Yet So Far.

By Brianne Barkley

Based off of the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: But No Cigar

_______________

So close I can taste it. That’s what they say, right?

So close I can smell it, more like.

I raise my nose to the air and take a hearty whiff. The light floral smell of soap; the ripe odor of a not-so-fresh diaper; the soapy scent of clean dishes; and, there it is, the drool-inducing, delectable aroma of sausage.

Oh, I can barely handle it.

Spicy, meaty, tongue-tickling treasure!

I watch greedily as he swings it around in a clenched fist. The last piece.

I tread another inch closer: cue the doe eyes.

He brings it to his mouth and my stomach lurches. No, I think, and a pitiable moan escapes from me.

He looks at me – doe eyes, doe eyes – and he tosses it.

Oh, sweet tantalizing triumph!

I go to snatch it up, but… wait! A hand flies down from the sky and steals it.

No, I scream.

“Please, honey, don’t feed the dog.” She says.

So close. I could taste it.

_____________

Other people’s close calls:

  1. Stillness Speaks | Vintage Photography
  2. A stroll through London Bridge | AS I PLEASE
  3. Zeke Found His Style (short fiction) | The Jittery Goat
  4. Close | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
  5. But No Cigar | Geek Ergo Sum
  6. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Under the Monkey Tree
  7. DP Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Sabethville
  8. Interrupted | La Gatita Oscura
  9. Sayang* | aportraitingrayscale
  10. A Close Call on the Way to Yellowstone | Exploratorius | Photo Hack & Curious Wanderer
  11. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Awl and Scribe
  12. Sometimes A Loss is a Win | THE OVERCOMING
  13. Daily Promt: Things happen for a reason. The Duchess of Malfi was worth the change. | Susan Jane Bradfield
  14. ‘Heneghan’ hope… | alienorajt
  15. Cannibal | Shadows Of The Divine
  16. Nearly there | A mom’s blog
  17. But No Cigar | The Nameless One
  18. The Close | L5GN
  19. Close Protection at La Bonne Mère | Travel with Intent
  20. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Thoughts of an INFP
  21. The Journey 1 Seahenge | andyarticles
  22. How To Fold A Tote Bag (Project)
  23. But No Cigar |
  24. Why did nobody take up the Mantle? | A Teacher’s Blog
  25. On the lighter side of close | Unlocking The Inner Creative
  26. Close, But No Cigar | aMUSEing THINGS
  27. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Basically Beyond Basic
  28. No Banana! | Saying Everything
  29. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  30. The Best Laid Plans and All That Rot | My Author-itis
  31. Just a Man and his Cigar | field of thorns
  32. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  33. We’re Just A Chapter. | Chasing The Bubble
  34. A House for Me | Flowers and Breezes
  35. Positive Energy | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  36. “Quiniela” | Life is great
  37. Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar | I really just pretend to know stuff
  38. Give my heart a break! | Le Journal D’Une Cheval Noire
  39. Photo Editing Challenge: Week 11- Trees and/or Tree Trunks | Hope* the happy hugger
  40. Processing the life
  41. No Cigar or Applause | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  42. No Rose Garden/Daily Prompt “No Cigar” | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  43. Closed | Dreams to Reality !
  44. Daily Prompt: Close and then Closer | Daily Prompt & Blogging Progress
  45. Close but No . . . Well, You Know! | meanderedwanderings
  46. Life plays its notes ………… | Rahul Kumar
  47. Dear Fellow WordPresser | Chunky Brain
  48. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar |
  49. Where’s My Damn Cigar? | Cheri Speak
  50. Close | Photography Journal Blog
  51. Nice Try Buddy — But No Cigar | Oh Danny Boy!
  52. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | The Wandering Poet
  53. Weekly Writing Challenge + Daily Prompt: Singular Sensation, But No Cigar | A Hedonistic Wander
  54. Daily Post: But No Cigar! | Spiritual Crossroads
  55. Daily Post: Close | Tessa Sheppard
  56. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer
  57. Not even close… Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | “The Ish,” presented by the Bohemian Rock Star

My Hero

By Brianne Barkley

Based on The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Heroic

________________

When we first met, I cried in his arms. He hushed me gently and, through blurry eyes, I gazed up at him. Kind eyes, with thick glasses magnifying his own glaze of tears, looked back at me, whispering promises of a great life.

Years later, I would wait for him to come home. Every day, I waited with the anticipation of a toddler, wondering if maybe he’d be early today. Maybe he’d surprise me that day. On an old squishy sofa I sat, my favorite show playing in the background, while my eyes darted impatiently towards the door, waiting for the tell-tale squeak of the old doorknob turning.

More years passed, and I yearned to be with him still. Late nights took him on drives to work, off to fix other people’s problems. I would happily tag along, bumping around in his van filled with tools, flipping through his book of CDs, picking new favorites from The Beatles or Aerosmith, listening to Hole in my Soul on repeat until he asked me why I didn’t listen to the rest of the songs. And so I did, and so I came to love music.

Many years later than this, I would tell him I hate him. I would scream his injustices back at him, tell him everything was his fault, tell him that he couldn’t control my life, tell him to shut the hell up. But he wouldn’t leave, and he wouldn’t strike back. He would merely shake his head at me, disappointed in my hatred, and walk away.

As our time together grew longer, we drifted in and out of each other’s lives. But he was never far. Never out of reach to lend a hand or an ear or a shoulder. Never has he been too busy to drop what he was doing at the sound of the words, “Dad, I need your help.”

______________

P.S – I’m back, hopefully, to post more often. My life has finally settled down enough!

 

Other people’s heroes:

  1. Morning milk delivery | Vintage Photography
  2. covet | yi-ching lin photography
  3. Where were You – the Power of Forgiving | A Teacher’s Blog
  4. Siegfried Sassoon, Hopelessness and Iraq | As I please
  5. Feeding The Monster | The Jittery Goat
  6. daily prompt: heroic | aimanss…
  7. Daily Prompt: Heroic « cognitive reflection
  8. DP Daily Prompt: Heroic | Sabethville
  9. Daily Prompt: Heroic | Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer
  10. 5 Year Old Hero – The Engine that could. | L5GN
  11. Heroic | Geek Ergo Sum
  12. Daily Prompt: Heroic | Finding Life
  13. The Portal – A Friday Flash Fantasy | My Little Avalon
  14. Heroic Visions | THE OVERCOMING
  15. Tail Business and Heroes! Daily Prompt… | alienorajt
  16. A Little Girl’s Hero « My journey to qualify for the Boston Marathon…and everything in between…
  17. Daily Prompt: Heroic | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  18. The Dad Who Didn’t Have To Be | theauthorwhoknows
  19. Daily prompt: Heroic | laura-in-china
  20. My Childhood Hero | all my likes
  21. My Dad, My Hero | A mom’s blog
  22. Daily Prompt – Hero. | My Beautiful Messed Up World.
  23. Even Heroes Can Wear Thin « Mon Cache
  24. Are You A Hero in Your Home? | Ako Si Ehm Blog
  25. The Dark Knight | Sébastien Grobelny – Photography
  26. Hanging with the Guys | Nicetomeetyou:I’mCourtney
  27. Daily Prompt: Heroic | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  28. Of becoming your own hero/ heroine. | Concentrate On Yourself
  29. Mr. Rogers Was My Hero
  30. Moon, Moon on the sky…….Watch Me Die | Shadows Of The Divine
  31. Daily Prompt: Heroic | Basically Beyond Basic
  32. My Heroes | Flowers and Breezes
  33. Still my hero | Life is great
  34. Heroic : My 5 Year Old Self. | ♥Barb’s Magical Land Of Oz♥
  35. Who Says Heroes Have to Wear Capes? | meanderedwanderings
  36. The Forgotten Hero | Dance with the Rain
  37. Lawrence of Arabia/Daily Prompt-Hero | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  38. MY HEROES WEAR MASKS – HI YO SILVER! THE LONG RANGER RIDE AGAIN! | SERENDIPITY
  39. babusya | peacefulblessedstar
  40. MY HEROES WEAR MASKS – THE LONG RANGER RIDE AGAIN! | SERENDIPITY
  41. Daddy | The Magic Black Book
  42. Still my hero | From Five to Fifty
  43. My First Post-marital Blog Post | Vagabond
  44. Five’s Hero.. | Relax

My absence…

I realize I haven’t posted anything for weeks, so my apologies! I’ve been really swamped with work and freelance writing and just haven’t found any time to do my “me” writing (my fiction stuff). I’m hoping to get back into it, but it will likely still be farther inbetween the stories than before.

