Microfiction: Unnecessary

This story is for Charli’s Carrot Ranch. This week’s challenge is to write a story of exactly 99 words including the word, crystalline.

Photo©Bill Morrow

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She was reading through the works of Thomas Hardy, revising and updating. It was necessary if the next generation was to understand anything of the classics. Dark was normal, clinging smog, algae in watercourses, puddles of rainwater, mirror shiny with petrochemicals. The world of the classics had gone; even their words were slowly leaking away as they were no longer needed. She was just helping the process along. It was her job.

The cursor stopped. She frowned. Crystalline. A rapid search told her what it meant. Her frown deepened. She extracted the word. No adjective needed. Water was water.

I gave you all I had to give

Jilly has posted a line of Jim Harrison’s

“I’m unsure if all of me returned.”

and asks us to post the poem the line inspires.

Painting ©Igor Novikov

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I gave you all I had to give,

A heart that beat, a rose, a dream,

I gave you what I thought would please,

A silver trout in limpid stream.

 

You took the rose, it’s petals plucked,

My golden dream, to you was clay,

The silver trout slipped through your hands,

My beating heart you tossed away.

 

The boundless night sky’s full of stars,

And rose trees hum the bees’ refrain,

The silver trout has found its pool,

But will my heart be mine again?

Microfiction #writephoto: Safe haven

This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. She said it didn’t have to be apocalyptic.

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“I don’t like it,” she said. “What is it anyway?”

He shrugged. “No idea. Some old building. A relic.”

“Doesn’t look old. Looks brand new to me.”

“Aw, who cares? Let’s move it!”

She hung back, still undecided. “It’s too open, just grass,” she said. “They’ll see us.”

“Look.” He took her hands and put on his patient expression, the one he’d used for… “Look, Jan, we have no choice. You see the shadow on the horizon? That’s the sea. There’s a sub waiting for us. We’re almost there!”

She hated that face. And the tone of voice. She wasn’t a child. He shouldn’t speak to her like he spoke to… She stared at the dark mass on the horizon. It was just darkness. How could he imagine there was anything called ‘safety’ in that wilderness?

He tugged her hands, gently at first, then with more insistence. “Come on. The sun’s almost gone. It’ll be more difficult in the dark.”

Reluctantly, she got to her feet. They were the only ones left. No one else had made it, not even Evie. She made herself say the name in her head, the name that always started a chain reaction of childish laughter and high-pitched shrieks of excitement. It was a gale of laughter that had given them away. Evie had attracted the sensors. She was the one they went for first.

She stood, gaunt against the dying light, gaunt from months of living on her nerves with her grief. Nothing mattered much anyway. She shrugged off the hands that had no more power to protect or console. She strode towards the dark line that might or might not be the sea. He was at her side, then moving ahead, eager to see the chimera that she had no faith in. He was yards ahead when the strange mechanical clanking started.

“The thing, the relic,” she wailed. “It’s moving.”

Broad paddles lurched into movement, turning on a pivot, slowly but powerfully. The setting sun flickered on off on off as the paddles cut across its fading beams, and the paddles pivoted. The relic turned on its axis, like a satellite dish—its chopped up, moving clock face stared straight at them.

“Run!” His hoarse croak of a cry bounced off her as he bolted for the distant line of shadow. She stood, waiting. There was no point. She turned her eyes away when the beam of light shot out from the relic and in its brilliance, reduced him to glittering ash.

There was no sea, no sub, no safety. Not for them, anyway.

Microfiction #Three Line Tales: New job

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

photo by Mahdis Mousavi via Unsplash

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She sniggered to herself when they all headed for the lifts, all her new, overweight, out of condition colleagues, no wonder they looked askance when she took the stairs.

“You can’t use those stairs,” one of them had called after her as she opened the door to the stairwell, “they don’t go anywhere, or…they don’t stop anywhere.”

She should have listened—it was getting late and there was no end to the staircase, only a blank wall, and when she turned, there they were, more stairs going down, endlessly.

City beauty

A sequence of short poems inspired by Claudia McGill’s reflections on geraniums at windows.

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There is joy and beauty

beneath the city grime,

and the blackbird’s song

is just the same

beneath this sky.

*

There is beauty in the stone that glints

with the colours of the changing light,

and in the chaotic fluttering of sparrows’ wings.

There is kindness in the dirty blanket

laid beneath an old dog’s head,

and happiness when a greeting is returned,

a stranger’s uncalculating smile.

*

The earth is deep and dark in the garden plot

where snails creep,

elegant and unhurried,

among the stalks.

The earth is deep and full of life

that shoots and climbs higgledy-piggledy,

without order or patience,

riotous and lush,

because the sun and rain fall here as anywhere.

The earth is,

deep and eternal,

beneath my tread,

and over my head,

the sky.

 

And on a lighter note

 

How grey the sky and damp the air

and loud the screech of tyres complaining.

Beyond the cloud and heavy mist

somewhere there’s sun and it’s not raining.

Microfiction: Tears

Last bit. The story starts here

 

In a dark room, surrounded by monitors and the soporific swaying of silent crowds, a man sent out a message to the guardians of the peace in sector B307. They’d pick her up from the retina prints. Her eyes would glow like beacons to their devices. He had never planned on this, never asked to be picked for this job, but refusing wasn’t an option. They had tracked her down, the carrier, and he was only doing his job.

Somewhere, in the back of his memories, something stirred—a child sucking her thumb as she slept in her cot—and the unexpected rush of tears blurred the confused image of a young woman struggling in the arms of faceless black uniforms.