Ascension – #MenageMonday!

Title: Ascension
Source:  #MenageMonday! Challenge Week 2×35
Word count: 250 words

To Camp, by Zhong Fenghua
Source: deviantart

I was alone. The campfire crackled and popped while the swamp echoed with chirps of tree frogs and trills of the moorhen. The barred owl’s distinctive call signaled the end of a day to remember. One I could never forget.

Pulling my coat collar tight around my neck, I moved closer to the fire. Cold, exhausted from the journey, I missed Sōshō. I wasn’t ready for the responsibility and I beseeched him to stay. He only smiled, patted my arm and handed me the massive leather-bound tome.

“You will record the entries now,” he said.

The weight threatened to crush me. “I can’t do this. Please, Sōshō,” I begged.

“I have written your destiny.”

He took his place on the rocks and began the incantations that would meld him with the earth. He left me no choice, and I performed the rituals with him. The transformation required the entire day. When it was complete, his chrysalis appeared as if it had stood on this spot for thousands of years. As my final act, I inscribed the sacred message on the monument’s base.

We had passed hundreds of stone statues on our journey. At each shrine, we repeated the prescribed devotions. He had taken his place among them. Tomorrow, I would strike camp, pack everything on the two mules, and return to the Eagle’s Aerie as the new Sōshō.

Pulling the book onto my lap, I opened it. I caressed the words he recorded only yesterday, then I turned the page.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Kronwalled – Flash Fiction Challenge

Title: Kronwalled
Source:  Flash Fiction Challenge
Prompt: Write a story without ice.
Word count:  99 words

Ice. The old-timers spoke the word, reverently. The miracle from their childhood, they waited for it each fall. Water buckets outside the door told them when to don sweaters and hunt for a sheet of holy grail on reservoirs, playgrounds, and ponds. Skates slung over their shoulders, twigs in their hands they gathered for a barnburner and the immortal words, “He shoots. He scores.”

They spoke of gods named Chelios, Esposito, Hall, Horton, Howe, Hull, Mikita, Orr and the Great One—Gretzky. Masters from a vanished game.

Zambonis sat silent and “top shelf” was now Hennessy straight, no Gretzky.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Circuit Breaker – Weekend Writing Prompt

Title: Circuit Breaker
Source:  Weekend Writing Prompt #106 – Spin
Objective: Write a poem or piece of prose in exactly 92 words.

It was decadent, self-indulgent, outrageous even. Jeannie dismissed the guilt. It wouldn’t spoil her alone time. The world could spin without her.

The coffee shop was empty this early Saturday morning. Baristas yawned and prepared for the coming onslaught. Jeannie gave her coffee a stir, a drip with double cream. She took a sip. Her eyes closed. Sunlight warmed her soul.

She didn’t need to consider the responsibilities, the endless tasks, the mad dashes to make appointments and deadlines. For this brief moment, she only needed to sit and drink her coffee.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Seeking Knowledge – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

Title: Seeking Knowledge
Source:  Mid-Week Flash Challenge
Word count:  740 words

Virginia’s acclimation to her surroundings and the oddities of this dimension took a while. She was alone. Nobody willing attached themselves to this place. Bridget stopped, checking on her and encouraging her to move to the New York City Public Library, the place true bibliophiles called home.

The problem was Virginia didn’t know how to travel. Still, the tiny Yangzhou library offered interesting texts. Ninety percent were in Chinese, but she was learning. It helped when she concentrated. Engrossed in a book, time stopped. Bridget had confirmed the phenomenon was normal.

Today, Virginia discovered an alarming fact. She had read every volume, and she needed more reading material. Traveling to New York left her in a panic and covered in icy sweats. It had been too long since she had seen her friend and Virginia was growing concerned and bored. She diverted herself with the young woman who managed the circulations desk. She moved items when she wasn’t looking, knocking books onto the floor. They made a loud bang and startled the poor girl.

Virginia repositioned a stack of publications behind the girl’s left elbow. As the unsuspecting girl turned, she smacked the pile, and it toppled. She jumped from her chair and squealed. The sounds echoed through the hushed library, and Virginia smiled.

“This is how you amuse yourself?” Bridget asked, startling Virginia.

“Oh,” her face flushed pink. “You’re here. It’s been forever. Where have you been hiding?”

“I stopped a few times, but you were always reading. I didn’t want to disturb you. Now you’re playing tricks on the dimensionally challenged?” Bridget’s eyebrow lifted. She pursed her lips in a funny half frown and wrinkled her nose as if she had inhaled a disgusting odor.

“I… I’ve run out of books to read,” Virginia admitted as she leaned against the counter.

“What have I been telling you?”

“NYPL,” Virginia rocked her head back and forth as she enunciated each letter.

“Go ahead. Mock me. I’ve got a guy who can get you a tablet.”

“A what?”

“A tablet. The one-dimensionals invented it. It’s a magical black slate. Swipe your finger across the surface and tons of reading material appear right there. You don’t have to trek to the different repositories.” Bridget paused, glancing at the young woman who had now re-stacked the books on the counter. “Or you can stay here, re-read everything and—” she waved her hand towards the girl who had resumed her place, “amuse yourself with these… tricks.”

“I can’t travel.”

“Have you tried?”

Virginia examined her black patent leather shoes.

“Will you teach me?”

They started with short distances, from one bookshelf to the next. They soon progressed to traveling across the library. Virginia found it both frightening and exhilarating. There was also the promise of the magical black slate, forcing her to continue. She began to enjoy traveling and wondered why she hadn’t tried sooner. She closed her eyes preparing for another trip when Bridget touched her sleeve.

