the end

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Credit: James Jordan
He watched from the dry fields as the edge of the world burned.  The fire turned a large swath of the sky red.  And while the winds were thankfully blowing the smoke away from him, he knew the inferno was building in all directions.  The tinderbox of a world had finally been lit and nothing would stop it from being completely consumed.Rumors had swirled of people trying to get to the oceans so they could get on boats and last out the fire storm at sea.  But, without a readily surplus of fresh water and cache of food, he was just as certain of death on a boat as he was on land.  Fire seemed faster than dehydration and starvation.  No, he would stay home and watch the destruction spread and when the fires surrounded him and his time had run out, he would get in his truck and drive into the heart of the flames.

His skin crawled at the thought of it.  There were probably other ways he could meet his end.  Quicker, even, and without having to feel the kiss of the heat.  He’d caught himself appraising the beams in his home on more than one occasion and he knew he had a sturdy length of rope in his shed.  But, he had lived on his own terms, never one to back away from his fate, and he wouldn’t go like that.  Fire was eating the world, and he would drive out and meet it.

Until that time though, he sat in his field, withered and crumbling like the rest of the world’s crops in the hundred years of drought, and watched the beautiful colors splash against the sky.  And they were beautiful, breathtakingly so.  The contrast.  The vibrancy.  The fitting images of a world created by fire meeting it’s end the same way.  He smiled and tears ran down his cheeks as death crept ever closer.

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Written as part of moi’s weekly picture writing challenge.  What do you see?  Write it, link it, post it.

The hunter.

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 – image credit: Matilde Berk

It lurked within the shadows, hidden in the dark forest and the fog, watching and waiting.  It could smell its quarry and knew that soon enough the rumblings in its stomach would be assuaged.  Yes, very soon indeed.

The snapping of twigs and crunching of dead needles crushed like thunder in the silent woods.  The echoes peeling off the close set trees and reeling past where the creature lay hidden.  The sound helped it pinpoint its dinner and it licked its lips in anticipation.  Soon.  Yes, very soon indeed.

The footsteps grew closer, and the beast gathered its strength for the mad dash and pounce, for the rending and tearing.  It pulled its legs taught underneath it and its jaws gaped in a snarl  of hunger and longing.  In the half-light it caught of glimpse of movement through the fog and shadows.  So very soon.  Yes, very soon indeed.

The beast’s prey stumbled closer, with no mind to the noise being created and hint that he was being watched and stalked.  The interminable fog made the whole ordeal more difficult, slowing his pace, taking his sight out of the equation.  he couldn’t remember how many times he’d been whipped across the face by a low hanging branch he hadn’t see until too late.  He just hoped it would be worth it.  He hoped his journey through the woods would bear the reward he so desperately sought.

In his right hand he clasped the gun given him by his grandfather, loaded with bullets he had forged himself.  A family gun.  A family tradition.  A family job.  Somewhere out there in the darkness the beast lurked.  Somewhere it was preparing to attack.  He could smell it.  His had tensed on the revolver and he stopped to listen.

The creature sensed fear and weakness and sprang into attack.  His claws dug into the soil, shredding it as it flew along the ground, winding through the trees.  Soon.  Soon.  Soon.  Yes, very soon indeed.

The man smiled, raised his firearm and sent the silver bullet speeding on its way.

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Word Count: 345

This is my response to this week’s Picture Writing Challenge provided by moi.  What do you see?  Write it up, link it up.

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?

empty chairs

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The glasses were cleaned and put on display.  The bottles had been dusted and turned so their labels could clearly be seen.  The counter had been polished and the chairs pushed neatly into a row.  The bar was ready for patrons, but those patrons would never come.

Gone were the days of fun and frivolity.  The doors were closed forever, the taps turned off, and the lights shown down on the empty spaces.  No more could friends meet after their eight hour shifts to laugh and share stories, to reminisce and to boldly state their visions of the future.  The future had come and it was bleak.

The bar continued to stand, untouched, unblemished, a testament to the way life used to be.  Some said the lights stayed on as a beacon of hope for those who scurried past on the broken streets.  Others said it was simply an oversight that would soon be corrected.  Regardless, there were few left to talk about anything, and fewer still who had even noticed the lights still burning.  Too much of the city was really burning for much attention to be paid to the bar.

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Written in response to Moi’s Picture Writing Challenge and inspired largely by the first thing that came to mind when I looked at this picture: the song from Les Miserables, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.”

What do you see when you look at the picture?