The Flood That Sparked Your Memory

A dark and heavy storm suddenly takes over your neighborhood, dropping 6 feet of water so quickly that the storm drains can’t handle it. The water flooded your street and your basement, ruining many of your things. As you rummage through your stuff, you are filled with memories. Think about your basement and pick an item that would have been ruined and write about the memory you have of it (and why it’s memorable to you).

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

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170 thoughts on “The Flood That Sparked Your Memory

  1. Kailyn Bouche

    In the room below my home, we try to keep only “over-flow” items. These items are just that of which we don’t need sitting out in the house, but things that mean too much to merely toss away. My husband and I keep our guns down there, out of reach of the children, and boxes filled with miscellaneous items that we have yet to unpack from our move. I am devastated by this storm but our family and the memories are safe with us and for that, I am grateful.
    In a big box that was labelled “clothes” my husband had packed up our daughter’s clothes that they had outgrown. When we packed up and moved from our old house, the girls were just 3 and now they had turned five and they were “big girls”. These clothes had a special place in our hearts because these two little angels were not even supposed to be here. When I became pregnant with my babies, the doctor told me that it was by some “miracle” that they were there in the first place. I had always been told that I would never be able to have my own kids, so my husband and I were looking to adopt. All of this changed that day. Since then, we never looked back. These clothes meant so much more to us than we ever could have imagined. That’s why I splashed through the flood to this box first. If my beautiful babies could no longer wear these outfits anymore, they could be washed and dried and donated to another family who needs them. First thing in the morning, my husband and I will drive to the local laundromat and wash these memories to donate and help others create memories of their own.

  2. M.H.Chavez

    After the water calmed from the raging storm that flooded my basement. I walked down to asses the damage, anticipating the disaster down below. However, to my surprise, a sea shell floated by my feet giving me a feeling of nostalgia. As I bent down to pick up the sea shell and feeling the rough crevices in between my finger tips, I thought back to my vacation to South Padre Island. Feeling the cold water as it filled my shoes, reminded me of the waves washing over my feet on the beach. I couldn’t help but to set up old worn out lawn chair and feel the warmth of the sun touch my skin. And as I was drifting of into a peaceful sleep, I let the smell of a salty beach fill my nostrils. When I woke up and I was aware of my flooded basement, thanks to my sea shell, I knew things would work out after all.

  3. Julia Tello

    It was a very calm and quiet evening of the month of October. I remember been about 8 years old. I was able to see all of us children playing and listening to adults talking about a scary event that was about to take place soon. Everything was confusing but I never asked what was going to happen. The night came we all went to sleep like everyday. In the middle of the night I remember waking up to raising water. My parents and siblings trying to get the water out of the room. I was able to see all of our belongings swimming and some even going away. Toys for children are precious and valuable items. I remember some of my most precious dolls were never found. It has been one of the most terrifying moments of my life.

  4. Kimba

    By the grace of my god I have never had to deal with a flood directly. Just reading some of the comments to this post bring up a lot of feelings of people that may have lost everything. I would hope that if I could pick one thing from the basement ,it would be non-replaceable family pictures. If all of my family was spared in this horrific event that would be good enough for me. I read somewhere that you can place things is your dishwasher to protect them in a flood. Its water proof and is usually the appliance that survives.

  5. esmeralda.lizardi

    We watched the news the night before but had no idea the catastrophic impact that the rain would bring in. It was announced too late, impossible for us to save everything. Although we did our best to save the most important things by pilling everything on to our beds some things were impossible to save.
    It has been two days and there seems to be no sign of escape from the rain. It might stop to get our hopes up about it clearing only to start back up again. Moms been so upset about all our stuff getting ruined. I let her know that all those things can be replaced though, we can buy new furniture, ones she likes better than the old ones. She says it’s not about the furniture but about all the hard work she had to put in to be able to even afford a couch. She tries to cheer up but I know it is killing her inside to see our house that we have worked so hard for like this.
    The one place I know for sure is not going to make it, Is the basement along with everything down there. Our very first washer and dryer, Christmas decorations, the big inflatable turkey we set up outside every year around thanksgiving, but more importantly all of dad’s old stuff. Going through all his stuff is definitely going to be the worst part out of everything that were going to have to go through, we have been pushing it off since he passed six months ago but now we have no other choice but to.
    I make my way down the hall along with mom right next to me. We take a moment before we crack the door open not knowing what to expect but I know were going to have to do it someday, might as well get it over with. I pull on the knob and automatically smell the horrendous smell of everything smothered with water. Making our way down the stairs I can already see some of dad’s clothes floating, I give mom a look as she wipes the tear away from her cheek. I squeeze her hand to let her know that it is going to be okay. As we finally touch floor I can feel water up to my knees. We pick up clothes, ornaments, and anything that is floating around with the water.
    After we are done sorting everything we decide to wash the clothes and donate them. It is much better than to throw everything away. We thought about keeping it but once we washed them the smell of him and all the memories were gone with the water. Its what he would have wanted us to do. The clothes might not be able to help us remember him anymore but they can help someone else keep warm.

  6. reynac

    As I sit in the basement and look at what is left of my life from this horrible storm, I observed the box that has been stored away for many years to try and forget the painful memory but what hurt the most was when I opened the box that contained my deceased son’s gown, pacifier and blanket that was mailed to me after his autopsy and it no longer had his scent. Even tho it has been 18 yrs. it still seemed as if you could smell his fragrance on his clothing, that is until the water ruined it. True enough I may have the memories but I lost something so valuable to me in the midst of this storm which made me feel like I lost him all over again.

    1. sachit.upadhyaya

      Very descriptive and filled with emotion, I got sad whilst reading this. A very good start to a very heartbreaking and detailed essay. I liked the part where the memories of the baby could make the old clothing smell as if it did not lose its fragrance. And this would be much more effective if one were to use full words for example on the fourth line second sentence the word “though” is used as “tho”.

  7. ali.ullah14

    “…Its been a while” Luke said to himself as he lifted the mask floating next to the stairs. The basement had flooded again but finally from a natural cause. Luke hadn’t ventured into the basement since the incident… The walls screamed at him while the water taunted his demise. he felt the texture of the mask, “smooth as ever,” he said smiling to himself. Memories of his previous life filled him with splitting images of good and bad to a point where he didn’t even know if smiling was the right choice of emotion.
    Holding the mask he tried to rush for all the good memories just so he could avoid thoughts of that night. The more he looked for escape the more entrapped he found himself to be. Before long, Luke found himself in the dark place.
    Luke saw himself in the corner, a younger version of himself holding his mask in full attire. The water was gone and he was in the dim-lit basement with equipment and computers everywhere. Tears were screaming down young Luke’s eyes. He didn’t know what to do..he had no more control over his body. another tear and another splurge of water from his finger. The more he cried, the worse it became. The older Luke just stood there staring and gasped as his mother walked through him and rushed to the younger Luke. She was trying to comfort him “everything will be ok look,” he heard in a far away world. That sentence ricocheted from the walls of the basement as his younger self, looking into his mothers caring eyes, burst into tears even more so than earlier. Self-impairment and lack of control caused it. Blaming everything other than himself, Luke sat down into the water…maybe to hide the new tears, maybe to hide the powers that betrayed him. No, just to hide his shame.

  8. Lioness075

    In the dark, I strained to see where I was headed only to produce my iPhone and turn on its flashlight, illuminating the hallway before me. Carefully, I made my way downstairs and then down a second flight of stairs to find myself in the basement where several feet of water had flooded all of it. Frowning at the sight, my heart quickened, as I realized I’d have to wade through this mess to find my stuff and most of it or even all of it was ruined by now. Even better, the water was high enough to leave me holding my arms up awkwardly at my sides and gripping my phone tightly so as to not ruin it in the water that had all but engulfed the basement.

    Hearing my old tennis shoes squelch in the water while I waded along in the dark, damp basement, I soon found the storage area and many soiled cardboard boxes. An old, musty smell filled the air and I paused uncertainly at the first box I approached. It was stacked up on top of another, but enough water had gotten in to ruin even this one. Gingerly, I opened it to reveal its contents in the bright cellphone lighting, finding my old blanket completely falling apart at the top.

    Fighting back tears, I carefully picked it up one of its corners only to watch the strings disconnect from one another and it flopped back down in the cardboard box with a splat. Cursing under my breath, I tried to wipe away the tears, as I stared at my ruined blanket. The day I was born, my mom had given it to me and back then, it was pink. While growing up, it had become white after a babysitter accidentally bleached it in the wash. After growing out of liking the color pink, I’d loved its white color, except the blanket had started falling apart on its own due to its old material. Now, the blanket was nothing but a gray with a musky smell that made my noise crinkle.

    And with that, I burst into tears and leaned against the cardboard box, as I looked down at my permanently ruined blanket with full remorse. There was no way to fix it now and it had been my object of comfort throughout my life when a person could not help me. I’d cried into it so many times and hugged it for the comfort I could not find in people, but now it was gone for good. I wasn’t ready for this goodbye. I never would be, too.

  9. cjmurphy1982

    Oh, not my all school books. Tom sat on the basement steps, water up to his knees and his fishing waders only partially keeping his butt dry. He tenderly held what remained of his Cundle Heights school books in his cupped hands, like a father holding his baby for the first time. He stared down, a nostalgic pang struck a chord of his heartstrings so hard that it felt like a physical pain.

    Maybe life hadn’t amounted to much for Tom Patrick Smith but these books, they were testament to former glories. Captain of the soccer team, 81 goals in 60 games, an unprecedented feat in these parts. Vice-captain of the debating team (would have been president but debates often clashed with soccer games), also voted most popular kid in school. His yearbook quote was derivative and simple but in the context of his school years completely appropriate – ‘vedi, vini, vici’ – displaying his ability to be pithy, knowledgable and confidence all in one simple phrase.

    Now here he sits, wearing the fishing waders that he’d always hated, possible the only thing he hated more than fishing itself was having to put on these monstrosities. Yet his father had always insisted they should be worn, even on that day when Claire Kapowski and her friends were swimming in the stream, looking unforgettable in their little bikini’s, oh how they had laughed when Tom and his dad trudged into the water looking like they were ready to clean out sewage.

    Tom could hear his wife, Nancy, calling him down – telling him in no uncertain what was important and what wasn’t, what needed to be saved and what didn’t. Sounds awful clear whose things matter thought Tom. Not much, no, not anything, of his mentioned on that important ‘to be saved at all costs’ list.

    His old history book had somehow survived mainly intact, trapped in between two ruined year books. Tom found a piece he had written about the pharoahs and what still may be uncovered at the sites of the Pyramids in Egypt. He didn’t re-read the work but flicked directly to the teacher’s comments.
    ‘Excellent work Tom A+. Clearly you have attained knowledge way beyond that contained within the text books provided, dilligence, a keen eye for detail and much hard work demonstrated. Look forward to watching your series on the history channel in a few years :-)’

    Tom tossed the book into the pool of water in his basement. Oh, how he’d wanted to be an historian or a archaelogist and travel the world to see all those ancient cities and monuments first hand. Now he was a foodstore manager in commutersville and he hated it. He lamented his own failings and inability to pursue his dreams, cursed his lack of courage for not standing up to his parents and taking the scholarship in Europe. Damned himself for the lack of backbone that allowed his wife to make all the important decisions about their lives and future.

    How he could see it now, all these years later, giving up on the pursuit of his dreams had meant giving up on himself. He had never recovered and this zombie like existence of carrying out chores and doing a job he hated was the result. He cried. He knew Nancy would hear so he stopped abruptly. The last thing he wanted was a lecture from her for being a big softie who cries over old school books.

    Tom waded through the water, and with one great effort managed to force open the window at the far end of the basement, which had been shut for fifteen years. He could just about still crawl through. Once out on the back lawn he took off the waders, dropped them in the trash, got in his car and started driving – away. He never went back.

  10. cosi van tutte

    This one’s kind of a cheat as in it’s raining in the story, but no flood. My characters don’t even get wet. But I figured, after pestering Ambrose and Elsie on my blog for the past couple months, it was well past time to bring these characters back. Besides, the prompt just seemed to be asking for it. 😀

    ****

    Cayleen Inneshae sat by the window, watching the rain come down. She looked up at the sky. “The sky is gray.”

    The waiter came to her table. “Are you ready to order?”

    “Hmm. Oh!” She did a quick scan of the menu. “Tomato soup and grilled cheese.”

    “Okay. And anything to drink?”

    “Orange juice will be fine.”

    “I’ll go place your order.” As soon as he left, Cayleen looked up at the sky. “It’s gray.” A vague memory fluttered inside of her. “Gray.” She frowned. “Something else was gray and it wasn’t the sky. It was…It was…”

    She startled as his face appeared in her mind. Large cat-like eyes. Gray. Gray fur with faint black stripes. Sharp fangs. Long limbs. Long, thin fingers. Wrong. All wrong.

    Her heart raced and she couldn’t understand why. She wasn’t afraid of him. And she couldn’t understand why.

    “Here’s your orange juice. We’re just waiting on the soup. I’ll bring your sandwich out to you when it’s all ready.”

    “Yes. Thank you.”

    It wasn’t raining when I first met him. The moon was full and the night was cool. And he was there, lying on the ground. He woke up coughing, coughing so hard.

    She frowned. He said things that didn’t make sense. He called me by a different name. He said that I was just like him. But…

    She looked down at her ten fingers and unfurred hands. “I am nothing like him. Why would he say that?”

    “Sorry about the wait. Here’s your sandwich and here’s your soup. Be careful. They’re both hot.”

    “Thanks.” She picked up the sandwich.

    A memory flashed bright and she saw her hands holding something like a sandwich. But the bread was thin and coarse and a frightening shade of old green. She longed for better bread. Bread that was soft and delicate and beautiful to look at. But that kind was off limits to her.

    Cayleen startled and set it back down. She held up her hands. Ten fingers. No fur. I am me. I am Cayleen Inneshae. I am me.

    I am not Asree.

    She picked up her sandwich again and took a bite.

    A young woman with sleek blonde hair slid into the booth behind her with one of her friends.

    Cayleen took another bite.

    “So, like I did it. I like totally did it!”

    Cayleen stopped in mid-chew. That voice. I’ve heard it before.

    “I finally told that like loser-faced boyfriend of mine to either propose or like totally Green Mile it.”

    “Oh. My. Gosh. You told him to die?”

    “Whaat? Like, no. I told him to like take a long hike and get lost. Like, I’ve been waiting for this proposal for like, I don’t know, like forever.”

    “You’ve only known him for two weeks.”

    “So not the point.”

    I can’t recall being around someone like her before. She doesn’t seem like the sort of company I would keep, but…

    Another memory. A karaoke bar. That woman’s annoying voice yapping at her, trying to pull him away.

    Another memory. But this one was faint and distant. Something to do with an…arena?

    “So, he was like ‘Oh, no babe. I can’t afford a proposal right now’. And I was sooo like what the heck? How expensive is a proposal?”

    “May I take your orders, ladies?”

    “Yes. I will have the broccoli bacon chowder with a side order of bacon strips. And a tall glass of ginger ale.”

    “Verrry good. And you?”

    “Like, I totally want a cup of the cabbage soup with a big dish of diced yams.”

    Cayleen dropped her sandwich.

    Another memory. That woman’s voice. “Jack Jillhouse! You yam-diggerin’ yahoo!” “”Name’s Callie McGarr, you mud-drinkin’ Cabbage Patch doll.”

    Cayleen sat there in stiff-backed shock as that memory expanded.

    There was a table and the table was bare. Except for two objects: a golden hammer with red stripes and a clear goblet filled with a blue liquid. Small green and red and brown eels swam through the blue, swirling and twirling in a beautiful dance.

    Jack had to make a choice.

    “If you choose the cup, you’ll forget everything. You’ll go back to Earth and forget me again. If you choose the hammer, you’ll remember everything. You’ll return to your true form. You’ll be Lord Deama again.”

    “Lord Deama was a murderer.” Jack said softly.

    He touched her face. His ten fingers on her fur. “I had my reasons for what I did, but that wasn’t good enough. I’m sorry, Asree. I don’t want to be Lord Deama ever again.”

    “Then, this is good-bye.”

    “I’m sorry.” He picked up the cup and drank it dry.

    He fell to the floor unconscious.

    And the memory ended.

    “Like, ohmigosh! This is the best soup ever!”

    She looked at her hands again. Wrong. All wrong.

    She lowered her hands and looked up at the gray sky. “But what can I do? Where do I go from here?”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I felt like an outsider when the story started to reveal but then a total supporter of the MC as she struggled with her memories. Characters from long ago, correct?

        1. cosi van tutte

          Hi, Kerry!

          Sorry for making you feel out of the loop. 🙁

          I first introduced Asree/Cayleen Inneshae, Jack Jilhouse/Lord Deama, and Callie in the “Busted” prompt from Novermber 11, 2014. 🙂 <- That would be my frozen smile of shock. I can't believe that it's been that long since I started their on again/off again adventures.

  11. I love writing

    Harmonica stared at what the waters had left.
    Pieces paper lay scattered everywhere.
    Harmonica one by one picked up the scattered pieces of damp paper.
    Looking at the pictures of her family. Her friends.
    But one paper caught her attention more than any other.
    A letter, or what was left of it.
    The water made the ink looks like blobs.
    Harmonica could barely make out words.
    It was a note from her aunt.
    “Jamie! I have been so happy to meet your daughter…………………………. she’s a good child………….. organized,”
    Harmonica felt tears in her eyes. Her aunt had just passed away 2 days ago…….. in a car crash.
    Her aunt had always been kind, with that friendly smile and joyful laugh.
    She was Harmonica’s only friend, for she had no sisters and was homeschooled.
    Now she was gone, and so was everything and everyone in Harmonica’s house……

    1. agnesjack

      So sad, I love writing, but sometimes the memory of the unconditional love of someone can help with the grieving. It’s a blessing that not everyone has.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        It is sad in a way but think if Harmonica never had the aunt to love. You write tight and that isn’t easy for anyone. Keep them coming, we like to read.

  12. agnesjack

    The storm was just another horror in a long parade of horrors for Marjorie, so when she looked down the basement steps and saw all her memories drifting in a foot of water, she gave up. She closed the door, sat in her favorite chair and stared at the edge of nothing for a very long time.

    When awareness crept back in, she had a vision of something floating in the water that she hadn’t thought of for decades. She jumped up, went to the basement door, opened it and there it was, bumping gently against the bottom step.

    The shaft of the little toy arrow was splintered and bent and the feather at the end was missing most of its hairs, but the suction cup tip was still there. She straightened the remaining hairs of the feather, realigned the wooden shaft and mended it with masking tape. Then she carefully removed the suction cup tip and placed it in hot, soapy water to remove some of the grime.

    The memory was so vivid. How could she have forgotten? Her brother, Georgie, had been the one to lick the tip and shoot it at the ceiling. Their mother had joked that his spit must have been magical. They would sit at the dining room table during dinner, taking bets on when it would fall. As the weeks, then months passed, the arrow on the dining room ceiling became a legendary conversation piece, a family treasure, an heirloom.

    Marjorie didn’t recall when, exactly, she had rescued it from the basement of her father’s house. Perhaps it was when he remarried a year after their mother had died. She had grabbed boxes of stuff, because she was afraid her stepmother would sell the valuables and throw away the rest. Money was far more important to her stepmother than memories.

    She took the tip out of the water, rinsed it and dabbed it dry. Although the rubber was a little stiff and slightly cracked, it still seemed pliable enough to stick.

    “I wonder,” she said out loud as she put the tip back onto the shaft. “Well, I don’t have your spit, Georgie, but maybe there’s something in the DNA.”

    Thinking of Georgie exposed the ache in her heart that was always just below the surface. He had been a sensitive, dear soul, who just couldn’t hold on after their mom died.

    “Okay, Georgie,” she said as she picked up the arrow and climbed onto a dining room chair. “Here goes!”

    She licked the rubber tip, pressed it onto the ceiling and closed her eyes before letting go. After a moment she opened her eyes. It was still there. She climbed down and stood there laughing at the wonderous sight of that hopeful, happy heirloom.

    “Thanks, mom. Love you, Georgie,” she said, then blew her nose and went to find the wetvac.

      1. agnesjack

        The part about the arrow is actually true, Reatha. My older sister was the one with the magic spit and it stayed on the dining room ceiling for months until the room was painted and the painters took it down. Who knows how long it would have stayed otherwise? 😉

        1. Kerry Charlton

          You know Nancy, you are a magic weaver! These kind of stories hit home with me. Small, personal things between children hold so many significant memories. Especially when we get older. When I was initiated into Sigma Chi in college, I had no idea my older brother who also was a Sigma Chi, would be at a catholic church at seven in the morning and pin the white cross of Sigma Chi on me. What a surprise to be finally able to see [blindfolded for hours] and then see him standing in front of me.

  13. Kerry Charlton

    NATASHA IVANOFF

    THIRTY THOUSAND EMAILS

    PART SIX

    {Part 1 -5 on blog kerrybcharlton.blogspot.com]

    Vince could see the missile trail approach his plane. It seemed to be gaining on the F16 Fighting Falcon. So much for outrunning it. ‘Now what?’ he thought

    “Hold on your teeth,” Bill announced as he flew straight up, bellied over and descended at an enormous speed. The missile followed like a well trained puppy, Bill deployed an anti-plane heat seeker and destroyed it.

    “One down, one to go,” Vince said.

    “You think, you’re wrong, two more show on the screen, that’s six.”

    “Bill, Bill can you hear me?”

    “Yeah Doug, you okay?”

    “Kind of . Question? Natasha wants to use the cannon.”

    “For God’s sake, let her. Any kills yet?’

    “One and you?”

    “Same, that leaves four more. Got to go.”

    Vince saw two vapor trails winding through the azure sky, zig zaging trying to keep up with the F16,

    “Let me at the cannon Bill.”

    “Okay, I’ll maneuver for a pass. You’ll have about three seconds. Ready?”

    Vince came close to bye-bye land from the G force but held on. “There’s no way I’ll hit anything at this speed,’ he thought but after the pass and one missile exploded, he did a thumbs up to Bill.

    “Bill?’

    “Yeah Doug, what’s up?”

    “Natasha nailed a second one, but it exploded close to the plane and we’re hit with shrapnel in the fore cabin. She’s been injured but waving okay to me. She is one hell of a woman.”

    “You better nail the third one Doug and get down under thirty thousand.”

    “Got it chief.”

    “Vince, we have to end this, we’re going head to head. Aim true buddy.”

    With a flat one eighty, Bill’s radar gun site settled in on the last missile and he fired again. The F16, literally catapulted though the fireball and kicked ass toward Doug’s plane. Launching his last heat seeker, Bill yelled at Doug,

    “Full power Doug, we don’t want the heat seeker to get confused.”

    The last explosion was sweet victory. Bill chased after Doug and they flew side by side. Natasha weakly waved at Vince.

    “Doug, head to Denver International. I’ll clear you through and follow.”

    “Another problem Bill, I’m having trouble keeping this crate airborne. We’ve got rips everywhere and they‘re getting worse by the minute“

    “Okay, okay, Doug. I‘ll fly under and give you some more lift. Drop speed to three fifty, radar shows less than one hundred and fifty miles to landing. Will the air boost help?”

    “Yes, but it‘s so dangerous flying on top of each other, do we have other options?“

    ‘Afraid not Doug, just keep her steady and don’t change power. If you start to dip, I’ll compensate.”

    The control tower at Denver gathered around the screen, including the airport manager, eyes fixated on a most unusual sight.

    “How close are they flying?” Warren Upright asked.

    “Near as I can tell chief, less than six feet apart They‘re traveling slow, about three

    hundred or so.”

    “What happens when they approach, Frank?”

    .”The F16 underneath will shoot out from under at about 100 feet above ground. It’s a hair-raising maneuver. Especially for a heavy attack plane like the 16.“ .
    .

    :

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Cosi, I am quite fond of my characters here and may keep going for awhile. There are so many avenues to take this, they won’t always be on the run.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Manwe, it is kind of a dog fight with missiles. I doubt if it is really done this way but ………….. it’s my story. Let’s see what happens next and how badly Natasha is injguired.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Reatha for stringing along. There may be a half dozen more parts. Somewhere, the worm’s going to turn and Natasha and Vince will go on the attack and bring the Ruskies down or die trying.

    1. jhowe

      What a rush. You sprinkled in a lot of cool description and kept the dialog flowing throughout. I barely had time to breathe. I’m not sure if that underneath maneuver is preformed or not, but I’m buying it.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks John, aeronautically, it’s not an enormous help but it does help some. Anyway, I’m using it. I’m glad you’re enjoying this. So am I and I’m going to keep going with it , how long, I don’t have a clue. I always appreciate your support and help here.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Hellp John, this is probably all wrong but here is my explanation. In lift, there is an item referred to as “ground effect”. Now consider the lower plane flying with his wing directly under the above plane’s wing and consider that as ground effect. Because the ground inhibits the circulation of the air under the wing, so less downwash is necessary to provide the lift. The angle of attack is reduced and so is the induced power, making the wing more efficient. God help me in an aeronautical engineer reads this. My degree’s in Marketing.

  14. igonzales81

    I’m an artist.

    Or at least I was.

    I used to make objects of great beauty, sculpting them with my tools, my hands, my mind and heart and soul.

    Now I sit on my porch swing, rocking listlessly, cold in the sunlight I can’t feel. I watch the waters flowing past in the street, and wonder why fate did this to me.

    They said on the news that it was a freak convergence zone, a sudden downpour that lasted less than ten hours and brought half a dozen feet of rain into my quaint, little corner of the world. It flooded everything, homes and shops alike, washing all the dirt and trash away but making nothing clean or clear.

    Except our sins.

    It got into my own basement, so fast I could do nothing for my treasures. All my tools were ruined, my saws and drills and worktables. But those were finite things, ephemeral in the larger scheme and easily replaceable.

    When the water knocked out my backup generator, that was truly a loss. My freezer shut down, and all its contents spoiled. All my materials, lost to the sad fact of decay. There was nothing I could do to save any of it.

    I fled, along with most everyone in town. We all sought shelter on higher ground, and for a time I took comfort in the knowledge that so many had made it, so much had truly been spared for a later time.

    I sat there, surrounded by what was left of my humanity, and remembered all the better times, all the work I had done, all my successes and even a few of my failures. I indulged in nostalgia, not knowing I would never make such fine memories ever again.

    The depth of the tragedy did not strike me until I returned home, and found that the police had beaten me there.

    The flood had saturated the dirt floor of my basement, and my failures—those sad, wasteful recollection that I had sought to hide—came free of the prisoning soil. I’m told that it was a party of rescue workers who saw the first skull floating out of my basement. That, of course, led them to everything else.

    Now I’m sitting here, chained like a mad dog. The police stand around me, staring at me like I’m some sort of monster, one which they can’t afford to turn their backs on, as we wait for the boat that will take me to my fate.
    I can’t help but sigh at the memories that flood me.

    I was an artist.

    But no more.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Shiver and more shivers. The poor man has lost all sense of reality. I question what he used tye bodies for, maybe making casts from them. You’ve portrayed such an intriguing, damaged MC, the reader has feeling for him because he probabky doesn’t realize the scope of horror he’s created. Nice job on that, humanizing a monster that you have. A quirk of fate exposed him but somewhere it would have happened anyway. Reminds me of Vincent Price’s “House Of Wax”.

  15. Not-Only But-Also Riley

    The Family Luna

    It was late night when the storm hit, but I easily awoke as a clap of thunder shook our windows. I turned to look in the bed next to mine, where Ira still slept soundly. I tossed and turned, but couldn’t drop back into the sweet sleep I had been in before the storm awoke me.

    So, I tiptoed from my bed, through the hallway and past Alvah’s room, where a (literally) blindingly bright light poured from underneath the closed door, as it always did. When I reached Abishai’s room I pushed the door slightly open, wincing at the screech it let out.
    “Abishai?” I called into the darkness, “Are you awake?” Silence for a minute, but then, he answered.
    “Yes. How could I sleep with this storm threatening to take down the entire house?” he asked me. I pushed the door all the way open to see him sitting up, with a candle lit next to his bed and a book in his hands. He set it aside as I walked in.
    “Well, Alvah certainly has no trouble sleeping,” I muttered to him.
    “Ezra, he’s our dad. Don’t call him Alvah…”
    “He wouldn’t care what I called him,” I found myself saying much too loud, “why do you? He’s even worse to you than he is to me.”
    “Listen, Ezra, it doesn’t matter. We should look up to him. Baruch would want you to…”
    I blushed as my brother brought up that name.
    “We don’t know that. All we know is that Baruch’s dad was once friends with Alvah. We don’t know anything at all about their past. About what happened to his dad.”
    Abishai sighed, understanding he wouldn’t get through to me. He was ready to go back to sleep, but I wasn’t done.
    “When was the last time you even saw Alvah come out of his room?”
    “You know why he doesn’t…” Abishai was getting angry with me, I could hear it in his voice.

    But everything ceased as I heard footsteps from the hallway. The bright light that had once come from under Alvah’s doorway now poured into Abishai’s room. Abishai turned away, leaving me to look at the back of his head.

    “What is going on?” Alvah’s booming voice called out to us. While I couldn’t actually look at him, I could feel his presence in my skull. His large figure that I had only seen in pictures, standing nearly eight feet tall. A being made entirely of a piercing white light.
    “The storm woke me…” I mumbled to him.
    “Storm?” he asked, sounding, for the first time in my entire life, panicked. The light grew dim and booming footsteps moved through the home as he left the doorway. Once he was far enough away Abishai looked back at me.
    “What was wrong?” I asked him. Abishai’s eyes were wide, his mouth agape.
    “You didn’t hear…” he whispered, sounding on the verge of breaking down entirely, “…the chains coming from his ankles… they were gone.”
    Understanding immediately what this meant I ran to the basement door, where the light that was Alvah now poured. I called down.
    “Alvah… is… is mom okay?”
    Nothing responded. Suddenly, the light faded entirely, as if it had been turned off.
    I gasped. This was it. Mom had died and Alvah had taken himself with her.

    Still not knowing for sure if it was safe, I stepped down the stairs. I had never been in the basement. Alvah had always told us not to go down there. That mom would kill us. He said if one little thing went wrong she could burn down the whole house with us inside, and that she wouldn’t hesitate to do it. That was why down in the basement, with chains made from Alvah’s very being wrapped around his wrists and ankles, was the only place she could be safe.

    As I stepped down an image came into view. A human man… one I had only seen in pictures from a very long time ago… held a tall women body that was shaking, and sizzling as the fire that normally made its body up was being put up by the leaking rain. The man cried as the giant woman sizzled.

    Alvah had cried.

    1. Not-Only But-Also Riley

      This probably doesn’t make much sense at all, and that is because it is a small part of something longer. So, here’s some stuff that might help so that it is readable:
      Abishai is Ezra’s brother and Ira is her sister. Their dad is Alvah, he is a god-like being made entirely of white light that would blind a human if they looked at it (which happened to Ira). Their mom is also a god-like being, and she is made of fire. She went crazy after Ira was blinded and Alvah, fearing nowhere else would be able to hold her, made chains that come out of his ankles and locked her in the basement. After this Alvah became extremely bitter and mean to the kids. Baruch is Ezra’s best friend and love interest that had a dad that was also one of the god things. Finally, the god things can take the form of humans, but Alvah considers it weak.

      Hmm. That might of just made it more confusing. Oh well, hopefully that helped a little.

      1. Beebles

        Blimey o’riley as the saying goes, there is some serious power in this and depth. Intrigued as to how it all works. The explanation confirmed much of what I guessed though I had this odd image of gods and children in a normal suburban house which was weird.

  16. Witt.Stanton

    Hiraeth:
    (n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home with maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

    Dust lazily swirled in the sunbeam as I sat on the basement steps, staring at a photograph taken years ago. How terrible it is to love something that death can touch. I felt my finger trace the small letters carved into the wood. Memories touched the surface of my thoughts like leaves on a glassy lake.

    I closed my eyes.

    Piano music swirled around me, my mother’s fingers flying over the keys and her voice floating into a song I used to know. The muggy air in the small room filled the space, yet, when I opened my eyes, I saw my father dancing, holding my hand, twirling me.

    A smile tugged at the corner of my lips. Sitting on top the old wooden piano, my older brother began to sing. As my seven-year-old self pirouetted around the basement and he laughed in delight. I was home.

    Bits of debris rained from the ceiling and the house shakily groaned, the wall nearest to me listing to the right. A tear streaked down my smudgy cheek. The music was gone, replaced with thick silence.

    With unsteady legs, I made my way over the water-clogged piano. I sat down on the bench and began to play, my fingers stumbling over the keys. The notes echoed around the damp space, sounding disconnected to my ears as the house moaned again. I felt so alone.

    I closed my eyes.

    My mother’s hand ghosted over mine, reminding me of the notes I had forgotten long ago. The song began to resurface from my rippling pool of memories, waiting for me to remember how it went. As the music came to life around me, my brother began to sing and my father sat down next to me, watching me play with a sparkle in his eyes.

    Dried plaster rained down on my shoulders and the house creaked above me. I continued playing. It didn’t matter that they were gone; I was home.

    1. igonzales81

      That was very well done. Your technique really puts images into the mind, draws the reader into the story, and conveys the character’s emotion. A very good read.

    2. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Witt!

      I love the second to the last paragraph where he imagines them all together again. It made me think of the “Once Upon A December” sequence from the animated Anastasia when she’s dancing with her father’s ghost.

      Is it okay that I’m deeply concerned for your MC’s safety at the end? Sounds like that place is ready to drop onto his head. 🙁

  17. Ananfal

    This actually happened to me – not fun. Several grand down the drain (pun not intended) for repairs and years of memories destroyed.

    ———-

    Marley woke me up with a tongue to my face, licking into my ears and nose with the knowledge that doing anything else would just result in me giving her a loud snore and rolling over. Even a hurricane couldn’t wake me up from the depths of sleep.

    By the time I had gotten up and actually woke up my brain, the water had already risen a foot.

    I didn’t have much to take with me, so I grabbed what little food I had, the few identification papers I kept (just in case) and the stash of cash I had saved for a rainy day (the irony did not escape me – it was pouring buckets outside). That all went into a black duffel bag, then I filled it up with Marley’s stuff and zipped it shut.

    The water had risen another few inches during this time.

    “Marley!” I called into the darkness, and my heart seized for a split second when there was no reply. The lightning flashed outside my window and in that instant of light, I saw her, already at the door, looking back at me with the expression that said I was being slow again. The rush of relief made my knees weak, and I gave her a grateful smile. She was unimpressed.

    That moment of terror pushed me into action and I grabbed the duffel bag in one hand, scooped up Marley in the other, and ran out the door. The rain blinded me as I slipped and stumbled down the slope, the water tugging at my knees and threatening to pull me down. (When had it gotten that high?) But Marley shivering under my arm reminded me that there was more at stake here then just me.

    I had looked at the evacuation route for my zone when I first ‘moved in’, and I still remembered after all this time. I took a short cut through an already almost flooded alleyway, which cut my time to the shelter in half. I could see the last remaining stragglers like me rushing towards the dark building ahead, and I did the same. Marley wriggled under my arm, but I didn’t dare loosen my grip.

    The water was up to my thighs now.

    The duffel bag over my shoulder, I reached out with a hand to open the shelter door. Hands reached out to help me in, but instead I shoved Marley at them. “Get her dry.” I rasped at them. “Please. She needs to be dry.” She couldn’t get sick. I couldn’t let that happen to her. Not after she saved me.

    I stood there, shivering, watching over her as they made sure she was dry before turning to me. This time I let them, the volunteers confidently patting me down after hours of practice on others. I always kept one eye on Marley, even when I was given spare clothes and had to change behind a curtain. Finally Marley came bounding into my arms and I hugged her, pressing her warm body to my face and inhaling deeply as I felt the burning in my eyes.

    We were safe. Marley had saved me, and I had saved her.

      1. Ananfal

        It took me a while to understand what you mean – this happened to a friend, not me. My own story is much less dangerous, involving only a flooded basement. However, I felt Marley deserved a shout out for her brave actions (by the end of the night, the water stood above her head and still she was unafraid) so I gave her one.

        Hopefully my writing did justice to the actual event.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          It certainly did justice. I held my breath while your MC made her way to the shelter. I can imagine the terror because rising water is a killer and quick about it. Love the inclusion of Marley, really made the story zing.

          1. Ananfal

            Thanks, but how could I leave Marley out?! Shes practically the main character. 😛

            In shallow water (meaning up to your knees) the main danger is tripping and being unable to regain your feet because of the water. In deeper water, the real damage is simply being tugged off your feet by the current. Tripping is practically an impossibility.

  18. cosi van tutte

    Looking back on it, I should have known that it would happen. I should have seen its inevitability. But I couldn’t see it. Not at that time. For I was happy.

    And I was deeply in love.

    I was married – a brand new wife embarking on her happily ever after. My life would be full of sunlight and dancing on the hard ground and planting things in the soft dirt.

    I didn’t expect water to re-enter my life.

    But it did.

    The rains came fast and hard. Water fell from the sky. So much water it could fill the earth and make it all ocean.

    It didn’t.

    But it flooded our basement.

    I discovered it the day after the rains stopped.

    I walked downstairs and there it was. Water! All the way up to the fifth step. I walked down to the step right above it all and crouched down.

    Water.

    I carefully dipped my toes in. Not both feet. Just the right one.

    Oh, but it was so much warmer than I’d expected it to be.

    Water.

    Home.

    Full of life.

    “Ishma?” My husband walked down the stairs. “What are you…Ah! Look at that mess.”

    I stood. Straight, slim, and tall. “It isn’t a mess. It’s water.”

    “Ishma.” I could hear the worry in his voice. “Please come upstairs with me. I’ll get someone to clean it up. Don’t worry about it.”

    I set my right foot on the next step down. My foot sank like a ship at sea and it was a lovely feeling.

    “Ishma. Come away, love. Let’s go out to eat. Let’s go exploring the local stores for…”

    I set my left foot on the next step down. The water curled around my legs. It was a comforting feeling. I hadn’t felt it for so long. I’d given it up.

    I’d thrown it away.

    I moved on down to the next step and the water rose higher. My breath caught in my throat.

    “Ishma!” He ran down the stairs and reached for me.

    I stepped down, down, down and the water rose to greet me. I welcomed it.

    Even as it changed me.

    My legs were gone.

    My feet were no more.

    My skin roughed with scales.

    I collapsed under the water and swam with grace and ease.

    My memories returned.

    Home.

    Family.

    All that I had thrown away for him.

    “Ishma!” He trompsed into the water and water fell from his eyes.

    I looked up at him and tried to say his name. But my voice could no longer speak his words.

    But I think he understood. Perhaps all along he knew that this would happen.

    He knelt in the water and held out his arms. “Come, my love. I will take you home.”

    I swam into his embrace.

    Water fell over and over from his eyes.

    I knew why.

    He loved me.

    I loved him.

    Some magic lasts forever.

    Some does not.

    The magic keeping me on dry land was gone. I had to go back home.

    It was inevitable.

    Yet, I would always miss him so.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Whoe boy! a magnificant love affair either from a water siren from Greek mythology or a mermaid from “Splash” Either way it’s fascination reading how you build your story and the intensity that something is very wrong in their love for each other. Sentence by sentence, the tension builds to the climax, whether the reader understands or not, where this is going. I think it was the third step when I first got the jist. .A little jewel here for a gloomy and rainy Saturday morning. Thank you Cosi for writing it, most enjoyable.

      1. cosi van tutte

        Thank you, Kerry!

        This story was half-way inspired by the time that the basement in my house got flooded. It had been raining so much our sump pump got overloaded and flooded the basement all the way up to the second step and half-way up the third. I was just a kid at the time. So, I was like “Wow! We have an indoor pool!” until my parents told me what could be in the water. Then, I was like “Eww. Never mind.”

    2. Beebles

      A simple tragic tail at first read and a second time gave away all the subtle nuances. I struggled – in a good way – with her apparent ambivalence. Was that intentional or dif I misread it?

      1. cosi van tutte

        Thanks, Beebles!

        Struggled in a good way, huh? 😀 I feel like I should apologize for the confusion.

        Anyway, she seemed ambivalent because the magic keeping her human was wearing off and she could feel the water’s pull.

        1. Beebles

          No confusion – I thought the ambivalence was good, I’m glad I read it right being such a bear of little brain – it gave greater depth to it and more tragedy. Struggled in the sense that I was expecting the heart-wrenchng but the coolness lifted the piece somewhere higher. Really Good.

    3. agnesjack

      Cosi, I saw this as a metaphor about identity in marriage. The magic of being in love compels her to be who her husband wants her to be, but in the process, she loses her true self.

  19. rle

    Sorry this was just a quickie. Doesn’t really stick to the prompt, but it just popped into my head.

    ——————————

    Dave McCallister felt a wave of guilt rush over him as he twisted and broke free from the soldier’s grip and bolted toward the back door. Deep down he knew the National Guard was only there to help and under ordinary circumstances would have been more than willing to comply with their orders. Today was different though. Today he’d left something behind he’d rather die for than be without. He was laser focused as he slogged through the knee deep water and breached the threshold to the kitchen door.

    No one in Ashburg had ever seen torrents of rain the likes of what had fallen in the past two days. Over the past twelve hours the river had slowly risen, overrunning its banks and steadily crawling it’s way into the sleepy one stoplight town. It crept into the Lowlands first, picking up bedraggled mobile homes one by one and washing them away along with the mangled driftwood that had once lined the river’s banks. It wasn’t uncommon for the Lowlands to be washed away. Once every three or four years a flooding rain would erase the low income trailers that sat along the swampy rut filled roads bordering the river, only to be immediately inhabited by dozens more of the same type of ramshackle dwellings. This time though, the river rose even higher, slowly gobbling up the middle class homes and businesses that sat on higher ground.

    Dave stopped for an instant as he entered the kitchen and listened to the water pouring in the basement windows beneath him. Was he too late?

    Of all the things in his possession, it wasn’t one of the more obvious items he was risking life and limb to save. The one thing he treasured above all others was a small wooden box which contained mementos from his son’s life, nothing special, just some old photos, drawings, and newspaper clippings. Dave and his son had been estranged for almost twenty years, their relationship ending on the worst possible terms. The younger McCallister had made bad decisions and a series of poor lifestyle choices that Dave was unable to accept under any conditions. At eighteen, Evan McCallister left home and they hadn’t spoken since. The question Dave had often pondered during those years was: Is it worse to have a dead son, or is it worse to have a dead son that isn’t actually deceased?

    Dave raced to the head of the stairs and peered into the swirling brown water that had already filled half of the basement. As he glared into the muddy abyss that lapped at the steps as it continued to steadily rise, he suddenly realized, he stood here facing his two worst fears simultaneously. Dave couldn’t swim and had always avoided the water at all costs, that’s why it had been so important to teach Evan how to swim early on. By middle school Evan was swimming like a fish and in high school had even joined the swim team. One of the photos in the box he sought contained a picture of Evan accepting a trophy at the state swim meet.

    The water continued to rise. Dave could hear the Guardsmen splashing through the water outside and mounting the back steps in pursuit. He watched the water inside reach the top step then flow freely around his ankles. A mere twenty feet away on the bottom shelf of a cabinet now submerged in ten feet of water, sat the box he so desperately wanted to retrieve. Did he run the risk of drowning to once again hold those memories of a son he once cherished, or did he give in and take the chance that those same memories would be washed away in the same flow that carried away the trailers of the Lowlands.

    With the Guardsmen nearly at his back, Dave had to make a split second decision. As a voice from behind yelled for him to stop, Dave instinctively lunged forward head first and plunged into the water…unafraid.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      It may be a ‘quicky’ in your opinion but it certainly is not in mine. A classic struggle to save a memory of an errant son, vs. almost certain death from drowning in ten feet of water. The father has never forgiven himself for lack of patience with a struggling son and finally he breaks. from the remorse and pain he has caused. I rather suspect the father heeps blame on himself rather than society and he reaches a point of one way decision,This is far better than you might at first expect. Sometimes, stories written on the quick about personal sacrifice, reveal many things about the writer, especially his or her skill in setting emotions and scenes. .

  20. Robin3486

    As I watch my wife from the stairs, I can’t help but smile to myself. After twenty-four years Patty was still as beautiful to me as the day I met her in Chemistry Class at our Kansas City High School. Now she wades carefully through our flooded basement wearing nothing but her white nightgown and rain boots covered in pink and green flowers.

    She has always handled situations like this better then me. She is cheerful even in the worst of times which is one of the things I love the most about her. The other is her strength.

    There is a common joke in Missouri, if you don’t like the weather just wait a minute. This first week of May is like the punchline. An unexpected storm came through dumping over six inches of water so quickly that the storage drains could not keep up. Our sump-pump is beginning to help drain the water from our basement floor, but boxes of memories lay ruined.

    I continue to watch as Patty begins opening some of the boxes. I can hear her singing softly. “Raindrops keep falling on my head, but that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turnin red, crying’s not for…”. She stops suddenly staring at the contents of the box.

    She reaches in and pulls out my old bunker gear. It is my firemen’s pants with the straps attached. She lifts it to her face to smell it. “Kevin, I don’t know how to do this anymore.”

    “I know.” I sigh. I had come up behind her to put my arms around her, but I know I can’t. “I wish I could fix it honey.”

    It has been two years since the fire. I would like to say that I would go back and change things if I could but I wouldn’t. There was a little girl and she needed my help. I had to go in.

    Patty looks up from my gear around at the water on the floor. “Kevin?” She whispers suddenly. I follow her gaze to her own reflection in the water and could see a slight outline standing behind her like a shadow.

    I moved my arm, as if to wave and she jumped. She can see me.

    I took a chance and whispered in her ear. “Patty, I love you.”

    “I know” she sobbed.

    “Patty, you can let me go. I want you to move on. I want you to find happiness and even love again.”

    She paused as though considering. “I can’t. How could I? You were my only love.”

    “It is what I want. I can’t rest until I know you are ok and I know that Ron will make you happy. He was my best friend and he will take care of you. Please, let yourself be happy again!”

    A sly smile spread across her face. “He always was the good looking one.” She teased me.

    Ron and I had been best friends since middle school. I was the shorter, stockier one and all of the girls swooned over the taller handsome Ron. But not Patty, she chose me. She loved me for my sense of humor which she was testing at the moment.

    “Ha! He’s an ugly goon and you know it!” I laughed. “But still, you have always loved him as a friend and I think he is ready to be more than that. You are too.”

    We looked up as we heard familiar footsteps upstairs. She looked back down at my reflection and smiled sadly. I waved at her to let her know that I understood.

    “Patty?” Ron yelled, coming down the stairs. “Patty are you ok?”

    She looked at him resolved. “Yes.” She beamed. “I really am.”

    She took both of his hands into hers and that’s where I left them, standing in the water holding on to each other in the middle of the flooded basement that was no longer mine.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      This reminds me so much of”Ghost.” We would all like to think we could come back at least onc, show our love and understanding. It’s a charming story, so well written. Be proud of this, it’s masterful and heart-warming in the best of ways.

    2. Beebles

      I really liked this Robin, it got a physical response from me in the middle and the end. Delightfully set up with just enough backstory and the anecdote about missouri anchored it in realism. Good teasing references until the reveal and the humour made it even more painful. Sensitively done.

  21. Manwe38

    My shoes were wet. So were my pants. And carpets. And walls.

    The rains had been…well, almost Biblical. As if, like Hollywood, God had gotten bored of coming up with new ideas and decided to recycle His original stories. Unfortunately, I was no Noah, and the house was no Ark. Whatever the reason, the dwelling I had lived in since birth was a total loss, and now it was time to sort through the mess.

    I trudged down the hall towards the basement stairs, past the playroom that had once held my toys and the worn leather couch where I’d learned to make out. As I reached for the handle, a loud “thump” pressed into my ears. The sound was cottony, dull, like the stuffy throbbing that echoes through your skull during an airplane’s descent. Frowning, I pulled open the door and bolted into the dark, hand sliding around the moisture-laden walls until I was able to locate the hibernating switch. Fortunately, the lights had come on again early this morning, and as the room came to life in a photonic flood, my eyes locked onto the source of the sound.

    It was in the water. Floating. My original Nintendo.

    As I stood there, frozen, hand on the rail, the rest of the cheap plastic Ikea shelf gave way, dumping three boxes of video games into the foot-and-a-half of water that had turned my basement into a festering swamp. My mouth dropped, jaw unhinging like a hungry python, but no sound came out. I scanned the debris, watching as the plastic game cartridges bobbed up-and-down in the water like strange eggs, and my trance finally broke. Trudging into the muck, I waded over through the muddy H20 to the sinking box and picked it up, cradling it like a wounded pet. Water poured out through its myriad crackles in a gentle trickle, dripping into the surrounding lake in a series of drips. There were other drips too, the salty kind that ran down my cheeks, but no-one could see.

    It was too late. The box was dead, and with it much more.

    I closed my eyes, and there she was, face flashing up against the inside of my lids like an internal cinema.
    Her name had been Angel, and it was a fair description. Strawberry-blonde hair, beaming smile, hazel eyes that twinkled in the special way only teenage boys could see. Yes, she’d taught me to make out on that couch, and so much more. Not just physical, but the art of love. The feelings, the shared giggles, the knowing what the other was thinking without saying it, the bond that been just the two of us.

    I squeezed my brow tighter, hoping to drive the images away, but they only came faster. It had been raining that night too, and though I’d been carefully, the other lady had not. I guess when you own a hundred-thousand dollar car, the rules of the road don’t always apply. Also, her brakes were better–she just hadn’t stepped down on them fast enough. A flash of light, a thundering crunch, and my Angel was gone. I’d walked away, which only made it worse. The therapist had helped, and after a year, I’d finally been able to put the Nintendo, the one thing that helped, away.

    And now it was gone. I stared at it, a gray, plastic thing. Lifeless, like her body had been. Ironic, given that both were made of the same atoms, but whatever it was that made us alive–the soul, the Force, whatever you wanted to call it–had fled that night, and now I was alone. Slowly, my fingers went numb, releasing their grip on what once had been. It hit the water with a dull thud, the sound I heard from the upstairs hall, but now louder, sharper, echoing through the room like a spectral announcer. As the box of memory began to sink, I turned back towards the stairs, legs numb from the chilly water that had drowned my dreams. Maybe this would turn out to be a blessing, but I don’t know.

    I just don’t know.

    1. Manwe38

      Oops, a couple grammatical errors here, but it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Probably shouldn’t have used the phrase “so much more” twice in two paragraphs, either.

      If I could, I would change “the bond that had been just the two of us” to “the bond that had been just the two of us against the world.” It flows better.

    2. Kerry Charlton

      This is a heart-=wrenching story Manwe, though no fault of the Mc’s, the death of his love shall haunt him into eternity. Me thinks there is someone else in his life fighting his girlfriend’s ghost. Not sure about it but it is my interpation of the sound echoing from upstairs. If not then I wish it to be.

    3. UnclePizza

      Good story and well written, which I feel OK saying since you caught your own errors. I myself have made the mistake of posting before one last re-read and cursed the fact that there is no edit feature on this site. Still, a poingient tale and I enjoyed it.

    4. Beebles

      Nice Manwe, thick like a good soup with just enough floating on the surface to give us the flavour but with the certainty that there is so much more underneath, a sense of real lives and real emotions. Love the comparison with the movie industry – couldn’t be more true.

  22. Beebles

    Sorry, sincereley sorry about lack of reading. Trying to kill off a still born child of mine – in a literary sense you understand. Probably got your attention though. I will get round to reading this weekend, now I’m a bit more relaxed. Anyhow, still can’t stop the imagination reacting … burble … gibber.
    ——————————————————-

    Some of us have moments in life that completely change us. Well, perhaps not completely, but they can alter the way our life is heading. Just moments, a snapping of fingers or a drop of rain in a puddle. And sometimes we are aware of it and follow the ripples heading out, through air or water. Other times we look back and realise, yes, that was when I changed.

    Like my Uncle Bertram. The darling capacious old toff had been a hunter all his life, from the moment he could walk and place a deerstalker on his head, to the day he … well … stopped. In fact deer were his favourite quarry, inhabiting the lawns and underwood around his estate. He would spend his spare time with his dogs, rifle over his shoulder, wandering that estate and playing havoc with the herd.

    One day, he told me, he came across a stag caught in a man trap. Well the dear old chap had never been that close to one of the creatures in his life, not while they were still alive – he was a damn good shot. He told me he sat there, him looking at the stag, stag looking at him, its heart heaving in its snowy chest, its eyes deep sink holes ringed in bark and mounted by lustrous domes. He laid a hand on the panicked animal, stroked it until the thumping in its chest eased and the irises gradually reduced the sink holes to pin pricks.

    Then he shot it.

    Well, he said, it was crippled, weak from loss of blood, and it meant that he didn’t have to shoot another, healthy animal. In fact he never went hunting again. So he said.

    Anyhow, Elise didn’t want to come down to the cellar. She was sufficiently distraught about the ground floor without seeing the carnage the flooding had left of our basement. All our old stuff was down there, swilling around with several hundred gallons of effluent infused water and half the neighbourhood’s litter. It was like one of those 1930s cartoons where the objects start acting like humans. This lot were enjoying a day out at the boating lake.

    I bent and fished out an empty cigarette packet that was nudging against the step, now a wharf. Gaulois. That made me chuckle. I used to smoke them all the time when I was a student in the Cinquieme Arrondissment. I was a bit of a hell raiser, if truth be known. Drinks, smokes. And the women, oh la la.

    Then I saw Elise, dark bob, pencil skirt, pencil figure, complexion of a nereid. And those eyes, like Uncle Bertram’s stag. I was sat in a café in the 18th, smoking a Gaulois. She flicked a smirk at me from under that fringe and kept on walking. I knew the game was up. I paid the bill, stubbed out the cigarette and screwed up the packet. Last one I ever smoked.

    I caught up with her on the steps of Montmartre.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Beebles, now that was masterful writing. Loved how you used Uncle Bertram to illustrate the first paragraph, then the cigarette pack (rippling?) in the water to pull it all together. Wonderful. Good luck with your other project.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I loved the story, especially about Uncle Bertram. It was kind of a shock when he shot the stag. Up close and personal, he finally realized the other side of the coin. This is most unusual, symbolic from start to finish. The words touch and feel come to mind as I read your prose. It might take me a hundred years to write this way. and when the song goes……..”And the days dwindle down…..” yiou get the picture.

    2. agnesjack

      I love the concept of the ripples that move us in unexpected directions. The point is to not swim against. Uncle Bertram is so vivid. Attacking from a distance is so much easier than attacking from close up (for some reason it made me think of the Twitter universe). And the circular memory of Elise and the cigarettes is perfectly played. Nice.

  23. ReathaThomasOakley

    The wife

    There he sits, all full of himself, all self-righteous, all certain sure he’s right and I’m wrong. Bitterness seeped from Emzara’s thoughts to her words.

    “How much longer? That god of yours shared any new information? Or, do we die in this cursed pot like those poor unicorns? Huh?”

    “Woman!” The man shouted and rose from his bench, the last one left, the rest burned days before, another example of poor planning. “It is not for you to question the will of the almighty. I will know when I know. And, this is not a pot, it is an ark!” He ran his hands through his hair and down his rapidly graying beard. “And, the unicorns were weak. I only included them to humor Japheth’s silly wife.”

    “That’s another thing,” she moved toward him, “they’re all fighting again. Didn’t I tell our sons, didn’t I? Marry sisters, they know how to get along, won’t be quarreling like these three.” Emzara nearly fell as the ark tipped. “How much longer? I can hardly walk and the smell, my goodness the smell. I don’t think Ham and Shem are keeping the pens mucked out.” She straightened herself and turned away. “How much longer?”

    Emzara held on to the ribs of the vessel as she made her way to the area she shared with her husband. Not that he’d shared it lately, she thought, most of the time he sat on that bench and prayed.

    All those months, she mused, all that time wasted gathering wood, gathering animals, building this pot while she, Methuselah’s own granddaughter, endured the ridicule of the tribe. But, she had to admit, he was right about the flood, about the spring suddenly overflowing and water, four cubits of it, falling from the sky. So perhaps they would all survive.

    If only, Emzara lamented to herself, if only I’d believed him sooner, I would have insisted on bringing that big cooking pot on board. How I miss that pot. It would have been so much easier to stew the unicorns if I’d had that pot.

    Slowly Emzara lowered herself to the sleeping rug.

    Tomorrow, she thought as she fell asleep, tomorrow I’m telling those boys if their wives don’t stop fighting I’m banishing them all to the donkey pens.

    1. jhowe

      So we’re supposed to write about a flood… and you write about the biggest one of them all. And you did it brilliantly. I can kind of see Emzara’s point though, the smell had to be excruciating. Now we know what happened to the unicorns. I wish they would have chosen something else to eat, like skunks maybe.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        i CAN’T HELP IT REATHA! And Noah looked to the heavens and the Lord said, “Noah, how long can you tread water?” Sorry, it was uncontrolable. I wondered where the unicorns went. Lovely story by the way. Can you imagine the pain, the effort and the smell most of all? Loved the last sentence, brings tears of laughter.

  24. UnclePizza

    Sorry, no flood, no basement; I just couldn’t work them into this chapter. Plus, I doubled the word count again. I’m almost done, I promise, and then I’ll stop hijacking the prompts!

    Of Sins and Ash – Part 12: Blood

    The soldier rode quickly toward the stone dwelling on the mesa. He was not worried about the coming darkness – there was still plenty of time before the sun set – but rather, he was anxious to get the unpleasant task done with. While he never hesitated to kill in battle or conquest, he found it troubling to kill unarmed natives simply in the name of God.

    He slowed his horse as he approached the bruja’s place, and stopped at the line of white stones surrounding the yard. As he dismounted he noticed a scattering of bones, then a skull. A chill ran up his spine as he realized that they were the remains of La Bruja. He stood staring at the bones, lost in thought, until movement caught his eye.

    A woman approached him from the small dwelling. She was naked, as the old woman had been, but unlike the old woman, she was young and beautiful with straight black hair and smooth skin. The soldier felt his throat catch as she approached, knowing that he was to kill her. Adding to his sense of surprise, he felt a stirring in his groin as he looked at her breasts and the thick tangle of black hair beneath her taut belly.

    He was startled at his feelings toward her – they went against everything he had lived his life by. He had come to the new world as a child, a mere cabin boy on one of the many ships carrying soldiers across the ocean. There had been a short skirmish as the crew came ashore, and the soldiers had been impressed with his bravery and willingness to take part in the fight. Despite the captain’s objections, the men took the boy with them as they made out for new lands.

    The next twenty years had been spent exploring and conquering the natives. Then ten more years as the captain of his own band of soldiers, with his own garrison just outside the growing village. And for what? Had killing natives and forcing the survivors to worship his country’s God really secured his place in Heaven?

    It was startling to realize that something that had always seemed so certain now seemed so unclear. The woman was lovely and the land here was serene. Why should he not give up the sword and stay with her here in this place? For the first time in his life, he felt as though he could give instead of take.

    Movement to his left interrupted his thoughts, and he turned to see a pair of large coyotes entering the yard. Then, hearing a growl behind him, he turned and saw two more approaching from his right, then four. Behind him were another five or six. Curse that witch, he thought! While she had enchanted him he had allowed himself to be surrounded by a large pack of coyotes. And curse that damn priest for insisting that he come here now, alone.

    The tall soldier drew his sword and tried to pick out the pack alpha, knowing that if he could kill their leader that he might stand a chance of scaring the rest away. As if reading his mind, the woman said, “There is no leader, they act as one.”

    “Do you command them?”

    “No.”

    “Then who?”

    The young woman held her arm out and a large raven landed on her hand. As if on command, the coyotes formed a tight circle around the soldier – they sat out of reach, yet close enough to be a deadly threat.

    “La Bruja?”

    “She has no name, only power. Power that comes from forgiveness, from cleansing, from rebirth.”

    “Only God can cleanse sins and grant forgiveness!” the soldier shouted as he raised his sword, and yet part of him was still doubting – had he been wrong all along?

    The woman chuckled as the coyotes edged closer, the soldier now turning warily while trying to see in all directions at once. “You came to our land to rule from fear. You have brought nothing but fear and death. Now you will know both.”

    “No,” he replied. “Please, I want to…”

    The raven cawed loudly and the coyotes leapt at once onto the soldier. He tried to swing his sword but there were too many of the animals, and they were too close. He felt teeth tearing through his clothes and into the flesh of his legs, his arms, his shoulders, and even, yes, his groin. The more he struggled the tighter their jaws clamped, teeth now deep in his flesh, blood flowing freely from his wounds. Beaten, he lay bleeding on the ground, in agony, yet still somehow alive. The coyotes had him pinned to the ground, three or four of them held each of this limbs tightly in their jaws as one large male held him by the throat.

    The woman stood over him, and he could see that she was now holding a short sword. The end was dull and scratched as if it had been used for digging, but the edges still looked sharp. As she knelt over his head the coyote who held him by the neck released his grip and the woman place the edge of the sword on this throat.

    “Please,” begged the soldier. “Let me live. I want to stay with you here, in this place.”

    “No, it is not to be. Just as she must die, so must you.”

    “She must die?”

    “We all must, when it’s time. Hers is later, yours is now.”

    “Then at least cleanse me of my sins. You can do that. I don’t fear death, but I do fear damnation in hell.”

    The soldier looked into the woman’s eyes and for a moment he saw mercy in them and he felt the sword lift from his neck. But then, shaking her head, the woman raised the sword high, and returning the soldier’s gaze, said, “It’s too late for that; you had your chance years ago and you chose your path. Carry your sins with you into your hell.”

    The raven’s caw echoed across the mesa as the woman brought the sword down swiftly on the soldier’s throat.

    —————————————

    The full story to-date (parts 1-12) can be found in one posting at https://unclepizza.wordpress.com/of-sins-and-ash/

    1. jhowe

      This has been quite an undertaking for you to continue this story week after week. I’m going to miss it. I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens to the boy and the girl and that damnable priest. Great story telling throughout.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        More power, more power with each chapter. The prose is amazing in it’s sing-song pace again. Again I fail how to describe the cadence, but it is there in full strength. As rich a story as i’ve read in a long time. I will grieve when it’s over, so don’t worry about closing till YOU’RE READY1

        1. UnclePizza

          Thank you Kerry. I pay a lot of attention to sentences – constantly vary the length, never use two passive sentences in a row, that sort of thing. Glad it’s working.

          As to finishing, how long have I been saying two or three more chapters? Seriously though, I think I can say that and mean it now – the end game is in play. The good news is though that once I “finish” I’m going to rewrite it into something bigger. You’ll be on my list of beta readers!

      2. UnclePizza

        Thanks John. It’s just been flowing, and I’m grateful; we all know it doesn’t always “just come”. I’m just trying to get the quick framing done before the next bout of “the block” sets in. I’m really glad you’re enjoying it.

      1. UnclePizza

        Thanks Reatha. I went back and forth on whether or not to have her kill him or let him live and have him begin a new life. I’m sure I’ll go back and forth a few more times as I rework it. As to “finishing’, my goal now is to get to the end of the story so that I can go back and add more depth. I feel like there are so many things skipped over that would make it a richer story. For example, my wife said that it seemed odd that the soldier would just now, suddenly, have doubts. I agreed, but explained how compressing each chapter into 500-1000 words leaves little room for depth. His doubt is the kind of thing that I want to be able to weave pieces of into earlier chapters so that it’s not out of place in a climactic scene. In that sense, “finishing” here only gets me to the point where I can keep working. I really appreciate your comments and input – thanks!

    2. Beebles

      … and now I’m going to have to go and read the rest of it. I hate coming into these things part way through. I totally agree with the discussion below, get that story down Uncle, by hook or crook, and then you can indulge yourself. Looking forward to finding the rest.

  25. jhowe

    Served him right, building in a flood zone. They told him the river rose sometimes, when it rained hard enough. And it had rained, oh how it had rained.

    Men sat on soggy bundles, heads down, muttering. Sodden cardboard and tattered blankets littered the ground. A ragged woman called out, cursing the heavens. The bridge pylons, still wet after the water receded, cast elongated shadows on the mud as the sun began to set. Curious onlookers watched from the road above, not offering to help.

    He was running out of time. He called for Sparky while overturning masses of wet cardboard. It was impossible now to tell which mass had been his. Everything had shifted closer to the water’s edge. He righted the rusted steel barrel where they’d burned old skid wood, sharing whatever bottles they’d managed to bring back from the city.

    He stumbled up the bank and stopped at the guard rail. The onlookers backed away. “Has anyone seen a little dog?” Blank faces stared. “About so big, brown, one eye?” He used to take Sparky with him on his rounds. But the dog was old now. She couldn’t get around much anymore. So he’d left her at their spot under the bridge with a bowl of water.

    He’d gotten lucky on 23rd Avenue, in front of a donut shop. A lady gave him a ten dollar bill. He immediately went to a liquor store and purchased a fifth of Old Crow. The boys would love this. But he had a taste on the way back and then another. He vaguely recalled smashing the empty bottle against the wall of an abandoned Dairy Queen, and then nothing. He woke up, groggy, disoriented, soaked to the skin. Torrents of water ran down the gutter in which he lay. He hurried the best he could back to the bridge only to see the flooded banks and the rushing river. All through the night and into the next day he’d searched.

    He silently cursed the onlookers and walked down the darkening bank, slipping in the mud. The dog was old. She didn’t have much time left anyway, he thought. Like him.

    The morning sun shone brightly. Sparky barked and licked at his cold gray face that lay in the tall grass. She whimpered when he didn’t respond. She barked again and snuggled into his concaved chest to wait.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      One of the strongest, unusual, heart tearing stories, I’ve ever read. A true spirit of love between a man and his companion, a little one-eyed dog. writen with a wonderful flair, exposing the heartless sight of humanity. The people turned away from the unwashed, too repugnant for their taste. This is biting reality John. Unfortunately, you write with truth, pulling the mask back. Most people never see, you always notice, that is the true spirit of an artist.

    2. UnclePizza

      jhowe, this is an incredible piece. I put the bottle behind me 5 1/2 years ago after decades of trying, and there are many times when I reflect on where I might have ended up otherwise. I’ve been hanging out on this site for over six months now and nothing has put a lump in my throat like this one.

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      As others wrote, this produced a strong emotional response. I’m having difficulty finding words for my comment. I can only say I’m glad the man and Sparky had each other, at least for a while.

    4. Beebles

      WEll, I’ve never been one to cry at dog stories – then I had kids and even lassie come home was an emotional struggle. I liked the lack of explicit details – the references to the cardboard and the reaction of others to the MC to paint him. And then the drowning metaphor, twisting the story around. All things I like.

    5. agnesjack

      Oh boy, jhowe. This broke my heart. What a compelling, unusual way to express the concept of home and companionship and memories and loss. I’ll adopt the dog. Damn.

  26. Kerry Charlton

    SUMMER OF ‘44

    Heavy rain pelted the thin glass by my bed in Avalon, our summer home on the Jersey coast. The middle of the week meant, my father and older sister were working in Philadelphia, which left my brother twelve, myself eight and my Mother to weather the storm. Our table radio gave little assurance the rain would stop and described the fierce storm as a run-a-way nor’easter.

    Our raised cottage, located at the center of the seven mile barrier island was fairly safe being a half mile from the Atlantic. My Mother’s many friend’s houses lined the beach and they quickly fled to our little cottage in front of the pounding surf making it’s way across land. My brother and I were petrified, having never seen a nor’easter anything like that storm.

    Forty some miserable souls crowded their way into our small home, and with all the food they brought and I also expect, a good amount of Scotch for a rainy morning, they gathered along the front windows and watched the parade of half swamped cars, lawn furniture, broken trees and anything else that stood in the storms path, quickly rush past and head toward a watery grave in the Atlantic.

    Electric power shut the island down, all communication ceased and the one portable radio listened to the local weather bureau plead with the populace to stay inside. That small weather station ceased and we found out later it and a small area of north Avalon had been totally swept to sea also.

    Suddenly at late afternoon, rains ceased to a drizzle, the three feet of water in front of our home ebbed toward the beach and the Scotch flowed to a much relieved crowd, who realized when they left our home, there would be no home for them to see anymore.
    Dawn broke, emergency radio returned again informing us to not leave because live power lines strewed the streets of Avalon.

    Dad and sister showed up the next day as soon as the turnstile bridge operated again. Avalon had been cut off to the world, no phones worked. The ancient bridge had stopped from lack of electricity and no one dared launch a boat across the bay due to the volatility of the bay side. Power poles were strewn across the island like tooth picks thrown there by an angry giant. Beach erosion eliminated the last two streets on the north side of the island.

    When I grew older and realized how serious the storm, [later labeled an early hurricane], was. I decided the scotch must have calmed most of the trapped residents. The following day my brother and I ventured under the house pilings to where the maid quarters was. We had adopted it as our secret game room, consisting of one old bed, two chairs and a rickety old card table.’

    Several weeks before the storm, I had built my first airplane model, a P-51 Mustang, a new fighter plane the Army Air Corp used to escort the B-17’s and the B-24’s on the bombing missions across Germany. The whole maids quarters was one soggy mess and the model, being made from Balsa wood, tissue paper and airplane dope was unrecognizable.

    Still, I could always build another one and did so. No early alarm system existed, no hurricane hunters, no phone, no communication of any kind was available. It seems like a make believe world, bit trust me, it did exist. And this is to the best of my memory a true story.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Uncle, I consider my life to be very average on the most part, except for falling in love with a red-headed angel when I was thirty. Forty ninth anniversary coming up in December. Come see us in San Antonio. The missions are now World Heritage and we have a very famous River Walk winding through downtown. Remember, Texas girls are real special. Come on!

        1. UnclePizza

          Kerry I must have mixed up who’s on which side of the pond, though I know we have some Brits in the mix here. We’re closer than I thought – I’m right “next door” in New Mexico. If you ever make it to Albuquerque give me a shout – one of my e-mail addresses is on my blog.

    1. jhowe

      What a wonderful collection of descriptive prose you came up with. Did you email Brian and tell him what you wanted the prompt to be? I enjoyed this greatly. I suspected it was a true story early on and I was even going to Google 1944 summer storm in Avalon if I had to. I’m glad you built another model. I was a model lover too, as a kid.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I won lots of metals building models as a kid and when I was twelve, I built a Piper Cub model with a six foot wing span, balsa wood and tissue skin with five coats of dope for strength. The diesal engine rated 1/4 horsepower, designed to run on pure ether. The wings were made to snap off in free flight if it hit a tree or so. The prompt did fall directly in my lap. Thanks as always. Oh and if five flips of the 12 inch propeller didn’t start it, it was dreamland.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, I love your stories that include your family. Despite what you wrote, you have had an interesting life. Since you’ve sent out invitations before, perhaps this group should plan to all meet in Texas one year. On our way back and forth between Florida and Wyoming, where we now are, we often go through your part of the world, plus we love San Antonio. I actually have a true story about a wild ride to the Alamo, driven by a gentleman who tried to shift gears in an automatic and who drove into some restricted area thinking it was his old military base. We often recall that day, thankful we survived.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Reatha, there are advantages to being the baby of the family. However, I have a sister ten years older than I, she is an amazing woman and always has been. The story about the Alamo is so funny it cracks me up. Where on earth did you stumble across a driver that out of whack? I love the idea of getting together, just let us know when you might be driving through. We’re too old to visit the queen any more, so we’ll be here.

    3. agnesjack

      Kerry, wonderful story, well told. My grandfather built a house on an island just outside Mystic, CT, where I spent fabulous summers as a child. I remember a story my grandmother used to tell about the ’56 hurricane. She was there with another couple, My grandfather had passed away. They were playing cards in a back bedroom, because the spray of the ocean, which was usually a hundred yards away, was hitting the picture window. The man kept pulling my grandmother aside to tell her how terrible the storm was and to not alarm his wife. I remember my grandmother saying that all she could think of was, “stop telling ME!”. Anyway, I’m glad your family and neighbors survived. God bless the Scotch.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Nancy. I was eight or nine when the storm hit. We were used to bad nor’easters but nothing like this. My Mother showed extreme courage and threw one of the best parties she ever had. My brother and I joined in because of the other children who were there. I don’t remember if any fathers were there, probably not, most were in Philadelphia for the work week. I love the story about your grandmother, she must have been something to ride out a storm on the ocean front.

  27. thejim

    Smooth, flowed very nicely well done. I like the Paragraph (“Audrey!” I choked…) The shorter sentences made it move faster which in turn created a more frantic experience.

  28. thejim

    The water soaked memories lie scattered across the basement floor the stale smell of decomposing paper fills the room. A flood of memories drives into my head. Digging up things long ago locked away.

    Then I see it peeking out from under a grimy sludge covered backpack. I step slowly over broken toys, soggy books, my shoes squish on the damp carpet. I kick off the backpack; it flips onto a stack of seldom-used weights. I squatted down, picked it up by the tip, and lifted it up directly in front of my face.

    Then, like the floodwaters that filled the streets, last week, the memories came rushing in.

    The first time I used this was to put my dog out of its misery. I slide it in under his collar and watch his blood trickle out as he took his last breath. From that, point on it was if it had a life of its own. It constantly taunted me; even speak to me, reminding me of the exhilaration I had felt.

    Next time, together we were outside, late one night and Jacob, the bully on the block, was out walking the streets alone. We decided to fix the problem. He saw me walking toward him and his taunts started, what he was not expecting was me walking straight up to him and driving it directly into his stomach, again and again and again, over and over he was no longer breathing but we continued finally I just walked away.

    This went on for years friends, relatives, strangers, all found dead in my little town. In desperation, I had to hide you. Countless times, I tried to break you or throw you away, but my fear that you would find someone else always prevented me. I had to stay away from you so I hide you in the basement and avoided coming down here so that I could not hear your seductive taunts ever again.

    “Now we are back together my friend, I have missed you. Take me upstairs and clean me, we have to make up for so much wasted time.”

    So it begins, a small tear formed in the corner of my eye not again, not again.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        And so is his knife. Have you considered the blade having a mind of it’s own, taking charge and having the the nutso kill himself and watch his own blood flow. Gad, what a nightmare you’ve created.

    1. agnesjack

      Oh my God! The mind of a serial killer. Hated the dog part, but I know that’s where psycho-serial killers often start. This really creeped me out. Good, horrifying, job, thejim.

  29. DemureLemur

    Nix’s little soldiers didn’t stand a chance. The aqua bullets battered against the porch in horrendous bursts as Felix wrestled for the front door. He managed to avoid most of the severed porcelain corpses, but not all the smiling figures survived his Reeboks. Inside, Nixie was armed with dish towels of every color, Dylan brushed drops off the radio, and Laura paced through the kitchen; phone in hand.

    Laura almost fainted from relief when she saw Felix come through the door.

    “I told you not to go out! Oh Felix!” she tackled him.

    “Yeah we were pretty worried” Dylan said in a rather dull tone as he flicked through the static channels.

    “Extremel—“Nixie’s loud voice came from the hall. It shrank with a distracted, “is that another leak?”

    Felix relished in those few seconds with Laura, before pulling away.

    “The basement?” he whispered. Laura shook her head.

    “Anton’s been trying to open the door for a while now.”

    ‘Good’. Felix thought, ‘she doesn’t know’.

    He bumped into Anton on his way down.

    “Any budge?” Felix asked.

    “Nada” Anton replied and continued up.

    As soon as he was gone, Felix took his key ring out and searched for the one that read Basement.

    The water appeared like a sheet of clear ice in the cellar, before Felix dipped his entire leg in. He knew his secret was going to be hidden behind a pile of soggy cardboard but he dived in anyway. Once he reached the bottom, he felt for the same crack where he hid Laura’s—

    Felix brushed along the rim of the broken floor, and held in his hands what remained of the paper mâché rose.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A night sky glittered full of constellations. Laura observed them from atop a factory’s scaffolding, dangling her legs in the breeze. They were beautiful, just like snowflakes. Felix appeared from below, drenched in sweat.

    “Laura!” he shouted, “Your parents are so going to kill me! Plus the cops—”

    “Thanks Felix!” she shouted back, her grin replacing the moonlight. Then Laura perked up and further caught Felix’s curiosity.

    “What?” he asked.

    Seconds later a swan shaped paper rose fell through the air, and landed his hands.

    “There’s a cute boy by the bus stop at the corner,” she explained. “Could you… give it to him?”

    Felix grew silent.

    “And tell him that a star is watching,” Laura continued cheekily. “So he better not screw up.”

    Felix nodded, looking somewhat forlorn, and just as he was about to disappear behind the building, she called. “Felix!”

    “What?”
    “Promise, that you’ll give it to him.” Laura said.

    “Sure.” Felix replied and fled through the corner, dispirited.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Felix resurfaced as Dylan poked his head through the door.

    “Great, door’s open.” Then Dylan noticed the slush in Felix’s hands. “What’s that?”

    Felix sighed. “A broken promise”

    Dylan didn’t register, repeating. “Ha?”

    Felix pondered for a while and smiled. “Maybe not”

    He tossed it at Dylan who looked confused.

    “It’s trash.” Felix summed up.

    1. jhowe

      This one has me torn. I felt bad for Dylan but I don’t blame Felix for not giving him the paper rose. Felix fought for what he wanted and possibly cheated a little to get it. Good job.

  30. dustymayjane

    “Hand me her! Hand me the baby Trish!”

    “She’s mine Joe. I can’t let her go. Don’t take her from me.” She was my heart, my daughter.

    Joe reached for Audrey but I turned away, struggling against the rush of water. If only I could get to the stairway. My feet weighed more than I could imagine them ever being. How could I lift each one even one more time? Suddenly the water rushed over my head. I was being pulled under.

    “Audrey!” I choked. Grappling for a foothold, I tried to lift the bundle that was my now quiet baby. Her complexion was gray. It was only the dirty water, I was sure of it. My body slammed against something sharp. I found the corner against my ribs and held tight to the table. I could reach the banister, if only the pressure of the water would stop for one second, just one. I waited. I needed to find a small bit of remaining strength before I shoved off of the table, reaching for the banister. The stairway, I’d made it to the stairway. Thank you Lord!

    I dragged my water weighted body up the steps. Reaching the water line, I gasped for breath but found the next step and then the next. I continued climbing. Audrey! I held her close and made it to the upstairs balcony. I was happy that she’d stopped crying. Oh, she’s sleeping, poor child. I wished for her bottle, she would be hungry when she woke.

    ~~~~~

    I sat on the basement step, a dirty little lamb in my trembling hands. Joe found me there and sat next to me. We both cried again for our lost little lamb.

    I was still numb. Joe and I buried our little Audrey last week. Today we were allowed back to our flooded neighborhood to piece together what was left of our lives.

    I looked at my husband. “Can we keep this Joe. Please.” I begged.

    Joe nodded and tried to force a smile. “It’ll need a good bath.” He laid his warm palm on my growing belly. “But I think our little boy should have his sister’s lamb.”

    I rested my heavy head on my husband’s broad shoulder and joined my hand with his. “Yes he should.”

    1. thejim

      Smooth, flowed very nicely well done. I like the Paragraph (“Audrey!” I choked…) The shorter sentences made it move faster which in turn created a more frantic experience.

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