Author Suzanne Burke posts a new writing prompt in the form of an image each week and the responses are absolutely amazing!
Each week she features an image and invites you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
This is my contribution. I want to give you a little background on this poem. When my late husband was dealing with such a difficult physical decline, during one of the many hospital stays, he developed pneumonia and I feared he might not live until morning. I held vigil throughout that long night and this poem came to me. I remember searching for pen and paper to get it down, and I remember the tears that fell as I scribbled it. I felt that I had to give him permission to let go and I did it through this poem. He lived for a few more weeks after this incident and did recover from the pneumonia.
I cannot tell you the reason this image invoked this memory, but it did, so I am sharing.
There is no shame in surrender when it is time
Like General Lee, you’ve known when to lay low
and when to climb
I’ve watched you suffer for so many years
Your life seemed destined to one of pain and of tears
Yet you fought on – the valiant soldier in fierce battle
You sang your song, rode tall in the saddle
You’ve now come down to the last battle call
You’ll hang up your sword, tired and weary you’ll fall
But know that you’ve left many good marks behind
While you learned how to love and how to be kind
Taught lessons to all who shared your many paths
That will be remembered long after you have passed
For the past sixteen weeks, Author Suzanne Burke, has been offering a photo prompt for flash fiction creation. While I’ve been inspired by several of the prompts, time has been a huge constraint for me as of late. But, this photo demanded that I stop the turning wheels and write something!
If you’d like to know more about her Fiction in a Flash Challenge, you can visit her website for all the details! Join in! You know you want to. 🙂
Aiyana huddled beneath the Buffalo skin and shivered. Mingan drew her closer and snugged the skin around her shoulders.
“Do not worry, my love. The call of the wolf speaks to my soul. Tomorrow’s battle will be successful.”
She turned her dark troubled eyes toward him. “How can you be so sure? I have a heavy heart and dread sits like a rock in the pit of my stomach.”
Mingan stroked her hair. “When I was born, the first sound my father heard was the howl of a mother wolf. He knew at that moment I would carry wolf medicine with me throughout my life. I am one with them. The howling wolf outside our tipi tells me she will be with me as we face our enemies from the east.”
“I want to believe you, my brave warrior, but I also know the power of the enemy you face. They outnumber us and are determined to eradicate all of our people.”
As if listening to their conversation, the wolf howled long and loud.
“Wolf tells me that she and her clan will stand with us. We will not be alone against this great enemy. We have magic they know nothing of. We will be victorious.”
Before the sun rose the next morning, Mingan slipped out of the tipi into the cold air. Smoke from the fires that had burned pinon wood through the night tickled his nostrils. The village medicine man, wrapped in a blanket, lit a pipe and motioned to Mingan to join him.
“We must give thanks to the nature spirits that walk and talk with us, young brave,” the old man said.
At the edge of the forest, eyes pierced through the darkness. The wolves were waiting and ready.
As Mingan squatted by the fire and shared the old man’s pipe, the wood popped in the fire, sending spirals of sparks through the air.
“Wahya waits,” the old man said. “They are united with us and this day will be a victory for our people.”
Mingan grunted, stood and stretched. The female alpha wolf stepped out of the shadows and howled.
Fresh snow crunched beneath his moccasins as Mingan walked toward her, hand outstretched. She didn’t move and when he reached her, he laid a hand on her big head. “Thank you, Wahya. I will feed your clan tonight. We will win this battle. You will join us by our fires.”
She lifted her head, sniffed the air, and trotted back to the others that waited patiently.
One by one, braves emerged from their tipis. Weapons were polished and talk was scarce.
If they won this battle, Mingan and his wolf clan would be the new tribe leaders.
Once they’d partaken in a small fare, they painted their faces, said their prayers and mounted their ponies.
Just before the sun slipped above the horizon, they rode full force into the army encampment a few miles away. As predicted, the lazy white men were still asleep, their bellies full of last night’s liquor.
The braves tore through tent after tent, destroying everything in their path. The wolves lunged headlong into the fray, going for the throats of the men, and ripping flesh from their bodies.
In less than an hour, the battle ended. The wolves growled and circled the camp. The braves dismounted and gathered weapons, blankets, food and supplies they desperately needed to get through the hard winter ahead.
The army men that hadn’t been killed escaped with nothing more than the clothes they slept in.
It was over.
Mingan returned to his village victorious, and as he promised, the wolves joined them at their fires and ate heartily of buffalo and venison.
For the moment, they’d ended the threat of eradication of both species.
I hope you enjoyed the story. It was definitely inspired. I hope you’ll visit Soooz’s website and read all the entries! I think you’ll find them very entertaining.
Hi, everyone! I’m super excited to participate in another Flash Fiction Challenge using a prompt provided by Suzanne Burke!
I honestly didn’t see any way I could possibly find time to write, but my muse wouldn’t leave me alone. So here I sit, late at night, posting the story I saw in my head in response to the prompt.
AN EMPTY PROMISE
Emily poured a fresh cup of coffee and strolled to the end of the rickety wooden dock for the hundredth time. Where was he?
She sipped the hot coffee and stared across the tranquil lake, searching intently for any sign of a boat.
A twinge of guilt crawled up her spine. Leaving a note was a piss-poor way of saying goodbye. But the thought of a confrontation and one more fight with Malcolm was more than she could handle. When he’d left for work that morning, she’d packed her suitcase, left her keys, checkbook and a note by the door.
It hadn’t been hard to walk away from a twenty-year marriage. In fact, it had been one of the easiest things she’d ever done.
She’d skipped and twirled like a giddy school girl when she’d arrived at Levi’s cabin, where she’d visited many times over the past few months.
Lying in the circle of his strong, tanned arms, Emily found her center. He made her feel like a beautiful goddess, and when they made love, the earth tilted on its axis.
She sighed deeply and tugged her soft sweater closer. Despite the warmth it provided, she shivered.
“Where are you, Levi?” She paced the length of the dock. He should have been here hours ago.
She checked her cell phone for the umpteenth time.
Malcolm would be home by now. How would he react to the note? She could picture him sinking into his favorite chair and dropping his head in his hands. Well, she’d set them both free, and he should thank her.
“Levi will be here,” she said to no one. “He just got hung up somewhere.”
She thought about the first time she saw him. Desire stronger than anything she’d ever felt swept the length of her body, leaving her knees weak and the sweet spot between her legs moist.
It had been a girl’s night out. The crowded club was the perfect backdrop for Levi to saunter onto the stage and serenade the ladies.
He was a gorgeous specimen of a man. Long legs, tapered waist, bulging biceps, and the most striking blue eyes she’d ever seen. And when a lock of his wavy brown hair fell over those mystifying eyes, women swooned.
She wanted him.
That had been three months ago.
Now she’d walked away from her stable life. The home she’d built with Malcolm meant nothing anymore. She’d traded it all to be with this tanned god who made her feel alive.
The sun began to drop below the horizon, and she turned back toward the cabin.
“Surely, he’ll be here soon,” she told the birds. “He promised.”
Minutes ticked by, turning into hours.
Emily wrapped a soft blanket around her shoulders and lay on the sofa. Her eyes took in every detail of the love nest where she’d spent many blissful hours.
A lump of dread formed in the pit of her stomach.
Something had happened.
Maybe he’d gotten cold feet. Or, perhaps he’d met someone else younger, prettier and richer.
Emily thought back over every conversation, searching for a clue.
She tried for the thousandth time to call him. It went straight to voice mail.
What to do now? She couldn’t go back home to Malcolm.
Bitter bile rose in her throat. What a fool she’d been to believe she’d found true love.
While her life crumbled around her, she squared her shoulders and walked the length of the dock one last time.
A plunge into the icy waters would end it all.
Her cell phone buzzed, and she grabbed it.
The text lit up the screen.
That was all she got? What a piece of shit! She sprinted down the dock, grabbed her suitcase, and tossed it in the car.
She stared hard at the cabin. A can of gasoline on one corner of the porch caught her eye. Without hesitation, she doused the dried wood, lit a match, and drove away.
Never again would she believe an empty promise.
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