Rose of Faith

Written as part of a challenge called Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers,  details are at https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/fffaw-challenge-week-of-05-24-2016/

And part of everyday inspiration, #everydayinspirations

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She looks up at the angels.  Each one has a panel of triumph!  Each one has a battle to emerge from.  Her battle has been self inflicted.

Her fingers raw.  Tiny holes.  Blood no longer flows from them.  Her voices are fading.  Her trust places unseen.  In her hair, a fade white rose.  In her mind, the question of questions. Why?

Faith comes quick like a snake bite.  It’s paralysis warms the soul underneath. Eyes slowing to see, open like a child to the works sound her.

She talks to angels.  Today, they answered.

Death and the Word Count

We are playing with a word count.   But adding a challenge to the mix.   So a picture is worth 1000 words, we’re going for 100.

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/may-22-2016-writing-prompt-tarot-major-arcana-death/

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#everydayinspirations

Her hand grips a white rose.  But the rose has it’s thorns in Rose as well.   She spins it between fingers until the pin holes let out a stream.   It comforts her.

Below her spills out the future.  Her cards neatly spread.   Eight cards waiting to relieve her pain.  Only her final card is death.

She smiles.  Her heart skips a beat.  It’s white rose is her’s. Everything fades away.  Her pain can at last be gone.

Behind the card is a meaning of great change.  The novice doesn’t realize the cards are pointing toward change.  Her pain goes.  She does not.

Granny Becomes A Ghost

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“The old lady is crazy! You smell gas?!” Kevin shakes his head. 

His middle aged arthritic knee grinds into linoleum.  The gas pipe flaps out of a hole in the wall.  The hole is the best part of the wall.  He hears a single tap.  Metal against floor.

“Boy, I’m not crazy!   I forgot more than you ever knew.   I’m telling you I smell gas!!  You’ll fix it.   That’s what I paid for.   A stove put in.   The stove was bad and it didn’t leak gas.   Get you’re head out of your ass and fix it.”  Her age softens the sound of her voice but not the content.

An outwardly feeble body props up the cane.  A silver Horsehead looks out behind curled fingers.   Large chucks mark where knuckles used to bend.   Deep set eyes, black as coal peer into the world.   The look is half distant at first,  but hawk like while it lingers.

Kevin mutters “Of all the old people, I get one that can hear!”

“Mr Kevin.  Do you have that pint of grape Vodka in your truck? Oh wait, it’s in the glove compartment. My hearing is better than your ability to read people.   My Granny Sally said we could hear the dead, if you closed your mouth long enough.” The old woman holds her ground.

“I sprayed soapy water on the pipe.   They’re no bubbles.  There’s no gas!”  Kevin’s angry glare clears the corner of the stove.  He grabs his Zippo lighter. “I’ll show ya!”

The lighter disappears behind the stove.  A single flash erupts.  Neither of these two hear the sound but a while neighborhood does.

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A small boy jumps out of bed.  The room is dark.   He’s startled but doesn’t scream.   To his left, she sits next to him.   Granny puts her bony hand on Bobby.

“Bobby, I needed you to know how I became this way.  You’re a good boy.   I thought it might scar the dickens out of you. I’ll let you sleep now.” Granny’s voice softly laudes him back to sleep.

This is a twisted part off the Granny Series.  A collection of short stories.  But if you wish a trip to the beginning…..
https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/come-closer/

Target Practice – Granny Series

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The midnight hour swallows the noises of the day.  A cool stale breeze stirs.  A few wobbles of a ceiling fan.  A distance car drives down a suburban street.  The moon is taking the night off.  Stillness waits to be broken.

Granny pushes the closet door open.  Her long bony fingers emerge from the darkness.  A small nightlight catches their tips.  The creaking of a door sneaking into the room.  The six year old is awake, barely.  His eyes respond to the sound.  The shocks are gone.  His darkly visitor returns.

Her gaunt figure cloaked in faded black night gown-esque material, coarse by today’s world.  Her pale greenish skin glows faintly.  Her sharp feature catch shadows.  The shadows deepen the time worn mask she looks out of.  The smile she holds is most definitely real.  In her hand, a special present for her Bobby.

“Boy, you get up now!  We got somethings to do here.  I ain’t got all night.  Get yourself up.”  She regards Bobby.  Her eyes fixed until she sees his body sitting upright.  

Granny has a circle in her right hand.  She releases it into the air.  Hovering and spinning about fifteen inches across.  Bits of metal slowly flash as it spins.  In her other hand appears darts.  She releases them to float to Bobby.

Bobby rubs at his sleepy eyes.  The darts linger at arms reach.  He sees a disk but the room doesn’t offer much detail.

“I can’t see what it is Granny.  I need some light.”  Bobby adds a little plea to his voice.

“Hush child! You throw them darts.  You ain’t supposed to use your eyes.  Feel it Bobby!  Don’t you feel it!  Come on boy!  You can do this……Granny needs you to.”  Her rough voice starts cold and softens as only a Grandmothers can.

Bobby reaches back and fires a dart.  It thumps into an unseen board. Followed by another…and another. The night light flashes into nothingness.

“So what did you hit, boy?!” Granny adds a hiss to the boy .

“But it’s dark!” Bobby protests.

“If I wanted you to use your eyes, it would be daylight! This ain’t no game. What did you hit!” Granny snipers her query.

“Nineteen…..five and…. the black piece in the middle.” A flat little voice complies.

“Now try this.” She snaps

Granny’s sleeve produces a blade. A dark well worn knife. The Hickory handle sanded to the brass rivets by coarse hands. The spine, a black line pointing to its end. It’s 2 inch thick blade has a stabline. Used once or twice. It’s iron core feels cold in a young hand for good reason.

More pieces to Granny
Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 lay below.

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/come-closer/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/granny-tells/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/bobby-wakes/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/cynthia-granny-series-part-4/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/joseph-granny-series/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/granny-brings-presence/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/bobby-and-levitation-granny-series/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/joseph-gets-work-granny-series/

Bobby and Levitation – Granny Series

Bobby runs downstairs for dinner. Clutched under his arm is Sinclair, the green dinosaur.  Sinclair and Bobby hop the last stair.  Both hit the floor on their feet and proceed across a rope bound rug toward the kitchen.

Joseph looks over at the two.  He stares at the dinosaur in prefect motion.  He hears no motors.  He scratches at his half bald head.

“Bobby were did you get that thing?!  I can’t believe your mom had extra cash for that.” Joseph thinks about others money when he’s not working.

“Granny gave it to me.  She said she it’s old.” Bobby never looks at him. Rather parks the dinosaur at the foot of his chair.  

The tiny kitchen has four chairs all different colors and styles.  Bobby gets the fridge seat.  No sense in the adults having to get drinks.

Bobby grabs pops fit him and momma.  Joseph gets the beer. 

“Bobby  the damn beer  is getting good warm!”  Joseph demands the beer before he can close the door. 

Bobby looks for momma.  Not seeing her, he concentrates on the beer.  He sees it floating.  His hand barely touchs it.  He moves his hand aside and looks toward Joseph. The beer follows an invisible line.  Gently it rests before a stunned Joseph.

“That ain’t funny!  You fucking with me BOY!!  That’s witch craft!”  Joseph  squirms in his chair.  Half wanting to call Cynthia.  But what does he say…the beer floated across the room.

Bobby stands at the back of his chair looking at Joseph.  His face is blank.  His mind isn’t.  “Granny told me that things would change around here when I got better.  Am I getting better Joseph?!”

Cynthia enters the kitchen with a bag of fast fried chicken and plastic containers.   Noone speaks a word.

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 lay below.

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/come-closer/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/granny-tells/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/bobby-wakes/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/cynthia-granny-series-part-4/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/joseph-granny-series/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/granny-brings-presence/

Granny Brings Presence

Bobby pokes at his dinner of boxed lasagna.  Cooked until the outsides burnt black.  The wide noodles pale dried things curling outward with charcoal tips.

“Bobby! If you spent half the time eating as playin’ dinner would be over.” Cynthia snipes at him.

She turns her attention back to Joseph.  “Well, you have to get something.   I don’t care if you shovel shit!  Take that dock job.  You got two weeks of unemployment left.”

“I’m trying but it all that easy out there.” Joseph lowers his head and makes his food much Bobby across from him.

“What about that minute thing, Joseph?  Wasn’t there something at the bar?”  Bobby speaks with the innocence of a little boy and it hits like a brick to the face.

“Bobby!”  His mom and Joseph lash out in unison.

“Where did that come from young man?” Cynthia chimes in.

