Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.47

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 47.

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.

For this week’s song prompt I’m happy to invite the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, back to the MWBB.

The name of the tune is… “Ain’t No Grave”. Here’s the link; https://youtu.be/o0MIFHLIzZY

This week’s Judge is also a returning friend. Say hello to the creator of the Daily Picspiration blog and fellow writer… Miranda Gammella.

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday April 24th.

Now… Go write!!!!!

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Posted on April 21, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Word Count 412
    @susanOReilly3
    #mwbb

    Resurrection

    She carried the plastic bag like it was precious treasure but the goldfish had been dead for a while, and we both knew it. My little Sophie through sobs of pure devastation had decided that if we bought Blackie, named because the tip of his tail was black, to the crib, he like the baby Jesus would come back to the crib every year for a visit. I tried to dissuade her but she was resolute.

    After a couple of eggnog’s to get over the embarrassment factor, I rang the parish priest with an extra special request. He thought it was the sweetest thing he’d ever heard and had no problem letting little Sophie bring Blackie to the crib. He would do a blessing, his only proviso is that he could use our story in his sermon he thought it would melt the coolness from the hardest heart. I agreed and here I am trying not to cry or laugh at the earnest sincerity of my little Sophie as she placed Blackie in the crib. Father O’Connor relished his role, but I thought the incense was a step too far.

    Afterwards he brought us into the vestry for tea and scones laid out beautifully I’m sure by Mrs. Doyle, who was probably secreted somewhere in the background having a right aul giggle. He asked Sophie would she like to take part in the nativity play, I tried to interrupt as at three, in my opinion Sophie was too young for such a big responsibility. He reassured me that she would not have a speaking part but be part of a crowd section with other cherubic looking toddlers.

    On Christmas Eve we all gathered in the church to watch our little darlings’ big moment. To my surprise the sermon was all about Sophie and Blackie, and the innocent belief of a young child. There was not a dry eye in the house when an older angel escorted Sophie to the crib and presented her with a resurrected Blackie in a bowl that Baby Jesus had left. Sophie’s face was a picture that is cemented in my heart forever.

    Needless to say Sophie and Blackie had a very Merry Christmas and thankfully I had a peaceful one. Father O’Connor has requested that the cake I made in thanks come with a good dousing of Irish Whisky, who am I to argue, miracles can and do happen, reflected in the eyes of a child.

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  2. Served Cold
    Word Count 357
    @susanOReilly3

    When we hit the publication line we cheered. Another edition exactly on time no quibbles over my reaching deadlines this month. Yet in he storms and it’s not the time or the place for his antics. Verbal emotional acrobatics ensue as he ducks and dives in full histrionic drama queen mode. He did not, she did, and wait till I tell you jumping through hoops like no-ones business. It would be comical if it didn’t happen on a week in week out basis.

    I don’t know how he manages working on such a high level of stress constantly. As Fashion Adviser to the stars I suppose his column requires a certain amount of urgency to get in before everyone else with the latest style. He has often told me as a humble typist of his much admired work and lacking in all sense of personal style I would not have an understanding of such matters. I didn’t remind him that in a poll of people who’s fashion advice you should and must follow he has come last three years in a row, I’m not stooping to his sniveling diatribe.

    I bow and pander to his ever growing needs smugly content in the knowledge that when I find my much coveted job as a serious journalist which is in the pipeline, I have photographs of the most unforgiving outfits of his that he thinks have been destroyed. He is a total apple shape all round and minuscule legs but insists on dressing like a pear. They somehow will accidentally find a way into my last column a printing error or such like. This time he will find it harder to rise again like the proverbial phoenix.

    Ah my naughtiness and happiness gauge will reach a new high that day. My angel on my good side is sighing and despairing but as per usual the little devil wins. I feel no shame I am after all part of the fashion industry which is a notoriously bitchy arena. I can hear him now asking to speak to the organ grinder not the monkey, his comeuppance is nigh. I can’t wait.

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  3. word count: 446
    @harmony77uk

    Ain’t no grave

    I sat down on the grass, and watched in silence as a couple walked up the river road. If I closed my eyes then I could almost imagine that they were the figures of my long dead parents. They did not turn towards me, but continued to walk with great confidence on that uneven path. The once busy road had not been used in a very long time, and had fallen into disrepair as a result. It was unusual to see anybody out there anymore, and that fact only helped my imagination grow when it came to the couple walking along that path.

    The grass underneath my fingers ended up bunched into my hands as I unconsciously closed my fist. There was a certain amount of willpower, as I wished for those strangers to actually be my parents. Could it be that my brother’s wish had actually come true? Well, not wish, as it was certainly a lot more of a demand. He had told them, repeatedly, that when he died he was going to meet them on that river road.

    The sudden burst of birdsong from the overhanging tree startled me to the point that I very nearly knocked over the urn that had been sharing the ground. I reached out with trembling fingers to steady it. “Not yet.”

    I turned my attention back to the couple, and realised that they had stopped and were looking towards me. I blinked slowly, and turned to look around the small clearing that I was in. From the position that I was in it seemed to be impossible for the couple to actually see me, but I could almost feel the gaze penetrating me. It did not feel unwelcome in any way, and it seemed somehow to be inviting.

    Out of nowhere tears began to fall from my eyes, and I nodded my head. It was time to let everything go, and that included my brother.

    I stood up while I had the courage, snatched up the urn, and took off the lid. The light grey contents spread around in the sudden breeze and almost seemed to fly towards the river road. “Go home,” I called out into the swirl of ashes. “You always told me that no grave would hold you down, and so I gave you none. Go home down that river road.”

    Despite my tears, I knew that I had done the right thing, and I felt a peace settle around me. The couple had disappeared, but that really did not surprise me. I hope that somebody would do the same for me when I died. Not yet though, because my time was not done.

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  4. Salvation
    @laurenegreene
    618 words

    The worms of cancer had spread through Dad’s body, wriggling their way through his intestines and then up to his brain before he even knew they existed. Simon said Mom fainted when the doctor gave him three weeks.

    “Hell, three weeks and I’ll be up dancing a jig,” Dad said.

    But, of course, he wasn’t. Hospice came with a hospital bed, and they set it up in the guest room. And a week later I took leave from work, and traveled the five hours to the town that held remnants of my childhood. I fell into my twin bed at midnight and turned out the lamp still adorned with a pink shade. I dreamt about the bullies who used to live next door. I woke up with tears in my eyes, after dreaming about how Dad used to take Simon and me to get ice cream every Sunday after church.

    As the colors of dawn were spreading through the sky, I tiptoed to my father’s room like a child just woken from a nightmare. Simon was sitting on the edge of Dad’s bed, and he turned and looked at me with a grimace on his face.

    “The nurse had to go to the bathroom.”

    “What’s the song?”

    “Ain’t No Grave by Johnny Cash. Dad’s playing it on repeat. I guess he wants to be a zombie or something.”

    I laughed at my little brother, and came up to sit next to him on my Dad’s bed. I glanced over at Dad’s sallow cheeks, and listened to his raspy breathing, noticing how his chest was still rising and falling like the waves of the ocean just outside our front door. He was asleep and soon he’d be asleep forever.

    “The song’s about salvation. Dad wants Jesus to meet him in heaven.”

    “The song’s about someone wanting to live forever. Big headed and all that,” Simon said.

    Tears sprang to his eyes, and I wrapped my arms around him. We sat huddled together on the side of the bed as Dad’s breathing rattled on, listening to make sure it didn’t stop. The nurse came back in, and she nodded at us then parked herself in the corner chair with her knitting needles.

    “How’s Mom taking it?”

    “Best she can. She thought there would be more time.”

    “Don’t we always?”

    “The nurse,” Simon said, nodding toward the woman in the corner, “said it would be soon. He’s not doing well.”

    “So no jig dancing for him?”

    Simon laughed and we hugged each other harder. Silence descended on the room, as we sat there listening to the clock tick through the early morning. The birds came out and began singing their songs of spring. Dad opened his eyes.

    “My little girl.”

    I scooted toward him. He wrapped his bone thin arms around me, and I let him hold me. I stopped crying and pulled away.

    “Remember that time you took Simon and I down to Cheaha to spend the night. Mom refused to come. It rained all weekend, and we were miserable, but you were intent on staying. You wanted to show her all the fun memories we were making?”

    We talked all morning about memories from our youth. “Ain’t No Grave” played in the background of our words. Dad asked Mom to read John 3:16 from the Bible.

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

    “That’s what the song means,” Dad said to Simon and me. “No need to fight about it.”

    Then he turned his face away from us, looked at the white wall, and the rise and fall of his chest ceased.

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  5. Waiting

    I’m on borrowed time. I know it. Each cough that rattles through my tired ribs testifies of this truth.

    They know it: the doctors who hover around me day in and day out until I finally lose patience and swat them away with feeble hands I no longer recognize. They look at each other knowingly as they walk out the door. We both know they’ll be back again.

    Medically speaking, I should already be gone. Dead. Buried in the ground. But somehow I’m still here.

    I used to be strong, so very strong. Now I’m winded just moving from the chair to the bed.

    I used to be so restless, always up, always moving, always looking for where the action was. Now I’m content to let the yellow sun that streams through my window each afternoon soak into my wrinkled skin and bring some warmth to my always-chilled bones.

    Her picture sits on the table next to my bed. It keeps company with a pitcher of water and my ever-growing collection of multicolored pills. I try not to look at her. It’s too painful. For behind the glass, she’s as young and beautiful as she is in my memory.

