#WDYS — Hollow Man

Bit by bit, I sold myself to the lure of success.
I wanted to be king of the hill,
To reap the rewards of power and wealth.
So I sacrificed who I am to reach the pinnacle.
And when I got there,
Standing all alone
Looking back at the devastation I left in my wake,
I realized that there was little left of me.
Just the hull of a man,
Hollowed out by my pursuit of material things,
At the expense of my humanity.
Everyone can see right through me now
And recognize that there is nothing left inside
Worth saving.

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Not All There – The Enigmatic Sculptures of Bruno Catalano.

#WDYS — My Father’s Boots

“To say that my father was quirky is an understatement,” Joan said.

“How so?” Neil, Joan’s boyfriend, asked.

“Well,” Joan said, “his profession was accountant, and he was a very reserved, buttoned up man. But come the weekend, he fancied himself to be a woodsman.”

“A woodsman?”

“Yes,” Joan said. “Our home was on about five acres and the land behind the house was very wooded. He would spend most of his Saturdays and Sundays tending to the trees and bushes and plants. From sunrise to sunset, actually.”

“Well, he certainly looked more like an accountant than a woodsman to me,” Neil said, chuckling.

“Before he died two years ago, though, he left precise instructions in his will to be cremated,” Joan said. “But then it got weird. He wanted to have his ashes put inside his favorite yardwork boots, top off his ashes with top soil, plant ferns in each boot, and affix his boots to a tree stump. He insisted that there be no gravestone or other marker at the site. Just his boots as planters on a tree stump.”

“So it seems that in death he has chosen to be remembered as a weekend woodsman and not as the buttoned up accountant he was during the workweek,” Neil said. “Good for your dad.”

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Yana Tes @ Unsplash. Also for Fandango’s One Word Prompt (reserved).

#WDYS — The Cure

I told her I suffered from vertigo. She said no worries. I told her it only hit me when I put my head in specific positions. She said don’t put my head in those positions. I told her I couldn’t sleep on my left side. She said she’d sleep on the right side of the bed. I told her I couldn’t lay flat on my back. She said she’d make sure my head was elevated.

One night when we were making love, I told her I was dizzy and we had to stop. She said this was a problem.

She scoured the internet looking for a cure. She told me about the Epley Maneuver. I told her I tried it and it didn’t work. Then she said she found an emersive therapy, a room where the images on the walls go round and round in a spiral. She said that it has had remarkable success curing vertigo. I told her I’d give it a try.

We entered the room holding hands. The spiral projected on the wall started spinning. I told her it was getting me dizzy. She said to hang in there. I told her I was starting to feel nauseated. She said to take deep breaths. I told her I was going to throw up. She said to keep it together. I vomited all over her. She said goodbye and left the room. Then she ghosted me.

So much for the cure.

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Cottonbro studios @ Pexels.

#WDYS — A Hole In the Sky

Nine-year-old Altrua grunted as she pushed aside the manhole cover enough to peek out of the sewer. She couldn’t believe or even understand what she saw. Without even taking the time to close the manhole, she scampered down the ladder into the tunnel and ran toward the chamber where her extended family lived. When she got there and found her mother, she grabbed her mother’s hand and said, “I must show you something, Mother. There’s a hole in the sky.” Then she started pulling her mother into the tunnel and heading back to the ladder she had climbed before. “Go,” she said, pointing at the ladder. “Look outside.”

Elana climbed up the ladder and tentatively stuck her head out of the manhole where her daughter had partially pushed the cover aside. Elana let out an audible gasp. Tears started streaming down her cheeks as she gazed upon something she hadn’t seen in almost a decade — a small patch of blue sky and what appeared to be golden sunlight piecing the thick cloud cover.

Elana moved the manhole cover back into place and made her way down the ladder to where her daughter was waiting for her. “What is it, Momma, what did you see?” Altrua asked.

Elana hugged her daughter and said, “Quickly, we must go back and tell your father and the others. I think, at last, Altrua, I’ve seen the beginning of the end of the nuclear winter.”

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Mohamed Almari @ Pexels.

#WDYS — Ignore At Your Own Peril

It couldn’t be any clearer. Like a glaring neon sign, it’s telling us we need to take definitive action now. Before it’s too late.

The air we breathe. The water we drink. We can no longer take it for granted. We can’t assume that the air will always be fresh and breathable or that the water will be clean and potable. Life cannot survive without breathable air and drinkable water.

Yet we argue whether climate change is a hoax or is real. We refuse to accept that we are destroying our planet, our only home. We are reluctant to invest in clean energy and curtail our use of toxic chemicals and pollutants. We put our heads in the sand and say — or pray — that this, too, shall pass. We believe that the supernatural being that created us will protect us and will not let our planet die. Will not let us perish.

So it will be business as usual. Until it isn’t and life on Earth has been extinguished.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt.