#writephoto — Into the Deep

Craig was the adventurous one. Alan was more cautious. So naturally, Craig had to cajole his older brother, to call him a pussy and a wimp, in order to get him to walk to the edge of the ravine and to look down at the dark, swirling water far below.

“Feel like going for a swim, bro?” Craig teased. “It’s so damn hot and I bet diving into the chilly water would be really refreshing.”

“No way,” Alan said as he backed away from the edge. “You’d have to be crazy to jump in the water from this height. If you want us to go swimming to cool off, let’s hike back down the path to the water’s edge at the bottom of the ravine.

“I can’t believe my big brother is such a wus,” Craig said. “You go ahead and hike back down there, Alan, and call up to me when you get there so you can witness my feat of heroism and athleticism.”

“Craig, you’re nuts,” Alan said. “You don’t even know how deep the water is at this spot. Please, I’m begging you, come with me. Don’t do it. It’s not worth getting hurt or worse.”

“Sorry, Alan,” I’m not a wimp like you. I’m going to dive in now.” Craig took a deep breath, moved to the precipice, gave a Tarzan-like shout, and dived.

******

Alan couldn’t shake the tremendous guilt he felt for not being able to talk his kid bother out of his reckless act. Tears streamed down his eyes as he sat at Craig’s funeral three days later.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Also for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (swim), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (chilly).

#writephoto — The Prodigal Son

After Richard graduated from high school, he realized that, unless he followed in the footsteps of all the males in his family for generations, he had no prospects for employment in the small company town in West Virginia. He could not abide by the thought of working in the coal mine, the town’s only real employer for able-bodied young men.

Richard’s departure had been sudden and unexpected to all but himself. Even though he didn’t know where he would go or what he would do, he did know that he needed to embark on his journey of self-discovery. And so Richard quietly packed up his meager belongings and disappeared before dawn one morning.

He figured that no one would miss him. He was, after all, a loner. He had few friends and even his parents complained that he had been a cold, aloof child. He was never quite sure if he was that way because it was just in his nature to keep his distance from others or if he acted that way because that’s how everyone told him he was. In the end, though, it didn’t matter. He left and didn’t look back.

Although he vowed that he would never return, Richard found himself standing on the ridge of the hill looking down at the small town where he had been born and raised. It was hard for him to believe that five whole years had passed since he’d last been to the place he used to call home.

During his absence, Richard had finally discovered who he was. He was still a loner, still aloof, but now he was okay with being that way. Those were the characteristics that gave him the self-sufficiency and confidence to make it on his own. And now it was time for the prodigal son to go home for a long overdue homecoming. It was time to reintroduce himself to his family.

If they would have him.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. The idea is to use the photo above and this week’s prompt word, “return,” to write our story. And speaking of return, I’m so happy that Sue is feeling well enough, after having been seriously ill, to return to posting brand new #writephoto prompts.

#writephoto — Safety Be Damned

AAC4CE1B-4250-412B-8AA0-64F477A0D112“This is remarkable,” Donna said. “What a transformation.”

Steve beamed. “Yeah, we gutted the place,” he said. “Took it down to the studs, reconfigured the layout a little for a better flow, and created an open concept for the kitchen, dining area, and family room.”

“Wow, just wow,” Donna said. “You did an amazing job, that’s all I can say.”

“Thanks,” Steve said. “We also added a powder room on this level and created a master suite upstairs by combining two of the four bedrooms. It has an en-suite bathroom and a huge walk-in closet.”

“So when are you putting it on the market?” Donna asked.

“I still need to stage it, but probably next week if all goes well,” Steve said. “I spent just north of a hundred grand on the renovation, and I think I can clear twice that on the flip.”

“That’s fantastic, Steve,” Donna said. “But I am wondering about the exterior. I see you didn’t clean out the weeds growing out front or do anything about the badly worn steps.”

“I will get rid of the weeds and prune the plants, but I can’t touch the steps,” Steve said.

“Why not?” Donna asked. “Aren’t they a tripping hazard?”

“I thought so, too,” Steve said, “but this community has a restrictive covenant. You can do whatever you want to the interior of the homes, but you can’t make any changes to the exterior. They insist on maintaining the ‘original character’ of the neighborhood.”

“Safety be damned, I guess,” Donna sighed.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — The Uprising

BE13989E-F468-40E6-8373-38E094EA27DCStorm clouds began to hover over the land. They grew thicker with each passing day and soon the world, as far as the eye could see, was enshrouded in darkness. But while the sun and the stars had disappeared from the sky, the clouds brought with them no life-sustaining rain. Soon the land began to become parched and what had once been green fields began to turn a dry, rust color.

With so little water available for the livestock, many of the animals humans used for food began to die off. And with nothing left for irrigation, most of the crops began to fail. Faced with starvation, the people became desperate. In their need to find sustenance where little existed, they turned to violence. The darkness was slowly replacing civilized society with lawlessness.

And then a man stepped into the breach. He preached that he, alone, could fix things; that only he could restore law and order to an out-of-control society. He said he was going to clear the clouds and make our lands and our lives great again. He took on god-like qualities as he promised to bring about a new beginning for everyone. And the people believed him. They cheered and embraced him. They allowed him to do his bidding virtually unchecked, believing that he was the answer to all of their prayers.

But he was the answers to the prayers of only the wealthy, of his friends and his family, and of those who needed the least, rather than of those who needed the most. By the time the people realized what he was doing, it was too late. Those with the most had enslaved those with the least.

Until the uprising.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Photo credit: Sue Vincent.

#writephoto/3TC — The Beginning or The End

170EAE13-38F3-4AED-B0E5-D1CCD192B525The past six months had been brutal. Carolyn lost her parents and her grandmother to the virus. She was laid off from her job when her employer closed its doors due to the pandemic. And she just got the results back from her own COVID-19 test and it was positive. Her life, she felt, had hit a metaphysical wall.

As she stared out at the glistening water, she thought about her options. One would be to slowly walk into the surf and literally drown her troubles. Having lost almost everything of meaning in her life, she felt there was nothing left to lose, and nothing left to live for.

On the other hand, she could turn around and give herself a clean break from the past and start her life anew. She was young and, aside from testing positive for the virus, she was healthy. It wasn’t necessarily a death sentence as it had been for her parents and grandmother.

Carolyn was at the crossroads between an end and a new beginning. She looked, once again toward the sea. Then back behind her toward the dry land. It was time for her to decide, and with her usual resolve, she made her choice. She chose her option. And she walked slowly in that direction.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt and for Di’s Three Things Challenge (been, wall, clean). Photo credit: Sue Vincent.