Moon story.

“What is it?” Ellie asks, knowing it’s a ball.

“It is a moon, wrapped in brown paper”, he tells her. Mama casts him a dirty look, preparing for disappointment. Yet, when Ellie pulls off that brown paper, there it is, silvery-grey, glowing, wanting to float.

Outside, the sky is dark. There are stars, but no moon.

“How did you find it?” Ellie asks.

He shrugs. “It was caught up in the ash tree. I climbed up there, prodded it with a stick, managed to catch it”.

She thinks of him, risking the thin branches at the top to bring her treasure.

Later, they climb the hill behind the house and let the moon go. Hand in hand they watch it rise, bobbing into its familiar place. She knows she will always have a bond with the moon now. Its smile will be for her.

A flash fiction for Bjorn at dVerse. We take our line from Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Valentine: “it is a moon, wrapped in brown paper”

Prosery: reaching the line


I’m running as fast as I can. Breathing hurts, everything hurts, but here is the line: I am bombarded yet I stand, just out of range. They can’t reach me now. The missiles fall short.

My comrades aren’t all so lucky. I count the ones who reach the line – three, nine, seventeen. That’s all that’s left of us. Eighteen, one with a ragged wound in his leg, one with blood pouring down her face.

We walk now, legs aching, longing for water and rest. We don’t even look behind, to where the castle is burning. Others will take over now, break through those walls, announce their triumph. They won’t mention us in their victory speeches. We have fire beneath our skins: we are the devil’s children. We’ll be kept hidden until we’re needed again.

One day we’ll burn everything. One day we’ll be free.

Merril is hosting a prosery night at dVerse tonight: 144 words of flash fiction, containing the key line. Tonight’s line is from Adrienne Rich’s ‘Planetarium’ : Here is the line: “I am bombarded, yet I stand”.

Watching the old man.

He makes his way carefully across the waste ground, prodding with his stick as he goes. I wonder what he’s after? What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish? Ivy and bindweed and fireweed and sallow – nothing edible as far as I can see. Maybe he’s not after food. Maybe he’s a scavenger, hoping to find something useful – plastic, cloth, old tin cans? I could tell him this ground’s been picked over again and again. I could tell him to watch out, there’s danger here. Scarier things than me.

I don’t. I don’t say anything. I keep myself hidden, peer out from my hollow.

I like to hear him sing. It reminds me of being warm, and clean, and of something sweet…and milky…ah – I can’t think of it. I keep watching, keep listening, but the words won’t come.

Prosery for Mish at dVerse. 144 words of flash fiction, containing a line from a poem. Tonight’s poetry quotation is from T S Eliot: ” What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?”.

In the moonlight

The children are brought to her for judgement. As ever, she takes them into her home for a month. As ever, they are a little in awe of her silver hair, her black cane.

By day, she feeds them, teaches them the names and scents of herbs, how to keep silent, to move in the shadows.

Now, these two sleep, huddled together in their dreams. They sleep with the moonlight slanting across their faces. She sits beside them all night, until the first rays of the sun fall across the bedroom floor. There’s no sign of change.

She sighs. They’re obedient, sweet-natured, bright – but no good to the pack. They are merely children, untouched by moonlight. The pack won’t keep them. They’ll be sent to the city, to walk hand in hand on stony pavements and forget the forest.

Merril is hosting at dVerse tonight. It’s prosery night – 144 words of flash fiction, incorporating a quotation chosen by our host. Tonight the quotation is:

In their dreams

they sleep with the moon.”–From Mary Oliver, “Death at Wind River”

Fate – prosery for dVerse

They work in a cottage on the mountainside. Granny spins, Mamma weaves, Daughter trims the threads. The tapestry they make is full of stories – golden adventures, scarlet passions, grey tragedies.

Sometimes Daughter, distracted by a bird at the window, misses a chance to trim. Granny shakes her head. Or Daughter pleads for more of the story, for a thread to be left untrimmed. Usually, Mamma says “No”.

When it is over, said and done, it was a time, and there was never enough of it.

But sometimes, Granny thinks of a woman crying over a child’s body, a man clinging to his brother’s hand…

“Leave it” she might say, if her tea has been just right, or birdsong has touched her.

Down in the city, a child’s fever breaks. A man opens his eyes. A woman steps back onto the pavement.

Merril is hosting at dVerse,and it’s Prosery time – 144 words of prose, incorporationg a quotation from a poem. Merril has given us:

“when it is over said and done

it was a time

                  and there was never enough of it.”

 –Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, “A Time”

 

I’m the last priestess

I’m the last priestess of a dying goddess.

Now I hear her moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome treetops, but she She used to speak to aloud, clear and resonant. Believers came here. We held power, a bright stone in our hands.

We ate well – offerings rolled in – gold and silver from the rich, baskets of fruit, or a white cheese from the poor. It makes me hungry to think of it.

Then a new god came, angry and greedy. His priests called us witches. The people stopped coming here.

One by one, we left or died. I’m the last. I should go, too, but then who would I be? And who would remember the great goddess?

No. I stay. I’ll bless you for a goose egg, an apple. I’ll listen for her voice. I will remember.

It’s prosery night at dVerse.Lillian is hosting, and gives us a quotation from Carl Sandberg’s Jazz Fantasia. dVerse is a poetry site, but once a month we dip our toes into the world of prose – 144 words of flash fiction, containing a quotation from a poem. Today’s line is: moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome treetops

 

How they kill the city.

They silence him, but his shadow shouts on – a nightmare scream that fills the room, echoes down the corridors. They shut the door, but the scream spills under it. They brick up the doorway, plaster over it, so that you’d never know the room was there, but the scream remains.

They leave the house. Ivy grows over the walls, blocks the windows, but the scream continues. They bulldoze the damn house, but still the scream is there. People move away. The street empties. No-one can live there.

The neighbourhood thins out. Empty houses can’t be filled. The scream just spreads, filling the whole city. It won’t be drowned by sirens, car horns, piped music. People leave their homes, their jobs – relocate.  The scream is alone, echoing down silent streets of boarded-up shops, empty apartment buildings. Dandelions split the tarmac.

Bjorn is hosting prosery night at dVerse. It’s our only prose prompt – 144 words, including a line from a poem. Tonight’s line comes from Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird: “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream”. 

The empty platform – prosery for dVerse

He’d never spoken to her, but this time, in his uniform, would be his last chance, and he intended to use it. He patted his pocket. The poem he’d written her was there.

The train pulled into her station, and he stood at the window, looking to see where she got on. Nothing. No one left and no one came on the bare platform.

She had to run the last quarter of a mile after her bike got that stupid puncture. She was going to speak to him today. All the young men were being called up – who knew when he’d be gone?

She reached the platform as the train pulled out. She clocked his uniform and gasped, ran faster, reaching for him. Too late.

Just something white – a piece of paper – fluttering from the open window – a butterfly set free.

I’m hosting Prosery for dVerse tonight – 144 words of prose, incorporating a line that I get to choose for you! I’ve chosen a line from “Adlestrop” by Edward Thomas – No one left and no one came On the bare platform”. His death at Arras in 1917 has obviously influenced my thinking tonight.

The suddenness of love.

I could never resist a handsome face. I’d see him, leaning over the side of a boat, and I’d be struck by a lightning bolt of desire. I’d hear a voice raised in song and my heart would burst open. Always a shock, always sudden. I don’t know why.

I was surprised every time love started. Or ended.

My blood is colder than theirs, of course, and my life much longer. Handsome boys grow pale and lose their beauty. Their fingers pucker in salt water. Their singing stops, and they yearn for sunlight, green grass, the feeling of air in their lungs.

Suddenly they bore me, and then, with one flick of my silver tail, I’m gone. Off in search of the next handsome boy who strays too close to the water. Off in search of something like love.

Merrill is hosting Prosery at dVersetonight. Our quotation is “I don’t know why I was surprised every time love started or ended” from I wanted to be surprised by Jane Hirshfield. 144 words of flash fiction – prose, not poetry. Whatever next?

Prosery: between heartbeats.

If I concentrate, I can slip between the molecules in the wall. I can absorb the energy of a bullet, make it my own. There are moments caught between heartbeats when I can stretch time. I’m not sure what that makes me – angel? demon? blessed or cursed?

I’ve always done this: slithered out of my own body, wriggled under the skin of lovers. I have survived car crashes, conflagrations; I’ve sought vengeance: spread my fingers in the rapist’s brain; I’ve sought mayhem – guided the arrow that started the battle.

I have watched everything I love grow old and worn. I’ve moved on and started over a thousand times. I’ve passed through ice and flames. I’m not even sure of my own name now, wouldn’t recognise myself in a mirror – except for my eyes. There are galaxies in there, burning in the darkness. I’m lonely.

Kim is hosting the prosery prompt tonight at dVerse. What’s prosery, I hear you cry? A piece of prose, 144 words, incorporating a line from a poem chosen by the host. Tonight the line is from Louis MacNeice – “there are moments caught between heartbeats”