“This is bull shit.  You spying on me you little shit!” Joseph blasts out.

“You was in that fucking bar!  We ain’t got money for bills and there you are.   That’s just prefect!” Cynthia gets up from the table.   Letting everyone else to escape as well.

Cynthia lead Joseph into the living room.   A collection of couch and chairs.   Old blankets covered them all.   Dark tables strategically place to keep trash off the floor.

The conversation fell into curt  sentences working as much as Joseph.  Bitter barbs about what a man should do and retorts of why he couldn’t.   The sand will be fight overand tomorrow’s tide will rearrange it shortly.   The dance never ends and the music of discord won’t stop to leave the dancers peace.

Upstairs, a little boy waits.   He knows Granny whispered something about Joseph’s day.   His little mind worrys, did he spill a secret. He is hoping for her return….He is scared of her coming back too.  He plays a video game to kill the night like every other.

Bobby’s eyes open.   The games over.   A repetitive screen shows his character dying over and over again.   His sleepy eyes look for the clock.   Granny is sitting behind him on the bed.

Her thin mouth parts, “Bobby, your neck ain’t gonna be good son. Get on over here boy. We gotta talk about somethings.”

He puts down the controller.   He walks had down, flopping foot following flopping foot.  He sits down next to the apparition that is Granny.  Her black gown hung on skeletal frame.   Warm green eyes glow calmly.  She extends left arm around his back.

Her right arm reaches outward.  A bony finger points to a green plastic dinosaur.  The toy well worn.   Scratches, and black marks color it’s skin.

“Boy, it’s yours….  If you can pick it up.”  Granny tells him.

Bobby leans forward.  Granny pulls him up right, hard enough to make a point.

“Not with your hands boy!   Pick it up like I told you to!”  Her tone gets a little stronger.

He looks at her blinking.   He has no clue what to do.  He stares at it.  He thinks about it moving to him.   The dinosaur shakes.   He stops thinking.   It’s not right.   He knows it. He starts again.   It moves an inch, than a couple more.

“That’s it Bobby.   You put it in your lap now.” She assures him as he goes.  “That’s Sinclair.  He will be here for you.  Sinclair is special.  He’s like you.”

Bobby lifts it to his lap.   Just like he’s told.   His prideful face glows.  He feels ten feet tall.  He feels Granny’s arm  show on his back.

“Granny, was I supposed to tell Joseph about him being in the bar.  I heard you tell me about it.  I thought it was OK.  Is it ok?!”  Bobby trys to met her eyes.  Her head is turned away.

“Bobby, he needed someone to say it to him.  Your getting big.  Momma needs you sometimes.”  She disappears into the room on way to the closet.

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 lay below.
https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/come-closer/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/granny-tells/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/bobby-wakes/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/cynthia-granny-series-part-4/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/joseph-granny-series/

Joseph – Granny Series

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The bar smells like fifty years of spilled beer. Joseph pulls the metal and glass door up and engulfs the smell.   His average 5 foot something build makes him almost indistinguishable from the rest.   His salt and pepper stubble hair makes a horseshoe open to the front. His narrow face seems to belong to a taller, thinner man. A ruddy complexion with stubble cheeks and a line for a mouth complete his look.

Dressed in an open flannel and torn jeans.   Jeans torn at bottom going up, not any style points.  His white tshirt, plain and blank just like him.

The ten feet from door to bar goes quick.   He grabs the first stool on left.   The bar stretches out some thirty feet.   There are about twenty stools.  The bowling alley shaped bar had a half dozen tables to the right.

“Jeri, any chance you’ll be serving at this end?”  Joseph leans on to the dark wood bar.

“Your lazy ass could have kept on walkin'” comes the reply.  Jeri is talking with three others at the far end.  her forty something belied by her figure.  She dressed in clothes made for a twenty something or a bar maid.  Daily comings and goings are more important than a cheap tipper.

Joseph plays with his zippo lighter.  Snapping it open and closed.   Like an annoying child, the noise carries far further than anyone wants. He stares down at the in group.   Even in the day time bar scene, success is elusive. 

He brings out his phone.   Jobfare.com didn’t offer much in his specialty.  Good money, just show up, no overtime needed. Job hunting is depressing.

“Hey, you drinking draft?!” Jeri’s voice brings him back to the bar. “People come here to drink..remember?”

“Yah, I thought I’d have to go get it myself! If it’s no trouble to like do your job….”he pauses to let the jab sink in.

