Black doesn’t suit her for she craves fuschia, amber, mauve, and cyan.
Peacock feathers and shiny gold beads are the things she needs
yes, needs to weave through her vibrant red hair.
Not this dark, veiled hat that covers her curls and hides her striking blue eyes.

But funerals demand black, scream for tears.
For one day, she’ll provide both.
A trip to Goodwill, menthol smeared beneath her eyes.
Sure, she can be the grieving widow for a day,
smile over tuna casserole and peach pie.

All she has ever wanted is everything he owned.
And, oh yes, now she has it.

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I should have paid more attention.
Noticed she was tired.
Forgetful.

Set too close to stove burners
everything plastic was melted.
The not-yet-shattered china bore scars of carelessness
or perhaps signs of hurry
– missing handles, chipped rims.

Often she announced:
I can’t see well
My back hurts
Food no longer tastes good
except ice cream
Then asked:
May we have ice cream for dinner. Please?

Once well-kempt, she stepped out in dirty clothes,
grey hair twisted and pinned
because there was no time for haircuts.
No time.

If I’d paid attention
If.
I would have noticed
Mother was letting go.

Today Pegman took us to Billinudgel, NSW, Australia. Many of the pictures I found were of floods, and of course many weren’t, but that’s what caught my eye. Thanks to Karen Rawson for providing the Pegman gang a chance to write another 150-word story.

She hoped the water would keep him away, after all, his boat sank, cars couldn’t get up or down the street, and he couldn’t swim to save his own miserable life.
Maybe he’d drowned when the dam broke. She could hope for that too.

She’d hoped for a few things before. Nothing big. Just kindness topped with a gentle touch and a sweet word.
Instead, he’d delivered anger, solid punches and so many threats she lost track.
So, it was often a surprise when he shredded her dresses or dumped ants in the molasses or . . .

No more surprises. None. It was her turn to win.
She waded through the gasoline-slicked flood water warping her cheap vinyl floors to nail plywood over the windows and boards across the doors.
Humming “Freedom” under her breath, she lit a match, kissed the flame and dropped it on the rainbow ribbons of fuel.

(149-words)

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Photo by Dale Rogerson

“Blimey, I’d say our Mary is a wee touched. Always rootin around in the sand. Not lady-like at all.”
“Claims she’s lookin for dino bones. Imagine! Dinos. Here in England!”
“Been told her father polishes the good ones. Sells them to tourists. Who’d want old bones hangin on their wall?”

Mary ignores the women’s chit-chat, for she’s on her way to collect Henry Alby, and show him what she’s found. He studies the fossil, laughs, “Nothing exciting, deary. Better luck next go ’round.”

Two months later Mary sees a notice:
Professor Alby Discovers Complete Ichthyosaur Skeleton!Receives £120.

Today Pegman took us to Gurara Waterfalls, Nigeria. Thanks k rawson for an inspiring place to write about!

Used to be we ladies came here to scrub de sweat out of de armpits of plaid shirts
and rinse mud off de cuffs of heavy jeans.
Those stains meant our men were working hard in the fields
to support us and our little babies.

Our skirts and blouses are held together with patches and buttons in odd places.
No one minds. Them ratty old clothes never kept us from laughin and kissin the little ones,
nor sharing stories over a communal fire while cookin a fine meal for our men.

But things changed after the oil company came
and our men got new jobs.
Now dey stay in town after dark,
drinking de beer and spending money on ladies dat ain’t us.
Now we don’t care if the clothes are clean.

Last week, we ladies had a meeting.
It was decided.
Tonight’s soup will taste slightly bitter.

149-words
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Yep! It’s Wednesday-Friday. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for posting the picture prompt taken by Fatima Fakier Deria. And now, my 100-word story.

Susan’s dress is perfect, tiny blue flowers and cream-colored lace. New white stockings and black satin shoes.
Last night Mama pin-curled her hair. Now it hangs in bouncy blonde ringlets around her small, freckled face.
Anticipation lights her from within.
Nine-years-old today!

An hour passes. No one comes. Two hours. A breeze rises. She puts on a sweater that doesn’t compliment her dress.
Raindrops leak from the sky one by one until mud splatters her stockings and shoes.
Mama calls. Susan doesn’t go in.

Finally, a rock tumbles under the fence.
The attached note reads, “You knew no one would come.”

Today Pegman took us to Yellowstone. Besides Prismatic Pond, the mud pots were my favorite part of this national park, so I chose them for my story. Thanks for setting the stage, K. Rawson! (Translation of the names: Vulkan – Volcano, Fiolett – Violet, Jordskyelv – Earthquake.)

“Nei,” Vulkan forbade the use of even a cupful of clay from the mud pot at his feet.
“Please.” Fiolett knew if she had time, and now perhaps secrecy, she could create someone who would love her for all time.
“Nei,” Jordskyelv thundered, for he wanted her himself.

A month later, more than a cupful lay on Fiolett’s cabin floor.
The clay felt cool between her palms.
Days passed. Arms, gentle enough to cradle her appeared. Legs, sturdy and strong, soon lay beside them.
Shoulders, hips, a broad back, and finally, a head.
On this, Fiolett molded a face with features balanced between kindness and power.

She kissed her creation and slid him inside the kiln.
For ten interminable days, the fire burned.
On the eleventh, she opened the door.
Fire had done its work.
But so had Jordskyelv for the beautiful head of Fiolett’s man was completely broken and torn.

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