revival

Photo courtesy of Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo #WritePhoto prompt

The church stood at the edge of the small business district for more than a century. Over the last decade, though, it stood empty. Each year, it grew more derelict.

Today, Annie stood at the base of the worn steps. Paintbrush in hand, a smile lit up her face as she gazed at the newly blue doors. 

With the economy finally back in full swing, she knew the time was right.

Her eyes shone with pride as she read the brightly colored sign above the doors: 

“REVIVAL”

On the stained glass window, another sign happily proclaimed: “Vegan Cafe – Coming Soon!”

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Yep, it’s a drabble – exactly one hundred words.

Thanks to Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo for the inspiration of her #WritePhoto prompt.

sanctuary #WritePhoto

Photo courtesy of Sue Vincent

I topple recklessly down the stairs, hands flailing, no thought of falling in my panic to flee. I sprint to the door, both arms in front of me, only to find it locked.

A fresh cascade of tears falls on my hands as I turn the lock and knob in a frenzy. I fling the door open with a backward glance. I bolt, sobbing and panting, into the night air.

I quickly confront the large stone wall. Like a penned animal, I scamper alongside it, looking for an opening.

Whimpering with frustration, my hand on the cool stones, I feel my way to a small portal. I lift the latch with shaking hands and push through the gate. The sound of a step on gravel snaps somewhere behind me, followed by an angry curse.

I hurtle into the darkness.

By morning, I am disheveled and exhausted, but still moving. I feel the air on my skin where my bodice is torn. I begin to think again. 

As the sun climbs higher, I finally notice the unknown path I somehow find myself traveling. Dreamlike, a sea of lavender heather surrounds me. I glance upward where a hawk soars high in the sky. In the distance, I spot a diminutive spire amidst the green trees of a valley. 

A sudden rush of gratitude flooding through me, I trudge forward. 

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Many thanks to Sue Vincent for this week’s #WritePhoto prompt.

bon voyage #WritePhoto

Photo courtesy of Sue Vincent

She looked up in November and saw they were leaving. The geese flew, silent against the grey sky, headed for their winter home. She lifted her mittened hand and waved.

“Au revoir!” she called out to them. “A bientot!” she never failed to add, counting on seeing their return in the spring. 

She always said something in French to them. After all, she thought whimsically, they were Canadian geese — some of them might speak French. And, indeed, she was rewarded with a couple of fleeting honks.

She continued on her solitary walk, happy to have seen them, but sorry to see them go. She felt a fresh pang of loneliness.

Months later, against the blue skies of a spring day, she spotted the beginning of their return. She loved the way they traveled together, looking out for each other, sharing the journey. She listened to their honking chatter as if they might be calling out her name. 

One hand to her brimming heart, and the other waving broadly, she cried, “Mes amis! Bienvenue!” Her whisper followed, “I missed you.”

In autumn, a day came she never thought she would see.

This time, when the geese called, two smiling faces turned upward together.

She felt her heart fill and overflow, grateful, amazed for this perfect moment. She felt herself soaring in the sky with all the beauty that now filled her world.

She waved to the geese. “Merci! Merci beaucoup!” she called to them. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart!” 

Her companion gently laughed in amusement, pulling her close, waving joyfully.

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Many thanks to Sue Vincent for this week’s #WritePhoto prompt, “Soar.”

VxVy

Carter should have known better.

I had been on the top secret VxVy project for three years. VxVy was the reason I got up in the morning. It’s all I ever thought about. Even though my main area of expertise was propulsion, I understood every system on this special bird. And everyone was well aware of my photographic memory.

I knew in my bones that VxVy was the ticket to the future. We all knew it. This was the vehicle that would get us off the planet and not just into outer space, but into a whole new space time reality. 

I wanted to be the first one there, but would just have to watch. It was just 18 hours before the big moment when our pilot astronauts would finally board VxVy and make history.

That’s when Carter and I walked into his office, as he double-checked one last detail.  I leaned over his shoulder as he entered the password for the ultra-classified file. And just like that, I had it, the last piece of the puzzle, the key to my dreams.

After that, it was all too easy. While everyone else was trying to get a couple hours of sleep before the early morning event, I calmly crossed the tarmac, nodding to the guards who had seen me a million times before. I slid back the hatch, climbed into the cockpit, and strapped myself in.

The instrument panel came to life. It didn’t take long before I had the engines wound up and the runway slipped away underneath me. I made a long, low takeoff followed by a steep ascent.

“VxVy,” I breathed.

I ignored the troubled radio calls from the tower. It wouldn’t be long before the chase planes showed up. 

Clearly, though, I had somewhere to be.

Armed with my new information, I input the code, my hand hovering over the last character. 

I could see the chase planes on my radar screen now.

This was it. I took a deep breath and pressed enter.

Boom. I let go of the controls and let VxVy do its thing. 

~~~

Back at Mission Control, Carter scratched his head as he looked at the radar display.

“I don’t understand it. He was just there. What’s the word from the chase crews?” Carter asked.

“They had a visual on him. And then they didn’t,” came the bleak reply.

“Sir, it almost sounds like he’s, ahem, on mission,” one of the team members said. “But how could that be? He didn’t have access to the codes.”

Carter rubbed the stubble on his chin. Then his eyes got real wide.

“I don’t know, but I think you may be right. Get the time warp team in here.”

Under his breath, Carter prayed, “Lord, I hope he got the re-entry code, too.”

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This was a second little thing that came to mind after Sue Vincent’s latest #WritePhoto prompt. Just for fun.

special delivery #WritePhoto

Photo courtesy of Sue Vincent

“How do you know my name? Who are you, anyway?” I asked.

He gave a deft twist on the handlebar, revving the engine, ready to roll. He smiled.

“Max.”

“Max who? Am I supposed to know you somehow?”

“Just Max. A friend of a friend of a friend. You need to know.”

He peeled out with a roar on his pukey-orange motorcycle, leaving me standing there outside my office building. I opened my hand and looked at the small piece of paper Max had given me. 

It was a lunch receipt from Spark’s Pub. Something was scribbled on the back. I don’t know what I expected to see, but it was just a string of letters and numbers. Huh? What did this have to do with me?

I crumpled the paper into my pocket as I wandered over to my car, heading for home.

I let myself into the apartment and could sense that Amanda wasn’t there. This was no surprise since she’d been working a lot of hours lately. I called out anyway, but it only managed to rouse, Slinky, the cat, to come and rub against my legs.

As I leaned down to pet Slinky, my eyes landed on Amanda’s laptop sitting on the table. There was an unexpected little snap in the recesses of my brain.

Any other day, it wouldn’t have occurred to me in a million years to do what I was about to do. I walked over, sat down, and opened the laptop. I pulled out the wrinkled receipt and typed in the letters and numbers at the password prompt.

Suddenly, I found myself in Amanda’s private universe.

Almost without thinking, I started clicking. It was just a matter of seconds before my world imploded. 

“You need to know,” I remembered the stranger, Max, saying over the growl of his engine.

I guess I was the last to know, too. 

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Thank you, Sue Vincent, for the another fun #WritePhoto prompt!

thru hike #WritePhoto

I open my eyes. Still tired. Notice the dew on the tent, the sun just beginning to work. Muscles aching, I wriggle out of my sleeping bag. 

I rub my sore feet before lacing up my dirty Altras. What, after all, am I wearing that isn’t dirty? I laugh to myself.

Down some chow, a protein bar will suffice for now. A swig of water. Break camp. Get everything in the pack, hoist it on my tired back. 

Time to hit the trail. I grab my poles.

Yesterday morning, I remember how excited I was to see that verdant green as I came over the ridge. The sunlit hills lay before me looking lush and inviting after my time in the forest. There was an incline, but the trail was easy pickings. 

The miles passed under my feet as the sun rose, arced over me, and then made its ponderous descent. I pulled my hat low.

As the day waned, I realized the trail was cresting. One foot in front of the other. Left. Right. I looked up as I reached the top.

I laughed out loud. Ruefully. Nature seems to enjoy cooking up all these surprises for me. There before me I saw what looked like the surface of the moon or maybe Mars: a harsh, monochromic terrain, strewn with boulders. It looked like a long, hard trek. I set up camp in the grassy field.

This morning, I look ahead as I approach the forbidding land. It is shrouded with heavy, damp air. The towering rock formations loom like surly titans patrolling the perimeter.

Go, though, I will. I have trudged these many miles alone, discovering my rightful place in this cryptic world both savage and beautiful. This is, after all, the point. 

Left. Right. Damn, this pack’s heavy.

One day, soon enough, I’ll crest another hill, and find myself back in the phantasmagoria that I used to call normal. The city lurks unseen, out there, like a distant planet for now — far more ominous and strange in many ways than these brooding rock behemoths.

Left. Right.

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Thank you, Sue Vincent, for the inspiration of this week’s #WritePhoto prompt.

chance #WritePhoto

Leaning over the rail, I look down into the water — the bird nesting in the reeds, the turtles sunning on the half-submerged limb. The greening and growing around me hiss with life.

I am almost startled by your whisper at my side. My eyes raise from the waters to the leafy tumble above the pond. I search, not seeing. You point. My eyes finally find the deer looking back at us. 

We stand, silent, just watching. Eventually, I realize I can feel you there, the warm of you, a stranger. Not touching.

Months later, I miss you.

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Thank you, Sue Vincent, for the inspiration of this week’s #WritePhoto prompt.