Lost Wings — #writephoto

A fairy, Christine, lost her wings on top of a hill overlooking the glen while watching the orange sky accept the setting sun. She did not think she was so old. She picked up her wings sighing “Oh!” and stumbled down to the glen on foot aided by moonlight. The other fairies greeted her with relieved laughter since she was gone so long and then tears when they saw her wings. Her transformation had begun.

Sylvia came to wish her farewell. She told Christine about the completed transformation of her fairy-child that morning. She cried and Christine comforted her.

Samuel came to wish her farewell. He told Christine about the completed transformation of his fairy-wife that morning. He cried and Christine comforted him.

Rose, another fairy, a teenage one, came to wish her aunt farewell. Her father told her she had to. She looked into Christine’s eyes. “Look deeper,” Christine suggested. To her surprise Rose saw her own eyes gazing back at her. She cried and Christine comforted her.

A fairy without wings can remain only so long. Christine regretted not doing whatever it was she was meant to do but did not have the imagination or the will to realize. “May I look into your eyes?” Rose wiped away the tears. When Christine looked, they both smiled.


Linked to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt.
Photo provided by Sue Vincent for this prompt.

The chain of inspiration comes from Jane Dougherty’s challenge to write folk tales based on Jeren Nazuto’s poem responding to Jilly’s poem based on Jim Harrison’s “fragile wings”.

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The Wind — #writephoto

When harsh winds blow some whine, “How the wicked wind oppresses me!” Others wonder how they could make money off that wind by grinding grain or generating electricity. One turns it into poetry. The other turns a profit.

The Little People dwelt in the windmill. Like everyone they loved good stories. The Big People owned the mill. They tolerated the Little People because they bravely fought the Hungry Mice who wanted the grain as much as they did. “Get your own grain!” the Little People shouted. As a reward the Big People let the Little People have enough for their needs and internet connections.

Everything trended nicely, but the problem with trends is people forget once something goes one way long enough that it could go the other way. So most everyone confidently predicted everything would stay the same and every time it stayed the same their predictions came true. True, there were some who feared the end was always near, but that’s how their minds trended and they were usually wrong.

One day Wicked Wind joined Raging Fire and burnt whatever was dry including the windmill. The Big People were no longer big. They looked little and the Little People had no home. Even the mice were unhappy.

Illnesses popped up out of nowhere. The mice were blamed. The homeless Little People were blamed. The formerly Big People were blamed. The poetry and stories went dark and conflict trended.

The mice, who could not access the windmill, quickly recovered. Meanwhile the wind stirred the People mixing the big with the small as their generations sailed through birth and death until they rewrote their stories and survived.


Linked to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto Sails.
Photo provided by Sue Vincent.

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While looking back at Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason, I think this post fits Day Six about the “violent wind”.

Message — #writephoto Messenger

If my imaginary friend had more brains I’d trust her advice, but when Alice tells me something I have to examine it from all angles, especially those angles I forget to check. It might be the best advice I’ll get today, but I really should be getting it tomorrow–or yesterday.

I once told her that a neuroscientist would likely think she was some configuration of neurons acting up in my head. She observed, “They don’t know jack. Do you really think I’m a figment of your imagination?” She expected an answer, and silence wouldn’t do, so I tried dodging the question by saying, “I don’t even know what my imagination is!” She didn’t think I had one either.

“What do you think that crow means in the sky?” Alice gazed at some bird.

“What crow?”

“The one in front of your face. And you think I’m in your imagination? You’re too dumb for me to fit in there.”

Then I think I saw what she was referring to: “That bird?”

“You better get your phone out before it’s too late–Ah!! Too bad. It’s too late. It’s gone.”

That saved me from getting out my phone.

“So what do you think it meant?” Her questions are not speculations for someone sitting in a parallel universe or falling through a black hole or bobbing back and forth in some time wormhole to contemplate. She demands real answers in the real world.

“Well, you know, it could mean anything.”

“Come on, brainless! Black crow, blue sky, flying by. What’s the message?”

“Do you know?” I might as well ask the one with brains.

“Nope.”


Linked to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt — Messenger #writephoto.
Photo provided by Sue Vincent for the prompt.

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The Bed in the Forest — #writephoto Peace

Two lovers lie upon their bed
Made from a tree. They rest their heads
While in the distance there is strife.
They safely rest, imagine life
Without those worries and it’s then
They find their love alive again.

But when to them the fighting nears
They arm themselves in spite of fears
And fight defending what they know
Of good, of truth to help them grow.
Whatever happens that is when
They find their love alive again.


Linked to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt Peace.
Sue Vincent provided the photo for the prompt.

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Sue Vincent’s #writephoto icon

The Message — #writephoto Flight

Bernard lived with his aunt, a widow without children, for the spring semester of the third grade. He was familiar with his aunt’s home where she held Christmas Eve parties late after Midnight Mass. His parents enrolled him in the nearby parish school.

