I Am The Earth

0231 - The Earth is Such a Mother - via Flash Prompt


I cry.

You fill my great waters with your cast-off plastic, my streams and rivers with toxic chemicals.

You complain that the water is no longer fit to drink.

You wonder why the fish are scarce and the grasses withered and brown.

I bleed.

I shed my heart’s blood for the animals left homeless and undernourished, the starving polar bears, the treeless birds, the hooved and pawed beasts cut off from their homes and food sources by barbed wire, burning highways, electric fences, and projectile weapons.

I express my rage.

I send hurricanes, blizzards and the occasional volcano eruption.

I whisper my truths into the inner ears of those who would protect me.

They understand: to protect me, is to protect yourselves.

You forget, you see.

You oh-so-conveniently forget that I was here before you, and I will remain long after.

You might not recognize my evolving form.

You might resent the changes I must make to ensure my own survival.

You might shiver in fear at what I’m likely to become.

And yet, you do nothing to stop me.

I am the flood and the fire.

I am the coppery blood of all things, living and dead.

I am the earth.

And I can be maternal.

But I can also be a mother.

Morning Mist

224 - Retreat in the Woods via flash-prompt


She’d always thought of herself as a city girl, or at least suburban, picking her living spaces as much for their distance from a good café – anything over half a mile was too far – as for the state of the kitchen, the size of the bathtub, and the amount and quality of natural light.

Still, she loved her husband – was still madly in love with him after twenty-three years, so when he asked her to spend a week in a cabin in the woods with him, she couldn’t refuse. After all, he’d been on innumerable trips to the beach for her.

On the drive up, she made the requisite jokes about the dark forest being the perfect setting for a murder mystery or horror movie. “You’re not planning to chop me into pieces and hide them under a carpet of pine needles, are you?”

“Of course not,” he’d replied, blue eyes twinkling at her when their gazes met in the rear-view mirror. “For one thing, this isn’t a pine forest.”

“So. Not. Reassuring.” She sing-songed the words.

Their first two days were sodden with rain, but her husband kept a fire burning in the Franklin stove and lulled her into a good mood with endless cups of gourmet coffee and the soft strumming of his acoustic guitar, classical music alternated with folk – her favorites.

On the morning of the third day at the cabin, she woke before him, and set the coffee to brew. The rain had finally stopped, and the first rays of sun were beginning to penetrate the morning fog. She brought her mug of coffee with her to the deck that surrounded the cabin and lost herself in the view.

Birds called to each other in the trees and she glimpsed a couple of squirrels playing on a nearby branch, making her smile, but it was the light on the trees that really entranced her. The play of sun and fog, brightness and shadow. She almost believed that if she could just stretch far enough she could catch a piece of morning mist on the end of her finger, like cotton candy at the firemen’s fair.

She didn’t hear him come up behind her, but she knew he was there even before his rusty-voiced “Morning, babe,” tickled her right ear.

He slipped his arms around her from behind, and she leaned back against his chest. “The rain stopped,” she said, as if he couldn’t tell.


“It’s not the beach…” she began.

“No, it’s not the beach.”

“But it’s kind of magical in its own way.”

He didn’t respond, not with words. Instead he squeezed her just a little tighter, and then released.

Together, they watched as the forest fully embraced the new day.

What We Do to the Faeries

0212 - Faerie Coffin via Flash Prompt“Where have all the faeries gone?”


It’s an innocent question, tumbling from the lips of your child.


“Faeries live in a special place called our imagination,” you say, looking over the child’s head so that you aren’t looking into those luminous eyes, the ones as-yet-untainted by harsh reality and hard truths. “You can enter that place whenever you’re playing, or dreaming, and the faeries will sing you their songs and teach you their games.”


“Do you sing with the faeries?” Your child asks this and a thousand other similar questions.


Finally, you provide a half-truth because you can’t bear another lie. “When you grow up, your imagination changes, and faeries don’t visit it anymore.”


“That’s very sad. I’m sorry.”


Your child’s sweet sympathy burns like acid, because you know – you KNOW – that the faeries aren’t gone, they’re imprisoned. They’re stuck in the ground in so many lead-lined cement boxes, boxes with just enough tiny fissures, designed intentionally, to let faerie magic seep into the soil of the old forest.


You remember when you were told that It Was Time and you were Too Old to Believe, and you were forced to stuff your own faerie into one of those prisons (coffins) in a line of so many others, marching down the lane of the forest like stepping stones.


A part of you, the part that feels guilty for what your people have done, wants to end the cycle. Tell your child the truth. Take them to the row of boxes and help them unlock each one.


But you don’t. Because this is how it Is, and this is how it has Always Been. A child’s faerie comes into the world with their first bubble of laughter, and when the child reaches puberty, they make the ultimate betrayal. They stuff their faerie in a box and lose the last of their innocence.


“But why?” your child will ask, as they realize the horror of what they are doing.


“Because it is the Way. Without faerie magic the trees would not grow tall and the river would not run clear and sweet, and the air would taste like ash.”


“Can’t we just ask them to help with those things?” They will press on.


And for a moment you wonder if they would, just as you did when it was your faerie being locked into the darkness.


But you know the truth. It’s been too long. Too many generations. Too many years – decades – centuries – of betrayal.


And you will give the same non-answer your parents gave you: A sad shrug and a shake of your head.


But… those harder questions are years away yet. And you want to ease the trouble in your child’s eyes and smooth the worry from the tender, young brow.


“Sometimes,” you say. “I can almost catch a glimpse of my faerie, in my imagination.”


Your child studies your face, looks deeply into your eyes. You wonder what new old-young words will fall from those lips, still sticky from jam at breakfast.


But there is no response. The child re-focuses on the crayons and tablet on the table between you, and you finish your coffee in silence.


It’s only later that you realize what your child has drawn: The old forest, the lane of cut trees replaced by cubes of cement and lead.


In the back of your head, you hear your faerie laugh, but it’s not the sound of playful joy.


It’s a cackle, full of malice and revenge.


Waltzing in the Woods

Dancing with Ghosts via Flash PromptIn the piney woods above the beach, when the moon was full, and the fog bent the beam from the lighthouse just so, Isabelle and Henry would relive the first and last dance of their wedding.


It had been ninety-three years since the old Goose and Turrets Hotel had burned to the ground. Some said it was the fault of a dry winter. Fallen pine needles and the casually discarded butt of a cigarillo invariably resulted in conflagration.


Others were certain it was arson, the hotelier’s last-ditch effort to avoid getting caught selling liquor. True, the law turned a blind eye to Society folk sipping champagne at parties, but it was known that Rick was moving more than the occasional bottle of bubbly through his wine cellars.


Either way, the place was ablaze before midnight, and the new day dawned on ash and rubble.


Henry had died inside, they said, rushing into the wood-framed structure again and again to help others get out.


And Isabelle?


She’d been seen wandering the beach early in the morning, barefoot, with the train of her silk-velvet bridal gown so laden with wet sand it was nearly the same color as the smoldering ruins.


They never found her body, but she’d been walking below the waterline, and the morning high tide hadn’t yet come to wash away the scattered shoes and bags of those who had escaped the island on boats.


And everyone knows that you shouldn’t wade while wearing velvet. It soaks up the water and drags you down to the bottom of the sea.


The cold, dark Atlantic is unforgiving that way.




Teenagers who go to the beach to make out in the moonlight claim that when the fog rolls in and the arc of the lighthouse beam swings leeward, you can see the outline of the old hotel, standing stalwart on the cliff, and you can hear the waltz music underneath the sound of the waves.


And folks who live in the cottages (mansions, really, but the pretense is maintained) tucked among the pine trees say they often catch a glimpse of a bride in white velvet, seaweed in her hair, and a skeletal partner gently leading the form of a waltz.


It’s Isabelle and Henry, they whisper, for fear a loud voice will disturb the timeless lovers. It’s Henry and Isabelle having one last dance.


May they rest in peace, when the song is done.