At The End of The Rainbow

You and a friend have decided to try and follow a rainbow to see if the end holds a pot of gold. But when you finally reach the end, you find something much more valuable than a pot of gold—and it changes your life. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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173 thoughts on “At The End of The Rainbow

  1. RafTriesToWrite

    Hi I’m new here and I know it’s a little too late to write this one, but I wanted to see how you guys would react to this. Thanks in advance for the feed backs!

    “John, stop!” I yelled out to his nearly disappeared image through the forest.

    “Come on man, it’s just this once” John insisted as he shoved branches out of the way to clear the path. I rolled my eyes and grunted in disapproval. He’s being a dick again, his usual self almost everyday.

    “I told you before, there’s nothing at the end of a rainbow.” I complained as I straddled along and tried to keep up with his pace as we hustle and bustle through the eerie woods this early in the morning.

    I remember raining a while ago when I woke up to get something to drink at around four in the morning. It’s foggy and there were mud puddles everywhere, wet leaves and grass all around, damp soil and that weird earthy smell after it rains hovers through your nose like cats rubbing their bodies on your leg, begging you to pet them.

    “Have you been into one?” He stopped and looked back at me, his arms crossed and eyebrows gently raised as I try my hardest not to trip over or fall into the muddy ground.

    “No, but-” I muffled out to the wind.

    “But nothing, now follow me so I can prove you wrong” John said, definitely full of confidence and determination.

    There’s really no stopping him is there? I asked myself as I struggled to keep up with John. I don’t know why he wanted to do this in the first place but this is really getting out of hand and quite frankly, a stupid idea to do, and I still don’t know why I’m tolerating his shenanigans so early in the morning and on a weekend for that matter.

    “I shouldn’t even be here for Pete’s sakes! It’s seven in the morning! I should be in bed sleeping until ten.” I whispered under my breath angrily as I stomped my way towards John.

    “I think it’s here Freddie” John says, his voice distant filled with enthusiasm resonating from his voice. I crossed my eyebrows and murmured incoherent words in resentment and tried to ignore him as I make my way towards the path to crazy town.

    “What’s the matter Freddie boy? Scared that you’d be proven wrong?” John laughs as he kept going through the forest like person in a maze trying to get to the end of it.

    “I swear to God if this is one of your stupid pranks again I’ll-” I stopped at the image of John standing in the middle of a small clearing area of the forest, where light shone and glistened upon it and unto what appears to be a small black ceramic cauldron.

    My heartbeat unconsciously increased as I watched John walk slowly towards the ever suspicious cauldron.

    “John! Get back here!” I whispered to him trying not to alarm whoever owns that cauldron.

    “Come ‘ere” He motioned me to follow him without giving me even a single glance. His thick Irish accent started to show again, a little trick I know if he’s nervous or anxious.

    The wind began to pick up a little, and the earthy smell suddenly disappeared. Butterflies suddenly appeared out of nowhere and started to surround us then I hear twigs breaking. I frantically look everywhere to see if anyone was here besides us as I walked slowly towards John.

    “Let’s just go back” I murmured miserably to John.

    “I can’t, I have to tell ya’ somethin'” His thick Irish accent continued as he started to grab something into the cauldron putting me into a state of panic.

    I hurriedly ran towards John until I saw what he picked up from the inside. A piece of paper.

    What?

    He slowly turns to face me, his face filled with questioning and worry, his breath slightly irregular and his eyes glimmered with a hint of hope. He gave me a quick smile, crumpled the piece of paper and shoved it in my pocket.

    “What did-”

    He grabbed me on my shoulders then gave me a kiss. I felt my head started to spin around and my knees weaken, my heart pounded harder, his eyes were closed, it was only after three seconds that I regained my senses, control of my body and got a hold of my composure to push John away from me, quickly ending the bittersweet kiss.

    “Uhh I-uhh” His voice deepened, groggy and a little bit cracked, probably realizing what he had done.

    His eyes filled with fear, his breath hitched and uneven as he never looked back, he started to run towards where we came from. He didn’t even give me a chance to speak up. My breaths were heavy with adrenaline and my heart all giddy pounding like a little kid opening a Christmas present from Santa.

    I watched John’s shadow disappear into the woods completely before I remembered the paper he shoved forcefully in my pocket. It turned out to be a note.

    Freddie, I know this is sudden. We’ve only known each other for a couple of months and it’s been great hanging out with you, but with each moment that I spend with you, I can’t help but fall deeper. You were my end of the rainbow so to speak. So if you’re reading this, I hope this doesn’t gravely affect our friendship.

    I murmured profanities under my breath, tears escaping from my eyes as I clenched my fist.

  2. Bushkill

    I took a different approach on the short story this week. I hope it works.

    Warriors Lament

    The rain falls in wind-driven waves and beats
    Upon the sand, washing the stain of hard-
    Fought battle from the surface of blood-red
    Earth. For who? For what? This war rages on.
    And when I, in this evil twist of fate
    Find a moment to fill with naught but the
    Sound of silence.
    I do.
    Just that.
    And let
    The pounding of the rain mix/blend with the
    Pounding of my heart. Let it wash over
    Me like a baptismal fount and leave me
    Pure and clean. Let it wash the dirt and grime
    From my face, my hands, my arms. Let the cold
    Rain douse the fire that rages in my
    Soul. Free my body, well washed in heaven’s
    Blessing and rid of crimson stain. Except
    For the tears streaked in mud and dried blood and
    Baked by an unrelenting sun that burned
    As harsh as the day’s fighting. Baked dry long
    Before the clouds gathered to storm at me
    In aerial anger. These doubt bringing
    Harbingers of my oft’ tortured soul. Shade
    Bringers, too, shade from the scalding light that
    Shines on such brutality. A light that
    Scalds the harsh memories into blasted
    Dreamscapes. My sword is now sheathed, buried deep
    In its scabbard. The soul stealing steel has
    Drunk its fill of life and lies ready for
    The call. And I wonder, I wonder where
    My soul is. Stolen by the haunted eyes
    Of the dead and dying? Is it waiting,
    Stuck behind this carrion host of lost
    Loved ones? The sky, black as widow’s veil, casts
    A pall to the recent carnage and the
    Earth’s winged creatures sally forth for their share
    Of the battle’s fruits. Tainted and bitter
    Fruits they must be, having rot in the sun
    All day. Rain, merciful rain, drive these thoughts
    From my head. Let me be complete again,
    A man of promise and virtue, a friend,
    A lover. Where, dear God, did such men go?
    Now, some time later, after the sins of
    The flesh and the scourging of the rain. In
    The peace that follows the storm, painted in
    The cold mist after the rain, comes heaven’s
    Answer with arcing brilliance. Hues with such
    Majesty and prismatic glory shine
    Upon your face at peace, upturned to the
    Sky your mortal race run. My comrade, my
    Friend, what a treasure you were in this life.
    And now, in death, you anchor heaven’s path,
    A rainbow of color to beyond. Look
    For me, my friend. My wound draws an end to
    Me here as well. I am but one, alone
    And alive on this beach of death and I
    Would not tarry overmuch in Death’s view.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      This is very impressive, could have been at Gettysburg, Battle of the Marne, Omaha Beach, Iwo Jimo. War is a living hell, you’ve just descrived it. Extremely powerful take.

  3. JosephFazzone

    “Make it green, make it red, make it orange, make it blue. Every possible shade, every possible hue! The purist, the jurist, who witnesses the claim. That we are the procurers of unusual things.”

    “We believe the spectrometer can filter and sort through every color in every gradient.”

    “Let them believe what they want to believe.” The man gathered his papers, and wiped his sweaty brow.

    “Are you leaving, sir?”

    The man stopped. “You’ve been interning here for how many months now?”

    “72,” the intern answered swiftly. “Roughly six years. You know this answer, and yet you ask all the time.”

    “Tis a question of station, and not time,” the man remark. “My answer is the polite way.”

    “Polite way, sir?”

    “To explain that it’s none of your business,” the man snapped back.

    Instantly contrite, the intern meekly apologized.

    Satisfied with the intern’s prostration, the man continued. “We have work to do in Venezuela. I’ve a feeling we will find our answer.”

    They both stared at the screen.

    “Despite the work done,” the man ventured. “We have nothing to the integrity of the software package to fully encompass the spectrum’s analysis.”

    “We have the seer,” the intern volunteered.

    “Yes, and that brings us back to base, back to the beginning,” the man said, sneezed, wiped his nose, and then continued. “Ten years and millions of dollars, and we’re working with a charlatan to determine the contingencies we’ve yet to prove.”

    “It’s a complicated request.”

    “Which only complicates the answer.”

    The intern looked at him for a moment. “And the request,” he said timidly.

    “Are you saying the request is flawed,” the man gave an astonished response.

    “No, sir,” the intern, abashed, answered.

    The old man stared at the screen, and then looked towards the intern. “We have no choice, but to proceed as if that is true.” He pointed to the map. “Venezuela. Run the scan.”

    “For the sake of the postulate,” the intern finished.

    “For the sake of the funding,” the man countered wryly.

    “He’s not going to like it.”

    “The color is missing, the perfect shade to reflect all the magnitude of its perfection,” the bald men lit from a cold gray to a vibrant scarlet. “Think of it. Embrace it, and realize that this will be worth all the years spent on his behalf.”

    The scan was complete. The results printed out.

    “And his money,” the intern whispered with a shudder as he retrieved it. “He’s going to turn you into a flying monkey, and work with old woman of the wrong shade of green.”

    He handed it to the man.

    The old man snatched the report from the intern’s hand. “Her flaw was that she couldn’t work in the rain,” the old man said and spat. “Good riddance. Do not fear. Our calculations are exact, he asked for emerald for his city. And that’s the exact shade he’s going to get.”

    “Emerald”, the intern read of the spectrometer.

    “That’s our gold,” the man said with a long toothy smile. “Call Oz, and inform him that he is about to become another satisfied customer Nothing but the Hues.”

  4. tiffanymurphy

    “Tiff, look at the rainbow!”
    It was a full arch, 180 degrees of color across the sky, brilliant and sharp. I had never seen anything like it. And it seemed to end in the woods behind our house.
    “Come on! We can find the pot of gold!” I took off. Dave stared at me for a second, then followed.
    “Gold?”
    “Yeah, you know, at the end of the rainbow.” I had reached the bottom of the hill and was entering the woods. I glanced up at the rainbow to guide my direction. I was steps from where it ended, I was sure.
    He apparently didn’t know whether to be amused or exasperated. “You’re looking for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.” He sounded incredulous. “You never cease to amaze me. One day you’re 49, dreading turning 50, and the next day you’re acting like you’re 7, chasing rainbows.”
    “Yeah, yeah. Are you coming or not?” I called over my shoulder. Surprisingly, he followed. I was certain the rainbow’s end was in a clearing just ahead.
    As the trees opened into the clearing, I stopped. I was right about the rainbow ending here. There was no pot of gold, though, just a meadow bathed in color and light. Everywhere I looked, the air was so dense with color, it was like looking through a colored lens that kept changing, bands of red, indigo, violet, undulating through the air. The light sparkled everywhere, reflecting off particles in the atmosphere, like magical fairy dust all around. I turned in a circle, my skin changing colors as I turned. I was a rainbow myself, full of light and color.
    My husband was still on the edge of the clearing, staring. I smiled, and he slowly came toward me. As he walked, he became a rainbow too. The light seemed to be within him, coming out of him rather than reflecting off. He took me into his arms and kissed me, gently, then more fervently, as though rising to the level of passion this setting deserved. I was surprised, but returned the kiss. It seemed a natural thing to do when bathed in the most amazing light I had ever seen.
    He peeled off my shirt. My breasts reflected light and sparkled with color. I mimicked his action, and admired his chest, as orange gave way to blue on his skin. I burned with a sudden and insistent desire. Apparently, it was mutual, and the next thing I knew, we were both naked.
    Moments or years later, we lay spent on the grass, clothes strung around us like teenagers. “Wow.” We both said at the same time. We giggled shyly and reached for our clothes.
    The moment I tried to stand, I was hit by a wave of awareness, so strong that I almost fell back. My hand went to my abdomen, a sad place I had long ago given up on as being fertile.
    “I’m pregnant.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Good for her! I loved the description and movements you wrote about. Sometimes the gold isn’t gold but who cares? There’s a child trapped in all of us regardless of age. There’s one in me that always wants out. Not proper I think and then it slips out. The pre workup here is imaginative, done with much grace and finesse. I’d like to read one of your stories every week, how about it?

  5. JosephFazzone

    “Rainbows don’t really exist,” Melody insisted. “They are just figments of your own perception.”

    “It’s the point where the sun and the moisture hit the reflective point,” I explained. “There is said to be magic there.”

    “Magic,” she scoffed. “Not real.”

    “Real.”

    She shook her, irritably brushed the dark brown curls from her face and said, “There’s no point in debating this. You’re not going to change my mind.”
    “Fine,” I conceded. “Let’s follow it.”
    She sighed deeply and vexed, asked, “What’s the point?”
    “Pardon?”
    “The point,” she repeated with more chagrin. “What’s the point? The reflective point of a rainbow maintains a constant distance.”

    “Where’s your sense of adventure?”

    “Off in search of your common sense,” she bit back.

    I laughed. It was funny. I couldn’t help, but laugh. I couldn’t stop it, and I didn’t want to. It had been a long time.

    “Well?” I asked, and began a trot towards the rainbow. I stretched out my hand.

    “Why does this feel like a date suddenly?” Her question intermixed with surprise, jest, and hope froze me in my tracks.

    I looked at her. She looked at me. I felt uncomfortable under her stare, and began to wonder if I was blinking too much or not enough, and oh why oh why am I worried about something as silly as that.

    She’s staring at me. Say something!

    “No,” I stammered, choking under the pressure.

    She was my best friend since 8th grade. We both had some bad break ups. Obviously, everything was awkward. I shrugged it off.

    Her eyebrows raised gracefully.

    “Are you suddenly overcome with the fear that you might be proven wrong?” I gasped. “Could be wrong?” I gasped even more dramatically.

    She walked towards me and gave me a shove, and began to jog towards the rainbow.

    The shimmer and splendor of O’Melveny Park with the verdant green hills that glowed with a vibrancy of newly sprung grass. It was the first morning in a couple of weeks that it was even warm enough and dry enough to go outside.

    I ran after her, and as we chased the rainbow, I began to focus more on her than the rainbow. Her movements, the way her hair bounced with a life of their own as tangled strands of her brown hair caught the life and glimmered in a deep red.

    I tripped over a rock and ate up gravel as I fell head first onto the trail.

    I did my best to make the most of the moment, and rolled up to my feet instantly and said calmly, “Ouch.” Then I spat out a bit of the gravel to the side of the road.

    She laughed, and walked up to me. Her green eyes twinkled, and her smile warmed my heart. “Looks like you got a little chin music at the end of your rainbow.”

    I kissed her suddenly. At first she jumped in surprise, but then she sighed deeply, and hugged me close. The passion grew, and the kiss stretched into infinity as we connected on a level I never anticipated.

    When we separated, I looked deep into her eyes and said, “Worth it!”

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      There have been several stories this week, including this one, that have made me smile and rejoice in the power of love. We all need a reminder, I believe, of what is truly golden. Great job.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Joseph, you hit a high mark with romance
        Your prose is wonderful
        I’m not sure but were you writing about a lost love that you let slip through your fingers?. It certainly seems like it to me.

  6. ReathaThomasOakley

    Somewhere over the rainbow

    “And, then, and, then at the pot of gold…”

    “Wait a second, let me regroup here.” I said, embarrassed by the excitement in my voice. Not ten minutes before I’d been inventing ways I rather be tortured than listen to one more second of this drivel, this drool seeping out between those lips so glossed I was certain I would see my reflection if I got close enough to look. But, suddenly I was actually listening, and hearing the most amazing advertising campaign I was certain I’d ever heard.

    I’ve suspected for several years that small town ad agencies are going the way of small town newspapers, what with online and other resources so readily available, but, I’d hung on. As manager of the Preston Agency I’d been forced to keep the doors open by planning conferences, weddings, and even elaborate parties for the idiot McMansion women who had no time because of golf and Denver shopping trips. After all, James, just call me Jimmy, Preston had given me a chance and a job after my divorce. Of course, in addition to hard work I’d provided Jimmy with other benefits in exchange for my current position, and my belief that one day I’d be owner as well as manager.

    “Morning, Margo,” he’d said three months before as he’d shuffled into my office.

    “Jimmy, sure didn’t expect you in today, or tomorrow, or anytime really.”

    “Ah, Margo, you should always be glad to see me.” He sat across from my desk, he knew he wouldn’t be welcomed behind it. “Got some news for you. Remember my granddaughter Kat?”

    “The one who’s flunked out of three, or was it four, schools? Yeah, I remember.”

    “Well, her mama, you know my favorite child, been begging me to give Kat a chance here. Now, now, Margo, don’t get upset, just for a little while until she can find herself, decide what she wants to do.”

    So, for two months I’d tried to teach Kat, stupid name, advertising, or a work ethic, or anything while listening to every hackneyed, stale, cliched concept ever used to sell a product. Then, one morning,

    “Hey, Margo, I’ve been thinking.”

    About time, I thought.

    “I think it’ll be okay for you to keep this office. I know it’s bigger, but you’ve been here a long time and all, so you can keep it.”

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Kat. This has been my office for seven years, ever since Jimmy retired and named me manager.”

    “Oh, that old forgetful Freddie. I guess he just forgot to tell you my news.”

    “Your news?”

    “Yep, he’s giving me the agency. Can you believe it? I’m so excited. I never dreamed when I asked–”

    “You asked?”

    “Well, I knew he was leaving it to me, but, like I told him, when he’s dead I’ll be too sad to do a good job, so why not just give it to me now. Isn’t that great? Gotta go, must call Mummy.”

    For the next few weeks I’d stayed busy considering career options, trying to make decisions, stayed busy not listening to Kat, but now…

    “So, Kat,” I smiled so wide I feared I’d hear my jaw pop, “let me see if I understand what you’re saying. This is a six week promotion–”

    “Could be any length.”

    “Yes, yes. And, it combines geocaching with bike, motorcycle, and car poker runs to sponsor locations, science and ecology facts–”

    “Yep, we’ll attract singles, couples, families, churches, scout groups, non-profits…”

    “–and the theme is ‘Follow the Rainbow’, with as many sponsors as there are colors, rewards along the way, t-shirts, music, with a pot of gold at the end, real, true gold?”

    “Wild, huh?”

    I had to think. This was just the kind of thing I needed to start my own agency, because at my age I doubted I’d ever find a job at a big city group even if I moved.

    “Kat, what does Jimmy think about this?”

    “I haven’t told anyone but you. Don’t think I could explain geocaching to Grandaddy Dear. So, what do you think?”

    “Well, Kat, so far this is very interesting. Why don’t we get back to it tomorrow.” I started clearing my desk. “But, before you go, I got a call from Lucy Scott this afternoon. She’s ready for another Murder Weekend at their cabin, but this time she’s wanting the perfect crime. Maybe you can give that some thought tonight, see if you can plan the absolutely, undetectable, perfect homicide.”

    “Wow, that sounds fun. Thanks, Margo. Good night.”

    “Good night, Kat,” I called to her retreating back, all the while contemplating my pot of gold.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      A real good plot and I am wondering if you will do a second part to this and wrap it up
      Think “Murder She Wrote”. I’ll really like to read it. By the way your dialogue is right on

    2. JosephFazzone

      This is a cool story. Here’s to hoping Margo finds joy working for that girl. Looks like she’s already looping the strings around the arms and legs and is in the process of making Kat her puppet. If that works, then I think Margo would be okay working there.

    3. Bushkill

      hmmm … I think their is mischief afoot here. Nice banter and story, Reatha. I like the byplay between your wizened and seasoned pro, and the noob. Let me know when they get to that dinner party. That could be a lot of fun.

  7. JRSimmang

    All Who Wander

    He really needs a new truck, I think to myself as Duke plows his way through the mud and thickets. “Dude. Slow. Down.”

    “Nah, bro! This thing’s on autopilot!”

    “That’s not even a thing!”

    We hit a log, and I lift off the seat. Duke laughs.

    “Why are we even here?”

    “I seen something. Something over there.”

    It had just rained, and the humidity sticks to us like cling wrap. I follow Duke’s finger to the sky; a perfect rainbow is perched above us, towering over the light forest. “Don’t tell me.”

    “Yeah!”

    “Dude.”

    “YEAH!”

    “You can’t be-”

    “YESSSSS!”

    He floors the pedal, mud spits out the rear, and I can feel my brains turning to mush. I’m too busy holding on for dear life to notice the clearing before Duke slams on the breaks, the rear wheels skidding defiantly against the wet ground.

    He puts the car in park and unbuckles himself in one fluid motion, hopping over the door, and running toward where he thinks is the pot of gold.

    I take a minute to give my heart a chance to stop freaking out and my bowels to solidify once again before dropping into a puddle underneath me.

    “Gary. Psst. Over here.” Duke’s clutching a tree branch to move it out of the way. “It’s right through there.”

    I sigh, roll my eyes, and trudge to him. The closer I get, the more I notice a gleaming, a sharp glow, reflecting off his face. I squint to try to see past him.

    “Right there, bro.”

    The rainbow ends in a spray of kaleidescopic droplets, each one a distinct color and hanging in the air like lost secrets. In the very center of the clearing is a pot, a cauldron, and a little man in a green jacket, smart boots, and a hat with a feather. I only assumed he is a leprechaun.

    “Good morrow, to ye’al! Din’t be shy. Step own up. Cahm getcher gold, if gold be so yer desire.”

    “See, Gare?” Duke’s smile spreads unevenly across his face. “Told you!”

    Duke steps into the clearing, and the leprechaun points to me and motions for me to join. I feel a churning in my gut, a stirring, a wishy-washiness. “Oh, I… I’m okay. But, thanks for ask-”

    The leprechaun pinches his thumb and forefinger together, and my lips close tightly. From a whisper, I hear a faint but familiar voice, Now Gregory pal, why’d ya want to make me chase ya’, after all we’d been tru?

    My left foot moves toward the leprechaun. My right foot follows, and soon I’m walking toward him. Duke strides alongside, his eyes growing larger and larger as we approach the pot. A shadow moves to cloak me, and the light from the opening in the clearing begins to fade.

    “Look at all that gold,” Duke says, his voice distant and muffled. I look to the pot, though I don’t see gold. I see a shimmering. It’s… incandescent. It’s familiar and I want it.

    Do you recognize it, Greggy-boy?

    “Yes,” I murmur.

    Pray tell, Greggy-boy, what is it you recognize?

    “That’s my soul.”

    The leprechaun snorted and cackled. Right you are, m’boy! Right. You. Are!

    I’ve been here before.

    “Go on, boyo, the gold is there fer yer takin’.” The leprechaun says to Duke, and my body stiffens with one look from his crooked eye. I can only see him, his mangled fangs and cracking knuckles. The world around me is shrouded in smoke and my fingers and toes are tingling. I don’t know if I’m conscious or dreaming, and I am craving my soul. I need to get it back.

    “Imagine: girls, cars, houses, more gold,” he continues.

    He winks at me, and I can see Duke sinking his hands into the gold and shoving shekels upon shekels into his pockets. Each time he digs his hands in, his skin grows a little paler, his eyes a little less blue, and a glowing wisp of ether is dragged back into the cauldron. Soon, the pot is drained, and Duke sits back on his haunches with gold scattered around his feet.

    The leprechaun giggles. Then he snorts. Then, he rolls onto the ground laughing. “Oh, boys, it’s been fun, let me tell ya’, but the sun is comin’ out and, well, time’s up.” He turns to look at me and grins, his teeth yellowed and dripping. I’ll be seein’ you soon, boyo. Y’ always come back with another.

    My sight returns slowly as the rainbow’s droplets freeze in midair then lift toward the sky. The leprechaun’s taunting laugh fills the forest clearing, and I hear a pop followed by another, then another in rapid succession, then Duke’s howls of “NO!” and “YOU BASTARD!”

    One by one the gold coins fizzle into smoke, and Duke begins sobbing into his hands. “My gold,” he cries.

    Your soul, I whisper.

    -JR Simmang

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      With no disrespect to any of the other writers here, this is just about the best thing I’ve read anywhere for some time. That implied backstory still has me thinking, and I can almost see the future for both guys. Amazing. Thank you for sharing this.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I agree with Reatha, I fell right into the story
        Exciting, temptation, moralistic, dangerous , greed, perhaps malace from the leprechaun. There isn’t anything you missed with it

        It’s art in a pure form.

  8. MoiraiTQ

    Jenna and I went for a walk to check out the latest double rainbow over the plains of Colorado. We kept up a good pace and kept walking and talking. The conversation wasn’t anything special or deep, just mother/daughter conversation. After about 45 minutes, the light around us started to turn all different colors. We were close to the rainbow!

    The shadows around us were in the colors of the spectrum, not the normal gray. It was very fun and exciting to have these very colorful and magical shadows around us. We started laughing and jumping around, as we felt more joyous and light hearted than we had on the trip across the plains.

    We backed up a ways to see which direction the rainbox flowed and then headed there. We still felt good and happy, but noticed that the feelings we felt while in the rainbow weren’t there. We rushed back into the rainbow and were lifted up again. We ran towards the end of the rainbow, holding hands, and laughing at the tops of our lungs. The closer we got to the end of the rainbow, the bouncier our steps became. It was almost as if we were barely touching the grass with our feet. Almost like the astronauts when they were on the moon.

    We were totally saturated with color by the time we reached the rainbow’s end. There was not a pot of gold, but a house. Not just any house, but if felt like a home. We both felt very comfortable when we reached it. Jenna was telling me about dark purple paint with corresponding dark orange trim. I looked at her like she was crazy or had two heads. It was a dark red brick house with a peaked roof. A short white picket fence surrounded it. There was smoke coming out of the chimney. When I told her what I saw, she looked at me with the same look! We both laughed at the differences.

    Then, when we walked into the yard, all the dogs and cats we had and has passed awy came running out of the home to greet us. Dogs I had when I was a child were there, as well as the cat that Jenna had when she lived on her own. Happy tears poured down our cheeks at seeing our dearly departed pets. We played and laughed with our pets for hours. Throwing balls to the dogs across the yard and flipping feather cat toys for the cats. Feeding them treats and sitting and watching them be animals.

    As the sun slowly started to set behind us, we knew we had to leave; we dreaded it. All of our pets came back to us and surrounded us, pressing themselves against our legs as if to tell us good-bye. We weren’t sad that we had to leave them, but happy knowing that they were happy again.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      You must love them a lot to write about you pets whe passed ahead of you. That’s all my wife talks about wnen she blue, seeing her dog “Shorty” she had as a child and all we had together through all the years. Some people are animal people and you must be one of them to write with that much love. Great story.

      1. MoiraiTQ

        Hi Kerry, I do love my two dogs that have passed away most recently. One still brings tears to my eyes and he’s been gone about two and half years. He was a feisty little Rat Terrier. I held him in my arms until the very end. He died of kidney failure. Jenna is my adult daughter. She loved that dog, as well. He was very close to her and was with me in the vet’s office.

        Thank you for your kind words.

  9. Cceynowa

    Finding Fool’s Gold

    At nineteen I committed my first crime. In my defense, it was because of my long dead grandfather and his stories. You see, when he was sixteen, he rode horseback where a rainbow kissed the ground in the middle of Wyoming’s Red Desert.

    Kissed the ground.

    Grandpa always told the story in the most intimate of terms. He spoke of the colors flowing seamlessly across his batwing chaps with unconcealed yearning. His eyes would soften under his wind leathered brow, and his lips would curve in a genuine smile. Even at the end of his life, when most of his emotions were fading, the memory of riding through a rainbow never failed to draw a response out of him. Sometimes it was pleasure, and sometimes it was pain.

    So you can see, when Amy Joe and I saw a rainbow that had to be touching the ground out in the middle of that field, how could I not trespass? We were driving through the middle of B.F.E. West Texas. No one was going to know or care if we hopped the fence. Right? The possibility of seeing the rainbow’s colors on first hand was far too great a temptation.

    Leaving the truck on the side of Highway 118, we picked our way through the cat-claw cacti until we could see the rainbow proper. I had known what to expect from Grandpa’s story, but the sight of the colors pooling on the arid sand took my breath away. Amy Joe drew in a sharp breath of surprise at the sight.

    “Where’s the pot of gold?”

    “Isn’t it supposed to be buried?”

    “Maybe. Let’s see.”

    We hurried down the hillside, far less aware of the cacti’s sharp thorns and the loose rocks than we were before. We stopped at the edge of the rainbow’s aura. I could see the colors hanging in the air.

    “There,” Amy Joe pointed to the ground at our feet. The rainbow end faded into a swirl of loose sand.

    “Oh surely not,” I dropped to my knees. My arms were bathed in reds, blues, pinks, oranges, and yellows. Each handful of sand I removed brought a kaleidoscope of colors swirling away. Amy Joe was beside me, caught up in my excitement. We dug while the rainbow started to fade with the shifting sun.

    Nothing.

    We sat back and stared at each other. Amy Joe’s face, and I guess mine too, reflected the last of the rainbow’s dying colors. She looked like a fallen angel: her hair disheveled in the desert air, her left cheek smudged with dirt, all made beautiful with unearthly colors. Far too soon her normal skin tone returned, leaving only the surreal memory.

    “No gold,” she laughed. “I feel foolish.”

    “I don’t,” I stood and offered her my hand. “I mean, don’t you think that was amazing?”

    “Well yeah, but I can’t believe we actually dug!”

    As we walked back to the highway I couldn’t help a final glance over my shoulder. For a few moments I had experienced the same awestruck wonder my grandpa had had so long ago. My soul ached to see it again, though in my heart I knew it was a once in a lifetime experience.

    Pleasure and pain for sure.

    Author Note: My grandpa really did ride through a rainbow in the 1930 in Wyoming’s Red Desert. He always said it was one of the neatest experiences he’s ever had. I’ve come close to finding the end of a rainbow before, but I always chicken out and don’t trespass like my MC did above.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I think it would be alright to, in honor of your grandfather. I used to chase rainbows as a teenager in my boat through Biscayne Bay. I gave it up after awhile and started chasing water spouts. It’s amazing I’m alive. My boat was 16 feet long powered by a 14 hiorsepower Evinrude outboard motor. I loved your story especially with a marvelous sentence…. ‘ He spoke of the colors flowing seenlessly across his batwing chaps with unconcealed yearning.” WOW!

  10. pinkbamboo

    “Come on Angie, just a little bit more” Emma held out her hand for me to hold.

    “Em, you know I’m not as fit as you are” I sighed and took her hand as she pulled me up.

    “Well, the rainbow waits for no one. What if the legend is true? What if there really is a pot of gold?” she grinned with excitement as she bounced around.

    “What are you going to do with your half of the gold?” I took a deep breath as I stepped right next to her.

    “Morris and I were planning to buy a house by the beach”

    “Wow, did not realize you guys are getting serious eh” I glanced at her as I blinked back tears and forced a smile.

    Emma smiled “It’s a surprise. He had always wanted to have a house by the beach so … if we do find a pot of gold, I can finally fulfill his wish. What are you going to do with your half?”

    “I might go travel the world a bit and we’ll see when I come back” I answered nonchalantly.

    “Oh, I would love to do that too but let’s see how much I have left after I’m done with the beach house. We can travel to Italy together! ”

    I nodded silently, trying my best to ignore this dull pain within me. Come on Angie, you are better than this. Emma and I were reaching the top and with one swift step, we reached the end of the rainbow.

    “Careful Em” I pulled her away from the cliff side.

    “Oh darn, there’s nothing here. What the hell! We’ve been climbing for so long!” Emma stomped her feet with frustration.

    I was taken aback. “Well Em, we kinda knew it was a myth… I thought it was just a fun thing to do”

    “Still … I had this vision of Morris and I in the house and then we will get married and have two kids with a dog running by the beach ..” Emma leaned over a little to check. She truly believed in that pot of gold, huh?

    I took a deep breath and closed my eyes…

    “Angie?”

    I opened my eyes and turned around. He’s home .. I’m safe again.

    “Honey, you’re home” I wrapped my arms around him.

    “What are you thinking about?” he asked gently.

    I kept quiet.

    “Are you thinking about Emma again? Babe, it’s been 3 years .. ”

    “I know .. I know …” I sighed.

    “It was an accident, there’s nothing you can do”

    I nodded with a small smile. “Yeah.. it was an accident, Morris. It really was”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Good story pink, reminds me of a song, “What I did for love.” Be still the beast. I hope Morris walks the straight path or Emma might take him for another search.

  11. snuzcook

    The Rainbow’s End

    She was a derelict, a virgin find unspoiled by looters, intact. She had somehow evaded the deconstructionists who would have surgically reduced her to her sellable parts with brief and apathetic efficiency.

    “It’s like finding Kin Tuk’s tomb,” Alf said. He was a big fan of Eartheology, particularly the legendary treasure hunters. “The one that Davey Crocker found at the Alamo, and then they all died.”

    I knew something was wrong in his analogy, but it wasn’t worth correcting him.

    “Reminds me of Testov’s Expedition, when they first set foot on Eden’s moon. ‘Untouched beauty all for the taking.’”

    “Yeah,” Alf said. “But remember, they all died, too.”

    “This ship’s not likely to be infested with carnivorous plant life.”

    “Still, standard precautions, Miff, standard precautions. Remember the First Law of Karmody: There is no free pie.” That was Alf, always the comedian.

    “If we’re lucky, we’ll get a more than a few pi out of this.” I couldn’t resist the pun. I hated the new currency of the realm. Converting from the old unincorporated-quadrant barter standard to the Regency’s plutonium iodide pellet currency was a pain, and worse you had to register your assets in pi whenever you docked and pay regency taxes. This windfall ship, The Rainbow’s End, and her contents, were an unregistered asset, and if we were lucky, we would be able to take possession of some small, easily concealed objets d’art or intellectual property like reconnaissance data or xenography files, and sell them out quietly to some collectors I knew.

    Alf and I suited up according to salvage docking protocols, and Alf handled breaching the portal. It became immediately clear that despite the vessels registration data, The Rainbow’s End was more than a pleasure yacht on its last voyage. It was outfitted for a small scale colony mission. Some rich playboy or heiress had decided to populate their own moon somewhere with hand-picked friends and relatives, and all their favorite flora and fauna for a made-to-order paradise. Destination was probably not a full class M, but a stable moon without an atmosphere, something safely sterile. It looked like they were planning to construct a subterranean sealed environment.

    These small-world retreat colonies were all the rage back a couple centuries ago during the Unpleasantness. And it was common then for gentleman explorers to under plan and over sell their little ventures. No one knows how many of these beautiful little vessels were lost to bad navigation or insufficient fuel or, like this one, faulty life-support, and went derelict while their passengers and crew expired in the stasis tubes.

    “Look at this.” I followed Alf’s directions to a hold where he had found a number of unusual artifacts.

    “Maybe this was some kind of religious pilgrimage.” There were a number of ancient bound paper artifacts, carved and painted figurines, and metal vessels. “These look like they’re Abrahamic, probably Pre-Assimilation. I can’t tell if they’re Judaic, Islamic or Christian-ic. What do you think?”

    “Hold on. Look at these inscriptions. I think these are Christo-mystic. Arthurian. Oh. Now that’s unexpected.”

    “What?”

    “According to the symbology, this is – no, it can’t be.”

    “What? Alf, you’re killing me.”

    “It’s just possible we have found what people have spent lives and generations searching for, what they fought wars to possess. This could be…the Holy Grail.”

    “You mean?”

    “Yes, the Sacred Challis. If you drink from this cup, mortal wounds will be healed and your soul will be purified.”

    “What soul?”

    “You know, your eternal essence, your divine Qi, the kernel of the Living God within. Hey, be careful with that.”

    “Why does this say “Made in India?”

    “That must mean that it dates to the time of the Ottoman Empire, or maybe even the Crusades. You know, it could even date to the period when Buddha was journeying with the Lost Tribes of Israel. The Holy Grail is shrouded in mystery dating back to the origins of all the major religions of Earth.”

    “How much do you think it’s worth?”

    “You can’t put a value on something like this, Miff; you’ve got to look past that. It’s about dreams and fulfilling your destiny and being a cog in the machine of human history.”

    “So, it’s about power.”

    “Right. We sell it to the Regent.”

    “Or the Pretender.”

    “Either one.”

    “They’ll kill us for it.”

    “You’re right. It’s Kin Tuk’s tomb all over again.”

    “Damn.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        This is certainly a different take for you. You slip into SyFi with beautiful ease. My favorite sentence, “Why does this say, ‘Made In India?'” A blast of humor so strong, it curled my eyelashes. Oh well, they’re too long anyway. I think I’m going back and read it again, then maybe Monday, I’ll start all over. A classic visit, save it for the grandchildren, if you please.

  12. Critique

    “Tyler, those stirrups feel about right?” Tyler nodded as Harvey’s Dad gave the cinch on the pinto a final tug.

    “You boys take it easy out there. Could be slick from the rain.” Harvey saw the warning look in his Dad’s eyes.

    The boys rode the horses out of the barn.

    In front of them an intensely hued rainbow formed a spectacular archway against the sky.

    “Wow. Cool.” Tyler focused on the colorful arc to avoid looking at the ground far below. He hauled on the reins and the horse stopped obediently.

    “Wanna find that pot of gold?” Harvey grinned and jammed his cowboy hat firmly on his head. “Finders. Keepers.” His reins snapped back and forth across the neck of his horse urging it into a full gallop.

    “Wait up.” Tyler shouted and the pinto bolted. Tyler’s butt and feet left their moorings. His hat blew off and he found himself clinging to the side of the horse – the ground whizzing by far too close. With a death grip on the reins and the horn he managed to get upright into the saddle and then frantically maneuvered his feet to get them back into the swinging stirrups.

    The horses sped across the pasture then entered a grove of trees where they slowed to a walk.

    Harvey looking relaxed and confident, turned to look at Tyler. “Where’s your hat?”

    Tyler shrugged and wished his heart would stop pounding.

    “I know a shortcut. It’s not bad. Just let the horse lead okay.”

    They emerged out of the woods onto a muddy path littered with water holes that dropped steeply causing the horses to scramble for footing.

    Tyler yanked on the reins hoping to slow the pinto and clamped his knees against its sides terrified of flying off over its head.

    Rounding an outcrop of rocks Tyler watched in horror as Harvey and his horse slid, mud and water spraying up from the desperate hooves, to the valley below where they disappeared from sight.

    “Harvey!” Tyler screamed into the terrible silence.

    Reaching the valley, Tyler spotted Harvey’s horse lying on its side. Unmoving.

    Fresh fear stabbed Tyler’s heart. He sobbed out loud. “God. Help me find Harvey. Make him be okay.”

    He looked up when the pinto nickered softly and saw Harvey lying partway up the slope.

    Scrabbling over the scree, Tyler reached his friend’s side.

    Harvey white faced started crying when he saw his friend. “I think I broke my leg.”

    An extraordinary surge of strength flowed through Tyler calming his shaky limbs.

    “Harvey I’ll get you out of here.”

    ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬“You’ve become one heck of a horseman Tyler.” Harvey’s Dad clapped him on the shoulder. “Riding for help so quickly. We’re all so grateful.”

    Tyler embellished the rainbow over his signature on the plaster on Harvey’s leg.

    Harvey watched from bleary sedated eyes and slurred, “Some pot of gold we found.”

    “Friends are worth more than loot.” Tyler said and snapped the lid on his pen.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’d like to echo John above. This is a delight to read, a real western feel to it. I knew the ending coming but it was most pleasant to see it end this way. You obviously know horses well.

    1. snuzcook

      I really enjoyed this take on the prompt, Critique. Have only had a few occasions to sit atop a horse myself, I could really related to Tyler’s fears, and applaud his bravery.

    2. dustymayjane

      I’ve been in this situation! Watching the dirt a mere inch from my head as I clung to the belly of an unsaddled pony. Enjoyable read Critique!

      1. Critique

        Haha. I’ve been there too – maybe not quite as dramatic as Tyler’s experience but enough to keep me respecting the power of a big animal. Thanks for commenting.

  13. Cindy Martin

    The Richest of Colors

    Gazing out into the steamy aftermath of another post-shower in Florida, I spot the most magnificent arch of colors. I can’t help but let that childhood tune, Roy G Biv, by Mr. Ray go through my head. “Red is the color of the bouncing ball,” I sing quietly.

    My childhood moment is broken as Jodi stomps her way into the patio. “Hey Susie, let’s go find the pot of gold!” she screeches as her feet bounce on the pavement.

    Jodi is my special roommate I got matched up with probably because I have an autistic sister. I’m sure the brains of the university’s housing department thought I’d be sympathetic.

    Well, they were right.

    It’s hard to say no to Jodi, with her large blue eyes, and the kindest of souls. She seems like a little girl to me rather than a college freshman.

    “Sure, I can study later.” Jodi is beyond excited now as we head east following the brilliant curve in the sky.

    Chattering a mile a minute about the gold, Jodi barely can catch her breath. Then, with a huge grin she says, “I’m giving it to Renee.”

    “Renee? Who’s that?” I question her.

    “She’s the lady who saved my life. Hmm, I was in an accident.” said Jodi.

    “Really? What kind of accident?” I ask gently. Tiny little tears form and she sniffles a bit.

    “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it, buddy,” I say as I walk a little closer to her.

    “I’m fine. I was in the car with my mama heading out to buy me a dress for Easter Sunday. My mama loved Easter and wanted me to look my best at church. She always did. Back then I was different. I was normal,” Jodi says as she stops and looks down at the ground checking out her wiggling toes in her sandals.

    Rubbing her back, I say, “You’re normal Jodi. Don’t ever think that.”

    “I know I was different before that stupid teenager, who was texting on her phone, moved into our lane on that road and hit us.”

    Jodi picks up her pace again. “We’ve got to get that pot of gold.”

    Afraid to pry, I decide to let her walk in silence. The rainbow is practically gone by now with just a hint of green and purple left in the sky.

    After a few quiet minutes, Jodi blurts out, “My mama died in that accident. I was 8. Renee saw the whole thing. She was this old lady and she pulled me outta the car. If she didn’t I would have blowed up with my mama. Maybe I should have.”

    I stop Jodi. “Never say that. I’ll be here for you. Always,” I say with compassion. We hug. Jodi looks up and says, “The rainbow is gone and we didn’t find the pot of gold for Renee.”

    Looking down at her and holding her shoulders, I say, “I found a new friend. That’s better.” Jodi hugs me deeply.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You did a marvelous job on your story. It flowed nicely and the dialogue which made it so special was realistic and kind. There are so many things happening in life, it’s always nice to find a true friend.

  14. rle

    Stanley Masters let the waning rumbles of thunder lull him into a light sleep. He’d always loved a good thunderstorm, especially after a long dry spell. As he drifted off to the light pitter patter of a gentle shower on the roof, he knew the falling moisture would soon revive the bone dry pastures where the only grass that now grew, was along the banks of the meandering creek. If he was lucky, maybe the shower would even break the blistering August heat for a day or two, making the work of mending fences slightly more bearable. At any rate, he was grateful for this rare mid-afternoon respite.

    Stanley was a lifelong rancher, bound to the land by a devotion eclipsed only by the love he held for his wife and children. They’d lived a modest life, not always having everything they wanted, but always able to acquire everything they needed. Eventually, as they always do, his children grew. They married and moved away, to bigger and better things and interests of their own. Stanley had recently realized that without even knowing it, he’d gotten old. Seemingly overnight his strong muscles had weakened, his thick dark hair had grown gray and thin, and his mind had started to forget things. He knew this was the natural progression of life, but it didn’t make it any easier. Often times, he wished he could give what was left of his old, tired life, for just a single day as a young man in his prime, surrounded by his family. It would be an equitable trade.

    Stanley was awakened by the presence of his wife, Mary, standing over him, but he hardly recognized her. She looked so much different than she had when he’d last seen her, in fact, she looked just like she had forty years ago.

    She reached her hand out to him and smiled. “Come with me, there’s something I want you to see,” she whispered.

    Stanley rose and clasped her petite hand in his, gliding along behind her as she led him onto the front porch. With a faint grumble still rolling in the air far off to the east, he focused on the most beautiful rainbow he’d ever seen. The arch seemed to begin at the precise spot where they stood and ended at a dilapidated gate just a hundred yards away.

    “Do you know where that gate leads?” Mary asked him as she pointed toward the patched up, weathered wood.

    “I do,” Stanley replied as he leaned in to kiss her flawless cheek. “I do, indeed.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I want you to know rle, goosebumps only halfway through this masterpiece. What else can I say.? Third paragraph, the only sentence. I love your MC, he is a reaL person, unblemshed by life’s problems. You must have dirt under your nails to write this, a city boy couldn’t do it. Break out the RC Cola and a Moon pie

  15. dustymayjane

    “Harold. Where are you going? I told you I want to get home. It’s time for Wheel of Fortune and you have to take your pill.” Mavis pinched her lips together in satisfaction when Harold pulled the car over. She thought he was going to make a u-turn and drive home as instructed. When he didn’t, irritation made Mavis’s eyes bulge. Her mouth primed for further harping. “Harold, I told you…” 

    Harold didn’t refuse Mavis often but when he did, it usually cost him. Today was different and he was going to brave his wife’s wrath. “Mavis, I have different plans tonight.” Harold looked through the windshield and admired the full rainbow in colors as vibrant and clear as he’d ever seen. “Have you ever chased a rainbow Mavis? Looked for that pot-o-gold?”

    Mavis sat in rare, quiet, dissatisfaction. Refusing to look at the rainbow only proved her stubborn obstinance. Harold had grown accustomed to her brittle nature. But today was different. His spirits lifted and his hopes soared when they left the Walmart and the sun was shining from beneath the dark rain clouds that had moved off to the east. The late August air was warm yet fresh from the gentle rain. A mist rose from the pavement that had been heated  from an afternoon of sun. Puddles reflected  the scattering clouds and golden sunlight. 

    It had been a long time since Harold wooed Mavis and they’d long since found little reason to celebrate their anniversaries. Mavis had grown bitter and spiteful as the years proved no children to fulfill her desire for motherhood. She’d found every opportunity to use her childlessness as a wedge, a flaw, for which Harold surely blamed her. Or so she thought.

    Doctors had determined it was Mavis that was barren but Harold had never guilted his wife for not making him a father. The bitterness Mavis harbored ate away at her happiness and Harold had accepted that she wouldn’t likely change. He only hoped that he could make their final years more contented, if not joyful. 

    Pressing on the gas Harold pointed the car in the direction of the rainbow’s end.  He smiled and grew hopeful. Today was different, he thought. As he drove on, the countryside seemed to brighten, the colors growing more brilliant. With one last turn onto a rarely traveled  road the air all but glistened over a small group of trees at the side of the road.
       
    After stopping the car, Harold stepped out and lifted his hat to scratch his head while gazing into the trees. His wide smile gave Mavis a curious wonder. She watched her husband walk to the trees and kneel to pick up a large basket. Mavis pressed fingertips to her lips in disbelief.

    Harold watched as the smile on his wife’s face transformed her to the beauty he remembered falling in love with. She left the car to meet him on the roadside. A cry had never sounded more like music to the ears of a man and woman than the one uttered from inside the baby basket at the rainbow’s end.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Dusty this is a morning for goose bumps, you did it also. [See story by rhe] I was ahead of you all the way as soon as he took off in his car. I only hoped you got there with me. This is one beautiful story.

  16. Kerry Charlton

    TENDER IS FIRST LOVE

    In first day Biology class, at the age of fifteen, my shyness made me feel left out of things, especially girls. A cute little redhead sat in a desk in front of me. Freckles marched across her nose and camped out on both cheeks. Her hair was more auburn than red and fell across one eye. She brushed it back often but it didn’t obey. But when she turned and smiled my way the first day of school, I lowered my eyes from her face. On the way home that day on my bike I wanted to kick myself and vowed to do better.

    She greeted me the next day,

    “I’m Carol Diane, what’s your name?”

    I fought the shyness off, “I’m Kerry.”

    She was slight of build, almost delicate even for a girl of fifteen, but it didn’t matter to me. After school one day she asked me to ride home with her. We traveled by bike through Coral Gables on Old Cutler Road and passed under a green cathedral of Banyan Trees which covered the two lane. In Coconut Grove, we turned off on a small road, mansions showed themselves on either side of the street and I started to worry,

    She noticed and laughed, not at me but with me,

    “See that garage’’ Carol Diane said. “ I live with my mom in a small apartment above it.”

    She took my hand and led me up a flight of narrow stairs to her place and introduced me. Her mother was so warm and friendly, I felt at home.

    The next Saturday I rode over to Carol Diane’s. We planned a small picnic at Matheson Hammock beach, a small distance down Old Cutler Road. When it started to rain, we stopped at a covered bus stop and sat on a bench. I held her hand as we talked. It was delicate and I gazed at her hazel eyes as her auburn hair flowed in the breeze. I had never felt this way before.

    The prettiest rainbow cascaded from the heavens and it looked like it ended on the beach. We rode our bikes on the wet sand and decided to chase it for the pot of gold at the end. Of course we weren‘t able to find it but under the shade of a coconut palm that bent toward the beach from winds of a previous hurricane, Carol Diane spread a checked table cloth on the cool sand and we had our picnic.

    We finished our lunch, I turned to her and held her hand again and looked straight in her eyes. My heart did funny things especially when she mentioned,

    “You can kiss me if you like.”

    I shook so much I hoped she didn’t notice as I pressed my lips gently to hers.
    Our lips parted and she nuzzled her pretty face to my shoulder as I held her a moment and thought,

    ‘Her kiss is worth more than any old pot of gold.’

    .

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, you know I really, really like your stories from your past, and this one I love. I also enjoy your references to places I knew so well in the early 70s.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Reatha, I write with a sad heart when I write about Carol Diane. I lost touch with her after highschool. Years later, from a friend, he told me she was alone in her own house
        A robber broke into her place and murdered her. I think she was in.her thirties then. It was a shock not easy to get over. I write about her now as a tribute. I have done one of two stories on.her on this Web site but didnt’ use her real name
        You have to wonder…

        WHY?

  17. Pete

    “Right here, Barb. Pull in right here.”

    “Nolan, chill. Not my first rodeo, you know?”

    “See there, 1832 Writersblock Ave.”

    “I know where it is, Nolan.”

    “Mr. Reinbough’s lair.”

    “Lair…Really Nolan?”

    “What?”

    “Just the way you talk. It’s going to drive me to drink is all.”

    “Not that again. Look, can we just sit here quietly for the next few hours?”

    “Geez. Someone’s taking their demotion to heart.”

    “Well, that’s the thing. It’s sort of your fault, you know? All that drinking on the job.”

    “Was it my fault we cracked the moneymaker’s case, too? I think it was.”

    “Okay, okay. We’ve been down this road. But we really need this one. If we can prove that Mr. Reinbough is hacking WI-FI grills, then—”

    “It’s really come to this, hasn’t it? After all we’ve done.”

    “Barb. Three houses have caught fire, and we have reason to believe it was due to Mr. Reinbough’s control tampering. We’re talking propane here. Bombs, okay? I suspect he’s in cahoots with the Catalina Utilitarian Terror Entity. Furthermore, we—”

    “Bloop blah bloop blah bloopity blah.”

    “Real mature, Barbara. Hey come on. You didn’t bring a flask, did you? Oh. Yes, she did.”

    “It’s a drinking game. Every time you say, ‘cahoots’, I have to take a shot. Woo-ha! That’s good. Okay, let’s take the facts, Nolan. First, we have no proof that Mr. Reinbough, is in cahoots—cheers!—with C.U.T.E., as you claim. It’s far more likely he’s simply a douchebag neighbor, charring people’s steaks. Here, try this.”

    “No thanks. And maybe I should drive.”

    “Nope. You drive like a grandma. Remember when we were tailing that hearse, and you lost the precession?”

    “Never going to live that down.”

    “Secondly, we busted the most profitable money laundering ring in Meckelanburg County. Lastly…”

    “Barb, are you delusional? The Chet Vanderbilk case? That’s what got us in this mess. When we ended up in the sack together. We would have gotten canned on the spot had it not been for my connections in the department. We’re lucky to be on Barbecue patrol.”

    “Uh, huh. Damn that’s a stiff one. Ha! That’s what she said. Speaking of which, what the hell happened to you last night?”

    “Let’s get back to work here.”

    “You could have called.”

    “Barb. I thought we said no strings?”

    “And you bought that? Christ, Nolan, I am a woman, which you thoroughly noticed Wednesday night. Twice if I’m not mistaken.”

    “I knew this would happen. Every time you drink.”

    “Every time you talk. Poor you and your charms, Nolan. You left your wife, slept with your partner, and now she’s head over heels in love with you. Ain’t that the pits?”

    “Shh.”

    “Do not shush me!”

    “No. Barb, listen. Line three, I’m getting something here.”

    “How convenient.”

    “No really, listen.”

    “…..”

    “Did he say propane shipment?”

    “Did you say you were in love with me?”

    “I think so.”

    “You think so to propane or love?”

    “What’s the difference?”

    “…”

    “Drop off at eight. Steaks on the grill. That’s our cue! Nolan, we need to get moving.”

    “Do we call it in?”

    “No way. This is our chance. Let’s go undercover. Let’s be in cahoots together.”

    “No. Sarge said, no way. Barb, you okay?”

    “Whoa that’s strong. Please Nolan.”

    “All right. But you have to promise to go easy on the flask.”

    “I won’t go easy on you, if you’re lucky.”

    “I’m not so sure about this.”

    “This bust is going to make our careers.”

    “We should probably bring something?”

    “What?”

    “Like a housewarming gift. It’s rude to just show up empty handed.”

    “Just stay close, and follow my lead, okay?”

    “It’s a pretty cute lead.”

    “Barb.”

    “Sorry.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Oh Pete, I loved this, an entire story in dialogue. It isn’t easy, yet I fell under your spell immediately. You’ve outdone yorself. It’s perfect to leave it there although I’d love to read the conclusion. No worry really, I’ll finih it myself in my mind. Dam* I’m going to read it a second time. And maybe a third.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Loved, loved, loved this. Dialogue can be so revealing, and yours is perfect. Really liked C.U.T.E., and, propane or love, what’s the difference.

  18. A.S.P.

    “Tate asked me to marry him.”
    “The assistant manager?” Through the transparent shimmer of indigo and blue, my mother’s ghost rolled her eyes. Even in the afterlife she wore a tailored dress suit and pointed spectacles. “I’ll never understand why it’s so impossible for you to attract a man of merit. Perhaps it’s due to inheriting your father’s nose. Most likely his feet as well.”
    The little ball of brown and white fur on the blanket at my feet snorted a laugh in her sleep. Bootsies was moms most beloved friend in life. Now the spoiled rag mop was my burden.
    Frowning, I pressed my fingertips to my nose. It wasn’t that big.
    “For heaven’s sake, Meredith, please don’t tell me you accepted the proposal.”
    “How could I? I drive across the state every time it rains just to catch the ends of rainbows to transcribe my dead mother’s work. If I told him he’d that think I was nuts.”
    “I’d be more concerned if he did believe you.” With a sigh, “In any case,” she flicked her wrist, “the drizzle is fading and we’ve still six topic points to record. Now quit your selfish praddle and get typing.”
    Glowering, I set aside my tablet and stuck out my palm. “Pearl.”
    Mother scoffed. “However did I raise such a greedy child?”
    Still, she plucked a pearl from her necklace. Though her frigid hand passed through mine, the small round bead sat solidly on my palm. Eighteen more visits and my great grandmothers pearl necklace would finally be mine.
    Not exactly a pot of gold. But worth it.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Oh boy, this certainly is different. My favorite are ghost stories. Who better than a great mother that wants her happiness. Tell your MC to listen to her. Choose the best of the breed, if she knows what’s good for her. I really enjoyed the story. Keep writing and posting.

      1. A.S.P.

        Thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to read my blurb. This was my first time participating in the prompts and I already know I’m hooked. So fun!

    2. snuzcook

      Wow, lots of great stuff packed into this little package, A.S.P.m and all revealed at a comfortable pace. I adore the idea of the ephemeral mother dictating to the daughter from a rainbow. The idea of the pearls is delicious!

  19. cl91

    “Look at it, Sarah, it’s beautiful!” Connor stared at the colors of the rainbow as it filled the morning sky.
    Sarah laid on her back in the grass and stared at the rainbow and all it’s beautiful colors, “I want the pot of gold, Connor.”

    Sarah’s long, dark wavy hair spilled out on the ground and surrounded her. Her dark eyes squinted at the sky as she studied the rainbow.
    “Connor, how much gold do you think is there….at the end of the rainbow?”
    Connor’s blue eyes narrowed as he thought, “I’m guessing billions worth! We would be sooo rich if we found it!”

    Connor’s eyes went from the rainbow to Sarah. She was breathtaking…her skin was slightly tanned with the sun of summer coming to a close. Her dark brown eyes were large and kind….

    “Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s find that gold and claim it,” Connor grinned.
    They jumped up and ran laughing to the car.

    “I beat you this time, Connor!”
    “Did not..it was a tie!”

    Connor always had a smile on his face, making him an easy person to talk to and get to know. Sarah had known him since she was in kindergarten when they both started school and he didn’t know it but she had always had a crush on him.

    He was tall and athletic. He trained in martial arts and played football on the school team. Connor was always a hit wherever he went, but he didn’t have a clue how she felt about him.
    She felt like Connor treated her like the little sister he never had.

    Sarah sighed. One day she might tell him how she really felt. This was their last year in high school and it may be her last chance. Connor was being scouted for football from several colleges.
    “What are you waiting for, Sarah…get in! If we’re going to find your gold we best get going!”
    He winked at her and she melted.

    Connor turned the radio on. His taste in music was a bit rustic. He liked all the 80’s songs. Sarah thought it was cute; of course, Sarah thought everything he did was cute, but the music thing was almost laughable because he knew all the words!
    “Connor, why do you listen to the 80’s songs?”
    He grinned, “because my parents listen all the time. It guess it’s just been pounded into my brain and there it is.”

    They laughed. Sarah loved when they could laugh so easily. She stared at the rainbow as Connor drove towards it.
    “Connor, do you think we’ll find the end?”
    “Oh yes. I’ll find your end for you, Sarah.”

    She blushed and sunk down into the seat as the radio played the song from the Karate Kid 2 movie, ‘The Glory of Love.’
    She almost laughed out loud thinking how appropriate the song was at this very moment…’I’ll be the hero you’ve been dreaming of…’
    “Look Sarah, there it is! We’re getting closer! What will you do with your gold?”
    Sarah crinkled her nose, “I’ll buy a big house and share it with someone who ….”

    The car stopped.
    “Here it is, but you can’t go get it til you finish your statement, Sarah.”

    Suddenly, Connor took her hand and looked deeply into her eyes, “Well…”
    Sarah melted as she gazed into those wonderfully blue eyes…..eyes that twinkled mischief and joy and always had good things to say.

    She reluctantly pulled her hand away and jumped out of the car, I’ll race you to the pot!”
    Connor jumped out of the car and followed her. The rainbow seemed large and the colors were light.
    “We’re standing in the rainbow, Connor…it’s this cool????”

    Connor turned to face her. His eyes were serious, “Sarah, I want you to know I am in love with you.”
    Sarah’s mouth flew open, “Connor, don’t joke with me now.”

    “Do I look like I’m joking?” Connor pulled her lithe body close to his own. His mouth found hers and he kissed her lightly at first then the kiss grew into a hunger.

    Sarah’s knees trembled…She knew this was her pot of gold!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Romance is certainly in the air on this prompt. And this is a great sample of it. It rang with truth not fiction like you were reminising your own life. It’s a good and solid and pure story.

  20. Not-Only But-Also Riley

    JUST MY LUCK

    There’s one thing I can think of that is more valuable to me than gold: a human life. So, when I reached the spot where the rainbow seemed to drop off into the gray of the sky and there sat the gangster known simply as Lucky some might say I’d hit the jackpot. I turned to Bluff, my partner.

    “Well, it ain’t quiet gold, but it’ll do the trick,” I smiled at him.

    “Nah. This guy isn’t worth halfa what I thought might be down here,” Bluff mumbled.

    “So who ya think killed Lucky here? Where we oughta start lookin for whoever it is we’re lookin for?” Now Bluff smiled at me.

    “We oughta start where we always start.”

    Next thing, Bluff and I find ourselves in Peppy Teddy’s, a joint that will putcha knee deep in scum of two types. Criminals and mold. We took our usual seat and waited for Teddy, the owner of the joint, to notice us.

    “Two drinks,” Bluff called to a waitress.

    “Oh, no thanks Bluff, I’m fine without,” I told my partner, keeping an eye out for Teddy.

    “I wasn’t buyin for you.” Just then a large bespectacled man with clothes much too small for him and a smile much too big approached us. Teddy.

    “Well, why do I have the pleasure of speakin with you gents today?” he asked as he finished his waddle. His breath stunk of the stuff that had rotted his teeth away all those years ago.

    “Listen Ted, we know about Lucky. And we know whoever did it has probably been here. Point us in their direction and we’re outta your hair,” I explained, getting straight to the point. My thumb felt the smooth barrel of the gun in my pants nonetheless.

    “Now… listen fellas… you know I’d never lie to y’all…” This was getting nowhere fast. I skipped the talk and pushed the situation straight to action, taking my gun out and standing pointing it at Teddy. The club didn’t even quit moving for a second. They knew you don’t mess with Bluff and I.

    “You’re gonna tell me Teddy. Or I’ll take that pep outta your step,” I pointed the gun at his leg. A sweat broke out on his forehead. The filthy rat, he’d been workin with us cops for years and the only time he gets nervous is when the gun is pointed at him.

    “Listen, I don’t know…”

    BOOM!

    “That’s one leg, if I do the other one then you might not be walking again at all.”

    “Please, listen…”

    BAM!

    “Two legs. Next is your arm.”

    “No…”

    POP!

    “I’m runnin outta limbs here Teddy…”

    “I swear; I don’t know…”

    CRACK!

    “That’s it Teddy. Next shots fatal. Your outta chances.”

    “Wait! Wait!”

    BANG!

