Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.43

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 43.

This is a flash fiction challenge. The prompt is a song. You are not required to write about or even mention the song. It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan. If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.

The rules;
500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.
Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.

MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST. IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!

The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday. You read that right. Pacific Time.

This week the MWBB takes a turn for the creepy… which is a perfect for for our Judge– the proprietor of Office Mango, the master of the Horror Bites flash fiction challenge… author Laura James!

The tune is… “Dance the Hanged Man’s Jig”, by Aghast Manor.

Here’s the link; https://youtu.be/glmz_nnyNRo

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday March 27th.

Now… Go write!!!!

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Posted on March 24, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. no lyrics for this song

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  2. The Hanging Tree
    635 words
    @laurenegreene

    The last few times they’d visited the tree a rope had been hanging from one of the branches, a perfect circle, a hangman’s rope, Pamela knew. They’d put it there as a warning, the men with the tall white hats who ran around haunting the town.

    Pamela and Nathan had ridden their bikes down to the five and dime to get a peppermint stick that day. They liked to sit under the shade of the old oak tree on the edge of town and talk.

    Danny Risen nodded at them as they left the store, the jingle of the bell following them as they secured their feet on the pedals of their bikes and rode through the town of Selma. Old plantation houses loomed. A town, rich on textiles, and the center of what Pamela’s mother said was the Voting Rights movement. Just a few days before, the march had taken place. Pamela’s mother and father said it was about time. But Pamela knew they were in the minority. The kids at school had nothing good to say about it.

    They pedaled, the wind rippling through their hair, out to the edge of town and turned the corner on the dirt road toward the tree.

    “Danny Risen is one of them.”

    “How do you know?” Pamela asked.

    The Ku Klux Klan members in Selma kept their identity a secret, but Nathan always claimed to know who was who.

    “They set fire to a cross in front of one of their black preacher’s houses the other day. I heard Bucky talking about it at school. Said his Pa did it. Seemed right proud too.”

    They pedaled down the dirt road, but even from this distance Pamela could see the shadow of the man hanging. Her heart sped up as her feet moved faster on the pedals.. She thought maybe if she could get there she could save him. Nathan always chastised her for wanting to save the world. “It’s too big of a task for a girl to take on,” he said.

    Nathan had fallen behind, even as Pamela pedaled faster. When they reached the tree, they saw the limp legs, hanging. The shoes untied and the feet at an awkward angle. Pamela slowly moved her eyes up his body, taking in every detail, until she saw his face. Ghostly white and young, his eyes were open, staring into the unknown face of death. There were scratches on his face and neck, where he’d tried to get the rope off his neck as he slowly suffocated to death. Pamela had overheard her father say that when men were hung they danced a jig, their body jerking strangely, as they were slowly deprived of oxygen.

    “I thought they put bags on their heads,” Nathan said.

    Pamela shook her head, looking down at his feet again, his shoes seemed polish to a tee. This was a proud man, and he’d been pulled from Lord knows where and murdered for no reason. Pamela’s tears fell into the dirt, and Nathan placed a hand on her shoulder.

    “There ain’t nothing we can do for him now, Pam. Come on. Let’s go home and tell someone. The least we can do is that, and maybe he can get a proper burial.”

    Pamela shook Nathan’s hand off her shoulder.

    “We need to get him down.”

    “He’s deader than a doornail. A big ‘ole man like that. How do you think we can do that?”

    She didn’t answer, and they turned to leave. From then on, her memories of the oak tree weren’t of spring and summer days with Nathan, unwinding and laughing in the shade. Whenever she thought of the oak tree, she’d see the man’s face, bloated with eyes wide open and lips slightly parted as if was questioning, “Why me?”

    Like

  3. Word Count 645
    @susanOReilly3
    #mwbb

    Possessed

    They never asked why I set the tree on fire just dragged me kicking and screaming away from it blood streaming from my nose. They didn’t let me stay to watch if it burnt to the ground.

    It’s been my nightmare for years but lately it’s haunted my days as well. Its bite way worse than its bark sharp tendrils pinching me, tearing my skin.

    I once loved it as the fairies used to use it as a meeting place having their tea parties and other celebrations. I adored watching them but always too respectful to intrude. The witch had no such respect she stepped from the tree and swallowed their cuteness one by one. I could only stand mouth agape too scared and devastated to move as urine stained my socks.

    I barricaded the tree from my view and put it down to a bad dream until the night when there was a tip-tapping at my window and I removed the pillows to find the tree and her manically grinning at me. My parents hushed me to sleep told me it was just my imagination but I knew better. I removed the barricades completely I needed to keep a close eye on my enemy.

    I begged my parents to chop her down but they said no because she had blossomed so prettily with her purple flowers, purple used to be my favourite colour. I gawped at them my fear was no substitute for her beauty apparently. I think she’s bewitched them. I later heard them whispering that they couldn’t give in to me it was something I would grow out of.

    She whistled at me whenever it was windy and tried to lull me into a false sense of security on beautiful sunny days but I would not be fooled, she was a bitch evil from her flowers to her roots bet her berries were poisonous.

    My parents bought me a kitten to take my mind off it and it worked for a while but I never let him near the back to that tree so they had to get him a lead so I could walk him. Oh we had such fun.

    One night poor Toby escaped as my mum had opened the back door late because she thought she had heard a scream and thought she seen someone out pulling at the roots of the tree. She tearfully told me and an ominous feeling of dread entered my soul I ran out to the hateful tree and there was poor Toby hanging by the neck. I think a form of madness took hold of me there and then.

    I never spoke to my mum after that but secreted matches and firewood for months I had to have enough to do the job and waited for a time that my parents would leave me alone. That time was now I ran at the tree full force and pulled at her roots, my ears were totally ensconced in bandages and cotton wool I had no need to hear her scream again. Slobbering and sniffing blood where I had banged my nose of her trunk I lit the sticks and placed them at her base. I finally got a flamed and watched with glee.

    My mother came out and reefed me I saw her and the witch scream in unison. They sent me here to the clinic for disturbed teenagers, I’m too young but there was nowhere else. I sit and watch Dr. Kavanagh as she keeps trying to cajole information out of me, she never gets anywhere and neither do I as she never answers my question either. “Did I burn it to the ground? “ My parents don’t answer it either but I can sit in this hellhole until they let me go home and see for myself. I worry about them.

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  4. “Why a tree?”
    It was not until I reached the oak, and rested my hand on the rough bark, the site turned towards the curious face of the judge. “I find that the modern method involving the platform can be very impersonal.”
    “Impersonal?”
    “Very.” I did not elaborate, but the look of disappointment that I received from the judge informed me that I was expected to do so. Unfortunately, I liked my job too much to put it into jeopardy by voicing my actual opinion. You see, I like the idea of watching as somebody died and they started to spin in some unearthly dance. As far as I was concerned, this was my final act in their life, and I was making them dance to my jig. I know that I am macabre in my own little way, but, I can actually hear music playing when somebody dies. I like to be the person pulling on the rope and making them dance like puppets to my tune.
    This was another reason why I had chosen to use a tree rather than the platform. As I said, I wanted to be the person on the end of the rope that could pull them like a puppeteer. This is absolutely impossible if they drop through the floor with nobody holding that rope. I really do not like pulling the button that releases that trapdoor. I prefer to be the person that is delivering death, using rope as my method. I do not want to be a simple button pusher.
    I threw my rope over the branch of the tree, and began tying the noose. “So, what do we have today? Murderer? Robber? Scoundrel?”
    “None of these. Today we have a witch.”
    “Witch, you say?” Well, that was certainly different because the witches were usually burnt at the stake, and not hung. Not that it actually bothered me who I was going to be making dance under that tree, of course, and then some strange way the idea that it was going to be a woman made it even more sensual.
    “This one is quite vocal, and burning them at the stake can take quite a while. Hanging is a lot quicker, and will certainly be quieter for us.”
    The mob came approaching up the hill, pushing a young woman in front of them. I finished my preparation, and turned to greet them. The woman got propelled into my waiting hands, and I slid the noose about her slender neck. “Are you ready to dance for me?”
    Her eyes, which were filled with fire, met mine. “The town is not ready for what is about to occur.”
    “Silence. We have had enough of you cursing us, so now it is our turn to curse you. It is time to you to meet your maker, and may you, and all of your kind, exist only in hell.”
    The judge nodded to me and I pulled on the rope. The music began playing, but the woman remained still as the rest of us began dancing around her. It seems that the only people dancing the hangman’s jig, where the people who had decided that she would die.

    Word count: 533
    @Harmony77uk

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  5. [MANDATORY CONTENT WARNING – A story about suicide. Read at your own risk.]

    “Another soul no longer part of this world. Another ray of light, gone. One less spark of hope.” Zain read the headline on the paper again. Another music star found dead. He’d shot himself in the head. Left bits of his brains scattered around his hotel room.

    “And no one knows why, as always.” Zain shook his head. He didn’t want to go to work anymore. Not that day. He knew what would happen, how everyone would talk about the suicide. “He shot himself. Why? Why didn’t he get help? Such a tragedy.” It would be the topic of the day, perhaps for days. He didn’t want to look at his social network feeds, they’d be the same. An endless string of people saying, “What is wrong with this country? Why can’t we take care of those who need it?” And countless pleas from millions upon millions, “If you’re thinking about it, get help! Please!”

    Zain didn’t want to have it shoved in his face endlessly. It was mindless, always so mindless. “Get help? The man had help!” He wanted to scream. He knew the stories, the years of psychotherapy the singer spoke of on talk shows. The book he’d written about his journey, his walk through depression, the way people treated him.

    “Idiots.”

    Zain closed his eyes, the words of his therapist echoed in his head, words he’d heard a million times, in a million sessions, “Breathe. Just breathe.” He’d learned well. He opened his mouth, and took a deep breath. As deep as he could, while he thought the first half of his mantra, “Breathing in, I’m breathing in.” Then, he breathed out, “Breathing out, I’m breathing out.”

    He felt the tremble of rage in his left wrist, that old familiar vibration in his fingers. “Is it rage? Or is it panic?” He never knew. Perhaps it was both. Perhaps it was only memories.

    Normally, he’d run the shutdown script to safely power down his computer. He didn’t feel like waiting for it that morning, so he pulled the plug from the wall, and watched the screen go blank as the cooling fans fell silent. “No. Not going there today.”

    One quick dial button on his phone, and he’d called the office, “Not gonna make it in today. Not well.”

    And the boss always said the same thing, “Feel better.”

    No breakfast. No food. Zain couldn’t eat. “I need a walk. I need a walk. I need a walk.” He grabbed a soda, popped it open, drained half of it. Then, grabbed his daily doses of fluoxetine and Vitamin D. He washed them down with the other half the soda.

    “I need a walk.” Zain walked for miles. He watched everyone driving to work, and endless stream of cars. As he walked, he smiled. “He’s free, you know. He is.” Zain glanced at the clouds, “Take good care of him. Heal the wounds this world put into him. The scars. And take away his pain.”

    Zain walked, knowing why another soul was gone. Knowing the scars within him, in his heart and soul, the missing pieces of himself, would only grow in number. Knowing he’d never find escape. Never find peace.

    “You’re free at last.”

    Zain liked the color of the sky, it’s pale blue, with high, wispy clouds scattered on the roof of the world.

    “You’re free at last.”

    Then, he waited for the next soul to fall. Wishing to his God above more people understood why some people sought escape, asking for world would change, to stop wounding those who dream, who create, who dare be unique, different, alive. Knowing nothing would ever change.

    “You’re free at last.”

    623 Words
    @LurchMunster

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  6. Crime of Passion

    When we met, I was young and beautiful and he was in the prime of his youth. He first saw me when I was digging mandrakes from the earth beneath the old tree, whose branches spread wide above me, ready to embrace the sky. My dark hair loose over my shoulders, mud on my hands and a streak on my right cheek, he said later. His eyes were clear; the blue of the sky sat in them. He smiled and I returned it, waiting until he passed by to continue with my chore.

    He passed many other times, before he actually stopped to talk. He made conversation about the weather, and asked my name, then gave me his. He was mine after that, but I’d already been his. We met every daily from then on, eventually going to dances and social things together. He called on me and I gave him the special wine that my Grandma prepared and we loved one another deeply.

    The day came when James came by the tree where I worked, and made remarks to me that no decent man should ever make. I tried to ignore him, but he persisted in his pursuit of me, eventually becoming physical. I pushed him away and warned him that dire things would occur if he laid hands on me again, but James laughed at me and continued in his way. Afterwards, he left me under the tree, in the mud and in tears, but then my love came along. His blue eyes grew stormy at the tale and his face became still as stone.

    That night, the thunder growled and lightening flashed as hot as my love’s anger. He came to me late in the night, soaked to the skin and shaking, but made no sound. I held him into the wee hours of the morning, and he slipped out before dawn to the sound of the hounds. They came looking for James, for he had gone missing, but there was no sign. I knew nothing to tell them, so they passed by, but returned, accusing me as a witch; they had found his body in the woods. His neck was broken, but there was not a scratch on him and his face was frozen in terror.

    They took me away and locked me in a cell, refusing to listen to my cries of innocence. They knew he had accosted me, so it must be my fault! My love came to the trial and stood up, professing to murdering James for my sake. Shock swirled through the faces and then James’ family called for his blood instead. He was taken to the tree where I dig my mandrakes and hanged immediately, his eyes locked on my mine as his soul departed.

    Tonight I sit beneath his feet, waiting for the witching hour, holding a mandrake and chanting softly, waiting for the time to give him my blood and bring him back to life so that I may thank him for confessing to my crime. Then he and I shall go away from here into the woods to live out our immortality together.

    528 words including title
    @Angelique_Rider

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  7. sigh….supposed to be ‘We met daily’…

    Like

  8. “Jolly Rancher Dreams: A Beginning”
    @blurosemd
    Word Count: 701

    By the time she was fourteen, Anne had covered all the walls of her room with candy wrappers.

    “I am living a lie. I know, dramatic right? I can just hear my mother say in her irritatingly flat voice reserved just for such an occasion: “She’ll get over it. Just looking for attention is all.” As if it were a bug that I caught sometime in my sixth grade year and I’m still recuperating.

    I must say that I hide it pretty damn well. My forehead is just the right shade of tan without looking like shoe leather. I absolutely hate my squat nose but I’ve got a weapon to counteract any flaws I may have.

    My eyes change color. They do! I’ve stolen glances of myself in the mirror when I’m white hot angry and also when I hear my little pets whisper to me. Most of the time eye color can be described as “blue green with just a dash of amber” but when my lovelies beckon me they turn a bottomless azure.”

    Anne’s fingers, which reminded her of feathers or wings and not human flesh, stroked her pencil along one of the five ridges on its surface. Her two front teeth (”buck” to her classmates) advanced to a waiting bottom lip laden with flaking dead skin. How would she explain to her future children how their mother came into the black market candy business? No one seemed to believe her no matter how she worded it.

    Her teeth shrunk back to rest just inside a pink candy ribbon mouth.

    Readjusting the fluorescent pencil she paused for a moment and then continued:

    “I’ve always found something almost more than pleasure in eating candy of any kind. My favorite has always been the grape Jolly Ranchers—you know, the ones no body else will eat.

    I could never find enough of them. In fact, when I was about six years old they could be bought a penny a piece. My dad would pay me for odd jobs done around the house so I would save up all the pennies that I could and stuff them all in my cords before making the two block journey to the drugstore. I would buy the place out with just a few dollars! The clerk would put them in a couple brown paper bags and off I would run. Not home right away, these were to be shared by no one.

    Holding the hard cube in one of my feathers, I would listen for the crisp wrinkle that would sing from the candy. That’s how I knew it was safe for me to eat. Next, I would rub my fingers together like cricket wings to free the purple stickiness and lean so close my nose often touched the surface of purple.

    My tongue tip would follow and pass from one edge to the other while I took air—life—from the Jolly Rancher. It was only fair to honor it before it died. After I performed all the steps in proper order, I would place the wrapper color side down along its ancestors. I would not dishonor them like others and throw them away. “

    “That was so long ago,” Mr. Blue whispered one night when the alabaster moon had been eaten down to a thin sliver, “you were such an innocent child. That was before we showed you the magic and lucrative powers stored within a morsel of sugar.”

    Anne couldn’t sleep when the moon was so thin—karma didn’t work as well without its light. Her letter was off to a great start, but Mr. Blue disagreed like usual. Tonight he was an amorphous blob that resembled the Play-Doh she used to roll in her fingers when nervous or angry. He never actually said any words, his voice always felt like a tiny dagger a small part of her brain right above her left eye.

    “Just like my parents. I don’t see how any of this will work especially if you don’t tell me your ideas!” Anne whispered back, clutching five of her grape wrappers. Her fingers swirled and made candy music until tiny plastic balls remained.

