Photo credit: Brooke Shaden
Shame oozed from her pores and covered her in syrup that smelled like sex. No matter how much she washed, it just kept coming, so she sat. It had happened in the kitchen and Lela thanked whatever powers there may be that no one was home besides the cat.
But the cat was bad enough because he was the problem. She could normally control herself and suppress the urges, but Percy always brought out the worst from within her. If only Simon and Lovelle hadn’t taken the stray in.
“Why are you doing this to me?”
He didn’t even “meow,” just turned his head away from her as if he shared some measure of her humiliation, or perhaps it was merely disgust.
“Leave me alone.”
Collage found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie
“Raise your words, not your voice. It is the rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” –Rumi
It wasn’t Santiago’s blindness that had caused him to neglect his gardening tools, because after all, he did not need to see in order to tend the heucheras, campanulas, and sedum sunsparklers. It was the machine took up all of his time. He chuckled to himself as he recalled the sculpture of the brass buddha welded on the steel beam next to the fused length of chain.
“Keep the balance, eh?” He adjusted one of the control cogs and then let out a length of cable from beneath what his family called “the contraption.”
Even in an age where the steam engine dominated every aspect of life and culture, his “contraption” was a curiosity. It was a marvel of over-design and the monument to mechanical mash-ups. The main wheel was taken from the broken down wagon he once used to haul peat moss and manure home for his azaleas. He’d used a common steam boiler which could be heated by any fuel that would burn. The piping he had scavenged from a warehouse that had been condemned three months ago. The materials for the intricate gearing systems was the “gift” of his departed wife’s collection of clocks, a choice of which his children did not approve.
Spanish Flamingo Dancer circa 1950 – Photo credit unknown
When Jimmy was five, he got in the car with Mom and Dad and they went for a ride. Jimmy was worried when they drove through the little town with all the broken buildings. Little boys and girls like him had no pants on and were going wee-wee in the ditch. Why didn’t their Moms and Dads give them clothes?
When Jimmy was five, Mom and Dad took him to Sevilla. They walked and walked and walked through museums and up and down streets until his feet were really sore.
When Jimmy was five, Dad dressed him up in a costume with a short blue cape with glitter on it and a black bolero hat. They went to something called a Fiesta which was a big, big party all over the city. Dad wanted to take Jimmy’s picture with two older Spanish girls, but he was too shy.
When Jimmy was five, Dad took him outside one night and showed him the stars in the sky. Then he pointed to something bright in the sky and said it was Sputnik. Sputnik was something people had put in the sky by launching it on a rocket. Dad said someday, rockets would take people into space, too.
Image found at the “Off Grid Path” blog – No photo credit given
“What are you doing?” Helen poked her head into Glenn’s office.
“Just programming the behavior of the irrigation system behind the house. The collectors have amassed enough rain water, and I want to test the valves before we plant.”
“Well don’t forget you have to do the firmware upgrade for the chicken coop alarms.”
He turned and winked at his wife. “You’re not worried about the deleterious effect our local woodland predators could have just because we’re absent two of our hens, are you?”
“Keep the acerbic comments to yourself, and Henrietta and Goldie were dear friends. I don’t think other hens will ever get over it.”
Image credit Matt Seymour via Unsplash
“Oh, there it is.”
Robin looked up from her seat on the bench to see a familiar face, but didn’t have a name to attach to it.
“My glove. Thought I’d lost it.”
He could have been as old as her Grandpa, but he was just the guy who took care of the grounds around the high school.
“Oh. Okay.” She reached over to pick up the brown, leather glove.
“I’ve got it.” He sounded nervous or maybe mad.
“Hey, I was just handing it to you.” Now she felt insulted. Who did he think he was, anyway? She was just trying to be nice.
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.
Image credit: Drake Dunaway – the Jewish Paul
He closed his Bible at the end of 2 Thessalonians 3:17 and pondered. Did Paul know that his letters, those that survived to be canonized anyway, would become binding instructions for all Christianity nearly two-thousand years into the future? Could his letters really be compared to the writing of the Prophets in the Old Testament, and especially the words of Jesus in the Gospels?
“It’s in the Bible and Pastor says that’s good enough, but is it really? It’s not like Jesus was dictating the letters to Paul. There are some parts of the epistles he said were his own judgment and not of the Spirit.”
He knew both the Jews and the Church believed Paul invented a new religion called Christianity that totally broke from everything that had been written in the first two-thirds of the Bible. If God wanted to write a “love letter” to humanity, why was it a letter that’s so hard to understand, and with so many contradictions?
If God wrote a “love letter” like so many mushy, feely people at his church keep telling him, why were there so many different interpretations?
“I know. Pastor said it was because of sin, but all of the questions I ask him, he has pat, one word or one sentence answers to. Isn’t God more complicated than that?”
Artist’s depiction of the pirate Anne Bonny
The crash of wave and snap of sail sung to her, and Anne Bonny was never more alive than when she was at sea. Now that she and Calico Jack Rackham were wedded, aboard the stolen and former Royal Navy frigate “William,” she, Rackham, and her closest companion Mary Read had recruited a new crew and were far from Governor Rogers and his Nassau boot lickers.
“Wanted pirates. That’s what they’ll call us, isn’t that true Annie?”
“Aye and it is, Mary. It is true, and we’ll plunder the continent from Boston to the Carolinas. We’ll be rich, and as respected as much as any man.”
“But Calico Jack still be the Captain.”
Anne turned the wheel to bring the mainsail into the wind. Jack was inspecting the repairs on the foredeck, and there was no member of the crew close enough to hear them over the roar of the sea.
“That’s true as well, Mary, but all things be temporary.”
© Nicolas Bruno
“I think we’re going to make it, Peter. Both our pods are headed toward Sanctuary.”
“It seems that way, Elsa, but it’s a big planet, and we have no manual guidance control. Each of our onboard computers will handle the descent, but for all we know, we’ll land thousands of kilometers apart.”
The Colony Ship Frazier had done its job admirably. 3,268 colonists made it 99.9999 percent of the way from Earth to the new planet code-named Sanctuary. Then, on orbital approach, the Langstrom-Edwards fusion drive experienced a catastrophic malfunction, resulting in the destruction of the majority of the crew and passenger sections. Only 512 people made it into their one-person lifepods and safely evacuated the Frazier, but as far as Peter and Elsa knew, they were the only two headed for the new planet. The rest of the ship’s complement were most likely lost in space.
“Keep talking, Peter. I feel so alone in this metal bubble.”
St John Church in Benwood, West Virginia (Photo: CNS)
Darwin Oliver Starling stared down at the smoldering ruins of the Vatican from the window seat on Flight 3076 which had taken off from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport ten minutes ago. Police agencies all over Europe had been investigating for a week, but so far had no clues as to the method used to initiate such mass destruction, or who had perpetrated such a heinous act.
“Heinous.” Starling whispered the word to himself. It was the worshipers of the Christian God who were heinous, and the Secret Order of Athéiste had been dedicated to wiping them from existence for the past two-hundred years.
It wasn’t just the Catholics, of course. In spite of what the news and entertainment media seemed to be pushing on the uninformed masses, Christianity wasn’t represented only by a bunch of child-molesting Priests, and American southern televangelists with big hair and greedy pocketbooks. They were everywhere.
Image found at ny.curbed.com – no photo credit available
“Every generation revolts against its fathers and makes friends with its grandfathers.” –Lewis Mumford
Fifteen-year-old Keisha Davis sat on the concrete steps of the dilapidated warehouse with tears streaking her mocha cheeks. Her Grandpa’s journal was resting in her lap as she read the same paragraph over and over.
“I’ll never forget the first time I saw Keisha. She was perfect. My little grandbaby was only a few hours old and had just finished suckling at her Mama’s breast. Her Papa handed her to me and everyone except for the baby was grinning. I held her as gently as I could as I placed her over my shoulder. Holding this most precious life in my arms, I realized I had never known such a peace before.”
Isaiah Maximilian Covington had died in his bed at the age of seventy-six, his brilliant mind and robust physique both destroyed by murderous cancer. He’d refused chemotherapy, saying it killed a person quicker than the disease it was supposed to cure, and when he passed, Keisha’s Papa grudgingly consented to the old man’s wishes and had him cremated.
Keisha and her older brother Josiah scattered his ashes at Pepperwood Lake, his favorite “fishin’ hole.” The journal, key ring, and hatpin were delivered to her by messenger a week later.
Papa thought he’d had them sent to her as remembrances. If he’d read the note from Grandpa tucked behind the front cover, he’d have taken everything away from her and burned them to ashes, just like the author.
She wiped the tears from her face and turned the page.