Surreal Awakening

 

I stare at the gargoyles from my driveway.

I seriously don’t know if I can handle this before coffee.

Who are these people living across the street?

Squatting down to pick up the paper, my eyes don’t leave the statues.  Their stone mouths snarl open, exposing vicious teeth warding off intruders.  As I stand back up, paper in hand, I commit to never accepting a dinner party request from those people.

I’m so focused on the cold grey monsters hissing at me that I barely register the person pulling up on the bike.

“Morning, Lori! Hey, you okay?”

“Hey, Mike, yeah, yeah, I’m fine. I’m just not quite sure what to make of that.”

“Make of — Whoa!” Mike shifts to follow my gaze. He lets out a low whistle. “Those are the new people, huh? What’d ya say? Fifteen, twenty foot tall?”

“Looks like it.”

“It’s a tad early in the morning to behold the likes of that…”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“Why am I suddenly scared to blink?”

“Because you watch too much TV.”

We stand in silence for a moment, staring at huge, hideous statues.  I don’t know about Mike, but I’m not blinking.

Gradually I am aware that I am standing outside at 6am in sweatpants and a purple tank top with no bra, scared to turn away from a stupid statue. I shake myself back into reality.

“Mike, have a good morning. I’m going in for coffee.”

“Yeah, you too, Lori.”

I turn and start up the drive, leaving Mike to continue to stand there and gawk.  The second I pour my coffee I’m checking the real estate section in the classifieds.

 

Source: I ain’t foolin’ around

Thanks to April for the words: gargoyle, sweatpants, purple

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The Spanky’s Connection

Every night I walk through the intersection of Broad and 73rd on my way home after a long day.  On the corner of that particular intersection is a pub that goes by the name of Spanky’s, as announced by a large, buzzing orange neon sign above the door.  Depending on the crowd, any and every type of music can be heard reverberating through the walls of the building.  The crowd itself was eclectic, forever changing, never pausing for breath.

Every night I walked past, never entering, electing instead to embrace my sofa and curl up in an oversized comforter.  I truly thought tonight would be no exception.  Spanky’s had never held anything of value to me.

When his voice wafted through the open window, I froze in my tracks on the sidewalk.  I knew that voice!  I tilted my ear towards the window to listen again.  Sure enough, I knew that voice. Peaking through the window, I saw that it belonged to a face I had never met, but knew I had to meet him.

Decided, I swung open the door and stepped inside Spanky’s.  Inside, it was much classier than I had pictured.  Slipping into a stool at a tall bar table, I looked around, trying to match the voice and face I had seen through the window.

“What can I get you tonight, dear?” A red headed cocktail waitress wearing a black V-neck polo and black shorts came up to my table and set a napkin in front of me.

“Scotch and soda water please,” I smiled, then called out as she sauntered away, “Chivas if you’ve got it.”

“Chivas, huh? I like Chivas,” I looked up to see the owner of sexy voice smiling down at me from the end of my table.

“I like Chivas, too. Please, sit.” I indicated the seat across from myself. “My name’s Rachel. You — oh! Thank you!” The waitress deposited my drink in front of me.

“Salud!” I clinked my glass with Mr. Dreamy’s beer mug. Taking a sip, my grimace was instantaneous.

“Oh, no! She didn’t hear you about the Chivas, huh?”

“No, she didn’t.  The scotch appears to be well. Or the soda is flat. Or both, Ugh…”  I made a face that must have been amusing, because he laughed immediately.

“Poor you! Let me buy you a drink. I’m Paul by the way.”

“Nice to meet you Paul.” As he weaved towards the bar, I tried to tell myself not to get my hopes up, he was to good to be true. He either had a girlfriend, or he was gay, or he was a Mama’s boy.  There had to be a catch. There was always a catch…

Time is up! 25 minutes writing, 5 for a quick edit.

I spy with my little eye the number 12…

Source: TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #5

Final Request

imageBillie stepped back from the aluminum framing and studied it with a critical eye.  She felt someone approach from behind.

“You did a really good job,” Ben remarked.  “It’s very life-like. Still creepy as hell though…”

“Oh yeah, definitely creepy as hell…” Billie nodded in agreement. She deepened her voice. “Professor Calvin Thurman. Killed in an explosion in his laboratory by what authorities believe to be a chemistry experiment gone awry.  Forever immortalized by a giant likeness of his head leading the homecoming parade through town every year…”

“It’s honestly the nuttiest final request I’ve ever heard…” Ben shook his head. “So, you gonna help me weave these flowers in?”

“Yup,” Billie started climbing the ladder beside the frame. “I was thinking the those dark pansies Mr. Stellar donated might work good for his hair. Pass me some and we’ll check it out.”

Source: Picture Prompt #50: There be giants

Harnessing Fire

“Step onto the dock and stare into setting sun. 
See the fire of the sun engulf the water, claiming it for it’s own.
Feel the flames consume and transform to their will
Conquering all in its path…

“Now, see a vessel emerge from your center
Push it out into the lake
See the energy of the fire pour into the chalice
Until the chalice is filled to overflowing.
Seal the chalice, holding the fire trapped inside
Begin to bring it back into –“

“I can’t!” The boy shouted, flailing his arms in front of him to wipe the image from his mind.  “The fire won’t stay in! Why won’t the fire stay in?”

“It is a matter of will, Master Killian, ” the priest sighed.  “Only through practice and patience can you master the harnessing of the fire. This amulet helped your father focus, but he was almost twenty before he successfully harnessed the energy.”

“My father is an old man who has more interested in books than the family honor. I must harness the energy before I go to serve the King!” Killian jumped up and glared at the priest. “If you will not teach me, there is another that has guaranteed quicker results!”

“Young Master,” the dread rose in the priest,” if you are referring to who I think you are, only death and destruction come from that path!”

“For some maybe, but glory and honor for me!” Killian snatched the amulet from the priest and shoved him aside, storming out of the sanctuary. “You will regret this old man!”

_________________________

Feeling the ancient amulet around his neck, it was finally time to make the old priest pay.  He had waited years, as the priest had warned, but not to harness the fire, just to exact his revenge.

He stood on the ridge, staring across the valley at the castle waiting on the other side.  An easy day’s ride, his men would be in place well before sunset tomorrow and the siege would begin.  That priest would regret seeking sanctuary with the enemy. And he would soon deliver another stronghold to his King.

“Lord Killian,” his captain approached. “The men await your orders sir.  Do we march on or make camp?”

“We will make camp here tonight. Make sure the men have plentiful food and drink. I want fresh horses for all. Tell them tomorrow we ride into battle for the glory of their King.”

 

25 minutes writing, 10 minutes editing

i pick #42
Source: TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #4

Jumping Off the Deep End

Temerity is something I’ve never been accused of.  Quite the opposite, I’m far more likely to exercise an excessive amount of caution.  So it was a strange thing to find myself tossing a hastily packed suitcase in the back seat of my car and driving to the airport.

Pulling into long term parking, I fleetingly wondered when I would see my car again.  I felt the panic creeping up my neck, but I shoved it away, willing myself to jettison all negativity and self-doubt.  Deep breaths… centered… calm… cool… collected… With renewed confidence, I grabbed my suitcase, locked my car and headed toward the ticket counter.

“I need to go to Koroni, Greece, please. One way.”

“Will you be using any frequently flyer miles today?” A bright eyed brunette beamed at me from behind the counter.

“No, thank you Janice, ” I replied, glancing towards her name tag, “I really don’t fly all that frequently.”

Janice continued to chatter as she tapped away on her keyboard. “You said one way? Do you have a visa secured?”

“No, I honestly hadn’t thought about it.” The panic started welling up again. “I thought I’d go and let things take it’s course. I don’t remember my friend mentioning needing a visa for Greece.”

“It all depends on what you are doing. US citizens can stay as tourists for up to 90 days. If you want to extend your stay or work while you’re there, you will have to approach the embassy and obtain the appropriate paperwork. Just thought you should know.” She flashed a smile before returning her gaze to the computer screen.

I nodded at Janice, letting the information sink in.  I could handle that. After all, I had no idea what I was going to find once I got there. If I decided to stay, I’d work it out when the time came.

“Alright then, I have a flight available leaving in two hours. There is a three hour layover in Frankfurt, then it will take you on to Athens. Would you like business or first class?”

“Economy please.” I might be going out on a limb, but there was no reason to go crazy on unnecessary luxuries.

“Economy it is. From Athens, you will switch to Aegean Airlines to fly to the smaller airport in Kalamata. There are buses available to take you to Koroni. Would you like me to take care of the bus ticket as well?”

“Yes, please, I would be very grateful.” I took out my wallet and handed over my credit card.

Forty-five minutes later I was holding suitcase and ticket in hand, staring at the arrival and departure screen above my gate. My plane had been delayed a bit on arrival, so there was still an hour and a half to kill.  I was jumpy and anxious, every muscle in my body wanted to be going, moving, getting to my destination.

It dawned on me that I was famished.  The newsstand next to the gate had a fridge with presealed sandwiches, so I bought one and settled into a seat. Chewing the stale bread, I tried to calm down and reflect on what had brought me to this junction in my life.

 A news report had caught my eye the night before. It was a feel good story based out of Koroni about the generosity of one of its wealthy residents helping those less fortunate during the finance crisis.  Showing aerial stills of the village carved into the hill overlooking Messiniakos Bay, I felt as if I was being pulled there. Then I saw the house. I have been in that house more times than I can count.  Since I was a little girl, I have dreamt of that very house at least once a month.

A woman named Anna lives in that house, and she talks to me about my family, my hobbies, my worries and fears.  She guides me in my dreams. And she always talks about her son, who she says is on his way home. She can’t wait for me to meet her Petros.

For over twenty years Anna and Petros have existed only in my head. But now… Now I’m going to see just how big my world really is.

Source: Wordle #99 “February 29, 2016”

All Jammed Up

“Carla, please tell me everything’s ready for this meeting…

I really need your help, there is no way I’m making it in before nine thirty…

I don’t know… There’s some parade, or protest, something, I don’t know, but roads are blocked and everything’s locked up.

Just  make sure there are enough copies for everyone in the client team. You know what, make twenty to be safe.

You’ re the best, don’t let anyone say otherwise. I’ll be quick as I can.”

Stephanie pushed the off button on the side of her steering wheel, and started craning her neck, trying to find some glimmer of hope that traffic would move again soon.  Two lanes over, she spotted a van with the logo “Garrion Industrial”, and counted at least eight people through the windows.

Well, at least her clients were stuck in the same jam up she was.

Source: Sunday Photo Fiction – February 28th 2016