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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Shadow World – Friday Fictioneers

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

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

It was the Homecoming bash at Chi Sigma Kappa.  Judeth and her besties arrived at eleven, fashionably late. They drank, they danced and then they disappeared. Everyone, except Judeth. The ancient grandfather clock chimed midnight. Her vision blurred, and her world changed.

Today she would wander the empty campus, searching for the truth. She could hear them, echoes of her final day.  At eleven she and her girls would arrive at Chi Sigma Kappa for the seventh time. Reliving the fateful hour Judeth waited for the reset. Abandoned in the shadow world again, she hunted, prepared to kill her killer.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Rat Race – 3 Line Tales

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

photo by Ahmed Odeh via Unsplash

Life runs at a frantic pace, constant demands keep us busy, busy, busy.

Perpetual motion, no time to think, only act, react, rinse and repeat.

Exhausted, all reserves spent, time expires as we collapse, with no goals met.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Blue Days – Stock Photo Challenge

Title: Blue Days
Source:  Stock Photo Challenge
Word count: 100 words

Hesiod played melancholy songs.

The crowd favorite featured a young musician in love. Professing his love, he swore he would do anything to please her. He begged for her hand, and she agreed. Children soon completed their life.

The wife worried. A performer couldn’t support a growing family. Honoring his vows he took a job suitable for a responsible father. The work broke his spirit and left a pale imitation of the man he once was.

Years passed, and she didn’t recognize him. He was no longer the carefree soul she married.

Separated, lost, the old musician played melancholy songs.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

On the Menu – Thursday Threads

snowballs coconut cakes

Photo credit: hddod on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

“They are so sweet,” Mira cooed as she bent over the makeshift hydroponic tray and reached to pet the furballs.

“Don’t touch them,” Dexter yelled, slapping her hand away.

“Ow. What the—? Why not? They want to snuggle,” she snapped at Dexter as she rubbed the red mark on her wrist.

“They bite.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she leaned toward them again.

“I have the scars to prove it,” Dexter said as he watched Mira lean closer.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And don’t expect me to stitch you back together.”

Mira glanced at him and smiled.

“They wouldn’t harm me, would you, my precious babies?” As Mira spoke her voice took on the sing-song quality mothers use when they speak to infants.

“Did the big, bad human hurt my little darlings?”

Dexter stood mouth agape as the furballs nuzzled Mira and made a noise he had never heard before.

“Yes, tell Mama how he stole you from me,” she said stroking them.

“Wait, a minute here. I stole nothing. They were being ejected into space with the garbage. I saved them. I’ve done nothing since I found them but try to take care of them and find their mother. They have bitten and scratched me for my trouble.  Not to mention the shots and stitches. And now you accuse me of stealing?”

“Humans are a strange species. Why would you save them when most creatures consider our babies tasty treats?”

“I guess we’re gluttons for punishment,” Dexter sighed.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Fair Warning – Friday Fictioneers

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

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

I hate late night dog walks. The mutt insists I honor my responsibility. The mongrel’s insistence on sniffing every blade of grass to prolong our walk is directly proportional to my longing to be tucked in bed.

Tonight is no exception. Maybe I’m cranky, but the nightly tug of war is excessive. I glance at the cur who is trying to pull me in the opposite direction from home.  I jerk the leash, and the dog turns, tail between its legs, snarling, it backpedals.

I yank the leash again. A hand covers my mouth and I wish I had listened.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Blogging from A to Z Challenge — Letter C

atoz2019c.

Today’s Positive Adjective:
Convivial: relating to, occupied with, or fond of feasting, drinking, and good company

Growing up, I anticipated one day more than any other. More than Christmas or even my birthday. When spring broke winter’s frigid grip, school recessed, and we packed the car, headed to Aunt Opal’s farm.

April was a busy time, and we “city folks” as my cousins called us were the hired help, nobody could afford to hire. Despite my cousin’s insistence, our tiny town didn’t compare to St. Louis or Chicago. Still, it was larger than the town nearest the homestead. Aunt Opal’s farmhouse hustled and bustled more our “city” house ever did.

Her kitchen whirled with activity, the convivial epicenter of farm folk for miles. While daily events varied wildly, everyone who entered her domain received a loving embrace. It didn’t matter if it had been five minutes or five weeks. The greeting never changed, nor the question which followed.

“You hungry, dear?” she would ask, and proceed with your choices. A slice of strawberry-rhubarb cobbler? A hunk of warm bread right from the oven? Well, a glass of lemonade then? Once your belly was full, she put you to work. Except it didn’t seem like work. Not when she was recounting the latest Taylor twin’s antics. Or how she found her best, laying chicken cuddled in the hayloft with the cat, three days running, despite locking the hen in the coop.

No, I couldn’t wait. The two-and-a-half-hour trip took much longer. I suspected Daddy drove slowly, to torment me. Wedged between my brothers in the back seat I willed the car to go faster. I dared to ask my question once again.

“Daddy, are we there yet?”

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer