I’ve found myself missing the Friday Fictioneer clan so am putting my textbook aside for part of the day and throwing a 102-word story into Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Wednesday ring of stories.

The temperature reached 95 by noon. And the humidity, Anita tried to ignore that stickiness.
Here, beneath the umbrella trees, the air felt cool. The biting flies weren’t as bad, and the whirring click of crickets was more soothing than noisome.
She spread her picnic. A dingo yipped, a lizard stole a cracker, ants crawled across an apple slice.
None of this bothered Anita, for the ground beneath these trees was her safe place.
Sleep tugged at her eyelids until she finally lay back on her blanket.

“Anita Fredrickson! Get your five-year-old self in here for a nap!”
Anita blinked, the outback disappeared.

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Sure! We were invited to Uncle Abóòd’s parties! Remember? The youngest sat at the table farthest from the wall, so waiters knew we weren’t allowed any arak. Still, we boys sipped the last drops from abandoned glasses while Uncles Yaman, Rifal, and Tarek shimmied to the beat of tabans and swayed to the gently plucked strings of a rebab.

Jeez, don’t you remember that although the air swam with the aroma of freekeh chicken, tabbouleh, and manoushi bread, those of us that weren’t too drunk could smell the jasmine in Aseel’s hair?

No! You’re not actually asking, “Who was Aseel?” Really? Come on. Aseel broke every man’s heart. Every boy’s heart! Remember? We vied for her hugs, prayed for her kisses, longed for her stories.

Ah, now you recall. Yes, Aseel’s stories centered around women’s freedom and o.k., erotic sex. I’ll give you that.

What? Seen her? No. She disappeared long ago.

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I’m a little late to our Fairy Blog Mother’s party, but who can resist Rochelle’s invitation with Ted Strutz’s picture on the front? I will be in and out of FF world for a while. I’ve been teaching aerobics at the local Y which is closing at the end of January. In order to continue teaching the ladies I’ve fallen in love with, I must take an online class then a big test. I only say big because it’s been ages since I’ve been tested for anything but getting through life without hurting myself. AS always, thanks for reading my work.

Twin boys rest beside my bed in wheeled bassinets.
My heart breaks with joy.

Three-year-old boys clatter through the house on miniature plastic trucks.
I pray for ten minutes of silence.

Seven-year-olds rumble across the kitchen on roller skates
while singing, “Wheels go round-and-round.”
I roar with anger.

Seventeen-year-olds arrive home with fast cars.
I worry.

Twenty-one, my boys ride down the tarmac in a military plane
headed for God knows where.
I weep until my chest hurts.

At twenty-three my boys return in twin caskets
draped in American flags wheeled down the tarmac in the rain.
My heart breaks again.

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Today Pegman took us to North Pole, Alaska where they have what looks like a wonderful ice carving festival. It was there I found my “glass” house. As always, thank you for reading my work. Happy Holidays!

If you look closely you will see our Betsy standing beside the sink, wearing his favorite pink chiffon dress, blonde hair done just right – just the way he likes it.
He is coming up the front steps, his briefcase filled with office papers. You will notice the leather is polished to a high shine, as are his shoes and short black hair.
The children are upstairs, coloring. Do you hear a word from them? You’d better not. For he likes to see five-year-old Annie in frilly dresses and three-year-old Tommy in stiff, dark suits, sitting quietly. Very, very quietly.
When our Betsy hears his key in the lock, she fills his tumbler with two well-measured jiggers of Scotch whiskey and pours it over ice. But tonight’s drink will be special, it’s their anniversary, after all. She empties a small bottle of aconitine into his glass and stirs.

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O.K. Here’s story number one – or the story my husband thought too grisly. Thanks to anyone interested in reading.

Samuel had never collected hats because he’d never thought of it before. Rather disgusting in the end. All the hairs caught in the wool: red, blonde, black, gray.
And tiny flecks of skin.

Red-haired Anya, the seamstress. Blonde-maned Margo, the butcher’s wife. Old man Peterson, hair black as coal and his brother Thomas, gray-headed and scaley.

It wasn’t the fact that they were all dead now, it was how they died, shoved into a pit and shot, one-by-one. Samuel remembers how they lay bleeding in the snow. The only unstained clothing? Their woolen caps, now stacked neatly in his closet.

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I love this photograph of warm, fuzzy hats provided by BJÖRN RUDBERG and posted by Rochelle. I wrote a story at 6:30 am but when I read it to my husband he said, “That is really gruesome!” Round two is more fun. Thanks for being such a wonderful group of writers! Cheers to you all!

When Auntie Dot done axed me to knit hats for all her friends, I said I surely would ’cause I loves Auntie.
‘Sides, t’was August and I figgered, Heck I gots plenty of time. I sheared June-Bug, spun ‘er wool, dyed them strands and knit 20 hats.
“Nope, I needs more,” Auntie told me.
30 hats later she done said it again! Next thing I knew I was dying sheep just to save time! Silly seeing pink and blue sheep in the fields but …
50 more hats still tweren’t enough.
My fingers is raw from wool. Who knew Auntie Dot had so danged many friends?

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After looking at this beautiful street light for quite a bit this morning, I took Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s photo prompt to a world of fantasy. Thanks, Sandra Crook, for providing the picture that stumped me for awhile.

“But they say Tassanet women can tell the future by looking at the light.” The clash of sword against sword almost drowns out Anistad’s voice.
“Auch, no. Only Auntie Rena can.”
“Look again, maybe you’ll see something this time.” Screams of pain rise above the din of battle. “We need to know!”
Petty-June stares at the glass globe until tiny white spots appear before her eyes. “Nothing!”
“Again!”
“Then you’ll leave me be?”
Battle-smoke fills the room.
A nod.
Another look. The spots grow, morph into butterflies, shape-shift into ravens and finally become a rage of brilliant red dragons.
Petty-June whispers,”They’re coming.”

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