    Sometimes I torture myself trying to imagine what she’d look like if she were still with me. But somehow I can’t make my mind picture her smooth porcelain skin with the same wrinkles that crease my cheek now. I can’t picture her startlingly blue eyes clouded over with age. Like mine are.

    Some days I forget. Somehow I find myself transported back through the years to when she was mine. She’s stirring a pot on our old potbelly stove, and my heart skips a beat just as it always has when I see her. I’m telling her how much I love her, except she’s not answering me. I wonder why she’s ignoring me, and I call her name.

    Just as she turns toward me, she wavers, like she’s made of water. And I know what’s happening. The next thing I know, the doctors are there, and I’m not back in our little two-room house.

    I’m in my new room; the one that has the emergency pull cord on the wall and a safety rail by the toilet. And I’m alone. Waiting for the day I can join her.

    @RL_Ames
    (387 words-not including title)

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  6. Merrick glanced up from under sweaty bangs at the dirt road ahead. There was still a way to go. The load was heavy and kept catching on rocks, but he had a good stride going, a rhythmic swish as he pulled it along behind him; it wouldn’t be long now.

    His eyes remained on the rocky road just a few feet in front of him, his mind elsewhere. The sweat ran down his nose and flew off the end in spatters. He wasn’t going to stop. Twilight was drawing to an end and he needed to get this load disposed of before full dark.

    As his boots scuffed the road, their sound worked to dissipate the voices that wouldn’t let up inside his head. He knew he’d done wrong. He knew this wouldn’t be the last of it, but he hoped it might be. They taunted him, telling him what he should and shouldn’t do, but they weren’t his ma or his pa, they were long gone. He was in charge now and this is how he did things.

    Arguing was pointless. A part of him knew it was the voice of righteousness within him trying to bring his morality back on track. But it should know better. He lost that the night he had to end his own brother’s life. Either that or listen to a man tortured by his own addictions – addictions he had chosen over his beaten wife and bullied children. Everyone was better off. Or so he told himself.

    Merrick topped the rise of the road and paused, taking a breath. He looked over the barren valley. Yes it was green, but it was empty. There were no trees, no hedgerows and no wildlife. He looked down into the gully and in the dimming light just made out the top of the headstone.

    Now it was in sight the load seemed to be heavier, not lighter – even though he was travelling downhill. The voices in his head seemed to escalate, but there was no going back now.

    He cut off the road and walked down across the field, his load sliding better on the grass. He saw the little fenced off square, and the handful of gravestones circling the large tombstone that belonged to the head of the family – his great grandpa. The shovel was still upright in the ground where he’d left it that morning, next to the freshly dug grave.

    He’d already known it was time. She’d been in pain long enough, and no matter how much he talked to his son on the phone he couldn’t get him to come and visit. And she was so stubborn she wouldn’t go without saying goodbye, so he’d said it for her. He wanted to knock heads together, but that was never going to happen now.

    He swung the load round and dropped it into the grave. It fell easily. It wasn’t heavy; her body just bones after the cancer had gnawed at them. The weight was in his mind as the voices criticised his decision. But he’d rather live with that torment, than watch her suffer one more day. Enough was enough.

    He threw in a handful of dirt and begged her forgiveness, as he picked up and started shovelling, finishing the day as he had started it.

    529 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  7. Will we have a Watery Grave?

    I wandered along the path that meandered through the craggy rock formations towering ten feet above me. The path was not clearly defined as it was not known to many and, consequently, seldom used. Slowly, the grass thinned out and the path became more sand than soil. My destination was a small secluded horse shoe shaped cove that allowed me a measure of tranquillity.

    One last turn and I took two steps through the gap between a pair of natural stone towers that acted as the entrance to this mind calming place. The sand in the bay was of the finest grains. I knelt to remove my footwear so that I might enjoy the gentle sensation of the still mildly warm grains massaging my feet as I walked.

    I looked seaward and noticed a haze developing over the water. I walked a few more paces towards the water’s edge. The haze developed a shimmer, as if there was a subdued light glowing somewhere in or behind it. The haze thickened and became a roiling, billowing cloud such as one would see emanating from a quietly boiling volcano or a rain laden cloud scudding across a storm driven sky.

    The shimmering backlight grew stronger and pushed through the fog, creating a tunnel of clearer air. The tunnel widened moving the heavy, cloud like formation to the sides of the bay. The sight it revealed drove me to a mental numbness. Seeing is not believing; if you know it can’t be true. But, it was true! Centred in the bay was a large Blue Whale. I took another step forward and became even more amazed to see that all around the Whale the water was in motion as pod after pod of Orcas, Beluga Whales, Dolphins, Seals of many varieties and even a Sperm Whale; that Unicorn of the ocean, swam around and around the Blue Whale.

    These great air breathing mammals of the sea reacted to my presence by ceasing to circle and all lined up facing the beach. As this occurred, I began to feel a vibration reverberate through the sand into my feet. I could hear a distant, deep rumble as one hears when elephants communicate over long distances. On top of the rumble, the sound of Whale song was added, interspersed with the hoot, click and snap of the dolphins and lesser whales. As the cacophony of sound built, it began to blend into a number of harmonics that in turn became modulated until they combined into a sound that could not, should not emanate from the ocean. The hairs stood on the back of my neck and my arms as I began to hear Language. Not some strange indecipherable language, but English. These beasts, residents of the farthest flung and deepest oceans, were talking to me.

    “Human, we are a society that goes back many millennia. We have lived lives of gentle contemplation and existed within the natural world. We have racial memories that go back to the beginning of time. We are aware that you hold many of our kin in prisons. This causes them much pain and anguish. They lose their mental capabilities and die before they are fully matured. We need all our brethren to become fully mature as this is when the wisdom of the ages is at its most powerful and must be passed to the following generations.

    We are concerned about the actions of your species. You constantly interfere with nature’s way. We know you do this but cannot understand why. These actions have now reached a level that is destroying the environment in which we live.

    We are not fish to be hunted, killed or captured. We are not animals to be condemned to live in a poisoned ocean. This cannot continue. If you destroy our habitat, this will destroy our society. This will surely kill the ocean and destroy nature. Do you foolish humans not realise that such actions will also destroy your own species. Without nature and this environment, you will die. We are not willing to await such an end to our existence. We can exist without you but you cannot exist without us. We rank in the millions and will take action to stop you. If you doubt this, look for the real causes of tsunamis. Your scientists believe it is underwater earthquakes and volcanoes but this is not so. We control the depths. Be warned! Cease theses actions or face the consequences. If you fail, you will join us in the oceans that shall become humanities watery grave from which none shall return.”

    774 words
    @scotsjamaican

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  8. Stacy Fileccia

    Peace

    Betty closed her eyes and breathed in her mother’s scent—a soft reminiscence of flowers, vanilla, and baking bread. It filled her with familiar, soothing comfort. Not wanting to move, she ran her fingers through the happy curls and felt the soft cheeks that had rubbed against hers every night. She held the hands—those amazing hands that had helped her breathe when life was hard. Songs had danced out of those rosy lips. Their melodies echoed through her mind. She’d never forget the beauty of the soul she’d seen within those blue-green eyes. She hated to leave. Still, she had to go.

    Though she knew her mother couldn’t feel her hug, she did it anyway, squeezing with all her might—maybe forever. A warm wind blew across her face. She followed.

    She ran beautifully, freely, as she never could have in her life. She forgot about her muscles screaming through therapy situps, the agony of trying to lift her arms, the anger and depression of not being able to say a single word while understanding everything everyone said. She simply ran down the hall. She zoomed through walls. When she got to the outside window, she leaped six stories to the playground below.

    She wistfully watched the children playing for awhile. IV poles and monitors still chained some. Others were dressed like mummies for a tomb. She’d seen some of them in the halls on previous trips. But not this time. This time, she didn’t wake up until all the pain stopped. This time, she knew she didn’t have to recover, because she was already better than she’d ever been. This time, she was free.

    She leaped from the tire mulch and just kept flying. She quietly gave her toys to her sister and brother. She soared hundreds of miles to her grandparents’ where she watched her grandma take a lasagne out of the oven. She saw everyone she’d ever known, from her father to her cousins to the lady who’d let her touch her beautiful black dog. She told them all, “Thank you,” and handed out goodbye hugs in great gushes.

    She flew to zoos where she didn’t have to pay, amusement parks with no lines, and ice cream parlors that didn’t require her to have dinner first. She sang every song she’d ever heard and made up some of her own. Then she felt the breeze again.

    Now she really had to go. She flew up into the clouds and higher still. Beautiful golden gates with flowers galore opened as she approached. She lightly touched down and followed a golden path, waving to welcoming people as she went. Finding her dream home as easily as thinking a thought, she lay down on the feathery bed. She’d found every comfort imaginable. Anything she wanted to eat was an arm’s length away. But after all the excitement of the day, she began to miss everyone. Her entire body ached to snuggle up beside her mother and father.

    “It won’t be long—just the blink of an eye,” said the voice she’d heard in her prayers all her life.

    The wall before her turned into a scene of her backyard far away. She watched her family talk, cry, and hug one another.

    “Go ahead, Darling,” said the voice.

    She slipped off the bed and kissed her mother’s cheek. It felt as warm and soft as ever. Her mother stopped mid-sentence and touched her face. That night and every night, Betty slept in heavenly peace.

    @StacyFileccia
    WC: 584

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  1. Pingback: Salvation | Lauren Greene, Author

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