    Bluff delivers the finishing blow to the head and the fat man falls. He sets the drink he had in his other hand down and looks over at me.

    “He’s been getting annoying for years. That right there was the best thing to come out of that rainbow yet,” he smirked.

    “C’mon,” I said, making sure no one in the club had cared enough to watch when they heard the all too familiar sound of guns firing, “we’ve still got a mystery to solve.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      The keystone kops in a modern form. Loved your dialogue and the booms inbetween.. Makes for a cartoonish detective with a little murder thrown in. All you’re missing is Irish stew.

    2. Critique

      I thought of the Black Knight in Monty Python when I read this – shooting up someone isn’t supposed to be funny but after each BOOM, BAM, POP, CRACK, BANG I was smiling.

  21. Victoria832

    I couldn’t think of any prize more gratifying than to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. No man has ever seen its contents, only radiant color, yet it continues to daunt and leave us breathless with its beauty. The mere idea of a pot of gold, instant wealth, would change my life and yours, however, wealth comes in as many perspectives as all thoughts and ideas of grandeur, and would likely be classified as a life-changing event. What value would you assign to your pot of gold and by what measure? Would you value wealth by the amount of possessions or would you say that wealth is the sum of all things not possessed? Wealth simply is much of whatever is important.
    On this beautiful, bright day my sisters and I had been given a clue that we would find the pot of gold! We found the message in a dirty bottle on Stewart Beach, and by sunset the same evening, had been given the assurance that we would find this treasure at the end of the rainbow. The challenge would not be finding the pot of gold, but finding the end of the rainbow for the rainbow, in its phenomenal beauty, is physically unapproachable! Many have searched for the pot of gold but today, we were given the message that if we sought with all my hearts, we would find the pot of gold and understand its wealth.
    The next day, the rains came, clouds and thunder soon subsided and left the most beautiful spectrum of color. We began to search. We ran as hard and as fast as we could, fueled only by anticipation and excitement. Our hearts pounded as we came upon the high cliff where the rainbow was visible no more. As I looked over the edge and into the valley just below, all I could see were bright reflections, tiny facets of myself, as if a mirror had been broken into a thousand pieces! I stared in amazement at all my faces giving note to the smile, the absence of stress and circumstance. I looked at my sisters who were also seeing their beautiful reflections. As we stared at ourselves, we let the smiles fall from our faces but the reflections in the mirrors were unchanged. They moved about but the faces were always content. We felt a warm sense of comfort and security as our breathing returned to normal.
    I looked all around the mirrored images and began to see familiar faces appearing from my past, realizing that my pot of gold had just been found. Everything valuable flashed before me. I saw my grandmother, my best friend from junior high, my beloved dachshund, and faces of all the people I had loved, lost, and missed. I was bursting in tears now, realizing that this face is the way God sees me. He does not see me angry or arrogant, but perfect and never as I see myself. There was no guilt, no pain, no sickness or death, no enemies, only light. This pot of gold was indeed, my very own glimpse of Heaven.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      This was a very stirring story of how you feel about yourself and life in general. You revealed probably more than you realized or wanted to. It’s perfectly allright to do so.

      One small hint, double space between paragraphs, makes it easier to read. I am personally looking forward to your next post.

  22. cafei264

    As a kid, I loved rainbows. All the colors in the sky after the rain, and watching them with my mom made it one of the better memories of my childhood. When she passed, it took me awhile to recover and to get back to who I was. I truly admired her, since she raised the 4 of us by herself. My three sisters never knew how close I was to our mother, and I’ll never tell them either.
    “Can this rain stop for a second? It’s been non-stop since we’ve left.” I said angrily. The rain pounded our car as we made our way slowly off the freeway, and to our hometown we grew up in. There were only two of us in the car. Kayla, the youngest of our family, had decided it would be best if we all could say bye to our Grandma Jo one last time before she passes. Unfortunately, only I could accommodate her.
    “I think it’s letting up Jack. Probably in another ten minutes it’ll be done. Wait look, I think I see a rainbow over there.” Pointing over the small hill to our left. I glanced over and I saw it, clear as day. All the colors and just the right amount of sun reflecting it.
    “I see the end of it.” I replied. “You want to finally see what’s at the end of a rainbow?”
    “Sure, we got time to spare. Maybe there’s actually a pot of gold or something like that.” As like most towns where we lived, the streets didn’t continue straight. It would take us 15 minutes just to drive to the nearest grocery store when we were little. It was faster walking through the neighbor’s yards to get to your destination. “I think it’s just a couple more blocks and we’ll be there. It’s starting to look like where we use to live.”
    “Yeah, it kind of does. That would be cool if the rainbow ended at the house.” I said, having hope that it would and feeling my body shake nervously.
    “It’s right here.” She blurted out. “And guess what? It’s at our house.” I couldn’t believe my eyes, there it was. All the memories fading back to me as I slowly opened the car door, and walked over to have a closer look for myself. And then I saw it, the end of the light, on the tree my mother and I grew when we were living there. “Ahh, no pot, no leprechaun. My childhood was a lie.” Kayla said in the distance. But I knew, I knew this was much more than a pot of gold. It was my mother looking out for me, for making me understand that wherever I am, I’ll be okay, because she will always be near.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        It’s a marvelous tribute you written to your Mother. It may be fiction but I kind of doubt it. I have the same feeling for my Mother. She was like a guiding light whem I was little and an inspiratrion as I grew older. . She wrote a column in our local pper each week. I have a copy of what she wrote and I’ll never get to her quality but it won’t mean I’m not going to try.

  23. E.C

    The car hummed softly as it puttered down the empty mountain road, Alfred and Louise sat in a rigid silence. After having just fought, neither of them wanted to be in the same room, let alone the cramped and musky smelling Toyota.

    “How long do you think it is?” Louise finally broke the heavy silence. Alfred shrugged, the dark circles under his eyes shifted as a smirk played across his lips.
    “At least we’ll be able to say we’re the first ones to do this.” Louise slumped in her passenger seat and crossed her arms. Alfred suddenly tensed, his shoulders hunched as he leaned forward carefully.

    “What?” Louise noticed his alertness.
    “There. We found it.”

    Just past a yellow hill, was the end of the rainbow. It spilled over a thin and pointed cliff. Rivers of rainbow mist billowed out from the end and trickled over the rocks.

    “The bottom of the cliff? Or on the cliff’s edge?” Louise leaned forward in her seat, her seat-belt tugging her back in protest, she unbuckled it.
    “We found it! Louise we found it! I-” Alfred was cut short. The car jeered to the right into the carved mountain side. An aching screech ensued followed by screaming and scraping, the car bounced off the mountain and into the guard rail. The car skittered to a halt. A ringing echoed through Alfred’s head, his knuckles white from gripping the steering wheel.

    “Louise?” Alfred unbuckled himself from the constricting seat belt and shuffled through the air bags.
    “Louise?!” He found her seat empty. Blood was splattered across her half of the windshield, Her car door was missing, and as was she. Alfred hastily clamored out of the car and peered over the edge of the road,
    “LOUISE?!” He screamed. No reply, not even from down the road. He cradled his head in his hands before noticing the blood dripping down the left side of his face. Blood, sweat, and tears mingled on his cheeks as he began to walk down the abandoned road.

    Time washed over Alfred like a tidal wave. He barely noticed the hours that crawled by, and soon found himself at the edge of the cliff. Blood crusted his left eye shut as he watched with little bemusement at the forceful flow of vividly colored mist pouring over the falls. He fell to his knees.

    “Please God, if you even exist. Just bring her back to me.” Alfred broke down into a sob, his voice hoarse. Cool drops of vibrant hues splashed his face as he suddenly stopped.

    “There’s nothing here.” He rubbed his eyes and whipped his head around, “Nothing. This was- for nothing.” More of the rainbow was sprayed on his skin. Rainbows were, after all, made of water. Alfred cupped his hands and gently lifted his hands into the yellowy-green part of the rainbow stream, it was cold against his palms. He sipped. Alfred wasn’t sure what had happened after that. He woke up.

    “Alfred are you listening to me?” Louise blinked and waved a hand in front of his face. “Geez, I come back from the dead and all you can do is space out on me?”

    “Louise?”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I loved the ending. Your story has it all, emotion, faith, wounds of the spirit, hopefulness, dispair and then finally humor at the very end. It was quite a ride to enjoy.

  24. SargentBlaum

    It sat there on the ground, spilling a kaleidoscope of color about them, warping and refracting the light it emitted, bright against the lush green grass, a beacon of impossible physics, a beckon to those who should know better.

    “Look Gary, it really is there – not a rainbow in the traditional sense, but some kind of artificial singularity.”

    “They can’t exist for long enough, surely? I mean, it would either tear up the planet or last for only femtoseconds, right?”

    “I’m not sure, Gary. Some of the solutions to those equations are awfully opaque. If we can get closer..”

    “John – if we get closer, we might be pulled in.”

    “Exactly! If we’re pulled in, we might be ejected out the other side. It’s small enough, and length contraction would facilitate our passage through.. who knows where the other end comes out?”

    “Doesn’t seem like a bright idea, John. I mean, what if the other end is in a star? Or empty space?”

    “I think we’d feel some thermal variation if that were the case, don’t you? I mean, the Laws of Thermodynamics can’t be jostled overmuch. After all, it must be spewing infrared as well as visible light, right? Otherwise, we’d be freezing even this close.”

    “Okay – but we go through together, alright? On three?”

    “Sure. One.. two.. three!”

    The two men leaped into the maelstrom being generated by the tiny crystal, and the rainbow instantly winked out. There was a small scorch mark on the ground, a circular burn indicating where the crystal had lain, but nothing else. The birds resumed their song, the wind picked back up and this world returned to normal.

    John and Gary traveled an immense, almost incalculable distance, and then found themselves unceremoniously dumped on a field. In the sky, there were two suns: one bright yellow and low on the horizon, the other distant, tinged red and high in the sky.

    “Who are those guys?” John spoke first, standing up and gesturing toward some humanoid appearing figures in the distance.

    “I doubt it’s a posse of Leprechauns,” Gary said with a weak smile, looking around them cautiously. “Looks like it was a one way trip. Probably should have checked that first.”

    John looked back in the direction of their ignomious ejection and then over towards the arriving creatures. “Hi,” he said, a smile settling on his face. “We, took a wrong turn back there near Aldebaran.. ah crud, you guys don’t speak English, do you?”

    The closest figure was covered in scales, had a tail and horns and big black eyes. It also had an opposable digit on its seven fingered hands. In one of those hands was some kind of device that it pointed toward John and Gary and activated. The two humans were frozen in time, and the creature shuffled forward to inspect them curiously, before turning to the other aliens, speaking in their own language.

