#MWBB Week 2.42 – Ishq Love and the Veil

It would be sunrise in twenty minutes. It was time to set up my tent and prepare for another day of survival in a virtual oven. I dropped my backpack, pulled out my tiny tent, an a-frame tent, with lightweight aluminum poles, not fiberglass. The aluminum worked better for me. Made the tent easier to set up.

After my tent was ready, I grabbed my camera from the pack, then tossed the pack in the tent, sleeping bag and all. Soon, I’d have to hide inside for what would feel like endless hours. I adjusted the rain fly to block as much sand as possible. I knew it would be as much as twenty degrees cooler in the tent than outside.

It was day six of ten. I’d planned my trip for a year. A year of physical torture, walking miles in the heat of summer, learning to find water where I could, learning to set up water capture netting. Learning to eat what I could find. How to live off the desert. I’d even had to spend three days and nights in Death Valley solo to earn the right for my trip.

I walked along the netting. I’d set it up at the first sign of fog. You can taste the water in the air. I threw the netting up, and prayed I’d catch enough water to fill a glass or two. Enough to get through the next day.

I’d reversed the entire schedule. Walk at night, hide in the tent during the day. During the night I needed less water. At night it was cold as hell, but in a jacket, hauling 50 pounds of gear, I burned enough energy the cold didn’t bother me so much. And it certainly beat walking beneath a sun that could fry an egg in minutes on sand that could melt car tires.

Yeah. I know. “Why would anyone want to cross the desert?” You ask, ‘cause you ain’t me. You don’t know what I go through, working five days a week, in a job that’s trying to kill my soul. You don’t know what it’s like when you can’t say what you feel, what you think, because what you feel and think are wrong, and you’ll get told again, “You can’t be that way.” Or, “That’s wrong! You’re wrong!”

Daily life kills me. One bit at a time. One thread at a time, my rope frays away. Until I have no choice and have to escape. I have to escape everything. Phones. Radios. TV. News papers. The internet. The civilized world we’ve made. I have to escape it all.

This year, I escaped to the desert. Where no one could reach me. No one could tell me what to feel. What to think. How to live. In the desert, I was alone. All the voices that haunted me every day were gone. All the rights and wrongs were gone. All the good and evil, gone. All that mattered was survival. All that mattered was my next breath, my next heartbeat, my next swallow of water, my next meal. All the lies, the myths, the artificial things made by mortal men, fell away. The veil of civilization was cast aside.

And I was free.

And I was alive.

Once I knew the net was right, and was collecting what water it could from the ground fog, I turned Eastward, and waited. Soon, the sun would rise. And the colors of the world would come to life once more. The black sky, and black sand would light up with color. Golds, reds, oranges, pinks, yellows. High, thin, wispy, pink and orange cirrus clouds painted against a pale pink sky.

It was stunning. Just like life, without that veil we hide it behind.

628 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 42 (Week 2.42) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Ishq Love and the Veil” by Niyaz. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

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#FinishThatThought Week 2-25 : White Whiskey

In the beginning, there was the table, me, and a bottle of whiskey. I opened the bottle and let a long chug burn its way down my throat. “Forget,” I mumbled. “Forget all about it, and move on. That’s what they said.” I took a second chug. “Forget my ass.” I growled. “Some things can’t be forgotten.” The third chug burned so much it brought tears to my eyes. I smacked the bottle down on the table, and growled.

I knew the whiskey wouldn’t survive the night. I knew it was the lucky one. It wouldn’t see the sunrise. I would. I considered turning the bottle up, and draining it as quickly as I could, no matter how much it burned. Perhaps if I drained the bottle quickly enough, I’d end up killing myself.

I wouldn’t. I knew that wouldn’t solve a damn thing. I was in another stage of my recovery. Another step through my grief. My Dad told me once, “There’s seven stages of grief.” Seven fucking stages. And no one knows how long each stage lasts, just that it’s different for each person.

I didn’t really want to find out how my grief process worked.

“It takes as long as it takes.” I stared at the bottle, read the label. “Smooth Ambler White Whiskey.” Looked like water. Sure packed a kick water never had. I can’t drink water. God, that stuff’s nasty. But I can drink damn near anything else.

I took another chug, so I could pretend I was crying from the pain of the whiskey burning my throat and didn’t have to admit I was crying because she was gone.

I heard that damn voice in my head again, “God made the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, the good and the evil.” I screamed, and punched another hole in the drywall. Left some skin from my knuckles on the plaster. The pain felt good. Distracting. “If I ever find the ass hole that wrote that, I’m gonna kick him. Right in the nuts.”

Hemorrhagic stroke. They said the blood vessels in her brain exploded and her brain died of oxygen deprivation. By the time they got her to the hospital, it was over.

I used to tell people she was part of me. “If I ever lose her, I’ll never recover. I’ll never be whole again.” I took another chug of the whiskey. She was gone. But she was still the only reason I wasn’t. She wouldn’t want me to stop living. I had to work everything out. Had to find a way to live. Because of her.

But first I had to let the wounds heal. Let my heart stop bleeding. The whiskey wouldn’t survive the night. And I’d hurt like hell when the sun rose. Sometimes, you do what you have to, to find yourself. And I would find myself. Eventually.

The sunrise was gonna hurt like hell.

489 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 2-25 (Year 2, week 25) of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#ThursThreads Week 123 : Things You Wish You Hadn’t Done

We sat around the campfire, holding our paper and pens, wondering why we were awake at 3 o’clock in the morning. When we were all seated, Sergei commenced. “Now, we take the next step in freeing ourselves from the past.” He scribbled on his paper, “Start by naming your list.”

“But what’s it a list of?” Shelly always asked the first question.

Sergei answered “It doesn’t matter. What matters is what you feel in this moment, this heartbeat, this breath.”

I wrote, “Sergei’s Friggin’ List.”

When we’d all named our lists, Sergei continued. “Now, write a list of things you wish you hadn’t done. But you may not include things like I was born. List the things you regret doing.” He paused. “No sharing. The lists are private.”

I started my list with:

1. Letting people talk me into keeping that job.
2. Never telling Sarah how I felt.
3. The fights I had with my brother.
4. Never calling my Dad.
5. Losing Barbara.

I added things I could never forget. Mistakes I’d made throughout my life. Sergei waited until the last pen stopped moving.

“Now, it is time to let go of the past, stop letting it hurt you, stop letting it get in your way.”

Sergei burned his list in the fire. Then each of us did. And when the sun rose, I knew I’d finally cauterised the wounds my regrets had always carved in my heart and soul.

I was free.

239 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 123. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#ThursThreads Week 92 : Like Hell It Is

“I hear Earth is a beautiful place.”

I looked at the young angel next to me. He bore no scars. The armor on his wings was still polished, and new. He had never been to Earth before. Never faced Lucien’s minions before. Never faced humans before. So, he didn’t know.

“Yeah. It’s pretty enough.”

He smiled. “Tell me about it?”

I kept it simple. “Earth has nights and days. It rotates on its axis. So the sun seems to come up from the horizon every day. And then sink below the horizon later that day. It’s pretty enough. Lots of colors. Pink, orange, yellow, gold.”

“That sounds beautiful.”

“It has oceans of water covering over ⅔ of its surface. Where the oceans meet the land, there are cliffs, and beaches. With rocks and sand.”

“I want to see them. Sunrise, sunset, beaches, cliffs. Can we see them?”

“Yeah, kid. We can see them.”

So innocent. He didn’t know about fear, anger, rage, hatred, bigotry, pride, arrogance, lust. He didn’t know about sin. I sighed. I couldn’t let him go in blind. “There’s something you should know about earth. It’s beautiful, but it’s flawed.”

“Flawed?”

“Ever hear the saying like Hell on Earth?” The kid just stared at me, so I explained. “Lucien and the fallen ones live there. Demons all. Earth itself is not Hell. But like hell it is.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I know, kid. I know. But you will. You will.”

The ship started its descent.

248 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 92. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

 

Fall Flash Festival : My Fall

I stood on the beach, watching the waves, wondering how long it would be until I struck the ground again. Like I do every year. Every fall. Sometimes, I think they named this time of year perfectly. Fall. And every year, I do.

It was good to stand on the beach and watch the sunrise. The sun always brought color back to the world. The blue-green, grey, and white of the ocean and it’s waves. The pale blue of the sky, with it’s wispy white clouds. The green and gold of the sea oats. The shades of brown and tan in the sand.

Watching the colors come back reminded me, like all things, Fall and Winter eventually ended, yielding to Spring. In roughly 26 weeks. Spring. I always look forward to that. Fall. I never look forward to that.

As I stood in the dark, before the dawn, everything was a shade of black, or gray. I knew, as the leaves changed from their many shades of green, to their painted shades of gold, yellow, red, and brown, those leaves would fall to the ground. And leave bare trees. All of them, shades of gray. All of them the same.

I knew, the roses would bloom one last time. Defiantly painting themselves in oceans of pink, yellow, white, peach, bronze, and red. I knew those brilliant splashes of color would fade, the petals of each bloom would curl, and fall, beneath the ocean of gray fall always brought.

Already I could feel a nip in the wind, a hint of the biting cold that would grow in the days ahead. That little hint of the coming Winter. The playful nip of cold, like a puppy’s playful nip. A nip that grew throughout the fall into the searing bite of a full-grown, predatory wolf. Hunting every last shred of life it could find. Hell-bent on sinking its teeth in, and crushing that life in it’s jaws.

Fall. That time of year where all hope faded. Where the bottom fell out of my world, my life. Where the ground I’d stood on, the hill I’d climbed in Spring and Summer ended. And I walked off a cliff I never saw coming. A cliff that just appeared. Where the solid ground I stood on simply fell away. And I fell too.

Fall. At least it was named accurately.

There had been a time, not so many years ago, when Fall brought despair. When Fall heralded the return of the demon my depression was.

Until I learned to walk along the beach. In the hour before the dawn. And watch the sun climb out of the ocean, into the sky once more. And watch as the shades of black and grey faded away. And the colors of the world came to life again.

Until I learned to Fall heralds the return of the Camellia trees to full bloom. Their shades of white, pink and red, reminding me the Fall and Winter don’t last. They end. As if the Camellia trees catch me as I fall, and gently place me on the ground.

I knew Fall would grow the demon of depression within me. The darkness of my life would grow, just like the length of each night. But I’d learned. The darkness would never win. So long as the Camellias bloomed in the dead of Winter once again. So long as the sun rose every morning, and painted over the darkness of the night, and brought back the colors of life.

588 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for the Fall Flash Festival, hosted by Eric Martell and Daniel Swensen. Please, go read all the other stories written for the festival. They all show the magic of words.

#MWBB 29 : Stay

It broke my heart
To answer you today,
When you asked me,
Please,
Stay.

You asked me to stay with you.
To hold your hand.
To walk with you
Out on the sand
Down by the water’s edge.

“Stay with me,
Please”
You asked.
“Wrap your arms around me
As we watch the sunrise.
And then kiss me again.
And again.”

“Stay with me,
Please”
You asked.
“Hold me when the sun sets.
And then all through the night.”

But I could not stay.

“Stay with me,
Please”
You begged.
You pleaded.
“We can walk through the roses,
Hand in hand.
And spend hours on end
Watching the butterflies
Again.”

My heart ached
As you spoke those words.
If only I could
Spend time with you.
Sitting on the sand at sunrise.
As the sun
Brings the colors of the world
Back to life once more.

If only I could
Kiss your lips
As the ocean waves
Played their songs of life
Once more.

“Stay with me,
Please”
You whispered,
As your fears
brought tears
To your eyes so blue.

You should know.
I love you.
I really do.

But I cannot stay with you.

Both our hearts know
This is true.
Although someday
I may find a way
To return.

Right now
I cannot stay.
For I would be in the way.
I would halt the flow of time.
So you could never change.
And never grow.
And never learn to walk
On your own.

For I know the truth.
I know why you asked.
You pleaded.
You begged.

I know
You are afraid
To be alone.
You are afraid
Of you.

If I stayed
You would use me
As a crutch.
You would put me
In your heart.
Where you need to be.

You would look into the mirror
When you wake up
Every day.
And see me looking back
At you.

You would do everything
I wanted to.
And love every minute of it.
Because you wouldn’t
Have to live
With you.

You would never learn
To see your own eyes
In the mirror.
Stare into their
Clear,
Strong
Blue.

You would never take the time
To stand out on the sand,
Down by the water’s edge.
And listen to the songs
The ocean sings to you.
Watch the world prepare
For its healing rest
As the sun fell from the sky.
Feel the world
Come back to life
As the sun restores
All the color
Painted over by the night.

You would hold my hand
So you would never get the chance
To feel the breeze
Flow between your fingers,
And across your palms.
And your fingertips
Would never feel the texture
Of the sand
On which you stand.

And you would never see
The beauty of the roses
Of the butterflies.
Because you would see me.
Keeping you company.
So you wouldn’t be alone.

If I were to stay
You would never get the chance
To meet yourself.
To be alone.
And learn to see you
As I do.

If I were to stay
You would never learn
Why I love you so.

That is why
I cannot stay.

That is why
I have to go.

533 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 98 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#FinishThatThought 9 : Dessert

If I had know he would be there again, I would’ve brought my dragon. Instead, I found myself pondering the idea of reshaping a certain part of his anatomy with my boot heel, which was clearly not a polite thing to do to a wizard.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to hide a pair of six feet tall butterfly wings coming out of your back, and a pair of six-inch tall ears shaped like a Star Trek Vulcan’s, just to go out for apple pie and vanilla ice cream one night a month?

He’d been there last month. “Karen! So good to see you!” The man told endless stories of fixing things the humans screwed up every day. “I had to turn on the brakes in Tom’s car so he didn’t plow into the side of some lady’s mini-van, and boot her munchkins out the other side. I swear that idiot can’t drive!” He’d rambled on and on. “Frank went to the meeting yesterday, and left his presentation on his desk. I transferred it to his briefcase, so he would have it when he got there. He’s always doing things.”

I’d tried to concentrate on my pie and ice cream. It was Häagen-Dazs vanilla. I’d looked forward to it all month. A quiet evening, watching humans interact, while I relished mixing the flavors of two of their most amazing creations. Even with all my fairy magic, I couldn’t bake apples, let alone get the mix of cinnamon and sugar right. I’d tried. My apple pies came out more like scorched black frisbees.

And there he sat, at my table, drinking glasses of water, rambling on about how screwed up the humans were. “I cry every time I see them put another 500 sheets of paper in a printer. When I think of all the trees they’ve destroyed to print 50 copies of a report no one ever reads, I cry.”

Oh, I knew about that. You try caring for forests when the humans are chopping down trees left and right to make paper. Wizards. I’d tried to block him out, ignore him. I’d failed. He’d wrecked my peaceful evening. I’d had to fly to the oceanfront, and watch the sunrise to calm down.

And there he was, going to ruin my apple pie and ice cream again. I tried so hard to ignore him as he marched right up to my table. “Karen.” He didn’t sit down. “It has occurred to me, I owe you an apology.” He frowned. “I interrupted your desert last month.”

I just stared at him. He pulled his right hand from behind his back, and set a dish of apple pie and ice cream on my table. “I’m sorry.”

As he started to leave, I asked him to have a seat, and ordered apple pie and ice cream for him.

I wonder what will happen when I go out for dessert next month.

494 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for week 9 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought flash fiction challenge. It’s a fun challenge. Now, go read all the other entries in week 9.

#FlashFriday 22 : Dawn

I stood next to my best friend. We stood, side-by-side, holding hands, as we watched the clouds roll in, coming from the East, toward the shore, with the rising of the sun. I looked up at him, towering above me. He looked to the East, watching the clouds and sun. As he watched, I saw him smile, his eyes gleaming, like a childs, filled with joy and awe.

He didn’t speak. He kept his eyes open, watching every detail, taking it all in. He picked me up, like a father would lift his daughter. He set me on his shoulder, so I could get a better view. I knew him, how he was.

I wondered as I always did, why no one befriended him. Why everyone stayed away, shunned him, ostracized him. He was a giant, standing well over seven feet tall. His size made him ugly, his features being enlarged, his arms and legs lanky, his hands and feet huge. No one knew him. No one knew the gentle, kind, intelligent, loving, human man he was.

I knew. I found him. I talked with him. At first, I was afraid of him. Until the day he protected me from the men in the alley. The men had trapped me. I had no doubt what they would do to me. Leave me broken, bleeding, naked, in the alley.

He stopped them. He picked me up, so gently. Carried me to his home, made sure I was unharmed. Let me stay. I have stayed since that night. He is the friend I’ve always needed. As I am the friend he always longed for.

We stood on the shore that day. Watching the sun rise, and the clouds roll in. Enjoying the beauty of the world, as we wished the ugliness we saw, and endured every day, would vanish, as the darkness faded from the sky, and was replaced by the light of day.

We stood on the shore that day. And never spoke a single word. No words were needed. Each knew what the other felt, what the other thought. We embraced each moment, each breath, each heartbeat, standing there, wanting to remember the feelings of joy, excitement, and hope, the sunrise brought with it.

We both knew the light would be replace by darkness soon enough. When the sunrise was just a memory of the past, and the ugliness of the world woke from it’s nightly sleep, and ruled everything once more.

As he stood there, with me on his shoulder, I knew he cried. I knew tears fell from his eyes. I knew he prayed each day, each night, for the world to wake up and realize how cruel, how cold, how heartless it had become. I knew he understood it never would.

As I sat there, on his shoulder, knowing of so many hearts long frozen colder than any ice, harder than any stone, I cried too. And I wondered how life had gone so very wrong.

501 Disqualified Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Rebekah Postupak‘s #FlashFriday, Week 22. It’s totally disqualified, as it laughs at the 150 word limit being used this week. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #Flash Friday. They are good reading.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 7)

Dawn on the sixth day of Sword’s journey was absolutely beautiful. The sun slowly inched above the trees, turning the clouds and sky shades of pink, purple, and blue. Sword had slept well that night. The birds woke him up in time to see the sunrise. They could be very loud when they wanted to. Especially a screech-owl, standing next to your head. Sword’s ears were still ringing.He’d been angry at first, wondering why they would wake him so early. But as he watched the birds, he began to think they woke him for a reason. As if they knew there would be a beautiful sunrise. And they wanted him to see it. As if it was a gift. And the sunshine breaking through the darkness of the night, and bringing all the colors of the world to life once more was beautiful.

And he realized it was a gift. Sunshine. A beautiful day. This was a gift from the fairy child named Sunshine. Mystica’s first adopted daughter. She had the wild magic gift of weather. Sword smiled. Then he laughed. He felt great. His friends, Mystica and her daughters, were looking forward to his visit. And he was almost there.

Once the sun was up, Sword resumed his journey. Chasing the birds from tree to tree. It had become a game. Sword, chasing the birds, and the birds staying just out of reach. It was a marvelous way to pass the time on his journey. And in no time at all, Sword and his bird friends had covered miles. The birds were singing, and dancing. Sword was laughing, watching them dance. He’d never known birds could dance. He’d never paid attention before. But they were dancing. And Sword joined right in, hopping around, fluttering his wings, craning his neck, flapping his arms, and doing his best to imitate his avian friends.

The birds led him down from the trees, to a small clearing, filled with roses. Sword stopped there for a time. He looked at roses. Deep red velvet ones. Cream colored ones. White, pink, yellow. His favorite were the multicolored ones. With red fringes on yellow petals. Or white trails through red petals.

Sword sat down in the middle of the roses, on a well-worn path. And he closed his eyes. He knew. This was one of Rose’s gardens. He was getting close to the end of his journey. And he would soon see Rose.

The birds stayed there, among the roses, with him, as he heard a rustling noise. He looked to the West, and saw a shadow in the forest. A big shadow. He watched as that shadow slowly detached itself from the forest, and walked into the daylight of the roses. It was a wolf. A big one. It stayed on the trail through the roses. It stopped a safe distance from Sword. And it sat down.

The birds sang for a while. Then, they took flight, scattering in all directions. Leaving Sword alone with the wolf. The wolf just sat there. Watching Sword. “Am I supposed to follow you now?” The wolf nodded. Then stood up, turned and headed back the way it had come. After a couple of steps, the wolf stopped, looking back at Sword.

Sword got to his feet, and followed the wolf. In this place. In this forest. Near the lake. Sword began to realize things were different. Dragons weren’t dangerous. Wolves didn’t attack people. Predators and prey lived in peace. Side-by-side.

This was the land of Mystica and her daughters. He could feel it. It was a distinct feeling. A happy feeling. A safe feeling. A caring feeling. Where everyone was welcome. Every creature welcome.

The wolf led Sword down a well-worn trail. A trail walked by wolves, and others. A trail that blended into the woods. One that was hard to discern. But following the wolf, it became obvious to Sword. He knew he would never have found it on his own.

He’d been planning to head West, until he reached the river. And then, he’d explore the river to the north, hoping he was south of the lake.  After a couple of days, he’d turn south, and search for the lake to the south of where he’d found the river.

Now, he didn’t have to search. He could feel the wolf leading him to the lake.

Along the trail, Sword noticed more and more vines filled with green leaves, and flowers. White and pink flowers. And he began to feel music. He could close his eyes, and he could feel music gently caressing everything. The flowers, the trees, the ground, the wolf, and himself. He knew the music was Musica. And it was music that soothed all the aches and pains he had from his journey. He couldn’t help but smile.

The trail came to the river. Sword had never seen this part of the river before. But he knew it was the river leading to the lake. And he was happy he had the wolf guiding him. The wolf turned south. So did the trail.

The wolf stopped and took a long drink from the river. Sword did the same. The wolf waded into the river, diving under its surface, splashing around. Sword realized the wolf was taking a bath. So he waded into the river too. And splashed. He washed the dirt off himself. Washed the debris out of his hair. Got his shorts soaking wet, and mostly clean.

The wolf and Sword returned to the trail, where they stopped, and waited for the water to dry off of their bodies. “Thank you, kind wolf. You are wise to help me make myself more presentable for Mystica and her daughters.” Sword swore the wolf smiled.

When they’d dried off, they continued their journey to the south. Bushes filled with flowers filled in both sides of the river, they bushes were well cared for. Sword realized all he had to do to find the lake was find the roses of that garden. Find the trail. And follow it to the lake.

And suddenly, there it was. The lake. The trail just ended, and opened up to the lake. The wolf led Sword out into the clearing.

Rose was there. Waiting for him. She smiled at him, and gave him a big hug. Wrapping her arms around his neck. She never said a word. Neither did Sword. And when she finished hugging him, she took his hand, and led him into the clearing, where Mystica, Dream, Sunshine and Musica waited.

“Welcome to our home, Sword,” Mystica greeted him. “It’s so grand of you to visit.” She picked him up, like the little boy he really was, and gave him a hug before setting him down. “I must tell Oceana that you are here, and unscathed.”

That’s when Dream spoke. “OK. Mommy. We’ll take care of him.” And she smiled. And Sword, for the first time in his life, blushed. It was an interesting feeling, that burning sensation in his cheeks, and across his chest.

Mystica laughed, and so did her daughters. “I’m sure you will.”

And so ended Sword’s first journey to the lake. It was a journey he would make twice a year, every year, from then on. At first, Mystica’s daughters knew he was coming to spend time with all of them. But, over the years, it became obvious to all of them. Sword made his journey twice a year for Rose.

The two of them were like two halves of one whole.

He spent plenty of time with all of Mystica’s daughters. He loved them all. And they loved him. But he made that trip, twice each year.

For Rose.

Tuesday Tales #59 Anathema (Unedited Version)

Helen walked outside to watch the sun come up from the cabin in the mountains she’d rented. She’d always wanted to watch the sun come up. She’s always had a secret desire to walk around outside in her negligée too. So, she decided to do both things on that morning.

She found a good place to sit. It even had a post along the back, so she could lean back. She felt better than she ever had. Happier than she’d ever been. Her new life was going well.

She remembered her old life. When she was Father Henry. How miserable she’d been. Being trapped in the wrong body for 30 years. She remembered all the prayers to God she’d made. “Help me make the right decision, Father.”

Of course, when the church learned of her surgery, they’d labeled her an anathema, and excommunicated her. But that was the risk she’d been willing to take. She’d had to take. Now, she was a successful business woman. A published writer. And taking the vacation she’d always wanted.

All because she’d had the courage to do what her heart told her to do.

The picture and prompt word from the 59th Tuesday Tales inspired this work of fiction. This is the original, unedited, 201 word piece that I stripped down to 100 words for the challenge. Go read all the entries in the 59th Tuesday Tales. And thanks Stevie McCoy, for hosting the challenge each week.