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Lynn Miclea – “Window to the Future”

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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( Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

“Window to the Future”

by Lynn Miclea

Aliya brushed the hair out of her face as she walked up the grassy incline. She had wanted to climb to the top of the hill in her neighborhood and see the view for months now. Her breathing heavy and ragged from exertion, she was finally here. A shiver of anticipation ran through her as she neared the crest.

Looking up, her eyes opened wide and she stared at the view at the top of the hill. A ruin was there — part of one, anyway. Just the window was left from some unknown structure. It looked ancient and powerful and she felt drawn to it.

Although exhausted from her hike, and still breathing heavily, she moved toward it, her arms outstretched. Something about it felt awe inspiring and even personal. She needed to be closer to it.

The overwhelming power of the window washed over her as she got near enough to touch it. Tentatively, she reached a trembling hand to the stone. It felt warm and rough, and she placed her hand flat on the rock. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath.

When she opened her eyes, the view through the ancient window had shifted. Her brow furrowed as she tried to comprehend what she was seeing. Through the window was a barren wasteland. The ground was parched and devoid of life. There were no trees, plants, birds, animals, or people. Just empty, scorched dirt — as though a huge fire or a war had blown through the area.

“What am I seeing?” she whispered to the window.

A voice in her head answered. You are seeing the future of Earth. Years from now, war and greed will have destroyed all life on the planet. However, this can be prevented. It is not too late. The one who can see this is the one who can change it and save the planet. We have been waiting a long for you to arrive.

Aliya looked around but saw no one. She looked back at the window. “Who are you?”

We are the gatekeepers of the world. We have been trying to save your planet, but we cannot do it alone.

“But … but I don’t know what to do. How can I save Earth?”

There is a piece missing in the wall surrounding the window. A vital piece that has come loose and fallen out. The missing piece that will save the planet.

“What piece? Where is it? How do I find it?”

It is a crystal that is vital to mankind. In fact, it is vital to all life on Earth. You must find it, plug it back into the wall, and close the loophole that has developed. That loophole created the wars, the greed, the hatred, the fighting, the emptiness, and the catastrophes that have befallen the planet.

“But how do I find this crystal?”

You will know where to look. It is in your possession. It needs to be placed in the wall before the window closes completely and disappears — then it will be too late.

“What kind of crystal?”

You will know it when you see it. You know where it is. Hurry. We are running out of time.

Aliya removed her hand from the wall and took a step back. Was she imagining everything she heard? How would she know what crystal or where it was?

She glanced at the window and the view was back to the way it was before. She could see the blue sky, a few clouds, and the other side of the hill. Her eyes followed a dirt path leading down the hill to a long stretch of beach which lined a huge dark blue ocean. It was hard to tear her eyes away from the view.

After a few minutes, she slowly turned and ran back the way she had come, going back to her home. An urgency gnawed at her, and she felt that the voice in her head was real. She had to help. But how?

Something pulled her to the closet in her bedroom. She wasn’t sure why, but she opened the closet door and immediately picked up a small wooden box from the floor. Treasures she had been given by her grandfather when he was still alive. She smiled, remembering the smell of sawdust and tools on him, and the jangling of keys that always hung from his belt.

Sitting on the side of her bed, she slowly opened the box. Folded papers, a marble, and a few coins greeted her eyes. And there on the side — what was that? A pink stone — rose quartz. A crystal of love. She didn’t remember seeing it there before. Did she simply forget about it?

The crystal began vibrating and emitting a low hum. She instantly knew. Deep inside, without a doubt — this was it. This was what was missing and what was needed.

She picked up the smooth, pink crystal and held it in her hand. It was cool to the touch, but it warmed up as it sat in her hand. She felt the vibration move through her. Goosebumps rose all over her body. She knew what she had to do.

She ran outside, down the street, through the field, and back to the grassy hill. She climbed up to where she was before. The stone window was there. She felt an urgency within her.

She approached the window and held up the rose quartz. “Is this it? Is this what was missing?”

Yes. That is the missing piece. The energies of love and compassion have been lost from humanity as mankind turned its back on this force. But this energy is vital for the survival of all life. Without it, the world and all life forms will perish. Time is running out.

“Where do I put this?”

Look for it. You will find it. You will know.

Aliya pulled her hair back and stepped closer to the window. She ran her hands over the rough stones. On the inside ledge on the left side, a gaping hole stared back at her. A deep black emptiness emanated from it. That must be it.

Trembling, she reached forward, her fingers shaking as they held the crystal. She inched it closer. A sudden flash of white light arced from the crystal into the black hole, and the rose quartz slid into place with a soft click.

“Is that what I was supposed to—”

The window vibrated, and she felt the rumbling through the ground under her feet. Bright light flashed through the window and her hand came up to shield her eyes.

After a few moments, a sense of peace settled around her and she opened her eyes and looked through the window. A vast field of pink and yellow flowers greeted her. A rabbit ran through, twitched its nose, and then hopped away. Tall trees shimmered in the distance, their lacy leaves dancing in a light breeze. Two birds sang as they flew past in the sky.

Aliya blinked. The window shimmered and shifted back to the original view. Blue sky, a few clouds, and the grassy hill on the other side.

She stared at the view for a few minutes. “Am I done?”

Yes. You were the only one who could do this. And time was closing fast. We thank you.

“But who are you? Can I see you?”

You will see us soon enough.

A flash of light burst through the window. The stones shimmered for a few moments and then collapsed into a heap. The window was gone. A small pile of old rocks sat in the grass where the window had been just moments before.

She stood there for a few more minutes.

“Are you still here?”

The only answer was the whisper of a breeze as it rustled the weeds at the top of the hill.

She turned and slowly made her way back down the hill and through the field toward her house.

As she approached the door to her home, the wind picked up, and the breezed turned into a whisper.

We are always here.

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Copyright © 2019 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

Please also visit Lynn’s blog, like the story there, and follow her at – https://wp.me/p4htbd-oC

Please also visit Lynn’s website for more information on her books – https://www.lynnmiclea.com/

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Leah Pryor – “What Once Was”

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

“What Once Was”

By: Leah Pryor

If you walk along the river bend

until you see a tree,

That is hunched and bent

like an old worn hag

that’s sipping water from the spring,

Follow her long crooked hand if you can,

(It points to where I will be).

Up the mountain you’ll climb.

You must pass the reeds, oaks,

and pines,

until the woods have all cleared away.

With the forest behind you

and the sun in your eyes,

keep walking the uneven ground.

(Those humps, lumps, and mounds —

I’ve heard people say

are unmarked graves,

Though time has forgotten

the fallen men’s names.)

Up on the mountain

you’ll find a rubble of rock

and a window

that seems out of place.

For on this lonely mountain

a fortress once stood,

made of stone and strong wood

overlooking a small druid town.

The town is no more

But tales and folklore.

And the kingdom a wrinkle in time.

But the window still stands

Overlooking the land.

A reminder of what used to be.

A time and a place

That has been forgotten.

Misplaced.

In a world too busy to see.

That the stories of old

Are meant to be told

To be remembered

and honored

and preached.

So here I will stand

Overlooking the land

By a window

That stands by itself

A fortress of sorrow

With no hope in tomorrow

For its walls have

All fallen down.

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Please visit Leah on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/asentenceaday2019/

Larry Stephens – “Elle”

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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( Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

“Elle”

by: Larry Stephens

It’s done. Over.

I really thought everything was fine. Good, in fact. Elle still smiled this morning as she graced me with that same smile every morning for the past fifteen years of…

Marital bliss?

But how could the marriage be blissful if the woman I loved more and more each and every waking minute just up and … left?

I’m so frigging confused!

And more than a little pissed off too.

But pissed off at whom? Her? Or me?

Damnit!

There she sat slurping boiling hot coffee in their little kitchen nook, looking out the bay window at the pre-dawn stillness that hovered over a small lake that crouched behind their cottage, and as I came down the steps and rounded the corner into the kitchen I was struck by her sheer beauty. All I could do was stare at her, maybe a little stunned that this outrageously beautiful creature was with me.

Me.

She was way out of my league and I knew it and maybe she just figured that out or something. Even her slurps were cute.

How screwed up is that? How screwed up am I? Co-dependent ass-hat; I am redefining personal suckitude.

The whole scene replayed in my mind for the eight-hundred seventy-seven thousandth time…

“Mitch, call off work today.”

“Why?”

“Because we have to talk.”

“About what?”

“Us.”

“Us?”

“Right.”

“What about us? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, Mitch. I’m just … done.”

“Done?”

“I’m leaving you, Mitch.”

“What the f—?”

“Don’t get pissy about this, Mitch. I’ve taken care of everything. You can have the house and the car, and I’m taking Barney.”

Poof. Just like that. No reason for the end given. Nothing. Just the cottage the two of them picked out, falling in love with it instantly, then christening every room of the small two-bedroom with torrid passion.

That and a pretty sweet convertible they both loved. But the cherry on the top was taking Barney, a loveable, goofy golden retriever that likes me more than her, or so I thought. Maybe she was jealous of my relationship with the dog? OMG, how stupid is that?

I did call off work and I didn’t tell them when I’d be back. It seemed like someone else was inside my head making that call, and I honestly can’t remember much else I said, and I may have drooled down the front of my tee shirt too. I don’t even know if I hung the damned phone up.

I don’t care anymore. The two loves in my life are going, going, gone folks, and lemme tell ya, that was a real dinger there. It cleared the bases. Cannonball coming!

I left the house. Walking. Dazed. Stunned. No clue on where to go or what to do, but it seemed like the right thing to do.

What did I do wrong?

Did I take her for granted or something?

Maybe she’s pissed off about not having any kids.

But she SAID she didn’t want kids!

Oh God, I can’t take this anymore!

Walking. Seeing but not looking. Hearing but not listening. It may have rained a bit; it could have snowed for all I cared. I know I’m in the woods somewhere, but hell if I know where.

I feel … rage?

Maybe I’ll just stay out here, wandering around until I drop from starvation and then get munched on by coyotes and crows.

If Elle were here with me right now, I’d…

What?

Badger her to see if she’s really happy with her life? Smack her around a little bit?

Oh God, I’d never do that.

The woman just gutted me, navel to spine, and it’s a wound that may never heal.

Then…

A smell; faint, tickling my nose, gentle; smelling like…

Elle?

I followed that scent, suddenly aware of my surroundings; feet with a life all their own, leading me to a clearing that overlooked an abrupt cliff. A subtle fragrance danced and twirled within an oasis of fresh air and smelled of…

Elle…

Lavender.

There is no Elle, just the scent, and I found myself stepping into the clearing and moving toward the cliff, and perched right on the very edge of the cliff stood…

A window?

Like a window frame had been yanked out of some old gothic church or something and plopped right here and now on the edge of a chasm that overlooked a thick forest, hundreds of feet below.

Part of me wants to take a swan dive off that cliff; another part of me wants to just sit my butt down amid these ground-hugging flowers and go to sleep. Forever. And yet…

What is it about that weirdo window that makes me want to look through the panes that should be housing glass but is now housing nada nada empanada?

Elle … I love you and I totally hate you.

I stood in front of the weirdo window and looked through, expecting to see the same vista as before.

The first thing that struck me was the sheer lushness of the scene through the window; verdant green speckled with thriving flowers of indeterminate name; tall grasses wafting gently in a swaying breeze beneath cobalt skies.

Idyllic, and completely different from everything else around the window!

I rubbed my eyes, not believing what I saw; shut them nice and tight for a couple of seconds, then opened and looked through the window again, and the scene shifted.

A woman strolled along the plush moss and thick grass, completely naked and absolutely radiant. Carefree, hair gently tousled by the breezes, the scene through the window seemed to pan along with her as she strolled, seemingly without a purpose, and I immediately thought of … Elle!

I continued to watch, feeling like a peeping tom; some nasty kind of voyeur, but the woman ambled along, not seeing me at all. I distantly felt the ground beneath my butt and understood that yes, I did indeed have myself a little sit-down so I could watch the show.

The woman was indescribable in her beauty and she didn’t so much turn me on as she flat out took my breath away. Her motions and movements were beyond sexy, seemingly languid but smooth; flowing.

My jaw may have bounced off my shirt.

And then, entering the frame (window frame?) came a dude.

Not just a dude. The guy was stunningly beautiful in his own right, and it seemed perfectly natural that the two be together. He too was completely nude and oblivious to that factoid.

Hope it never gets cold wherever this place is.

The two walked together through the verdant land, touching each other softly, tenderly; smiles and chuckles drifting through the window to nibble at my ears. Tears may have been trickling down my cheeks as I watched them, remembering similar times with Elle.

They were fascinating to watch; they seemed like they were aliens, and yet, the very epitome of physical human perfection.

As they walked they entered a clearing that was dominated by a tree; the first tree I’d seen in my new career as a voyeur, but that tree…

It was old. Massive, with limbs stretching every which way, and pregnant with ripe fruits that seemed to weigh those limbs down, making the fruit easy picking. Low-hanging fruit.

Something about this seems … familiar. Like…

Biblical?

The woman looked toward her feet for a long while as the man ambled off to lie at the base of the tree, resting his back against its course bark.

She looked up and I saw confusion in her eyes.

She glanced at the tree, then at a specific branch, and then her gaze locked onto a particularly ripe and heavy piece of fruit, and then I knew and understood what this was, and as the woman reached for the fruit I found myself standing and shouting “NO! Don’t grab that fruit, Eve!”

But of course she did snag the fruit and she took a bite and her eyes lit up at what I can only guess was amazement at the wondrous flavor. And then she offered it to the dude, who I assume was Adam, and he chowed down on the thing.

The most expensive piece of fruit in the entire history of mankind.

Why did I see this? To see that there is no such thing as a good woman?

My bum met earth again and the subtle floral scent wasn’t so subtle or sweet. It hung around my nose like a cloud of pesky gnats.

I’m so confused. Maybe if I just close my eyes a bit, Elle’s leaving won’t hurt as much. But then I remembered the scene through the window and it took my fragile state of mind and crunched it in a sudden wash of depression.

I was back on my feet without realizing that I was back on my feet and then I was step step stepping toward the window, toward the Garden of Eden and then I was stepping through the window…

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Please visit Larry Stephens at https://www.facebook.com/Enzo.stephens.5011

E.C. Fisher – The Ravages of Time

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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The Ravages of Time

by: E.C. Fisher

The dawn of the sun, the glow of dusk’s falling light

On a hill overlooking the valley

Through my window; the passage of time shines

The seasons pass; leaves turn green to brown and fall

Temperatures change from hot to cold; green grass to white snow

The ravages of time are not kind

My body weakens; youthful to old; I sit here and decay

The trees wilt; the sun rises and sets

The ravages of time are not kind

Life flows on; the light through my window wanes

The moon shines in the valley; high above the sparkle of the stars

Through my window it shines; the passage of time

A century beyond my age has passed; my window is left and only it remains

It overlooks the valley which has forgotten my presence

The seasons continue to pass; time rages on; beneath the green grass and white snow

The ravages of time are not kind

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Please visit E. C. on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/eric.fisher.14203 https://www.facebook.com/ECFisherAuthor/

D. A. Ratliff – Green Grass of Home

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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Green Grass of Home

By D. A. Ratliff

Zia Crane giggled. Soft, verdant grass pressed into the soil beneath her feet. Thin tendrils curled between her toes, tickling her bare skin.

She had taken off her footwear as soon as she arrived. It was rare for her to be in a setting where bare feet were appropriate. Here, on this beautiful island, it was entirely appropriate.

For a moment, she stood, arms dangling along her sides breathing in the salty air touched with only a hint of warmth. The ground to her left sloped down to a rocky beach, spilling into a blue-gray sea. She knew beyond the horizon sat land, but she felt alone walking up the slope toward her destination. Alone was what she wanted. She was never alone at home.

As she topped the crest of the slope, the image she had researched appeared before her. The only wall remaining in the ruin of her ancestors’ home was a single narrow wall containing an arched window divided with stone. Vines not yet in bloom crawled their way on the stone façade while the first blush of spring touched the bushes now overgrown around the wall. The window framed the graying sky, and she wondered if rain was imminent.

She shuddered. What must it have been like to live here? To hear the distant sound of the ocean or breathe air lightly scented with the sweet earthy fragrance of heather. A warm sensation flowed through her as she remembered an entry in her mother’s diary. I was taken back by the soft sweet smell that drifted in the air. An aroma as if the earth had been perfumed.  Her mother was right. The earth seemed to be perfumed.

She needed to move closer, but her feet were rooted in the soft grass. She wasn’t much older than her mother was when she made the pilgrimage to visit the land of their ancestors. Memories of her mother now long gone overtook her, and for a moment, she wondered had she done the right thing in coming. The yearning for a connection with the past had brought her there. But was it really what she wanted or needed? She didn’t know.

The soft baying of sheep in the distance broke her thoughts, and Zia shook her head. Aloud she called to the sheep. “Okay, you’re right. I need to do this. Stop yelling at me.”

She placed her shoes on the ground and climbed across the rocks at the base of the ruin. The surface felt cold and somehow both smooth and rough to the soles of her feet. At the wall, she touched the stone with her fingertips, relishing the grainy, worn surface. Everything was smooth and slick to the touch at home, but this felt solid and timeless. Something from a past that was only a memory. Sitting on the window ledge, she stared out at the sea. She had seen many bodies of water in her lifetime, but none held the magic of the sea surrounding this island.

Lost in thought, she was startled when a voice interrupted the silence.

“Hello, dear.”

Zia turned toward the voice to find a middle-aged woman, hair beginning to gray, climbing the rocks toward her. She managed to speak. “Hello.”

The woman smiled. “I am Margaret. I saw you arrive and thought you might like to chat about what is left of the MacFarland castle. Mind if I sit?”

“No, please do.”

Margaret gathered her plaid skirt about her and settled into the other half of the window. “I feel that you were related to the family who lived here. Is that correct?”

“Yes, the MacFarlands are my ancestors. Like my mother and grandmother, I came to pay homage to them on my birthday.”

“Happy Birthday, my dear. It is only fitting for as I remember, the family was keen on celebrating birthdays. This house in its former glory was filled with laughter, good food, and a bit of good scotch.” She laughed. “Or is that a good bit of scotch?”

“How do you know all of this?”

“My dear, we have looked through extensive records from those times. What happened here was one of the more horrific events that occurred that night. Much was recorded about the family and about the murders. The MacFarland family was the most prominent family on the island. Good, kind people who never met a stranger and never let anyone go hungry. Hard working people, even the last Lord MacFarland worked the fields and tended the sheep. Lady MacFarland organized a sewing club so that the village children always had proper clothes. She also opened a bakery and butcher shop to feed all. They wanted to maintain the pastoral feel of the community. Technology was not embraced here as it was elsewhere.”

“They sound perfect.”

“Aye, I know they sound too good to be true, but on this island, where they could have acted like gods, they behaved as mortals. They believed that taking care of each other was the way to happiness, not in the power or wealth they had.”

“My mother told me that when the war came, the family was unprepared. That they had welcomed the invaders into their home and their guests slaughtered them.”

Margaret dropped her head. “There were a few survivors.” She shrugged. “Obviously there were or you wouldn’t be here.”

Zia chuckled. “No, I wouldn’t.”

“The story as it has been passed down is that the servants who were very loyal to the family rushed the children to the shoreline and into a boat. Two of the servants, a couple, took the children to the mainland while the others returned to defend the family. No one survived.”

“And the war began after that.”

“Yes. History tells us that many of the powerful on the planet were killed that night as the invaders sought to take control. But they underestimated the power of humanity. The war went on for years, the skies alight with flashes of weapons fire. So many died, and the planet was left in ruin. The war itself ended the war. The resources the invaders wanted were so depleted that they gave up, nothing here worth the effort.”

“How many years passed before the Expeditions began?

“At least twenty. It took what was left of Earth’s technology at the time to reverse engineer the invaders’ technology.  When they did, well, you know the story from there.”

“I do. Humans left Earth behind for other worlds, and now Terran Command controls over half of the galaxy.”

“Yes, it does. I will leave you so that you may enjoy the remainder of your time in solitude.”