“I can spit in it for no extra cost.” She responds with the universal number one salute..middle finger fully extended worth a smile on her face. 

Jeri walks it down to him.  The walk is an aged striper trying for the next dollar.  Her smile is luke warm.  The beer held off to the side as not to interfere with Joseph’s view.

“About that spit?   You never said yes or no…” Her face done well in war paint.   Years hidden beneath foundation.  Fake eye lashes pay homage to those long past.   She was enough of a looker once.   Now, it is used for tips.

“I can think of a better way to get that spit.  When ever you want to find a better place to get better acquainted, well I’m all for it.” Joseph speaks like he can pull it off.   They both know it’s never happening.

“Hmm…I can leave a job that pays me.   Or I can go to a roach motel  and spend the best 45 seconds of my life….Erik you please say ‘was it good for you, baby!’ It’ll lady a full minute that way.” Her dagger like eyes test into him.

“These losers can’t make you feel like I can.   You probably are to cold to get off anyway.   But I’d still be willing to try.   You know you like me.  It’s a short walk from there to…you know.” Joseph seems unaffected by her eyes.

“How’s the job hunting going?  You need something.   My God, you are the worst tipper here.   It would help us both.   I want to see if absence makes the heart grow fonder.” She smiles a crooked smile. “Look!  Dock worker.  $17 an hour, full time immediate openings.   You really should go.   We both need the money.  Seriously, why not?”

“I’m no good at those kind of jobs.   It’s hectic.   This much time, that much time.  Is the tow motor working? Always a boss with no experience!  Hate those jobs! I’m thinking sales.  I could sell shit.  People like me.   You like me don’t you?” Joseph goes through his speech, well rehearsed. 

The dead stare back is different.   Jeri really was trying with him. “OK, I’m going down there.   Wave if you need another.”

“Just like at home.   You all think it’s easy, just go to work at any job. I should like what I do.   It’s not much to ask….” his voice spoken to the universe.   None is within range to hear.

Joseph goes back to his beer. Burying his head in the sand is too much effort.

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 lay below.
https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/come-closer/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/granny-tells/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/bobby-wakes/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/cynthia-granny-series-part-4/

Cynthia- Granny Series Part 4

“She never stumbles.
She’s got no place to fall”

Cynthia dumps Bobby at school.  Her car pulled up to curb.   Across from here, other parents line up to the schools door to drop their darlings off.  She watches him crawl out.   His backpack stuffed like a boy scout headed for the woods. Her motherly instinct fails to do more for him.   She sighs as he moves away.

Her tired eyes blink at end of the sleeping pills.  The mood is stormy at best.   Her drive to work already behind.   Nothing but misery awaits her.

Medical Claims. The letters, cold blue hang over the door to her personal hell.  Her fingers flip ash from a half smoked cigarette.   She draws a deep breath tainted with nicotine.  The feelings exhale with the smoke.   An automated human figure.   Empty shell delaying is entrance as long as can be.  Her shadow finds the door first.

“Well, how nice it is you showed up today, Cynthia! Only twenty minutes late, nice job honey. ”  Dale looks her over.  His eyes wrap around her.   His smiling face acknowledges her thin figure, belied with small curves.   The long since dyed brown ponytail shows her round face clearly.  Porcelain complexion offset by dark brown eyes.   The lack of expression doesn’t take away from her appearance.

“I’m here asshole. That kid had to go to school, you know.   Bunch of assholes like you in front of me coming here…..you don’t have to stare at my tits!  God your pathetic!”  Her response comes as she walks by him.   Her eyes glare briefly.

She moves past a couple desks to the back.  Her little hole of darkness.  An old computer screen and phone sits among the trash of her professional life.

Dale follows her with his eyes the whole way.   She’s the worst employee he has ever seen.   He knows she needs the job.   He really knows some day, there will be no chance of keeping her.  Well, there will have to be a better reason to keep her around.

The mindless calls start.   “Hello.  This is Cynthia from MCA.  May I speak with some dumb ass deadbeat who didn’t pay for their doctor/ hospital/ medical test? Oh your cheap ass insurance was supposed to pay for all of it.   Oh I guess either your an asshole with bad insurance or are you a messed up, broke down human that we wasted medical treatment on.”  Every couple of minutes it starts all over.   Answering machines, voice mail, busy signals are all welcome things.  The pace of the day is slow.

Cynthia keeps a keen eye on the clock.  Her nicotine runs low every two hours.   Her body aches from the dead weight she carries inside.   The excuses she hears. The bills they owe.   It all helps her feel better about her self.  There might be people worse off. But most days there ain’t far she can fall.

Parts 1, 2, 3 lay below.
https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/come-closer/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/granny-tells/

https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/bobby-wakes/

Quote from “She Belongs to Me” by Bob Dylan

Bobby wakes – Granny Series

Third installment of Granny series
Part one https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/come-closer/
Part two https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/granny-tells/

“Bobby get you ass out of bed!  You goin’ to school!  I ain’t got the time for this young man!” Momma’s voice winds up the stairs.  She has no eyes for what is happening in the boy’s room.  Her morning capsulated in pieces of time for certain things.  Two extra minutes blows the whole thing apart.

Bobby stretches out.  His bed a bump of blankets wadded up in the middle.  His eyes open to the closet.  It’s still cracked open enough to grab a shirt.  There is no movement in the room.  Red glowing numbers confirm he’s late.  A small body swings sideways.  Legs reach for the floor.  Mom is still yelling but it’s muffled.  He grabs clothes for the day.

He has had little sleep.  Finding the door and stairs are drawn out processes. One by one a thud announces his progress toward the kitchen.

“Young man.  You’re killing me today!  I got to go.  You should be brushing those green teeth already.  It’s a Danish for you, and grab yourself some milk!  Move it boy.”  Momma keeps the pace up.

Her wardrobe is hooded sweatshirt, long sleeve t-shirt, jeans faded like hopes.  Her thirty six years aged more like forty.  Wrinkles have set in.  Eyes, brows and mouth pulled down by ravages of life.  Trees have rings to show age.  Her rings are baggage.  Every failure could be left behind.  Every loss could have washed away by time.  Everything is a monument to what has gone wrong.  The fight to overcome the past is lead by General Pride.  Retreating is forbidden.  

“Who is my Granny?” Bobby fumbles the words.

“You don’t have no Granny! Grandma Ruth, she’d blow a gasket if you called her that. Grandma Jackie…I don’t think you outta go there either. Why? You got to get ready! I got no time for this now. I’ll be late. Too many of those this month already. Come on Bobby. We gotta go.” Momma grabs coffee and a purse. She turns for the door.

A solitary figure sits at the table. Middle aged, salt and pepper hair, some of it still in place. His stubble makes him look as successful as he is. Joseph watches the two from the sidelines. His gaze the only effort he’ll invest in the kid.

Granny tells

Bobby shivers.  A little boy looks but doesn’t look.  The figure gets closer.  Her green glowing eyes, long torso, long arms seem to stretch out the mind.  He wishes she disappears.  She doesn’t.

Granny sits on the beds edge.  Her bony elongated arm reaches around him.  Her cool touch follows by a warmed feel.  The terror of night gives way to comfort of human contact.  The contact seems human to a little boy.  He still can’t look at her.

“My little Bobby.  My babies were just like you.  Your momma cares.  She’s just overwhelmed.  She spreads herself thin.  A man, a boy, a job, ex-husband, and her family don’t like it either.  I’m here for you.  He will never touch you again.  I’ll help you, Bobby.  You’ll always have me here.”  Granny speaks softly.  Her arms bony rub against back.  It’s a little uncomfortable, but the closeness is too much to ignore.

“You know him. I mean Joseph.  Momma says he will never be between us.  I don’t know.”  Bobby looks at her.  His eyes sees the sack of bones.  The eyes deep set.  Face is hollowed.  He should be scared.  He wants to believe.  The wanting to fit in is a dangerous thing..

Granny smiles.  Broken teeth.  Line thin lips.  A nose broke but strong.  Eyes black as coal under the green glow.  Hollow spirit radiates out.  But there’s a sense of calm.  Dead calm.

“You, you are…. You are like dead. I mean, a ggghhooost?  Aren’t you?”  Bobby has a scream waiting for the answer.  Fear has made a come back.  The smell of earthworms and dirt quickly set in.  His nerves and heart jump with the taste of the air.

Granny tries to catch those eyes. She knows what’s inside him.  She can wait.  A simple smile and a strong hug.  Then nothing.  Granny has left

  

Part 1 if it helps…
https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/come-closer/