Temptation

 

The sun beat on his nape and his shirt stuck to his body, too wet to do any good in absorbing the sweat that trickled maddeningly down the center of his back and soaked the waistband of his pants.

His arms ached. Granite did not easily yield.

The soft ripples of the water mocked him, parading a breeze he did not feel. The pillar blocked what small air movement could be had. To add insult to injury, the hot stone reflected the stifling heat back at him. The path was an oven.

A dragonfly skimming the river caught his eye and he paused, mallet in mid-air and chisel in position, muscles bunching under the folds of his damp sleeves.

What if? he pondered.

He shook the thought out of his mind. Let the mallet land.

Who knew what lurked under the surface of seemingly inviting water. Better hot than drowned.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

 

Out Of The Blue

Photo prompt: © David Stewart

 

The streets still shone with wet but the dome of sky stretched clear above. The wind had swept away the clouds.

She shivered even though the air was warm. Perhaps it was the damp that had her reaching for her shawl.

She hugged herself and wondered if she’d ever know whether he had left because he wanted to or because he had no other choice or because he did not know any better.

“Where are you?” she whispered.

She jumped when the fountain unexpectedly came to life and bathed the roundabout in blue.

It felt like a hello. From Hugh.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Treasure In The Sand

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Galway, Ireland (photo: Fum Bally on Unsplash)

 

He leaned on his elbows and watched, periodically checking the clock and the tide-chart that hung next to it. Any moment now.

The briny air tickled a sneeze out of him, and he debated whether he had time to go fetch a handkerchief or if he could just use his shirt. Laundry day would not be for another full week. The handkerchief won. He rushed back to the window, flushing with a combination of exertion and embarrassment.

It was sobering to be faced with his own obsession.

The waves hissed and brushed against the beach. The ocean sighed. The breeze picked up. It would rain tonight. He believed his bones.

Then he saw her, walking on the exposed strip of rock-spattered sand. Her head was down, searching. She held a plastic bucket in her hand. It had seen better days.

They both had.

She was his treasure in the sand.

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Galway, Ireland

 

 

betway 体育是哪国的

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Photo: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

 

As soon as he arrived, she would be able to make her exit.

Take time for herself. Have a moment of calm.

She was oh-so-tired. She urged him on.

“On my way,” he said. “A few more minutes and I’ll come.”

She waited.

The minutes then the hours ticked their slow molasses of seconds. Time puddled, sticky, in her mind.

Around her the demands of life continued and her body obeyed. Her hands found zippers and did and undid buttons and washed dishes and stirred pots and hung wet linens and kneaded dough and bandaged a skinned knee and broke up fights and interrupted arguments. Her mouth managed to answer questions she did not remember being asked.

At some point her eyes no longer rose to check the clock. The sinking feeling curled up and took residence inside her gut.

She fed. She bathed. She put to bed.

She rocked. She soothed. Not knowing what she said.

As dark deepened and the night grew long, she knew.

He would not arrive.

There will be only more to overcome.

 

 

 

For RDP Sunday: Overcome

 

 

 

No Line

 

“There’s no line!” Margo pulled Adina’s hand with one of hers and pointed with the other. “Let’s hurry!”

Adina followed Margo’s finger, shielding her eyes from the sun. It’s been a long day already and they’d only gotten in a little over an hour ago. The drive. The stops. The lines for the tickets. The lines for the entrance. The lines for the bathroom. The lines to the lines …

Her eyes met the target.

What was that!?

A contraption rose ahead, metal-barred and plastic-sheathed, crisscrossed with steps and zigzagged horrors.

“Come on!” Margo danced on the balls of her feet, ecstatic.

Adina felt the hotdog that she didn’t even eat yet threaten a revisit.

No way she was going up that thing. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.

“Must be a reason no one’s there,” she tried.

“Yeah! Because it is ‘by reservation.’ Aren’t you glad I called ahead and made one?”

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Make It Home

camp home OsnatHalperinBarlev

Photo: Osnat Halperin-Barlev

 

They strung up the hammock, and called it home.

There was a tent.

There was shade.

There was view.

There was fresh air.

And in the morning, sparkly tears of dew.

It wasn’t much, perhaps.

With a long trek to get water,

And so a lot to learn. Anew.

Still, they made do.

 

There had been little time to plan,

After they got the letter.

It was pay up, in whole,

Or let the owed sum fetter

Their everything into

Being a forever debtor.

So they packed what they owned

And drove away

With broken hearts and eyes the wetter.

 

At least here,

Even with no walls

There was shelter.

Which was, already,

Better.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Home in 114 words

 

 

 

 

No Quarter

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Photo: jurien huggins on Unsplash

 

She would give him no quarter.

Heed no pleas or demands.

He will have to obey.

It was how it was done.

No experience? No matter.

He will not fall

Behind!

First the tasks,

Then the chores

And more lessons to mind.

Math and science

Books and rhymes.

This was school,

Not play time!

 

 

For RDP Monday: Quarter

 

Plenty Enough Of That

Cotton E.K.

Photo: E.K.

 

“I don’t know what we’ll do,” she sobbed.

He lifted her chin gently till the brown-speckled eyes met his. “We’ll manage,” he said, surety threaded carefully into his voice. He didn’t want her feeling as if she was weak for unraveling or wondering whether any of what she was feeling was excessive or unreasonable. It was not.

He didn’t have all the answers, either.

Only love.

He had plenty of that.

And it had to be enough.

“Everything’s a mess,” she sighed.

It was. And yet, it wasn’t. Not everything. Their care for each other had not a single tangle in it.

“It’s like this cotton field,” he breathed. “Raw fibers that are nonetheless brimming with nascent fabric potential. We’ll pick through our grief and weave love into a new life.”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Fabric in 131 words

 

 

Not Ready To Launch

irene-d CrispinaKemp

Photo: Crispina Kemp

 

It was going to take some training, but he was going to have his crew ready in time for the summer. Earlier, if the weather decided to cooperate.

Sure, there were issues of sea-worthiness in both prospective staff and designated vehicle, but he’d made up his mind and would not be blown off course. There were rivers to cross, lakes to traverse, seafaring and fishing to consider.

To be on the safe side, he collected piles of floaters. Not the glass “witch balls” his grandfather had left in the attic, but the highly visible red plastic ones.

“This way if you drown,” he told the kids, “it’ll ensure the Coastguard can find you before the toothy fish do.”

“After such an introduction,” his wife noted, knitting needles clicking in time with her rocking chair, “what did you expect? Of course they chose to train with Cousin Bob, the bush pilot.”

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge