I live with ghosts. Ghosts aren’t spooks. They’re memories that you’ve clung onto so long they start to cling back. Hands you held so tightly, you can still feel their touch when they’re gone. Voices that ring through empty rooms.
Ghosts can be five years old with pokey toes jabbing you in the night as you sleep, and sixteen next morning, when a song comes on that she loved back then. Ghosts can disappear as you reach them, or hang around all day.
Ghosts can stay even while their souls go on living, having kids and grandkids of their own.
A day late, almost a word short (I finally found a place to add one!). Here’s my story for Al Forbes‘ fantastic picture prompt. I appreciate feedback and I read every comment even though I sometimes struggle to reply quickly!
Eloise squinted in the June sun and fingered the battered paper poppy on her lapel. People had been staring her whole life, but this was different. The Mayor was saying something about oldest surviving… her ears tuned out, her memory washed in… then her name, and Eloise was meant to speak.
Oldest surviving, she thought, her hand moving to the scar on her hip where they’d taken away her sister. Then it flew back to the poppy, and her mind to Bobby. Either of them might have been standing beside her. Oldest surviving, she thought, really just meant longest bereft.
Well, Rochelle, you certainly know how to challenge us. This week’s photo from prodigal fictioneer Doug is stunning, but it really didn’t inspire the muse. Lots of thoughts went through my head about it – the boiling clouds, the black / white distinction (and various bad jokes about shades of grey), a great chasm between where one is and where one wants to be – but none of them led to a story.
Then, as so often happens when I’m stuck, an idea came to me while I was rocking Sebastian to sleep. And here it is. The only problem is, I’ve used this title before. Your critique and comments are always welcome, any suggestions for another title are also invited this week.
Looking up, looking down (again!)
“Reckon my Milly’s up there now with him, playin’ her harp to your Frank.” Walter smiled.
“Then she’s wasting her time. Frank’s deaf as a door!” Joan dabbed away the tears with a clean corner of his handkerchief. “But thank you.”
“Feel any better?”
“A little. It’s nice to think of him looking down on me.”
Walter paused, then went ahead and said it anyway. “Didn’t say nothing ‘bout lookin’. Heaven’s above the clouds, right?”
He put a hand on Joan’s knee. “Well, have you seen the weather? We could do anything we like and they’d never know.”
In the second part of my Voice Week submissions, here is another possible version of A Mother’s Legacy. Check out yesterday’s post for version 1 and an explanation of the project. As ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.
A Mother’s Legacy [The Mother]
I once told my son that if I became terminally ill, he should put me on a boat with a pistol and a prayer. But that was before he married the Black Widow, before it was all about her.
Apparently the doctor said I wouldn’t see out the winter, but I see it now – frost crisping onto the trees and crunching underfoot. And sprinkled on a spider’s web, her babies hanging restless in the centre. She’s given them everything, but it’s not enough.
His hand chills more than the cold. “Come on, Mum. Let’s get you to the shore now.”