Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – View

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "View," and this dystopian view is pretty harsh.
*** 
 Twenty years ago, the scenery from the window was of lush, green fields, rich with life--living in a rural, farm community, I saw the countryside in a blessed, natural state--it was heaven.
 But that was before "The Collapse," when the last of the bees died.
 Pesticides took their unfathomable toll; and when the bees were gone, all agriculture went with it...and so did the animals that fed on those plants and those that fed on the animals suffered even worse.
 Now, when I look, there's only brown dirt, with scant few weeds holding it all together.
 We did it to ourselves, which is why I say humanity cannot be intelligent life, for no other species works so diligently to bring about its own demise.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reflections

Time, they say, heals all wounds. That is a lie, not all hurts can be salve-slathered. It has been nearly three years since the death of my mother, Patricia Ann (Stokesbary) Hall, who, on October 11, 2010, finally succumbed to a long and terribly heinous illness. An illness brought about because of years of being addicted to cigarettes.

When she passed, I was informed by my sister, Lisa, who phoned me that morning. I remember it well. It was Monday, and I was just pulling into the parking lot of where I work in Iowa City. I had visited my mother in the care-facility just that previous Saturday where she looked more or less OK, at least to my eyes. A child doesn't want to see the frailty in a parent even when it is obvious to everyone else.

When the call came, I pulled over to take it. That phone call is probably the worst thing I remember. Lisa was, naturally, upset, but she felt it her duty to inform me as I lived away from home, and wouldn't have found out any other way. In my heart, I thank Lisa for telling me, but I have never told her to her face. I can’t. It hurts still. That call, that horrid call, I cannot face, I will not face. I won’t mention it to her. Ever.

At work, each morning, we have a meeting. It’s a basic recap of what happened over the previous day, or in this case, weekend. My boss asks us if anything happened that the others need to know about, and by that, he means related to work. But at the end of the meeting he always calls for “team info,” which is a catch-all for everything else that wasn't covered earlier.

I told them, in no uncertain words, that not that long ago my mother died, and I will be taking time off as soon as I know the details of the funeral arrangements. Yeah, it was a fun meeting.

I took the rest of the day to, if I could bury myself in getting things done. So I didn't have to remember. I didn’t want to think about it. You can fancy it up all you want, call it “passing on,” or whatever you choose, but the grim reality is that it all adds up to the same thing: mom died.

I’ve never really come to terms with it. I doubt I will. I choose, willfully, to avoid it when possible. There are times, however, when it boils to the surface. When my thoughts return to my mother, now lost. And then comes pain.

“Pain,” isn't a really good word to use. I would choose something stronger if I could. “Suffering” might work, but even that sort of sucks. I tried to get the idea across in one particular scene while I was writing “Memories of the Dead,” and I bet when you read it, if you read it, that you will be able to point it out. It’s pretty clear. A piece of my soul died that day along with my mother. That’s probably the best way to sum it all up.

Why am I talking about this now? I don’t know, but all I know is that I have to get it out somehow. So, here it is. Open for all to see, a simple gaping scar where part of my heart used to be.

So, I’m a mama’s boy, I guess. OK, I’m fine with that. Why? Because it means there was love there. Lots of it. You can never have too much love. But the love breeds the pain. So to fight it back, I constructed inside myself a place where I could avoid the memories that hurt. No memories, no pain. Seemed like a pretty good idea. It wasn't.

The worst thing is I am beginning to forget what she sounded like. The face, I remember; but her voice slowly fades. Eventually, it will be silent. I have to struggle to hear it now. I’m sorry for that most of all. I should remember it better, but I don’t. Don’t lose the sound of your parents, people. Trust me, you won’t like it. Remember now, record them if you have to, but don’t lose them. You’ll thank me later.

In two weeks, American’s have a major holiday coming up. Do yourself a favor and spend it with family. Fireworks, parades, and feasting are all nice—but forget all that crap. Just go home. Nothing else matters. Do that, and hold in your heart special thoughts that never fade, if you can. And whatever you do, don’t go to that place inside where memories cannot follow. I regret it, you will too.

Cry, laugh, love, live. They’re all worth it. No matter the price, pay it. The alternative is a far harder road, and one you do not want to take.

Five Sentence Fiction – Blades

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Blades." I like the kind that flash in the light and have a keen edge.
*** 
Four blades of steel clashed and clanged together as one man--one good man--stood against three who, with their honor tucked between their legs like the tail of a scorned dog, fought in service to a false lord on a throne made of lies.
Their skill was no match for his, for he had studied with masters long since ejected from the kingdom; and so, quickly, only one remained, and this last guard trembled in fear for his very life.
"Shall I tell you the secret to swordplay?" he quipped with a smile.
But there came no reply as the coward dropped his weapon and ran.
The good man could only laugh as he saw the soiled backside of his enemy fade from view.

 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Home

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.


This week, Lillie chose the word "Home," a place to which we often wish we could return.
*** 
 Far away and behind him, home was but a distant memory.
The dark of night had to camouflage him as he escaped.
There was no family to grieve his departure, no relative to see him off, only pain of heartache from within as he packed his meager belongings and fled. 
His last glimpse of the fluttering fire as his home burned was all that bade him farewell.
On the run, forever, he could never return--at least, not while the king lived.