#writephoto — Welcome to Purgatory

C32E9638-7188-462B-89A1-1DD256BFD3A3I was one of a group of half a dozen rather unworldly-looking beings, almost ghostly in our appearance and seeming to be without material substance. I had no memory of how I got here and no knowledge where I was. But I knew that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

It was very dark and I could see nothing other than a blueish glow emanating from my companions and me. They all seemed to be as confused and disoriented as I was. I tried to speak but, I could produce no sound.

Without warning, an apparition appeared before us, emerging from the darkness and literally gliding into view. She had the appearance of a woman with long, flowing red hair and she was carrying some sort of bowl in her hand, in a fashion as one might when making an offering. She possessed an ethereal look, translucent and pulsating in such a matter that made it seem as if she was, at the same time, both there and not there.

In a voice that was soft and delicate, yet lilting, she said, “Welcome to Purgatory, my friends. Each of you has died in God’s grace, but you are still imperfect and must undergo the process of purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”

“Damn,” I thought to myself, since I was unable to vocalize. “It seems that I bet on the wrong horse when I was alive. I believed neither in God nor in the afterlife.”

The apparition floated over to me, took the bowl she was holding, lifted it over what once would have been my head, turned it upside down, and emptied the contents of the bowl over me, causing me to experience a pressing sensation on my chest. “No,” she said, “you are right where you belong.”

Then I heard what sounded like a cat’s purring and as I slowly returned to consciousness, I discovered that I was in my bed and the pressing sensation on my chest was from my cat sitting on my chest and kneading me.


Written for the Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent. Image credit: unattributed.

#writephoto — The Perfect Tree

2B5433D4-9F88-4FF7-9F71-C0ABFC709848”Dad, let’s go. I’m cold,” Doug said.

“Yeah, me too, Dad,” Dana said, echoing her older brother.

“Steve please,” Arlene said. “We’ve been out here for hours and you still haven’t found your ‘perfect’ tree. It’s going to be dark soon, the kids are tired and, quite frankly, so am I.”

“Just a little while longer, hon,” Craig said. “I don’t want to have to come all the way back out here again. I’ll know it when I see it.”

Arlene looked at her watch. “Kids, let’s give Dad another 15 minutes,” she said. “If he hasn’t found his perfect tree by then, we’ll go.”

“Aw Mom!” the kids said in unison.

After about five minutes of walking deeper into the woods, Steve stopped abruptly. “Look,” he said excitedly. “Look at the way the late afternoon sun is shining directly through the branches of that tree and down upon us. It’s a sign from the heavens that this tree, this perfect tree, was meant to be our family’s Christmas tree this year.”

Steve took his portable, gas-powered chain saw out of its sack, and went to work on the base of the tree. It was almost dark by the time he had the tree down and was able to maneuver it onto the large sled. He hauled the tree-laden sled back to where they had parked the family’s pickup truck.

The drive back to town would take a few hours, and both of kids and Arlene had fallen asleep shortly after Steve started driving. Despite having poured himself a cup of lukewarm coffee from the thermos he almost always had with him, Steve, himself, was struggling to keep his eyes open.

*****
It wasn’t until mid-morning the next day when the park rangers discovered the overturned pickup truck at the bottom of the steep ravine.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Sorry about the dark turn this story took. I didn’t expect it to go in that direction, but that’s where it went.

#writephoto — The Glow

49FC3C58-6BB3-46BE-BB6A-F6846B8535B7“Do you hear that?” Denise asked, shaking her husband awake.

“Hear what?” Claude asked.

“That loud humming sound,” she said, “and occasional pounding noises.”

Claude listened. “Yeah, I hear it, too. But I don’t understand. We’re so far out in the wilderness that all we should hear are the sounds of nature.” He crawled out of their sleeping bag and opened up their tent’s front flap.

“That’s strange,” he said, looking out. “It’s not even dawn yet, but the sky over that ridge is glowing, making it look like the sun has already risen. Grab your backpack, Denise. We’re going to investigate.”

Claude and Denise grabbed their hiking gear and headed off in the direction of the humming sound and the unusual lights. It took nearly half a day for them to reach the ridge. By then the noise was very loud and the pounding sounds was like that of pile drivers.

They slowly made their way to the edge of the ridge and surveyed what they saw. “I don’t get it. This is federally protected wilderness land,” Denise said. “How can they have permitted this land to be used for an oil field and for fracking? This is horrible. And isn’t it illegal to drill on these federal lands?”

“I have a two-words for you, Denise, and you’re not going to like it,” Claude said.

“I am pretty sure I already know,” Denise sighed. “Donald Trump.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — The Prank

C6260736-3479-4561-8C35-C11E9DCFFA2B“I can’t believe that some clown broke into the museum on Halloween night and covered the armored knight in the medieval display with that spray cobweb crap,” the museum curator said.

“Well,” his assistant said, “The display opened with a lot of pomp and circumstances last week. Maybe some jaded kid decided to pull a teenage prank. But the thing is that nothing was stolen or destroyed. Look at it from the aspect of a relatively harmless prank.”

“Yeah, well that’s not exactly music to my ears, my friend,” the curator said. “Take out your diary and write a note to yourself to upgrade our after-hours video surveillance system,” he directed his assistant. “Teenage prank on Halloween or not, I don’t want people breaking into the museum at night.”


5EE3F6D7-D218-48FF-93CD-80D881A85DB0Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Also for these daily prompts: Daily Addictions (clown), Ragtag Daily Prompt (pomp), Word of the Day Challenge (jaded), Your Daily Word Prompt (aspect), The Daily Spur (music), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (diary).

#writephoto — Wildfires

A1264AC8-030A-4711-9549-D7C0FFF460EE Debra could feel the heat from the fire that was engulfing her house, the only home she’d ever known.

“Come on, sweetie, we have to go,” Debra’s father, Greg, called out to his daughter. “We need to evacuate now.”

Tears were flowing down her cheeks. “I don’t want to go, Daddy. Why is this happening to our house?”

Greg walked over and grabbed Debra’s hand and started to lead her away from the burning house. “It’s wildfire season, sweetheart,” he said. “The lack of rain all summer has made all of the grasses and underbrush very dry. And high winds blew down some trees, which fell across power lines. These power lines fell to the ground and sparked brush fires. Then those same high winds rapidly spread the flames of the fire.”

“Why do we live in a place that has wildfires, Daddy,” Debra asked.

“It’s close to my work, baby,” Greg said. “Besides, no matter where you live, there are weather-related risks, whether it’s blizzards, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, thunder and lightning.”

Greg was interrupted by a firefighter. “Sir, you need to get yourself and your daughter out of harm’s way before we lose control of the fires in this area.”

Debra looked up at her father as they ran to his car. “We’ve lost everything, haven’t we?”

“No Debra, sweetie,” Greg said. “We lost stuff, but it’s all replaceable. But we still, and always will, have each other.” The two of them hugged, got in the car, and Greg started the engine. “Now let’s get the hell out of here,” he said, “while we still can.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.