Tag Archives: writephoto

The Murmuration [fiction 680]

Sunset with murmuration

When the starlings blot out the sun, in a black thundercloud of ten thousand

The young folks smiled and danced on the beach. They were used to the blind man’s crazy talk. He was so old now that he had outlived his children, and none of them had had children. He was all alone, with his bowls of shells and beads.

That’s when we must leave! Leave the island quickly! Make preparations…

“You don’t think Benji actually knows anything, do you?” Liana asked her boyfriend as they cuddled on a blanket.

Ken laughed. “Nah. He’s been saying stuff for years. Said a great wave was gonna swallow us up back when my sister was born fifteen years ago. And here we all are.”

Liana relaxed and drank more wine. “Okay. I guess he’s just sad he has no family.”

“Yup. So, he tries to get attention through his nutty omens.” Ken kissed her. “Don’t think about that stuff anymore tonight.”

She didn’t. But the next morning she visited the old blind man at his hut. “Benji, I brought you some coconut bread. I’ll put it on your table.”

“Thank you. Come over so I can touch your face.” Benji sat on his customary mat, facing east, with his bowls in front of him.

Liana sat close enough so he could touch her. He lightly pressed his fingertips against her cheeks and eyelids. Then he nodded.

“I was thinking about what you said last night,” she told him. “There are a lot of birds in the sky this morning.”

Benji took a bead out of the bowl and licked it. Then he held it aloft. “It has begun. No one listened. Feel the earth.”

“I don’t feel…” Liana stopped talking. There was the slightest hum underneath her through the mat. “What is that?”

“Fire,” Benji said. “Would you like to leave? I have a boat. Or we can stay and join the gods.”

Liana stared at him. He sounded so calm. But at his age, maybe he no longer cared that much. “You were trying to save us all last night! You sounded different then!”

“I did what I could.” He shrugged. “Now, it’s just you, because you came here with your bread. You must choose, but quickly. The sky is darker, is it not?”

It was. The cloud of birds had doubled in size since Liana had left her house. “But my family! Ken… his sister…”

The ground shook and Benji stood up. Liana took the hand he offered and walked with him to the tiny boat he had tied behind his hut. He’d already stocked it with provisions. “You were waiting for someone to help you because you couldn’t go alone?”

Benji didn’t reply as Liana pushed the boat into the water. “Get in now,” she told him. “We’re all set to row out.”

“No,” he said. “The boat is for one. You will tell our story, Liana. You will tell it to the baby you carry. Now hurry away. There will soon be ten thousand birds.”

Liana looked up and saw the cloud had doubled again. She paddled away from the island, the only home she’d known. What if Benji was wrong? She would now seem like a crazy person running away in a canoe! And what baby? She stopped paddling and put a hand on her flat stomach. Sighing, she drank a little pineapple juice.

But as she drifted into deeper water, she saw the volcano erupt and her island home turn into an inferno, flames shooting into the sky hour after hour. And she knew that no one would survive. Benji had been right and nobody believed him. They’d all gone on dancing and drinking while he tried to save them.

As dusk fell, the fiery island turned into a red dot while Liana’s destination island grew closer. She didn’t know what sort of reception she’d find there, but she had no choice now. The black cloud had blotted out the sun and there was nowhere to go but forward on.

[to be continued]

~*~

Written for the Daily Echo

~*~

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

Reaching

Trees and clouds at dawn

Desolate, I walked until the cold
Numbed the marrow of my bones.
The clouds roamed so restlessly,
But I headed East stone by stone–
Long past time I headed home.
Hours passed and a flash of gold
Showed me that tomorrow had come;
Shadows danced across the road
As I retraced my way to yesterday.
The tree I knew since I was born
Was skeletal now, weak, and shorn;
It trembled in the early morn,
Branches reaching not to me,
But to something that I could not see.

~*~

Written for the Daily Echo

~*~

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

Frozen

Cold purple dawn

You were wine and warm nights,
Fire-streaked sunsets,
Crackling conversation.
I was cold violet dawn,
Quiet morning walks,
Soft spongy footsteps.

I showed you the broken
Ice on the river,
Where the mud ugly water
Flowed underneath.
Sunlight shattered
Into rainbows on shards.

You left me soon after
For someone happy and chatty,
Picnics and laughter.
I return to the river–
It’s all frozen over.
The rainbows are gone.

~*~

Written for the Daily Echo

~*~

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

Narcissus 2.0 [flash 200]

Trees mirrored in pond

He needed time away. Forest bathing would rev up his blood oxygen count and increase his sales count, he’d read. Appreciating the beauty and serenity of nature today would improve his bottom line next quarter. He nodded at the leafy trees, his partners in profitability. They’d help him upgrade to a BMW Series 7 this fall.

Unzipping his backpack, he removed an energy bar and chewed it methodically. When finished, he tucked the wrapper in his pocket. He stepped into the clearing and gazed at the pond. The sun shone through the branches, creating a dance of rainbows across the mirrored surface. This would be a great selfie for his bio. He took out his phone and walked over to the edge of the pond, holding out the camera and smiling.

A crow shrieked from a nearby tree, startling him, and he lost his balance. He fell back from the weight of his pack and slipped under the water, never to be seen again. Eventually the shiny red wrapper from his energy bar floated out of his pocket and up to the surface of the pond where the crow spied it.

She flew down and grabbed it for her nest.

~*~

Written for the Daily Echo

~*~

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

The Misty Path

At midday, the canopy thickened

And the air grew dense and cool;

A balm upon her fevered skin.

She knew not when, but a resolve

Had commenced to quicken

Her steps toward an end,

That was at once

Enticing yet unknowable.

If she listened intently,

A lone bee commiserated,

But she knew nothing but bliss

As she disappeared into mist.

~*~

The Daily Echo

Aflame [flash 225]

aflame

As the rest of the team began gathering up their belongings, Lori couldn’t resist toasting one last marshmallow over the dwindling bonfire.

“Hey, Lori.” Dave, her supervisor, touched her shoulder. “Having fun on your first company retreat?”

Lori nodded as she prepared her s’more, layering the gooey marshmallow over half a chocolate bar between two graham crackers. She offered half of it to Dave.

“It’s been a great experience,” she said.

“Thanks, looks delicious!” Dave bit into the s’more. “Mhrhtsfrfrst like that flmnshnt.”

“I’m sorry?” Lori laughed.

Dave swallowed and smiled. “Sorry. I said, my heart’s on fire for you just like that flaming sunset.”

Lori dropped her treat. “What? I mean, no. You can’t say that!”

“Why? It’s a line from a song that was just on.” He grinned. “Now you’ll have to make another s’more.”

Lori didn’t believe him about the song. “I think everyone is leaving now, so I should help clean up.”

Dave tried to grab Lori’s arm as she walked past, but she was agile and avoided him. When she found her backpack, he said, “It’s not that complicated to do well here and get a raise, if you know what I mean.”

“I know what you mean,” said Sylvia, the CEO, who had come up behind them. “Dave, you’re fired. I’m tired of your shenanigans. Also, I’m divorcing you.”

~*~

The Daily Echo

The Quiet Life [fiction 325]

“There she is!”

“Oh, my God! She’s really alive.”

“Can you believe it? After all these years!”

The Countess waved gracefully to the crowd gathered on the lawn. She had agreed to answer a few questions and pointed to a reporter near the edge of the stone steps. Two armed guards stood at the bottom of each side of the steps, ostensibly to deter anyone from coming too close.

“Countess Greta,” the reporter said. “It’s so good to see you again. What inspired you to emerge from your solitude?”

Greta smiled and indicated the perfectly maintained grounds. “I wanted a fresh lemon for my afternoon tea.”

Everyone laughed politely. It wasn’t a real answer, for they all knew the Countess could summon a servant to fetch a lemon.

Another reporter asked, “We were used to seeing you dressed in mourning black. Does your more colorful attire signal a change in your lifestyle as well? Will you be entering society again?”

The crowd murmured. It was a bold question, to indirectly refer to the death of the Count. No one really knew what had happened, though of course there were many stories and rumors, some of them bordering on the scandalous and vile.

But Greta appeared unfazed. She touched the lace of her heather pink dress and said, “Oh, thank you for noticing my gown. It is springtime after all. But I do prefer the quiet life of reading poetry and painting watercolors in my studio.”

A few more questions followed regarding her taste in poets and such. One of the guards subtly shifted position, at which point, the Countess said, “It’s been lovely chatting with you all. We shall do it again soon.” With that, she disappeared back into the cavernous castle.

“She has so much class.”

“So ephemeral.

“Such a great beauty, even now.”

“How old is she? Does anyone know?”

“The guards seemed more concerned with keeping her in than keeping us out.”

~*~

Written for The Daily Echo

The Right Door [flash 217]

It was supposed to be my vacation. A long overdue break from demands, deadlines, and stress. But I couldn’t relax. During the mornings, I sat on the sand, watching the waves, my stomach a knot of anxiety. In the afternoons, I wandered through the quaint shops, where tourists tried to scramble over each other for bargains, but I walked away, uninterested. Why couldn’t I enjoy myself?

And at night came the dreams, each one more disturbing than the last. The dark corridor, the semi-open doors with a faint glow of light emanating from inside. But I couldn’t see what was happening. A vague sickly sweet odor. Fabric rustling. Moans… of pleasure or pain? I could not tell. I knew I had to choose a room, and once I made my choice, all others would disappear. But each night I awoke drenched in fear just as I stepped over the threshold of the one I’d chosen.

Except this night, the last one of my stay. I walked resolutely down the shadowed hall, the decaying fragrance stronger than ever. I heard fabric tearing, as if someone were ripping a bedsheet with their bare hands. And then in the deepest, most recessed alcove I found the right door. All my worry melted away as I glided into the light.

~*~

The Daily Echo

Small Choices

Dawn kisses the edge

Of my dreams;

Already they’re fading,

Lost to the day.

The sky brightens

With a scheme of small choices,

Each seemingly insignificant,

But any one could create

A surprise new pathway.

Was there something

I should have remembered?

I chase the last molecules

Of the night’s revels,

But they’re wisps on the wind,

Dancing out to the stars,

Perfect gone ghosts,

Too insubstantial to matter.

I get up.

I wash my face.

I make toast.

~*~

Prompt provided from the Daily Echo

Transition

Neither here nor there,

She waits

To regenerate,

Like a starfish

Missing a limb,

Only this is her heart.

She stays in the doorway,

A sanctuary,

Between the light too bright

And the darkness

So frightening.

In transition,

Away from the known,

Toward the unknown,

She floats,

Hollow, vague,

With nothing to follow,

Nowhere to go.

~*~

The Daily Echo

Thursday Inspiration