Month: January 2019

My Granny’s Patio

spf 11-18-18 joy pixley 2Photo Credit: Joy Pixley

A long patio covered with garlic vines where my granny rested in a rocking chair is one of my strongest childhood memories.

I had constantly wondered why my granny selected those vines to decorate our patio of all the flowering climbers. She had told it was because of the lovely purple blooms, as blue shaded flowers were the rarest. I had believed that for quite some time.

As I grew up, I realized those plants resembled my granny in a way. She cherished me so much. She was the family I was closest to. She maintained the serene look befitting an angel and was an epitome of love. It was shocking to know she had beaten up her long-estranged husband, who left her for another when he tried taking away my little aunt.

I know why she had been growing garlic vines. It was a reminder.
Garlic vines are one of the most rewarding plants when left alone. They did emit the intolerably pungent garlic smell only when crushed.

_______________________________________________

169 words

{Sunday Photo Fiction – January 27, 2019}

In Search of Love

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Tiny, the apple of our eyes, went missing.
Pining for a lost puppy was laughed upon. A gone pet wasn’t a reasonable excuse to overlook my work on short notice either.

After managing to get a day off work, I and my son went on to search for our pet. 
His pictures were pasted wherever possible.

Feet away from our home was a ghost forest. On hearing little cries we headed to where an old wrecked car was parked.

The front trunk was open. There laid a noble dog feeding her puppies along with Tiny. 

Mother’s love is peace.

______________________

100 words

{Friday Fictioneers}

A Knitter from Eastland

brown and white chapel

Photo by Beau Swierstra via Unsplash

The way Kaisa had introduced herself during our undergraduate course was interestingly informative. She was a cheerful lady in her 30s.

Hello friendsI am Kaisa. I see I am older than you all, but I come from a nation much younger than yours. I come from Tallinnthe capital of Estonia, a remote country in Europe. Many believe we are the defenseless dorp of Russia or just a Baltic hinterland or an idiosyncratic population of renegades. But I oppose, may be humble, but we are unique. A splendid group of people who possess a distinct culture, languagefood and lovely lands. We witnessed various rulersendured a lot. I dream of the day my country is known for the right reasons, not as an appendage of any nation!

My fond memory is Kaisa hand knitting gloves for gifting. 
Before parting she had gifted me a knitted phone pouch. Precious.

_________________

150 words

{What Pegman Saw- Estonia}

 

Still Waters

three line tales, week 156: stars over the sea
Photo by Sam Loyd via Unsplash

The riverside, echoing eerie stories, stood notorious for its paranormal activities.

The still waters that never reflect the starry night skies, the large mangrove trees which hide the haunted palace, the broken statue of a murdered prince which is heard making pleas for help in nights.

Sam and Jill brushed aside all these until they heard mysterious footsteps and disembodied screams the night they had arrived at the riverside. 

_______________

69 words

{Three Line Tales, Week 156}

The Genes

img_2072Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

I enjoyed the way my three-year-old girl, Disha, pointed her chubby fingers towards a painting placed in her pre-school. I have asked her which picture she liked the most.

It was a picture of a girl presenting a flower to a pooh bear.
“That’s an excellent picture!” I congratulated her selection.

She surprised me by pointing to another picture saying,“ No like, no like!”
I asked her why.

“The cow is eating flowers, Mama! No like!!”
My eyes scrutinized the painting. It was a donkey.

I knew correcting my kid was useless, as she thinks she created and named almost all animals and birds. Still, I tried, “That’s a donkey, not a cow, Disha! Look at its head.”

She swayed her head negatively.
A memory struck me.

My five-year-old self who believed all the eggs in our farm was laid by our bunny and the hens were the enemies who came to peck them. None of my family could convince me otherwise, for a long time.

I laughed at the way the genes work.

__________________

174 words

{Sunday Photo Fiction-January 20, 2019}

An Exploration

Image result for Radium Springs, GA

Photo:Simbi.com

Mel and Sas disembarked their unique vehicle. Switching on the internet that works with extraterrestrial intelligence, they confirmed their destination. They have landed on the earth where molten lava inhabits some of the active creatures seen in their native planet.

Nearing the magma, their sensors indicated a temperature exceeding 1600 degree Celsius and the presence of all the radioactive elements they had expected. They wanted to collect specimens of the creatures, resembling fish. After satisfactorily completing their job they headed to their vehicle.

Sas told Mel, “ Just survey the spot history, Mel!
“Okay!”

History revealed the location name as Radium Springs Gardens, some thousand years ago. The place contained hot springs where earthlings used to take a swim. After finding the presence of Radium elementswimming was forbiddenIt remained a tourist destination until the doomsday after which the planet became a ball of fire.

Closing the history, they emplaned.

_____________

149 words

{What Pegman Saw-Radium Springs, GA}

Partners in Crime

Photo prompt by H.R.R. Gorman

Our friend, Gary, paid us a visit after satisfactorily completing a mountaineering attempt.
Being an adventure loving couple, we paid attention to his every detail on hiking and camping.
Our six-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, fell absolutely silent on that day.
We seized upon the opportunity to devise a hiking plan for our anniversary.

The following day, both of us arrived home earlier. Shockingly, our bedrooms appeared messy. We assured robbery until we spotted the robbers.
Our twins with their two friends have constructed an absolute camp house in our bedroom using tissues, bed covers, and pillows. 

Eight little feet were seen projecting out of their tent.
Four crime partners in deep slumber. 

_______________________

115 words

{FFfAW Challenge – 201st}

The Fault in our Stars

three line tales, week 155: an old truck in a ghost town
Photo by Ian Parker via Unsplash

As an armed truck driver who rides ugly trucks, those vehicles breaking down occasionally at the loftier altitudes weren’t an unfamiliar experience.

When that happened at night on the cliff tops, Charlie felt solemn.

Staring up at the beautiful Milky Way, he would admire them sometimes and other times curse the fault in his stars for not allowing him to become a poet or even an incredible cook.

_________________

68 words
{Three Line Tales, Week 155}

Colonnades

Photo: Canva.com

Reflecting on memories during the late thirties is like taking a walk through long colonnades. She has felt it a hundred times.

The ranked memories, each alcove created for each event from the childhood, adolescence and the glorious youthful days.
Some nights, when we are all alone, we see a full moon shining through the colonnades; whose solemn look befits all the sweet evocations.
On radiant days, shadowy but warm colonnades remind of the unspoken apprehensions, and agonies we once survived.

Just as the colonnades are magnificent, so are our memories.
Still, somewhere exist fallen colonnades, the vexed memories.

________

99 words

{Flash Fiction Challenge January 17 2019}

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes colonnades.

The Unfortunates

Photo  by Yinglan

From where he stood, the place appeared like a verdant meadow.
The rich kids in colored T-shirts were playing. Their posh houses were visible from his spot. Witnessing their plays, shouts and screams delighted him. 

The winter has caused all the trees to look like tall skeletons. 
It was noon. But the haze didn’t give way to the typical noon-day warmth.
The kids didn’t bother either. What’s more important than playing outdoors with friends?

His stomach grumbled. He hastily moved to the gully side of the meadow.
His ungloved thin hands started sorting the things found there.
Being a ragpicker kid, he was searching for his ‘gold’ in those ditches.

________________

111 words

{FFfAW Challenge – 200th-Photo Prompt}

Heart of Gold

gold-and-silver-colored pendant necklace

Photo:Alex Chambers via Unsplash

As he calculated the hard-saved money under the dull light, his lips curved into a smile.
“Enough for a lovely gift to her!”

His wife had openly alleged that she was unloved by her husband.

Every time she had rushed into explaining about the no-gifts received from him during their one year of marriage, he felt reduced to dead broke. Finally, she had left him to stay with her mother.

Being heartbroken, both husband and wife had started speaking broken English. They started conveying their woes to their non-native neighbors.

 
In an overemotional and exaggerated tone, she said, “You seeanniversarybirthdayvalentine’s day, new year and other festivals, all went without a giftnot even a rose. No more stay with this beggar!” Then she would cry, reminding the worst Pokemon cries.

On the other hand, he would say, “Money comes, money goes, money stays with me not, just like her!” He would sit like a monkey whose only banana was snatched by another.

With six months of diligent effort and having saved enough money to buy her a gold necklace, he headed to the jewelry street of the town. It was dusk.  He dreamt that the moment she would set her eyes on the necklace, she would seize her bag and return with him.

As he proceeded, a hand as smooth as rose petals, snatched his wrist. 
Coming back from the dream world, he observed a pretty damsel.

Overwhelmed with griefshe informed him about her mother being hospitalized for life-saving surgery. If she couldn’t collect the needed money within an hourshe would lose her only family. As it was dusk, no one was ready to lend her a loan*.

 She offered him her 30-gram gold chain and begged to give whatever money he had to save her from becoming an orphan. At the minimum, he was spotted in the jewelry street.

A charming damsel in distress! His simpleton village heart melted.

Intending a purchase of 24 grams gold necklace, an offer of 30 grams gold chain for lesser money appeared a profitable deal!

As the damsel ran away with his offering, he felt contented.

The following day, he went to sell the gold chain only to find it was a beautiful strand of rolled gold.

_______________________

382 words

{YeahWrite Fiction Challenge 405}
Genre Prompt: Comedy
Personality Trait: Impulsive

*In many cultures, lending money or items in the evening is considered a taboo.

Unavoidable Cries

woman walking on street during day time

(Photo: Stéphane Hermellin via Unsplash)

Mala peeled off, at a snail’s pace.
Suffering, she couldn’t hasten it either. 
Tears overflowing her red eyes.

All the while she was paring the onionthoughts about the layers maintained by her only son plagued her. 

Decades ago her motherwhile working in their onion fields, had remarked, “Life is like onions!” But the twelve-year-old Mala had no clue.

Her parents toiled like slaves to make the two ends meet. But, when they were all set to sell their bumper yields, onion prices had stooped down too low. Obtained nothing, not even peanuts.

Poverty-stricken farmers protested. Mala’s father had gone a little further, burnt his onion field and committed suicide.

She hated onions.

Still, working as a cook in Mumbai City, she had no choice.

All she could do is cry, daily, hoping that someday her pains get cocooned in its many layers, just like the onions.

__________________________

150 words

{What Pegmain Saw-Location prompt-Mumbai}

India is the second largest producer of onions in the world. Maharashtra state leads in onion production. Mumbai in Maharashtra has some of the largest onion markets.

Word Count and Types Fiction

Such a piece of good information.

Author L. J. Walker

Here is the cheat sheet for the types of fiction according to word count:

Nanotale – Up to 6 words

Twitterature – Up to 280 characters.

Dribble or Minisaga – Up to 50 words

Drabble or Microfiction – 50 to 100 words

Microstory – 100 to 300 words

Sudden fiction – 300 to 750 words

Flash fiction – 750 – 1,000 words

Short story – 1,000 to 7,500 words

Novelette – 7,500 to 17,500 words

Novella – 17,500 to 40,000 words

Novel – over 40,000 words

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Seasonal Jumps

three line tales, week 154: people skipping over stones in the waterPhoto by Nattu Adnan via Unsplash

In the spring of life, we jump with rhythm, in the water, on the bed and the trampoline alike, our priceless joys. 

In the autumnwe jump to rediscover the lost childhood or to keep a check, on the heart and the fat.

In the winterwe jump every time the body goes numb, and reassure the world that we are still alive.

____________

63 words

{Three Line Tales, Week 154}

In Search of Organic

spf january 6 2019 ce ayr

Photo Credit: CE Ayr

The bone-creaking old man was desperate. His noisy joints and spindly legs were limiting his movements. 

“Only broth can save you,” assured his trusted healer. “But mind you, the lambs must be completely grass-fed, organically grown!”

The old, but rich man set out with his dearest companion to purchase as many lambs he could get from the sheepfold on the outskirts, which guaranteed to provide organic cattle.

The direction board helped him reach his destination.
He paid no attention to the huge waste bins at the entrance

Just before fixing the deal, a garbage picking van made an appearance at the gateHis gut instincts made him limp towards the entrance. 

Huge trash cans filled with numerous bottles and covers of the hormone drugged feed were being collected by the van driver.

Money can’t buy health!” Muttered the old man while getting into his SUV.

_____________

145 words

{Sunday Photo Fiction – January 6, 2019}

Sweet Tooth

PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal

Saras has learned the lessons only a toothache can teach, promptly to disregard when the ache is gone. The fifty-eight-year-old woman can’t quit the sweet stuff. 
A tooth removal was essential. Being a heedless patient, her dentist has stopped exchanging pleasantries. Services weren’t denied, thanks to the Hippocratic oath.

At the clinic, while experiencing excruciating pain, her eyes fell on the multi-colored candies kept in a jar on the pebbled surface teapoy. 
Before leaving after the procedure Saras queried someone if she could take some.
“Of course!” 

Candy-like papers with dental health tips left her bitter for the remaining day.

________________________________

100 words

{Friday Fictioneers}

 

Reminiscences

purple flowers on brown open book

Photo by Debby Hudson via Unsplash

Being the healthiest, she often prepared the inmates their favorite meal.
The way some recalled their life reduced her to tears, but nothing from her own made her so.

Neither that she had to give up her studies for the family’s sake nor that she got repeatedly cheated by the sole man of her lifeleaving her and the kids destitute.
Barely the times she forgave him only to repeat the cycle and the numerous times her kids failed her, and finally abandoned her.

She had allowed what came in, let what left her and seen what remained.

__________________

99 words

{January 3: Flash Fiction Challenge}

High-and-Mighty

shallow focus photography of dried leaf

Photo:Harli Marten via Unsplash

Her seventy-two winter-kissed body skin glowed with a healthy pink tinge. A little bit of Botox and other contemporary techniques, with the world’s best make-up kits and stylistsabove all a never-ending cash pile is all that it took her to become the talk of the town. Funeral fashion has become lax with Alaena, who pretended death doesn’t exist for her.

Everything came to a halt when a nagging headache conquered her. The pain-averse culture counseled her about the most modern medicine. But who could assure her that it won’t affect her appearance? 

Her Rolls Royce steered to the outskirts.
There lived a wrinkled and grey-haired forty-two-year-old man, gifted for curing any ailment with mere water brought by his patients.

At the door of his mansionAlaena wanted to know his name and affiliation.
“My name is Tomato.” She couldn’t help but laugh. He didn’t mind a bit.

He offered her the loftiest seat and turned back to sit three feet opposite to her.
She couldn’t shift her eyes off his long tail, possessing an arrow at its tipsweeping the floor he walked.

“What took you to my place?” His eyes sparkled like garnet in the light.
When the bemused woman demanded a cure for her throbbing headache, he nodded affirmatively.

With the first gulp of water in her bottle, she felt completely fineMuch surprised and delighted, she thanked him, a rare gesture.

“But man, I am intrigued, why do you look like an old monkey, with that disgusting tail?”
In reply, he consumed the remaining water she had brought.

Before long her mask fell off, her wrinkles became prominent, and her protruded cheekbones, snowy –white hair and sunken eyes gave her the look of a skeleton.

She ran out the door screaming until she fell down dead, covered in the village dust.

Alaena’s Rolls Royce is still parking at Tomato’s mansion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

316 words

[For readers’ information, the prompt was to write fiction in the genre ‘Magical Realism’ including the personality trait ‘vain’]

{Written for YeahWrite #404 }

Peek-a-Boo

Photo prompt by Jodi McKinney

The terrified couple plodded into the refugee campNeither they nor the others memorized exactly the sequence of events since the last 30 hours.

Hurricanes weren’t new. But that time they had walked the delicate rope between life and deathThey had the slightest worry about their ripped off house and the wrecked farmland. But they mourned for their only kids- cows, goats, horse, rabbits, a puppy, and a cat. None made it.

At the camp, they received food and essentials, were even tested for infectious diseases. Though touched by suicidal ideation, none cried.

The woman looked out of the window to find a peek-a-boo session by the sun and the dark clouds. She smiled. The husband looked at her questionably.

One of the nurses enquired. “Miss, you are expecting, right?”
“No.” She answered surprisingly fast.

The nurse smiled. “Yes, absolutely, you are. I know it’s challenging. Things will turn out fine, but only with your care.” 

When she had left, the woman smiled more beautifully increasing the perplexity of her husband.

______________

Word Count: 171

{Written for FFfAW Challenge – 199th}

Absolute Decimation

Image result for st. helena islandPhoto: Queensland.com

What hurts more, the pain of heartburn or that of a heartbreak?

