Her Loveliness

janet webb

© Janet Webb

The Sun would be setting soon. The stage was set. The candle and amulet were in place, herbs were mixed and sealed in the urn. Most importantly the painting was there. It was unusual and very rare, the only one not cataloged as part of great-grandfather’s works. Maria had been great-grandfather’s lover for five decades. Enzo fell in love with her through reading his journals. The young man studied years to perfect the art. Tonight, on the eve of her death, Enzo would bring her to life out of the painting and in all her loveliness, she would become his.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Lewis’ Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above to inspire a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Advertisements

J is for Juice

j is for juice

© James Pyles

Daniel was in the henhouse gathering eggs, but he also wanted an opportunity to check in on Henrietta. Gerald the Rooster was elsewhere in the barn yard, so there was time for this clandestine meeting.

While the other hens appeared as they always did, the ten year old was shocked to find the talking hen missing feathers and with her left eye swollen. What had happened to her?

“Henrietta. Are you okay?”

Continue reading

I is for Ice

i is for ice

© James Pyles

Ten year old Daniel let the screen door slam behind him as he walked into the kitchen. Uncle Ethan was working with the new horses this morning and Aunt Abby had gone into town. He grabbed a glass from the cupboard and filled it with ice cubes from the freezer.

Ethan and Abby still had a freezer old enough to need ice-cube trays. The child momentarily considered this a charming anachronism in the 21st century.

He filled the glass with water and swallowed it down, attempting to quench not only the heat of an Idaho summer morning, but the growing sense of surrealism he was experiencing, particularly at the latest disturbance, a talking hen.

Continue reading

H is for Hen

h is for hen

© James Pyles

Another morning, another visit to the henhouse for Daniel. Most of these eggs would be sold at the market, which added a modest amount to his aunt’s and uncle’s income. His experiences yesterday taught him to get in, collect the eggs, and get out.

Since his encounter with the frog, nothing amiss had happened to the boy. He and Towser had walked over to Ben Swigert’s farm, found his uncle and old Ben, and watched them struggle with and cuss at the thirty year old tractor until almost sunset.

Finally, replacing several hoses and a fuel pump later, the machine roared back to life.

Continue reading

G is for Grape

g is for grape

© James Pyles

After leaving the pond, Daniel didn’t go back to the farmhouse right away. He spent a lot of time wandering around, looking at everything which, since his encounter with the frog, seemed perfectly ordinary.

He played “fetch” with Towser until the boy got bored (the dog never got bored with “fetch”), he found Fearful Symmetry and two of her three kittens (the pink one was still missing) near the barn and petted them for a while. He even peeked into the henhouse only to find it was still an ordinary henhouse with ordinary hens.

Finally, he slipped back into the backdoor of the house and into the kitchen.

Continue reading

F is for Frog

f is for frog

© James Pyles

It was after lunch and Daniel was still haunted by the incident of the egg. He explained to Aunt Abby that he accidentally dropped one, but besides saying “Accidents will happen” and giving him a rag to wipe up the mess with, she proceeded calmly with the matter of making breakfast.

Only the broken shell and a small bit of the yoke was left on the floor by the time the ten year old got back to the henhouse. Now, as he was walking down the path leading to the pond near the edge of his uncle’s property, he was still wondering what happened to the rest. For that matter, ever since he arrived at the Harris farm for his annual summer vacation, he was wondering how everything that had once been comfortable and familiar had become strange and menacing.

Continue reading

E is for Egg

e is for egg

© James Pyles

The first day of his vacation on his aunt’s and uncle’s farm was “free,” but after that, he was given some chores to do. It wasn’t really a lot of work, and Daniel was still given a lot of discretionary time to have fun. Even Uncle Ethan tried to offload a lot of his normal work to hired hands so he could spend more time with the ten-year old.

This morning, Daniel was in the henhouse collecting eggs. He momentarily remembered the “cycle of life” message from the Disney film “The Lion King.” The hens were blissfully unaware that what potentially could have been their offspring was about to be consumed for breakfast.

The eggs were warm and for a moment, Daniel held one in his hand. It felt comfortable, and he put down his basket so he could cradle it in both palms.

Then he felt movement. “But that’s imposs…”

Continue reading

D is for Dog

d is for dog

© James Pyles

Daniel was deciding just how much damage a small kitten could do to him, even if it were an anomaly, when frantic barking came from the other entrance to the barn. Towser, the large golden retriever, charged in racing at the strange pink cat. The feline immediately ran away, ducking behind bales of hay.

The dog followed growling, which was really unusual for Towser since he normally got along with the farm cats. After a few moments, he started whining and looking around, unable to find the object of his interest.

Continue reading

C is for Cat

c is for cat

© James Pyles

After breakfast the next morning, Daniel ran out the backdoor of his aunt’s and uncle’s farm house and into the barn. Sure enough, he found Fearful Symmetry relaxing in a patch of sunlight.

Aunt Abby said that Uncle Ethan could name their dogs if she could name the cats. Fearful Symmetry was the mama cat and head mouser in charge of the barn and surrounding area. She was named for a line in a famous poem by William Blake. Auntie had an impressive library in the basement, which is where she also kept the violin she hadn’t played for years, but Daniel wasn’t attracted to poetry, so he rarely sampled any of her tomes.

Continue reading

B is for Boy

b is for boy

© James Pyles

Shelley helped Daniel get his carry on out of the overhead bin. Since he was only ten, she was the flight attendant who made sure he was taken care of on his plane trip from California to Idaho. Daniel hardly felt he needed the attention, and his parents remarked more than once that he was more organized than most thirty-year-olds, but the rules were the rules. Daniel could play the role of a typical child when it was needed.

“Have a good visit with your aunt and uncle, Daniel.” As he exited the aircraft for the jetway, Shelley bent over slightly and tousled his bushy blond hair. Daniel suppressed his annoyance.

“Thanks, Shelley. Have a safe flight.” He knew that sounded stupid, but after all, he was supposed to be a kid, so circumstances often demanded he act like one.

Continue reading