Tag Archives: prompt

After The War Part 3: A Rustling

Still life with fruit (with scorpion and frog) by Walter Crane This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
Still life with fruit (with scorpion and frog)
by Walter Crane
This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.

Based on the prompt on Today’s Author: “When the wind blew a certain way, it brought a scent that reminded him of his grandmother’s house.”

When the wind blew a certain way, it brought a scent that reminded her of her grandmother’s house. She had to stay on task but being back in this village so many years later, she could not help turn head. If she walked a little upwind, she was sure she would find the old houses in gardens with their tiny stalls lined up on dusty streets along the railroad.

The first time she spent the night at her grandmother’s house, she was woken up by the train passing by, shaking the whole house like a cradle. She was surprised to see her father still fast asleep.

While staring up at the ceiling, watching the shadow of the train pass by right through her room, she thought about her father’s childhood. He had mentioned a few times how he would run around bare foot, back in the days when he could not pronounce his “r”s. She imagined her own authoritative dad, had she known the word, she would have used charismatic, asking his “mothav” for “bvead” with “buttev” and “sugav”. She giggled.

Her silent laughter froze in mid-air. She sensed motion, the sound of rustling at the window by her bed, a presence. Her heart started thumping, filling the room louder than the train that had just passed. If only her father would wake up. He would know how to deal with it. He would take care of the “presence”.

Instead he inhaled loudly with a touch of snotty snore sitting on his nostrils. The rustling stopped. A second later, she heard it again, too close for her to lie still in her bed. It was touching her, brushing against her hair. She got up screaming. Her father woke up with an instinct to protect his offspring, turned the lights on and grabbed his daughter in a matter of seconds, throwing a threatening glare at the enemy.

In her father’s arms, she shut her eyes, trembling. When her father did not move, she opened her eyes to face the enemy… on the floor. Staring back at them, too afraid to move, except for its chin swelling regularly, was a frog. All this commotion, fear and anxiety was only for… a frog.

Her father let her go. Cranky that his sleep had been interrupted, he told her frogs were all over the place in this town. She could not be so jumpy, away from the protective high concrete walls of the big city. This was one of the safest places they could be, so she better go back to sleep.

After the speech, he caught the frog and set it free through the same window it had gotten in.

A soft touch on her shoulder brought her back to the present. It was time for lunch. She washed the soil off her hands and followed the rest of the volunteers into the food tent.

For lunch, they were serving a root dish she had only eaten at her grandmother’s house before. It was a dish specific to this area, a meal that required tradition in the execution.

Years ago, for dinner, her grandmother had cooked the root that only the locals knew where to find, how to cut and how to cook. The smell of the dish was still lingering in all the rooms long after they had sat in the common room, sharing fruits and eating the corn her grandmother had popped in her special pan.

When she went to bed, the root smell had mixed with popcorn, comforting her to sleep. She opened her eyes only slightly now when the train passed, and let it rock her to sleep with its regular “tuddum, tuddum” lullaby on the rails.

She still found rustling by the window somewhat distressing, but had gotten used to the animals she could not easily find in the city. If it was not a frog, it was a dog; if not, a cat, a sheep or once, even the neighbor’s donkey that had made its way out of the stall.

So when there was some rustling by the window, she did not make much of it. She closed her eyes and let her body waft into slumber in the arms of root and corn…

A hand suddenly grabbed her shoulder. For a split second she took it for her father’s but it was much harsher, and a lot less loving.

“Get down on the floor!” Her father woke up with fear in his eyes, staring beggingly at the man holding his daughter.

She heard thumping and her father painfully screaming, begging for his daughter to be left free while she was locked in an empty room.

Soon, her grandparents’ voices joined the choir of painful begging in between blunt thumps and fierce orders.

She hid under the bed. She expected her father to chase those men away any second, to open the door and hold her, to make everything right, turn everything back to the way they were a few hours ago, eating fruits and popcorn with her grandparents in a root smelling house, where the greatest disturbance was animals gone astray.

This was the last time she saw her father, her grandparents and the house itself. The same night, various other houses were attacked with most people either dragged away into anonymity or killed on the spot.

A greater part of the village was damaged first by the civil war and then by the bombings of origins too obscure and tangled to figure out.

She was dragged from one camp to another on trains and trucks until she was left at the porch of an old woman who took care of a small collection of orphans in her little home as if they were her own.

Now, a grown woman, she was back at this village of her childhood she could not recognize anymore, building a new town from scratch for the a little girl to live in safety with her family, in a house that would be smelling roots only her people could cook while the train scheduled to run again soon rocked their home in peace and only harmless animals slowly approached her window.

Word Count: 1030

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Unframed Senses

Latex house paint dripped by means of Trojan latex condoms, ribbed for her pleasure. by Nik Ehm. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.      You are free:         to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work         to remix – to adapt the work     Under the following conditions:         attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).         share alike – If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.
Latex house paint dripped by means of Trojan latex condoms, ribbed for her pleasure.
by Nik Ehm.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
You are free:
to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
Daily Prompt Frame of Mind: If you could paint your current mood onto a canvas, what would that painting look like? What would it depict?

They were using new paintings, the type that comes out alive AND touches you, affects you personally.

And there was a special exhibition, full of such paintings framed and displayed on walls, it was a first time ever trial.

Such an exhibition had never been tried before due to fears it might cause an overload on the spectators’ perceptive sensors, unaccustomed to such visual stimulation, and lead to a coma.

The first visitors to view the paintings were allowed in with great caution.

At first, the paintings took their breaths away and they had to close their eyes until their heartbeats subsided.

When they opened their eyes, they found themselves surrounded with the depictions on the paintings, living them.

They were enveloped in yellow paint of the prairie, green touches of the flowers, brownish grey of buildings, white bright drops of rain, pink of flushed cheeks and blue of wide skies.

They were exhilarated, taken by the colors, a brand new environment of oily plastic brush strokes that surrounded them all around. They had become part of masterpieces, their existence had taken form in art, they had been transformed to a superior being.

Within the wondrous smiles of each spectator, a few started losing their mesmerized gaze in their trance, doubled down where they were standing and threw up.

A few others showed crippling cramps in their body while the rest felt sickly overwhelmed.

Thus, the first enrobing art exhibition proved to be futile, and was cancelled shortly afterwards.

The audience who have had the chance to experience the enrobing art show later reported that most of their senses had weakened, and could not no longer enjoy tastes, smells, views, colors they used to care for before the show. They added that a major gap had opened in their senses distancing them from stimulants that could invoke happiness, pleasure, excitement or any other emotion.

Following the reports, people were once again left to their own devices to observe their surroundings, appreciate their skills and enjoy their existence.

Leftover

Patten Elf Dan Fishes for the Lobster Man by Matt Corrigan This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.      You are free:         to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
Patten Elf Dan Fishes for the Lobster Man by Matt Corrigan
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
You are free:
to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
Writing Challenge: Leftovers
For this week’s writing challenge, shake the dust off something — a clothing item, a post draft, a toy — you haven’t touched in ages, but can’t bring yourself to throw away.

I have this friend I love very much, but sometimes while talking to him, I feel like I am crashing into a wall and cannot advance any further, so I switch to “yeah”, “sure” whether I agree with him or not just to keep the friendship rolling.

But I am not rolling anymore, and am stuck a great distance away, back in my solitude, in between the little fences I remember having built as a young girl.

It is surprising to still find them there, that they have not disappeared after such a very long time, and sad that I should need them after so many birthdays…

( I think hormones are making me a little melancholic)

Fresh Dirt

Women Riding a Donkey by Modesto Teixidor y Torres This work is in the public domain in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 80 years or less.
Women Riding a Donkey by Modesto Teixidor y Torres
This work is in the public domain in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 80 years or less.
Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge:
Fifty-Word Inspiration: This week, find inspiration in fifty words. Use a fellow blogger’s response to a previous challenge, “Fifty,” as a springboard for this week’s post.

I saw fresh dirt and made a move to touch it.

I saw the hand underneath and tried to hold it.

I heard his voice and responded.

Then silence followed and I was left with no hand to hold or voice to listen to. He was gone, I was left behind…

Wordcount: 50, pure luck!

My first go at ultra flash fiction.

This Gaijin is Game

Daily Prompt: City Planners
If you could clone one element from another city you’ve visited — a building, a cultural institution, a common street food, etc. — and bring it back to your own hometown, what would it be?
Child Dancing with Chrysanthemum Branch by Katsukawa Shunshō This file is in the public domain.
Child Dancing with Chrysanthemum Branch
by Katsukawa Shunshō
This file is in the public domain.

Years ago, I got a chance to visit Japan for a month. One thing I could not forget in the heart of Tokyo was the child center that had something different for children to do on each floor. I would love to take that to all cities I go to.

I went there for a youth camp. A group of gaijin and myself together with our Japanese counterparts built a horror ship for children in the basement and took part in various activities on different floors.

I love building things from boards, wood, nail, glue as well as decorating rooms with all sorts of materials. I also love “low pressure” acting. Once we were done building, painting and adding a tint of horror to the ship, we got to pretend we were the ship’s crew and walked children around on the ship and comforted them when they got too scared (I do hope we were not the object of nightmares for the little ones).

On another floor, children with a musical knack explored their limits. Well, children have no limits, so they explored different instruments from piano to weird pieces of sticks that make sounds when you knock them…

Let’s not forget how talented Japanese can be, so these kids had me left agaze. The room was filled with a tiny potential symphonic orchestra.

Moving up one floor, I found materials for children to show their creative skills working with clay, plaster, paint and any other possible artistic and crafty material you can imagine.