Napoleon was seen staring through his bedroom window. A steady downpour has created a fog. His weary eyes couldn’t be fixed on anything he could believe as the skyline, let alone identify the boundary of Saint Helena Island from all other presences.

He was scared of throwing up. The image of a military leader! He held his breath.
If he didhe won’t be fined either! A scoffing reminder about his exile.  

The growing pain above the belly button didn’t concern him much.
But …..Josephine! Her shrieks on the day their marriage was annulled, echoed in his earsIt was raining back then, too.

Bitter remorse overruled him with a tinge of intense despair.
He was shivering, his soul withering. The rain became intenser.

His head turned sideways, the blood arrested face fell into a deep slumber.

___________

Word Count: 150

{Written for What Pegman Saw}

Depth Images

PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

 

“Mom, do you ever think of dad?”

The seventy-eight-year-old mother retained a dazed look at her son’s query. They were walking up the valley towards the pale mountains.

“No!”

“Why?”

“We never enjoyed that connection.” 

 His mother was seen grim-faced and silent. 

To his surprise she continuedpointing at the mountains.

“Your dad was like those mountains. He wanted attention and adoration. Somehow, he gained it. I waslike this valley, always unnoticed, unattended and unappreciated. Everyone forgets mountains are inseparable from valleys”. She paused. “… It’s good that he’s no more…!

Alan credited the unfathomable depths of human relationships.

_______________

Word Count: 100

{Written for Friday Fictioneers}

Blissful Reassignment

New YearsMorgueFile Fidler Jan New Year’s

The bridge was filled with the impatient hundreds who have turned up for the celebrations. The New Year was near. 

Mettilda has put on the appropriate dress she had saved for the occasion, a crystal embellished pink maxi with a matching neck scarf and a hat. Her eyes were sparkling with the delight of life

For a second she rewound all the pains and agonies endured, because of her identity being trapped in the wrong body of Matt Henry. Mettilda was looking forward to a renewed life she had always desired.

The New Year was born, sparkling spectacles filled the sky. There was joy everywhere. People greeted each other.

 She left the place leaving behind everything that belonged to Matt Henry.

Word Count: 121

{Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner 2019: Week #1}

The Irony

Photo Akshata Ram

The non-tech-savvy mother struggled with the smart device every time her daughter sent a message or call. She has already spent around 45 minutes to download a snap.

Finally, when the picture was visible, she couldn’t take her eyes off it. Her daughter has detailed that it as the view from her apartment window.

It was winter in Oregon. The mother could see snow filled park followed by snow-covered pine trees.

Living in a desert, where men marry twice or thrice to bring in more people to carry water, the mother laughed at the irony.

Word Count: 95

{Written for FFfAW Challenge – 198th}

Nasty Dreams

SPF 10-14-18Joy Pixley 3Photo Credit: Joy Pixley

I remember I was trudging. Was that a real place? I was cursing someone for putting me through that sea of cacti. The ones I have never seen or imagined.

Cacti, whose long spines tried to pierce my bosom and my spine to make sure I don’t escape alive. No spot to rest but walk, as if on a moving roller coaster. Some spineless cacti had disgusting round holes. That made me wish for long, cruel claws to crush everything. 

I could behold the mountains at a distance, but no, I can’t make it for that sea was uncrossable. I felt like falling into a bottomless pit.

With a jolt, everything resolved. 
dream so vivid during a siesta is quite maddening.

{Written for SPF}

Word Count: 122

A Sweet Introduction

Image result for African and western girls as friends
(Photo: Pinterest)

“Hello, I am Emma. May I know your good name, please?”I tried befriending my first African mate. Isolated in that college campus, she looked weary. Somehow, my eyes were fixed on her wavy hair.

“Nice to meet you, I am Dumi.” The lack of smile while introducing was something I was unused to. Did I carry a surly expression?
I decided to resume my small talk.

“You remind me of a character…”
“The hairdresser of Harare?” She intervened with a smile. “…I come from Harare too!”

An absolute stranger with a commendable anticipation power to complete our sentence is a keeper. Dumi gave me the best amazement.
Later on, our chat topics varied; poverty, society, war and all the sad realities of human existence. Still, our short but sweet introduction remains as a beautiful memory, of friendship between two book lovers belonging to two continents.

{Written for What Pegman Saw}

Word Count: 145