His aunt would send him on errands to the grocer. On his first errand he brought back a loaf of bread, among other items as requested, and his aunt frowned. “See how you’ve pressed this loaf? It is ruined. How can I toast it? You think my money grows on trees! You’re selfish!” On future errands he paid special attention to the bread.

Realizing Bernard didn’t have a rosary, his aunt gave him one. She pointed out the five sets of ten beads for the Hail Marys separated by a bead for the Our Father. She explained the three sets of five mysteries that one had to think about when reciting the prayers. Although eager to learn and fascinated with the beads’ magic, Bernard was confused. He had more questions than his aunt had time for. One night he walked into her bedroom holding the rosary. “I don’t know if I skipped one. My fingers slipped. Does it count? Do I have to start over?” She told him to go back to bed and not bother her. The next day he was sent to the rectory after school.

In the rectory Bernard was told that his aunt wanted the priest to talk to him about “scruples”. Bernard was embarrassed and he didn’t remember what the priest said, but this was his first realization that the magic was very deep. Over the decades he came to understand that it was not just Catholic or Buddhist rosaries or Hindu mantras. The magic included every single word humans said or even thought to each other. He looked back on that five-minute visit with a parish priest as a life-changing miracle.

After that semester, his parents took him back to his old school. The parties at his aunt’s stopped. In a few years, his aunt moved to a drier climate for her health. He did not see her again, except unexpectedly once many years later when Bernard rented a house with five other graduate students.

As Bernard was heading toward the kitchen, he saw the top half of his aunt appear about ten feet in front of him. She was walking away as she turned to him. Her words appeared in his mind: “I’m sorry.” What could she be sorry for? Bernard remembered the deformed bread. He mentally thought, “It’s OK.” She vanished.

Three days after seeing his aunt, his mother called him. She told him his aunt died a few days ago. They were just informed. His aunt did not want his father to drive the distance to the funeral and what little she had she left to the church.

Bernard told his mother that his aunt appeared to him. He didn’t tell her about his aunt’s message. He never told his parents about that damaged loaf of bread and he didn’t want them to think badly of her now. Simply saying he saw a ghost would be enough of a shock and maybe worth a joke the next time they met. He didn’t mind. He was too old to be sent to the priest.

I met Bernard when he was retired living in a high-rise condo. Looking out the window at a party, we saw two pigeons playing like children over the tops of houses as the sun set deepening the shadows. They reminded him of his father and his aunt, now both deceased. He found it hard to imagine either of them as children although now he had no problem imagining them as birds. It occurred to Bernard that maybe his aunt’s message wasn’t for him but for his father, her brother, and he failed in his task that day to pick up the phone and tell his dad that he should give his sister a call.

After hearing this story from Bernard, I teased him. “Hey! Did all this really happen?” He thought for a while and said, “I suppose this story is a mixture of truth and fiction. The part I can’t forget, and the part you probably found unbelievable, is the part that actually happened. The rest, the parts you probably found believable enough, are the parts I can’t remember so well. It is as close to the truth as I know but telling the full truth about anything is thankfully impossible and unnecessary.”


Linked to Sue Vincent’s Flight #writephoto.
Photo provided by Sue Vincent for the prompt.

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Sue Vincent’s #writephoto icon

Service — #writephoto The Tunnel

Wounded King Herman was on his deathbed. His sons were killed fighting the warlord Zutom who was overthrowing the independent city-states. His wife died with the birth of Charlotte who was by his side. General Kim was also there. The plan was set and ready. King Herman asked his daughter if she would lead in his place and finish what they started–now. She said, “Yes.” Minutes later, and without ceremony, nineteen-year-old Charlotte became Queen of a debilitated city-state under siege by Zutom whose walls would fall within the month.

Word quietly spread of the King’s death because Zutom’s men were listening for sound and reported the increasing smell of decaying flesh. Inside General Kim gathered the inhabitants around the ruins of the chapel each knowing their accepted tasks. Queen Charlotte stepped up to the platform and placed her hand on the remains of the altar and whispered: “This ends today!” She approached General Kim who bowed, “It is our honor to serve you, our Queen. We will not fail you.” Queen Charlotte whispered in reply, “And I will not fail any of you.”

Queen Charlotte took her lead in the tunnels, the ancient, forgotten tunnels, unknown to Zutom’s spies, built a century ago for defense and escape and recently reopened. General Kim arranged the surrender of the city-state to Zutom. Twenty among the many volunteers of men, women and youth were previously selected by King Herman to accompany General Kim unarmed onto the field of surrender. Zutom didn’t think so many were still alive. To celebrate his victory he would show the world his power in case anyone were foolish enough in the future to rebel against him. On Zutom’s command, General Kim was bound while the others were executed.

