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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Word Prompt: Pegasus

The magnificent creature stood amidst a sea of golden-yellow wheat. His nonchalant gaze toward the thick, tangled forest behind him. Flaring his nostrils, he pranced forward two steps and paused. A curt breeze shuddered the dense oil of silver-tipped feathers amassed at his side. 

No one would ever believe me. A real-life Pegasus posed before my awe-stricken eyes. Each as wide as the frisbee I clutched with superhero strength. At least it seemed like the grip of a superhero. If I dropped it, I feared the soft plop might startle the winged horse and he would flee. I wished for a camera to capture this strange sighting at the farthest edge of our farm.

Grandpa Joe told me stories of the Greek gods, but my big sister Jean said his stories weren’t real. Jean was super smart, so there was a pretty good chance she was right. Until I saw the Pegasus for myself. Standing there in all its glorious majesty, basking in the soft halo of sun glowing around him. 

“Charlie!”

In the distance, someone called my name. It sounded like Jean. 

The Pegasus, startled by the far cry, fluttered and spread his feathered wings. The massive span stretched wider than a two pickup trucks. 

“Charlie!”

The Pegasus blinked and glanced at me. I wished Jean would shut up. 

“Don’t go,” I whispered to the Pegasus, hoping it would hear my quiet plea. 

As my sister’s shouts grew louder, the Pegasus became uneasy. Taking a few steps, he turned away and broke into a canter. His wings stretched farther and began to flap gracefully. Up and down. Up and down. Generating enough power to lift his massive girth in the air; soon he was flying over the canopy of trees. 

A few seconds later, he was gone. 

“Charlie!”

“He’s waking up!”

“Charlie, you okay? That frisbee knocked you out pretty bad.”

Jean stood over me and examined my head. 

“You’re going to have one helluva bruise, but you’ll live,” she said. “Come on. Let me help you get back to the house so we can put some ice on that bump.”

Charlie felt himself lifted to his feet. As his sister led him away, he turned and looked at the open field. Something in the air caught my eye. A single, silver-tipped feather floating from the sky. 

Word Prompt: Swing

Legs pumping

Feet flying

Higher, Higher!

Hands gripping

Chains pulling

Higher, Higher!

Knees bending

Chest heaving

Higher, Higher!

Head tilting

Eyes twinkling

Higher, Higher!

Swing creaking

Child freaking

Lower! Lower!

Word Prompt: Mt. Everest

My Mt. Everest is writing a book. I’ve been working on it for eleven years. Penned multiple versions, and I’m never satisfied with where the story goes, though it stays the same because there are some characters and scenes that will never change They’re implanted deep in the psyche, wedged in folds of my brain like little worms. Parasites. Did you know Mt. Everest hosts parasites? My Mt. Everest does.

It’s cold and frigid on the climb. Sometimes, I want to give up. I camp on an icy ledge for six months to a year. I need a break from the arduous trek through jumbled words, turbulent emotions, black anger oozing from my heart. I mislead myself. I think the mountain might move away and disappear; every morning, I emerge from my tent and there it looms. Still there. Still a long way from the top no matter how close I think I’m getting. I’m never close enough. The peak keeps calling. Like Sirens at sea, it lures me to pack up my things, to take more steps toward its frozen crest. I’m tempted. Determined one day to reach the top, if not to raise my arms in victory, at least to see the view.

And should I fall before I reach my destination, the plunge will be my greatest descent, through which I’ll spread my arms to feel the rush of subzero winds flying across my sides as I crash into my final resting place, the very spot where it all began.

Word Prompt: Imaginary Friend

She says I should eat chocolate cake for breakfast. Just once. It won’t kill me.

My mother says different things. She says sugar is evil. Toxic. Rots your brain.

Mozzie says my mother rots my brain. When Mother puts steamed carrots and broccoli on my plate, Mozzie sneers. She doesn’t think Mother has any fun. She thinks a big black tornado swept Mother and carried away all the fun. When I asked Mother if this was true, she looked at me funny.

“Where did you get that silly thought?”

“Mozzie told me.”

“Who’s Mozzie?”

“My friend.”

“Your friend? I don’t recall a girl named Mozzie in your class. Is she new?”

“No. She’s been my friend since I was three.”

“Hmmph.” Mother gave me a curious look when she grunted like that.

Mozzie tells me not to talk about her in front of Mother. She says Mother will try to separate us. I don’t want Mozzie to go away. We’re going to be friends forever. We’ll grow old together and sit in rocking chairs at the special home where my grandma lives with her friends. Mother says she’s much happier there than she was living with us. I liked it when Grandma was waiting to hear about my day when I got home from school. She listened to Mozzie talk about her day, too. Now we only get to tell her about our days on Sunday afternoons when we visit her after church.

Grandma thinks Mozzie is a special friend. She tells me to hold onto her for as long as I can. And I do. I hold Mozzie’s hand every night when we fall asleep and every day when we walk to school. I’m going to hold onto Mozzie for the rest of my life.

Word Prompt: a Bridge

A bridge is a chance to connect, to bring two places together and write them as one continuous path. It links places and people. Brings all to common ground. Or air. There might be cloud bridges. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never walked in the sky. I’ve flown in planes – maybe they’re mobile bridges, transporting us from one journey to the next.

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. That’s what adults used to say when I was little. I always wondered where those bridges were. The bridge that linked me with the science project that was due in four weeks. Or to the solutions for how to be in two places at once. Like swim team and horse camp in the summer. How could I do both? When we crossed the bridge, I used to assume.

I don’t say we’ll cross a bridge. At least I don’t think I do. I’m more apt to build the bridge and carve the paths where I have to go to accomplish something. Waiting for someone else to build the bridge could mean I’m waiting forever. It takes some cities ten and twenty years to build one measly bridge. Seems like a long time to wait before you can cross something and get to the other side.

Word Prompt: Desert

Cactus strung with tinsel

Drunken star tilts atop the crown

Too much peyote eggnog

In the merriment circling

Careless tin cups splashed

Dry earth laps it up –

The joyous stomping, howling carols

Goaded by dancing flames

‘Tis the season of desert spirits

Rejoicing under open skies

 

Word Prompt: Blizzard

A blizzard doesn’t march or stomp its feet to announce its invasion, pelt windows with wet bullets, or slap the you with sheets of rain. A blizzard descends like a ninja, silently swooping through the frosty midnight air and stealthily landing on icy toes. It pads across the land, darting rapidly between trees and sneaking onto roofs. Leaving sleeping souls be for hours, until in desolate loneliness, it howls, curling moans through grayed air, burnt at the edges by the soft sienna glow of streetlights posted like apathetic sentinels along the road now flooded by rolling mounds of snow. Tucked against parked cars like insulation packed into eaves. From the blacked out heavens, Old Man Winter shakes his quilted map of attack, and a million more frozen flakes come cascading down, whirling around the covert ninja leaping and dancing over barren lawns, perching on window sills, and coating steps with invisible ice. Tomorrow someone will fall prey to the blizzard’s careful traps, slip and fly backwards, and land with a heavy thud on his back. While children toy with a scheme to skate across a hardened pond as their fathers grunt in the arduous labor of plowing blankets of snow from suburban driveways.

The ninja will be gone, his mission complete, the white damage done. In Old Man Winter’s cabin, he’ll be resting, building his strength for the next winter storm.