On edge

Caterpillar on the edge

“If you abide in my word, you’re my disciple.”

Carmen had heard these words most of her life since they had been uttered after every transgression large or small; there was never a good reason to disobey Him, for if she did, hell would be the result, and who in their right mind would want that?

Bryson had escaped such tormenting guilt by only pretending to believe, so the threat of hell made him laugh inside since he knew that if there was actually such a place, he would be the rare kind of person to truly enjoy it, which made perfect sense; heat had never bothered her brother one iota.

“Jump, Bryson, jump now while you still can, while we still have the chance to do this together!”

But he wouldn’t budge, having accepted Christ the day before and vowing to change his recalcitrant ways, so she kissed him gently on the forehead and jumped off the edge of the window and down six feet into the impatiently idling van filled with giddy young adults heading out to Burning Man.

This week’s five sentences were inspired by Lillie McFerrin’s prompt: edge

Lillie McFerrin Writes

One

Their love had come mid-life, after both of them had experienced enough joy and enough hardship to know what they wanted; to know that this kind of love usually only happened once, and that they had found it in each other. There were those who shunned them for dismantling two lives that seemed, from the outside, to be perfect, but they didn’t care. Each day they burnished their love by nurturing each other with their time, their devotion, their affection, and their passion, refusing to be apart more than was absolutely necessary.

It was true that they got little sleep, so interested in talking and touching each evening that they lost track of time and found that morning came shortly after they had reluctantly closed their eyes. It came as no surprise to their closest friends; those who had stuck by their sides through it all, when Robert took his last breath at the exact moment that Sophie uttered the last words that she would ever speak: I love you Robert; see you soon.

Five Sentence Fiction, the brainchild of Lillie McFerrin, offered up “words” as this week’s prompt. Click on the icon below to read more Five Sentence Fiction entries:

Lillie McFerrin Writes

The Edge

Occasionally she took a ride in her mother’s car; without permission, which made a good thing (driving) even better. She wished she could have been honest with Harriet, her loving mother, but she knew her place as the eldest most responsible daughter, and coming clean would have meant giving up a modicum of respect and honor, which she was not willing to do. So she drove the Bentley when she felt like it, but only when her grieving mother was safely tucked away in her room, sipping her syrupy sweet sherry and reminiscing, and only while wearing her best dress and sleek black driving gloves–a gift from her father.

If Daddy were still alive, he would have encouraged Erin to drive as much as possible because he was a practical, no-nonsense man; a father beyond comparison who loved her more than life itself, and who had still remembered what it was like to be a passionate person living a sheltered life. But he wasn’t here, so she had to handle her urges on her own, even though it was illegal for a 14-year old to drive, and even though she knew that it was only a matter of time before her mother found out about her trips to the fiery edge of town where she could fan the flame of her desires without worrying about her responsibilities for a change.

This week’s challenge, provided by the ever-wonderful Lillie McFerrin was the word “flame.” See more entries by clicking on the icon below:

Lillie McFerrin Writes

Forever


MomandDad

There was nothing left to prove; eighty-four years had been a long time to figure out, and then to realize that every moment was not going to lead up to something spectacular.

The journey–it had certainly been interesting, briefly promising, stimulating, challenging, and even thoroughly enjoyable–but it had not been what she had expected, nor what she had wanted.

Her true love, a dashing Harry-Connick-like ladies’ man, had broken her heart over and over again and only when he lay dying, seven years after having left her, did he tell her: “I want to come home.”

Oh how many times she had replayed these words in her mind and fantasized about what it would have been like to have brought him home and to have loved him like she should have done had she not been so busy keeping the perfect house and raising their five children in keeping with the times; times when a woman had a defined role to play; times when you kept up appearances only to realize far too late that keeping something else up would have been better.

Nevertheless, she now lay dying, and having been given sufficient permission, she had decided that instead of trying to conquer the living, she would visit her beloved dead: “I want to come home too,” she whispered to him before taking her last  breath.

Today’s post is “Five Sentence Fiction,” the birthchild of Lillie McFerrin.  This week’s word:  conquer. Visit this intriguing weekly challenge by clicking on the icon below:

Lillie McFerrin Writes

 

 

 

The pig and the proposal

piggy

On the evening of her sixth birthday, after opening presents, eating a sumptuous dinner, and accepting her blind and much older brother-in-law’s marriage proposal; a baffling yet exciting prospect nevertheless, she retreated to her lavender bedroom to play with her gifts.

