This following story was written based on the following image as a prompt:
The stone might be dusting her toes, but Joan can stand on her own through a little dirt.
What I’m concerned about it whether she war away the sticks and stones. Can she fight off heartbreak? A friend’s betrayal? Cruel laughter or an enemy disguised as her boyfriend?
She was always a tender reed, an unlit wick in my arms. I’d wonder how one so thirsty–needy–could be one so strong. She used to giggle adorably when I’d use our lamb skin to hide my face. Even then, with a chubby grasp on the leather, she wasn’t scared when her protector was out of sight.
Pigtails and arrows, swimming holes and swords; braver than I, but I’d hold her to comfort while enveloped in the dark.
Despite the plague, despite the wars, she was her own but she was everyone’s–especially mine.
Then one day, my fragile girl flew away. Joan handle the world, I’m just not sure I can.
(Note: this following image is the prompt for this story)
He had melted into the bed for an hour by now, surely. Actually, it could have been hours, thirty of them. Those decades had passed in a blink, would he know if the hours had played the same game?
The sun was a hazy ball on the horizon. He felt his gaping chasm acutely, head pounding from the ache where his heart had laid.
To pass time’s lack of essence, he listened to the refrigerator’s tinks. A whole colony of miniatures lived there. With top-hats, tails; frilly dresses and bonnets– holes cut for ears.
He heard the minis scurry up and down the railings, the stairs and the elaborate castles they build in the mound of cooling rejected pastry. They had made exquisite pillars of the champagne bottles.
He considered folding himself into a jerky square, hiding in the frozen room. He imagined delighting in their revelry almost as much as he hated himself in this eternal moment dragging on.
Clipper approaching, I studied the misty unknown: Silver tide, green sky. Hmmphing heavily, I collapsed on the concrete. Pre-meditating, I shuddered at the cold I’d be wrapped in.
I curse you, Zayle, with your left dimple, common smile, and scruffy cheeks. So tan, they’d be pale now.
In high school we were together in the aquarium club two periods a day. You seduced me with your way with sharks and I flirted with salt water. You’d stand behind me, bright-burning close, guiding my net up, then back down the glass tanks, teaching me to clear algae. Carefully, you whispered the secrets of the coral in my ear.
Bonded by the brine, I followed you like a sea-puppy through college, and then abroad where work drifted. I appreciated the starfish, but mostly I just loved you.
Ironically, I’m left with your career now, enslaved to your ocean. Your name might mean strength of the sea, but mine doesn’t. Mine only meant yours.
Read Arron Ravenel Clay’s story based on the same image here.
The following story was based on the following image as a prompt:
The brilliant sky set gold, a fitting backdrop for the swarming fireboon swallows sent by her magic to torment and nourish me.
They made me long for her silvery touch, until I remembered what I was doomed to never forget.
I was a sucker, like the rest of them. “Yes,” I said. “Please let me try,” I begged. Then, “I am strong enough,” I had insisted. And so I was wasted, send, and left.
To be worthy to stand beside her, I must crack through the Sorcerer’s spell. So, daily I toil to break free. Like the others beside me, I push and fling myself against it, the barrier.
At the day’s end on our respective sandy beaches, we, still like fools, hope. We aren’t watching, for she will not come. We were snagged in her siren’s snare and know we live eternally in these crafted bubbles.
But we still wait for nothing under the saffron sky.
She traced her fingers over the darkest patch of midnight surrounding the bright fuchsia flowers patterned on her tunic. She wondered how the artists printed them on the swarthy cloth, if by ink, or brush or some other means, as the colors weren’t embroidered.
If the council wasn’t so eternally contrary over inconsequential details maybe she wouldn’t loose herself so easily within her mind-fog. Her pinky glided over the next flower, but the argument still droned on ceaselessly.
She stood up, silencing her advisers. Brushing the pine needles off her leggings she left the circle, kicking the can that had been holding her tea into the fireside flames. She left them stunned, as her tea sizzled behind her, but their hush still did not drown-out the roar inside.
They might have guard positioning and defense plans to fuss about like crotchety old women over their vegetable gardens. But she had a hole ripped in her gut, because he left without a word, a breath, a eye-flick in her direction.
How dare he. Her fists curled.
And it only heaped coals on her raging fire of loss within that the Ruinsfield Women were right. They warned her that it would happen like this, predicted it, even. But she just didn’t listen. Was it worth loving, knowing that equal amounts of pain would be the yin to her yang?
What a terrible curse they mantled her with.
By now, her council she’d abandoned behind the evergreens had begun to murmur. She shut them out, listening for any sound other than brutal humanity. She inhaled the forest air, deeply, permeating each molecule in her lungs. It didn’t satisfy. She sucked in air. Deeper. Deeper, until the ache in her chest burned and the sounds of night were trapped within. She held them there, stilling herself.
One, two, three, four, she counted, slower than sheep grazed through her dreamer’s haze as she fell asleep. Five, six, seven. Maybe if she counted high enough, could she cease breathing? Then the pain might go away? And the confusion would vanish . . .
But by now, her chest having burst open, she gasped for air like a fish. She gulped life and the scent of the campfire she’d left behind. Which annoyingly reminded her of the fish they had caught and cooked over flame together for their breakfast only days before in the frigid morning air.
There had to be more to her than burning pain; more than her broken soul.
She wasn’t planning on it. She didn’t mean to. At least, not at first. Because at first it was just her twitching hand, as the favonian breeze caught her hair. At first her fingers just fumbled across her collar, and were picking at the edge. But then she heard a laugh beyond the trees and her fingers caught and it tore. Just a little bit. She wondered what would happen if she pulled it once again. And again. Then with a sharp tug, she jerked hard, palms buried in the fabric, as if dipped in ink. She wanted the cloth all over her hands.
She tore the front of her tunic completely in half, with malice, with all the ire bottled inside of her. Lovely it was, but only lovely to someone else. To her, it was dung. What he did, leaving her behind was akin to ripping, tearing, wrenching her apart. And so she mutilated his gift, tearing the fabric into two fraying pieces.
She was done. She flung it on the ground. It was oddly satisfying, crushing her soles against the fabric at her feet, covering it with dust, rendering it into filth, like it made her feel. But now she wasn’t wearing his “treasures,” of lovely tunics, of lies and of that like. Now she was free. She was free of him, and the control he had over her.
She breathed deeply again. This time, not considering death, but sighing life.
With a final forceful kick, flinging the ruined fabric aside, she spun on her heels, making her way back to the Council. There she engaged their advice and they chose to forget her sudden departure. Eventually some went off to bed, but she stayed by the fire. And as the moon continued to rise, the tunic vanished from the dust into the night.
Sometimes when I can’t express or feel or think, I write songs/poetry. Actually, although some of my music sucks, I’ve been told some of it is good. Regardless, it is probably my ultimate best way of dealing with life and coming closer to God.
Even though in recent years I tend to avoid it. But sometimes it still just falls out of me.
Like this did today in a matter of a couple minutes. During my alone time I was praying and trying to process this past week, but I couldn’t make my tangled emotions come out when it came to my prayers for a heartbreaking situation and about what has transpired in this week. So, instead this became my prayer for myself, some hurt friends, and just all of us.
Because God is still bigger; He is in-charge. He can heal every wound, cover every sin, right every wrong, and fill every void.
I don’t usually share my music because, well, that requires vulnerability and I don’t think people are really that interested. But I decided I should probably share this. I hope in some, even if little way, it blesses those it was written for. It is dedicated to some good friends whom a part of me wishes can adopt it into their own song/prayer.
I’ll always love them.
You are bigger than I could ever imagine.
You are wider than the deepest sea.
You are longer than the tallest mountain.
And one thing’s for sure, is that you are so much bigger than me.
When my world is small you are so much grander!
When my spark is small you’re the roaring sun’s fame.
When I can’t think ‘cuz my thoughts are swirling,
You hold back my rushing seas.
I think your light is always on me-
You’re in those times I can barely see.
If my smile is exhausted, you cradle cradle me.
Ya, you cradle cradle me.
Oh, cradle, holding me!
When my world is small you are so much grander!
When my spark is small you’re the roaring sun’s flame.