“Take me to your King’s stinking body and then you will be permitted to join him.” General Kim led Zutom and his close defenders through the open gate of the city to the chamber where King Herman’s body lay. As Zutom prepared to decapitate the body, General Kim thought, “It worked!” They got Zutom inside the city on their terms. He had one final task. He pushed his foot on the floor panel setting off the explosion destroying the chamber. This triggered the gate of the city to shut. Archers emerged from hidden recesses. When they removed the threat of Zutom’s men trapped inside, they brought Zutom’s body above the city wall directly over the gate hanging it in the presence of Zutom’s forces. As Zutom’s body swayed, hundreds of archers in unison rose with their attention held on the field. They waited.

General Kim, with those inside the city, did not fail their Queen.

At the sight of Zutom’s body hanging above the center of the gate, his conscripted forces fled. Queen Charlotte signalled for the firing of the explosions in the tunnels concentrated under Zutom’s core forces, the only ones they did not want to escape and regroup. Fires blocked their retreat. Guerrilla attacks and confusion pushed them onto the field within range of the archers.

Years after the coming Unification, and then the Federation, and through the Renaissance and up to the present time, children grew healthy, strong, proudly recalling to their children how Queen Charlotte did not fail them either.


Linked to Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt — The Tunnel — #writephoto
Photo provided by Sue Vincent for this prompt.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or people is unintended.

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Shanti, the Dragon — #writephoto Twilight

The dragon watched the evening twilight darken the valley into deeper blues. He was well-known, but the only one who ever saw him was a monk who thought his cave would make an ideal retreat from the banalities of civilization–until he saw the dragon. Cautiously, the monk backed away mumbling, “Shanti, shanti, shanti.” The dragon thought that was his name and for the purposes of describing his encounter with the damsel that is what I will call him.

The villagers in the valley knew all about Shanti’s treasure. It was worth more than any wealth on earth because it also contained, besides the piles of gold, the Master Gem. This gem gave anyone who saw it twinkle in the cave’s dim light eternal youth–and all that dragon did was sit on it.

However, to get one’s hands on these treasures, one needed, according to legend, a pure damsel whom the hideous beast had to capture. One also needed a brave knight who, under cover of darkness, would lure the fiendish dragon out of his cave and save the damsel. These two, damsel and knight, would be legally entitled to take as much of the hoard as they could carry away before the cave closed forever.

The part about the damsel raised concerns. Youthful females, whose purity was not in doubt, did not want to have such a dangerous part to play in getting the gold. Furthermore many a brave knight wondered, “Why not kill the stupid dragon and keep the gold for myself?” Every now and then some fool would remind everyone else that no one had ever seen this dragon. No one had ever seen his gold, nor this magical “Master Gem”, except for a mythical monk who probably made up this tall tale of how to get the treasure. Most of the townsfolk felt such people could be ignored.

Given these stories, you would think many brave knights and pure damsels would have visited Shanti, but until this evening he had not seen any. That’s why he found it odd when she poked her head into the dimness of the cave and asked, “Hey! Are you the dragon?”

“I’m a dragon,” said Shanti.

“Do you mind if I stay?”

“There’s room for both of us.”

The damsel waited for Shanti to do something distressful to her, but when nothing happened, she asked. “Are you a real dragon or not? Can you even breathe fire?”

“You mean like this?” Shanti took a deep breath and exhaled a flame that lit up the cave. As he did so the damsel screamed and Shanti jumped.

“Help! Help! I’m being held by a fire-breathing dragon!”

At the entrance of the cave, Shanti saw seven knights with drawn swords. “Prepare to die, dragon!” said one, who, unlike the others, couldn’t see very well what was in the shadows. When Shanti stood up, he was over ten times their height and his scales looked harder than their swords.

The smartest of the knights countered, “We mean you no harm, dragon. Move outside the cave so we may tend to the damsel and we will depart in peace.” Shanti felt this was reasonable. Maybe they could convince the damsel to leave? He moved to the cave’s opening.

“Watch where you sling that thing!” The damsel scolded seeing Shanti’s tail slide a bit too close to her.

Shanti saw them pick through his treasure. One knight found a rusted bar of iron and discarded it, but the others found nothing more exciting than broken pottery. The hoard looked like garbage left by long forgotten peasants. The damsel noticed something sparkle, but raised it to her eyes in disappointment. She tossed it. As they left she observed, “Your treasure is a pile of junk. Loser.”

Shanti went into the cave and sat upon what he now knew was junk. He looked around for Sparkie, that stone the damsel discarded, and found him on the ground. Shanti held him to his face and smiled. The thought never occurred to him that someone might want to take Sparkie away. Why would anyone want to do that?

Sparkie scattered the increasingly faint twilight through the cave with soft playfulness. Those watching this scene, if any damsel, knight or dragon-fearing peasant ever had the opportunity of doing so, would have seen the twinkle in the dragon’s eye.


Linked to Sue Vincent’s Twilight #writephoto.
Photo provided by Sue Vincent for this prompt.

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