

Milford puffed, muttered something incoherent, then fell silent. Sissy could see his mind working, the ideas were flying. Reaching his decision, he returned to his seat, pulled out a fresh sheet and set to work.

***

Several days later Milford burst into the house.

“Sissy,” he yelled. “Sissy, where are you?”

Milford entered the library as she reached the door.

“What? What’s wrong?” she asked.

“You will never believe it,” he said as he lifted her, and they spun in circles around the room.

“Believe what?”

“He loves it. He wants the home built per plans. A simple square box. He wrote an advance check to begin construction.”

  • -Note: The American Foursquare (1895–1929) was a Post-Victorian reaction to ornate Victorian elements and other Revival architecture. The simplicity of the American Foursquare was a popular mail-order house.
    “When one was ordered, it came in a boxcar with a book of directions and all the parts pre-cut and numbered for self-assembly.”  — Wikipedia

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter M

AtoZ2019M

Today’s Positive Adjective:
Munificent: very liberal in giving or bestowing, lavish

I watch the event unfold, horrified.  Sickened by the sight, my stomach churns, yet I cannot look away. I wonder why? Science tells the reaction is hard-wired into our amygdala. It is part of our survival instinct.  We search for information, attempting to decide if we are in danger. Do we need to trigger our fight-or-flight response?

When the event happens half-way around the world, why do we still gawk? Scientists have conducted studies to help us understand. They say we continue to stare to face our fears. Knowing our lives are not at risk, we can safely confront intense emotions. We contemplate what we might do in a similar situation. Would we be the victim? The hero? Could we endure the pain? Would we have the strength to recover?

Play the scene in our head, we fabricate different scenarios, grasping for control in an uncontrollable world. We imagine various outcomes. We experience relief when things turn out better than we expect, and it prepares us when the worst takes place. Disaster evokes our empathy and compels action.

And something beautiful happens. Munificent tributes, donations, support, outpourings of love and compassion we believe will help others recover. We might only be observers of an event, but we can offer comfort, and spark hope.

*** I had a slightly different version for my chosen word, Munificent. Yesterday’s fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, the bravery of the firefighters, individual efforts to rescue priceless artifacts and relics, and the pledges of millions of dollars for its restoration inspired me to alter the story.

Vive le cathédrale Notre Dame.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter L

AtoZ2019L

Today’s Positive Adjective:
Lithe: characterized by easy flexibility and grace

Esme decided today was the day. The first step of her journey.

With a deep inhalation, she began.

Inhale. Tadasana. Exhale. Urdhva Hastasana. Inhale and hold. Exhale. Uttanasana. Inhale. Lunge. Exhale. Plank Pose. Inhale and hold. Exhale. Chaturanga Dandasana. Inhale. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Exhale. Adho Mukha Svanasana. Inhale. Lunge. Exhale. Uttanasana. Inhale. Urdhva Hastasana. Exhale. Tadasana.

Her Sun Salutations completed Esme peered into the mirror and the two images reflected there. One reflection duplicated her as she was today. The second revealed a more lithe and limber body, graceful as a cat, she felt toned muscles, arsenals of inner strength.

With her goal fully imagined, she resolved to enjoy her journey.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Duped – Weekend Writing Prompt

Title: Duped
Source:  Weekend Writing Prompt #101 – Charlatan
Objective: Write a poem or piece of prose in exactly 61 words.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash

Lola O’Neill stood, eyes shut, as the wind whipped, tugging her skirts.

The old woman was silent. Still, Lola waited. She willed the return of her world.

A gull cried overhead.

“Are you done?” she asked, “Am I home?”

The gull replied. She opened her eyes. The crone had taken her money, but Lola was no longer blind.

“Charlatan,” she screamed.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter K

AtoZ2019K

Today’s Positive Adjective:
Kinetic: of or relating to the motion of material bodies and the forces and energy associated therewith

The ship rocked, rolling Captain Xavion from his berth and onto the floor. A second impact hit as he staggered to his feet, pulled on his boots and proceeded to the bridge.

“Report,” he demanded.

First Lieutenant Marcum rose from the Captain’s chair and saluted.

“Unknown alien vessel off the starboard bow. No response to attempts to establish communication. They’ve fired twice. No damage sustained. Shields are at one hundred percent.”

“Officer Tabil.  Establish contact with the foreign craft,” Captain Xavion said as he took the Captain’s seat.

“Captain, I have detected an unidentified life form in Cargo Bay Two,” Allie, the ship’s AI reported.

“Alien?” Captain Xavion probed.

“Yes sir, it emerged from the load transferred from Starship Morrissey.”

“What is it doing?” Captain Xavion asked as the main screen flipped to a view the cargo hold.

“Sensors indicted the being has injected thioureacinol into three of the six containers of phenoloxcolate.”

“To what end, Allie?” the Captain inquired.

“Kinetic molecular theory, suggests the combination of these two gasses will increase the ambient temperature in the container, thereby increasing the speed of the molecules and resulting in a rapid escalation of collisions between the particles and the tank walls.”

“Dear God, Allie, didn’t they teach you to speak English?” Captain Xavion shook his head.

“Yes, Captain. I am fluent in 748 known stellar languages,” Allie replied.

“Captain, I believe Allie is saying the containers are going to explode,” Lieutenant Marcum offered.

“That is a correct assessment Lieutenant Marcum. The force of the blast will destroy Cargo Bay Two. By my calculations, the explosion will disrupt our engine functions. This will initiate a chain reaction which will rip the ship in two in precisely one minute and fourteen seconds.”

Another salvo from the alien vessel rocked the ship.

“Captain, I have established communications with the alien vessel,” Officer Tabil interrupted.

“On screen,” Captain Xavion ordered.

“Finally. We have your attention. You are trespassing in Or’ans space. Surrender your ship,” the brown blob on the screen demanded.

“I will do no such thing. We are on a peace-seeking mission. I assure you we mean you no harm.”

“Balderdash,” the alien spat, and drool seeped into the matted hair surrounding its mouth. “The last peaceful explorers killed half our population. There is no accord. Surrender your ship or we will destroy you.”

“Allie, does he possess the firepower to make good on his threat?” Captain Xavion asked.

“Indeed, Captain. Scanners show they have locked their weapons onto our engine array. A direct hit will annihilate us.”

Captain Xavion turned back to the alien captain. “We come in peace. We don’t desire to harm you, or your people.”

“That’s what they all say before they open fire. My orders are clear. Surrender. Or do you wish to perish?” he asked as the drool formed a long trail to the floor.

“I do not intend to die today. We will defend ourselves,” Captain Xavion warned.

“Then prepare to be destroyed,” spittle flew from the alien’s lips as the screen turned black.

“Thirty seconds to detonation,” Allie called.

“Alien vessel has fired,” Lieutenant Marcum informed the Captain.

“All ahead full on heading 270. Beam the creature in the cargo hold to the brig. On my mark open external doors to Cargo Bay Two,“ Captain Xavion ordered.

“All ahead full. Mark 270. Our new friend is in the brig,” Allie repeated as the ship nosed up, arcing towards starboard.

The ship lurched, shuddering from acceleration as she swept toward the alien vessel.

“Captain, you’re giving them a clear shot at our engine compartment,” Lieutenant Marcum yelled.

“Yes, Lieutenant. They will also get an eyeful of what is behind Door Number Two. Allie open Cargo Bay Two.”

“Aye, aye, Captain. Cargo Bay Two. Open.”

With the doors open the vacuum sucked the contents into space, depositing them in front of the alien vessel’s rocket. When the containers exploded, they denoted the missile and crippled the Or’ans’ ship. Captain Xavion’s starship slipped into warp speed, unharmed.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer