#writephoto — Zero Tolerance: A Parable

383FD794-7BED-488F-AFB4-FA51DB3CC4E7Dorothy and her dog, along with her three traveling companions, were making the hazardous journey through the land of Oz heading toward the legendary Emerald City, which they were told was a welcoming land of opportunity just on the other side of the river.

Their journey had been an arduous one so far. They had successfully escaped capture by a band of marauding gorillas and had survived the numerous tornadoes that wreaked havoc upon the towns and villages all across the countryside.

Life in Oz had become unbearable and the four companions believed that their only chance for survival would be to flee to the Emerald City and seek asylum there. No hardships in their path to a better life was going to deter them. To them it was truly a matter of life and death.

Suddenly one of the companions looked up and in a very excited voice said, “Dorothy, look. It’s a poppy field. According to Google Maps, the river should be just beyond the field of poppies and then, not to far from there, we should find freedom in Emerald City.”

“Oh,” Dorothy responded. “That’s wonderful. Let’s go.” And the four of them, along with Dorothy’s little dog, ran into the poppy field.

The little dog was the first to succumb, collapsing on the ground. “Toto, what is wrong?” Dorothy cried. But then she, too, grew incredibly sleepy, as did her three companions. One by one they fell to the ground fast asleep.

When she woke up a few hours later, Dorothy was lying on a cot within a chain link fence inside of what appeared to be a large warehouse. She saw a large sign that read “Welcome to the Emerald City Detention Center.” She saw a uniformed guard carrying a semiautomatic rifle pass near by.

“Excuse me,” she said, getting the guard’s attention. “What is this place? And where are my friends and my dog?”

“You were apprehended in the poppy fields attempting to illegally enter Emerald City,” he said. “You and your companions have been separated. And your dog, well, we can’t allow mangy creatures to come to Emerald City.”

“Oh my,” said Dorothy. “What did you do to Toto?”

“He’s in a better place now,” the guard said, a smirk on his face.

“And what of me and my companions?” Dorothy asked.

“By order of the Great Pumpkinhead, our Dear Leader,” the guard said, “you will be sent back to Oz.”

“But we came to Emerald City seeking asylum. We were told that Emerald City would allow us to stay.”

“Not anymore,” the guard said. “Perhaps if you’d come here from Norway and not some shithole country, we’d hear your case for asylum. But Dear Leader says that we don’t need more of your kind to bring about massive demographic changes upon the people of Emerald City. The Great Pumpkinhead has declared a national emergency, so you must be deported back to Oz.”

“But that’s a certain death sentence,” Dorothy protested.

“Sorry, kiddo,” the guard said unsympathetically, “But our orders are to make Emerald City great again, and we can’t do that if we let your kind in. It’s our new zero tolerance policy.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — The Asylum Tree

img_1779“Look at that tree, Ma,” Alex said, pointing to a tree with limbs and branches covered torn pieces of cloth. “What does it mean?” he asked her.

“That, sweetie,” Cindy said, “is known as the ‘Asylum Tree.’ It’s meant to remind us of the struggles of people trying to come to the United States from other countries in order to escape violence and persecution.”

“Why does it have all of those rags tied to it?” Alex wanted to know.

“Well, under federal law, anyone from another country can seek asylum — and therefore entry into the U.S. — by claiming to have fled their countries out of fear of persecution over their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group,” she explained.

“But President Trump is ignoring that law and arresting people from Central America who are seeking asylum,” Cindy said. “ And worse, he’s taking young children away from their mothers and fathers and putting the children into cages.”

“That’s terrible, Ma,” Alex said. “How can our president be so cruel, so heartless?”

“Many of us are asking that same question, Alex,” she agreed. “He is turning our country into a place that many of us don’t recognize anymore. We are embarrassed and ashamed.”

“But the rags,” he said. “I still don’t understand why they are attached to the tree.”

“Each of those pieces of cloth hanging from the tree branches,” she said, “represents a child who has been torn away from their mother or father to remind us of the inhumanity of Donald Trump and those who support him.”

“I hope that the next time we come to see this Asylum Tree, there will be no more rags tied to it,” Alex said.

“I hope so too, sweetie,” Cindy said.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

Sunday Photo Fiction — Clay Pigeons

IMG_2589

Frank grabbed Sally and pulled her behind the embankment as the military tank rumbled over bridge. “Do you think they saw us?” Sally whispered to Frank.

Frank peeked over the embankment as the tank rolled out of sight. “No, I don’t think so,” he said, as reassuringly as he could. “It will be dark in an hour,” he continued. “We’ll wait here until then before heading to the other side.”

Four months earlier the generals had staged a coup, arrested the president and his family, and declared martial law when those loyal to the president took up arms in open rebellion.

The fighting had been fierce and thousands of lives had been lost, but Frank was determined to make it across the border with Sally, where they’d be given asylum. He figured it would take them a few more days on foot, since private vehicles were no longer allowed on the roads.

After the sun set, the two left their hiding place. They had barely taken two steps when they were caught in a bright spotlight. Shots rang out and both of them fell dead to the ground.

“Like clay pigeons,” one of the rebel soldiers said, laughing.

(198 words)


Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Photo credit: A Mixed Bag 2017.