Of course there were playrooms all over the place. There were sections for all ages and I loved watching tiny toddlers move about and make a fool of every adult around them.

One day, we played games with primary schoolers for a few hours. It was love at first ice breaker! Especially one girl with an artificial leg transfixed me! Her English was impeccable, so we had a nice long chat. I never knew a ten year old could be so wise! When I told her she seemed very mature for her age, she said: “I have had a tough life.”

The whole building was constructed child friendly, offering them diverse possibilities they could not normally have easy access to. Every floor of the building allowed children to get a chance to explore all skills they may possess but be unaware of, play until they are too tired and need a rest doing a little painting, and go on adventures in worlds created for them. Plus, through international projects such as the one I participated in, children got to interact with gaijins, while foreigners unaware of the existence of such facilities were left with an unforgettable experience.

Yes, this is definitely one thing I would want to see in all cities I step foot in.

Can’t let anyone know I am one crazy b… bean?

Daily Prompt: Unsafe Containers
Which emotion(s) — joy, envy, rage, pity, or something else — do you find to be the hardest to contain?

When I first started working at my current job and I wanted people to like me, well at least not be too prejudiced towards me, I was trying to appear “collected”. It was an especially hard mission since I was there with my dear John’s Wort to contain my social anxiety which at times makes me overexcited at the smallest thing.

However, since the workplace is one huge loft where not even cubicles can hide an embarrassing gesture, headphones are the only means to create a little invisible ball of privacy around the brain. And like so many other souls out there, I chose to listen to music through the earphones to get myself motivated.

Although I am not much of a musical person, I knew from experience from street performers to bookshops where some background music may be on for a little ambiance, I cannot help moving to any rhythm… As soon as there is some sort of a beat I like, a little tapping begins on my foot, and slowly climbs all the way up to my shoulders, finally reaching my head. This might be OK at a pub or even on the street but at work, the result is one jerky woman trying to type some stuff on her computer.

So the first time I had the rush of happiness to dance at my serious workplace, too serious for a video game company, at least, I had to pull my headphones off my head and take a deep breath and wait until my heartbeat took up a lighter pace.

Now, I only listen to news and John’s Wort is out of the question. It turns out it is much easier to concentrate on translations and even on games while sipping green tea to sooth bouts of anxiety and listening to stock market crashes than Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” song.

Come to think of it, I am one weird assembly of a personality where a social attraction like dancing and fear of people’s reactions as in social anxiety have been inserted into the same brain. It is hard to find a balance between all those feelings rushing through…

So if you ever see a shy woman who cannot help dancing on the street to the slightest tune, it might just be me…

Headed to my playlist now…

Ode to the Uncut Nail

Dailypost: A True Saint

In 300 years, if you were to be named the patron saint of X, what would you like X to be? Places, activities, objects — all are fair game.

a Menasseuse by 	 Hyacinthe Rigaud  another version can be found in Musée Granet (Aix-en-Provence) This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
La Menasseuse by
Hyacinthe Rigaud
another version can be found in Musée Granet (Aix-en-Provence)
This work is in the public domain.

I would be the patron saint of uncut nails.

I find uncut nails befitting of me, because my nails have always grown far too sooner than I have wanted them to ever since I can remember. Even when I in kindergarten, while all the kids had tiny nails on their plump fingers, my nails stuck out on thin long sticks I had for fingers. I hated them. I wanted to be like others. I wanted to have cute kiddy fingers instead of old woman’s claws.

Until the day came when I realized everyone else envied my nails. I realized they liked, even admired my nails. I took a good look at the hard, almost bone like structure on my fingers. I observed them… And noticed quite  a few things…

Nail polish looked better on my huge nails.

When I tapped on the desk to show impatience, it made a more charismatic sound getting many tasks done much faster.

If anyone needed to change the battery for the remote control or reach their sim card on their phone, it was not a problem because my nail was long enough to give the delicate push.

Did you need to add a new key to the chain with the tight piece of metal shaped like a spiral? It would not be easy, but my nails could take the pressure.

And the pistachio we all liked so much but, darn, sometimes it was hard to get to the best part. No, you did not need to break the shell with your teeth! I would take care of that with my nails.

Oh those lids! It was so hard to open the ketchup bottle/ juice box/ coke can… The patron saint of uncut nails was there to save the day! No lid was too tight in face of this saint!

And the best part was I had never needed a manicure to keep them in good shape.

Thus, little by little, I realized that what made me so different turned out to be a secret strength that could work to my advantage. I learned to embrace my difference, and left the ugly duckling everyone, but most importantly, I deemed myself to be behind and learned to accept who I am with all the attributes I hold.

Once, something as trivial as a nail alienated me from the crowd. Yet, something as invisible as a nail also helped me see what power I held hidden at the tip of my finger.

Therefore, there is no other more deserving of the title patron saint of uncut nails than I.