Since last week’s Pegman prompt was in a devastated part of West Virginia, our host decided we deserved a vacation on the lovely island of Mauritius. I looked at countrysides and ocean fronts and finally stumbled upon this drawing. When adding the picture to my post, I accidentally pasted it twice, side-by-side. The scene reminded me of an old stereoscope picture. So, I turned the offer of a fun light-hearted vacation into a bleak 150-word story. Sorry, Pegman.

 

Jacques-Henri peered through the stereoscope’s two prismatic lenses. After a long moment, the pictures morphed into a single, three-dimensional scene.
“You say this is Father’s land in Mauritius?”
“Indeed, sir. Acquired the property October 21st, 1810 along with the one-hundred-twenty slaves working the cane fields. Quite lucrative.”
“So all this is mine now, including the slaves?”
“Not exactly.”
“Not exactly?”
“You see, the slaves were freed in 1835. The freedmen and women remain on the land, but you don’t own them.”
Jacques-Henri peered closely at the figures on the road. “They still work the fields?”
“That’s what . . . ”
“Oh, get on with it, man! What are you trying to say?”
“They reside in the houses, till and harvest but . . . ”
“But?” Jacques-Henri roared.
“. . . keep the money from the cane sales for themselves.”
Jacques-Henri lowered the stereoscope. “Not any longer. Burn them out. Kill the men, sell the children. Bring the women to me.”

 

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His garage was full of boxes jammed to the flaps with a truly odd assortment of, well, rubbish.
Clear glass jars of toenail clippings, dust bunnies, cookie crumbs.
Matchboxes from around the world.Cocktail umbrellas. Plastic hula dancers.
Desiccated mice feet inside cardboard tubes.
Owl claws strung on leather shoestrings.
And rubber bands so old they crumbled when touched.
The thing that creeped me out the most?
A box of stuffed birds, moth-eaten and moldy, with bright yellow beaks
just like the one he sent to Mikey Short
with a note that read,
“Sing like a bird and you’re dead.”

(99-words)

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Thanks, Ted Strutz, for the thought-provoking picture. I’ve taken this ferry many times and can smell salt air just looking at the water. And thanks to Rochelle for choosing it to prompt our merry band of Friday Fictioneers to write a 100-word story.

 

Full moon after full moon, our Emily watched and waited.
“I will return,” Simon told her. “I love you,” he’d said.

Her mother shouted,”Scum!” while her father roared,”Ingrate!”

Still, our Emily stared out the window of the house along the shore, rubbing her ever-swelling belly like a magic globe with the power to pull Simon back across the sea.

Years passed, the child grew, Emily’s beauty slipped away. Still, she waited. Our Tansie’s heart broke when she was chosen to deliver the note written in Simon’s hand, “Find another, lovely Em. Our ship is sinking. No help in sight.”

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The Squatter

Posted: September 27, 2017 in Friday Fictioneers
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Wednesday-Friday has rolled around again. This is my 100-word contribution. To have this make a complete circle you will first need to read No Other Love by Sandra Crook. If I were more computer savvy I could add her link here. Alas, I’m not. This will stand alone if you don’t read her story first. Thanks for reading.

 

Sally occupied the top floor of the empty building. She didn’t have much, didn’t need much. Times were hard. But when had they been easy?

Sally ripped seams of thrown-out clothes and hand-stitched the cloth into dresses. Pretty ones too. Veggies the grocer culled, looked perfect when peeled and pickled. And abandoned furniture appeared brand new after she applied a bright coat of found paint or hammered in a few well-placed nails.

Unobtrusive as a ghost Sally came and went – usually at night. Because of that, not a soul knew she was home when Chloe set the apartments on fire.

 

Until We Are No More

Posted: September 23, 2017 in What Pegman Saw
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Pegman took us to Sambor Prei Kuk Temple, Cambodia today. What an amazing place. I wandered around the grounds until I found this amazing picture. My 119-word story follows.

 

Oh, we are a pair are we not?
Wound around one another’s lives
One of us limber and forgiving
The other solid and stern

We laugh over the details
of our failures
We cry over the unforgivable losses
Children
Parents
Homes
Jobs
Joy
Not because either of us is to blame
but because there is no one to blame

We cling and claw our way
through days
And languish in our nights
Making love
or fighting
It doesn’t matter which

Because each brilliant dawn
we awaken with the hope
that one of us will
Let go
Cling tighter
Love harder
Turn away

Or we will both
remain the same
and get on with it
Until we are no more

It’s Wednesday-Friday and time for another addition of Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for posting Sarah Potter’s picture and making us all think. Here is my 99-word story.

 

Samuel: Two-years-old
“Come to Mamma, baby boy, walk on over here! You can do it.”
Mamma: pretty and bright-eyed, dark-haired, plump.

Samuel: Eleven-years-old
“Honey, Mamma hasn’t got time right now. Run along.”
Mamma: thin, tired all the time.

Samuel: Eighteen-years-old
“Look, Buster, I’ve had it up to here with you. Get outta’ my face.”
Mamma: gaunt, jittery, hair matted and dull.

Samuel: Twenty-years-old
“Packed your bags. They’re by the back door. Get.”
Mamma: skeletal, dull-eyed, her hair gone limp and whispy as spider webs.

For the last time, Samuel shut the door against the chemical stench of crack cocaine.

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The Thief

Posted: September 16, 2017 in What Pegman Saw
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Today What Pegman Saw took us to St. Petersburg, Russia. After strolling the streets I found the church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood – per our fearless leader’s suggestion. The exterior reminded me of a woman dressed in her finest clothes. Here is her story in 150-words.

 

The mirror reflects:
1) dress made of midnight blue silk
2) six gold chains; three turquoise rings
3) shoes made of the softest leather
4) elaborate curls the color of an autumn sunset
5) peach-pink cheeks; garnet-colored eyes
Oksana is ready

Oksana sees:
1) a liar – not her
2) a cheat – not her either
3) a thief – this almost applies

What Evgeny reads in the Sovetsky Sakhalin newspaper dated October 23rd, 1925:
Oksana Petrov found floating in Grboyedov Canal at 3:00 am this morning, had this note along with five heavy stones in the pocket of her ermine cape.

None can live inside the shadow of a man who serves words meant to cover the truth. Neither can they live wondering who has been cheated so that same man may be surrounded by wealth beyond all imagining. To this man, I say, “I am taking my life back.” You will consider it stealing. On the contrary – you never owned me.

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