Horsing Around

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“Did she see you take Butter?”

Hailey chuckled, “Nah.”

The stable dame was notorious for imbibing at lunch and for the sprawled-in-chair-nap that followed. If you timed it correctly, you could saddle a horse, enjoy a ride, and return before the woman stirred awake.

“What if she found out?” Dora squirmed on Rocky’s back, and the gelding raised his head in admonition. “Sorry, Rocky,” she placed a palm on the equine’s neck.

Hailey shrugged. “Not like Butter will tattle. Right, Butter?”

The horse neighed in return, and the girls giggled.

Rocky snorted.

“Nor you, Rocky. You ain’t a snitch,” Hailey agreed.

The mare trotted languidly. She had to be just as happy for the outing, let alone with Rocky. If it weren’t for Hailey’s family’s recent trouble, and the sale of Butter to Mrs. Jolly’s stable, the horses would still be grazing together, as they had from colt and filly.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Home, Sweet Home

 

“There’s plenty of room,” Zoe insisted.

Easy for you to say, Dana sniffed. Zoe was five foot nothing in heels and reed thin. Dana sat on planes with knees bumping her chin.

Zoe slunk between people like an oiled spaghetti, unlatched a gate, and scampered down metal stairs.

“Wait!” Dana bumbled in her wake, apologetic. She must have stepped on five pedestrians’ toes and hit another with her bag.

The basement studio was airless, dark, and smelled of garlic and Bok choy. Dana was sure she could touch both walls with outstretched arms.

“Welcome, Roomie!” Zoe announced. “Home, sweet home!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Roger Bultot

 

 

Not A Bird

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“Hey! At the bottom of the cliff to the right. What do you think this is?”

Lisa adjusted the focus on her binoculars. “Can’t tell. A bit of junk?”

They were supposed to be cataloguing the different bird species they could find along their stretch of beach, but the seagulls were tiresome, and the sandpipers were too fast, and the wind had whipped so much sand around that she would certainly be carrying another pound of it just in her hair. Lisa wanted to go home. She wanted a nice bath, dry clothes, and a hot cup of tea.

“Perhaps a miners’ rail box.” Deena, binoculars glued to her face and hair tucked under a maddeningly practical cap, seemed oblivious to the stinging sand or Lisa’s rumbling stomach.

“Not a bird,” Lisa tried.

“No, but sure is a mystery!” Deena rose and pointed at the narrow trail. “Let’s go investigate!”

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Watch Out

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“See that thing?” Holly whispered.

“What thing?” Harold mumbled, eyes barely lifted from the miniature screen of his new smart-watch.

That thing!” Holly covered her brother’s wrist with her hand. “Over there.”

Harold sighed and looked around. Old metal fences that once cordoned lines of people. Rotten concrete. Musty dankness. A deserted skating rink. What’s to see?

“Nothing,” he shrugged.

Holly exhaled exasperation. “That bird,” she hissed.

“Oh. A brown pigeon. Unusual coloring.”

His sister’s fingers tightened around his wrist and he grimaced at the pressure on his watch. It was new. She’d ruin it before he could show it off. “Hey, let go! What?!”

“I don’t care about its coloring. It is staring at us!”

“It’s just a bird.” He scrutinized the gate. His friends were very late.

“Yeah? Bet you won’t say that when it calls millions of its friends to dive in and peck us to death!”

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Better Happy Than Sad

 

“You think he’ll win?”

Shlomi shrugged. Elections or not, he was distracted by the scents wafting from the cart across the stone-paved alley. His wife would kill him if he drank any of the juices. Diabetes would kill him, too. So it was just a matter of whether it’ll happen on his terms.

Or not.

He sighed.

“Get that pomegranate juice,” Abdul urged. “You know no one makes it like my father does.”

Better die happy than sad.

“Abu Abdul,” Shlomi called across the narrow alley. “One pomegranate?”

“For sure, Habibi,” the old man grinned. “Want that fake-sugar in there?”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers 

 

 

A Thicker Thread

cubed-nut CrispinaKemp

 

“They left it here for a reason.”

Barbra rolled her eyes. There was hardly a thing Robin would not make a story of. “Okay, I’ll play. Who did and what for?”

Robin approached the holed-out structure with something like reverence. The round openings were just large enough for small children to wriggle through and climb and sit on with legs dangling. She had, when young, though she hadn’t seen many playing on it recently. Perhaps it meant the time was nearing.

“The fuamhairean had,” she said. “The giants left it but they will come back.”

“And supposing they exist, what could possibly be their reason to deposit it here?”

Robin sighed. Barbra wasn’t a believer. She wasn’t expected to understand. Still, it was important to explain. “It is a bead for their necklace. Their string tore. They’re waiting for the elves to weave them a thicker thread. It takes years.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

* fuamhairean – “giants” in Scots Gaelic

 

 

Up And Away

Photo prompt © Ronda Del Boccio

 

They’d waited as long as they could, but in the end had to leave without her. Or lose the opportunity.

There would be hell to pay, of course, but they should not all have to suffer the consequences of Mathilde’s tardiness. Not today.

“She’d be furious,” Wanda bit her lip.

“Yep,” Tanya confirmed. She felt bad but not sorry. Sure, Mathilde liked to make an entrance. She liked to keep others on pins and needles. Not today!

Today, for Tanya’s birthday, they lifted to the sky, burners roaring.

Was that Mathilde’s car, tiny, racing at the edge of their horizon?

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

The Ball And The Bread

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“You’ll stand on one side of the bridge, and I’ll cross it to the other.”

Millie considered.

Sylvia could be tricky. Sometimes the spunky neighbor was a delightful friend. Other times … not so much. And that’s not counting mishaps. Millie lost tally of how many times her playmate had landed her in trouble.

Millie’s hand rose to absentmindedly rub her backside. It still sported a bruise from the last ‘adventure’ Sylvia took them on. That tree limb would never grow again, and Millie’s piggy bank was half-emptied from the fine her parents had levied.

She looked at the pond. The water lilies floated serenely on the surface. A dragonfly hovered before dipping elegantly to paint a ripple. A frog leaped and splashed and swam underneath a wide green leaf. A bird chirped nearby.

It was perfect.

“I’m fine just relaxing here on the bank,” Millie decided.

“We won’t disturb anything,” Sylvia countered, flinging a braid behind a shoulder.

Millie shuddered. It was one of the things that were uncanny about Sylvia. Millie was positive the girl could read minds.

“I brought a ball,” Sylvia enticed. “And bread.”

The ball must be Denny’s, Sylvia’s brother, and almost certainly swiped without permission. The bread? Well, that was probably not ill got.

“No ball,” Millie said, then sighed. Somehow she always gave in to what became a kind of bargaining, when she in fact wanted none of the options to begin with.

“Great!” Sylvia scampered across the narrow bridge. “I’ll toss bread crumbs in the water and make some waves. You corral. Let’s see how many frogs we can get!”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo

 

 

 

Dogged Dobbie

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Photo: Keith Kreates

 

“What’s he doing?”

Martha shrugged.

“What’s in there?”

She tilted her head at him, and he demurred. She was clearly occupied. She had a bone to pick and he knew that if he pushed her with one more question she’d snap his head off. Or try.

He wasn’t going to let her try.

He moved closer to his friend.

“Dobbie?” he asked the headless figure. Did she snap his head off already? No, there was a tail wag. He didn’t think Dobbie would wag his tail if he didn’t have a head. He’d be too sad. No sniff. No lick. No yum.

“What’d’ya doin’ in there?”

The tail paused, then gave a halfhearted, one-sided sway. A sign?

“You stuck?”

Hesitant then enthusiastic wag.

“How’d you get stuck there?”

There was probably no way to wag an answer to that. Not to mention that Dobbie found a way to get stuck just about anyplace. Between the legs of a chair. Under the bed. With a garbage bin over his head. …

Max sniffed. There had to have been some food up there. Dobbie never could resist anything gobbleable. Max sniffed again. Traces. It’d be all gone by the time Dobbie realized he should’ve planned a way out before he stuck his head in.

Dobbie’s tail wagged in half-regret, half-plea.

Max sighed.

“Hold on, Dobbie! I’ll get Com’eer!”

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #246

 

 

The Culvert

 

“Where does it lead?” Mina crouched and tried to peer behind the metal grate. The concrete tube curved away.

“To the factory,” Josh replied distractedly. Her derriere was hanging utterly too close to the water.

“Are you checking me out?” she teased. She knew he preferred men.

“More like watching out for you,” he pouted. His friend could read his mind even when her back was turned. He loved and hated her for it.

She twisted to peek at him. “The danger being?”

“Getting wet.”

Mina laughed. Josh was fussier than her own mother. “I won’t melt.”

“Not from normal water, you wouldn’t, but there’s a reason the factory was ordered closed, and why authorities reinforced the grates on this culvert. Only God and the now-dead-factory-owners-and-workers know what’s in there. I don’t like this.”

Mina’s witty retort fizzled when she caught sight of movement, barreling toward the grate.

She screamed.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge #60