MLMM Photo Challenge — Superhero

1A102F0E-975C-40CA-83F0-1FB9D25D9C8F“I’m Catwoman,” the creature sitting in the chair smoking a cigarette said.

“Catwoman?” Jason said, raising his eyebrows in a surprised expression. “Seriously, with those hairy legs of yours, you look more like Batman than Catwoman to me.”

“That’s not fair,” the creature hissed. “I was Batman last week. Besides, cats don’t shave their legs, do they?” And then it purred.

“May I approach you?” Jason cautiously asked.

“You may,” it said, letting out another soft purr.

“I’ve heard a rumor about you,” Jason admitted, “but I thought the probability of ever meeting someone with your, um, nature, was extremely low.”

“So now that you’ve met me, what insidious plan are you hatching?” it hissed.

“I’m not one to prognosticate,” Jason said. “I just want to understand what makes you tick. After all, you are the very first gender fluid superhero we’ve had on this ward.”

Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Google Images. And for the following one-word prompts:

MLMM Photo Challenge — True Essence

Mavis was thrilled when Anita, her co-worker, invited her to attend her brother’s opening at a local gallery. “I’ll introduce you to him,” Anita told Mavis.

Mavis had never stepped foot into a real art gallery, much less to the opening of an artist’s show. In fact, she’d never even met an actual artist. When the night of the gala came, she could hardly contain her excitement.

The gallery was crowded by the time Mavis arrived. She looked all around until she spotted Anita chatting with a man and she made her way over to the couple. Anita smiled at Mavis when she approached. “Mavis,” Anita said. “I’m so glad you made it. I want to introduce you to my brother, Barry. He, of course, is the artist behind all of these paintings. Mavis, this is Barry. Barry, Mavis.”

Anita excused herself as Barry reached out, grabbed Mavis’ free hand, and gallantly bent down and kissed it. “Enchanté, mademoiselle” Barry said.

Mavis giggled and said, “Oh, I don’t speak French.”

Barry laughed and said, “Ah, neither do I. But you are a delight for my eyes and I wonder if I might paint your portrait.”

Mavis blushed. “I won’t pose naked, I won’t do that. I’m not that kind of a girl.”

“No, no, no,” Barry said. “I would never ask you to take off your clothes. I had something much more pastoral in mind for your portrait.”

Mavis didn’t really know what he meant by pastoral, but agreed to meet him at his studio on Saturday morning provided she wouldn’t have to get naked.

When she arrived at Barry’s studio as arranged, he showed her a simple dress with horizontal black and white stripes and asked her to change into it, which she did. He told her that it would take four six-hour sessions to complete the portrait. He instructed her to stay as still as possible and to let him know when she needed to take breaks.

Mavis tended to talk a lot when she was nervous, and posing for a professional artist made her very nervous. After a while, Mavis’ inane chatter was taking its toll on Barry and he asked her to please stop her incessant talking so that he could concentrate on his painting.

At the end of the first session, Mavis asked if she could see what he’d painted so far. “Oh no,” he said. “You cannot see it until I have finished it. Please come back tomorrow at the same time.”

Posing for a portrait was a lot harder than Mavis thought it would be. Between having to stand perfectly still for hours on end and having to hear Barry always telling her to be quiet whenever she started talking, she was looking forward to the ordeal being over.

By the end of the second Sunday, Barry had finished the portrait. He stood back and admired his work. “This is my masterpiece,” he said. “They’ll call me a modern day Magritte.”

“What’s a Magritte?” Mavis asked.

“It’s not a what, it’s a who,” Barry said. “René Magritte was a Belgian surrealist known for his witty and thought-provoking images. He depicted ordinary objects in an unusual context, challenging observers’ perceptions of reality.”

“May I see it now?” Mavis asked.

“Of course, mon cher,” Barry said. “I believe my portrait has perfectly captured your true essence. I call it ‘Airhead.’”

Mavis came around to look at her portrait. And then she let out a blood curdling scream.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: CityVarsity.

MLMM Photo Challenge — The Apparition

img_2172His daughter was so beautiful. She was growing into a lovely young woman. A woman of substance. He was immensely proud of her. She was standing next to the bicycle rack, wearing her red coat over her short, black dress and black nylons. She was staring down at a cone of strawberry ice cream, her favorite flavor. She looked like she was about to take a taste.

He wanted to take her picture and stepped away from her to frame her in the shot. A second after he clicked the shutter button, the old man, far too old to be behind the wheel of a two ton vehicle, mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake.

It was over in an instant. And she was gone. She literally didn’t know what hit her. At least she didn’t suffer. But he did. He suffered every single day since the incident.

She was everywhere he was, looking exactly as she had that day. She always looked so real, so lifelike, so young, so innocent. Of course, it was an apparition. It was his mind, his heart, playing tricks on him. Hurtful tricks. Mean and nasty tricks. Hadn’t he suffered enough?

Why was she haunting him like this? Did she blame him? If he hadn’t stepped away to take her picture, he might have been able to save her, to push her out of harm’s way. He was her father. It was his job to protect her. He had failed.

It should have been him and not her.

Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Anka Zhuravleva. And for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “substance.”

MLMM Photo Challenge — Soft Landing

img_2129Suddenly there was no wind beneath her wings and, as she looked down at the earth below her, she knew that she was going to crash. All she could do was strive for a soft landing.

She managed to land in a small clearing in the forest on a bed of fallen leaves and thick moss, so while she was shaken up, she was, after a thorough self-investigation, unable to detect any serious injury.

Night was falling and she didn’t want to linger in the deep woods for very long. She stood up slowly so as to not lose her balance, since she was still feeling a bit shaky. She looked around for a path or trail that might lead her out of the forest, and when she found one, she pulled her large wings as close to her torso as she could and began walking.

She didn’t know how long she’d been walking when she saw the twinkling lights of a small community in the distance. Despite being tired, hungry, and thirsty, she picked up her pace, hoping to find some hospitable locals who might offer her nourishment and shelter.

As she got closer to the town, she began to question the wisdom of her decision to leave the forest. She encountered several younger children who saw her and her strange anatomy and scurried away. She decided that it was too late to turn back, so she cautiously continued walking toward the village.

And then she saw a rather large group of men and women carrying torches heading rapidly in her direction. She stood as tall as she could and spread her wings as high and as wide as they could go. The mob stopped, but she wondered for how long.

Written for the following prompts:

Photo Credit: ezorenier@deviantart.

Photo Challenge — In Black and White

538ED258-D673-4F41-A920-19706EAFFAA2“Did you say you’re taking the shot in black and white?” the model asked.

“Yes, I’ve got the camera set to black and white mode” he answered. “I find that light and shadows are accentuated by the lack of color. And I believe that when you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls.”

“That’s beautiful,” she said.

“Okay, we’re ready. I need you to roll the corner of this tissue into a point, and place it in one nostril,” he explained. “Then gently move it back and forth until you feel a tickling sensation. That will stimulate your trigeminal nerve, which should cause you to sneeze.”

“And then what?” she asked.

“Try to hold it in as long as you can once the urge hits you,” he said. “But when the sneeze comes, let it go. Don’t cover your mouth. I’ve got the lighting set up to capture everything perfectly if only the timing is right.”

“I’ll do my best,” she said. When she felt the need to sneeze coming on, she screamed “Now!”

He depressed the shutter button on the camera just as her sneeze shot out of her mouth. Then he looked at the image he’d just taken through the camera’s digital display. “This is perfect,” he said. “I have captured the essence of the human sneeze. Come see.”

The model came over and looked at the image on the small screen on the back of his camera and all she could say was, “Wow!”

Writtdn for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Image credit: Sylvia Grav.