Tag Archives: RDP

The Magical Garden of Immortality [fiction 587]

Beautiful garden

The diner looked like any other, and Mitch was skeptical he’d come to the right place. He opened the door a crack and peered inside, expecting to see a dimly lit room full of candles and woo, but instead the light was bright and people were drinking their coffees and eating sandwiches.

A gruff voice behind him said, “You going in, buddy, or what?”

Mitch stepped inside. A waitress told him to take any seat, so he found a small booth for two and sat facing the door. A menu stood in a silver holder with a picture of a lush fruit bowl in the South Seas on the cover, and he picked it up. There were the usual salads and burgers, shakes and pies, on offer.

“You ready?” the waitress said, appearing in front of the booth with pencil and pad.

“I, um, heard that this place was a portal,” Mitch said. “But all I see on the menu is lunch.”

She rolled her eyes. “Check the back.”

Mitch turned the menu over. On the back was a list titled “Infinity Realms.” It was a double column and his eyes began to glaze over reading through the small curly font.

“Usually people know the one they want before they get here,” the waitress said. “And they just tell me the code. We’re kinda busy today and portals close at one.”

“Okay okay.” Mitch had made his decision this morning, after months of agonizing, and he wanted it done. “I found it. The code is XB8720A75.”

“A popular one.” She smiled. “Do you want fries with that?”

“No thanks. Just coffee, black.”

She returned in a minute with his coffee. “I’ll let you know when your portal is ready. You can pay now though.”

He handed her a cashier’s check. It was all he had; that was the deal.

As he waited, he imagined his realm. It would be full of natural beauty… leafy trees, a riot of vivid blooming flowers, butterflies and birds, a sparkling waterfall, lovely warm sunshine… a meadow to lie in, woods to wander in… but also people to admire his works, unlike here. They’d read his poetry and appreciate it. Women would respect his intelligence and deep thoughts instead of brushing him off as an oddball. They’d all compete to date him, but he’d only spend his time with the nicest ones who had tender temperaments.

“Okay.” The waitress reappeared. “Go to the men’s room.”

Mitch walked to the back of the diner and opened the door to the men’s restroom.

Swirling colors

It worked!

Mitch was no longer in the diner, but in a gorgeous garden where he’d live forever and be loved and appreciated. He bent down to sniff a fat yellow rose, but was disappointed when he couldn’t pick up a scent.

“Hi honey, welcome home!”

Mitch turned to find a naked redheaded woman slinking toward him. She reminded him of his third grade teacher. “Hi,” he said, embarrassed. “Would you like to hear some of my poetry?”

She wrinkled her nose. “Poetry? Ew. I want to devour you in a wild frenzy of lust! How does that sound for your last moment of consciousness ?”

“Not great.” Mitch backed away. “I don’t want to be devoured. This is the Garden of Immortality, remember?”

“Oh honey!” She laughed. “You must have put in the wrong code. This is the Garden of Immorality, and I’m the chief cannibal. Meet my friends…”

Mitch stared in horror as hungry naked women emerged from the trees.

~*~

Written for MLM’s Magical Garden Prompt.

Written for Teresa’s Immortality Prompt.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Christmas Eve Morning [flash 278]

Santa and Christmas cookies

“Mom, Bryce and I cleaned the fireplace so Santa won’t get all dirty when he comes down the chimney tonight,” Brianna announced.

Kim nodded. “Great work. Now can you pick up your rooms so your cousins don’t have to sleep on top of books and clothes and bags of chips?”

Brianna rolled her eyes. “Fine, but they won’t care! All they do is play some dumb flower game on their phones anyway.”

“I care,” Kim said as she resumed looking through the fridge for expired food to toss in the trash before her sister arrived to judge her.

“Honey,” her husband said as he brewed up some coffee at the counter, “why are you throwing away my favorite pickles?”

“Because I don’t want to listen to Karen lecture us all on the evil effect of salt again.” Kim began going through the cabinets. “I’m dumping these cookies too.”

“Not the pecan sandies!” Tom looked aghast. “Don’t you think you should dial it down a notch? What are we having for Christmas dinner anyway?”

Kim shrugged. “Karen said she was taking care of everything so we could relax. Isn’t that nice of her?”

“Oh, my God.” Tom passed his wife a cup of coffee. “We’ll all starve to death!”

“Don’t be silly.” Kim smiled at her husband. “Our perceptive neighbors next door are keeping emergency rations warm for us. We’ll just have to find excuses to sneak away at different times. The kids are already coordinating their exits.”

“Brilliant! But let’s have these pecan sandies to fortify ourselves with.” Tom opened the bag and handed a cookie to Kim.

Bryce and Brianna entered the kitchen. “Cookies for breakfast! Yay!”

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

My Visitor [flash 300]

Bare trees in fog

The first time he visited I immediately recognized him. I was here because of him, and yet I had done him worse. The area surrounding me was vacant, so I figured he’d strayed too far on his dog walk. But the next morning he appeared again, strolling around as if this were a park instead of barren land at the end of an ancient railroad line.

When he came the third time, I knew it was not a coincidence. He walked past the leafless trees to where the crumbled stones rested.

“Hello, friend,” he said.

I of course said nothing. I waited.

His dog seemed disinclined to explore and stood by the man as he spoke again. “I’m sorry I did not come before. I wasn’t sure where you were. But I know you’re here. I can feel it. A kind of… electricity.”

He pulled a penlight from his pocket and directed it at the stones, but none had names. He switched off the light. The dog made an anxious whimper.

“It doesn’t matter. I know you’re here,” he repeated. “And I wanted to tell you, if it makes any difference now, that I forgive you. That’s my purpose in tracking you down.”

I didn’t do anything, not that there was much I could do.

He made a noise, possibly a laugh or a sob. “Anyway, I just wanted to say that, odd as it may sound with me still alive and you… well, whatever. If you need that to be free or something, you have it.”

Maybe I did need it. I felt even lighter as he walked away, the dog trotting briskly ahead. My last ties to this place felt as if they were dissolving in a pool of mist and I could float up to the stars…

~*~

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge 44

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Treasure [flash 200]

Canoe into the blue

“Lou, are you sure this is the right way,” Sandy asked her husband. “The air smells weird. Didn’t the treasure map say we were supposed to pass a short fat tree with crimson flowers?”

Lou checked his compass. “I calculate that we will reach the crescent rock in fifteen minutes. Besides, that tree back there had crimson flowers.”

Sandy shook her head. “No, they were just pink.”

“Kind of a dark pink though, right?”

“Not really, Lou. Candy pink, like the sweater I wore last Valentine’s Day when we went to that steak place. We indulged in the decadent triple chocolate mousse after. Mmm…”

“What steak place? The one on Oak or the one off Westport?”

“Oh my God!” Sandy yelled. “You don’t remember where we went on Valentine’s Day?”

“Shhhh, Sandy!” Lou hissed. “Don’t give away our location. There are other treasure hunters looking for His Flagrant Mistress.”

“That’s a dumb name for a ship anyway,” Sandy said. “We’ll probably just find a giant chest full of romance novels.”

They both erupted in laughter until they shushed each other simultaneously. “Even if we don’t find treasure,” Lou said, “this sure has been a super fun day.”

“Yes, it has.”

~*~

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See 7.

Image credit to Pinterest.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

A New Life [flash 201]

When she was a child, she played in a magic garden with a sparkling unicorn and a rainbow of butterflies. One day, she jumped in a glittering aqua pool and was pulled out by rough hands. Scared, she stared into an unfamiliar face.

“Foolish girl,” the old man said. “That river is dirty. Don’t go in there again.”

“What about my white horse?” she cried.

He laughed but not unkindly and returned her to the orphanage, where they punished her for escaping again. A few years later, they sent her out to work for a wealthy family to earn her keep. She cleaned their floors and sometimes was allowed to help in the kitchen, where she might stir a pot of sauce or cut up vegetables.

One day, she was in the driveway helping the chauffeur wax the white limo when the old man appeared, the one who pulled her from the river. He didn’t seem to recognize her however.

But when he walked past he commented, “When you’re eighteen you can get your license and learn to drive my limo. Maybe a car can replace the white horse you left behind and you can create a new life for yourself.”

~*~

BrewNSpew Cafe

Image credit to lovethispic.com

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Glow [flash 341]

Golden glowing sunrise with a pink and lavender sky

“Let’s use the darker shades now to layer our sky,” Anita instructed. “We want to get a sense of the deep lavender hues of the waning night, and then we’ll put the bright light of the golden sun last.”

She stood back to admire her painting in progress–her best one yet. She was really nailing this Glow series. But then she glanced over at Michael, who seemed to be having quite a bit of difficulty. Poor guy. He didn’t seem to be focused. She walked over to help him.

“Hey, honey. That’s a really good start.” Anita swirled her own brush through his pink mixture. “Let’s just brighten up your sky a bit here and here, okay?”

He was so non-responsive. But that was the trouble with guys like Michael. You gave and you gave and they didn’t care at all. They acted like you should worship them or something. The hell with that!

“Now look, sweetie. You’ve got way too much chocolate brown there for the tree. For heaven’s sake!” Anita began painting over Michael’s tree with conviction. “I’ll fix it. It’s always my job to fix things, isn’t it?”

She stepped back to view his canvas. Much better. “What do you think?” She nudged his shoulder and he toppled off the chair and onto the floor.

“Dammit!” Anita was annoyed. Now she’d have to take time away from painting to get Michael situated properly in the chair again, which wasn’t easy given how stiff he’d become already. She bent down to pull him up and noticed that he’d begun to smell.

Painting class was officially over. Anita picked up her finished canvas and her unused paints and put them in her truck. She doused the studio with gasoline and tossed a flaming rag through the window before driving away. As she headed for the freeway, she saw the glow of the burning building bathe the early morning sky.

She really didn’t cope well with rejection. Hopefully the next man wouldn’t be such a jerk.

~*~

The Daily Echo

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Entanglement [fiction 875]

[This is a multi-part story. Lexi Brown is trying to escape her past and create a new life for herself in Otter Village, 500 miles from where a traumatic event occurred 6 months ago. In our last episode, we read that Kevin was having second thoughts about getting involved with Lexi so soon after he had to deal with his own romantic drama back in Chicago.

Here are the posts in order so far:

Falling
Sisterly Chat
Smoothies
The Angry Brother
Trust Issues
Something You Don’t Know
Moonlight
Who Needs Drama?]

Lexi was ashamed of herself for checking her phone every five minutes like a lovesick teenager. It was just a kiss on the beach, for heaven’s sake! Well… a few kisses. Under a romantic full moon, in his warm embrace…

Cell phone in hand

Stop! She stuck her phone in a drawer and busied herself with laundry. She was not falling for Kevin, despite the fact that the first time they met she had literally fallen off her bike and he helped her up. It was too soon. She needed to chill here, not get involved in a new emotional entanglement.

But a bike ride was an excellent idea. As soon as her clothes were out of the dryer, she’d take a long one. It was a great thing to do on her weekday off work and especially today to clear her head and get re-centered.

She grabbed her phone before she left the house. No messages. Kevin was probably busy working, plus she wasn’t naive. A moonlit walk and a few sweet kisses didn’t necessarily mean that much to a man. Just because she felt all fluttery at the memory of last night didn’t mean he felt similarly. He might not be thinking about her at all. Maybe he took romantic walks all the time with various women.

Peaceful pond with ducks and trees

Biking down to the beach, Lexi took deep breaths of the fresh air. Another gorgeous day! She couldn’t help but smile at people she passed on the path. Even though she didn’t want to get close to folks here yet or reveal much about herself, didn’t mean she couldn’t be friendly. It was a relief not to be wary and tense all the time like she’d been back in the city. The news from Vicky about Dan had flung her back into that whirl of stress, but being with Kevin had magically swept it all away.

Her feet slowed; her ebullient mood popped like a child’s bubble. She turned off the path and stopped, gazing out at the crystal blue waves breaking on the sand. It was still warm enough to play in the water, but the school year had begun, so the beach was relatively empty. Lexi took her phone out of her backpack and saw that she had a message.

She allowed her mind to drift back to last night and how good it felt to be with Kevin. He was so understanding. Even though a new relationship hadn’t been on her radar when she’d escaped the big city after her husband’s death, now it seemed exciting when the idea circled around a certain sexy dark-haired hotel manager. Maybe a good, slow-building relationship with a nice, steady, calm, even-tempered man would not be stressful…

Smiling relaxed man with coffee at picnic table

She unlocked her phone. The message was from Vicky. Dammit! Okay, she’d listen later. Lexi got back on her bike and in a surge of energy pedaled for miles up the coast. By the time she turned around and got back to the rooming house, it was dusk and her legs felt like overcooked noodles. She put the bike away and climbed the stairs an inch at a time.

“You okay?” Carolyn the landlady asked at the second floor. “You hurt your back?”

Lexi shook her head. “I overdid it on a bike ride. Just lost in my thoughts. Pretty silly.”

Carolyn laughed. “That can happen. Go lie down. I’ll make you a cup of tea and bring you some Advil. I think there’s leftover veggie lasagna. Want me to check?”

“That’s so nice of you!” Lexi said as she hobbled toward her room.

“Well, of course, dear.” Carolyn started down the stairs. “We’re all little refugee birds up here. Thanks for making those yummy cookies for us last night.”

As Lexi arranged herself in her room, stretching out in her comfy chair, she thought about Carolyn’s comment. Little refugee birds. That’s why people came to Otter Village, to escape something. Not just Lexi, but Kevin too. She’d been so wrapped up in her own head she hadn’t thought about what his story might be.

Why was Kevin here? She recalled him saying he was relatively new, around three months, but that was a month ago. So, what had made Kevin leave Chicago four months ago? What was his story? He had never told her.

Bird flying over city buildings

But then again… she hadn’t asked. There was no reason not to. He knew all about her life. After she rested for a bit, she was gonna call him. But first, Vicky’s message. She’d procrastinated long enough…

“Hey sis, call when you can. It’s nothing urgent. Just an update on the Dan situation. He kinda confronted me again, but this time Nick was waiting in the car, so things got a bit heated. Nothing terrible! It’s just that Dan is really pissed we won’t give him your new phone number, so he threatened to drive up there and find you in what he terms ‘hickville.’ Nick said he’d slap a restraining order on him, but Dan said he had a right to take a vacation where he wants, it’s a free country, blah blah. He backed off on the finding you part, but I’m worried about it. Nick thinks he’s all talk, but I dunno…”

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Karma Chameleon

Chameleon

This may sound odd coming from an atheist, but I believe in karma. Now, this is not the first dictionary definition of karma, with reincarnation and yada, but my own notion of logic and being held accountable. Cause and effect, baby.

Forex, if you drive like a rude, reckless jerk, sooner or later you’re going to pay for that. Maybe you’ll rack up a pile of tickets and eventually lose your license or get hurt in an accident. Unfortunately, you may end up hurting others. Then you’ll get dumped in the $$$$ end of the insurance pool. Cause and effect, no supernatural interference necessary.

I am of course aware that this karma (or whatever you prefer to call it) does not work perfectly. Some jerks seem to cruise through life, breaking rules and screwing people over, with zero consequences. Or so it appears. I don’t believe they suffer some “hell” after death; perhaps they experience suffering we simply don’t know about. Or they just escape penalty for their terrible behavior. It happens. As we used to say on Usenet, shurgs.

And what about the total other end of the spectrum? I’m talking about wonderful folks like my mom who are inclined to help everyone they can and are full of general goodness and virtue? We don’t always see these people get rewarded, and sometimes they suffer when they shouldn’t. Again, (a) we don’t always know all the facts, and (b) it’s not a perfect system. Shurgs.

Have I come to believe all this merely as a way to reconcile events in my own life? Yeah maybe. And so what? I’m as guilty as anyone else for wanting order to things, and maybe more. Probably lots more!

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Current Events

Mosaic fish

Swirling under a butter sun,
Languidly I become
One with the current,
Ever circling
This luminous pool,
Looping through my lazy reverie.
Vaguely aware I am losing
Some essential identity,
A separateness
That makes me, me;
I vow to forsake this place.
Yet the heady siren’s call
To blend into the cool blue thrall,
The glassy-eyed sameness,
Knowing a belonging
Even while longing
To stand alone and free,
Breathing, thinking, feeling…
Without worrying whom to please,
Recaptures my peace.

[Inspired by Rory’s sheeple post.]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon

A Cup of Tea? [fiction 645]

[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that Miko, the pirate commander who had originally captured Liana for his Queen, planned to prove she wasn’t special in order to have her to himself. When that didn’t work, he came up with a new idea.

If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest
Miko’s Plan]

Colorful flowers

Liana paused in the secluded garden as a disturbance suddenly fluttered through the morning like a swarm of bats. She didn’t see anything, but she felt a presence and, already unstable in her ninth month, she stumbled over a stone.

“Careful.” Miko emerged from the shadows of the coconut palms. “Mustn’t let anything happen to the babe.”

“What are you doing here?” Aware that she was alone except for Sura, Liana felt jittery in the presence of the large, looming pirate. All the other warriors had left to capture a trading vessel from Australia. “Aren’t you supposed to be gathering more wealth for our dear ruler?”

Miko grinned. “That’s what I have trained men for. I have come to protect you. The Queen would be distraught if you were to have an accident.”

“I have Sura to help me.” Liana knew Miko would be the cause of any accident and tried to find a way to get him to leave. “It is bad luck for a man to be around this close to the baby’s time.”

Miko put his powerful hands on his hips and laughed, his white teeth sharp as a cat’s. “Sura is gone. There was a family emergency. Her father is badly injured and may not live through the day. I just gave her the sad news myself and watched her rush away. I told her I’d stay with you.”

“Oh no!” At once, Liana grieved for Sura and felt terrified for herself, alone here with Miko. Then came the certainty that Miko had engineered this predicament by hurting Sura’s father. The warmth of her lovely garden began to feel oppressive and her skin grew sticky under her loose cotton dress.

“No worries, little sea witch.” Miko stepped closer to her, swatting away a bee. The hard planes of his bronzed face were just as frightening without war paint. “Your secrets are safe with me, as long as you grant me a small favor in return.”

Quickly, Liana turned and put her small herb basket between them, though it scarcely was a barrier. “What could you possibly need from me? I’m about to become a mother. Sura says such babies conceived from the Sea Gods need all a mother’s attention.”

“That may be so,” Miko said. “But you and I both know that prisoner spoke true. You’re just an ordinary island girl, the daughter of a so-called oracle, who couldn’t even save his people from a volcano. Your baby was created the usual way, not at sea by a god.”

Liana didn’t reply. She was searching for a certain plant… ah, here it was! She broke off a stem full of shiny berries, careful not to touch them.

Black shiny berries

“If you marry me,” Miko continued, “you will still have the Queen’s favor. But then so will I, as your husband. I will protect the babe as well as you, though it isn’t mine.”

“You already are a favorite,” Liana said, laying more flowers in her basket. “You’ve brought lots of wealth to the kingdom.”

Miko shrugged. “For now. If a season passes with no captures, she’ll turn on me. I’ve seen other commanders put to death and eaten after being favored. But as your husband, I will have the blessings you do. The Queen will look upon both of us with favor. And our children.”

Liana suppressed a shudder at the idea of creating children with this massive brute. He was so unlike the sweet, slender, soulful island boy she’d loved. The one she’d made a baby with. Gone forever. Her heart was broken. No other man could take Ken’s place… the first time she’d felt their baby move, she vowed to live the rest of her days as a widow.

“I see.” She forced herself to gaze up at Miko and smile alluringly. “Would you like a cup of blackberry tea?”

Cup of tea

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.