    “Mammals. Why is it always mammals? Ah well. At least we won’t go hungry tonight.”

      1. SargentBlaum

        Thank you. I think people are amazing, because they so often do leap into a gaping maelstrom at various points of their life (though not necessarily physical maelstroms), and end up changed: which was the point of this prompt, of course. The exploration of our own personal rainbows often seeds our writing, after all.

    1. snuzcook

      I like this, SargentBlaum. So, the scaled humanoids were using the rainbow thing-a-ma-jig to fish for dinner, and they ended up with two overly curious mammals, again. A fun commentary on our own anthropocentric arrogance.

  25. Jay

    Somewhere… Out There…

    It’s early morning, but it’s just like every other morning. I sit at the window, daydreaming of a better life. The newspaper glued to the window prohibits me from seeing the world outside, but I hear the thrumming of the rain as it drums against the glass.

    I close my eyes and imagine I’m in a sunny field glistening from freshly fallen rain. Above I see a double rainbow, and wonder what lies at the end. I run through the knee-high grass, smiling and laughing and twirling and dancing. The warm blanket of sun feels good as I make my way to the end of the rainbow. When I arrive, I see a black pit. I cautiously approach, knowing what I might find inside, but I dare to move even closer. When finally near enough, I peer down and see bodies stacked atop bodies. Discolored skin matching the ashes in the sky that now twirl all around me as though fallout now showers that dreadful meadow.

    When I open my eyes, I weep. The force of nature outside matches that of the storm I produce inside. I wrap my arms around my body, and rock back and forth until I calm down. It takes a while, but finally the tears abate, and the intermittent deep, sharp breathes fade. The subtle shaking remains, but that won’t go away for some time.

    Of all the books I read, I never once encountered an ending I didn’t like. However, in this endless wasteland I call home, all I see is a terrible ending I don’t want. Even when I close my eyes to think of how things could get better, they inevitably transform into those wicked thoughts no different than what I saw in that imaginary meadow. Without hope, one cannot dream to see the light—that’s me.

    When I look up at the window again, I read an article I’m particularly fond of, but not because I’m dark, but because it feels good to know that these dark times don’t fall upon just me and my family. It’s all around us at all times. It’s a story about the Lindberg baby. How the boy was kidnapped and ultimately killed. All this in the comfort of the American dream, and oh what a dream that must have been.

    I don’t mean to sound so angry. I’m not. In fact, it’s envy. They over there have no idea what it’s like here, hiding in this damp house, hoping they don’t break down the doors and take us away. They don’t have to worry about being herded into small rooms where you’re either burned alive or forced to suck gas, choking and gasping until your very last breath. They’ll never know, and I’m glad for that. Glad, but also a little envious, you see?

    As I sit there broken, wallowing in this deep despair caused by hopelessness, someone tugs gently at my shirt. I look away from the window, and study this young boy. He has my husband’s eyes. Doughy, calm, and reassuring. He smiles and hugs my leg, and he softy says, “We’ll make it through this, mommy.”

    I run my hand through his soft hair. I don’t have the heart to tell him that his father was captured last night. I don’t want to break his soul and take away the one thing that keeps him going in this world. Eventually he’ll learn of his father’s fate, but I not right now. He looks so peaceful and so hopeful. I can’t ruin that.

    I tell him, “We’ll get through this together.”

    “I know,” Rolf replies. His voice is calm and strong. This is not the way a boy’s voice should sound. It should be full of wonder and excitement. It should be bright and young. That’s what war does to us. It tears us down until we change into something else, something that can handle the darkness all around us.

    “Are you hungry?” I ask.

    He nods, and says, “Yes, but let’s save the food. There isn’t much left. When Pa gets home, then we can eat.”

    My heart tightens in my chest. Unless by some miracle he escaped, he won’t be coming home. The family we stay with watched him get taken. I don’t blame them, had they tried to save him, they would have died.

    “It’s okay. Your father would want us to have something.”

    “Okay,” he says, and flashes me a thin smile.

    I return one, and then stand to pick a can of food from the shelf. When I set it on the counter top, I hear three loud bangs against the wall.

    “Öffnen Sie Ihre Tür!” I hear a man scream. They’re here, getting ready to force their way into the house.

    No, I think as I watch my son curl into a ball and try to hide in the corner of the room.

    I wait a moment for the family to open the door, but before they do, someone breaks it open. The men stomp through the home, screaming at the family. They come closer and closer until they’re above us. The secret door to the underground cellar is hard to find when open, near impossible when shut. It takes the man but a second to locate and open it.

    I let them take me with the hope they will spare my boy. Rolf, however, puts up a fight instead, but it isn’t enough. Being only seven years old, the men are much too strong for him. They’re also of the type with little patience because they immediately order the execution of my son, and carried it out swiftly. As they pull me out of the house, I kick and scream, watching them drag my son’s body behind us.

    They take me out to the street, where I meet the officer. He tells me I’m lucky I look strong. He’d rather put me down like a dog but he has clear rules stating to bring back those who can work hard. I want to fight, but after watching my son die, I have nothing left in me.

    They take me to the large caged wagon, and only me. The family whom protected me are immediately executed in the street. The father, Alek. The mother, Adeline. Their two children as well. Sofia was six, and Kara was three.

    As we drive away, I want to think about my son. I want to think about holding him, about how I told him that things would be okay, but neither of those things are on my mind. All I can think about is that the house in which we hid was a secret. It was such a good secret that even if they had come into the house, they would never have found us without help, and there is only one person who knows where we lived.

    Sixty other people ride with me in the back of that truck. I’m the last one, and fortunate enough to be able to watch the world go by until we arrive at the camp. I look up at the sky, and wonder if there is ever going to be a rainbow, but instead I do not imagine that I will find the dead and decaying at the end. Instead, I will find my son, woundless and smiling. It will be there I find my husband, guiltless and strong. Maybe it will be there that I might finally find happiness in this word full of darkness.

    1. jhowe

      Holy cow, that was a gripper. I haven’t felt like this since Schindler’s List. Or maybe The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. gritty and powerful.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        What a story. I am reminded of General Eisenhower standing at the death camps and saying,
        “take pictures, lots of pictures because some son of a b**** will say some time, ‘All this never existed.'”

    2. snuzcook

      Which is the scarier story, the one that evokes dark scenarios from the imagination, or one that recounts dark images from reality? Your immense talent is right on with this one. A vivid reminder that what has been experienced in the past is always a possible future.

  26. jhowe

    Storm Chasers

    I’ve tried many times to follow the rainbow to the end. If there’s anything more elusive, I’d like to see it. Chances are, it isn’t true about the gold, but there’s always hope. Most times the rainbow is high in the sky, with faint hues waning before reaching the ground. Other times, there’s a flawless curve, the colors well defined, stretching to the horizon at both ends. That’s the secret, in my mind. You have to be at the horizon when the rainbow ends. Getting there, though, is difficult. Every time I’ve tried, the dang thing dissipates before I can reach it. It’s infuriating.

    Today, the conditions are just right. Dark sky, a light mist, sunlight peeking out from behind a low cloud bank. And there it is! The perfect arc of color stretching endlessly to the east. But to the west, I can see the end. It looks like it terminates into an old barn in a field of waving alfalfa. I run for the barn, desperate to get there before the spectral display goes away. The faded wood siding is bathed in color: reds, yellows, indigoes, violets. I slide the heavy door and rush in, accompanied by the colors that speckle the dirt floor.

    A woman is tied to iron eyelets in the wall, her wrists and ankles bound with jute rope. She is sitting on the ground; her arms held above her head, her legs spread apart. She wears a filthy cotton dress that might have been green. Her head rests on her shoulder and her light brown hair hangs in her face but I can tell she’s beautiful. I forget about the gold and scan the barn for her captor. I see no one. I walk cautiously toward her

    “Are you awake?” I say.

    She stirs and lifts her head. Piercing green eyes look back at me between the strands of hair. Her chin quivers and she starts to cry. I try help her stand upright, but her legs are too far apart. I start to work on the knots when a shadow fills the room. A large man in faded bib overalls stands in the doorway, backlit by the rainbow, a hay fork in his meaty hand. He walks toward me, lifting the fork and I back away, my hands fruitlessly in position to protect me from the inevitable blow.

    And then there is a loud clank and the man falls forward. My friend, Aaron smiles, a shovel on his shoulder like he’d just hit the winning home run.

    “Trying to get the gold for yourself?” Aaron says, smiling. He spots a trunk against the far wall and goes to it. “Let’s see, women’s watches, purses, photographs, jewelry, panties. Looks like the guy’s into saving trophies.”

    “Is he dead?” I say, looking at the giant on the ground. I quickly start to untie the woman.

    “If he ain’t, he’s gonna be pissed.” Aaron takes out his cell and dials 911.

    When the woman is free, I help her stand. She puts her arms around me and cries on my shoulder. When the police arrive I’ve learned her name is Mandy and she won’t let go of me. The officer in charge allows me to stay with her as she is questioned. When the ambulance gets there, I ride with her to the hospital. Before we drive off, I see overall man being led to a squad car in shackles. Aaron is looking skyward, searching for his own rainbow.

    1. Jay

      D*mn fine work, John. Kept me intrigued the whole time. It’s dark yet satisfying. A serial killer who’s getting what he deserves. Going to jail, and the girl is saved. Definitely must say it again, very satisfying. The vivid imagery is definitely my favorite. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        It rings with gritty truth, I’m sorry to say. Your prose is hauntingly beautiful even with a noir subject. Sometimes I think you should screen write. there is a huge need as you can tell by seeing recent movies. John, I think you’d be a natiural at it, think what fun it would be.

    2. snuzcook

      Nice one, John! Fast paced, hero comes to the rescue, bad guy shows up, ally shows up and saves hero, bad guy is arrested and hero gets girl. A great ‘believe in the rainbow’ story. Last line is great!

    3. Critique

      Beautiful descriptive writing here and a great story. The ‘loud clank’ to the villain’s head with the shovel was fortuitous (yes! – fist pump here-) but I did wonder how his friend Aaron could pop up so expeditiously.

      1. jhowe

        Yeah, that was an incredible stroke of luck to have Aaron show up without any introductions or at least a hint. He probably should have been in the area somehow. Glad you like it.

    4. ReathaThomasOakley

      Jhowe, in spite of the horror at the end, this is a lovely, lyrical story, full of hope. The scene descriptions were magical, that’s the sort of thing I have difficulty with, so I appreciate it all the more.

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