prompt: doughnut, lost, bathing suit

Anna was half under the bed, her arm reaching blindly for a bathing suit. The slipper she’d been missing for months, found. Bathing suit? Not so much. “It’s supposed to be here!”

“Under your bed?” Daniel asked, between bites of a doughnut.

“Well, no.” Anna pushed out from under the bed and blew her bangs in frustration. “It was supposed to be in my drawer, but it wasn’t. I thought maybe the storage bin with summer stuff, but that was a no-go either, and then I checked the garage, then the guest room closet, then the–”

Daniel’s eyebrows lifted as Anna spoke. When he finally swallowed the doughnut, he looked like he’d wished he hadn’t asked the question. Anna agreed, it was a stupid question. 

“Okay, okay, I get it.” With the doughnut finally finished, Daniel could lift his hands as if they were a shield between himself and Anna’s increasing anger and frustration. 

Anna rolled her eyes. “I can’t find it.”

“Well, on the upside, there’s more doughnuts?”

Anna growled and pushed herself to her feet. “I can’t swim in a doughnut, Daniel.”

He couldn’t quite hide the smirk that followed whatever mental image Anna’s words had invoked, and Anna couldn’t quite help herself either. She threw her newly found slipper right towards Daniel’s face. 

“Go bring me a doughnut.” 

prompt: friendship, train, strawberry

The familiar comfort of Strawberry Fields and the countryside rushing past, those were the things Carl tried to focus on. The rock of the train along the tracks would act as a soothing rhythm, if he’d let it. 

Living is easy with eyes closed

Carl closed his own, as if the song was an instruction, and he thought about all his own misunderstandings, the ones that had led him to this train, to the familiar trip home with a familiar song in his ear, but nothing more than that–No one waited at the other end, sitting in the station full of anticipation. No one; an old familiar song provided more friendship and solace than anyone living or dead. 

Nothing is real, And nothing to get hung about.

Carl opened his eyes, across the train car his gaze locked with a stranger, an elderly man, old enough to be his father, even though his father had passed away far younger than Carl was now. In that moment, a connection, a spark of humanity, nothing more than an acknowledgment of each other’s existence. But it was something real, and Carl found himself hung up on it long after the train pulled into the station.

Living is easy with eyes closed, but tonight, Carl decided, he’d go into town for dinner.

prompt: asphalt, thunderstorm, chocolate

Rain hit the asphalt in an unrelenting staccato rhythm that meant many things, but mostly it meant Francine would be late. Again. Marc let the curtain fall over the window as he retreated back into the living room in defeat. 

It’d been so long since he’d last seen her chocolate eyes. 

From his well worn spot on the couch, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, allowing himself a brief moment to remember the way her eyes would lighten to amber under the afternoon sun. Recalling the memory was simple enough, but the onslaught of emotions that accompanied it had never been easy for Marc to bear. 

Instead, he opened his eyes again, fixed them on the television, and waited. 

Warmth in the Storm

Over the ocean, in the far off distance, lightning lit up a gray cloud. Anthony shifted on the blanket next to Dean, not quite ready to go inside from their impromptu picnic just yet. The wind picked up and made him curl further into the warmth of Dean’s arm, where it was wrapped around Anthony’s waist.

The crashing of the ocean broke against the sand in front of them, the sunset they’d come out to watch had long since fallen over the horizon, just leaving the faint dusk light and the dancing of lightning. Anthony knew they’d need to go inside soon, that the wind would bring the cloud to shore and with it the oncoming storm.

Dean’s lips brushed across Anthony’s hair, another bolt making him gasp against the dark strands. “We should go inside soon,” Dean whispered between breaking waves.

“We should.” Anthony’s hand hit the box of chocolate at his side and Anthony reached for a piece, holding it up for Dean. Warmth from Dean’s lips wrapped around his fingers, cutting off the chill of the wind.

Dean swiped his tongue against Anthony’s fingertip before pulling back. “Maybe five more minutes,” he said, before another bolt of lightning cut across the sky, this time followed by thunder. “Or maybe three.”

Unconcerned, Anthony hummed, content to sit on this blanket in the sand, under the warmth of Dean’s arms, long after the storm rolled in.

Come Whatever

They’d said goodbye a hundred times already, but Greg knew he’d say it as many times as Jack wanted.

Greg walked the path along the side of the football field, behind the bleachers and down the row of trees that separated the school grounds from the lake. There was only one tree with a trunk thick enough to lean against, and that was where he was heading.

It seemed as if no one else was around, the rest of their graduating class out on the front lawn, where the rows of fold-out chairs and the stage were set up for graduation. But he knew he wouldn’t be alone back here. Not today, when the clock was ticking and they were both due on planes in opposite direction in a day’s time. And this was the last time they’d be on their high school campus together.

Continue reading “Come Whatever”

Yellow-Bellied Love

The pencil snapped in her hand and he was grateful because it gave him something to look at instead of the cruelty in her eyes. “You’re nothing,” she spat. “A coward. A yellow-bellied fool.”
 
He winced at the words, a scathing reply on his own tongue that he swallowed down. But then resentment followed, why could she spout vile but he had to take the high road? “Call me a coward, but at least I’m not the one sabotaging this relationship because you’re scared of a little criticism.”
 
“You’re criticism is garbage, Jeremy.” She crossed her arms, turned to the window and threw the pencil pieces at the glass. She liked to make loud noises when she was angry. “Why should I value your opinion?”
 
It was like a slap in his face. “Because, you love me?”
 
Her laugh was tight and short. “Yea, cause that has anything to do with this. You call me a coward for wanting to do more, see more. You call it running away.”
 
“It is running away!” His voice boomed across their living room. “You’d be leaving me.”
 
God, he hated when she rolled her eyes, and there she was, rolling. “I’ll be gone for six months. It’s not the end of the world.”
 
A hot flush crawled through his body because he hated that he cared more than her, that he so obviously was the more invested one. “Fine,” he said. “Go.”
 
“I don’t need your permission,” she reminded, spite in her words despite getting everything she wanted.
 
He saw red, but it blurred from the tears in his eyes. “You did. But you don’t anymore.” And then he walked to the door.
 

 

Three words: Pencil, Yellow, Garbage
Mood: Angry

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On the Top of the Hill

A hand shook Ann’s shoulder, pulling her from a deep sleep. “Mama?” she asked through a yawn. “What is it? It’s the middle of the night.”

Mama’s eyes were bright, a toothy grin spreading across her face. “Wake up, there’s something I want to show you.”

“I’m sleepy,” Ann whined. Didn’t Mama know tomorrow was a school day? Mama usually cared about those sorts of things…

“This is more important.” Mama clapped and Ann started to sit up, only to have a pile of clothes land on her head. “Get dressed.”

Ann followed her Mama’s orders right out the door of their tiny home. The darkness had waned a little, the pitch black transforming into a dark purple.

“I’m very excited for you, Ann,” Mama explained. She swayed on her heels as Ann pulled on a jacket while Mama got them flashlights. When we were both ready she snapped her fingers. “Come on, chase me!”

And then Mama was off and Ann remembered her bed, and wondered if this was still a dream. But still, she followed Mama and ran.

On the top of the hill, the dark purple had changed to a dusky blue, if not for the flashlights, Ann would not know where they were. “This is where we lost our relay race.”

Mama turned, face unreadable until Ann shined the flashlight in it. Even Mama’s squinting couldn’t detract from her smile. “Oh honey, this is where a lot of things happened.”

“Like what?” Ann asked, still unable to forget the sting of defeat.

“Well, for one,” Mama held up a finger. “This is where I first felt you kick in my belly.”

“Really?”

“Really, really.”

“What else?” Ann looked around the hillside, the first bits of sun rising over the horizon.

“It’s where you Papa first told me he loved me.”

“What else?” Excitement ran through Ann now, because Mama was looking towards the horizon, as if she was expecting something.

“Well, sweetheart. In just a few minutes the sun is going to rise, and you know what’s going to happen?”

Ann pulled at her sleeve until Mama wrapped her arms around her, rocking Ann against her body. “What?”

A car rumbled in the distance and Mama leaned low, pressing her lips against Ann’s ear. When she spoke her voice was barely a whisper. “We’re going on an adventure.”

—-
 Words: Sunrise/Elated/Lost
Mood: Hopeful

Nah Nah Naan

“What do you mean you’ve never had curry before?” Jane stirred the pot, in more ways than one. “Do you only eat fried food that’s the color of beige?”

 

Charles gaped. “That’s pretty limiting. I eat lots of things!”

 

“Name me something you’ve eaten in the past week that contained a spice other than salt or pepper.”

 

“Hey!” Charles crossed his arms and leaned against Jane’s kitchen counter. He spun at the spice rack instead of answering and Jane wondered if he knew how much any of them could add to a meal. “I don’t cook much.”

 

“Nay.” She pointed the cooking spoon at her friend. “You don’t cook at all.”

 

“Well…that’s true.”

 

Jane sighed, turning back to the curry and using her hand to waft its smell to her nose. “This may cause some irreparable damage to our friendship.”

 

“The fact that I haven’t had curry?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well, you’re about to remedy that so…” Charles smiled, wide and contagious, and Jane had to look away or else she’d return it.

 

“It’s always up to me to better you.” The scent of coriander and cumin filled Jane’s small kitchen. “Grab the basket of naan. This is almost done.”

 

“Nah, nah?” Charles questioned, looking around the room. “What’s that?”

 

Jane switched off the stovetop and blew her bangs with an exasperated breath. “It’s literally the only thing in the room in a basket.”

 

Charles smirked. “I’m obviously kidding. I know what a basket is.”

 

“You’ve never had curry before! How am I supposed to know what you do and do not know? Just grab the basket you basket case. I’m about to open your culinary horizons.”

 

—-
Words: Curry/Basket/Irreparable

James and the Tiny Prince

The fabric caught on the callouses of his hand but James didn’t care, he just scrubbed harder. He wanted to look perfect, needed to look perfect; and he wouldn’t let the smell of bleach distract him. The prince was coming and James couldn’t help bouncing his feet as he stood by the sink.

When the white shirt was clean, or as clean as a farmer mid-season could make it, he pinned it to the line and rushed back inside. His wood cabin was small, but tidy, and he could offer the prince variety of cushions to sit upon. As he patted a gold and red one, a flush grew in his cheeks. He hoped they weren’t too big for his majesty.

The sun fell over the horizon, the colors of sunset shining into the cabin through the window. He was almost out of time.

James was panting by the time he made it back outside, the shirt damp as he slid it on. And then he was standing at attention by his front door, his farm on display and his house tidy. James knew there were better, more affluent subjects in the prince’s kingdom, but he chose James and who was James to question it?

The trumpets were the first thing he heard, followed by the rolling carriage wheels. The carriage was large, larger than James’ cushions, so some of the stress eased from his shoulders.

The carriage came to a stop. A man hopped from the front with another brass instrument. “Presenting!” He blew into the horn. “His royal highness.”

When the door opened, James fell to the ground. A sign of respect, to lower himself under the prince. Above he heard the sticky steps as the prince hopped down, made his way to James.

“Rise,” the prince said.

James did, grasping the princes hand to place a kiss on the slimy, suction cupped skin. “Ribbet,” James saluted.

“Ribbet.”

The Other Side

It was windy on the other side. With each step, Val’s hair whipped around her head, lashing at her cheeks and neck.

“Just another three steps,” the voice in her head said. It was a deep voice, a male voice. The timbre was one she had heard before but could not place. “Through the mirror and you’ll be free.”

And a part of her knew it was a trap. Following a voice that had no body, one that had called to her as she sat curled in a ball by her bed, crying. Her mother had warned her not to follow the voices as she was carted off to the asylum. Yet here she was, following

The wind picked up again, pushing her forward, spinning around her so that it became hard to grasp any of it for a single inhale.

She looked back and Val had expected to see her room, the bed she’d had since she was a child, but all she saw was a field of green grass.

And she knew she had made a mistake.