Blog, fiction

Fandango’s Flash Fiction – The Door

F6C9663C-1BF9-4BC2-912C-126016228D14The door was Grandpa’s idea. We went into his wood shop and he showed me how to cut the wood pieces and glue them together. I dug around in the wood pile for scraps to create the arch that would frame the door. I even attached hinges just to see how to do it. Everything at Grandpa’s house was a learning experience.

Finding the wooden shims inspired the creation of the gate. He showed me how to use the coping saw to carefully shape the pickets. I enjoyed the finer detail most of all. Grandpa pulled out some leftover Testors paint and found enough blue to paint the door so it would stand out.

“We will show that snake who’s who around here”. Grandpa chuckled. Building the fairy garden was his way of blocking the snake hole I kept poking around in. Grandma was on board, thinking it would give the garden a little spark and discourage the snake at the same time.

Mind you, I never ever saw a snake, but Grandpa was convinced and there was no arguing when his mind was made up.

The next morning, we walked to the side yard with a gardening trowel and a rubber mallet. Grandpa carved the dirt out just enough to force our newly constructed wall into the mound of dirt. The rubber mallet allowed us to set it back into the dirt securely without damaging anything. I put the gate in securing it to the ground with garden pins.

~~~~~~

”It certainly is beautiful.” Everyone nodded in agreement. “What a nice gift.”

“Let’s eat”, mother said. We all headed inside and Dad pulled the blue door closed behind him.

~~~~~~

The next morning I went running back to the house. “Hey, Grandma, Where did you get the miniature picnic table and bowls and stuff? They are so cool!”

”Child! What on earth are you talking about. Now sit down and eat your breakfast.”


I had fun with Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge today. Check it out! #FFFC

Blog, fiction

#Fun20119 -Nature’s Saving Grace

Who would pick this fabric for a cushion? Penny stared at the plaid until the squares appeared to move of their own accord. She was startled when she heard her mother clamoring down the hallway, causing her to kick off her shoes in a panic. Proper young ladies would never damage such exquisite fabric with soiled shoes.

It was noisy the day her father left. A lot of yelling and screaming in their very proper household. The only thing Penny recalled was her father’s last words before he slammed the door. “I can no longer abide your histrionic outbursts!”

Penny knew without consulting the dictionary just what her father meant. She waited for him to return to fetch her because surely if her father could not abide it, he must certainly realize neither could she. But he never returned. She ended up spending summers with her grandfather and he tried to be the father figure she had lost. But at 10 years old, she understood more than people wanted to believe. No one could fill that void — even with the best of intentions.

Her grandfather adored Penny. He always praised her good temperament and told her she must be part angel with such alabaster skin and ebony hair. Those words made her feel exotic and caused her to stare into the mirror more. Penny learned a lot from her grandfather. She learned about plants and animals and flowers. She planted seeds and watched them grow. She handled worms and studied bird nests. Things her mother would never allow even though, they, too, had gardens waiting to be explored.

66EFE94C-8D7A-4D43-8168-14D5E17B2CB5The window seat looking out over Mother’s garden was Penny’s favorite spot in the whole world. It made her feel normal to look out over the lilac bushes she convinced Zeke, the gardener, to plant. Mother never cared what was planted in the garden as long as it was well manicured and cared for – by the gardener not by her. Every moment there was something alive in the garden. This morning it was a fascinating katydid. He moved his beady little  eyes and antennae as he peered at her through the glass. What an oddly assembled creature he was.

”Are those dreadful things back?” Everything related to nature was either dreadful, horrific, or repulsive to Mother. “Mrs. Clark, have the gardener get rid of those repulsive things!”  Penny knew Zeke would not harm the creatures, but he would certainly convince Mother he complied with her wishes.

The footsteps stopped. Penny could feel her mother staring at her and simply waited for the other shoe to drop as it always did.

“Why must you always stare out that window? Honestly, Penny, turn around and put your shoes on. This is no way for a proper young lady to spend her day.” Penny complied as she always did, knowing as soon as Mother was out of sight, she would again curl up and study the creature staring at her through the window.

—————————

It was a beautiful day for a party. The sun broke through the trees and spread dappled light over the back yard. Penny was so devastated when her grandfather passed away ten years ago — she was not sure she would ever breathe again. He left her his house in the country and she lovingly cared for it putting all her energy into reviving the gardens and bringing it back to its former glory.

Mother remarried and moved to a Chicago. She was living the proper life she had always believed she was destined to live. Penny never saw her father again, but Mother told her he passed away somewhere out west ‘without a dime to his name’.

”Deep in thought, my dear?” Bobby walked up behind her and slipped his arms around her waist. She smiled and felt her heart beat a little faster. “How about one last cup of coffee before it gets too crazy around here?”

”Mommy! Daddy! Look! I found two Daddy long leg spiders! Can I keep them? I have a box and everything!”

Penny thought of her grandfather as she smiled at her daughter. Even with streaks of dirt on her face and grass stains on the knees of her jeans she could still see the angel that stood before her with the ebony hair and alabaster skin.

