Old Kelly

This prompt comes from Mur Laferty’s “News From Poughkeepsie” series. http://murverse.com/2008/05/10/the-news-from-poughkeepsie-day-19/

Old Kelly had been in prison for so long that she didn’t even remember why she was there, but when the King summoned her from her dark cell, he reminded her.


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This weeks reading is by Ann Hite.

Also hear the News From Poughkeepsie Promo.

Old Kelly

Kelly looked out of the windows of tower room and saw the kingdom below her. She had not seen this view in over thirty years. That was the last time she had been allowed out of the basement cell.
The King was cruel to have locked her up all those years ago, but he was not an evil man, he had ordered that she have time nearly every day, to see the sun. Normally that was at sundown, and from the top step of the prison cell block. So at least she remembered what it looked like. The rest of the world though had faded in her memory. She was not even sure that it had been a king that had sent her to prison, it might have been some duke or something. But, they said it had been the king had summoned her to day. So she had to assume that it had been the king that had doomed her to thirty years in that hole. And for what. That she did not remember. She just remembered laughing at him, that day and for many many days after.
Today had been completely different. She had been woken before sunrise and taken, not by the normal older prison guards, but by two young men to this room. To this prison cell, for that was still what it was. Despite the niceties, the door was locked, and occasionally she could hear the voices of the guards outside the door. There she had watched the sunrise for the first time in many years.
Shortly after sunrise two maids had come in. They bathed her and dressed her. They had called a seamstress, but the clothes she had worn the day of her imprisonment still fit so she was sent away. The maids combed and brushed her black hair which was now down to her knees, they trimmed the end s off but left the greatest majority of the length. Then they braided it.
Several hours had passed, and now she stood alone trying to remember why it was that she was there, and wondering why it was she was being summoned before the king.
“Madam, you need to come with me now,” the voice of the young guard brought her back to the moment.
“Of course,” She said following obediently out of the room. He lead her down a long series of step and to a small room, with a set of large doors on the opposite wall. There they waited. The main doors finally opened but only a little hand waived them in.
“Today I will remind those of you who do not remember of a dear friend of mine.” The king said as she entered the room. She was still well to the back of the room and mostly concealed by a set of curtains. “She was a wonderful friend of mine when we were younger. Since the age of twelve, she was always by my side. There to help me and guide me in many ways. We had a great many things in common. All but one, and I will get to that in a moment. For I first want to tell you more about her.”
Kelly began to remember the king. He had been a young man when she had gone to prison. But no longer. His hair and is beard were silver, and his skin a pale sickly looking yellow. He had grown thin in all the years since.
“You will remember my kind ladies and gentlemen that she was a woman of unique gifts. She was extremely intelligent, and without a doubt she was beautiful. Of her beauty she was very proud. Too proud in fact, and this is where the differences between us become important. I am the king, and she was not even of royal blood.”
Kelly listened as he rambled on for some time about blood lines and, the importance of the rule of law. As he did the past began to come into focus for her. She remembered now the days that she had spent with him. The hours they had spent learning the laws of the kingdom, the horsemanship, and though it was deemed to be above a woman’s station, swordsmanship. They had also spend hours just by themselves, riding through the towns and villages of the country side. She had loved to see the changes in them… At that moment it all came back to her.
“I asked her to kick the mud off her boots and to change her life forever. I asked her to marry the king, but she refused. She actually said that her beauty was too great for some one like me.” He said gesturing toward himself with his ancient looking hands. “Bring out the mirror,” he bellowed.
To the side of the great hall another door was opened and four men entered with a very large mirror. “We will now see if she is still too beautiful to marry me. Of course I am now off the market so to speak,” This last remark was made with a sweep of his arm toward a woman that looked older than he. It was obvious that she had been beautiful at one time, her hair was still long and flowing but all white now.
When the mirror was positioned in the center of the room the guard leaned over and whispered in her ear. “This ain’t going to work out like this ol’ king thinks.”
“No I don’t believe it will.” Kelly replied, straightening her dress with her hands.
“I will now turn my back on her, as she turned her back on me thirty years ago, and let her see if her beauty is still enough to keep her happy.” He gestured toward her now and turned around to face the rear of the room. “Guard, bring my old friend Kelly in her now and let her see her reflection.”
From behind her the guard pushed gently.
“It is alright, I will go without a fight,” she said. Kelly walked proudly into the main hall and right up to the mirror. She turned slowly, so that everyone in the room could see her as well and only occasionally looked at the mirror herself, she knew what she would see.
The whispers that had started when she walked into the room and the members of the court has seen her, had now increased in volume so that she could hear many of them without trying. The mirror blocked her view of the king, and his view of her. So it startled her when he spoke from just behind it.
“Kelly, was it worth it?” He asked first in a quite voice and then again so that the whole room could hear. “Now your that youthful beauty has failed you, would it not have been better to spend that time with me, instead of wasting away in the cell below…”
“Your highness,” a random voice said from her side of the mirror.
“Move the mirror!” He shouted. It was moved away, and for the first time in thirty year he looked at her. His face turned ashen white and he dropped to the floor. Kelly stood for a moment longer admiring her appearance in the mirror before the guard pulled her away again. Thought she was much older than the king, by hundreds of years, it would take many hundreds more before, she started to look old, and once again she found the laugh that had send her to prison.

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Old Kelly by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

A Real Father is Snot Afraid

As the intro says, prompt from various places. I wrote this one a while ago after having a conversation with an expectant parent, who was asking advice about things they needed to buy for their new baby.


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A Real Father is Snot Not Afraid.

Jimmy was lying kicking and screaming on the floor while his father knelt over him, with the child under him to hold him down. He pinned the child’s arms to the floor with one hand and with the other produced a blue plastic item that looked like a small very short turkey baster, from his pocket. At the sight of it the child screamed louder, and now tears streamed down his cheeks. Arthor, after some difficulty got the end of the turkey baster into the child’s nose squeezed and released. Then with the same amount of trouble he repeated this with the other nostril.

When it was all over he kissed the child on the forehead and said, “Come on now, Jimmy was that really all that bad?” Jimmy wiggled his way away from his father, kicking to get out from under him and in the process kicked him in the knee, in a way that seemed to be more than a little intentional, then ran off still whimpering.

Arthur stood up rubbing his knee. “I don’t know how you do it John, you have 8 of those and I only have one. He is more than I can handle some times.”

“We pick our battles, Arthur” I said.

“Yeah, but how?” He said as he made his way to the sink. Before I could answer he started to clean the item that I like to call the brain sucker. He ran the water until is was steaming then stuck the open end into the stream and worked the action several times. When this was done he shut the water off and squeezed the bulb a number of times to expel and remaining water.

“I mean Mary and I are some times so tired at the end of the day we can barely make it up the stairs.” as he spoke he got a paper towel from under the sink and dried the brain sucker off. Then he pulled out an alcohol pad and cleaned all the exposed surfaces.

“I know how you feel. There are days when we have each fallen asleep on the sofa after the kids are in bed.” Done with the alcohol pad he tossed it in the trash and carried the brain sucker to the dish washer and put it in.

To the obviously surprised look on my face at this Robert said, “You don’t want anything like that floating around with your dishes so we get it all cleaned out first.”

“Oh”

“So what do you guys do?” he said as he opened a drawer next to the sink. In the drawer were four more of the little torture devices.

My youngest daughter ran up to me at that point. “Daddy, Marvin has a googie.” The was code for he needed to blow his nose. Marvin trailed behind her in with his unsteady walk. I picked him up.

“Alice says you have a googie is that true.” Marvin giggled. I grab his nose with my thumb in index finger and the mucus came out on to my fingers. I let go of his nose and Marvin giggled again.

“Daddy silly.” Marvin said as I put him down again and he toddled off. Arthur was almost white.

“Fathers are snot afraid.” I said rinsing my fingers under the sink.

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A Real Father is Snot Afraid by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

Seeing Ghosts

Well I have made it to week two.

This weeks prompt comes again from Mode Room Press. See their link to the side.

Imagine a man who has visions of ghosts
With a terminal illness
beyond the window is a Sylvan scene
the scoundrels line the wharves
while the insomniac holds a candle in the dark.


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Seeing Ghosts.

Jacob has seen things all his life, but it was not until recently that he had known what they were. It was on his fifty second birthday that he was diagnosed with what he called terminal lung rot. As he walked out of the Doctor’s office he saw something pass in front of him, just for a moment, and then it was gone. He followed it with his eyes not wanting to see anything in the real word, and it formed a few feet off and stared at him.
It was a man in a striped suit of the kind that was popular a few years before. He carried a briefcase in his left hand and had a ancient looking cell phone in his right, that until he has spotted Jacob he had been talking into.
“Damn thing gets horrible reception in the city,” The man had said.
“They always do.” It was then that Jacob saw it. There was a hole in the mans suit… No not in his suit, right threw him.
“Just got the Diagnosis did you?” The man said noticing Jacob stare.
“What?”
“You just found out about the impending end right? Am I the first ghost you have seen?”
“Yes,” he answered not quite believing the conversation.
“Well you will see a few more of us. It always happens to people who are in tune to the universe. As soon as they know they are going to die things start to come into focus. But do try not to stare, I don’t mind but there are those that find it very rude.” He smiled at Jacob then and walked through the wall in to the office building.
That had been three months ago. It was hard not to stare at some of them, the ones that carried parts of their bodies around. The severed heads where the hardest. That was why he had to leave the city. Every where he turned there were more of them, men, women and children, all a with their particular method of death exposed to the world. He could not stand it any more. But the worst the absolute worst were the wharves. He made the mistake of going down there one evening to get some fish for dinner. There where the usual scoundrels until he looked closer and noticed that many of them had knife or bullet wounds. The sailors that had died at sea, skin green and fish eaten. The Slaves whose bodies had been dumped in heaps hanged or whipped to death, There were even a few men with bucket shaped concert around their feet. All of them seemed to know that he, unlike the rest of the population, could see them and so they spoke to him. He had to get out.
He had, had a hard time getting the financing, too many people already knew he was going to die and had nothing to leave behind. His real estate broker had even been able to see the dead as well, and they warned her about him. He thought at first this would be to his benefit having someone else that could understand his plight but she was as uncaring as the dead. In the end he was able to buy a house in upstate New York, out in the country away from most people. The scene outside his windows was beautiful, the farms and pasture land all around, but even here there was too much history. He did not see as many of the gruesome deaths, the killings or the maiming, but there were enough, the farm accidents and the older ones, from the fur traders and the native Americans before that. So long as he stayed in his home most of the time, he was ok, most of the time.
That was before the nearby farmer had come by. He was an older man, with a grey beard. Jacob was suspicious at first, but when he saw not obvious method of death, he let his guard down.
“Welcome to the area, my name is Brown, live down the road just a bit,” He said holding out a plate of cookies. “My wife baked some cookies.” Jacob reached his hand out tentatively and when his hand didn’t pass right them he was relieved.
“Thank you.”
“Sorry I have not come down sooner, but kind of a busy season. planting and all.”
“I understand,” He said relaxing quite a bit, he had not talked with some one in a while who was not a ghost.
“This land that your house is on used to belong to my father, but we sold off some of it a few years back and they split it up and built houses. At least it is not a subdivision.”
“I certainly understand that. I have seen enough of those.”
“Well listen I need to get back to work, but if you ever need any help around here, let me know. Oh and don’t tell my wife about the cookies, she don’t know I took’em and I ate about half of them on the way down here,” he said smiling mischievously. “The doctor says I have to stay off sweets but I don’t listen to them any more.” Jacob watched the man leave, walking down the driveway and across the field. He ate one of he cookies and truly enjoyed it. It had been on of the best human contacts he had made in a while, and for once he was not seeing a ghost.
“Brown works for me,” The voice behind him said. The plate fell to the floor and shattered as the spirit pushed his way through Jacob. “Surprised you didn’t see that he was one of us, but the plate and cookies probably threw you off.”
Standing before Jacob now was without a doubt death itself. He looked just as the stories had described him with one difference, the cowl was not totally covering his face and Jacob could see into it’s eyes.
“Don’t worry that you can see my face. Today is not your day, but it will be soon, so it is of no consequence. I use Brown to help me find people like you. People who can see the dead. I can use people like you. Think about it. have you ever seen another dead holding a solid object? I gave that to him. His weakness was the cookies… so I gave them to him. in turn he scouts for me. He finds the ones I can take early, the ones who will work for me and the ones who won’t.”
“What do people do for you?”
“What does death do? They kill for me of course. They take the walking dead like you and hurry them along and a few they refer to me, like you.”
“He kills people?”
“He can’t do that, not really, but he can interact with the living in ways that makes things happen.”
“Why?”
“Because he does not want to be stuck in hell… All the other dead you see live for ever with the pain of their deaths. They take their pain with them to the grave. Think about it Jacob, but not too long, you can’t decide once you are dead.” He disappeared then and he stood alone in his hallway, shattered plate on the floor.
That night he said in his bed, the candle by his bed, not able to sleep. He could hear all the voices of the dead in the area now, and he could feel death. He knew that death would never leave him now. Sleep would never come. He held the candle tightly in his hands trying to ward off the dark, and cried.

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Seeing Ghosts by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

Adam and Eve

This prompt comes from Mode Room Press. See the link in the PROMPTS section to the side

Describe Adam and Eve breaking up

With a handful of poultry feathers

Such love one has had at times like these

A gypsy wagon comes traveling by

While a virgin discovers love


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Like Lilith before her Eve loved Adam. Then again there was no one else for her to love, with the exception of Lilith, and she was a demon now, past love of her own or being loved, except as one loves all of Gods creations. Now there were just the two of them and the animals, and there was love between them. Love that you can only know before you lose that virginity, the virginity if ignorance and bliss. There was nothing but love. This afternoon that had all changed.

Before this afternoon, there had been no knowledge of lust or desire, but now they knew both. There was no anger or jealousy either, but now they were there too. And Adam was gone. He had seen her with the serpent, she had offered him the apple, and they had seen each other for the first time. There was lust and passion, as there had never been before, and all the things that came with them. It had lasted hours, or was it days, it was hard to tell but when it was over, there was the knowledge that it was over. He had left to find food for them both.

She had found him an hour later with a bird in his right hand and some of it’s feathers in his left and, and realized that he was using the same passion to prepare their meal as he had used a hour ago, when he had made love to her, and she left him. She had wandered though the garden with no where else to go, the garden was everywhere and everywhere was the garden.

She came upon a track in the garden, where there should have been none, but as the garden was everything, she thought little of it, and decided to follow the track. The trees closed in around the track and made it impossible for her to leave, but as all the creatures of the garden were under the control of man, and she was, after all made from man, she knew she had nothing to fear.

Then she remembered the warning, “Eat not of the tree of knowledge of good and evil lest you shall die,” and she was afraid. In moments she heard a noise. It sounded like horses and of talking between her and Adam, but louder and as if there were more men and women. Then there were the sounds she did not recognize. She stood in terror for the first time in her life, there was no where for her to hide, she did not know how to hide, but she wanted to do it away.

Eve stared down the track in the direction of the noises and trembled, held in place by fear. Soon a group of horses connected by straps to a large object made of wood, that had round objects that it roll along on came into view. There were other horses that were ridden by men and women sat or hung on to the thing being drawn by the horses tethered to it. She knew at once, without knowing how, that this was a wagon and the people were gypsies. They wore brightly colored cloth covering their bodies and heads. The men stared at her. She could feel their eye roam over her naked body, with the same lust that Adam had had for her, but with none of the love that he had. These men just lusted for her body and not for her.

The women stared at her too, but their stares were ones of disapproval. They looked on Eve with shame and embarrassment. She saw in their eyes the need to cover herself. She did so with her hands at first, and when he realized this was of little good, she grabbed a fig leaf and pulled it close to her. They passed by her with only the noise made by the horses and the wagon breaking the silence. She ran then. Fear coursed through her, the fear of her nakedness, the fear of the gypsies, the fear of the animals and the fear of death from them all, and through it all she ran.

The track seemed to go on forever, but she didn’t stop, though she felt pain, that she had never felt before. She looked at her feet as they stepped on rocks that dug into them, and wondered at why they had never done this before. Then came the blinding paid of her head striking something heard and she fell over. Fear of death overwhelmed her, then. Though she did not understand what death was, she feared it, because God had warned against it.

It was the soft touch of Adams hands on her skin that convinced her to open her eyes and stop crying. When she did she saw only love in his eyes. Not the bawdy looks of the men on the horses, or the disapproving stares of the women on the wagon. She knew then that it was only at times like these that love can really be expressed.

She held Adam and cried until the tears would no longer come and his love for her was something she could feel. When they finally pulled apart she noticed that like her, he was covered in a leaf, and that there he been tears in his eyes as well.

“I looked for you Eve, but I could not find you. Then I followed this road. I saw a thing, people, on horses and a wagon. The men made me feel shame and the women stared at me almost like you but there was no love.”

“I saw the same thing, and then I ran and I ran until I hit something with my head.”

“I think you hit me,” he said rubbing the lump on his head that she now saw for the first time. They held each other then, until they heard God calling to them from down the road.

“I do not want him to stare at me like the Men on the horses.” Eve said

“Nor do I want him to look on me with their scorn. I think we should hide.” This time there was a place for them to do so, and they moved into the trees and hid until they could see God.

Eve noticed right away the way he looked. He no longer looked like herself and Adam, somehow he looked greater, more brilliant and in all ways untouchable by someone like her. They had touched him many times before. They often had walked hand in hand in hand through the garden, but now the idea of her hand in his seemed somehow beyond her reach.

Adam held her hand in his, and said “We must stay hidden. He must not know what we have done,” and she knew that he felt the same things that she was feeling.

Creative Commons License
Adam and Eve by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.