Unburdened

The final resting place for the uncommon

Though only in body

Dust and tinges of bone remain

beneath the knobby spring terrain

Markers bearing just a snippet of an earthbound vitality

Entry and Exit

Beloved wife

Former headmaster

Dedicated alum

Distinctive author

Her verse exposed this land’s second original sin

Time-worn graves

mossy and copper stained virescent words, faded

An existence forgotten

These spirits rattle and hum

The sound carried in the first season’s whipping winds

I settle in to listen

Day 15.  A walk and a picnic in a campus cemetery. Spring is just beginning to speak.

Heaven’s Newest Star

Credit: drearoblivion.blogspot.com

 

An afternoon stroll

Spring Sunday just beginning to reveal its glory

A walk with the tribe

My small band of pilgrims paying homage

Honoring a life well-lived

In the grief a sprinkling of joy was present

Certainly love was winning the day

Though you lived many years you left us too soon

A memorable woman whose heart beats within us

 

Day 12.  A dedication to Barbara. A long time member of our faith community and our town whom we lost 3 days ago. Married for 6o years, mother to many, she leaves behind a legacy of love and kindness and earthly wisdom.

 

He Saw It In A Frosted Window Pane

Photo credit: www.flickr.com

He stood on the street corner in the shadow of the amber street lamp. The night was bitter cold and the promised snow was gently falling on the shoulders of the people who passed him by. They appeared not to notice him as the peals of their holiday laughter echoed down the hushed city avenue.

He never felt so alone. Bereft. He knew that she and her husband were back in the city for the holidays visiting family. Their sons were grown now with little ones of their own and she never missed a chance to be near her precious grandchildren. She bought the brownstone so she would have a place to stay and play on her visits. Despite the distance, it was clear that she had kept a strong sense of community here; the amount of guests entering the doorway provided enough evidence. Never mind the vibe of good cheer and love that seemed to dance through the bricks of the building.

He moved closer. His sons were not interested in seeing him once again this year. He was dying to see what his four grandchildren looked like-he had never met them or seen them in a photograph. He knew that they were at the prime age to experience the magic and wonder of the season and he longed to share it with them.

At once, the four appeared in the large bay window. Two girls and two boys-maybe four to six years of age dressed in their Christmas finery. A picture postcard of innocence and joy.

His heart wrenched and he fell to his knees. On this night-this eve-it came rushing back to him. The weight and force and pain of what he had walked away from all those years ago.  He was crushed and defeated. Weak. He rose slowly, his feet wet and cold, his fingers stiffened by the frost.  He had not walked far-just enough to be out of sight when an overwhelming sense of fatigue came over him. He sought respite in the nearest snow bank.

                                                 *********

“Hey, mister are you all right?”  The group of  revelers came upon him a few hours later, his body nearly hidden in the snow except for the black of his boots. “Aw Jeez man. I think he’s dead. Call 911.” The wagon came quietly. They loaded him on the gurney and checked for identification. None. Just another John Doe lost to the streets they thought. They could hope that someone would notice he was missing and give him a proper burial. But no one ever did.

I took a bit of liberty with the FWF title “I Saw It Through a Frosted Window Pane.” It fit with the story. I am sure Kellie won’t mind!

Take a look at the other great writers over there by just clicking on the link below:

#FWF Free Write Friday: Pick a Title

Swimming With The Fishes

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At first it felt as if his lungs were going to burst. He had never held his breathe this long , the depth of this dive seemed endless, the water a black hole of nothingness. His eyes were hurting from the strain and he was beginning to doubt he would ever find it in the infinite murkiness.

Suddenly and without a hint of warning, he saw a light. He swiftly swam toward it, not noticing that his breathing was somehow eased as he approached the whiteness.  Oddly, he found himself ascending. He was no longer in control of his body as the water transformed from a deep indigo into a soothing hue of turquoise.

A great heave of water pushed him up, and there he was, on some sandy, sunny, heated island-alone.  He had not expected this- a wave of panic rushed at him. All he wanted to was to find the key and hand it over to Jacko. Then the hounds of debt would stop nipping at his heals.

Now what was he to do?  He got off his knees and slowly walked to a shady area. He lay down under the cool canopy and fell into a deep sleep.

Days later, he made front page news. A fishing vessel had recovered a body in one of their tuna nets. Naked, except for a chain wrapped around his left ankle. Tethered to the other end was a concrete block.

  free write friday kellie elmore

Wonderful Kellie Elmore supplied us with 2 prompts this week! The above image came from her.

Phone Call at Midnight

credit: www.flickr.com

Tessa had her suspicions but could never put her finger on any exact proof. Her connections in the high rolling corporate world provided her with ample opportunities to work and play with powerful men. Normally, she kept them at arm’s length, both literally and figuratively. Staying objective while covering the news of the latest takeover or insider scandal was the code by which she lived and breathed. Because of this, she earned the trust of her readers as well as the editors at the paper. It was no accident that she was the recipient of many awards for journalistic excellence. Her non-confrontational style broke down barriers and got many of her sources to confess their dirty deeds.

Tessa worked hard to keep her private life out of plain sight. Covering investigative stories sapped her mental energy and often brought her instant recognition when out in public. Shopping for herself was challenging and dating nearly impossible as many dinners were often interrupted by the ringing of her phone or her “fans”. One gray Sunday afternoon, she saw an ad on the Internet for the sale of a little cottage in Bucks County. Just what I need she thought. A place that will allow for escape from the dregs of the city and the narcissistic qualities of the people I cover. She call the number and made an appointment for the following Saturday afternoon.

It was love at first sight.  The little yellow bungalow with white shutters and a fertile flower garden exuded cheer and warmth. It had just one bedroom and bath (with a claw footed tub), a working fireplace and an open living and kitchen area. The remote setting was serene with its small sloping lawn and tiny pond stocked with fish. She also took an instant like to the real estate agent showing her the property. Jared was polite and knowledgeable- having grown up in the area as a boy. He, too, had taken to the fast paced city life for a bit but then found himself burned out after years of chasing nothing (as he put it). Now, he dabbled in house selling and renovations throughout the western part of the state. This way he could keep his hair long and his skin brown as a berry.

After the purchase, Tessa took some much needed time off from work to move into the house and do some touch-ups on the inside. She often found herself in the company of Jared during her antiquing and hardware excursions. He was delightful and they usually ended their days with dinner in her kitchen or drinks by the pond.  As the weather turned colder, she made use of the fireplace. Tessa arrived late one Friday evening to a stack of firewood on her front porch. She knew immediately that Jared had split it for her. When she called to thank him, she found herself inviting him over.

So their year long affair began. Tessa found Jared so easy to talk to-unlike so many of the men she had dated and even interviewed. He was relaxed and generous with his time and encouraged her to open up. She even told him about her latest piece-investigating a drug lord’s ties to a well known investment firm. She felt like she was getting close but was challenged by some of her sources as well as her own desire to go all out in getting answers. For the first time in years, Tessa didn’t have the zealous urge to go after a story. All she wanted by Thursday night was to head down the 101 and fall into Jared’s embrace.

And it was after one lovely interlude that Tessa found herself awakened by the sound of Jared’s voice on the phone. His side of the bed was empty. The clock on her night stand just turned over to a brand new day. Wrapping herself in a sheet, Tessa crept out of bed towards the kitchen. Jared’s voice became clear. “Don’t worry, she’ll be dead by Sunday.”

Kellie’s at her best with this week’s prompt. We got to write a story based on a list of titles she gave us!  This was fun and very different!  Go to:

#FWF Free Write Friday: Pick a Title

Subjugation and Subordination

credit: fineartamerica.com

This is a continuation of last week’s installment Ephemeral Relinquishment

She felt like she had been dropped into a time machine. Gender roles were clearly defined. Women and girls were only allowed to do domestic chores while men and boys performed all types of manual labor. In fact, they lived decidedly separate existences except for those who were “married”. Even then, husbands and wives only shared space in the bedroom.  Education for girls consisted of preparing them for cooking and cleaning of their future domiciles. They were allowed to grow vegetable and flower gardens and to occasionally roam the fields and woods (escorted) in search of wildflowers or truffles to be used for meals. Religious study was allowed if only to help them better understand that their submissive role was “divinely” ordained.

Lola was appalled at the conditions for females. Often, she would be witness to a young woman’s final preparation for “spiritual marriage.”  All females had to be pure in order to marry.  Those that were deemed not pure enough were often relegated to working in the Saddle Club as entertainers for the “47”-a term for the men who did the Restoration Party’s dirty work. These men were not allowed to marry or breed. They were “rewarded” for catching Restoration Party outlaws with meals and women and were free to do with them what they pleased.  There seemed to be no exact standard for purity and many women were often shocked when they received news of their status. Many attempted to kill themselves in order to avoid their fate and others tried to run away only to be shot by the very men for whom they were to be sexual slaves. Still others were deemed to be good breeders (Lola discovered that these women were already mothers but too “old” to marry). They were sent to housing where their cycles were closely monitored. When they were fertile, they were “visited” by high-ranking members of the Restoration Party. The Breeding House was used as a means to further populate the Restoration Party’s members with the goal of regaining power.

