Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/09/23

I don’t know how much longer I can keep her heart from going cold, how much longer I can keep her from the fate we all share. How long it will be until she turns to stone. Nothing more than a statue of of who she once was.

I hold her every chance I get. And pray the heat of the molten rock inside my shell reaches her, and warms her, so I may have one more day with her. One more day.

The first time I felt her growing cold was the day her father turned to stone. The day the last glimpse of heat left his eyes, and all the flames of life flickered out, and faded from his surface, leaving nothing save the granite he once lived within.

That day was fatal to her. It was the start of her own freeze. The beginning of her surrender to death. To the cold.

It was slow, so slow. I didn’t know what to do. How to you speak of such a thing with the one you love? How do you keep them warm? How do you convince them to keep their fire burning?

When our daughter left home, to find a life of her own, it weakened her further, and the cold grew. I could feel her heat fading daily.

I took time off of work, and took her everywhere she’d ever wished to go. To the top of the mountains. To see the mothers of us all, the volcanoes. Where our people were first born, in fire, and heat, filled with life, and lust to see the world, so many centuries ago. She cried. She walked in their fire, waded in their pools of molten rock, their streams of lava. For a time she was warmer.

But it didn’t last. Once we returned home, to our place here in the caverns, in the dark, the only light being the light of our inner fires, she spoke with me, for the first time.

“I grow cold, my love.” A molten tear flowed from her eye, down her perfect cheek. “I grow cold.”

“I know.” What more had there been to say? “I’ve known for a while now.”

“I will gather what heat I can. So I may stay with you.” Small flames flickered, and raced along her surface. “I would stay with you as long as I can.”

“I would stay with you forever, my love.”

She smiled. I had always loved her smile. She always brought warmth to me. Heat. That raced along every surface of me. Flames that flickered on the surface of the molten rock that were my eyes. “I know.” She placed her hand on my cheek, and I felt a hint of warmth in her fingers I hadn’t felt in ages. “I will last as long as I can.”

In the years since then, she has slowed. Now, most days, she sits. Motionless. And watches the sun, basking in its heat, resting her feet in the lava stream that flows along the edge of our back yard.

Now, most days, I cry, for I know it is only a question of time, now. Many nights I don’t sleep, standing with her by the stream, my arms wrapped around her, as I desperately try to breathe my warmth into her.

But I know the day will come when the last of the fire in her fades. And she follows her father beyond the veil of this life. And all I will have left of her is a cold, stone statue.

596 words

This is written for Week 73 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.



Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/09/16

“It took us two years to reconstruct this.” I waved what was left of my top right arm at the structure. “Two years to figure out how it all fit together.”

The Emperor butterflies stood on the tree limb, and studied the structure. “It looks incomplete.”

“We have no doubt it is.” The explanation would be complicated, I knew it, so did they. “All the parts we found were petrified wood, and stones. It was basically a pile of rubble.”

“How did we find the parts?”

There’d been a storm that dumped rain for days. “The rains caused flooding. The flooding washed away the dirt that covered it, and left part of it exposed.”

“Wouldn’t it have looked like some rocks?”

I’d wondered that myself. I hadn’t been who found it. A group of wandering crickets found it. They reported it to the ant colony nearby. The ants sent a research group to study the rocks. “What was exposed didn’t look like rocks at all. It was a handful of those rocks covering the top of the structure.”

Rocks that had clearly been manufactured in some way. They were uniform in size. And in shape. All with the same curve. All fit together.

“The ants reported the finding, and an archeological team was sent to investigate.” I’d been the leader of that team. I knew the uniform rocks were not natural. “We started an excavation, and found the rest.”

“And it took two years to reassemble?”

“Yes. Two years. We made many mistakes along the way.”

“Do we know who made it?”

“No, we don’t. We don’t know how old it is either. We do know it’s old. Ancient, in fact. What was left of the wooden posts in the original construction had become petrified. Turned to stone.”

The Emperors knew that took centuries. “Have we continued to excavate the site where it was found?”

“Yes. We have. We found a segment of a road, the same kind found at other sites. And we found a strange figure, made of stone. It’s got butterfly wings, but they are hundreds of times the size of ours. And it stands 70 monarchs tall. Other than the wings, we’ve never seen anything like it. It is bipedal, standing on two limbs, with two other limbs reaching to the sky.”

“Can we explore the reconstruction?”

“By all means. I should mention, however, the interior is mostly empty. We believe the interior was constructed of wood, most of which rotted away, and has long ago become dirt. But a few pieces of petrified wood remained, and they indicate the interior was separated into box shaped units connected by openings.”

“What do we think it is?”

“It’s hard to say, this being the first discovery of its kind. But, comparing it to the size of the roads, and the monoliths discovered elsewhere, and the few wheels we’ve found. We believe this was some kind of living facility. That something lived in this.”

One of the Emperors placed a hand on my shoulder, “You have done excellent work, as we knew you would. We do believe this is a living quarters for something. For the giant bipedal beings that once existed.”

“I wonder if we will ever find any fossil remains of those creatures.”

“Indeed. I hope someday we do. I hope someday we can piece together what happened to them, and why they no longer exist.”

569 words

This is written for Week 72 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/09/12

“Oh, I love that lawn sculpture!”

I smiled at Barbara, and tried not to laugh. “Yes. It looks like a sculpture, doesn’t it.”

“Like a long, snake-like dragon.” She walked toward the head of it. “I mean. Look at the detail. Wow.”

All I could do was shake my head. “Barbara, Barbara, Barbara. Haven’t I explained you’re not on Earth anymore?”

That was the problem with people when they crossed over. They saw familiar sights everywhere, so they acted like everything was normal. Like it was just another Saturday visiting a neighbor. “Oh, well. If I must explain.”

I carefully guided her gaze to look straight at me. “Who am I?”

“Kevin.” There was no doubt in her response.

“How old are you.”

“I’m 83.”

“How old was Kevin when you last saw him?”

“Kevin was 24.” Barbara stared hard at me. I could see her trying to understand what it all meant.

“OK. I’m Kevin. At 24 I shot myself in the head. Remember. I’ve been dead, dead, dead since you were 25, haven’t I.”

She had this baffled look. “But…”

“Barbara. You died at 83. From old age. You had a happy life. Now, you’re here, beyond the veil. And you’re able to see so much more than you could.”

“What does that mean?”

“Means I’ve been here for 58 years, and you’ve been here for a couple of hours. That’s what it means.” I shrugged, “I’d show you what you look like in a mirror, but mirrors don’t work here.”

I held out my hands, and looked at them. “Damn, my hands look good for me being 82. Just like they did when I was 24.” I took her hands, and held them out for her to look at. “But. You’re hands don’t look like they did yesterday, do they.”


“Face it, Barb. Those are not 83 year old hands. Not even close.”

She held them out, and studied them. “But…”

“You’re not in Kansas anymore, you know. So, you have to learn new rules.” I pointed at what she thought was a long, snake like dragon sculpture. “This? This is a lawn snake. They eat bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. You’ll find everybody has one.”

“Lawn snake?”

“Yeah. They come out at night. In daylight, they look like this,” I pointed at it. “After the sun sets, it’ll start moving again. When it does, we’ll want to be inside. Lawn snakes have damn sharp teeth.”


“Yep. They eat bugs.”

“What… Kind… Of… Bugs…”

“What kind of bugs would something this freaking huge eat?” I sighed.

“But, if I’m dead. Isn’t this heaven?”

“Yeah. There it is. That heaven crap.”


“Yeah. We all teach ourselves about heaven, with no worries, and all goodie, goodie, happy, happy.”

I thought she was going to cry right then.

“It’s just the next step of life. You stay in the world you came from until you are ready to be here. Then, when it’s time, you come to this world, and have to start the next level of learning about life.”

She stared at the Lawn Snake.

“Lawn snake?”

“Yes, Barb.” I looked at the horizon. “Well, the sun’s starting to set. Time to go inside. We can watch it bug hunt from inside, where it’s safe, and it won’t hurt us.”

I thought, “Happens every time. Have to welcome a friend, and explain how everything they knew about the afterlife was totally wrong. All because of some silly dream people have of a place called heaven.”

581 words

This is written for Week 71 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. Yep, I’m a week late with it. So what. I had fun writing this. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

#ThursThreads Week 329 : Just Do What They Say

Jimmy wasn’t the only person involved, just the leader. Like always, Jimmy had followers. Bobby, Tim, and Eddie. Whatever Jimmy said, whatever Jimmy did, that’s what those three said and did.

I put together a list of names. All women. All with one thing in common. All raped by one of the four. All drugged by one of the four. I e-mailed the list to Eddie, to Pastor Greg, and to the Sheriff’s office.

Tim and Bobby had hard times on their computers, and televisions, because they’d suddenly start playing women’s voices, “No. No. No.” and showing videos of men not listening as they stripped them, and did what they wanted.

Then there was the day Tim woke up naked, tied to his sofa, wondering what had happened. When Bobby found his desk at work covered in books about how to trick women into sex, how to get all the sex you wanted. When Eddie found pictures of the bruises he’d left on too many necks, where he’d resorted to force.

And the billboard outside the Walmart with the picture of the four of them, and Pastor Greg saying, “You want to be safe? Just do what they say.”

The sheriff called the FBI, and the State Police. “I need help.”

They hung up on him.

Pastor Greg stood, looking at the door to his office, where a black shape had stood, and told him, “Violence breeds violence. They’ve hurt enough people. They should have been stopped years ago.”

249 Words

Getting closer to the end of this Armor 17 story. At most, 5 parts left. It’s Week 329 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who turn out weekly.