    Anne’s head throbbed and screamed.

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  9. Friends Inside

    Five years she’d been in the institution.

    ***

    Daisy tried to forget the hurt and anger of those lost 1,825 days as she unpacked the moving boxes. Finding this house had been a miracle. On a beautiful street, not many neighbors, and priced to sell. Her life was finally getting back on track.

    That first night, her little case of pills went missing. Must have gotten put in one of the empty boxes or accidently tossed in the garbage can. It was too late and dark to go poking around. Besides, one night without them wasn’t going to be the end of the world.

    In the morning though, when the pills remained missing despite frantic searching and the second cup of coffee hadn’t taken the edge off her nerves, panic set in. She couldn’t get a refill without the pharmacy getting the ‘okay’ from the doctor’s office.

    And if Dr. Philistine found out she’d been so irresponsible as to lose her medications the first day out in the world, she’d never hear the end of it. That know-it-all witch would like nothing more than to see Daisy fail, utterly, completely, and miserably.

    If she just looked harder, she’d find them. And then she could avoid the pharmacy, the doctor, and the harassment. She’d prove to them all that she could make it on her own. In spite of their whispers and interferences.

    [“Maybe you put them in the garage.”]

    “Yes,” she said. “I’ve looked everywhere else. They have to be in the -”

    [“The garage.”]

    She closed her eyes. That voice. It wasn’t hers. Was she imagining it? Someone must be in the house. The guy from the cable company was scheduled for ten. But it wasn’t even nine yet. And she hadn’t let anyone into the house. Had she? Why couldn’t she remember? “Hello?”

    [“Oh good. You’re not shutting me out. I should have introduced myself before starting a conversation. It’s just that I’ve been waiting for you so long that … Sherman. That’s my name. Alexander Sherman.”]

    She sat on the first step of the staircase and peered cautiously throughout the downstairs, as far as she could see.

    [“You could use those 3-d glasses they give you at the movies and you still wouldn’t see me. Doesn’t work like that. You can only hear me. And you are the only one who has ever heard me. That’s why I made sure you got the house. Drove off every other prospect.”]

    Her hands began to tremble. She really needed those pills. More than she’d guessed. Maybe even as much as Dr. Philistine said she did. And right now, she didn’t care what the
    good old doctor thought of her so long as she got more pills.

    She got off the staircase, grabbed her purse off the kitchen counter, and headed for the front door. But the knob was jammed or something and she couldn’t get it open.

    [“Now see, I’ve got everything arranged. The kid from the grocery store will make a delivery once a week. You won’t ever have to leave the house. We can spend all our time together.”]

    She started clawing at the door, clawed until her fingers were raw and blood red.

    ***

    Twenty-one hours she lasted on her own, outside the institution.

    They say she never tried to leave again.

    They also say that after her return, there were reports of long arduous rambling conversations in her room every night after lights out. Thing is, she didn’t have a roommate.

    = = = = =
    583 words / @bullishink

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  10. Vanessa moved methodically round the cellar, making sure she had all she needed. Images of surgeons collecting their tools ready for surgery and laying them out on the tray flicked through her mind. They helped block out the sound. It was like a whining, buzzing in her ears. She no longer heard the words, just the noise they made. It would be over soon though.

    She turned to face him, a face she knew well. She had caressed the lines on it, run her fingers through the hair that framed it, and probably touched every inch of it with her lips at some point in the past twelve years. Although not in the past year, not since it had found someone else to kiss it, to caress it, to do all the things that she used to do.

    She pulled on one of the ropes of the system she had built, checked its tautness. It was still good. She had sourced the right type of rope to carry the weight. It was thick, but flexible enough to manipulate into the pulley system she wanted. And now in practice she could see what the salesman had meant by it working with you.

    Touching them had caused the sound to rise again, and this time she listened. There was no emotion in response to what she heard. She felt literally nothing. She had even nicked herself with the scalpel she had used earlier, and even though it was a deep cut, she felt no sensation round the wound.

    But then she had felt everything for too long, hadn’t she? All the rage, the sadness, the grief, the hurt, like it was a physical pain. And not at any time during that period had an emotion been reciprocated, whether of shame, guilt, regret, sadness, or care. Once that realisation had dawned all her feelings ceased. Some would say she shut down, but she would say she had done the opposite. She had understood. She had realised that words were not enough. She had seen what action was needed, to bring the point home.

    The noose she’d weaved had fit well, the use of it bringing about the unconscious state she’d desired to be able to tie the rest of his body into place without resistance. When he’d come round she had winched the pulley system tight, splaying him out just enough to make it uncomfortable. Now it was time for the next stage. To be fully redeemed he needed to be emasculated. He needed to purged of what had caused his infidelity.

    Vanessa let him finish his sentence, full of desires to ‘put things right’ and ‘give her the love she deserved’, but she wasn’t stupid, she knew he was only saying those things to try and placate her so she would set him free. And the moment she did he would run, probably to the police.

    She didn’t want that, it would ruin the plans she had meticulously worked on; plans that wouldn’t start them looking for him for more than a month; plans that wouldn’t put her in the picture once they did, but might suggest his lover; and plans that gave her an alibi should anything on his body be linked to her, but the chances of that were slim if she followed these next steps carefully.

    She pulled on the latex gloves, snapping them for effect. It worked – he quieted. Then she picked up a pair of industrial ear muffs and put them on. She picked up a deep incision scalpel, and moved towards him. She could see his lips moving fervently, but there was no sound. She smiled, and made her first cut.

    Words 616
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  11. JENNY

    594 words
    by Alicia VanNoy Call
    @callthewriter

    One day a boy fell into a river. A girl named Jenny who lived in the river *might* have had something to do with it.

    It happened like this

    The boy had been poking among the rocks with a stick, searching for pollywogs under the weeping willow. The day was warm. Warm enough that the boy had taken off his socks and shoes.

    Jenny watched from the watery shadows, minnows darting through her hair. She watched the boy wiggle his toes in the mud.

    A few butterflies dashed about the bank and a nesting robin trilled in the branches overhead and the air smelled of blooming summer. The boy’s dog napped in the shade.

    The boy thought it the finest day he’d ever known, and resolved never to go inside again. He picked up a few pebbles and tossed them into the river. They made perfect little splashes.

    The pebbles fell through the water, past Jenny’s shoulder, glittering until they were lost in the silt below.

    The boy’s mother called him in for supper. She stood on the porch with her hands in her apron and called and called and since he wasn’t hungry enough for supper, and he had resolved to never go inside again, the boy waded into the water.

    Jenny almost clapped her hands, but she didn’t want to scare him.

    He went in, stepping on rocks slippery with algae. Water curled over his ankles. Then deeper, so the river reached to his knees. It was deliciously cold. He waded further. The boy wobbled on on a large, unbalanced stone. He looked back to see if his dog was watching, the sun hot on the back of his neck.

    It was at that moment that the stone tipped the boy into the water. He fell, just so, with a perfect little splash.

    The current swept the boy quickly downstream. Jenny followed, watching the way he thrashed in the water, his fingers crooked and grasping. His hair fanned, golden in the wavering sunlight, eyes starting from his face. The boy had blue eyes, and pink lips that opened and closed like a fish’s.

    Jenny swam close. She reached out one hand and grasped him lightly by the wrist. He fought harder, as if afraid of her. But she knew it was only because they had never met, and children are taught to distrust strangers.

    “Shh. Shh,” she told the boy.

    There they went, slipping through the cool water until they were quite far from his home. Sometimes he would jounce through rapids, striking rocks. But she turned him along the swiftest path. Once he became entangled in the roots of a great tree, where the bank had given way and the tree was partly in the water. But she pulled him free.

    The river divided and divided again, until it was nearly only a stream. Finally it emptied into a still, green pond, bordered on all sides by fat cattails and yellow irises with leaves like swords. Jenny cradled the boy, soft, soft, down to black depths tangled with weeds. She set him among the coiled eels – among the pieces of her collection, bone white and mossed.

    His eyes were wide and he was quiet. They looked up together through the twining water lilies and fingers of murky light and Jenny was happy.

    Back at the boy’s home, his mother stood on the river bank. She hushed the barking dog and patted its head. It whined, staring downstream, as she noticed the boy’s socks and shoes, scattered in the mud.

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  1. Pingback: #MWBB Week 2.43 – Dance The Hanged Man’s Jig | My Soul's Tears

  2. Pingback: Hangman’s jig | harmony77uk

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