“Thank you, Margaret. You have given me what I needed—a feel for these people. Family is no longer a part of my life. My mother and father died in the Qwan uprising, so I am alone.”

“You are never alone. The souls of the departed remain. They exist in our DNA, and the strength of your ancestors will always be with you.” Margaret stood. “With that my dear, I take my leave. May you remain strong.”

Zia watched Margaret’s warm eyes turn dark as the Android powered down and within seconds vanished as the transporter beam whisked her away. She had nearly forgotten her experience included a history lesson from an android docent.

With an hour left before she had to depart, she walked around the highland and lay in the grass, staring at the clouds and breathing in the cool, fresh air. Margaret’s last words echoed in her head—May you remain strong. The fact was she had to be strong. She had no choice. She would draw on the memory of her family’s resolve.

At the appointed time, a hologram of a young woman appeared, dressed in a smart uniform the same color as the sea.

Thank you for visiting the Museum of Earth. We hope you have enjoyed your stay on the planet of our ancestors. On behalf of the Terran Foundation, we ask for a modest donation so that the rehabilitation of our original homeworld may continue. Your transport is waiting. Thank you again for visiting the Museum of Earth.

Zia began to feel the tingle of the transport beam. Her eyes never left the ruins of the family home as it faded from sight.

She exited the airlock and took a deep breath. Only the pure smell of recirculating filtered air greeted her, not the sweet earthy fragrance of heather or the sea salt air. Looking down at her feet, now ensconced in synthetic leather boots, she remembered the softness of lush grass beneath her toes.  As she entered the bridge of the Terran Command ship, she put those thoughts behind. There was work to do.

She approached the captain. “Captain Burgess, Lieutenant Crane reporting for duty, sir.”

The captain smiled. “Good to have you back, Lieutenant. Hope you enjoyed shore leave.”

“I did, sir.”

“Good. Then get to your station. We’ve finally caught up with the bastards that destroyed Earth two centuries ago. Time to teach them not to mess with humans.”

Zia slipped behind her weapons console as the captain gave orders to depart the space station.  She reached into her uniform pocket and touched the souvenirs she had taken from the highlands, a small flat rock and a clump of grass blades now covered in silicon to preserve them. Her family was with her. Time for revenge.

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Please visit D. A. Ratliff’s blog at https://thecoastalquill.wordpress.com




E. C. Fisher – The Ravages of Time

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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( Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

The Ravages of Time

By E. C. Fisher

The dawn of the sun, the glow of dusk’s falling light

On a hill overlooking the valley

Through my window; the passage of time shines


The seasons pass; leaves turn green to brown and fall

Temperatures change from hot to cold; green grass to white snow

The ravages of time are not kind


My body weakens; youthful to old; I sit here and decay

The trees wilt; the sun rises and sets

The ravages of time are not kind


Life flows on; the light through my window wanes

The moon shines in the valley; high above the sparkle of the stars

Through my window it shines; the passage of time


A century beyond my age has passed; my window is left and only it remains

It overlooks the valley which has forgotten my presence

The seasons continue to pass; time rages on; beneath the green grass and white snow

The ravages of time are not kind


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Please visit E. C. Fisher’s page at
https://www.facebook.com/eric.fisher.14203

And please visit and follow his author page at
https://www.facebook.com/ECFisherAuthor/




Sean Bracken – “Boru, Boru”

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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“Boru, Boru”

By Sean Bracken

I arrive in misty, early morning light,

Stark against the fading night

She stands defiant, a skeleton of former glory

This lonely ruin, keeping close her silent story

Of ancient monks and times of glory

Of battles lost and battles won

Of Viking warriors, to battle come

Her last remaining, lonesome arch

Remembers well this final march

Of Brian Boru, Cuchullan too

Of all the clans’ united power

Standing proud, defend the tower

Beyond this line, they dare not strike

Back to the sea, we drive them back

With cut, with thrust, with savage blows

The mighty battle ebbs and flows

Boru, Boru, the chorus grows

For Ireland, for freedom, for God and more

We chant, we fight, we stand against our mortal foe

Cut and slice, hold, advance, bellies burst, eyes gouged out

Body to body, blood and gore

With rage, with fury, we stand our ground

We roar and roar our chant out loud, our death defying, proud refrain

Boru, Boru, for Ireland, for Ireland, for Ireland and you

We fight and fight, with all our might and stand as one against the pain

Two days, two nights

We battle on, tireless and brave

And after all the battles fought

And after all our comrades lost

And all the Norsemen dead and gone

Cradled in my arms, a hero unsurpassed

Boru lay broken, breathing out his very last

With final breath, Boru cried out

Fight on for freedom

Fight on, fight on, for all our lives

Never surrender to invading tides

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In memory of my Grandad, who I loved, and my Great Grandfather, a man I never knew. They fought together against the might of the British Empire in Boland’s Mill, on Easter Sunday, 1916. May they rest in peace and feel proud of the republic they helped to create.

In 1014, at the battle of Clontarf, Brian Boru, the high king of Ireland, defeated the Vikings. In all of Europe , this was the only defeat of the Norsemen.

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Please visit Sean’s website for more of his writing. https://sean-bracken.site123.me/




Sean Bracken – The Princess of Essaouira

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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The Princess of Essaouira

By Sean Bracken

The bus journey from Marrakesh had taken a little over three hours, so I stretched and took in a deep, fresh, salty breath of Atlantic sea air and eased the aches and pains I felt from sitting through one of the most uncomfortable trips I had ever experienced.

Sections of modern highway constantly gave way to longer stretches of dusty, rutted, unpaved roads. A never-ending scene of dry, arid scrubland passed as I gazed out through a dirty window, while trying to ignore the odour of a morbidly obese woman, whose massive rolls of fat flowed over the armrest separating us, half filling my seat.

The monotonous landscape passed by me, interrupted briefly by lonely subsistence farmers eking out an existence from the impoverished desert soil or herds of goats moving with the agility of monkeys through the branches of Argan trees, feasting on the succulent nuts, famous throughout the world for the health benefits of the oils they contain.

But here I was at last, in Essaouira, a town on the west coast of Morocco. I had journeyed here to meet up with an old friend from Ireland, Sylvia, and Mike, a new friend from Dallas, Texas. I had met Mike in Ecuador while backpacking through South America. Despite the fact that we were complete opposites, we had become firm friends. Mike, as old as the pyramids, a giant of a man, with a wild beard and even wilder hair, is an extreme Republican, a conspiracy theorist, an avid Trump supporter, and he has a frightening knowledge of guns. Whereas I, on the other hand, tend to be a pacifist and believe in civil and personal liberty. After Morocco, Mike and I were planning to travel together through Jordan, Israel and Egypt.

Sylvia? How to describe Sylvia. She is a spirit from the sixties, Scott McKenzie, flower power, San Francisco and weed. We both share a love of music, film, good books and travel. Like myself she is in her mid-sixties, fearless, full of adventure and living life to the full. I wondered how my two friends would get on with each other, probably hate at first sight, followed by pistols at dawn.

I retrieved my bags from the luggage compartment under the coach and, my tension relieved by the cool sea breeze and warm midday sun, I turned to take in my surroundings. The bus had deposited me half way down a beachfront promenade. On the beach, holiday makers were busy doing nothing, splayed out on sun loungers, perfecting a winter tan, before returning to the cold of Europe and Britain. Others enjoyed the sea, splashing, wading and swimming, while farther out, surfers guided their boards through the rollers in search of the perfect wave.

Up to my left, I could see tourists galloping on horseback through the ebb and flow of the tide. Less courageous souls were riding up and down the sand, nervously perched high up on the backs of camels, led by men dressed in black or brown robes with their faces hidden beneath peaked cowls.

Over to my right, in the distance, a fleet of blue and white fishing boats bobbed gently up and down, protected by ancient harbour walls. Flocks of seabirds swooped overhead hoping to scavenge bits and pieces of filleted fish, cast overboard from the trawlers into the water. All along the the beach, tall palm trees offered shade from the sun and shelter from the wind.

I turned my back to the beach, and with a backpack on my back and pulling a wheelie bag behind me, I ventured into the traffic of a four-lane highway separating rows of cafes and bars from the beach. It was like a real life game of Frogger as daredevil drivers zoomed past me at breakneck speeds. I reached the far side with shattered nerves, but otherwise fully intact and began to walk along, pausing now and then to read menus posted outside various restaurants. Ahmed’s Turf and Surf stood out from the rest and the menu looked good. It was the busiest establishment on the strip, which is always a good sign. A scent of fresh coffee and the sound of lively conversation filled the air. The tables were crowded with tourists drinking pints of frothy local lager.

A waiter quickly made room for me at a table being shared by three other men. I ordered a beef-and-egg tagine and a pint of beer. My order arrived promptly and the tagine proved to be delicious. Introductions were quickly made and I was made to feel welcome by my new friends. Two of them were English. The oldest was Jimmy, a seventy-year-old, retired drag queen, who spoke with an over-the-top, camp Scouser accent. Jimmy regaled us with stories of his life, working in The Hippodrome in London. He was covered in tattoos, with a snake sliding up his neck and a spider’s web on his bald head. His friend Jacob was as drunk as a skunk. He claimed to be a Manchester Jew, who after retiring from the British SAS had become a Mossad agent, working all over Europe for the Israelis. I noticed that if anyone pointed a phone or camera in his direction, he would either turn away or shield his face with his hands. The third man was much younger than his companions, perhaps late thirties or early forties. He was Nepalese and travelled the world, sourcing antiques and fine art for wealthy clients back home. His name was utterly unpronounceable. Jacob told me not to bother even trying, that everyone called him Tibetan Tim. Tim constantly pointed out that he came from Nepal, not Tibet, but no one seemed to listen.

I was thoroughly enjoying the afternoon and halfway through my third pint, when suddenly the skies darkened. Ominous black clouds rolled in from the ocean. The gentle breeze stiffened into a strong wind that quickly turned into a ferocious storm. Heavy rain pounded into the ground and thumped into the parasol over our table. Within moments the beach was deserted, save for a few camels, tethered securely with stout ropes. The beasts turned their backs to the elements in a vain attempt to find shelter from the stinging rain. The storm whipped up into such a frenzy that the palm trees were bent sideways under the onslaught. Massive forks of lightning crashed into the ground, followed immediately by deafening crashes of thunder. My friends and I joined the other customers in hasty retreat to the safety of the bar. Inside was dimly lit, all of the tables occupied by local men watching English football on big-screen televisions. I was told that it was too risky for them to be seen drinking in public, but that the police turned a blind eye, as long as they remained discreet.

The bar became jam packed with all of the customers from outside combined with people from the beach shoving and pushing their way in from the rain. Outside, huge waves crashed over the sea wall and flooded the main road. All of the traffic had disappeared. As the road vanished under the flood, I half expected to see Noah sail past in an Ark laden with animals. Such was the intensity of the storm — it seemed as if the Gods from ancient Greece had abandoned Mount Olympus and were waging war in the sky above us. The flashes of light and roars of thunder rolled into one continuous, frightening assault.

A few hours later, just as it had arrived, the storm died in an instant. The noise was replaced by silence and the torrential rain replaced by a fine drizzle. I said goodbye to my new friends, promising to see them all again tomorrow, and made my way outside into the North African night. In haste to escape the downpour, I’d left my bags outside. They were soaking wet and my backpack weighed twice as much as it had earlier. I pulled out my phone and loaded up Maps Me, my favourite app and entered the address for The Red Castle hostel. Maps Me led me through huge gates into the Medina, down the main shopping street, and then into a warren of narrow alleyways. Left, right, straight ahead, left again. There was little or no street lighting in these alleys and they were deserted except for cats prowling about, searching for prey. The walls seemed to press in on me in the darkness. As I passed a recessed doorway, I heard a faint whimper. At first I thought that it was just another cat, but there seemed to be something human about the cry. I switched on the torch in my phone and peered into the gloom. My light shone into the face of a young woman. She was clearly distressed and she cowered away from me. Kneeling down in front of her, I tried to assure her that I meant her no harm. Judging from her ragged clothes, unkempt dirty hair, and the grime on her face, streaked from the recent rains, I guessed that she was an outcast of some sort. No matter what she was, I couldn’t leave her abandoned like this and tried to persuade her that I would pay for a room for her to sleep in. She responded by pushing herself even deeper into the darkness. Nothing I could say would convince her to come with me. I had no choice but to leave her, and with a heavy heart, resumed my search for the hostel. Along the way I heard footsteps behind me and glanced back. There she was, walking about five paces behind. At last I spotted the bright neon sign for the Red Castle and entered into a small reception area. The woman followed me, but stopped at the doorway, too unsure of me to come in any farther.

The man behind the reception desk noticed her and began to curse at her in Arabic. The woman began to back away from the door. I interrupted the man and told him that I wanted to book a room for her.

“No sir,” he said. “This woman, she is unclean. She no stay here. Is impossible. Anyway, we are full up. All the dorms are booked tonight. Please sir, send her away.”

After much discussion and the exchange of three hundred Euro, the man, Joseph, relented and agreed that she could share my private double room. I beckoned to the woman and invited her in. She followed me and Joseph up a rickety staircase to the second floor and down a narrow corridor to a room at the end. The room was sparsely furnished with a double bed, a dresser, a wardrobe and a sofa. A door in the corner led to a small shower and toilet.

I asked Joseph to tell the woman that I would sleep on the sofa and that she could take the bed. She smiled at me in gratitude. Even though Joseph had extorted an extra three hundred Euro from me, he still hovered about, expecting a tip. Ten more Euro and he was gone, leaving me alone with this mysterious woman.

