The Day of Visitation

This week for Friday Fictioneers I took Rochelle’s Thoreau quotation to heart, to wit: “It’s not what you look at that counts, but what you see.” Apologies in advance, since I am in no doubt I am treading heavily on your patience as I take liberties with the purported speech of birds that speak in excessively lengthy portmanteau-like, compound words. For those interested, I was thinking of Mark 11:12-25 and Luke 19:44 when writing this.
Image credit: ©Roger Bultot
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Genre: Prose/Poetry
Word Count: 100

The Day of Visitation

I did not know at all how to be, which way to live.

I came to wash on the shore, from city street wandered in, when spectacles lit, unfolded, slipped onto my nose, to where care had not brought down the voice so sweet of blackbirds and cuckoo:

(Stray)nger. SoreThumber.
Ins(hide)r. Persiflager.

Temple(ate) in winter, summer cocooned
Sing cuccu
1

Wrapt in(word) Word-horde strong
seed(l)ing is icumen
2

In(to)ward barren no(thingness)
Sing cuccu

Trinity, Three-in-One, God is.
love: creation, revelation, (re)creation

Light(sends word)Light(tabernacles)Light(sheds abroad)
Sing cuccu

Kingdom b(earth)ing on a cross
Imparts life over death

Stay stranger, stay in(side) Christ
Sing cuccu


1,2“The Cuckoo Song” – “Sumer is icumen in” – Middle English, mid-13th century: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumer_is_icumen_in

Weathervane

photo prompt © Dale Rogerson
Genre: Realism 
Word count: 100
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Weathervane

She prays all night. The church doors had been surprisingly unlocked. Its interior, its peculiarly aged scent of wood, recalls her standing between her parents, singing in her clear soprano voice, afterwards accepting praise from teary-eyed elders.

How long since she’d sung a hymn? Her music had taken her a long way from the church’s doors.

At last she rises. Outside, she looks back at the steeple lit by the dawn, a rooster weathervane atop the cross.

Bending her head, she weeps to remember that even Peter1 had denied his Lord three times before the rooster crowed. And been forgiven.


1Mark 14:27-31, 66-72 (NIV)
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:
‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’[Zech. 13:7]
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today–yes, tonight–before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same. …
[After Jesus’ arrest] While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.
When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.”
Again he denied it.
After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
Immediately the rooster crowed the second time.
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.”
And he broke down and wept.

Trade-off

PHOTO PROMPT© Liz Young
Genre: Realism; Word count: 100
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Trade-off

— It looks fabulous!
— What does?
— Isn’t that heaven?
— Those are elevators.
— Can I go on one?
— No. You have to take the stairs. You don’t have a golden pass.
— Why not?
— You can’t afford it.
— But I have money!
— It’s not just money. It’s talking a certain way, shopping at the approved stores, socializing with the proper sort, voting for the prescribed party.
— Well, I’ll do all those things then.
— Okay. But first I have to tape your mouth shut, blindfold you, tie up your legs and lobotomize you.
— And then I’ll get to take the golden elevators?
— Yes.
— Okay.

Knowing Me, Knowing You

photo prompt © Krista Strutz

Knowing Me, Knowing You

I watched him.

Rather queer really, how his eyes held the same question as my nestlings when they dared to look over the edge of their eyrie.

Here was a grown man suddenly struck by the mystery of being: “I see the eagle. The eagle sees me. We see each other. Why?”

This man meant nothing to me yet I pitied him as he drifted past on his piece of wood.

I raised my pinions, taking flight on the warm current of wind. There was only one mystery that mattered: how to know the One who freely gave us life.

Genre: Realism; Word count: 100
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Rivers

PHOTO PROMPT © Penny Gadd
Genre: Realism; Word count: 100
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Rivers

The first murder set it into motion, the river of death running red with blood, black with vengeance and lust. This rivulet was one of many winding their way past graveyards. At this bend, she kissed him goodbye for the last time. Just twenty and off to war.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of death
Thou art with me . . . .”¹

Once she had thought that death had the run of the land. Now sitting on the bank, praying with her daughter before beginning her home school lessons, she knew there was also a river of life.


1Psalm 23 [A Psalm of David.] (KJV)

The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Waiting for Michaux-Perreaux

photo prompt: Brenda Cox

Read more about the Michaux-Perreaux here, a French bicycle company that later invented the steam velocipede, one of three precursors to the modern motorcycle. I chose Michaux-Perraux for its rhyming allusion to Godot in this semi-allegory.

Genre: allegory; Word count: 100
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Waiting For Michaux-Perreaux

Every day, after work, the old cleaning woman sat on the bench staring at the Michaux-Perraux half in, half out of the building’s side. She was as much an oddity as the bicycle. Sometimes she was seen wiping tears away. Usually she sat poised expectantly. Nothing ever happened. Then, bowing her head, she would walk slowly away.

One day, an earthquake shook the town. The building was evacuated. As everyone watched, debris began falling, the wall with the bicycle cracked, and people screamed and ran.

All except the old woman.

The bicycle fell loose. Smiling, she rode it home.

Tomato Soup for You

Heavenly Father,

I’ve always stood out. Indian child. Small town. No friends really. A lonely thing with a big moon that followed her. I thought about you a lot. Didn’t know you thought about me too. You know the story. You loved me even when I didn’t.  I wanted to DO something. Never did. I trained with pretty great chefs, one from Paris. They agreed all I did right was making tomato soup. What could I do? I opened a stand-out “All-Things-Tomato” take-out. Some can pay. Some can’t. I do it for You, Lord. May it be to Your glory.

Photo © Dale Rogerson. Click her name for more on the photo.
For Rochelle Wisoff-Field's Friday Fictioneers where we write in any genre in 100 words or less. Click on the frog and join in!
 

Humble Singh and the Giddy Widow: A Good Friday Story

It was Good Friday morning and Humble Singh was watching the clock.

He had done this every Good Friday for as long as he could remember, even while his wife, Millie, was still alive and before he had sold his business and moved to live with his son and his family.

It was a quarter to nine. Soon Jesus would arrive, cross-laden, at Golgotha. His face is beaten to a pulp, Jewish and Gentile spit mingles with his blood, and he is struggling with exhaustion and pain as long strips of deeply scored flesh lie open on his back from the scourging, and every nerve in his body screams in anticipation of the crucifixion. The soldiers hurry him along. They conscript a bystander to carry the horizontal beam on his back.

Ten till. Humble sat in his sitting room at the back of the house. Suddenly he leapt up and went into the back garden. Red tulips. Purple hyacinths. Large burgundy magnolia buds like the bruises that covered Christ’s body. The Roman soldiers had mocked him with a purple robe and a crown of thorns while beating him repeatedly. The Jewish priests and their hitting, spitting and slapping needed their scorn driven home. But it was their hour of shame. “His blood be on us and on our children!” the crowd had cried. The mob must have its victim. Even if that victim was pure, blameless. The Lamb of God.

A minute till nine. They lie him down, stripped, arms held down on the cross beam. Humble looks up at a movement in the shrubbery. A bunny had scurried through the open garden gate. Humble hurries to close it.  Piercing nails. Blood running free. Writhing agony. Joints stretching in excruciating torture. The crowd gathers round. Women sob. Many watch in satisfaction.

“Humble! Yoo hoo, Humble!” a woman’s voice sings out. It was Prithi, known in the predominantly Asian neighborhood as the “Giddy Widow.” She approaches him with a broad smile and with nowhere to run, unlike the bunny, Humble returns her greeting. She comes into the garden, her heels clicking on the pavement, bangles bouncing on attractively plump arms and her rouged face a pantomime of coquetry.

They wander around the garden, Prithi chatty, Humble surreptitiously checking his watch. It was a large garden, professionally tended, an arbor here, a fish pond there, a large oak in the middle of the grounds, shady trees of cherry, plum, and maple. No olive trees. Unlike that garden where Christ sweated huge drops of blood at what he would be enduring today. “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”

Continue reading “Humble Singh and the Giddy Widow: A Good Friday Story”

nota bene

Verses on the futility of unread books, presented as a nota bene (handwriting Hs. I 300, City Library of Mainz)

“Take this down,” I said. Two shades sprang up, one more agile than the other, stood poised and ready.

I ran my fingers along a dusty mantel.

How to begin?

“To Whom It May Concern.” Friends.

I hesitated, unaccustomed to the sunlight streaming in through my two windows to the world at large.

“Now reblogged, then nominated, somehow . . . ” despite the shadows.

I squint into the sunny brightness, the dust motes like butterflies.

“. . . to both a due and hearty thanks . . . .” surely no more, no less rather than to carry on so til grace given is grace lost.

“That will do.”

The shades sprang down from their high perches, still gaping, and light stood like pillars under their cargo.

Even so back to books and lamplight, and Thou, my guardian.

The Three Sisters

What betrayals do we unwittingly commit in mistaking selfish desires for selfless love? Happy to recommend a newly published fairy tale, “The Three Sisters,” a wise meditation on men, women, and our expectations one of the other. As C. S. Lewis once said, “Sometimes fairy stories say best what needs to be said.”

Once upon a time there were three brothers who lived with their parents in the midst of a vast forest. If there were any other people in the forest, they knew nothing of them, for they found no tra…

Source: The Three Sisters – Metaphorosis Magazine

Technitos

So happy to share with you another short story from Wallie’s Wentletrap, this time published in the current Summer 2017 issue of The Sonder Review. The story “Technitos,” can also viewed here, and will particularly interest those with a bent for science fiction (androids, techs, & such) but is finally a deeply moving tale about, as the editors of the SR put it,  just what it means to be human. So take a look & see if it isn’t worth your time!

The Burlap Bag

One wintry Thursday morning, under a queer blurry sky, an old woman trekked down a bustling city street with an unsightly burlap bag hanging from her shoulder. The people that passed her noted her appearance which seemed awfully ordinary except for the bag, of course, which couldn’t possibly be a handbag.

Every once in a while she would stop and ask a passerby something, then shake her head and keep walking. This happened from early morning to evening so that the people who passed her while on their way to the office or store would pass her again on their way back. The ones she had already stopped and spoken with would give her a wide berth more often than not. She really did seem strange, but in a familiar sort of way.

Continue reading “The Burlap Bag”

Lara’s Tree

A story for children of all ages and a winner! Congratulations! As the Bethlehem Writer’s Group announced: “The challenge was to write a children’s story for any age, preschool through middle school, in 2000 words or fewer. From a large number of delightful, exciting, and intriguing stories, these two (see link) made it into the top three. We think you’ll agree that they are exceptional.” (Update: click here for link to  “Lara’s Tree” and “Rider in Black.”)

WALLIE'S WENTLETRAP

small_dragon_flower_framed.jpg

Of course trees can talk to you. Sometimes they make the best of friends.

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Elder Norbit’s Walk in the Park (cont.)

(This is the second of a two-part story. For the first, click here.)

cyclist_colored_framed
© Wallie’s Wentletrap, all rights reserved.

It seems a blur and to this day Norbit is hard put to explain exactly what transpired in the moments after his foot’s encounter with a figure in a shimmering suit and hat of purple riding what appeared to be a bicycle, playing what looked to be a miniature keyboard.

Continue reading “Elder Norbit’s Walk in the Park (cont.)”

Elder Norbit’s Walk in the Park


cyclist critters cut
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:1-3)

Elder Jud Norbit was a wizened old man, weathered by work and age. He left for his office at a quarter past seven and returned at a half-past six every day except Sundays. He was met at the door by his manservant, Pritcherd, who wore a sympathetic look just as effortlessly as he anticipated every movement in his boss’s routine. There was a nod that passed between them, a glance aside for the mail and afternoon paper, a glass of whisky at his elbow as he sat in his armchair by the fire in the winter, by the window in the summer, and then a decent meal with Mrs. Gray serving in her white apron, followed by a steaming cup of cider in the winter, tea in the summer, on a polished silver tray at his desk in the study. A quick look at the accounts and the necessaries on his computer, a brief email sent here and there, and he closed his browser and rose and stretched. It had been a long day.

Continue reading “Elder Norbit’s Walk in the Park”