“I think you’ve got this.”

Virginia blinked, her stomach lurched, and her hands shook.

“Are you sure? I mean, shouldn’t I practice something shorter before I try to go halfway around the world?” Virginia’s voice quivered, and she took a step away from Bridget.

“There’s no difference. If you can do this, you can get to New York,” Bridget said as she rested her arm on Virginia’s shoulder.

Virginia breathed and forced herself to stare into Bridget’s eyes.

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. I’ll be next to you. You’re a natural. Everything will be fine.”

Bridget scanned her friend’s face, then seemed to reach a decision.

“You trust me, right?”

Virginia nodded.

“You want that tablet, don’t you?”

Virginia couldn’t control herself, her face broke into a huge smile and she laughed.

“It sounds so cool,” she gushed, “I’ve got to see it. If I could have one, one of my very own? And I could read anything I wanted?”

Bridget chuckled and patted her friend’s shoulder.

“Yeah. I told you, I know a guy. He’s one-dimensional, and he lives in New York. Are we doing this or…”

“Ok, ok,” Virginia clasped Bridget’s hand and danced like a child. Her stomach flip-flopped and she willed it to stop.

Bridget grabbed her forcing her to stand still.

“Ready? Let’s go.”

A gentle breeze drifted through the tiny Yangzhou library. The girl at the checkout desk experienced pangs of sadness and regret for reasons she couldn’t fully understand.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Beyond Intervention – Thursday Threads

Beckett slinked through the shadows. His glanced over his shoulder, slowing as he reached the corner. He hugged the darkest parts of the wall and surveyed the street. The lamppost cast a pool of illumination which he tried to look beyond, peering into the darkness. He couldn’t get caught.

He stood for long moments. The wind rustled in the trees, otherwise, nothing moved. It was now or never. He advanced, careful to blend into the gloom. Cradling his keys to keep them silent, he snuck into his apartment.

“Where have you been?” Lizzy’s voice made him jump.

“I took the trash out,” he said as he hung his coat on a peg.

“Don’t lie to me.”

Beckett brushed past her, not meeting her eyes. She grabbed his arm, hard.

“I know where you were.” Lizzy paused, leaning so close Beckett felt her breath on his neck. “I saw you writing,” she whispered.

Beckett pulled away and flopped on the couch.

“You promised me. You swore you were done with this reckless behavior.”

He didn’t want to acknowledge the pain he had caused. His shoulders slumped, and he covered his face with his hands.

“You know what they will do if they catch you.”

“I can’t help it. I know it’s forbidden, but the legends say once everyone wrote. It wasn’t restricted to the councilman and their dry edicts. There is so much more to writing. It is beauty and freedom.  I have no choice, Lizzy. I will write my stories.”

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Sea Bear – 3 Line Tales

From Sonya’s 3LineTales at Only100Words.
You can find the original prompt here. Thank you, Sonya

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen via Unsplash

Masters of illusion they transform black into white and hide in plain sight.

Skillful hunters, they roam a barren landscape, eking out an existence where they are kings of both land and sea.

With every need met, they amuse themselves and play.

______________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Ducky – 100 Word Wednesday

Title: Ducky
Source:  100 Word Wednesday: Week 122
Word count: 100 words

Image by Bikurgurl

A man entered the Valley House brewery carrying a wood duck and sat at the bar. The duck’s painted head and red glass eye glared at the bartender.

“What’s with the duck?” the bartender asked.

“Would you trade a few rounds of your Wood Duck Wee Heavy Ale for this decoy?”

The bartender poured his drink and set the decoy behind the bar.

A few days later the bartender stroked the decoy’s head and smiled. It was a good deal. A few more free drinks and the glaring duck’s head became the perfect tap pull for his Wood Duck Ale.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Second Childhood – Friday Fictioneers

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

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Nina cringed. The other girls wrinkled their noses. No one played Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Hands on her hips, Candace shook her head. “This is a lame ass game,” she said.

Candace’s mother stood a few feet away and heard every word. Faster than lightning, she grabbed Candace’s elbow jerking her aside. Candace yelped.

“You will not be disrespectful,” she spat as she dragged her off for a private lecture.

Blindfolded, Nina stuck the paper tail to the wall. The woman in the wheelchair clapped her hands and squealed. Nina smiled and went to kiss her grandmother’s cheek.

________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Restoring a Giant – Flash Fiction Challenge

Title: Restoring a Giant
Source:  Flash Fiction Challenge
Prompt: Write a story that goes in search of trees.
Word count:  99 words

The forest of Laurel’s childhood was gone. She remembered great stands of the mighty American Chestnut tree, which grew nearly one hundred feet tall with trunks ten feet in diameter. It was once the most common hardwood tree in the Northeastern United States. The tree’s wood was rot-resistant, straight-grained, and it produced nuts that fed cattle, hogs and other wildlife. Laurel remembered eating roasted chestnuts every fall.

A tree that had survived for 40 million years, disappeared in 40, destroyed by the chestnut blight. Her children worked to restore a forest they had never seen and could only imagine.

*** To learn more about restoration efforts, check out The American Chestnut Foundation (here).
_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Seeking Signs – Weekend Writing Prompt

Title: Seeking Signs
Source:  Weekend Writing Prompt #106 – Zodiac
Objective: Write a poem or piece of prose in exactly 43 words.

Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

Lost and confused, Diedre lacked direction. She consulted her astrologer, who looked to the zodiac and her natal chart. Her numerologist, her psychic, and the street-side soothsayers offered her conflicting opinions.

She finally discovered she possessed the courage to follow her own path.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer