The Price of Love

Hal looked at Petunia as he left the bathroom.  “My god, Petunia!  What the hell did you eat?”

Petunia barely looked up from her position on the couch.

“No really.  You blew up the bathroom and you didn’t even have the decency to even try to cover it up.”

Petunia closed her eyes and looked away.

“I mean, come on!”

Petunia still didn’t do anything.  Hal began to feel stupid for complaining.  “Look, I’m sorry.  It’s just been hard, and you know about a man and his throne.

Hal moved over to the couch to sit next to her, but Petunia got up and walked away.  “Why do you have to be that way?” he asked.

Petunia spared him the briefest of glances before turning away from him.

“Damn it, Petunia!  Come here.”  When she didn’t move Hal continued.  “Is this how you’re going to treat me?  You go out all night carousing, not coming home till the morning and you expect me to pretend nothing is wrong.  The bed gets awfully lonely you know.”

Petunia left the room.  Hal put his head in his hands.  “I put a roof over your head.”  He looked up from his hands at the door she had walked through.  “I put food on your plate.  I buy everything you have.  The least you can do is give me a little attention!”

Petunia came back into the room and cocked her head to the side.

Hal sighed.  “Fine.  I’ll feed you first.”  He got up from the couch and headed to the kitchen, Petunia following in his wake.  He opened a can of tuna and put it on the floor.  When Petunia set in on her feast, Hal scratched between her ears, unlocking a deep purr from her.

Hal sunk to the floor next to her.  She hit him in the face with her tail.  “Cats,” he whispered with a small smile on his face.

 

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Reborn (a 200 word start)

Her world was pitch black darkness.  Actually, it was darkness and water, but after not breathing for so long she didn’t really notice the wetness.  She didn’t have a concept of time, but she did know her chains hand rusted and broken a while back.

She felt around the floor of her prison and found a large stone.   She picked a spot she thought was the same as last time and began hammering.  It might take millennia to get through, but she had that and more.  Still, she hoped she had picked the right direction.  She didn’t relish chipping her way through Mount Torlock.

That’s when she heard a muffled noise to her right.  She shifted her attention and started to hammer there.  She had been pointing in the wrong direction.  How long had she been off course?

Suddenly there was an explosion of sound.  Light poured into her prison as the water poured out.  She shoved herself out of the hole, reborn again into this world, and this time she would do the swatting.  Before any swatting could occur, though, she retched up the water in her lungs and stomach next to her.  Not the start she had imagined…

 

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Trip (an acrostic poem)

The frequent flyer miles might be great, but he hadn’t signed up

Really he hated flying, especially the landings

It always gave him anxiety that moment just before touching down

Pain exploded in his head as he hit the floor.

 

Image: 3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/csz/news/800/2019/observingclo.jpg

One Fewer For The Enemy (a 200 word story)

The killing field surrounded her as if she was in the eye of the storm.  Bodies strewn all over, stabbed, shot, burnt.  Not another living soul was in sight.   Fallen comrades in arms were strewn among the remains of their enemies.  It was a miracle that she was alive considering how much of her own blood stained the ground beneath her feet.

Her unit had been sent out to stop the approaching horde.  Their village had been decimated by the plague, so they could only send out farmers and those too old to serve anymore.  She was amazed they had stopped the monsters from taking away what was left.

She was so tired, but there was still there was more to do.  She lit her torch and began to burn those bodies closest to her.  The stench of sizzling flesh stung her lungs and eyes, but she didn’t pause as she raced to set more of the fallen ablaze.

The battle had been fast, but not fast enough.   She tried to cry, but the tears were too tired to come.  As the moon rose, so did the fallen.  She could only set herself on fire.  One fewer for the enemy.

 

Image: i.pinimg.com/originals/d2/c0/61/d2c06151201d367589923c0bc0d96c22.jpg

It’s Just Beer (a 200 word story)

He picked up his beer bottle and cried.   Today had been such a rollercoaster.  He closed his eyes and relived their last conversation.


“I can’t believe you bought that,” she said.

He cradled his prize like a baby.  “Why not?” he asked.

“Just put that beer back or I’m going to leave you.”

“But it’s not just a beer.”

“What is it then?”

“Look, it’s in a copper bottle.  See?”  He slightly shook it in front of her face.

“You really want to do this again after the last time?”

“You’re the one wanting to do it again.  I am just getting my beer.”

“I can’t handle this.  It’s become a ridiculous habit.  Look, it’s either the beer or me.”

“Really?”

She placed her balled fists on her hips and cocked her head to the side.  “Do I look like I’m joking?”


He looked at the empty bottle of Sam Adam’s Utopia.  She had left him, but now so did the beer.  Life just wasn’t fair.  He wondered if he could get her back.  He opened his wallet to see if he had the $150 to buy another bottle.  Nothing was there.

“Damn!  Guess I’m back to Pabst Blue Ribbon.”

 

Image: moneyinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Sam-Adams-Utopia–750×563.jpg

Apocalypse Mom

This wasn’t her first apocalypse.  Hell, it was at least her third today, but now those around her were freaking out.  Yeah, things looked bad, but after all the stuff she had been through this latest meltdown was nothing.  She pumped her shotgun with one hand and grinned.  Today would either kill her or make her stronger.  It was up to her to find out which.  She threw open the door and the sun blinded her.

She bolted up in bed as the window shade spun.  The stupid thing must have decided to coil up on its own.  She took stock of her situation.  She was relieved that the world wasn’t going to end, but there was something about being a badass that she felt was missing.

Suddenly there was a scream, a crashing of something downstairs, and then someone crying hysterically.  Okay, so this would be her fourth apocalypse today, but she had this.  She just wished she still had the shotgun.

 

Image: cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/3572094950_ba7c27f9b2_b.jpg

A Special Mother’s Day

Jimmy beamed as he handed an envelope to Lauren.  “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy.”

Lauren gave Jimmy a curt smile.  She opened the envelope and liberated the card from inside.  It prominently displayed a brown rabbit with a folded ear exclaiming “Happy Easter!”.  Well, the Easter had a line through it and Mother’s Day was written in a messy, but recognizable, small scrawl that approximated printing.

“Wow, dear,” she said absentmindedly as she opened the card.  There, in perfect cursive, was ‘To my beloved son, Jimmy!  Love you!’

“You shouldn’t have,” Lauren said in a tone that emphasized he really shouldn’t have.

That bit of sarcasm didn’t seem to phase him.  “Well, I wanted to show how much I love you,” Jimmy said, that inane smile of his plastered on his face.

Lauren sighed inwardly.  He really thought he was getting away with this one.  She couldn’t keep herself from commenting.

“This is the Easter card I gave you honey,” Lauren said.

He pointed excitedly at her handwriting.  “I know.  That’s why it’s so perfect.  You always told me to use, reuse, and recycle.”  That grin got even larger.  It threatened to swallow up his ears.

Lauren shook her head in disbelief, but she couldn’t keep a wistful smile from her own lips.  “Yes, I did tell you that.”

She went to put the card into the recycling, taking her own advice, when he reached out.  “Wait, Mommy!  Can I have it back?”

She stopped mid-pitch with an uneasy feeling in her stomach.  “Why do you want it back?” she asked.

“Well, I figured I could give it again.”

“But I already saw it, dear.”

“But not Suzy’s mom.”

That made Lauren do a double take.  “You want to give it to your wife’s mom?”

“Sure.  She will love it.”

Lauren smiled a true smile and handed him the card.  Yes, Suzy’s mom would love it, and understand totally what had happened.  Suzy and Jimmy were two peas in a pod.  “Yes, Jimmy.  Do you want me to find a different envelope though?”

Jimmy was so happy he practically vibrated.  “You betcha!”

 

Image:   i.pinimg.com/originals/8c/97/f3/8c97f396734c5a3ab2a8dae5be519b1d.jpg

Stubbed (a 150 word story)

Jeremy felt a sharp stabbing pain in his big toe.  “What the hell!” he exclaimed under his breath.  That might have hurt, but his dad mode was turned up to eleven since he had finally gotten the kids to bed.  They needed so much coddling and consoling to get them there.  He knew he didn’t want to go through that again if he could help it.

He looked down to see what he had jammed his toe into and there was the stainless steel dog bowl.

“Damn it all.  I thought I told the kids to pick that up.”

Then the realization hit him.  He slumped to the floor next to the bowl and tears threatened to flow.  He took out the Milk-Bones box from the cupboard next to him.  He grabbed one out and looked at it.  The tears were flowing freely, and he now allowed himself to grieve.

 

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The Fable of the Mountain Lioness and the Dragon

Once upon a time, there was a mountain lioness.  She was a proud, majestic animal.  She was proud, but fair, to those around her.

A strange shadow fell over the land.  Everything seemed to shiver as the sun was obscured.  The animals were frightened.  They didn’t understand what was happening.

The mountain lioness was afraid as well, but she felt sure down to her paws that she was the one to rid the world of the shadow.  She set off on her quest.  Her travels took her to the plains as the shadows continued to grow.  She searched far and wide to figure out what was happening.

The rumors started creeping along the plains.  The shadow was being caused by one of the fallen, a mythical dragon come to enact his wrath upon the light.  It wanted the darkness to clothe the earth.  It wanted the light to disappear forever.

The mountain lioness stopped in her tracks.  She thought, “How can I go up against something that powerful that can actually consume the sun?”  She wanted to flee back to her mountain and enjoy what time was left for her and her family.  She knew no one would blame her for doing so.

But she shook her head and growled.  She was a strong lioness.  She was a hunter and a killer of prey.  She was fierce enough.  She was strong enough.  She knew she had to do something.

So she continued on, heading to the ocean.  The journey was long and arduous, and by the time she could hear the crashing surf, the sun was almost gone.

She set paw on the wet sand with her head bowed from the exertion of covering the distance in a short time.  She had not hunted.  She had not slept.  She was fur and bones, held together with resolve and determination.  The water lapped at her feet when she finally forced her head up and took in the horrific sight.

There in the sky, there was a dragon.  The dragon was sucking in light from the sun.  It had consumed so much that the sun was dimmer than the moon.

The mountain lioness summoned up the remnants of her once great strength and shouted, “Stop!”

The dragon paused in its eating and turned its head to look upon the lioness.  Its eyes glowed fiercely and when it spoke, its voice was punctuated with flashes of light, like fireworks.  “Pitiful creature,” it boomed, “you cannot command me.  I am almost done eating the sun and committing this world to darkness.  Leave me alone to my task and when I am done I will bless you with a quick and merciful death.  If you interrupt me again, your death will be painful.”

The lioness thought about turning and running right there.  She thought, “Who am I to take on such an awesomely powerful creature?  I am a mere lioness, I can hunt, I can prowl, and I can lead my pride, but I am not a force of nature.”

She took one step back, then two.

There was no one there to stop her from running.

There was no one there at all.

That’s when she stopped.

There was no one else there.

No one else that could do anything.

She stiffened her spine.

She crouched down.

She stood tall and roared, “STOP!”

The dragon paused, the sun a mere shadow in the sky. The stars were twinkling in mirth at its inability of the sun to obscure them anymore.

Surprise followed quickly by anger shown from the dragon’s fiery gaze.  “You dare talk to me again?”  The dragon shoved its maw close to the mountain lioness.  “You dare tell me what to do?”

The lioness didn’t flinch.  “You dare complain?  I ask you who gave you permission to consume the sun?”

The dragon chuckled a dark chuckle that almost knocked down the lioness.  “No one needs give me permission.  I take it, like I will take your life!”

