Ursula’s Tell the Story Challenge

3c7d7d43-41eb-40c6-891b-6967924732ccUrsula, An Upturned Soul, offered the drawing above and tagged me to tell the story about it. So here goes.


“I keep having this recurring dream, Doc. I’m trying to balance between two ladders, as if I’m a clown in a circus,” Alex told his therapist. “Each rung on the ladders represents one of life’s challenges, trials, or tribulations. I’m trying to keep moving up the ladders, rung by rung, but my situation is precarious and I fall back down to the ground, at which point I get up, brush myself off, and start, once again, to climb up the from the bottom. But I never make it to the top.”

“I see,” the therapist said.

Alex gave his therapist a questioning look. “You see? That’s all you got? Three hundred bucks an hour and all you have to say is ‘I see’? I want to know what it means. What’s the significance of the two ladders? What’s at the top? Why am I struggling to climb up the rungs? Why do I keep falling? What does the dream mean, Doc?”

“How the hell would I know?” the therapist said. “It’s your dream, not mine. That will be three hundred dollars, please.”


Okay, now, according to the rules for this Tell the Story Challenge, I’m suppose to post a new picture and tag three other bloggers to tell a story about that picture.

So here’s the picture:deebcf03-af0a-4bf2-ae35-523f4bc20a85It’s from Austin Poon at Unsplash.com.

As to tagging three other bloggers, it’s not going to happen. I’ll open it up to any blogger who would like to tell his or her story about this picture.

The Dream and the Reality

71a83a70-33b2-4e9c-89be-b9a98cf8220eI see myself in my dream as an accomplished writer, an author who has the ability to compose a truly great work of literature.

I can visualize, as I toil away on my keyboard, a flock of festive letters, like little, white snowflakes, floating up from my typewriter, transforming into magnificent words — nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and yes, even adverbs — and then slowly descending down to bedeck the blank pages of my book.

And then I wake up from the dream, sit down at my computer with a cup of hot coffee, and struggle to punch out enough words for a simple blog post.

There’s the dream and then there’s the reality.


Written for these one-word prompts: Fandago’s One-Word Challenge (compose), Scotts Daily Prompt, (literature), Your Daily Word Prompt (festive), Ragtag Daily Prompt (white), and Word of the Day Challenge (bedeck).

Finish The Story — The Chapel, Part Last

41504FCB-7911-4C5A-A5AA-D77E6C909541Teresa, the Haunted Wordsmith, has this habit of starting a story and then pawning it off on another blogger to write the next part of the story. The “rules” are simple.

  • Copy the story as it appears when you receive it (and the rules please)
  • Add to the story in whichever style and length you choose
  • Be sure to pingback or comment on the original post please.
  • Please use the tag THWFTS
  • Tag only 1 person to continue the story

Teresa tagged Michael (Morpethroad), who tagged Crispina (Crimson Prose). Then Sadje (Keep it Alive) ran with it before tagging me.

So here’s what we have so far.

Teresa wrote:

Far beyond the city, in the middle of nowhere, sat a tiny chapel. No one knew who built it, why it was in the middle of nowhere, or why any traveler in need would always find the light on – but I know these things. I am alive because of Father Chris and the little chapel in the middle of nowhere.

I just turned eighteen and was so sure of myself. I knew everything I ever needed to know – at least I thought I did. I was an adult and didn’t need anyone’s permission to leave. So I did. I left home the morning of my birthday with a few clothes and what little money I had stuffed in a backpack. Mom and Dad weren’t up yet, which made it a little easier not having to listen to Dad ask why or listen to my Mom cry and ask me to stay. No, it was better the way I did it. At least it seemed that way at the time.

I boarded the Number 3 bus heading out of Jasper and …


And here’s what Michael wrote:

… noticed the light on in the chapel. I was curious as it was a shade of green I had not seen before. In the vestibule was Father Chris. He was a tall man, taller when he stood up, and he was standing there looking at me as I passed.

I watched, as around him, the green light seemed to throb as if suspecting I was flying the coop of my hometown. He was dressed in his customary black, but his clerical collar radiated a blinding white light. I looked away with a sense of betrayal and guilt.

I looked back through the window of the bus and found myself just passing the chapel, green light and Father Chris. This disturbed me, as the bus appeared to be travelling at a rate of knots by now having cleared the town limits.

Three times this happened, and I started to feel stuck in some sort of ground hog day. I then pulled the stop cord above me and alighted.

As the bus moved away I saw across the road the chapel, now dark, lights gone and Father Chris standing in the doorway in his radiant collar.

I found myself crossing the road and coming up to Father Chris who….


Here’s Crispina’s Addition:

… opened his arms as if he’d embrace me, his face collapsing into a picture of welcome relief.

“What is it?” I asked, for surely something had happened to cause him distress. But more than that, I wanted to know what that green light I had seen.

“Oh, my lad, my lad,” he said. “I’m so glad you have come. I’m to have a visitation.”

“A …? What, as in Jesus? Or a saint? Or …” I slapped my hand over my mouth “… no, you don’t mean the devil? Is that what the green light?”

He flicked his fingers into my face. “Silly boy! That ‘green light,’ as you called it, is just off Old Bess. But Old Bess is the problem.”

(I’d best explain. Old Bess was Father Chris’s exceedingly antiquated computer—steam-powered I shouldn’t wonder, it’s so old).

“So what’s up with her?” I asked.

“I think she’s not well. She refuses to access my records. And I have the bishop due any moment to inspect them. I don’t suppose …?”

The way he looked at me … what could I do but check out the ancient machine.

The fool of a Father Chris. He’d crammed a communion wafer into the thin slot of the floppy drive. I pulled it out and held it out accusingly. He colored up.

“But, my boy, my boy, I am so grateful. And just in time, for, Hark! That’ll be the bishop now.”

And true enough, a vehicle of sorts was drawing up outside the chapel. But when I looked out of the door …


Here’s what Sadje added:

… it didn’t look like a sort of transport the bishop would use. It was strangely shaped carriage, drawn by some creatures, which weren’t anything I had seen in my life. They had the body of a horse but very large wings attached to it. In fact the carriage came flying through the air on these “flying horses” and landed near us.

The person driving or flying the carriage stepped out and opened the door for the person inside to alight from it. The person who came out of the carriage could be a bishop, I suppose but from some other world. The whole of his body was emitting a strange white light. Father Chris welcomed him with utmost joviality and warmth. He was not deterred by the strange aura surrounding the bishop. In fact he acted as if it was nothing out of ordinary.

“Your Excellency, how kind of you to visit us in our humble abode,” gushed father Chris. “Please come inside, it’s too cold to stand out and chat.” He then instructed the coachman to take his flying horses to the side where a large barn stood. The bishop and father went inside and I followed them. I was wondering who this mysterious bishop was. Was he from some magical place or was I too tired and was imagining things?

When I entered the chapel behind them, the sight which met my eyes was so unusual that …


And finally, my very addition to the very long story:

… I let ought an audible gasp.

“Hey buddy, are you okay?” I heard a voice say.

“Father Chris?” I asked, “Is that you?”

“No, I’m not your father, kid,” the voice said.

I opened my eyes and looked around. I was still sitting on the Number 3 bus and the driver was talking to me. “What’s going on?” I asked him.

“You we’re having some sort of nightmare and you started screaming,” he said. “Listen kid, we’ve reached the end of the line. I’m heading back to the terminal on Main Street in Jasper. Do you want me to drop you off on my way back into town?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Can you drop me at Center Street?” As the bus headed back into Jasper, I saw the small chapel again. But there was no green light shining from within. Just the yellow glow of a standard light fixture. That’s when I realized that the whole thing — Father Chris, the green glow from the old computer, the flying carriage with the flying horses, and the strange bishop — was all just a dream. And now I was headed back home to be with my father and my mother for the holidays.

Even though it was not real, it was my dream encounter with Father Chris that made me see that I didn’t know everything and that what I really needed was be home with my family.


I’m not tagging anyone else. At almost 1,300 words, I think this story has gone on long enough.

So back to you, Teresa.

So Many Questions

9A507F46-4A95-4A91-A61E-941F76D813A6Sadje over at Keep It Alive was just nominated (again) for the Sunshine Blogger Award. She dutifully answered the 11 questions asked of her and, per the instructions, posed 11 new questions. But rather than nominating 11 new bloggers for the award, she instead wrote, “My nominees are anyone who likes to answer my 11 questions. You all are invited to participate!”

So thanks for the “nomination” and invitation, Sadje. Here are your questions and my answers.

  1. What made you start your blog? I retired at the end of 2016. By May of 2017, my constant presence around my wife (i.e., always being underfoot) prompted her to say to me, “Why don’t you start blogging?”

  2. What do you enjoy most about blogging? I enjoy exercising my imagination when I write flash fiction and expressing my utter disgust for Donald Trump, his administration, cabinet, and the Republicans in Congress.

  3. What is your dream? That there will be an enormous “blue wave” in Tuesday’s elections, that Robert Mueller will find irrefutable evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors perpetrated by Donald Trump, which will result in his removal from office, that America will be able to recover from the damage that he’s done to our country and to the environment in my lifetime, and that, when I go to sleep each night, I’ll wake up the next morning.

  4. How do you find inspiration to write? You mean aside from my wife urging me to get out of her hair by blogging? I find inspiration from word and photo prompts, family and friends, and the news.

  5. Which is your favorite place on the planet? My home.

  6. Coffee or tea or…..? Coffee, for sure.

  7. If you had to cook dinner, what will you cook? Probably pasta.

  8. What do you think of climate change? It’s real and it worries me.

  9. Who is your role model? To be honest, I don’t really have a role model at this point in my life.

  10. Which is your favorite time of the year? Fall.

  11. Books, TV, or movies — how you spend your free time? Sadly, of the three, it’s TV. But I probably spend an equal amount of time writing and reading blog posts, which makes my wife very happy (see question 1.)

As Sadje did, I now invite anyone who wishes to answer these questions to feel free to do so.

Three Things Challenge — If Dreams Came True

MEGA MILLIONS LOTTERY FEVER“I’ve always dreamed of taking a train ride on the Orient Express,” Sally said. “It would be so exotic.”

“My dream is to take a cruise to the Far East,” Amy weighed in. “Can you image how romantic such a voyage would be?”

“What about you, Charles?” Sally asked. “What do you dream about?”

“Yes, Charles,” Amy said. “Tell us what you would do if your dreams came true?”

“That’s an easy one,” Charles said. “My dream is simple. I want just one thing.”

“Do tell, Charles,” Sally implored.

“My dream is that I score a one billion dollar Mega Millions ticket,” he said. “And if you share my dream, Sally, I’ll buy you a train ticket for the Orient Express. And Amy, I’ll pay for your voyage to the Far East. Are you with me?”

“May all of our dreams come true,” Sally said.

“Hear, Hear,” said Amy.


Written for Teresa’s Three Things Challenge, where the things are train, voyage, and dream.