The woman sat down on the edge of the bed, still tense and wary. I slumped into the sofa, exhausted from the morning bus ride, too much beer, and the long walk from Ahmed’s Bar to the hostel.

“My name is Natasha. Thank you for your kindness.” She spoke with a husky, sultry east European or Russian accent.

“My pleasure Natasha. My name is John. John Chambers.”

Natasha smiled at me. Her smile was radiant. It lit up her entire face. She seemed much more relaxed and at ease with me.

“I would like to take a shower, Mr. John. Would you mind?” she asked.

“Go ahead, Natasha, be my guest. There should be some towels and toiletries in the bathroom.”

Natasha stood up from the bed and walked over to the bathroom. She moved with such grace and poise that I was amazed that I hadn’t noticed earlier. Moments later I could hear the sound of water running from the shower. I lay back and closed my eyes. Just as I was about to doze off, the water stopped and Natasha came back into the room. She was wrapped in a large bath robe, with her hair tied up in a towel. She removed the towel and let her hair fall down over her shoulders. It was ebony black, with an almost blue shine. She was transformed. The street grime washed away, revealed her natural beauty. High cheekbones, full red lips, and the deepest, darkest brown eyes I had ever seen. Her skin was a light alabaster colour. She was stunning to look at. Once again she gave me that warm seductive smile, and with a shrug, allowed her robe to fall to the floor. The sight of her naked, perfect body took my breath away. Speechless, I had no idea how to react. I was in my early sixties; she was half my age. Despite myself, I became aroused.

“Mr. John, go freshen up. You share my bed tonight. No need to sleep on that old sofa.”

I was in and out of the shower in seconds. Now fully awake, I climbed into the bed and lay beside her, unsure of what would happen next. Many Europeans are comfortable with their naked bodies; perhaps I was reading too much into this. I dared not touch her and turned on my side, facing away from her.

Lying in the dark, her husky voice washed over me.

“Mr. John, do you not want me? Am I not attractive? It is so long since I was with a man … please, hold me.”

I felt her arms wrap around me, her lips on my neck. I turned, more aroused than at any time in my life. I sank into her and we exploded into frenzied passion. Like wild animals, we clawed and tore at each other, biting and tearing. Giving pain, taking pain. And as the ferocity of our mating intensified, so did the pleasure. We rose together to unheard of heights of passion, and when it seemed we could go no further, we soared higher and higher, until at last, we shuddered into rapture and collapsed, utterly spent, drained and exhausted.

I slept fitfully that night. I had the strangest dreams, but when I woke, the dreams were gone and I couldn’t remember what they were. I snuggled into Natasha and kissed her shoulder. She responded to me. This time our lovemaking was gentle, slow and intimate. I fell back asleep, back to the strange dreams and once again the memory of them was gone when I awoke.

A glance at my watch brought me fully awake. I had texted Sylvia and Mike the night before, while Natasha was in the shower and had arranged to meet for lunch at Ahmed’s Bar. I wanted them to meet my new friends from yesterday and now I couldn’t wait for them to meet Natasha.

“No, Mister John, stay here with me. Make love to me again. We can meet your friends later.”

“Sorry, my sweet princess, I promised to meet them for lunch. I’m already late.”

“Okay, my love. You go to your friends. I will come later. Would you give my clothes to Joseph for cleaning? And when they come back, I will follow you. I know the Turf and Surf pub. I will sleep some more and meet you and your friends for dinner.”

I picked up Natasha’s clothes from the bathroom floor before leaving. The clothes were little more than rags and I dumped them in a bin outside the door. A young woman was busy cleaning the tile floor farther down. I approached her and asked if she could speak English. She could, so I offered her a few hundred Euro to go clothes shopping for Natasha. I gave her a generous fifty Euro for her time and gave her an estimate of Natasha’s size.

All five of my friends were waiting at tables outside Ahmed’s bar when I arrived, breathless from the long walk. Sylvia and Mike sat alone, while my friends from yesterday were sitting together at the same table we had shared yesterday. I waved to Sylvia and Mike and called them over to meet the others. I spent the afternoon talking about Natasha.

By the time she arrived, just after dark, I’m sure they must have been sick and tired of hearing her name. The moment Natasha approached our table the conversation stopped. The cleaning lady had excellent taste, and Natasha was dressed in an exquisite, hand-embroidered, crimson silk gown. It clung to her body like a second skin. The men were captivated and I could see a glint of envy in Sylvia’s eyes. Soon the conversation was back in full swing. Everyone found Natasha enchanting. I began to call her my Princess of Essaouira and she called me her knight in shining armour. After a delicious dinner, I excused myself to visit the men’s room, and Tim from Nepal followed me out.

As we approached the men’s toilet, Tim grabbed me by the elbow and steered me to a table hidden in a dark corner.

“John, I must talk to you. This woman, Natasha, is not good. She is beautiful, yes; she is young, maybe; she is enchanting, certainly. But John, she is wrong. I sense a dark spirit inside her. Something dangerous, hiding deep within her. She has no soul, John. You must leave her. She will destroy you, if you remain with her.”

“What on Earth are you talking about, Tim? Meeting Natasha is the best thing that ever happened to me. I only met her yesterday and I’m already in love with her. Are you mad? Leave her? If she’ll have me, I intend to marry her. I know that there’s a huge age gap, but I don’t care. I love her and that’s the end of it.”

“Please John, please be careful. She is not what she seems to be. Believe me. In Nepal, my father is a Shaman, a spirit guide. I have learnt many things from him. I can sense evil from this woman. I will say no more. You are a good man, John. Listen to my words. Be careful. Use caution.”

I could feel myself getting angry with Tim, and before things could get worse, I left him and continued into the men’s room.

The rest of the evening was wonderful, except for some gentle hints from Sylvia that this relationship was inappropriate. I put that down to petty jealousy and ignored her.

We all shared a final bottle of red wine before saying our good-nights and promising to meet again the next day. Natasha and I walked arm in arm, back to the Medina. Everything appeared more vibrant to me. The scent of spices stronger, colours more vibrant. For the first time in a long time, I felt alive, I felt complete. My heart pulsed with new energy. I was happy and content.

Rather than returning directly to our hostel, we explored the Medina. Even at night, it was busy with street vendors selling their wares, women grinding spices, donkeys laden with produce being led through the maze of narrow streets and alleys. At one point we passed a butcher’s shop, and when the smell of raw meat hit me it ignited a terrible hunger in me. It was frightening. I craved the taste of raw meat. I felt a lust for fresh blood.

Shaking with dread, I stopped and tried to compose myself. Natasha held me and leaned in to whisper in my ear.

“Don’t worry, my love. I have given you a gift, a precious gift. You will love me all the deeper, or you will curse me for what I have done. I will spend tonight with you for the last time, unless you love me. I am Countess Natasha Sicherov of Saint Petersburg. I will leave you tomorrow night. On this night in twelve months’ time, I will wait for you on the steps of the Imperial Palace in my home city. Come, let us return to our room and share our love, one last time.”

Confused, I allowed Natasha to lead me by the hand, back to the Red Castle. That night was wilder, more savage and depraved than I could ever have imagined. The next morning, Natasha was gone.

I cried, I wailed, I called her name. She was gone. I felt empty, hopeless, despairing. Filled with anguish, I forced myself to wash and dress. How could I explain my loss to my friends? How could I live without her? Despite my pain, I knew that I needed to be with my friends, so I left the hostel and headed back to the bar. It was a little after one in the afternoon, and the bright sun hurt my eyes; the heat irritated my skin. I couldn’t wait to get into the shade of a parasol. It felt as if I had a flu coming on. By the time I reached Ahmed’s I was exhausted.

Sylvia was sitting alone at our usual table. None of the others had arrived yet.

“My God, John, you look awful. Are you okay? What’s happened? You’re so pale, you must have picked up a bug.”

Before I could answer, the rest of my friends arrived. They all commented on how tired I looked. I passed it off to something I ate. As the day progressed, I became more and more lethargic and had little interest in talking. I explained that Natasha had left me. I left soon after dark and headed back to the hostel. Along the way, the same bloodlust I had experienced outside the butcher shop overwhelmed me. I followed a young woman down a dimly lit alley and at just the right moment, I pounced. I sank my teeth into her neck, ripping through flesh, until I tasted her blood. I sucked and drank with a feverish hunger, until finally sated, I fell to the ground, filled with self loathing and shame.

Now, I understood. I had accepted Natasha’s gift.

I am immortal. I am a monster. I have no soul.

Will I travel to Saint Petersburg? Do I love Natasha? Do I hate her? I don’t know. I am a creature of the night. I hunt.

The End

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Please visit Sean’s website for more of his writing. https://sean-bracken.site123.me/

Write the Story: March 2019 Collection







WRITE THE STORY: May 2019 PROMPT

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Write the Story May 2019 Prompt

Here’s the plan:

You write a story of 3000 words or less (doesn’t matter, can be 50 words or a poem) and post it on the author site that you want to promote. Please edit these stories. We will do minor editing but if the story is not written well WU! reserves the right to reject publishing it.

Send the story and link to the site via Messenger to Deborah Ratliff. Put “Write the Story” in the first line of the message.

WU! will post your story on our blog and share across our platforms, FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. WU! will also add the story to the Write the Story page on our blog…where it be for all to read along with the other stories.

We do ask that you share the link to the WU! Write the Story page so that your followers can also read the works of your fellow writers.

The idea is to generate increased traffic for all. May take some time but it will happen if you participate. The other perk of this exercise is that you will also have a blog publishing credit for your work.

The May prompt is posted above. Write the story!

Periodically throughout the month, we will post the current prompt as a reminder.

DO NOT post your story to this prompt. The idea is to have your STORY or poem published on your site, the WU! blog and shared to gain followers for your writing. We will not accept a one- or two-line caption. For the most part, we are fiction writers and poets…. please write a story or poem, not a caption.

If you have any questions regarding this, you may ask the question in the comments.

Thank you.

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Calliope Njo – The Hurricane

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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The Hurricane

By Calliope Njo

I had to go because the hurricane came sooner than predicted. With winds expected to reach one hundred miles an hour or higher, there was no other option but to leave. My parents lived inland so my intention was to go far away from the storm.

I couldn’t go through because the roads were closed. Dammit. While I may have been overreacting, I would die if I stuck around. I didn’t know what to do.

All the shelters filled. No one had any room. One hotel about half a mile inland stayed open to act as a shelter but they filled up quickly.

I screamed, but no one heard. Out of options, I got in a boat and took it out to sea to offer myself as a sacrifice. Crazy, stupid, and every other description possible for that action, but I ran out of choices.

The last thing I recalled was a huge wave hung over me. I shut my eyes to ready myself for the crash. “God, please take me home.” I remember the surge of water as it crashed on me. That moment went beyond explanation. No words described it.

After a while, I opened my eyes and felt sand beneath me. Sand Dunes Inn in front of me with the only gas station in town next to it. The ice cream shop on the other side of the Inn. Busy during the summer months as tourists loved to go there for their freshly-made ice cream.

I witnessed and experienced the hurricane and remembered that helpless feeling not being able to leave, but yet, all was as it should be. How?

I stood up and pulled a blond hair from my head. It hurt. OK, that meant I didn’t die, so what happened?

Everything looked the same. Old Man Marty, who owned the ice cream shop, swept the entry. The Petersons stood in front of the office door to the Inn and waved. Three or four boys wheeled on the path in front of me.

Did I dream the entire goings on?

Well, I got in my Beetle and drove to Mom and Dad’s house. Mom always had an ear to the gossip circle and Dad had a knack for knowing stuff.

I loved the trip. The fields of green were something to behold during the late spring and early summer months. Always an enjoyable sight.

I knew I was getting closer when those fields ended, the roadways got bigger, and McDonald’s became more visible. Sure enough, Dad’s Lincoln was parked in the driveway. My yellow Volkswagen Beetle sat next to his.

I readied myself for the ongoing argument over the necessity of a car alarm. My car wasn’t big enough to have a car alarm, he always said. It’s my car, and it’s my money. His only reply would be at that point there was nothing in it worth stealing.

I walked inside. Mom stood over the sink cleaning green beans while Dad watched a game on TV.

Dad turned it off and looked at me. “Did you hear anything about a hurricane coming through? Sources told me it died as soon as it formed. Strange phenomenon, they said. They have no record of it happening before. Of course, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t, only they don’t know if it ever has.”

“Marge told me her daughter was going to California to get married,” Mom said. “It seems the earthquakes there don’t scare her any.”

I still waited for that argument that never happened. I didn’t know what to reply with and went into the kitchen to help cook the food. Mom did the meatloaf while I did the vegetables.

Conversation never took place at the dinner table during mealtime. When everything finished, it did. “Oh, by the way,” Mom said, “what are your plans for July Fourth? How about a barbecue with potato salad and a special dessert?”

“Sure.” What’s up with the invite? She never did that before. “Why not?” I looked at my watch. “Oh. I better get going before traffic picks up.”

Dad rose from the table the same time I did. “I’ll walk you out.”

“Dad?”

“Yes, daughter?”

I studied him before I turned around and left. Mom of course laughed.

As soon as we walked out the front door, he said, “So, you got the alarm on that insect of yours?”

I raised that eyebrow. “It’s a car. It’s mine. Yes, I did buy an alarm for it and had it installed.” I made it beep.

“So I will see you in my office to discuss retirement investments, since it seems that you have extra money to spend.”

A different argument this time. I groaned.

“Do not take that attitude with me, young lady. I demand respect.” His hands clutched at his sides.

