Our Lady of the Snows

Once again, it’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Every week, about 100 writers from around the world compose original, 100-word stories based on a photo prompt. This week’s photo comes from Dee Lovering, a truly talented member of our motley crew.

Copyright Dee Lovering

Copyright Dee Lovering

Our Lady of the Snows

Half a world away from Rome, She keeps a home in Belleville.

On my first visit, I was oblivious. At six weeks old, I knew Mommy and Daddy and the love of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. That was before the cold wrath broke me—here in Her shadow.

Years later, I learn of how She stands, Protector of Innocents, in the place of my breaking. Did She watch and weep—a powerless spectre?

I gaze upon Her image in the chapel, wander through the Agony Garden, give voice to my rage. Finally, in a quiet corner, grace finds me.

***

A shrine to Our Lady of the Snows stands in Belleville, IL. Follow the link to learn more.

Under the Clock

Yes, this is my response to the week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt. It’s a little later than usual, but as today happens to be Friday, you could say I’m right on time.

Before we proceed with the usual excitement, I want to take a moment to celebrate. Although I married my wife before God, family and friends on a lovely May afternoon four years ago, today my state and my entire country finally recognizes our commitment to one another. To all the haters out there, I’ll simply say, “I’m sorry you feel so insecure in the love that you have in your own life. My love and my marriage is but one among millions. It is personal; it is real; it is a lifelong commitment. I pray you will someday find something as wonderful to keep you warm in this cold world.” To everyone else, I say, “LET’S CELEBRATE!”

Love Flag

The regular programming for the week is part of a challenge in which about 100 writers from all over the globe participate each week. Below is the photo prompt to which each of us respond with our own 100-word stories. You are welcome to participate by reading and commenting as well as by writing your own story to post on your blog. My story this week weighs in at 99 words and catches up with one of my favorite characters in my hometown of Kansas City. This one is meant to stand alone, but you are welcome to read other stories about him by clicking on “police chief” or “Ben” in the word salad along the right side of this blog.

Copyright Kent Bonham

Copyright Kent Bonham

Under the Clock

The hands of the clock in the grand hall slid passed 11:00 as Ben strode into Union Station. The legendary timepiece hung as he had always seen it—silent as the grave, an irony not lost on the undead police chief.

“Under the clock.” Ben muttered the phrase to himself. A pungent odor halted him 40 paces from his destination. Garlic. Leftovers, he assumed, glancing toward Harvey’s. Then he caught sight of the aroma’s source—ropes of garlic hanging above the shops in the station’s foyer. Someone knew something. He wouldn’t rest easy until he discovered who and what.

Ruach HaKodesh

This is my response to the weekly Friday Fictioneers prompt. Every week writers from around the world share their 100-word stories based on a photo prompt chosen by our amazing leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who happens also to have taken this week’s photo. Play along if you dare!

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Ruach HaKodesh

Whenever Gayle sees art nouveau craftsmanship, she smells the old plaster, sawdust, sweat and incense lingering in the defunct synagogue where she first learned to dance. Much was new to her then—adulthood, the names of Adonai, the pulse of sacred movement.

Change, like a dancer’s form on stage, will ever be life’s only constant. The 25-year-old Gayle guessed at this. The 45-year-old Gayle knows it better than most. In Kansas City, the synagogue still stands—leased to another fringe group of devotees. Alone in her suburban home, Gayle makes a selection on her iPod, and the Spirit moves her.

***

Author’s Note: It bears mentioning that this photo struck a deep chord with me–a chord that led to a story that may be uncomfortable to some of you whom I know in real life. Whether or not you recognize the setting, I hope you can understand that some good comes from all things. There are more reasons than I can possibly put into words for me to write and post this particular story today. The life of a dancer can be complicated.

Inverness

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week’s photo comes to us courtesy of C. Hase.

Copyright C. Hase

Copyright C. Hase

Inverness

“ . . . The Loch Ness Monster! We’ll see it in Scotland.”

I tuned into the conversation and paused, hands above my laptop’s keyboard.

“It’s a monster that eats little girls. They lock ‘em up by the lake so the monster won’t go into town for food. They call the place ‘Loch Ness’ because they lock up little Nessies—and sometimes Sues too.”

Tears welled in Suanna’s eyes.

“Joshua, stop frightening your sister,” I chided.

Comforting my daughter, I felt a swell of pride in my son’s imagination but hoped bringing the family along on my research trip wouldn’t inspire him too much.

The Family That Stays Together

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week’s photo comes to us courtesy of Doug McIlroy.

Copyright Douglas McIlroy

Copyright Douglas McIlroy

The Family That Stays Together

Family is complicated. Another almost-perfect vacation, and I’m about to come unglued. How often must we drive 20 miles off the beaten track to see some roadside attraction? I groan as my husband pulls the minivan up to a Victorian home.

“But I’m not touching you!” comes the complaint from the backseat.

“Kids, you have the rest of your lives to not touch one another. These feuding brothers haven’t spoken in 40 years.”

The yard tells the rest of the story. One side filled with ridiculous-looking folk art. The other side bare but for carefully manicured grass. It looks complicated.

Apocalyptic Pen Pals

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week, my photo has been featured, and I took a little extra time to craft a suitable tale. These 102 words are lovingly dedicated to my friend, Terrill Willard, who first told me about his dream back when no one else was listening to either one of us. Names and details have changed, but I hope the wide-eyed wonder of youth remains alive in our hearts forever.

Copyright Marie Gail Stratford

Copyright Marie Gail Stratford

Apocalyptic Pen Pals

Years later, Quinton still remembered the end of the world each time he saw a silo. They were smaller then, but at the end of the world, size was relative.

Quinton only told one other person how the world ended—with himself and a friend cheering it on. He and Suzanne were misfits, natural companions. Once the world’s end, seen from the world’s largest grain elevator, burned into his memory, he burnt it into hers.

Suzanne never forgot. Each week she sent another photo—a grain elevator, a silo, ripening grain beneath a sun-pinkened sky—mementos of youth, reminders of the future.

The world's (now second) longest grain elevator. Photo courtesy of The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Creative Commons, CC 3.0, Share Alike

The world’s (now second) longest grain elevator. Photo courtesy of The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Creative Commons, CC 3.0, Share Alike

A Tale of Two

This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for April 24. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create. The photo prompt this week is a throwback from before I started playing along and comes to us courtesy of Madison Woods. My story weighs in just over 100 words, but I trust you will all forgive me.

2015 05 08 rerun

Copyright Madison Woods

A Tale of Two

1965

Visiting Aunt Martha in Georgia is an adventure for Nadine. The ten-year-old absorbs every new sight and sound. In town, she sees two drinking fountains. Curious to find out what colored water tastes like, she skips toward that fountain. Aunt Martha yanks her back.

1985

Nadine takes several teens from her church into an inner-city McDonald’s. While ordering, she notices all the people in one line are white while those in the other line are black. Except her daughter. Blond-haired Julia stands in the shorter line behind three dark-skinned adults.

Colored water, it turns out, tastes exactly the same as any other water.

Breathing Lessons

This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for April 17. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create. The photo prompt this week comes from Roger Bulltot.

Copyright Roger Bulltot

Copyright Roger Bulltot

Breathing Lessons

“So, who tried to kill whom?” The young ER doctor grinned at Gail. Even though she knew he was joking, she couldn’t swallow the sobs that rose in her throat.

“Hey, it’s going to be okay.” The doctor took a step toward the hospital bed. “Greg’s your husband, right? He’s in the next room, told us you aren’t a fan of hospitals.”

Gail inhaled through the oxygen mask. “I suppose no one really loves an ER visit.”

“It’s a good thing your chimney caught fire and the neighbors noticed. Otherwise, carbon monoxide poisoning would have made this a morgue visit.”

Rapunzel’s Natural Hair Supply

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers for April 3 (We start on Wednesday each week, but there is still plenty of time for you to play along.). Our hostess, Rochelle, corals around 100 writers from around the globe as we respond to the weekly photo prompt with 100-word stories.

This week’s photo is provided by Lauren Moscato.

My story this week weighs in at 94 words.

2015 04 03 Lauren Moscato

Copyright Lauren Moscato

Rapunzel’s Natural Hair Supply

“There it is.” Madison’s mom pointed at the sign on an aging two-story building and pulled into the drive. “Go in and ring the bell, Madison.”

Madison did as she was told. An ancient woman hobbled into the room. She came around the desk and ran arthritic fingers through the girl’s curls. “This will do just fine.”

Frightened, Madison turned to leave. Through the window she saw her mom’s pickup pulling away.

“You’ll be staying with me, dearie.” The old woman took the girl by the hand and led her to an upstairs bedroom.

The Strains of Love

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers for March 27 (We start on Wednesday each week, but there is still plenty of time for you to play along.). Our hostess, Rochelle, corals around 100 writers from around the globe as we respond to the weekly photo prompt with 100-word stories.

This week’s photo is provided by David Stewart, who is a regular with Friday Fictioneers and a pretty cool guy that all of you should follow if you haven’t already.

My story this week weighs in at 105 words, and I know all you fine folks will forgive me as it has been months since I went over the 100-word mark for my FF story.

Copyright David Stewart

Copyright David Stewart

The Strains of Love

Janelle and Pamela attended a municipal band performance on their third date. Janelle was a music lover. Pamela was a musician. They married at the courthouse a year later, then celebrated with loved ones in a friend’s backyard. Pamela surprised Janelle with a string quartet that played as they danced.

Married life contained harmonious times and dissonant days. The two held each other close as Pamela’s eyesight faded. They navigated times of unemployment. Janelle started her own business. On their 25th anniversary, Pamela prepared another surprise. Although Janelle could no longer hear the music, they danced together while a woodwind quintet played from the gazebo.