Lola already knew that her role was going to be different. Over these last few weeks, she had learned that the Master had chosen someone to marry his eldest son by his first wife.  In fact, he had chosen three. The one he picked as the most “qualified” was to marry the eldest while the  other two were slated to marry son #2 and son #3.  So here she was. Sharing space in The Prenuptial cottage with two of her peers. They were as petrified as she was confident. Better still, she knew these girls.  And they seemed to know her. Their families were key members of the Renewal Party and she had heard about their disappearance shortly before she was sent on her scouting mission. Wherever Lola had ended up that day in the field, she had now concluded that this was not a holding center but the heart and soul of the Restoration Party’s operations.

She just needed to find a way to communicate with Tasha and Grace. Because all of their movements were recorded, speaking openly was out of the question. During the upheaval, Jack had taught Lola and many other Renewal Party members a secret sign language. It proved to be useful now.

“Don’t worry my friends, ” Lola signaled.  “We are going to hatch a plan that will free all of us.”

Geographical Escape 3.5: Fade to Black

photo credit: studiofovea.deviantart.com

“I know where her body is buried.” Tom was sitting in a dark booth at a dive bar on the outskirts of Louis Port. He stopped in to visit Marlena, an old friend of his mother. He had ordered one too many drinks and Marlena stayed after to help him sober up. She had the looks of a woman who I had seen and heard it all. They got around to talking about old times and soon they found themselves on the subject of his father.

“Your mother hated leaving you with him,” she said. Tom’s mother work nights as a nurse at the local hospital. His father worked at the docks loading cargo that was being shipped down river. Jim’s tall frame had become naturally muscular from years of heavy lifting. Tom’s thinness stood in sharp contrast to his father’s imposing body and equally intimidating personality. Already possessing a shy demeanor, Tom became mute whenever he was with him. In turn, Tom’s father did his best to ignore his son. He wasn’t a man who was good at conversation and he made no attempts to keep enough food in the house or cook a meal.

Jim was a heavy drinker and perpetual womanizer. Often times he would head down to the neighborhood tavern leaving his son alone for the night. Sometimes Tommy fell asleep to the hum of the tv set or put himself to bed. Jim would come home drunk, always with company for the night. Tommy could hear them through the walls. Bed creaking. His father moaning. A woman mewing or at times screaming. He covered his ears with a pillow to block out the noises. Some of them would stay around for a few months. They attempted to be friendly but more often than not, they were more interested in fucking his father. Jim would often send Tommy off on his bike during these times telling him to stay out of the house because “Daddy had business to take care of.” He would ride for hours all over town. Joe would meet up with him and they would head to his house where Joe’s mom would cook them up a special treat. Or he would ride over to the Trackside Diner, where Marlena was working at the time. She always made sure he ate a hearty meal, his belly full to bursting.

When he did arrive back at his Dad’s, he and his latest date would often be passed out on the couch with beer cans strewn on the floor and cigarettes still burning in the ashtrays.

His father knew no boundaries. He didn’t seem to care when Tommy would accidentally walk in on his acts in the living room or even the kitchen. “Hey there son, Daddy is just  having some fun with this little lady. You go on back to bed now,” he’d laugh. Or there would be two women with him. Unabashed in their nakedness. “I had trouble choosing. So I thought I would invite both of them home with me.”

Tommy was overwhelmed. He did not have the words to even speak of the situations he witnessed. He was always relieved to be back with his mother, putting those times out of his mind.

And this is what he thought he did that one last time. He was awakened once again by the sounds from his father’s bedroom. This time, however, it was different. Fearful screaming. Furniture banging against the wall. His father making monstrous noises. More yelling. “Please stop! You’re hurting me. Let go of me!”  Then the sound of someone falling to the floor with a loud thud.

Tommy couldn’t help himself. He got out of bed and peeked in the doorway of his father’s room. He saw his father straddled over the bloody, naked body of his latest conquest. A knife was in his hands. When he turned and saw his son, he said, “She wouldn’t listen, son. Help me clean up.” He began to roll her body in a rug. “Go open up the car’s trunk and get a shovel too. Then get in the back seat.”

They drove out to Cedar Grove Forest. He left Tommy in the car while he walked down the path with the shovel. A few minutes later, he came back for her. “Help me out here son. Hold the flashlight. I don’t want to trip on the path with this heavy load.”  Tommy held the light out in front of him as his father walked behind. When they got to the hole, he father said, “Go on back to the car and wait for me.”

Minutes later, Tommy heard the car door open and watched his father slide into the driver’s seat. Then he turned around and brought Tommy’s face close to his. He was filthy and reeked of sweat and blood. Breathing heavily, nearly spitting out the words, he said: “Don’t you ever tell a god damn soul.”

The smell of bleach awakened him. Sunlight streamed across his face. “Get dressed. I am taking you back to your mother’s.” He dropped his son at the curb and sped off. That was the last time he saw his father. It was only three years later, when Tommy was twelve, that he heard about his father’s death in a cheap motel room. He had been found shot to death.

By the time he was done talking, the sun was about to rise. The confession purged his soul. He knew that he would need to talk to the authorities. But first he would go home. He no idea of how he would tell Ella about his past. No clue about his present misdeeds. Their future together was uncertain. But he owed her the truth.

These thoughts were swimming in his sleepless mind as he said goodbye to Marlena and headed out towards the airport. Dazed and distracted, he was unaware of the moose in the middle of the road. He hit it head on, the car flipping over and over into the air until it landed in a ditch. They say you travel towards a white light at the end. But all Tom saw was red.

Geographical Escape 3.4: Sirens Song

https://buildingalifeofhope.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/191c9-sirens.jpg

photo credit: www.mywanderingstory.com

He had set foot in an alternate reality. On the outside,the building looked as if it were a residence with many rooms. However, with the exception of the ante-room and a small number of private rooms on the upper floors, the inside had the look and feel of flowered  gardens bursting with color. Dispersed throughout were pools laced with lily pads and small waterfalls. Butterflies flitted about adding depth and grace to this verdant paradise. In the distance, he heard the sounds of flutes and stringed instruments.

Aurora was dressed in a sheer red wrap that revealed her nakedness in just the right places. She was holding Tom’s hand gently in hers as she gave him a tour of the facilities. When he arrived once again at the residence, the men removed his clothing and donned him in a white wrap for comfort. As he walked with Aurora, Tom took in all the sights and sounds. In the rooms above, whispered ecstasy. In the pools below, synchronous sensuality. Some bathed each other as they would a newborn child. Others caressed as lovers would. The reverberation of their harmonious climaxes nearly drove him to tears.

But it was the sound of melodious singing that was drawing Tom to yet another pooled Eden. Before him were several women playing and singing in the water. They washed their long tresses and cleansed their bodies. They were lovely. Goddesses. Queens. Deities. He got down on his knees at the water’s edge. One beauty took his hand into the soothing water. The music lulled him into a state of perfect bliss.  He opened his mouth to drink their elixir. His eyes became heavy. His body limp as he fell into a deep and permanent slumber.

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please.” Tom woke with a start. The pilot was speaking.  “We are having engine trouble and our flight is being diverted to Louis Port Regional Airport.” He rubbed his eyes. First, a sigh of relief came over him as he realized it all had been a dream. Yes, he had been to San Fransisco for work. No, he had not strayed this time.  But then a sense of horrible dread invaded him. Louis Port-his childhood home- was the place where it all began and ended.

Geographical Escape 3.0: Stranded

photo credit: www.lawnow.org

It all started innocently enough.  He was approached with an offer from his boss after the holidays. “Got a buddy up in the Billingsworth region who could use your expertise for a bit. You would be in a consulting position three days a week and you’d make  top money in addition to what you make here. If it works out, I get a cut of the profit and I’ll give you a hefty raise.”

He didn’t pass it up even though it meant being away from home Sunday afternoon to Wednesday night.  Perfect timing for ski season. The area had top-notch black diamond trails.  Just the kick he needed.

And the old feeling was rising up again. He thought that he had it under control. Lauren wasn’t even a distant memory; he had convinced himself that it never happened. But then Joe had to go say something that triggered that underground tremor in him again. The four of them were out at their annual couples holiday date and Joe had raised a toast to him. “Tom, he said in a booming voice, your mom would be so proud of you. Successful businessman, husband, father and friend. You have buried the legacy of your dad.”  Tom’s face became an icy mask. He had not seen his father since he was nine. Tom’s mom had died of cancer just before their daughter was born. They had named her Louisa after her grandmother.

The physical exertion of cycling and skiing that once helped to peel the layers of hurt ceased to work. Sexual diversion with a woman he barely knew had become his new method of deliverance.

Georgia was a mirror image of him. Short black hair. Black eyes.  A femme fatale who was just shy of 40 and had a body that knocked him out.  Powerful  thighs that were strong from years on the slopes. Muscular upper back.  A brawny woman who made it clear that she was proud of her sexuality.

When she called her mechanic, he let her know that he would not be able to get the new starter until Friday. Given the timing of the repair, Tom would not make it home at all since he was back at work in s the following  Monday.  He would remain in the area for another week.

And what a week it was. There was a certain tough competitiveness to their escapades. An edginess. Like skiing on icy slopes or off the trails. Georgia was an expert skier and he found it hard to keep up with her.  And she was equally energetic and agile in the  bedroom.

She brought out a hidden determination in him.  A hardened physical desire that broke down the act into tarnished carnal lust. She was serving a need and he was hooked.