Bobby knelt down and swept Tina up in his arms. “Of course you can, honey. Happy Birthday!”


This is my effort for this week’s writing challenge. Click here for the suggestions and to partipate. #Fun20119

Blog, fiction

Writing Challenge Invitation – #FUN20119

Welcome to another writing challenge invitation. It’s time to be creative again.

The instructions are as follows:

  1. Write an uplifting or funny short piece. The goal is to lift spirits.
  2. Use the hashtag #FUN20119 (today’s Julian date)
  3. Pingback to this post or leave a link in the comments to share your stories here. (If you have never commented on my blog, links will need to be approved.)
  4. Below you will find several ‘gifts’. Choose one or several to include in your writing. You must choose at least one.
  5. Have fun!

Number #1

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Use two of these words in your story: ephemeral, quintessential, effervescent, resplendent or histrionic.


Number #2

 

 

 

 
Use one of these colors in your character description: ebony, alabaster, smoky or teal.


Number #3.

90543D2A-A2EC-451B-8B9E-C921A0D47353

Use this photo as inspiration:

66EFE94C-8D7A-4D43-8168-14D5E17B2CB5

 


 

Blog, fiction

Road Trip – #Fun20104

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Image courtesy of Unsplash (altered)


The main thing Penny had going for her was her personality. Everyone liked her, even though she was always a bit on the quirky side. It was hard to believe it had only been eight months since they received word her brother Bobby was killed in Vietnam. His death overshadowed her graduation and the months that followed. He had joined the army after much badgering by her father about ‘being a man’ and ‘doing the right thing’. Her father and her mother seldom spoke now and she was choking in the silence.

Old Pete was Bobby’s dog really, but he belonged to her now. It took more convincing to get her to take ownership of Bobby’s old El Camino than it had the dog. She smiled knowing Bobby would be proud of her as she slung her bags in the back. Neither she nor Bobby had ever felt completely at home in Arkansas and this was her time. She was heading west.

She dreamed of sleeping under the stars on her drive, but found more comfort in the small row motels just off I40. There she could lock the door, take a shower and snuggle up with Old Pete. On the second night they picked up harmless hitchhiker — a rusty-colored mutt of a stray dog that Old Pete took a liking to. They had room for one more in the cab and one more on the double bed.

She met Mrs. Daugherty at the gas station just south of Santa Fe. She was driving an old Ford pickup with a couple of dogs of her own. It only took 20 minutes for Penny to learn that Mrs. D was recently widowed and had more than she could handle at the small ranch her husband John had left in her care.

“This might be creepy since I just met you, but I could sure use some help at my place.” Mrs. Daugherty saw an opportunity so she moved on the idea. Penny had revealed she was looking for work once she hit her final destination even though she had no idea where that might be.”There’s a small bunk house with a primitive kitchen, but at least you would have a place to yourself.” Her gut told her Penny was good people.

“Let me sleep on it.” Penny smiled, excited at the idea of spreading her wings in this very unfamiliar territory. The following morning Penny felt oddly at home here standing under the expansive sunrise. She phoned Mrs. D and told her yes. All sight unseen.

The bunkhouse was perfect. Old Pete and Copper made fast friends with the other dogs and Penny made fast friends with the horses she took care of. She loved roaming the land always watchful for rocks she found intriguing. She had quite a collection stored in the ‘boot’ of the old abandoned Volkswagen that no longer served any other purpose.

At night, Mrs. D would come outside and they would sit by the old fire pit and she would play guitar. They talked about hopes and dreams and loss. The words drifted upward intertwined with the smoke from the fire. Penny soon realized it was companionship Mrs. D needed more than help on the ranch.

Penny was in awe of the night sky and the abundance of stars. She hoped Bobby could see her and his El Camino reflecting the flames from the fire. She wasn’t sure how long she would stay here but for now it was perfect with Old Pete and Copper curled up at her feet. She was happy for the first time in a long, long time.


Fiction Gifts  – Fun20104

Blog, fiction

Writing Challenge Invitation – #FUN20104

Welcome to another writing challenge invitation. It’s time to be creative again.

The instructions are as follows:

  1. Write an uplifting or funny short piece. The goal is to lift spirits.
  2. Use the hashtag #FUN20104 (today’s Julian date)
  3. Pingback to this post or leave a link in the comments to share your stories here. (If you have never commented on my blog, links will need to be approved.)
  4. Below you will find several ‘gifts’. Choose one or several to include in your writing. You must choose at least one.
  5. Have fun!

Number #1

90543D2A-A2EC-451B-8B9E-C921A0D47353

Set your story in a time other than the present.


Number #2

 

 

 

 

 

Create a character whose profession has something to do with animals.


Number #3.

90543D2A-A2EC-451B-8B9E-C921A0D47353

Write about one (or more) of these items used in an unusual way:

  • Bacon
  • A golf club
  • A Volkswagen