Tattered

One could search a century and not find an answer.  His life is one of aimless searching and lost dreams.  He hopes the man in charge recognizes something inertly good in his tattered and beaten soul.

This fiction was written for Trifextra: Week Sixty-four.

This weekend we’re asking for exactly 33 of your own words plus the following three words:
  • charge
  • century
  • lost
So 33 of yours plus 3 of ours means that everyone will have a 36 word response this time around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pain and Beauty

Woman With a Towel, 1898, Edgar Degas

 

Off with the layers of sadness.

Painfully peeled one by one

with reflections of my storied past

and a future of hope and healing.

Time to bear my soul

to those few I hold close to me.

Re-open old wounds and ugly scars

that are physically present for public consumption.

View them and draw your own conclusions

yet look beneath the skin you see

and see the real hurt lying deep below.

View with open mind and open eyes

not with eyes closed protecting you

from these unsightly pains before you.

These wounds are mine.

Earned from alcohol and abuse

during the years of innocence we call youth.

Look deeper till you see my heart

injured and still bleeding yet

still pumping the very life that is me.

Search deep within me

and find the love and caring

that I know exist within me.

For you my dear friend

are the one that can help me heal

with your gentle ear and sensitive nurturing.

Only then will my bare skin become

soft and beautiful.

And I will find my peace

in the life that is before me  

and beyond.

 

This was written for The Mag #163

Chose

“Time to pay the piper,” he said. “Your choice today. Paddle?  Belt?”

“But daddy, I did’t…”

“Shut up and chose!  Mama’s not here to protect you.”

“Wish I could chose a new daddy.”

This fiction was written for Trifextra: Week sixty-one.

This weekend we’re asking for exactly 33 words including an idiom somewhere within.

 

Reflections in Silence

Featured Image
Photo credit: Bérenger ZYLA / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Women and children silhouetted

in the smoky haze before me.

Reflecting magnificently

in the black marble ground.

Moving silently.

I stand before them

breathless and free of pain.

Ready to enter Heaven’s gateway.


This was written for Trifextra: Week Fifty-Nine.

This weekend we’re asking for exactly 33 words inspired by the following photo.

 

It’s Supposed to Be Hard

Arlene awoke in the middle of the night.  She rose to her feet. Quietly she grabbed the journal off her dresser and walked to the bathroom.  She retrieved her slippers and robe then marched down the dark hall into the kitchen.  She turned on the light and placed the journal on the counter.  She reached in the cabinet for a wine glass and gently placed it on the counter.  She opened the fridge and grabbed the bottle of red wine. The quiet of the house was interrupted by the banging of the bottle against the thin glass.  The wine pouring  into the glass sounded like a running river.  She was mesmerised by the red wine pouring into the glass.  Her mind wandered. Did the blood pouring out of her mortally wounded son look like this?

“Shit!” she said as the wine spilled over the edge of the full glass onto the counter. Her attention span has been short. The journal has been home for five days and has reopened lots of healing that had taken place since his death. She hardly can function normally.  Why did he send it to her? It’s a question that won’t leave her mind.  She takes a sip of wine and grabs the journal.

Leaving the kitchen light on she walked into the adjacent living room and sits on the couch.  She takes another sip of wine and places the glass on the coffee table.  She settles onto the couch with the journal is on her lap.  She sits quietly staring at the red wine in her glass.  Then she grabs its and takes another sip.  She removes the rubber band wrapped around the plastic bag containing the journal. Her hands shake as she touches the journal itself.  She places the plastic to her side and holds the journal before her.  She reaches into her robe pocket for her reading glasses.  With the journal clearly in view, she opened to a random page. With light from the adjacent kitchen she maneuvers the journal so she can read. 

10 November 2004

My sweet mom.  Day three of our sweep through Fallujah and it’s getting tougher by the minute.  Death if all around. Nothing can prepare you for this. No book.  No veteran.  No movie.  NOTHING. This place makes hell look like Disneyland. That’s why we are the best mom.  But worry not. I am safe in the hands of my Marine brothers.  We have fought our way into town and my platoon is holed up in a convenience store we nicknamed the candy store.  We are getting 12 hours a rest at a time which we must square away our gear but it also serves as a breather from the reality outside these walls.  Before I wrote this I was thinking of how hard war is.  But I am made for this.  I understand it just like my fellow Marines.  You just are born with this inert ability to stare death in the face and maintain your bearing.  It’s hard, don’t get me wrong.  I am reminded a line from Tom Hank’s character in “A League of Their Own” when Gina Davis tells him that baseball got too hard.  His reply:

“It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it.  The hard is what makes it great.”

Not everyone can do this.  The Marines can. We are special. And we will win and I’ll come home and be a better man.

Time to get back to cleaning my gear so I can get some rack time. Worry not.  I am safe.  In the candy store.

Till we meet again.  You son Michael PFC USMC.

She manages a quick smile that shifted the streaming tears from her cheeks across the edges of her mouth.  He was brave.  She understood that before he joined the Marines. That is what scared her the most.  She knew he enjoyed that movie yet she was surprised at the quote he chose.  “It certainly fit his situation,” she thought.

A quick moment of pride was washed out by the agony of his words.  Through her tears she reached for her glass and drank the remaining wine.  She laid on the couch in a fetal position, crying herself to sleep. She was reliving his death all over again. When will her pain end?

This is fiction written for Daily Prompt Silver Screen.  This work was inspired by the prompt and written for the ongoing story The Journal of PFC Patterson.  Stop by and read more about a mother dealing with the loss of her only son in Iraq and the turmoil created after reading his journal.

Selfish Act

I was selfish. I am not ashamed to admit. However, I am ashamed and disappointed in my actions.

It started on 07 February 1983 when I stepped onto the footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.  I went on to give four years to the Marines.  I served during peace time and had an uneventful but successful tour.  I came out a different man than when I entered.  For that I will always be grateful.

Fast forward to 20 Jan 1995.  My son was born.  

Now move forward to 19 March 2001.  The United States invades Iraq. Even though my son was only six at the time, I thought there was potential that the conflict would still be active when he became of age to serve.  I was scared for my son. I consciously made a decision not mention my military service.  I also made a decision to tuck the war in the corner and not make note of it in our home. I kept a distance from any coverage and news reports.  I made sure I put no faces to those Americans fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In our home, I made as if the war didn’t exist.

My son is now 18.

A few weeks ago I wrote a fictional story about a mother receiving the journal of her son who was killed in Iraq.  In my mind, the story didn’t end with that particular post. It only began. I researched the battles in Iraq in order to add historical accuracy to my story.  That research lead me to You Tube where I watched countless clips of returning fallen Americans and their journey from Dover AFB to their respective hometowns.  Hundreds to thousands of people lined city streets and rural road to pay tribute to these men and women. I listened to servicemen honored with the highest awards given by our country for valor.  I was deeply affected by all I have learned about this generation of our military. 

As a kid, I remember watching Walter Cronkite end his nightly newscast with how many had died in Viet Nam that day along the total dead.  It had a profound affect on me and was a big reason I joined the military those many years later.  However, I didn’t want my son to follow the same path. I selfishly decided that our family had given enough to this country.  Not only hadI had served but so did my father in WW II.  I didn’t bring this war into our home.  I didn’t want any seed planted. I didn’t want my son to serve.  I did what I thought was right for my family.

I accomplished my mission. Regardless of my reasons, I am ashamed of myself. I don’t know if what I did was unpatriotic.  I don’t know if it’s right or wrong.  Actually, I don’t know what to think or say other than I am sorry not to have acknowledged the sacrifice of so many serving our country in this war.

I was selfish.

This was written for Yeah Write #100.  Limit 500 words.

 

 

 

 

She Reached Out

There are many like us out there.  We all look the same. We are those who suffer at the hands of the alcoholic.  You would not recognize that we suffer.  We hide it well.  We often seek shelter inside our shell yet can’t escape the pain inflicted upon us. A pain received at the hands of someone we love.  Both emotional and physical pain.

I was one of the many. However, one person extended a hand.  Understood my reality. Sacrificed herself in order to make our life somewhat more manageable. Tried to make normal of the abnormal. A shield of sorts.  Often taking the abuse upon herself so it may bypass me.  All in the name of love.  A love for her only child.  A protector till the very end.  

She was more than a protector.  She was my loving mother. She did all she could do.  For me. And I thank you.

This is fiction written for VisDare 10: Whimsy.  No PFC Patterson this week.  The picture didn’t allow it.  It was difficult to come up with something.  This is all I could bleed today.

In the Corner

Trapped like a  scared mouse,

I cower in the corner.

My father above me.

His look stone like.

“Please don’t hit me again.”

With pleasure in his eyes

he unleashed his anger.

This fiction was written for Trifextra: Week Fifty-eight.

This weekend, we want you to give us a thirty-three response using the wordstone as one of your thirty-three words.  You can use any definition of the word that you’d like, but we are specifically looking for serious, well-conceived entries.  This isn’t the weekend for light-hearted posts about the difficulty of posting before the linkz close, and we are not looking for hilarious commentary about your cats (THIS time).  We want something serious and deep from you guys this weekend, because the sun is starting to shine a bit more, and we think we can handle it now.  Take your time with it and give us your very best work.

A Mother’s Love

copyright - Jennifer Pendergast

I lay on my back staring at the light above. Alone. Why would anyone want to be here? I am hated by most, including my kids.

I saw my mother’s face above.

“I knew I would die alone, Mama.  I have lived terrible life.  Lies. Manipulation. Hate. No one cares and I don’t blame them,” I confessed.

A tear formed in the corner of my eye.  I felt its coolness as it slowly ran down my cheek onto my earlobe. I labored to breathe. The light above intensely bright in the center yet blurry outward. 

“You’re not alone,” she whispered.

This is fiction written for FRIDAY FICTIONEERS

THE CHALLENGE:

Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)

THE KEY:

Make every word count.

Join the fun!

Timmy’s Best Friend

Life on the farm was tough for Timmy.  He was assigned daily chores from a very young age. During the school year he learned to juggle school work with daily chores. Farm life left him no time for extracurricular activities at school much less for friendships.  School was just a break from work. His nightly homework, which many classmates complained about, was less work than his duties before school.  Farm life, he determined, was not for him.

Timmy’s dogged desire to escape weighed heavily on his mind. He wanted to move far away to the big city.  In his ten-year old mind, he was on this earth to be an actor, not a farmer.

“Mom, I’m headed out to feed the hogs.”  Out the door he went with his only friend, his dog Ranger close behind. The two walked to the hog pen and dumped two buckets of this mornings delicacy into the trough. Then they headed to the nearby barn.  Timmy sat on a hay bale. Ranger hopped up beside him.  He reached out and stroked the dog’s head. His tail wagged with delight. “Ranger, one day I will leave this farm.” he explained.  “You’ll stay here.  I will miss you dearly. However, I must leave!  I don’t want to be a farmer. I want to be an actor. I know Dad will hate me.  Mom will constantly worry.  But I know you will love me.”  

Timmy stood up.  He looked out the open doors onto the endless stretch fields. “I want to be an actor,” he said to Ranger. “I’m going to be a Hollywood star. I’m gonna be in westerns with John Wayne.  Everyone will know and like me. It won’t be like school where they make fun of me.”  He walked to Ranger and gave him a hug. “Ya’ know, you are my only friend. My best friend. That will never change, I promise. I love you Ranger.”

This fiction was written for Trifecta: Week sixty-seven.

This week’s one-word prompt comes from Deana who linked up in our Meet Your Fellow Trifectans tab (if you haven’t done so yet, hop to it) and suggested this gem:

JUGGLE (transitive verb)
1a : to practice deceit or trickery on : beguile
b : to manipulate or rearrange especially in order to achieve a desired end
2a : to toss in the manner of a juggler
b : to hold or balance precariously
3: to handle or deal with usually several things (as obligations) at one time so as to satisfy often competing requirements <juggle the responsibilities of family life and full-time job — Jane S. Gould>

Please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

Good luck!