“You can have my life you cursed creature,” she said, “but why must the darkness win?”

“The world must be doomed to darkness.  It is too painful to see in the light.”

“But why?” the mountain lioness asked.  “What is so bad that the light must not touch the earth?”

“Don’t you see,” the dragon roared, rising again to its full height.  “The earth is covered with evil.  The light doesn’t do its job and sear it away under its powerful eye.  Since the light will not do its job, I will condemn the earth to the darkness it deserves.”

The mountain lioness roared.  “You fool!  Yes, the earth is covered with evil, but it is also covered in good.  You are cursing and condemning those good ones to hide that evil you despise.”

“Where do you see good?” the dragon demanded.  “I see it not!”

“Do you claim I am evil? The lioness challenged.

The dragon stared deep into her eyes.  He looked down into her soul.

The mountain lioness almost broke again.  Those eyes laid her very being naked in front of the dragon’s hungry stare.

But she stood her ground, never blinking, never showing her fear.

As a matter of fact, she didn’t even feel the fear now.  She was burning it to fuel the anger and courage she was using right then.  It burnt bright and hot.  It hurt to stoke that fire inside of her, but it was the only thing she could do.  She mentally dared the dragon to touch it.

The dragon blinked first.

“Doesn’t matter,” it said.”

“What do you mean?” the lioness roared from the depths of that fire inside of her.  “I do not matter?”  She took one step, then two steps toward the dragon.  “How dare you!”

The dragon took a step back, then two.  “But you are just one,” it said softly.  “The evil is overwhelming.”

“You are overwhelmed?” she laughed.  She took another step forward.  “You are able to consume the sun.”

The dragon took another step back.  It looked smaller, frailer.  It didn’t speak.  It didn’t meet her gaze.

“With your power, we can strike fear in that evil.”

The dragon stared at the mountain lioness again.  “We?”

“I will join you.  Release the light and together we will banish the evil and not the light.”

The dragon paused, then lifted its mouth to the heavens and roared.  The light the dragon had consumed was released to the sky above.

The stars screamed when the sun flared back to life.

The mountain lioness unleashed her roar as well, unleashing her fury that she had inside of her, and the sun shone even brighter.

They are still finding evil and bringing the light to scour it from the earth.  If you doubt, go outside on a sunny day and feel their promise and decide if you want to become part of the “We”.

 

Image: kids.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/kids/photos/animals/Mammals/H-P/mountain-lion-on-rock.adapt.945.1.jpg

Broken? (a short Easter story)

Pierce pointed at Jenny’s broken locket.  “Why do you wear that stupid old broken thing?” he asked.  “It’s Easter.  Shouldn’t you wear a cross, or do you not believe?”

Jenny shook her head.  She lifted up the locket, its hinge mostly broken, never to close again, its contents lost to the world.  “I wear this because I believe.”

“What?  You don’t make any sense.”

Jenny pointed at Pierce’s cross.  “That is a symbol of sacrifice and death.”

“Uh, yeah?  That’s the whole idea.”  Pierce’s eyes rolled up into his head so hard it almost sounded like a slot machine spinning..  Once they returned to normal he continued.  “God sent his son as the final sacrifice.  I thought you said you believed.”

“I do.  This represents the empty tomb.  That means death is conquered.  I am saved as long as I believe in this.  That’s why my locket is empty and can’t be closed back up.”

Pierce stumbled a bit mentally as he processed what just happened.  “So what you’re saying is?”

“Without this,” she lifted her broken locket, “that,” she pointed at the cross, “is just a gory end to a magnificent man.”

“Where can I get one of those?” Pierce asked.

Jenny folded her arms in front of her.  “I thought you said it was stupid.”

“Once I was blind, but now I see?”

She shoved his shoulder.  “That was bad.”

Peirce laughed.  “Happy Easter?”

Jenny joined in is laughter.  “Happy Easter.”

 

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