Divin’ In

BEEP BEEP BEEP

Clara clawed at the night stand, groping for her phone and swiped the screen to stop the noise. “God I hate alarms.”

She looked across the room at the other bed where a lump with a spray of messy blonde spilled across a pillow and wondered at her daughter’s ability to sleep through the blaring alarm.

“Luce. Time to rise and shine.”

An arm poked out, then two and then a muffled “whump” as she flopped the covers off.

Her voice wispy and scratchy from sleep she muttered, “Morning Mommy.”

“Hop to it kiddo. You’re going to Ida and Frank today. Mommy’s got to get an early start today if she’s going to find a job.”

~*~

After a good breakfast a cup of strong coffee and her stainless travel mug filled with more, Clara headed out. Ida and Frank put up a fuss about looking for work like she knew they would. It was time to really move on. Idling felt too much like freeloading and that wasn’t her style. She had decided Spencer was a good place to settle down with Lucy. It was far enough from Shane and her family and they could start clean.

She gleaned the want ads in the local paper and online while she sipped coffee and found a handful of places where she could apply. The Library in Gilbert, the town 10 miles North, had a full time position open, a couple of café’s in Spencer and Bygone Antiquities, the vast antique store on the edge of town.

She started at the library where she had a chance for more hours and benefits. Unfortunately, they wanted experience and a library science degree. She left applications at The Coffee Cup Diner and Chic Eats, unsure either would work because the unpredictable shifts could cause problems.

Discouraged, she drove through town and worried she might not find something as soon as she hoped. Pulling into the parking lot, she shut the car off. The effects of her lousy sleep washed over her in a wave of weariness. With eyes closed, she gripped the steering wheel and took deep breaths. When she opened her eyes the sun dazzle the blue Swarovski beads of her rosary that dangled from the mirror and she heard Mother Elizabeth’s strong, sure voice, “ Mind your prayer life sisters. ‘Go oft to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.’ Remember Emerson’s words. Prayer pulls the weeds so you can clearly see the path to God.”

The memory sparked a smile. Grabbing her phone and purse, she opened the car door and told herself, “This is gonna be the one. Come on Clara, take a leap of faith. OK. I’m divin’ in.”

~*~

Last time with ”Faith from Ruin” ~ Tomorrow

I’m back with Write on Edge for their prompt. Clara is finding her feet and trying to move forward. A little extra inspiration from Steven Curtis Chapman and his song “Dive”. Write on Edge offered this as inspiration:

Use the quote as an opening/closing line, draw inspiration from a single word within it….

“Go oft to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Turning the Corner

”Faith from Ruin” last time ~ Reasons

” Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.’ ” Ida’s softly etched face smiled at Frank then Clara as she explained.

“I found that quote years ago. Do you know Tolkien? Oh of course you do. Well he wrote more than a story about a Hobbit and a merry band of misfits lookin’ for a ring. His poetry is magical. At a place in my life this quote brought me much comfort and today I’m giving it to you.”

Clara’s eyes pooled and spilled over as a deep sob escaped. Her lowered head swayed while she spoke.

“The last few months in Allentown were hell. No one knew what Shane was like. They all loved him. I didn’t have support from my family or friends. No one believed me!”

Ida crossed the room, retrieve  tissues from the window sill, handed them to Clara while Frank squeezed her hand.

“When I found you guys, it was, just too good to be true. I’m not sure how I deserve the goodness you’ve given me . . . us. We . . . I don’t know how we will ever repay you. It’s almost too much.”

Her head dropped onto crossed armed and she wept.

Ida stood, put her arm across Clara’s back, and urged her to stand.

“Frank, you keep little Lucy entertained for a bit. Dear, let’s get some fresh air.”

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

The screen door slapped the door jam as they walked away from the back of the  motel. Ida led her toward the greenness of the awakening farm fields where a furrowed double track country road began. There was a sharp edge to the air and the vividness of a thunderstorm brewing in the west.

“Honey, your road began when you left Allentown. Brand new, your future in front of you. Drove blindly in a direction and God’s hand led you here. To us.”

She swept Clara’s hand into both of hers and continued.

“You are our gift too. We missed out on kids and grandkids. It wasn’t in God’s plan.”

The brittle old straw rustled and swished beneath their feet and a brief silence held them.

“But we always had each other and I’ve never regretted the road I chose.”

Ida stopped and faced Clara. With heartfelt sincerity she pressed on.

“We have a chance to make a difference Clara and in this short time we’ve grown to love you and little Lucy. We want to help however we can even if it’s just a little room, babysitting and dinner every night while you get on your feet.”

A smile teased the corner of Clara’s mouth and with both hands she scrubbed away the tears. She turned and looked down the long  Iowa country road that disappeared in the distance.

“Ida, I promise, I won’t take advantage. I accept your gift. Lucy and I have found a new family. I’m ready to walk through that secret gate.”

stylized-plant-separationstylized-plant-separationstylized-plant-separation

Sometimes you have to slap your muse around and kick her in the shins to get things moving. This long spell of missing inspiration had to come to an end and sometimes you just need to do it. Start writing.

I found the wonderful Tolkien quote along with the photograph at Write On Edge. Their prompt gave me 500 words to work with and I pried out a new post for Faith from Ruin.

I liked the lyrics in Metallica’s song “Nothing Else Matters” but decided to find a good cover. This one by Lissie fit the bill perfect! The song sung by a woman seemed appropriate, and honestly? She kills it! Might like it better than the original.

Writing Prompt: 2014, Week 12

The Space Between

”Faith from Ruin” last time ~ Graceful Kindness

“Good morning Mommy!” her tiny voice chimed. “Are you awake?”

Clara stretched and turned her head toward her daughter. A laugh caught in her yawn “I am now. Let’s get dressed and go see Miss Ida.”

“For cookies?”

“I don’t know Button. It’s rude to ask, but if she offers, sure.”

After showers and some much needed girl primping, they slipped on light jackets against the brisk Northern air that blew in overnight. This time the office was warmly lit, and the door unlocked. Clara closer her eyes and breathed in the smell of fresh brewed coffee. She saw a beautifully set side table, resplendent with treats and delicate cups for coffee. She hadn’t noticed the welcoming warmth of the tiny lobby the night before.

Sharons table & cookies

“Clara! How wonderful. Did you and Lucy sleep well last night? Help yourself to a cup of coffee and a cookie.”

They stepped over to the table. Clara poured a cup of coffee and handed a cookie to Lucy and took one for herself.

“Ida, thank you so much for your kindness. Shall we get thing squared away?”

Waving her off Ida smiled wide and pooh-poohed, “Oh, pshh! I can see plain as day you need a place for a bit. Just fill out a room card and don’t even worry about the rest.”

Her eyes widened and filled she stammered, “I-I don’t know how you know, but I-I can’t thank you enough.”

She turned away, sniffled swiping at her eyes. “Um, can you tell me where St. James Church is? I, um, well I need to find it.”

“Sure thing sweetie. Come look at the town map.”

stylized-plant-separation

Clara couldn’t explain why she trusted Ida completely, but she took her up on the offer to watch Lucy while she went to St. James. She parked her silver Malibu on the street in front of the church. The church was like a miniature Gothic cathedral, complete with a tower and steeply pitched roof which made it appear much taller. Her sneakers squeaked on the shiny marble floors. She dipped fingers into cool Holy water and blessed silently, Father-Son-Holy Spirit. She drifted forward quietly, slid into a pew, first seated on the cool oak then kneeling on sunken, well-worn kneelers.

The familiar comfort of echoes, and groans always found within sacred walls, eased her worries, walls where she felt safe from pain. Eyes closed she saw arms stretch out to her offering warmth and repose. She heard occasional quiet tap tap taps and kneelers creak as other mortals came and went.

Clara slowly calmed into steady tranquility as her internal conversation continued and the space between the turmoil of her flight, and the peace where her soul truth dwelt was bridged.

stylized-plant-separation

Write at the Merge-Week 36

This week at Write at the Merge we were given this for inspiration:

“This week, I’m going to ask you to write about the space between, the pause between two events using the following as prompts: Led Zepplin’s Ramble On or Dave Matthews Band ‘The Space Between’. I’m going to ask you to write about the space between, the pause between two events”

I’m a huge Dave Matthews fan back before they were big and touring all over the Northern US playing in small venues and stacking up fans. Of course, I chose The Space Between and lucky me, it is perfect for Faith from Ruin.

Photo of cookies and coffee provided lovingly by my dear friend Sharon. A piece of her heavenly home.

The Long Road

Last ”Faith from Ruin” installment — Evil Robots

The night and the road droned endlessly. She was surprised and thankful fatigue was no where near. The conversation with Shane had amped her, zapping away every drop of weariness she had felt before the nasty exchange. Thankfully, Lucy, who woke when she got back into the car, fell back asleep after a drink of water and Clara’s special lullaby.

Her wide-awake state, the emptiness of the road, and the quiet car gave her too much time in her own head. Her mind jumped from her anger and fear of Shane, to resentment and more anger toward her sister, then off to regret and self-loathing for falling for a jerk like Shane to begin with, then, the observations of everyone else. She didn’t want the judgmental brand “Abused Wife.” Rather if she were to be branded she would rather be judged “Survivor,” or”Savvy.”

Another four hours driving and pangs of hunger gnawed. She started to look for mile markers and signs for the next town. She watched for overpasses with off ramps where signs were often posted on the on ramp side. A few attentive miles paid off when a familiar box of green, numbers and letters like blinding beams announced 12 miles to Hamilton. She had no idea what to expect, but decided it was time for a break.

millies tavern

Fifteen minutes later, Clara drove into a little hamlet and passed a 24-hour Denny’s. Further on, a raucous, rowdy bar with the harmless, yet titillating name “Millie’s Tavern” slid past. She drove on and passed quiet storefronts and empty side streets. Other than Millie’s, Hamilton was the quintessential sleepy town. She turned around in the elementary school parking lot and headed back to Denny’s.

She parked and shut the car off. Her legs tingled and ears rang slightly from the absence of road noise. Lucy sat up, bleary eyed and disoriented.

“Mommy? Where are we?”

“Are you hungry Button? I’m starving! Let’s go have pancakes, OK?”

“Yay! With strawberries?”

“Absolutely.”

stylized-plant-separation
 
This time for Faith from Ruin, I’m giving you 330 words and I’m writing with inspiration from two different prompt, Trifecta and Write On Edge’s Write at the Merge. Can’t have a post without a good song to go with it. Sheryl Crow is an upbeat song but she talks about winding roads and faded signs, so hey, I made it work.
Trifextra: Week 91

Trifextra: Week 91

Trifecta’s (post 33-333 words) word this week, third definition is:

BRAND (noun)
1a : a charred piece of wood
b : firebrand
c : something (as lightning) that resembles a firebrand
2: sword
3a (1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership
(2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark
b (1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron
(2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma <the brand of poverty

AND

Write at the Merge (a now defunct site) provided the photo “Millie’s Tavern” and a song by The Beastie Boys. I chose inspiration from the photo only. Post is to be done with a word limit of no more than 500 words.

Finding Answers

****Previous installment of Vivid Black Coming Down

https://i0.wp.com/ttnewsflash.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Pool-of-blood-300x224.jpg

The uniform with the bull horn did his best to keep the “zombies” and the rest of the crowd away from the crime scene at Wyoming State University. Several officers and a street crew worked to set up barricades and rolled out tape to keep them back. Henry stood over the body while McEwin crouched down to help the Medical Examiner look for ID on the male victim dressed as a zombie. It was hard to determine which slashes were “zombie” and which were real. The only certainty was what the coagulating, syrupy pool of blood meant.

Finding leads in this case was slow. The killer easily moved among Zombie Gauntlet events filled with fake zombies, victims, and a mock apocalypse completed with people who ran and screamed bloody murder. Over confident, the Zombie Reaper had become sloppy. Adrenalin surged through Henry as he saw the victims hand tightly clenched around something. A bloody knife next to a park bench along the Quad was like a late Christmas gift.

Anxious to get the scene tied up he tried to hurry Medical Examiner Dr. Janice Jones, but she had her own pace and procedures. She chose words and delivered them inca clipped tone as she informed him, “I could hurry or I could do it right. I’ll wait while you decide detective.”

Arms crossed over her 5 foot frame, she glared at him and waited for his response. His attitude was quickly dampened by the petite red head with the firecracker attitude.

“Uh, OK. Well, you do your job. CSU is still working anyway.”

He turned and shuffled away in a hangdog posture and muttered, “I’ll leave you alone. Maybe you’ll work faster that way.”

Walking to the yellow crime scene tape, he paced along the perimeter stealing glances into the crowd looking for expressions and behaviors that might give away someone who knew something. Hanging on the edge of the crowd, was Max, and Sarah Jane’s friend McKinley. Max was teetering back and forth from foot to foot chewing on a nail. McKinley was closed off, arms crossed, ashen with shock and fear.

Henry lifted the tape and walked under, winding his way to the pair.

“Max. You seem a little nervous.”

“Shut up man! You come up to me and ask questions in front of all these people and I’m gonna be the one they blame for all this crap!”

Henry shifted so he was at an angle facing slightly away from McKinley.

“McKinley, does your mom know you’re here?”

He signaled with his head “Why don’t you wander over to my car. The officer standing there will let you in.”

He caught the officers eye, indicated with a glance toward McKinley and slowly nodded. She looked up with vacant eyes and moved toward the car.

“Max.”

“What do you want?”

Henry stepped in front of Max and made sure he had his eyes.“You’re not telling me something.”

Max’s gaze shifted, and he sprinted away.

*~*~*~*

Gary Go–Open Arms – Official Video

Gary Go is out there quietly putting out some amazing music, lyrically and musically. This song just fit Henry and his situation as he deals with yet another murder from the now named “Zombie Reaper”.

*~*~*~*

https://i1.wp.com/writeonedge.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/I-Spy-Writing-Prompt.jpg

Inspiration came from Write On Edge’s weekly writing prompt Red Writing Hood. They presented an “I Spy” image with 14 items and instructions to “choose one of the 14 items in this “I Spy” game and use it in a fiction or creative non-fiction piece….Word limit is 500.” I chose the police officer with the bullhorn as my inspiration for another installment in my Vivid Black fiction piece. This piece actually precedes the last one when Ray and Henry lock horns. It will be put into the lineup before “Experienced”

https://i2.wp.com/writeonedge.com/wp-content/images/button.jpg

Lives Collide

****You can find the previous chapter of Vivid Black HERE ~~

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

Sarah Jane carefully concealed the Tracfone. At home, she habitually moved it from place to place and the ringer was always off. It was under her pillow when she slept, or in her battered sling bag, an expected accessory. Her dad was a great detective which meant he was also detective dad at home and if she slipped up it would wreck everything she’d accomplished.

Zombie Gauntlet was her obsession. Max sent texts to “Zombies” and “Normals” with the route and time of the next challenge. Sarah Jane was the top competitor since it began. She had a reputation and a record to defend with each challenge.

Two years ago she asked for a cellphone. She carefully planned her reasons and arguments.

  • Her friend McKinley had one and her parents were super strict.
  • It would give them peace of mind knowing they could get ahold of her any time.
  • She promised she would never go over her minutes and texts or use it in class.
  • She was 14 and had good grades.
  • She knew kids who got smart phones in the third grade.

Predictably, her parents refused. Her Dad said the kids who are in trouble have few or no restrictions and kids and cellphones are a dangerous mix. Her Mom said kids don’t have filters and that they have neither time nor experience to understand the privilege and responsibility. Ray and Leta steadfastly refused to back down.

For Sarah Jane calmness was a rare commodity. In the face of defeat, she succumbed to the potency of her adolescence and her fury exploded like a roman candle. She stormed off to her room stomping, shouting and venting her outrage at the unfairness.

The refusal broke something. Two years later the collision’s wreckage had spun their lives out of control. Her determination to get what she wanted and their dedication to safeguard her innocence cleaved the family. Sarah Jane became disrespectful, dishonest, and defiant. Her parents found they no longer recognized their own child. Their home felt like a pot on the edge of boiling all the time.

The phone gently vibrated the text “ZGC Oct2910 1115pm”, then “21st along park/cemetery. End Lake” Sarah Jane felt the adrenaline rise knowing in two days she would “slay” Zombies and cunningly defeat the horde and win another Challenge.

Ray’s dire warnings didn’t affect her. The danger appealed to her; it was intoxicating.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

This chapter of Vivid Black was inspired by the prompt over at Write On Edge and their Red writing Hood prompt. Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield” is a no brainer for the backstory on Sarah Jane and the rift between her parents. This song came to me the moment I conceived it and it played through my head as I composed the piece.

Here’s what WOE gave us:

This week, you have 400 words to write about collision. It can be literal or figurative, large or small.

Flight Not Fight

**** Previous Installment of Vivid Black – Crossroads and Porch Swings

https://debbiesdays.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/crossroads-and-porch-swings/

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

As he approached, the revolving door welcomed him with its whop, whoosh, whop whoosh and spun him into the airport. He hoisted his canvas drab backpack higher on his shoulder, listing to the right with the weight of his carry-on duffle. Ray lurched to the Frontier ticket counter and checked into his flight.

His flight wouldn’t leave for hours and while a cold beer was appealing he didn’t want to dull or diminish his thoughts; he needed his edge.  So he drifted along the wide hall scattered with travelers encumbered in varying stages of luggage, children and technology. He recognized frustration, panic, exhaustion, and glee in their faces and demeanor. As he wandered, the earthy, rich smell of coffee drifted over the mixed emotions that washed the corridor. It drew Ray in where he found the savory smell of grilled burgers. He sat at the counter and ordered a burger and black coffee.

When the order arrived, he moved to the red vinyl booth in the corner recently occupied by newlyweds still unfamiliar with the routines and behaviors of those jaded and comfortable in marriage. Watching, observing was unavoidable, the consequence of years as a cop. He saw the shabby, unkempt guy whose sallow, scabbed face and dull eyes betrayed his addiction. Ray wondered who was paying for his ticket and hoped he wouldn’t be on his flight.

When he finished his burger he collected his bags and worked his way back to the counter where he ordered and paid for another coffee, then wound his way out and headed toward the gate. He looked over the waiting area, found an empty chair in a long occupied row and crumpled into its small rigid form. Ray exhaled and breathed out the stress of airport ticket counters and invasive security which was enough, but his journey had the burden of telling his wife about Sarah Jane.

He thought, I wish this was over. Leta. Leta. Leta. Gotta get to her first. Leta was at a Monastery in San Antonio participating in a deep contemplative retreat to finishing her training as a Spiritual Director. She was isolated and completely removed from the outside world. When Ray spoke to Brother John Mary, he was assured Leta knew nothing. The dread bore a deep hole inside of him as he played every possible outcome over and over in his head.

The muscle in his jaw did a tattoo rhythm to match the twitch in his foot that bounced his knee. His eyes scanned the walls and pillars looking for a clock that would tell him his task was at hand, his mission near an end, but he knew it was just beginning.

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

This installment of Vivid Black is inspired by the writing prompt at Write on Edge.

This week we’d like you to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece set entirely in an airport. Take us on an adventure in 450 words or less.