Tell your story

Steve at Msich Chronicles has passed me, as well as the incomparable Tom and Naturally Calamity Jane, the baton in the Tell the Story challenge. It’s quite simple, look at a picture and tell its story. I welcome this challenge, it may be just what I need to get going again. I hope you enjoy it, and I also hope you check out Steve, Tom and Jane’s Blogs. They really are exceptional bloggers and people.

It’s almost Spring in New Hampshire.

I survived my second winter
.

This is my home.
See that matted down spot under the tree? That’s my bed. For so long it was covered in snow and ice. I still laid there, it was the only comfort, the only normal I would have during the cold months. As it got colder, the matted leaves were replaced by snow and ice. So. Much. Snow. The dense woods were thick and shielded me a bit from the harsh winds and falling snow but it was so cold, so very cold.
My bed was lucky, for me at least.
My sister, not so much.
See all of the fallen branches? The heavy snow and high winds brought them down. She was nesting down under another tree close by and the wind blew so hard it toppled her tree. As it crashed down she got scared and frantically darted off. She was so spooked she ran into the road and was hit by one of those fast metal things with glowing eyes on its front.
The human in the metal thing stood over her as she died. He cried. I cried too, from a distance, safely in the brush and far enough away that I could run if the human came for me. I wanted to trust him because he didn’t have the long thing in his hands that shoots thunder. But I couldn’t be too careful. One of them killed my Daddy a few months ago.


Mommy was sad but strong and I trusted her to get us through the cold months. She taught us the safety of routine. Each day Mommy, me and my two remaining sisters faithfully followed our path. We walked through the same trails, leaped over the growing snowbanks, carefully walked through the clearings of the human dwellings. Mommy knew we were scared but we followed her, she was all we had.

Once in a while, we would encounter the nice human with the checkered coat. He always smiled at us. We wanted to trust him, but that whole thunderstick thing prevented it. Mommy said he looked worried about us. She said he sometimes had food in his open hand, kneeling down and gesturing for us to come closer. I wanted the food but Mommy said no. She told me she was tempted once or twice to get a little closer but couldn’t take the chance of us getting hurt. We were resigned to watch him from far away, our eyes intent, our ears up, watching for when he took a step towards us. We always bolted when he did that. I think he’s a good human, but Mommy has lost enough already.

Many humans want to feed us. They worry, they wonder how we get through the winter. We manage to eat enough to survive. See that spot on the tree that is missing bark? This is one of the things we eat, and tree bark is plentiful. Berries taste better but it works for now. It has to.
Still, I’m looking forward to the berries.
Soon, the leaves in my special little spot will dry up. Soon, I will feel the warm sun on my coat. Soon, the pond will melt and I will be able to drink the cold water. Soon, Mommy will search for a new Daddy for us.
She deserves it. We do too.

I love my special little clearing in the woods. I love my bed. I love my Mommy. I love watching humans…from a distance of course. I love feeling safe.


For now.

When the leaves start falling on my bed, in my clearing, it will be time to brace myself again for the short days, the cold nights and the Thundersticks booming in the near distance.

Until then, I will enjoy the reprieve of Springtime in New Hampshire.

I nominate BPD Bella,  JT Twissel and Dan Antion @ No Facilities to tell a story about this image.

Have fun

Just Jot it January #14–Reflection

Today you are this

tomorrow you’ll be that

do you want to be skinny

or live with being fat

should you smoke or not

because a girl thinks it’s hot

how important is it to be cool

or is conformity for fools

are you a tough guy

one who’s afraid to cry

or a sensitive chap

that cries in his lap

what are your passions

do you care about fashion

do you have opinions

just like the minions

will you stand up and fight

if you know you are right

or will you just go along

follow the mindless throng

even if they’re wrong

there’s so much riding

on whom you are siding

on style and trends

on who you call friends

it may take you a while

to find your own style

friends who like you for you

and all of the things that you do

that’ll let you write your story

in all your weird glory

there’s no one like you

to your uniqueness always be true

at the end of the day

being you is OK

you may have trouble finding

and may need some reminding

that the proper direction

is in your reflection

for nothing speaks clearer

than the man in the mirror

#SoCS & #JusJoJan 2019 Daily Prompt – Jan. 12th

The prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “art.” Talk about something that’s hanging on your wall. Add a picture, if you’d like. If you have no art on your walls, talk about something in a museum. Have fun!

Something hanging on my wall

There are many items that adorn the walls around me as I compose this post. I really can’t single one out for they share a connection. They all make me think of my father.

I am in my favorite place to write, the finished basement of my mom’s house. Originally purchased as a summer home, the small chalet was expanded and remodeled into a full house by the time they retired up here in 2001. It went from “the summer home”, to “my parents house”, and now that my dad has passed it is known as “mom’s house.”

Nothing says more about my father than this house. He dedicated time and money he didn’t have to make it perfect. A house that his wife would be proud of (her opinions mattered on every detail in every room), that his kids could bring his grandchildren, and one that he could grow old in. The finished basement was his last accomplishment. I love the entire house, his touches are everywhere. But none so much as this room, it’s my favorite place to be.

As I look around the room the first thing I notice is the curio cabinet. He built it special for mom to put her amazing collection of curios. It is a one of a kind, like him.

My attention is then drawn to the painting of his favorite view. It is a path in the woods, near here, that is entirely covered by a perfectly formed canopy of tree branches. In the summer, it is a cool respite from the heat. In the fall, it is a panorama of colors. In the winter the bent, snow-covered branches form a winter paradise. He took a photo of it once and a friend painted it for him. What a wonderful gift.

Next there is a professional photo of he and my mother. In happier times. His arm around her with a big, genuine smile. He loved her so much he didn’t have to say “cheese”. Her smile speaks volumes also. She doesn’t smile like that anymore. Her smile now is forced, a result of loss, grief and a steadfast resolve to not show how much pain she is hiding.

The next wall is a collage of dog portraits. All spaniels, his favorite. In my life we had 2 Brittany Springers and 3 Cockers. Like cars, he went with what works and Spaniels never let him down.

The last thing I see is on the mantle. A case containing a folded flag that was handed to me at his funeral, by a sharply dressed soldier on behalf of a grateful nation. He never talked about his military service, other than where he was stationed. I will never know much of what he saw. But I know that he volunteered, during the age of the Draft, and he wouldn’t imagine not doing his part for the country he loved so dearly.

The rest of the room contains a lot of cutesy décor, my mother’s touch. Porcelain and wood carved Mallards, embroidery portraits of puppies and various stuffed versions of woodland creatures adorn the room. Mom knows how to cutesy up anything.

Still, in this room I just see Dad everywhere. In the actual sense. I often sleep here, and many times I have awoke to the sensation that he is in the room.

While unlikely, I wish he was. He completed this room soon before he died. He never got to grow old here, which was his goal. He worked so very hard his entire life and never got to enjoy the spoils. It’s really not fair, but he would be the first person to tell me that life never is. He had working man’s wisdom.

What I wouldn’t give to talk to him for just 5 more minutes. If not in this realm then in the next. Until that somehow happens, I have plenty of reminders. They’re hanging on the wall.

Just Jot it January day # 11

The prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 11th is brought to you by M! Click here to find her last SoCS post and say hi while you’re there! M’s word for our prompt today is in SoCS style: “flew/flu/flue.” Use one, use them all, use them anywhere in your post or make one or all the theme of your post. Have fun!


The doctors stood over him
his family sat helplessly by
all they could do was wait
it had been 2 days
since he had last opened his eyes
what they couldn’t see
behind the closed lids
and the motionless body
was the battle raging within
he had won many before
but he had met a worthy opponent
who had the upper hand
the choke hold was on
he was about to tap out
a peace like no other
washed over his body
relaxation coursed through him
the pain was gone
he could see but not move
he helplessly watched
as his spirit materialized
in a mystical wisp of smoke
and spiraled up and out
as if headed up a chimney flue
when he suddenly heard
a faint and faraway voice
whispered through clasped hands
Don’t leave us Dad
I love you so much
it was then that he found his fight
gasped and inhaled with all of his resolve
drew his fleeing soul back in
trapped it in his lungs
and slowly opened his eyes
he saw before him
a translucent eagle
staring intently at him
it lifted its gaze
and flew away on sheer wings
he had won again
the death bastard defeated
let the healing begin

#Just Jot it Jan Day # 10

Today’s prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 10th is brought to you by Toortsie! Click here to find her last post and say hi while you’re there! Toortsie’s word for our prompt today is “sunrise.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!

As I have laid my head on my pillow each night, for as far back as I can remember, I had a veritable highlight reel of fuck-ups to keep me awake. Every thing that I’ve done in my life, from verbal faux pas’ to outright embarrassing episodes, played on repeat mode in my head, ensuring a bad nights sleep.

This is what happens when you are wrapped tighter than a 24 hr Convenience store sandwich. You don’t get in fights. You don’t need to when you’re way above the curve in the pugilistic art of beating the shit out of yourself.

Eventually, as my illness caused my Blood Pressure to escalate to dangerous levels, I was forced to pick and choose what I would become aggravated about. I could no longer afford to harbor resentments, to dwell on the past, and get too caught up in the omnipresent stresses of Management. My job was stressful and difficult so this was no small task. I achieved a meteoric rise in my company and I had a lot of people wishing, and sometimes trying to cause me to fail. I can now admit that I was a bit paranoid. Not “shhh…the Gummint is watching me” paranoid, but instead the “when I’m at a football game and the team is in the huddle they’re talking about me” kind of paranoid. I had to learn not to look behind me, but ahead.

I was pretty successful in dealing with the stressors in the present. I had learned to walk away and not engage unless I really needed to. I could say to myself “not worth it”, “not my circus, not my monkeys”. Not so much, however, when it came to reconciling my past. I continued to ruminate over past goofs and never allowed myself forgiveness.

Until recently. The stress thing has resolved itself. I’m now out of work and my only stressor is what I’m having for dinner this evening (I am downplaying it a bit but you get it). I have forgiven myself. Having been unburdened by disability the possibility of career or financial security I now have easy, attainable goals.

I want to maintain the wonderful relationship I have with my children.
I want to get through dialysis without getting gravely ill (again) and get a new Kidney.
I want to interact with my fellow man in a courteous, compassionate, and respectful manner.
I want to always be looking up and around, not down at the ground, because I don’t want to miss a single thing to be grateful for.

Now, if I find myself tossing and turning all night, I have the benefit of looking at the skyline at dawn, which is the glory and the beauty of each new day. With every sunrise comes a new opportunity to make a day that is better than the one before.

When you don’t know how many days you actually have left, the beautiful glow of the rising sun means a whole lot more.

Finish The Story–The final hunt part 7

sAll about Life has tagged me for something new today and that’s to add to a story originally started by Teresa, the Haunted Wordsmith; it’s like a kind of blogging relay race apparently. This is the story so far……

Teresa’s Part:

Anne and Gladys waved as the men left for their hunt. When they were out of sight, they both laughed knowing full well that none would have the heart to really shoot anything. They liked a boy’s day out as much as they liked a girl’s day in.

“So,” Fred said as they passed the gate into his family’s hunting grounds. “What do you think the girls are up to today?”

Alec laughed. “Talking about us, what else?”

Sam nodded. “Yep.”

As they walked through the fields into the tree line, the dogs’ ears’ picked up. Boy whimpered and cowered close to Fred’s legs. Toby’s fur stood on edge as he stared into the woods and growled.

“Easy there,” Alec said, trying to calm him.

Sam kneeled and unzipped his gun as quietly as possible. Suddenly, both dogs were on alert as a …

Morpethroad wrote:

small, bespectacled man stepped through the bushes. The dogs were going berserk by now straining at their leashes. It was clear the dogs sensed a danger the men did not see.

The man walking towards them was squinting as he approached as he had the sun in his eyes.

“Good afternoon,” he said as he drew near, “your dogs won’t bite will they? I do have a fear of them.”

Sam stood with his gun in his hands unsure of what he was seeing and hearing. The place they were in was a piece of rugged bushland, no one lived there because it was the family’s hunting grounds and it was considered unsafe to even camp on the land for any reason at all.

Fred was trying his best to hold onto his dog, and Alec held firm on Toby’s collar. Once the small man came within a few feet of the hunting party, they could see…

Pensitivity101 continues:

he was holding something in a plastic bag.

Fred lost his grip and Boy lunged at the man who dropped the bag on the ground and threw his arms up to protect his face.

Fred was afraid they would have to shoot the dog but Boy wasn’t interested in the man at all, just the bag, which he snatched up and obediently brought back to his master.

The little man was shaking with fear as Sam reached out his hand to help him up.

“You realise you’re trespassing don’t you?” he said.

The man straightened his glasses and collected himself.

“I’m sorry about that, but we’d received a repor….”

“We? Who is we? And what are you doing here? You could have been shot!”

Fred had taken the bag out of Boy’s mouth and stared at the contents in disbelief.

“Guys? I think you need to look at this.”

Sadje’s contribution:

Sam and Alec stepped forward to take a look at what was in the bag. Fred’s hand, clutching the bag, was trembling. The bag contained a severed hand, the digits were shaped like a claw. But it was like no human hand they had ever seen. It was like it belonged to someone very big and skinny.

“Whe…, Ahm….Where did you find this?” Alec uttered the question through vocal cords which were refusing to cooperate. Sam and Fred were looking askance at the stranger. The whole situation had taken on a nightmarish quality.

The man, again made an attempt to introduce himself. “I am Bennett, from The Agency of Alien Detection, TAAD. We received the alien activity signals from this area and a party has been investigating the situation. This is part of the remains we were able to recover. Do you have any information regarding this?”

The three men stared at him with gapping mouth and glazed looks. Who in their right mind would believe this man. But the evidence was in their hands.

Sam took the bag from Fred and was going to examine it closely when…

Cheryl added:

…when the bag’s contents started moving. The claw-like severed hand was scratching at the plastic bag. Sam dropped it like a hot potato! The boys started to freak out and started to whimper. The spectacled man even stepped back. “Oh my,” Bennett stuttered, “I thought it was, uh, uh, dead!”

Sam kept his gun at the ready. There was no way this “thing” was going to hurt the boys. Bennett fumbled nervously in his pocket to retrieve what looked like a cell phone, but was actually a communicator to the rest of the landing crew. His face seemed to change shape a bit and he started to adjust his hair. Sam looked at the little man with more than just curiosity. Who was this guy, really?

This was Fandango’s contribution

“Do not touch that bag!” Bennett, who was no longer a small, bespectacled, unimposing man, shouted. He had suddenly grown taller. His skin took on a shiny, reddish tone and his hands took on the same claw-like shape of the severed hand in the bag. The three men stepped back and even the two dogs stopped barking and cowered.

“What are you?” Alec asked. “you definitely are not human.”

“No,” Bennett admitted, “I am not. My companion and I were sent here from our home planet to explore your planet. Our mission was peaceful. Our intent was merely to collect air and mineral samples. We intended no harm. But then we encountered a hostile group of creatures who jumped my companion. I’m ashamed to say that I ran for cover, while these creatures devoured my companion. All that was left of him was the hand that I put in the bag. But he is apparently beginning the regeneration process.”

“Creatures? What kind of creatures?” Sam asked.

“Similar to those,” Bennett said, pointing to the two dogs, “but larger and much more viscous.”

“Wolves,” Fred said.

Sam raised his rifle and aimed it at the alien. “Sam, what are you doing?” Alec shouted.

Suddenly…

Now over to me:

There was a noise overhead and both Alec and Sam turned sharply to try and identify it’s source; necks craning upwards they searched the sky but there was nothing other than a dense cloud bank.

“Looks like there’s a storm coming” said Alec “Perhaps it was thunder we heard”

He turned to look at Sam who had resumed his position; stock still with his gun aimed at Bennett’s head

“That wasn’t thunder, was it Mr Bennett?” Sam said quietly

“Sam! Please put down your gun, there’s no need for threats, Mr Bennett has explained that he has no beef with us, he’s just doing some research”

Alec was surprised at his friend’s behaviour especially as Boy and Toby were no longer agitated but laying peacefully at their feet. In his experience dogs were far better attuned to sense danger than any human.

“And you believe him do you?” Sam was absolutely rigid and he spoke from the corner of his mouth through clenched teeth as though in mortal terror or suppressed anger, Alec couldn’t be sure which.

“Yes I believe him Sam now put the gun down for God’s sake before some gets hurt”

Alec was becoming genuinely concerned, they were both hunters but he knew from long experience that Sam was not a violent man. He stepped forward to try to placate his friend and persuade him to drop his weapon.= but just then the sky darkened and………..

MY contribution:

They were slammed to the ground by a sudden, swirling and violent thrust of downward pressure. The trees bent outwards in futile surrender as they were pelted by leaves and underbrush. The noise was deafening. The dogs, unable to stand, yelped as they crawled towards the outskirts of the clearing. Sam, having lost his tenuous grip on the shotgun, helplessly watched as it was flung beyond his sight. He found himself being tossed around on the forest floor as he tried to find something to hold onto. He cried out to Alec who was frantically hugging the base of a tree at least 20 feet away.

“Alec! What the ever loving f&*k is going on?!” He shouted. As the words left his mouth he knew that the cacophony around him had drowned him out.

Alec, instead of futilely trying to shout over the deafening noise waved his right arm, his left clinging to the tree base, caught Sam’s attention and frantically pointed upwards, jabbing at the forest ceiling.

Suddenly branches and debris began raining down upon them and both men cowered under the onslaught. Sam forced himself to look up. Squinting and covering his eyes with one hand he could see a large object slowly lowering itself into the clearing, effortlessly forcing aside the trees that dared block its descent.

The heat was overwhelming, Sam could only presume it was exhaust.

But from what?

He scrambled to escape the clearing. Alec, with a sudden burst of brevity let go of the tree and did a military crawl to join his friend. Once he reached Sam they locked arms and watched what they could only presume was Bennett’s ride home finish it’s descent.

I tag Steve @ MSich Chronicles to take it to the next level.

These are the rules:

1. Copy the story as you receive it.
2. Add to the story in some fashion.
3. Tag another person to contribute to or finish the story.
4. Please use FTS as a tag so Teresa can find it or link back to part 1.
5. Have Fun!