MLMM Photo Challenge — Broken-hearted

“You look stunning,” John had told Sara. Of course she did. She knew it, too. She had great legs, a nice ass, and long blonde hair. The costume she chose, with the form-fitting black bodice and the black mesh stockings, was meant to show offer her assets and to evoke the sexy vixen look. “I’m going to be the envy of every man at the office masquerade party tonight,” John added as they walked to the car to drive to his boss’s lakeside retreat.

Four hours later Sara was alone, broken-hearted, oil lantern in hand, sitting on the pier overlooking the calm lake. How could he do this to me, she thought. What did that other woman have that she didn’t? Why was she getting all of John’s attention, while he literally ignored his own wife?

Sara placed the lantern down on the wood pier and slowly lowered herself into the cool lake waters. The water level reached only to her waist, so she began to walk toward the center of the lake where the water was the deepest. As the water level reached her shoulders, she was about to submerge herself completely when she heard her husband behind her frantically calling her name. Then she heard a splash as he dived into the water and swam toward her.

“Sara, what the hell are you doing out here?” John screamed.

“Leave me alone,” Sara said, tears streaming from her eyes. “Go back to your little Barbie doll that you seem so enamored with. I hate you.”

“Sara, if it’s Claudine you’re talking about, she’s my boss’s wife,” John explained. “I was just playing up to her to get on her good side. She’s very influential on her husband and I was hoping to score points with her so she would sing my praises to her husband. I promise you that was all there was to it.”

John reached out and grabbed Sara and started pulling her to the pier. “Now let’s get out of the water, dry off, and go home, where I’ll prove to you that you’re the only woman in my life.”

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo challenge. Photo credit: Kamil Rybarski on

MLMM Photo Challenge — What’s Left

The fire marshall knocked on Caryn’s front door. When she opened it, he handed her a small cardboard box. “I’m sorry for you loss, Miss Kavanaugh,” he said. “I know it’s not much, but this is all we could salvage from your parents’ home.

Indeed, it definitely wasn’t much. There was her father’s old 35 mm camera, a tiny toy globe he kept on his desk, a blank tape from his portable dictating recorder, and a Matchbook model of an old VW bus that he told her was just like the one he had when he was in college. Strangely, there were three watercolor paintings by her mother that her father must have kept in his desk.

Caryn took each of the salvaged items out of the box and laid them out on the marble floor of the foyer in her house. She looked down at the strange assortment at her feet. She couldn’t wrap her head around how this small collection of random items was all that remained of her parents’ lives. Sure, she had her memories, but their lives, their home, and all of their other possessions were gone.

Her eyes welled up and guilt overwhelmed her. She had planned to have their 120 year old house updated with new wiring and plumbing last year, but her parents, who were in their seventies, resisted. They didn’t want to have strangers working inside their home during the pandemic. But now that they had both received their second vaccination last week, they finally agreed to let her bring in an electrician and a plumber.

Caryn meant to make arrangements last week, but she just didn’t get around to it. She’d waited this long, what would another week or two matter? Now, after everything was destroyed by the fire caused by an electrical short, it was too late, and all that remained were those seven random items spread out at her feet.

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: fotografierende on

MLMM Photo Challenge — A Bad Idea

“Let me have another,” Jane said. “I’m not feeling anything yet.”

“No,” Craig said. “One is all you need. It will hit you soon.”

“Come on, Craig,” James said. “Give her what she asked for.”

“Yes, Craig, give me what I asked for,” Jane repeated. “I want the full experience. I want to be immersed.”

“Fine,” Craig said. “For the record, I don’t think this is a good idea, but Lady Jane seems to always get what she wants.” Craig handed Jane a small, square piece of brown paper. “Here you are, your highness, one more dose of blotter acid. Enjoy.”

About an hour later, a scream shattered the air. “Get away from me!” Jane yelled.

Both Craig and James ran over to Jane, who was almost hysterical. They each grabbed an arm. “Jane, what’s going on?” Craig asked.

“She’s freaking out,” James said.

“The trees!” Jane screamed, “Their branches are reaching down to me, grabbing me, and trying to pull me apart.”

“No, Jane,” Craig said in as soothing a voice as he could muster, “Those hands belong to James and me, not to the trees. We’re trying to help you. You’re on a bad trip and you’re hallucinating. Try to stay calm and take deep breaths.”

In an aside, Craig whispered to James, “I told you that giving her two tabs was not a good idea.”

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge prompt. Photo credit: Brooke Shaden.

Photo Challenge — The Other Option

Stephen walked out of the courthouse, turned and faced the concrete wall, and leaned into it, touching it only with his forehead. His arms were straight down at his sides and he was standing on the balls of his feet, his heels slightly elevated. It was an awkward position to stand in, but with the way things had been going in his life, it seemed fitting to him.

The family court judge had just granted full custody of his two children to his ex-wife. It was not unexpected, though. Stephen had recently lost his job. Been fired, actually, when he failed a random drug test. He thought he had his drug habit under control, but it was clear to his ex and to the judge that that was not the case.

Because of the restraining order his ex had filed, the judge had suspended Stephen’s visitation rights pending completion of a 30 day stay at the county drug rehabilitation center. So it would be at least a month before Stephen could see his young son and daughter again.

He felt the rough concrete surface of the courthouse wall digging into the skin on his forehead, but he didn’t mind the pain all that much. At least it reminded him that he was still alive. He was tired of the numbness he’d been feeling of late. Better to feel pain than to feel nothing, he thought.

After a few minutes of standing in that position, Stephen’s calf muscles began to cramp from standing nearly tip-toed. He used his arms to push away from the wall and he stumbled over to a bench and sat down. He had 24 hours to grab what he needed and to check-in at the rehab facility. Otherwise, the judge had warned him, a bench warrant would be issued and he would be arrested.

Stephen wondered, given the state of his life, if it would be better for everyone if he wasn’t around. But he also knew that no matter how bleak things were, he didn’t have it in him to take his own life. So his only real option was to go to the center, get clean, get his shit together, and prove to the judge, his wife, his kids, and mostly to himself that he could be a better man.

But there was another option. Stephen reached into his pocket for his cellphone and tapped a number. Maybe feeling nothing is better, after all, than feeling all of the emotional pain, he thought. When the guy he called answered, Stephen said, “Hey, it’s Steve. You around? I need some blow. Yeah, like right now.”

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Image found on Unsplash.

MLMM Photo Challenge — Fogged In

“I’m so bummed out,” Beth complained as she sat at a table in the lodge drinking her hot toddy. “How long have we planned this ski trip and look what happens. Seems the only luck we have these days is bad luck.”

“I know, babe,” Aaron said, taking a sip from his Irish coffee mug. “Our timing really sucks. I can’t believe that they closed all of the trails and shut down the lifts just because of a little fog.”

“Well, it’s not just a little fog, sweetie,” Beth said. “It’s like pea soup out there. You can’t see a foot in front of your face. It would be dangerous to try to ski in these conditions.”

“Yeah, I know,” Aaron admitted. “But we spent a bundle on this trip and because of this thick fog that has settled over the entire resort area, we can’t take advantage of the world-class slopes and the majestic views. And who knows when, or even if, we’ll be able to get back here.”

“We’ll just have to make the best of a bad situation,” Beth said, flashing an amorous smile at her fiancé.

Aaron grinned and playfully said, “Well, my dear, do you have anything specific in mind?”

“Why don’t we walk back to our cabin,” Beth said, “We can throw some logs into the fireplace, get comfy, and see if we can figure out a way to, um, lift the fog, if you get my drift.”

“Oh, I get your drift, all right,” Aaron said. He quickly finished his Irish coffee, paid the tab, grabbed Beth’s hand, and said, “You know, I’m starting to feel a whole lot better about being fogged in.”

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Luca Nardone on