Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/06/24 (Week 163)

I don’t know why she followed me, and I couldn’t figure out if I was glad she had, or if I wished she was anywhere else.

“So. This is where you wander off too.”

I didn’t say anything. Hell, I wasn’t sure if I could find any words, even a simple yes, or no. I wasn’t sure if I felt like she was an invader into my world, into one of my safe places, or if I was happy to see her, to see she’d finally followed me. Whatever I felt, I’m not sure it mattered right then. With her there, I couldn’t hide, not from her, not from me.

I nodded, and turned away from her, my hands shoved as far as possible into my pockets, and everything inside me screaming something different.

“This empty field? This is where you come?”

I wanted to answer, I really did. I wanted to tell her I went there to escape the noise, and the chaos in my head. The voices that were screaming at me, and arguing with each other, as I tried to figure out why everything had gone so wrong, so suddenly. But, those parts of me, the ones that were in my head, screaming at each other, made it where I couldn’t.

She seemed to know that, to understand that. I heard her thinking, I swear I did. But I couldn’t tell you what, I couldn’t hear her over the screaming in my head, over the angry, scared, confused, frustrated, impatient, and wounded voices in my head that kept screaming, endlessly.

I don’t know why she did it, but she walked up next to me, and didn’t say a thing. Not one word. She just stood there.

I was a wreck. The screaming was so loud, so overwhelming, I couldn’t escape it. I looked at my hands, something I always did. Like I was blaming them for everything. Blaming them for being alive, being able to feel anything. The wood from a table top, the Formica on a counter, the cold steel of a metal kitchen sink.

The texture of the skin on her hand as she took mine, and laced her fingers between mine, and waited, I have no idea how long, for my hand to stop shaking, and finally, slowly, respond to her, by holding her hand as she held mine.

“I sometimes wonder,” I heard her voice, magical, like music, like a favorite song, that somehow cut through all the noise, all the chaos, “why the lake dried up, why the stream died.” I know she looked at the ground, dried, broken dirt, where a stream had been.

That cold, heartless part of me answered her, “For the water.”

She didn’t answer, she simply kept holding my hand, as the screaming in my head started to fade, and the voices fell quiet, one by one.

“I come here because it’s quiet, and I can…” I couldn’t figure out the words to say, “Sometimes I need the quiet.”

Somehow, I managed to look at her, at her face, with those eyes, and that magic smile. I don’t know why, I don’t know what happened to me when I did. But I always felt safer, calmer, when I did. Somehow, she could always reach me, when no one else ever had. She could always reach past the chaos, to me.

“I come here because it’s quiet, and I can escape the chaos.”

“The chaos?”

“Yeah. The chaos. Inside of me.”

There was that smile, like when the sun comes out after a big storm, when it first breaks through the clouds, and the world gets lighter, more colorful. She kept holding my hand, “What do you feel, right now?”

“I…” I realized I couldn’t answer. Not because I didn’t feel something, but because I felt everything. I felt too much.

“You’re safe with me, you know.”

I nodded, because I couldn’t talk.

“And maybe, together, we can help you learn what you feel. And not be afraid to feel.”

I knew she understood. I didn’t know how to live with me. Didn’t know how to live with everything I felt. And the voices in my head were my emotions, screaming at me.

“I come here to hide. Somewhere safe. Alone. Until I can get back in control.”

And we stood there, her holding my hand, until I could breathe once again. Until the screaming in my head was gone.

744 words

Written in response to the prompt for week 163 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.


Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/06/14 (Week 161)

Bobby was never the romantic, emotional type. That’s why I hauled him to the old house I planned to buy, and renovate. I knew he’d hate it. Knew he’d have nothing good to say about it.

Sure enough, he didn’t. “This place is in the middle of nowhere. You’ll have to pack an ice chest in the car to make a grocery run. Jesus, why would you do that?”

On the front porch, he’d stopped, and looked around, “And, you have allergies.” He waved his arm at the gorgeous trees all around, “You’re allergic to half of these you know!” We’d walked the length of the porch, and he’d commented on every board that made noise, “House has its own choir. At least no one would be able to rob you. The noise would wake you up.”

The downstairs walk-through had gone as well, filled with endless comments. “That staircase is a death trap. Look at that. Like it was made when Queen Cleopatra was around.” Followed by, “And the porch isn’t all that sings,” as we walked down the hallway to the Living Room. “And where would you put a big flat screen in this tiny space? This is no place to watch movies, or listen to music, and relax,” summed up his view of the Living Room.

The Dining Room drew more words from his brain cells, “What? They held banquets for the whole church in here? Listen!” He screamed, “It echoes!”

I didn’t feel like setting him off by telling him the wiring and plumbing were beyond repair, and I’d have to replace them. There was no point. I knew he’d simply spew more words into the air.

The kitchen got one word. “No.” He couldn’t even describe it, until we headed back toward the stairs, “That room is all wrong. No place for anything. No room for a dishwasher. No room for a microwave. Itty bitty counter space. No place to store anything. Only what, four cabinet doors in the entire kitchen?”

On the way up the stairs, he threatened to sue me if the stairs collapsed. “You’re risking my life, here!”

The upstairs went the same way the downstairs had. An endless stream of negative thoughts from him. An endless stream of all the things I already knew.

Especially when we reached the full sized bathroom. The toilet and tub were long gone. So were any visible pipes, having been stripped and likely sold as scrap metal. Copper pipes did have a good price on them, after all.

“Would you look at that window!” He had to know I’d already looked. “One big honking window! And it’s round! You can’t put a curtain on that, you know!” What was left of the bathroom sink hung off the wall right under that window. “And that’s where they put the sink? You can’t use a mirror that way!” He looked out that window, “And the whole world can see right in, and see whoever’s in here walking around naked! That’s such a great plan!”

I don’t know how, but somehow, I didn’t laugh as he rambled on about everything that was wrong.

Eventually, I’d seen enough of my future home, and wandered back to the car, with Bobby tagging along.

Never will forget what happened on that drive home. Took a few minutes, but Bobby finally stopped talking about the house, and got quiet. He didn’t say anything for a while, just stared out the window, and watched the trees go by. Until. Out of nowhere. “It’s the perfect house for you, isn’t it?”

I nodded. “I love it.”

“Let me know how I can help with the fix up, OK?”


“And, one more thing.”


“Thanks for bringing me along. Thanks for trusting me that much.”

I knew all along he’d understand. That’s why I’d wanted him to see the place.

646 words

Written in response to the prompt for week 161 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/06/08 (Week 160)

Nathan James was one hell of a fruit-cake. I couldn’t come up with any other way to describe him, yet, there I was, out in the middle of nowhere, in a factory town attached to what had been an open pit mine, to interview him about his pet project.

“That’s a rather big hole in the ground, Mr. James.”

“Needs to be. Only way to make it deep enough.”

I hoped the video team was getting lots of footage of the Caterpillar 797 dump trucks driving in and out of that hole. “They tell me you are trying to prove hell exists?”

“It’s true.” Nathan nodded. “I’m going to dig here until we reach it. Then, no one can say it doesn’t exist.”

From the air, looking down at the pit, it looked like they’d dug a mountain sized hole. “How far do you think you have to dig?”

“30 to 40 miles.”

I kept reminding myself to not laugh, I was doing my job, making an interview for the news program. A human interest story. I had to wonder how many humans would be interested in this guy. “That’s a long way. The deepest we’ve ever dug is 7.5 miles, and it took them 20 years to get that deep.”

“That was a bore hole.” Nathan nodded. “Only 9 inches wide. That’s why it took so long to get that deep. They couldn’t use better techniques.”

I looked at the pit again. “Better techniques?”

“We’re able to drill small holes, and use explosives to fracture the rock. We can also move around large blockages. They couldn’t.” Nathan looked outside. “It’s like clearing a path for a road through the mountains.”

It defied my imagination, “How wide would you have to build this to get 30 miles deep?”

“Don’t really know. No one’s ever tried.” He laughed.

“And you’re convinced it’s there?”

“Oh, it’s there. Down where the rock melts, and gets soft. The heat and the pressure down there is hell. Literally.” He paused, “They gave up drilling when the heat and pressure got so much, the bits stopped working. You can’t go deeper unless you make an open pit.” He paused again. “The pressure and heat melted their drill. They had to use titanium and diamond to drill. Very expensive.”

“Did they reach hell?”

“No, they did not. They barely got deep enough to notice any signs that it’s down there.”

I wanted to ask him about science, about how spherical planets form, and how gravity, heat, and pressure melts the interior, and it separates into layers, heaviest at the center, and lightest at the surface.

It was like he knew that, “I’m also proving the flat earth people are fruit loops.” Nathan laughed. “You might want to use another set of words.” He laughed more. “You can’t have those layers in a flat earth. To do that, you need a round, spherical object. Also demonstrating you can’t dig through the flat earth. That you dig through layers.”

I stared out the window at the pit a moment, “Have you found anything interesting so far? Do you expect to find interesting things as you dig?”

“We have found a few fossils. The deeper we dug, the further back in time we went. But, we’re deep enough at the center now that we’re past the fossils. Now, it’s unknown bacteria.”

“Unknown bacteria?”

“Yes. That stuff lives in the harshest conditions. Any kind of crack in the rock, any kind of surface, they turn up. Living on the heat, and on minerals.”

“How will you know when you find hell?”

“That will be where damned souls are. We won’t be able to see them any more than you can see them now. But we’ll know they’re there. We’ll sense their screams of agony.”


“Where they get endlessly crushed, and burned, and ground to nothing.”

I must have looked pretty funny when he said that, because he continued. “When we reach the place where nothing could possibly live. That’s when we’ll have found hell.”

It was the strangest interview I’d ever done, interviewing a filthy rich fruit cake with a pipe dream of finding hell, and proving it exists. Don’t think it’s what I’d have done with all those billions of dollars.

713 words

Written in response to the prompt for week 160 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

#ThursThreads Week 416 : What’s In It For Me?

My therapist has been working through the layers of me for several months, trying to find who I was, buried under everything that is life. Buried under work, bills, the wife, the family, three cars, two cats, a monthly mortgage. After that I lost count.

I told him that, “I lost count, you know.” In that session, on that day, “I lost count, you know.”

You’d think it would be infuriating, and I’d have pitched a fit, when he said, “I know. That’s why you’re here.” But I didn’t.

“You’ve been coming here for months.”


“Why are you here? What’s in it for you?”

I don’t know how long I stared at my hands when he asked that. I don’t know how long I stopped breathing. Everything froze. Even time, I think.

He didn’t ask a second time. He waited. As if saying, “I have nothing but time. I can wait. When you’re ready, I’ll listen.”

“I lost something.” He knew when to talk, and when to wait. “I’m trying to find what I lost.”

He nodded. The man had a quietness, and more patience than I’d ever seen in anyone.

“What’s in it for me?” I froze up again. I swear my heart stopped beating. Until I hear myself, “I lost me. And now, I’m trying to find me.”

That’s when he told me it would all be OK. “Because, you finally know why you’re here. And you can finally admit it to yourself.”

246 Words

It’s Week 416 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. And more words in whatever it is that’s writing itself have turned up. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.