Uh huh. Yeah. “I’m going now, Dad.” I got in my car and drove away.

Mom made plans of some sort and Dad changed character. Something had to have happened. I did not imagine that huge wave over me. I did not dream about those palm trees bending over. Mom and Dad are different. Nothing made sense to me.

Someone moved into the apartment next to me. Tall with dark hair and I got enough of a glance at her facial features to be able to tell a woman moved in. A strong woman at that. She carried five boxes all by herself.

Strange that she wore a scarf around her neck. Nobody here wore one. It never fit in with the beach scene. To each their own.

Between work and spending time at the beach, we never got together. I assumed we had different schedules. I taught at the elementary school, so I left by six-thirty and got home around five.

With it being the summer though, meetings, inventory, and paperwork were the only items on the summer calendar. It never made sense to me but that’s how things went.

The lady next door never introduced herself. I tried but when I was there, she wasn’t and vice versa. Eh, at some point we were going to. She did move in next to me after all.

I couldn’t forget the hurricane. No damage and no loss in population as if nothing happened. Dad mentioned scientists had no explanation for it. Here one minute, gone the next. Maybe it bothered me more than it should have.

I tried to forget about it and went to my parents’ barbecue feast. After I stuffed myself, I followed Mom into the kitchen to help with the dishes. Of course, she asked if I dated anyone. It seems she might be the only one without a grandchild.

I heard the game on TV. I also heard him snoring. Typical Dad. Of course, if I dared to turn off the TV, he’d yell at me and tell me he knew what happened. Maybe he had an off day.

Dad still snored when I took off, so maybe he had an off day. Mom gave me a cake trimmed with strawberries and blueberries to resemble the flag.

I thought I could share with my neighbor.

I got home and put the cake in the fridge. I didn’t have any room in my stomach so if I ate any more, it wouldn’t be pretty. I sat on my chair and turned on the TV. There had to be a movie on.

I found a Lord of the Rings movie I saw before, but I didn’t care. After the opening credits, someone knocked on my door. I answered it and it was the lady from next door.

“I had noticed you looking at me. You overlanders are a curious bunch. I am Aberdeen and I am here to live. If you are in need, come to my door and knock. I will be there. There is plenty to be done so I will not go away soon. Enjoy your night.” She walked away.

I stayed there and saw her leave, too amazed to do or ask anything. You overlanders are an interesting bunch? I pictured myself waking up next to Dad in the next minute. I closed my door and went back to Frodo.

The only problem I had from that point on was that I couldn’t get involved in Frodo’s adventure. Aberdeen stayed on my mind. Soft spoken, a little formal, and maybe a bit odd. It made me wonder if I somehow ended up in Mom’s Twilight Zone. She loved that series.

Toward the end of summer, kids and teens swarmed the beach to get in the last bit of fun before school started. Some of them had scarves around their neck too. They wouldn’t be caught wearing scarves. It meant looking old.

I knew a few as I had their younger siblings in my class. “Hey, Shawnee.” I waved her over. “So what gives?”

“Oh, hi, Ms. Richards. We’re just out here swimming and digging for clams before the work begins. The rest surfed.” She shook her head as she scrunched her face. “Can’t wait to be done with school.”

OK. Nothing new there.

“And the Oceaners wanted to come and join us. They knew where the best clams were. They helped us collect them so we could have a feast.”

“You? Eat clams?”

“I know. Huh.” She laughed and shrugged her shoulders. “Can I leave now?” She bounced up and down.

I nodded. I stayed put and watched them. One of them with a scarf around their neck took it off. They had gills.

“Exactly what kind of world did I end up in? This isn’t my world.”

One with gills ran over to me. “It will be OK. The elders said it would take time to adjust.” She ran away and into the water.

What elders? How did she know I said that? Fins grew and gills became more prominent on a few of them. Did I end up in another world? I had to find answers. The only person I knew with them would be the people at the town’s historical society. They loved to talk to anyone who had any questions about Ocean Port.

I found it, parked my car, and went inside. Wall-to-wall bookshelves filled with books. I didn’t think even a hair could get in between.

While I loved reading, it would take me until the day I died to get through all of them. A lady at the front desk looked at me as I scanned the place. She waved me over.

As soon as I sat down she started telling me about my little town. The part about the original inhabitants I knew. The part about being observed by strange beings I didn’t. They wouldn’t have been able to survive without them. They became the town’s secret since then. Nobody outside of Ocean Port knew about them, it seemed. That’s how they existed for so long without discovery.

I got lost somewhere after that. That little piece of information threw me off. I couldn’t understand how it is that I never before realized they never existed. Still, that little piece of information brought a little more interest into my search for answers.

After I came home, my stomach growled. I looked in my fridge and saw that cake. Well, no time like the present. I took it out and balanced it on my way out the door. I knocked, and she opened the door with a smile.

“I’m Brenda. I have a cake here that my mom made. It’s decorated with strawberries and blueberries to resemble the flag. We could share.” I held it out.

She smiled as I walked in and nodded on her way to the kitchen. She brought back plates, forks, and a knife. “You have been asking questions.”

How did she know? “Yeah.”

“You have more.”

“Yeah.”

“Or you would not be here with a peace offering. You still do not know how it is you came to be here in a world you believe is your own. Some things are not making sense, however, so you came here hoping to find more answers.”

“How …”

“I had a hunch that would happen. That storm formed a bridge between your world and this. You entered the storm and went through the portal. While that may sound simple, a lot of consideration came with that decision. However, the alternative to that choice meant certain demise. You were held in suspended animation until the decision had been made five years later.”

None of that made any sense. “Aberdeen, I’m a teacher. I like to believe in things that can be proven by books, internet information, or an expert. So no, I don’t believe in anything based on faith.”

“We had a feeling that would come up as an issue.” She stood from her chair and walked down the hallway. She returned with a book in her hand. “This book may have the rest of the answers you are in search of.” She put it on the table and pushed it toward me.

That Oxford dictionary-sized book did look old. Faded cover, worn edges, and that old-book smell. I opened it out of curiosity and flipped through the pages. I stopped when I saw my name at the top of the page. It had everything about me on it.

“What exactly is this? Destiny is made, not decided.”

She looked at me and leaned over the table. “I would rather us discuss than debate, as there are many arguments to that statement. As for what you see, this lexicon is forever changing, being forever rewritten until the time of death. Then, and only then, will it continue to the next person. So no, nothing has been decided for you.”

I pushed away Mom’s cake. I couldn’t eat because my head kept spinning. Nothing made any sense. I hit the table and left her place. I slammed my door shut and dropped on my bed. I only wanted to know what happened.

I must’ve fallen asleep. My face felt smooshed when I looked up. I sat up and decided to forget about my quest for answers. Instead, go on with life. Forget about making sense of them. I worked as an elementary school teacher, single, and lived an unadventurous life. How it is and how it should be.

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