The record player was open and waiting as usual, and she placed the delicate needle head gently on “Emil and the Detectives” and waited for her favorite part; the sing-song sound of the European siren clamoring through Berlin:”wee-ha, wee-ha, wee-ha.”

Her eyes fell on the brand new bank, a lovely pink one in the shape of a fat little coin-eating piggy, a gift from her new “fiancée.”

Tap, tap, tap went the pig as it repeatedly made contact with the hard bedroom floor, the little girl convinced that she would soon find the exact point before which the pink bank would shatter.

“Yes, I did bang it on the ground,” she said to her mother, her distraught face red and tear-stained, “but I didn’t think it would actually break.”

This week’s word, provided by Lillie McFerrin of “Five Sentence Fiction” fame is “delicate.”

Lillie McFerrin Writes

Noticing

carrotwood tree

Unless she had camped there, climbed a certain tree, waited for Independence Day and known that being brutally honest with herself was the only viable direction, she would not have noticed any of it; couldn’t have discovered a single marvelous feature of their new home.

The day they chopped down the Carrotwood tree because it was cracking the decking around the pool, the sky was a cloudless blue and as the last few branches hit the ground she cried out from her perch in the upper bedroom where she had been watching the workers chip-chopping away, “The ocean – we have an ocean view!”

So it went, her fascination with living near the sea as she had always wanted to; the only possible thing missing being a passionate relationship (her marriage had lost that years before), the kind that makes you want to linger in bed, the kind that makes you forget about eating and sleeping and drinking, drunk and full and sated as you are with your, erm, activities.

July 4th found her lazy and blue; feeling as if she should want to go somewhere and watch the fireworks, should want to be festive and lively, but it wasn’t until the doorbell rang, the neighbors standing there with chairs asking if she minded them watching fireworks in her front yard, that she realized the excitement had unfathomably come to her.

She grew to love her home, despite the fact that she had hung nothing on the walls in two years, as if it were a temporary abode; nevertheless enjoying the regular sound of the train – another inadvertent discovery, in the distance and finally the day that, many days after asking her husband to leave, she discovered the church bells ringing in the distance, the glorious music of her new life ringing with them.

This week’s word: ringing

Lillie McFerrin Writes

The Ledge

By the time I reached her side she was standing on a ledge so narrow that I could hardly believe she had not already plunged, due to her very large feet, into the mad Monday morning melee of cars hurtling their passengers to work, to the gym, or to their clandestine lovers.

The call had come less than five minutes before, and I had sprinted from the coffee shop where I had been enjoying a quiet morning of endless caffeine while writing, or at least pretending to write, the next chapter in my frustrating but insistent novel, to the eight-story building where she teetered on her last nerve. It took every ounce of courage I possessed, despite my love for her, to crawl through the uppermost window and stand, sweat pouring from every conceivable gland, next to her and begin the speech I wished I had practiced during my desperate lung-bursting run to save my best friend.

I went for the kind of straight talk I thought might work: “I know things have been tough lately, but geez Carmen, this is extreme even for you.”

Carmen suddenly moved from her unstable perch, causing my heart to lurch so powerfully that I nearly lost my balance and only managed to re-gain my footing a moment before she leapt through the next window with a maniacal laugh and the fading words, “NOW did I inspire you to finally write your next chapter?”

Lillie McFerrin provides weekly prompts for her “Five Sentence Fiction” challenge. This week’s word: inspire

Lillie McFerrin Writes

The Promise

He pushed her slowly; so slowly that it was as if he was not moving her wheelchair at all, so imperceptible were his movements. Three hours later they reached the middle of the field, having flattened an entire row of ranunculus along the way, their vibrant colors nevertheless brightening a dark day.

He wanted to turn back, to pretend that he did not remember their agreement, to avoid keeping a promise that he was afraid he would regret fulfilling, but he did remember, and he knew that he had sworn to her that regardless of how difficult the job was he would not fail in its execution.

Finally he lovingly placed a blindfold over her vacant eyes, checked that the gun was loaded, and kissed her gently, tears streaming down his face despite his resolve and commitment.

Although it would be a blessed relief for her and the end of a waking nightmare, it was to be the beginning of a new horror for her son.

Lillie McFerrin

New

My emotions have been fluctuating between total euphoria and abject fear lately. I am embracing change. This is to be expected; change is defined by its instability, its intriguing yet menacing nature, its inherent ability to simultaneously beckon and intimidate while working its black magic.

I have erected an imposing change-crane in the midst of a massive construction project called My Family. Prior to the crane, which is now working 24/7 to build a new infrastructure, I found fossils buried in the foundation. I might not have noticed them had I not become curious and begun exploring the landscape after a long period of ennui. Furiously digging as it became clear to me that all was not as it had seemed at the outset, I unearthed the long-buried treasures of passion, desire, metamorphosis, laughter and pure joy.

I quickly realized that the smooth, carefully calculated, surely laid base I had called Home, was in danger of eroding, imploding, caving in, or all three at once; if not immediately, then surely later. Living with the risk, though I had unwittingly been dealing with it for many years, was suddenly untenable. It was time for further excavation, and due to the urgency pressing against my sternum and the resonance of truth in my belly, it had to be swift and sure. Its immediacy became my new reality, even as I struggled to internalize the mass destruction I was endorsing with my selfish, singleminded reconstruction project. As Foreman, all the important decisions were mine. Even acknowledging my conscience as Construction Supervisor did not dissuade me.

Still the near-impossibility of successfully managing such a delicate undertaking was not lost on me, after all what archaeologist impatiently claws out treasures that have lain in the earth for aeons, treasures that in some cases have survived ferocious conditions, ancient battles? Nevertheless the required patience was obliterated by an incessantly urgent and loud beating; the pounding knowledge that it was “now or never.” In doing so, I had to acknowledge that speed over caution would necessitate some fallout, some less than ideal conditions in which to work. Nevertheless, like harmonious hammers flying, their steel heads landing perfectly on nail after nail in rapid succession, joining board to board to create something new, a tangible rhythm spurred me on and told me there was something fresh and beautiful in the making.

The permits have been secured, the foundation laid and the treasures protected. The bulldozers have been returned and the wrecking ball is now attached to the crane. The final vestiges of what once was will be mutilated with a few crushing blows and then the rebuilding will commence.

It would be easier to dismantle the ball and crane, to send the remaining crew home with their pay. It would be easier to simply display the unearthed treasures on a special shelf as a symbol of a past life or of dreams that were not meant to be. I am a practical soul though, and a firm believer that treasures are best when they serve a useful purpose. I also like to finish what I begin, though some would argue against my reasons and my methods for doing so.

Let the wrecking ball swing. Let this new life begin. I have decided to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Tomorrow is a New Moon.

Rest in sweet peace Susan Jeffers (author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, and other publications).

The candidate

Despite her nearly unbearable anguish Eva trudged ahead, hardly able to lift a boot out of one snowy imprint before making the next, practically falling forward with every step as the wind pelted her petite bundled body, freezing her brittle bones. It wouldn’t be long now since her actions had caused a horrendous chain of events; consequences she could neither have foreseen nor stopped, especially since Arden had blocked her ability to control the weather when she had lingered a nanosecond too long at her grandmother’s bedside selfishly trying to save her instead of continuing on as she should have done.

Prior to the endless and bitter winter controlling Eva’s quadrant and destroying her body, she had enjoyed boundless freedom, daily breathing in the intoxicating euphoria of flight when her wings had been wet and warm, not frozen and broken as they now were. Arden’s severe jealousy of Eva’s gifts, in particular her uncanny ability to help others discover their own, had placed her on the wanted list where she had remained for aeons, saved only by miraculous wings that had hurtled her effortlessly through space faster than the speed of time, allowing her precious seconds to protect the future from Arden’s efforts to destroy Earth and allow Hellbor to flourish.

Being in constant motion had not only protected her from destruction, but had also kept her from thinking too much, as her thoughts could not withstand the sheer force of the time-warp, which had, prior to the deadening winter, kept her from feeling guilty that she had once supported Arden with her vote, her body and her heart.

 

Lillie McFerrin

 

This week’s word is “candidate” -from the great Lillie McFerrin and her weekly Five Sentence Fiction prompt. Click on the icon to visit and try your hand at your own five!