IT CAN’T BE

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Up high on a semicircular terrace overlooking the Mediterranean, she’s come out for some fresh air, summer night late July, the glazed doors sifting the sound of music and light chatter, glasses clinking compliments after the show, a good show, and now people are dancing. The few outside with her are all lit and then cast back into the moonlit darkness by the lighthouse further up on the coast. Suddenly, the fitful white beam flashes a bundle down below on the shore. “It can’t be!” She lifts her evening dress and runs down the triple winding staircase; she’s on the pier, the sand, and finally her feet in the pitch-dark water. The dress falls and sequin red flaps make bloody waves. The bundle is nothing! Gone playing tricks on someone else… The Mediterranean is a closed sea – blissful swims in the afternoon light, far-away songs of people dying on boats.

People are watching, but on which coast her eyes cannot tell.

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AND ALL SHALL BE EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW

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So we walked on, our hands on our friends’ shoulders. We could barely see ahead. From the crowd, some shouted at us, “Where are you going?” – the kids cried. The echo below the vaults was terrifying. It rippled the filthy water! (raises his voice) “Where are you going?” The stench in the sewers was unbelievable. (a thought strikes him) And at the same time on the other side of town the defense lines had been broken through. Those neighborhoods were free. We didn’t know. Communication was so bad. We ended up in a field miles to the north. (laughter)

In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2018/06/22/june-21-flash-fiction-challenge/

THE PARTY

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(He didn’t want to be on the tram. Not that late.) A freshly-laminated poster informs passengers that violence against transport workers is a crime – a ‘troubled’ youth yawns on it and fogs it up – while, opposite him fidgeting on her seat, a sari-clad woman attempts to connect to family far away, resorting to online chats instead. Some distance to the left, a couple of young guys inquire of a middle-aged woman which stop is for the park, which is given, wrongly the first time so they request it but stay on, before the woman realizes that the two must be going to the park to do those things she’s heard people do in the park at night: her face changes. Still, the stop is right, they get off and there’s a party, Chinese lanterns soaring in the starlit sky, the woman heaves a sigh of relief, she liked those two somehow.

LIGHTNING BUGS

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For a long time there had been no reason to do it up. Now it was essential. Who would come to such a secluded spot but with modern conveniences? Inherited deadweight would now sparkle again. The actors checked in a few hours before the opening, to reenact historical deeds. Their makeup glistened in the stage- and moon- light. Somebody’s eyes met and bodies twinkled after the memorized lines and the welcoming of guests. Much later one was still welcoming; the other crying made-up tears in the glare of 19th century lamps. But scintillating coincidences had definitely worked their charm.

In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2018/06/08/june-7-flash-fiction-challenge/

UNTIMELY BIRDS (1969)

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A sunny day hadn’t been enough to dry the soil in the fields; the nimble heat of a mild Thursday little had managed against the mud in the lanes. No one had mowed the lawns and the weeds stood proudly as if they had been wheat. An isolated house in the hazy sunlight was no longer blocked by other constructions. They’d built other (houses) to hide quite a nice specimen of ancient dwelling, even though now weeds had taken over and surrounded the ruins, like a lost past come back alive. They put their luggage down. It banged through the rafters and the walls. There was no echo, though, as they uttered some words. Untimely birds broke the dawn outside with their singing – but it was almost noon – surely thinking, in their instinctive way, that the dust and dirt lifted by such a house cleaning would leave their throats dry the following morning.

THE PRESENT

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In bed that night, she suddenly extended her right arm and hand. She squinted her eyes and aimed at the wall opposite – wedding photo, big table lamp, wooden-framed mirror. A powerful beam of light, she imagined, would open the wall and let her see behind it. She laughed. Surely if she was Super Mom she could have greater powers than that! “Never be mad for any reason, always understanding, strict and lenient at every right dose.” Better make do with these. Or have to. Or really do, because she had them. The kids asleep, she dreamed of Wonder Woman.

In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2018/05/31/may-31-flash-fiction-challenge/