Holding On – Stock Photo Challenge

Title: Holding On
Source:  Stock Photo Challenge
Word count: 100 words

young man and woman walking with sunset

Daniel’s wrinkled hands shook as he held the photo of his most cherished memory.

They met in a sandbox. He had pulled her pigtails and made her cry. He immediately regretted it and swore no one would hurt her again.  He kept his word, protected her. They were inseparable and became high school sweethearts. Everyone knew they would marry.

Daniel suspected something, hoping they were pregnant. But life was cruel. The doctors shook their heads. He was strong, taking care of her until she slipped away. She took his life, his heart. Keeping them safe while he waited for today.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Marking Time – Friday Fictioneers

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

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

Sani kicked the broken asphalt chunk, sending it skidding across the deserted, crumbling parking lot. He dreaded going into Grandfather’s market, where Sani waited after school.

Grandfather would repeat his stories of the olden days. Sani knew the stories by heart and was tired of them.

Route 66 used to run past the market, bringing travelers into town. Grandfather made sandwiches he sold to them with soda and chips. Grandmother sold the Navajo jewelry she made. It was a good life. Then the interstate bypassed town taking the tourists past the market.

Sani could only wait to join the travelers.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Inner Conflict – Extended Version

Yesterday I posted Inner Conflict edited to meet the challenge requirements. However, what I wrote during my first sitting was much longer, twice as long, with a word count around 500 words. Reading the story again, I find I prefer the longer version. This version finished at 456 words. Let me know what you think.

the_fallen_cherub_by_charllieearts_dd0j9ye-fullview.

The Fallen Cherub by CharllieeArts, source

Nervous, and unsure, I took stock of my surroundings. Crouched behind the building’s jutting column, hidden from view, I accessed the alien version of my beloved city. Cold, stark and silent they had transported me into a hidden world. It was the world that lay between reality and dreams.

In the street to my right, stood a glorious black angel his wing unfurled. Exuding confidence, power, and determination he faced his opponent. To my left stood a monster straight from my nightmares, hideous and menacing I knew he meant to win this battle.

“Why don’t you run from me?” the monster growled.

“You think I should fear you?” the angel sneered, chuckling softly.

“You know who I am, my reputation. I am deadly. I hold life in my hands.”

The angel laughed, slapping his hand on his thigh, “I should cower under the bed, hiding the way you do? You kid no one, everyone knows you evaporate with the light.”

They circled, searching for a weakness, an opportunity to strike.

“But she hears me. My words echo in her mind long after I have gone,” the monster said as he licked his lips.

“Your words fall apart once removed from the dark,” a fireball gleamed, as it erupted from the angel’s chest.

The monster saw his opening, rearing back he lunged at the angel who sidestepped the assault, using his wings the way a matador uses his cape with a charging bull. As the monster passed, the angel let the fireball fly. It grazed the monster’s shoulder, and he whirled, swiping at angel feet, toppling him to the ground.

The two rolled in the street as I watched in horrified fascination, unable to turn away.

“Submit, you dishonored beast, you will not gain your redemption with her salvation,” the monster howled as he gained the advantage.

“No matter the cost, I will not let you win,” the angel roared as another fireball propelled the monster back.

The struggle continued, both evenly matched, and I watched them bruised and bleeding, determined to fight to the death.

At last, I could stand it no more, the self-mutilation of my fallen cherub and my noble monster and stepped from my hiding place in the dark.

“Enough,” I screamed, and two sets of eyes met mine.

“Neither of you will win, and we all will die. The truth is the decision is mine.”

I paused. They waited, eager to hear my next words.

“Get up. Compose yourselves.” Confused they complied.

“We must learn to live together,” I said. “We are two sides of the same coin, and neither side is fully right nor fully wrong.”

Sheepish expressions met my gaze, and I knew we would live to fight another day.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Inner Conflict – #MenageMonday!

Title: Inner Conflict
Source: #MenageMonday! Challenge Week 2×22
Word count: 250 words

the_fallen_cherub_by_charllieearts_dd0j9ye-fullview.

The Fallen Cherub by CharllieeArts, source

Crouched behind the building’s jutting column, I accessed the alien landscape. Cold, stark and silent they had transported me into a hidden world. We were trapped between reality and dreams.

In the street, stood a glorious black angel his wing unfurled, confronting a monster straight from my nightmares.

“Why don’t you run?” the monster growled.

“I should fear you?” the angel sneered.

“You know my reputation.  I hold life in my hands.”

They circled, searching for a weakness, an opportunity to strike.

“My words echo in her mind long after I have gone,” the monster said licking his lips.

“Your words fall apart once removed from the dark,” a fireball erupted from the angel as he spoke and hurled toward the monster.

The monster saw his opening, rearing back he lunged at the angel. They rolled in the street and I watched in horrified fascination.

“Submit, dishonored beast, you won’t gain your redemption with her salvation,” the monster howled.

“I won’t let you win,” the angel roared as another fireball propelled the monster back.

I couldn’t stand the self-mutilation of my fallen cherub and my noble monster. I stepped from my hiding place and screamed.

“Enough. Neither of you will win, and we all will die. The decision is mine. We must learn to live together,” I said. “We are two sides of the same coin, and neither side is fully right nor fully wrong.”

Sheepish expressions met my gaze, and I knew we would live to fight another day.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Like A Stone – Thursday photo prompt

Title: Like A Stone
Source:  Thursday photo prompt: Timeless #writephoto
Word count: 156 words

the image shows a single standing stone in a winter landscape

The silent men, in long brown robes, welcomed Chantal into the cold stone house. Slow shuffling feet wore hollow indentions into unyielding stone. The stones bore testament to their devotion.  They offered her wine and bread, promising her a life everlasting, saying they knew the way.

She learned to read, turned the pages of a book filled with death. To redeem her pagan soul, she offered prayers to gods and angels. With her eyes opened, she felt lost, suffered guilt, and the cold stone house filled her with hopelessness they ground into despair. Sinking low, prostrate with grief, Chantal discovered the last ember hidden in the desolate grotto of her heart.

The spark spoke to her, reminded her of another time. She followed the light to the forgotten time, trusting a voice which promised nothing. There amid the vast emptiness, another stone stood bearing testament.

Chantal stood, tall and unafraid. Confident, she knew her way.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Reaching the Beginning – Stock Photo Challenge

Title: Reaching the Beginning
Source: Stock Photo Challenge
Word count: 100 words

stock-photo-1

stock-photo-1

Destia perched on the wagon seat, confident today would be the same as the string of days behind her. The sameness of her existence stretched into the depths of her memory. The slow, rhythmic steps of the oxen dragged her creaking wagon forward.

Her companion’s faces wore the same expression as the landscape. They knew returning was non-negotiable.

Pero, keeping pace with the oxen, stopped. Alert, his nose tested the wind, then he ran, racing toward the purple smudge on the horizon. The oxen moved faster.

Relief sweep through Destia, but the voice laughed, saying the real journey was beginning.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Loves Legend – 100 Word Wednesday

Title: Loves Legend
Source:  100 Word Wednesday: Week 109
Word count: 100 words

Image by Bikurgurl

The legend said their love would last while their initials remained on the Lovers Tree.

Nick carved his initials deep into the bark. His knife traced her initials again. He wasn’t taking any chances.

She hadn’t noticed him, but he had waited, been there for her, loved her. He hadn’t dared to dream, hadn’t imagined she would be his or declare her love.

She swore Todd meant nothing after he broke her heart. But Nick saw the way she looked at Todd when she thought he wasn’t looking.

He gouged the letters deeper and prayed for Todd’s initials to fade.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Tradition Inherited – Friday Fictioneers

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

six-gold-tipped-roses-in-a-vase-on-a-table

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Anna didn’t remember ever hearing the story of how it started. As a child, she thought it a silly tradition. They insisted they attend every family gathering. But the years passed, and she now found herself installed as the de facto caretaker.

She sat and stared at the six gold-rimmed glass roses. One for each child. The white rose, the diamond, represented the oldest child, her mother.

After grandma passed the bouquet became mother’s inheritance, her duty to keep them together.

Anna’s finger traced the gold outline of a white petal and feared she would never fill her mother’s shoes.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

After the Storm

snow-field-farmhouse-barn-mountain-pine-tre

morguefile-6668ba5fddca394e91e116f1433ea1b3

Outside the storm raged through the night. Icy tendrils swept down the chimney, teasing feeble flames which were the only source of heat for the occupants of the house. With covers pulled tight, they huddled in their beds, feigning sleep as the storm buffeted the house.

Riordan listened as the winds died and a faint gray light seeped through the windows. The rooster’s crow alerted the household of dawn’s arrival. Riordan didn’t wait, he threw back the covers and hurried to dress in the chilly room. Downstairs, he pulled on his boots, coat, and fingerless gloves, then jammed his hat on his head. His easel and a stash of canvas rested by the door, ready for the day’s adventure.

He opened the door to discover a world of stark contrasts. The storm had erased the normal colors, rendering them in shades of gray, accentuated by black shadows and pristine-white snow. Riordan surveyed his new world and considered his options. The pond, already frozen over before the storm would resemble any snow-covered field, he reasoned. He wanted to capture the subtle textures and the muted tones. He knew where he wanted to go.

With his easel and a large canvas tucked up under his arm he plowed into the snowdrift and headed toward the road leading into town. As he trudged through knee-deep drifts, he reminded himself to look at the landscape and consider possible compositions for their artistic values. After walking a mile, he decided on his scene. The Olsen’s white farmhouse lay outlined by the dark tree-lined ridge behind it. Clouds, still heavy with snow, filtered the sunlight that fell on Lookout Peak in the distance.

The Olsen’s barns and other outbuildings helped to give the scene movement and a single tall pine framed the composition. Riordan juggled the canvas as he opened the easel and stuck it in the snow. With the easel situated he placed the canvas on the supports, pulled his pallet free and opened paint tubes. Dabs of Payne’s Gray, Mars Black, Prussian Blue, Sap Green, Titanium White, Raw Sienna, and Cadmium Red soon lay arranged on his pallet.  He needed to work fast before the light changed.

Riordan selected his largest brush and blocked in color. His brush swiped across the canvas, his body swayed with the movement and he lost himself to the process.

He wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he noticed the brush slipping from his freezing fingertips. Laying the pallet aside he blew on his hands, warming them before getting back to work. But now his work slowed, he paused more frequently to warm his fingers, and he noticed the cold, as it nipped his nose and seeped into his boots.

Just one more brush stroke he told himself again and again. That shadow needs more blue, and the barn more red, he thought as he tried to ignore the discomfort. At last, he shivered and knew he must stop. Riordan hated to admit defeat against the elements. He stared at the scene attempting to commit each color change, every shadow, each fleck of light to memory before he packed up his gear. He handled his canvas, his day’s masterpiece, with care as he retraced his steps and headed home.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer