#WDYS — Keep Moving Forward

“What is this place?” Brian asked the woman who had escorted him here.

“This is the gate,” she responded.

“Yeah,” Brian said, “I can see that it’s a gate. But why are we here?”

“I’m trying to show you The Way,” she answered.

“The way?” Brian asked. “The way to where?”

“The way forward,” she said.

“I don’t understand,” Brian said. “Just take me back home.”

“Brian,” she said. “You can’t go back from here. You can only go forward, and this is The Way forward. Now do you understand?”

Brian looked around and then looked at his escort. “Am I dead? I’m dead, right?” he asked. “And this gate. Is this the gate to hell? Or maybe heaven’s gate?”

“I’m sorry, Brian, I thought you knew.”

“How did I die!”

“That doesn’t matter, Brian,” she said. “What does matter is that you move forward and I’m going to show you the way.” The gates suddenly swung open. “Follow that path to the end and you will reach your destination.”

“And what is my destination?” Brian asked.

She pointed beyond the gates. “You’ll know when you arrive, Brian, but you must keep moving forward.” And when Brian turned around to face her, he was alone.

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Keith Hardy @ Unsplash.

Truthful Tuesday — Thoughts and Prayers

Melanie, of Sparks from a Combustible Mind, is still filling in for Frank, aka PCGuy, who is taking a temporary hiatus from his Truthful Tuesday prompt. This week Melanie wants to know about thoughts and prayers.

Do you think the thoughts and prayers sent to victims of disasters or mayhem are worth the effort? If not, please give your reasoning. If so, give your reasoning, too.

Worth the effort? What effort? How much effort does it take to say that you’re going to send someone your thoughts and prayers? For most people, it’s an almost meaningless, mechanical, rote response.

Many of us can do little to help the victims and the families of loved ones whose lives have been senselessly taken by some asshole with a semiautomatic assault rifle. So “sending out thoughts and prayers” may help us feel better, but it serves no good purpose for those directly affected.

But nothing sickens me more than when those who are in a position to actually do something about gun violence in America — our elected representatives — offer their thoughts and prayers each time another mass shooting occurs. These people we put in office and whose salaries we pay through our tax dollars are lawmakers. So let them make laws that will help reduce the availability of and accessibility to semiautomatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Let them close the loopholes in gun laws. Let them demand background checks and waiting periods. Let them raise the minimum age to purchase a gun, let them require, as with cars, licenses, registration, training, and testing. Let them not get away, time after time, with doing nothing more than sending out thoughts and prayers.

And we, the ordinary people, can also do more than send our thoughts and prayers. We can vote into office — at the local, state, and federal levels — candidates who will commit to taking definitive actions to do something meaningful about gun violence in America, rather than spouting empty words.

Grand Theft

“That sculpture is an heirloom, Detective,” Mildred Smythe said. “It’s irreplaceable. I trust you will conduct a proper investigation in the aftermath of this heinous crime.”

“I can assure you, Mrs. Smythe,” Detective Fred Morrisey said. “My investigation will be quite thorough. Can you please describe the stolen article?”

“It’s a chimera,” Mildred said. The detective got a blank expression on his face, so Mildred continued. “It’s a sculpture of a mythological, fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. It’s priceless. Here’s a photo of it.” She handed the detective the photograph. “You must find it. You must!”

“I have already set up an ad hoc task force of some of the finest investigative minds in the state, Mrs Smythe. No stone will be left unturned,” Detective Morrisey said. “Can you tell me what the appraised value of the sculpture is?”

“It has great sentimental value,” Mildred said. “My husband, the late Mr. Wilhelm Smythe, acquired it for me on his last trip to the Far East. He paid one hundred and fifty thousand for it.”

“One hundred and fifty thousand dollars?” Morrisey said. “Wow.”

“Oh no, Detective, not dollars,” Mildred said. “One hundred and fifty thousand yen. He bought it from an artifacts dealer in Japan.

Morrisey took out his iPhone and Googled “yen to dollars.” Then he looked at Mildred and said, “There’s apparently been a miscommunication, Mrs. Smythe. My team gets involved with matters of grand theft, but ¥150,000 equates to less than $750. And in this state, that makes this a case of petty theft.”

“So what does that mean, Detective?”

“It means I’m outta here, Mrs. Smythe,” Morrisey said. “I’ll have Officer Hutchins from our minor crimes division contact you about your petty theft claim.”

Written for these daily prompts: My Vivid Blog (heirloom), The Daily Spur (proper), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (replaceable), Word of the Day Challenge (aftermath), Your Daily Word Prompt (chimera), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (ad hoc), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (apparent).

Fandango’s Story Starter #49

It’s time for my weekly Story Starter prompt. Here’s how it works. Every Tuesday morning (my time), I’m going to give you an incomplete “teaser” sentence and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to build a story (prose or poetry) around that partial sentence. It doesn’t have to be the first sentence in your story, and you don’t even have to use it in your post at all if you don’t want to. The purpose of the teaser is simply to spark your imagination and to get your storytelling juices flowing.

This week’s Story Starter teaser is:

There was something about that song that always made me think of…

If you care to write and post a story built from this teaser, be sure to link back to this post and to tag your post with #FSS. I would also encourage you to read and enjoy what your fellow bloggers do with their stories.

And most of all, have fun.