Please help no amount is too small…

That pesky feather, always knocking Merry over, is threatening to do some damage again. I know we can save her home. I know it!! Please click on through to the YouCaring website and help with whatever you can. A little bit from each of us can add up to enough to make a huge difference for one of the best and brightest among us blogosphere dwellers. We can do this. There is hope.

potential

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Roger roamed the vast spaces of his luxurious home, marveling at the grandeur, the wealth, the style, the lavishness of it all.  He congratulated himself for having made it, for proving his childhood tormentors wrong.  He had laughed in their faces one by one as he had amassed his wealth at their expense.  He had taken perverse pleasure out of grinding them under his well polished, very expensive, loafer heel.  They had said he would never amount to anything.  They had said he had no potential.  He laughed, and it echoed throughout the place to return to him as a haunted rasping croak, at the thought of the misery on their faces as he’d toppled them.  Hooking a hand beneath his coat breast, he turned to wind his way up the grand staircase.

Roger smiled all the way to the top.  All in all, life had been very good to him.

…..

Susan had to pry the nails out of the boards that had blocked the doorway for the past three years to gain entrance to the home.  The property had just been added to her listings the previous week at the reality agency she worked for and it had taken her several days to make it out there to do her initial inspection.  The old door protested her attempts to pull it open, only giving in with an ear splitting shriek when she put all of her strength into pulling on it.  The smell of the place assaulted her nose and her eyes began to water.  Cobwebs hung across every open space.  The walls, the floor, and the ceiling were all charred black and cracking.  She had been prepared for the sight more than the smell.  The news reports had all indicated that the fire had swept through hot, fast, and deadly, trapping the previous owner.  She stepped across the threshold and climbed up the deteriorating staircase to tour upstairs first.

Susan smiled all the way to the top.  The place needed some work but she could see the potential still.

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Word Count: 340

Written in response to this week’s Picture Writing Challenge provided by moi.  What do you see when you look at the picture?

haunting

The house at the end up his street stood vacant and condemned for as long as he could remember.  The neighbors had tried to keep it nice, mowing the lawns, replacing broken windows, and painting over graffiti, until they felt the pinch of the times and left.  One managed to get a short sale done before leaving and the other was forced out by the Sheriff several months after being foreclosed upon.  Since then, while the banks owning the deeds to the neighboring homes did some minimal wrk to keep them looking nice, the one between them, the one at the very center of the cul-de-sac, had very quickly descended into a state of disrepair.

None of the remaining home owners on the block were surprised when the authorities came out and nailed the “Condemned” and “Do Not Enter” signs about the windows and doors.  The white boards and brilliant red lettering stood out in sharp contrast for only a few months before they faded into the dingy gray and black background that had swallowed the rest of the house.  Everyone knew the signs were still there but you couldn’t see them anymore when you hurriedly swept your gaze across its frontage.  The weeds had overtaken the lawn, gone to flower, and died off so many times that the front yard had turned into a miniature tangled forest.

As the eldest of four siblings, it had been Colin’s job to ensure that his younger brother (Arnie) and sisters (Beth and Ruth) knew all the terrible stories concerning the abandoned house.  Some of the stories he passed on he had heard from other kids on the block and some were bits of imagination he had crafted just to torture them with.  It was his duty, his responsibility, to scare them into staying far, far, away.  And, if he got a little enjoyment out of seeing them wide-eyed in terror, what of it?  Wasn’t that also part of being the first-born?

The stories became local legends. The adults had even picked them up and passed them along at their own local gatherings.  As the children would meet up, on their bikes and boards on the corner under the grand elm that guarded the entrance to their cul-de-sac to swap stories, baseball cards, comic books, and jokes, so too would the adults meet up in the evenings in this house or that to do their own swapping over a glass of wine and a fine cheese plate.

However, while the adults talked of figuring out a way to get it torn down by the city or pooling some resources to work on restoring it themselves, the children eventually got around to daring one another to breach the wrought-iron gate, march up to the front door, and knock three times to see who, or what, was still inside.  It took several years for that dare to finally get accomplished, but Jake, two doors down and a year younger, had risen to the challenge.

Colin, not one to be outdone by someone younger than him, and not wanting his image of toughest kid on the street to be tarnished, let alone to think that Arnie, Ruth and Beth could look up to someone other than him, decided on a course of action.  He would not only prove his bravery, regain his crown as toughest kid, but he would also make it impossible for anyone to ever top him again.

With a bag packed, and a note left for his parents that he was spending the night down the block at Jake’s house, he walked up the street towards the decaying building.  The graffiti had returned shortly after the neighbors had moved out but it, like the signs added by the city, had faded into the building.  Almost all of the windows had been smashed by a rock or a missile fired from a slingshot or pellet gun.  Only two remained intact, one on either side of the front door.  They looked like eyes watching him as he steadily approached the gate.

His feet wanted to stop his progress but he couldn’t let any fear show.  He tried to convince himself that he didn’t believe any of the ghost stories he had told about the place.  He knew he had made up half of them anyway.  But, he had told them all some many times he had grown to believe them too.  He was worried that he spoken them into being.

Enough of his mind didn’t believe that was possible to give him the will to keep walking towards the place, the house of his brother and sisters’ nightmares, the vacant home that haunted their street.  His will was strong enough to carry him all the way to the black gate.

The roof was missing shingles in places.  The yard was a mess.  There were visible cracks across the crumbling walls.  The whole thing seemed to lean towards the front.  Then he saw movement behind one of the broken windows upstairs.  The fluttering of a drape caught his eye and he snapped his view quickly up to it.  His knees nearly buckled when he realized there was no drape hanging behind the cracked and shattered glass.

A quick glance over his shoulder confirmed that every kid on the block was either in front of their homes or standing behind a front window.  He could see his little brother, Arnie, clutching his blanket with one hand, and clinging to the hem of Ruth’s dress with the other.

He squeezed through the iron bars of the gate and waded through the sea of dead weeds.  He reached the door faster than he was happy about, turned the knob (and cringed internally) when it allowed him to open the door and swing it inward.  He felt, more than heard, the collective intake of breath from everyone watching his progress.  He didn’t dare turn around and see them again.

Colin stepped across the threshold and the door closed behind him.

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Word Count: 1,000

Written in response to “Open Ended” – this week’s Flash Fiction Friday writing challenge.

You’ve still got some time left to submit something of your own.  All you have to do is create a tense scene with an open ending that leaves us wanting to know what happens next.

still waiting

I’ve been able to drive legally for just as long as I wasn’t able to.
I’ve been called, “sir.”
I’m less than a month away from being a father.
There are far fewer hairs on my head than there used to be.
I have pets that I care for.
I’ve bought a house.
I’ve been married.
I’ve bought a new car.
I’ve graduated from college.
I was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.
And I’m still waiting to feel like a grown up.

Maybe it will happen this month…