The gitter of the morning sun touches the dew, the liquid grass blades absorb it, deprived of water, sucking it back like tequila shots. The little ones arrive, talking loudly and shrieking; there are tears, there are runny noses, and there are giggles of happiness. The three-year-olds line up and parents help them do their tasks; Practicing kicking the ball into the net, running here and there, being the goalie, and following each other closely, a pack of pigeons squawking; all is well until Jordy pushes Chris and the toddlers aren’t afraid, piling on top of each other with delighted screams.
Three hours into the desert [Sandra felt the jeep’s] engine choke and buckle, rolling dark smoke into the pale blue sky.
“Are you kidding me?” Sandra asked her husband Jim. “We’re going to the Grand Canyon something people do all the time from Vegas and the damn Barbie jeep breaks down? Don’t they maintain these things, check that they’re working before they leave us in the open desert?”
Jim gazed at his wife his eyes half closed. The temperature was a sizzling 45 degrees Celsius and growing up in Toronto’s cold winters meant he didn’t handle the heat well. Sandra’s harping made Jim feel that much worse, sweating prufesly in the leather seat beside her.
“Jim, Jim? Are you even listening to me? How long is it going to take for them to send another jeep? Why is everyone else so mellow about this? It gets cold in the desert at night and what about the snakes and scorpions?”
Jim groaned out load and Sandra gave him a dirty look. “Sandy, its hot right now,” he mumbled. “We’ve no air conditioning and if it gets cold soon that would be great for everyone. I’m sure the tour company will find us soon. Our jeep’s Barbie pink as you say.”
“Oh and could you calmdown? You’re frightening the elderly couples,” he said whispering into Sandra’s ear as to not offend the two couples nearby.
Sandra gave Jim a weird look then continued yapping. The tour guides who had been on the radio the last hour with their company were now glaring at Sandra as they too sufferered in the heat and from her constant questions.
The older couples had it the worst, Jim thought. No one wanted any of them to undergo heat stroke since the temperature seemed to affect the four of them the most. Sandra’s constant complaining wasn’t helping the matter.
“Simmer down, lady,” one guide told Sandra,”This happens sometimes. Another jeep is a couple of hours away, if you can control yourself until then.”
Sandra didn’t care, she kept talking.
Jim was surprised when a lady in her seventies, named Meg, smacked Sandra’s face hard. So hard he could see the red outline of the woman’s hand on Sandra’s sweaty cheek. Sandra was so shocked she didn’t say another word except to ask for a bottle of water every couple of hours.
Megan winked at Jim and said: “Nothing like a good smack in the face. I think the heat was getting to your wife. She seems to be okay now that I smacked her and that she’s drinking water instead of talking.” Jim laughed bumping fists with feisty Meg.
“Okay?” Jim asked Sandra later.
“Yeah good now, just a little panic attack I think. The heat was getting to me.”
Jim laughed at this stroking Sandra’s back.
The evening sky in the desert turned from twilight into glittering black with giant stars. All eight people in the jeep sighed with pleasure as the blistering heat cooled and they were awed by the fantastic celestial bodies.
When another pink jeep arrived the next morning, no one complained about the heat or Sandra. Both problems had been eclipsed by the perfect temperature and the starry night viewed under them.
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to recreate a myth in a poem. The A to Z Challenge quote from GoodReads has an author with a P in their name. Also, thank you to Bikurgurl for hosting last week’s #100WordWednesday.
” I moan with pleasure.
“Did you just have a foodgasm?” he asks, wiping ricotta from his lips.
“Where have you been all my life?” I ask the beautiful panini.”
― Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss
There are those who believe the Greek gods left,
Went away, didn’t return, disappeared.
Where there was greed, pride, avarice, lust, and war,
There was no longer, because these gods were,
Never gods, more like spoiled children who were —
Tolerated for a while until the —
God who is the God, decide that they,
Need find another place to play, beyond —
Olympus, and Athens, and Rome — and then,
Came the Popes and the Cardinals, more sin.
They had always been there, but now they —
We’re warriors and wise men, judges and —
The Greco-Roman gods and goddesses,
We’re invisible, ethereal, just air.
It’s what becomes of beings that ‘are,’
But aren’t real, they’re missing a certain —
Quality that means that in some form they’re —
Alive; full of heart, blood, bone, marrow, soul.
But these gods were but mythology so they,
Faded as much mythology does.
Legends of all kinds and all cultures who
Have been, before and after them, or so —
I was told, ’til I began to see such surreal —
Things in town, at dinner talking with —
My dad, about life, and school and then,
Beside us was this old man; and his eyes,
We’re blue and twinkled, he had such,
Vigor for his age, he smiled at me while he —
Talked to his friends, other gods he said.
Not the God, but gods, he said who had been,
To me they were all invisible; he said —
Long ago in Greece and Rome, he was king.
As Zeus or Jupiter, but now they —
All blended into humans, they had their —
Special places where they could go, greeting —
Their old friends and eating what gods do.
He ate panini, talking loudly,
Today it was Aphrodite, he also —
Said he was eating Ambrosia, the food,
Gods required, and an extra plate lay,
Near his hand, licked clean; he said that his son,
Today’s National Poetry Writing Challenge is to write a poem in the style of a famous American poet named Kay Ryan.She writes poetry with “short, tight lines, rhymes interwoven throughout, maybe an animal or two, and, if you can manage to stuff it in, a sharp little philosophical conclusion,” and today’s prompt is to write a poem like her. See an example of her poetry in the above link.
Also here is my A to Z Challenge at the very last minute yes, I know. A book quote that matchesthe poem everyday according to the author’s name alphabetically.
“You are the stories and incidents that you never tell to anyone. You are the thoughts that you get while standing under the shower. You are those memories that won’t lets you sleep at night peacefully. You are those words that you will never say while speaking with someone. You are those scars that you always hide from everyone. You are those little secrets that you will never let the world know. You are everything that you hide under the identity that you call the real you.”― Akshay Vasu
(I truly meant for this to be Flash Fiction, but the story just developed. Sorry about the way – over word count.)
Grandma June huffed at Natalie, her granddaughter visiting her at home.”You’re not getting any younger, you’re thirty-eight. You can’t barely have babies anymore!”
Natalie rolled her eyes at Grandma June,”Gran, I’m an elementary school teacher. I like going home and not having to worry about kids.”
June sighed,”It was that man, you were supposed to marry. He’s a thief and stole your heart; I’m right aren’t I?”
Natalie ignored June’s question. She hated when her Grandma or anyone, talked about Christopher. She’d never admit he was her one.
He hadbeen since she was in grade ten and Christopher an attractive senior in high school. It was when he had first asked Natalie out. They’d broken-up, having had incompatible lives with Christopher away at university soon after.
Then, seven-years-ago, they’d ran into each other and started talking and dating again. Natalie had convinced herself this was finally it. Sadly, a few weeks before the wedding, Christopher had disappeared; the memories were agony for her.
Two-week’s later, Grandma June called Natalie up to invite her to a wine and cheese night she was hosting for her neighbours. She had tried to decline but June was adamant Natalie attend.
She arrived at her Grandma June’s surprisingly lively wine party, in jeans and a white t-shirt. She had barely bothered to apply makeup as Natalie had come from the gym and was worn out.
“Oh you came,” Grandma June said excitedly, approaching Natalie as she let herself inside. She hugged June and kissed her cheek, as June poured Natalie a large glass of red wine and filled her plate with bread and cheese. She winked at Natalie and left her alone in a small sitting room to rest before joining the other guests.
“Natalie?” A deep voice said. She turned on the sofa towards the sitting room door. Christopher’s voice shocked her, she had almost doused herself in red wine. His familiar timber filled Natalie with great pain. She peered up at him feeling raw, as if he’d only left her yesterday without explanation.
Tears began dripping down Natalie’s cheeks; she was crying and couldn’t stop herself. Christopher immediately sat down on the sofa beside Natalie and pulled her close; he wiped her tears away with his thumb. She tried to jerk out of his arms, but he wouldn’t let her move.
“I’m not letting you go, ever again,” Christopher swore.”I can’t explain much about why I had to leave you, only that I didn’t have a choice.”
Natalie shoved him hard, “You have nothing more to say, nothing at all?”
Christopher was noticeably upset, “I told you I worked as an IT consultant. But I could never tell you or anyone who I worked for until recently. I worked for Special Forces in the army and I was called out to a job. It’s the only thing I can’t about. The job lasted years, and I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. We saved countless lives, but it was awful what I did to you and being without you. I’m sorry.”
Natalie rubbed her swollen eyes, “You’re a liar Christopher. You could’ve mentioned something, anything. What do you want now? To stay for a while and then leave?To rip me apart again?”
Christopher buried his face in his hand, before gazing up at her: “I’m out now Natalie. I swear to you I work for regular businesses now, nothing to do with Special Forces or the army. I’ve no more secrets other than experiences of war and blood. I came back here for you, I even moved into a house on your Grandma June’s street. I hoped somehow, you and I could be together again. I love you.”
Natalie made a sound of frustration. Emotions of both anger and feeling relieved assaulted her. Despite her anger at Christopher, Natalie knew inside, there would never be another man for her but him.
To Christopher’ surprise, Natalie moved to sit in Christopher’s lap and be closer to him, to breathe in how delicious he smelt.
“Marry me now and we can do whatever celebration our families want later. I’m still mad at you Christopher but you’re it for me. I’ve always loved you and always will. If you can be with me and never leave me like that again, I can forgive you.”
Christopher nodded at Natalie, saying: “I promise.” He held Natalie tightly and kissed her lips hungrily.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the sitting room door and Grandma June walked in, a smile on her face. June’s boyfriend Nigel was with her and so was the local United Church minister.
Natalie looked at Christopher, “Did you do all this?”
Christopher shook his head, squeezing Natalie tight and kissing her cheek. He pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring set from his pocket. He slid the engagement ring on Natalie’s finger, and Grandma June handed Natalie a ring which had been her Grandfather’s wedding ring.
June smiled at Natalie and Christopher, a gleam in her clever blue-eyes. All was at it should be, she thought as her and Nigel witnessed her granddaughter’s wedding ceremony.
It was difficult living on the farm, being cutt-off from other people when there was a blinding snow storm for days. Marion felt the numbing loneliness deeply and her husband James only amplified her sense of isolation.
They were still a relatively young couple but James made her feel as if she were old, dull, and boring. He barely acknowledged Marion except when he wanted food. He hadn’t actually conversed with Marion for what felt like years.
She observed as James lived alone in his head, always ignoring her attempts to talk. As the harsh winds and snow isolated them in the farmhouse, James isolated Marion in their marriage.
When the blizzard ended, Marion had had enough. She peered at James one last time and left. She drove to the nearest city and caught a flight home.
Welcome to the monthly Fairy Tale writing prompt hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie. This month’s prompt is to write a fairytale about the following picture:
Daphne was tired of being stuck as a laurel tree. Thousands of years ago, she had begged her father, the river god Peneus, to save her from Apollo’s lust; he turned her into a special tree.
Long ago she had sworn to be a virgin forever. She had begged her father to allow her to remain a free nymph. To not have to marry and birth him grandchildren. He was a kind god and had allowed his beloved daughter to remain pure.
Daphne had always loved the woods and found serenity within the forrest. But after many years being stuck in it, the woods had become a cage to her. The laurel tree she was locked in was a prison and Daphne quietly loathed Eros who had sent Apollo after her in love, when Apollo had mocked Eros.
Eros had hit Apollo with an arrow of gold so he fell in love with Daphne. Like wise, Eros hit Daphne with an arrow of lead, so she would despise Apollo and be repelled by him. Nevertheless, Apollo visited Daphne to this day, swearing his love towards her millanias later. Her hate for Apollo had mellowed over time, although, she wouldn’t admit this to Apollo yet.
He came often to admire her beauty even as a tree. He used some of her thinner branches and leaves to weave himself a crown of laurels, to remind himself of his love for Daphne; that this love still grew within him daily. He would replace a worn out and dried crown with a fresh one each time he visited.
Though Apollo had many duties, he seemed to be appearing more often to see Daphne this last half-millennia. She drew her womanly figure out of her laurel tree to see him whenever he came. She had become more excited to see him over the last few hundred-years. Daphne looked forward to talking with him each visit.
A friendship had developed and the sworn virgin Daphne was feeling things she had never felt before. Had Eros changed his mind and hit her with a golden arrow after all this time? Or had it been so long, his arrow of led had faded and no longer effected her. If so why did Apollo’s arrow of gold not fade? Why did he still love her?
She had wondered this out loud today and Apollo laughed at her thoughts. His attractive face was timeless and beautiful.
“It’s love Daph. It doesn’t fade if it’s real. If it’s true love it’s always there. At times I’ve been frustrated with you, about our situation and you being stuck in a laurel tree. It frustrates me you wanting to remain chaste. But even when I find I’m angry at you, the next time I see you we talk and my anger disappears. It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in a tree, I love you anyways.”
Daphne smiled through the tree.”Look at you declaring your love to me through thousands of years unchanging. Though you yourself haven’t been chaste at all. It surprises me with all you have to do, that you come and see me without fail, these days often.”
“Well, I think you’re returning my feelings finally; you’ve mellowed and I see you blush when I visit.”
“Trees don’t blush Apollo.”
“Ah Daphne, you do indeed blush. I always take good care of you, so I know you well. I’ve played you many songs on my lute and I ensure the sunlight hits you just right. I keep the plague and disease from you, though it effect the humans and other parts of nature. I heal you if such disease affects you. But what I can’t do is change your form and release you from the laurel tree, if you still detest me.” Apollo sad this last line sadly.
“You’ve tried?” Daphne asked. “I wouldn’t have wanted you to, even a few hundred-years-ago. But I grow weary of this form and it’s obstacles. I grow weary of a forrest I cannot move around and maintain. I wish to be a nymph again.”
“Yes, dearest I know. I want that too.”
“Would you force me?” Daphne asked Apollo. “Take me into your bed right away, no gentleness? Would you impregnate me right away?”
Apollo shook his head. “Daph, after all these millenias you know me better than that. I’m not the lust-filled boy-god who would’ve had you without a second thought. I’ve spent thousands of years trying to get you to like me, to see beyond my faults, such as my lust. It’s not merely lust I feel for you. I love you, the real you. The nymph I’ve gotten to know so well. That’s why I have your crown upon my head. Why I play you beautiful music and take special care of you. I’d take specialcare with you in my bed as well,” Apollo added with a sly grin.
“I know, but I’m afraid, Apollo. I’ve been a laurel tree so long. And before that I wanted to be on my own, no man or god to tie me down. You’ve grown on me, inch by inch, each passing year. The lead arrow in me is gone. I’m not immune to you anymore. I feel strongly for you, something I’ve never felt before. I think it’s love, is it? You would know you’re the god of truth?”
Apollo trailed his hand down Daphne’s body in the tree.”You feel it, I know. Yes, I do see the truth, in your eyes, in your relaxed form. At last you love me too. You never even came out of the tree in your female form for many years. Perhaps now I can you heal you?”
“Yes, I think so. Our love is powerful beyond the mistakes of the past.” Apollo held his hand to Daphne’s cheek and she felt a warmth surge throughout her entire body, tree and nymph.
“Apollo, I feel your powers. My tree limbs, my leaves, they’re melting away.”
He said nothing, to busy concentrating on healing Daphne. She closed her eyes enjoying his hand on her cheek and the warmth suffusing her body. Daphne fell into a deep sleep and when she awoke again she was a nymph.
She looked at her hands, her face in the river. Her beauty had returned and her father would be proud, for he would have grandchildren soon. She looked around her for Apollo and found the god fast asleep. Healing her into her natural form had drained him greatly of his powers. She snuggled against him laying down beneath his arm, and they both slept.
When they awoke, three-hundred-years had passed. Apollo had had to regenerate his powers so he sealed himself and Daphne together, hidden from human and god eyes alike, so he could sleep and be with Daphne in the future.
He felt her shaking him awake. “Apollo, get up. You need to wake up, we’ve slept many centuries. You’re needed to do use your skills and gifts.”
Apollo lazily opened his eyes and grasped Daphne pulling her down for a deep kiss. It was the first between them and one of only many. They were a devoted couple from then on in, for as long as gods and humans existed.
Thanks for the music post from Mind Loves Misery’s Menagerie. The prompt song is “Sound of Silence” by Simon andGarnfunkel. Most recently, it is noted, the band Disturbed, did a wicked version of this classic.