 

I hope everyone will keep reading and enjoy though!

Seven

By Brianne Barkley

brianne, writes, barkley, grandmother, seven, story, creative writing, short story, flash fiction, fiction

Based of The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt

__________________

It’s the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year. Tonight at seven o’clock, we will pick the new Seven. Mother is beyond herself, with excitement or trepidation, I’m not entirely sure. Once every century, the world comes together to vote. Millions of seven-word sentences are sent in and it is narrowed down to seven choices: the most profound, the most ingenious, the most unique. And then we go to vote. Anyone over the age of ten is allowed a say in the new Seven.

I sit with the list of seven sentences perched in my lap, crinkled and full of my own little notes and questions. A crease is growing between my eyebrows as I study each line, each word, each tiny syllable.

“I remember the last time,” my grandmother interrupts my thoughts with a shaky voice , age spotting her withered skin from top to toes, “I was only eight, mind, but my whole family was all in a dither. They studied the Seven, they ripped apart each word in each sentence and judged them individually. No one told me what the choices were. No,” she adds, catching my look of surprise, “they weren’t allowed, were they? Under the age of ten, and you’re exempt. Until they pick the Seven, at least.

“They revealed it to the world the next morning at seven,” my grandmother giggles quietly to herself, “too many sevens if you ask me! Anyways, the world’s prime minister stood way up on a podium… taller than a mountain, I’m sure it was. Cameras were pointed at him from every angle. Millions of people were crammed into the stadium he overlooked, pushing and muttering angrily as they strained their ears for every breath of noise. I was at home,” she adds, “watching it on our little sixty inch screen…” (She glanced at our one-hundred-and-twenty inch screen, smaller than average by today’s standard), “And the prime minister, he cleared his throat real loud like. And he ran a pinky finger across his upper lip… some nervous twitch I’m sure. And then everything went real hushed.

“His mouth broke into a huge grin, happy or maybe just mad, I’m not sure. And he croaked out one loud hoarse laugh and then shut his trap just quick as that,” she snaps her bony fingers, “and he says, real quietly now… ‘We have our Seven,’ and I swear the whole world went on mute right then. Even the babies and the dogs seemed to shut their mouths and listen. He pulls out this thick envelope, brighter yellow than the sun. And he ran a stubby finger under the fold, carefully pulling it open like it may burst into flame at any moment.

“So he pulls out a piece of paper. It seemed strange to see just that flimsy sheet flapping in the breeze, holding our secret for the next one hundred years. The prime minister, his eyes scanned the paper and his mouth formed silent words. I think maybe it was the first time he had read the final choice too. And there was this one small moment where his eyes seemed to narrow, seemed to become little slits of anger, and I realized his choice wasn’t on that paper. But the moment passed, unnoticed by most I’m sure, and he cleared his voice once more…

“ ‘Our new Seven,’ he said, ‘We live in the Heavens, before death.’

My grandmother shifts her eyes to me, studying my face as she utters the words I have heard hundreds of thousands of times, over and over since I was born.

“And you should’ve heard the silence, angel,” she tells me, “quiet enough to hear a moth’s wings fluttering. And then, pandemonium!” She slaps a spotted hand down on her chair’s arm, “Some people were happy, some were sobbing sadly into their hands, others were so angry it looked like they might explode at any second.

“You see, honey, you can’t please everyone. The Seven is our legacy; it’s the words we choose to connect us all as one person. And there is no way in hell that billions of people will ever agree on seven little words. So take a breath. Close your eyes, doll, and take that dull pencil you’ve been scribbling with for the last month and jab it into that paper. Let it pick for you. Because God knows, we don’t ever really have a choice to begin with, do we?”

Her eyes grow misted and sad as her mouth silently forms the words we have all uttered every day for one hundred years. Then her eyes found mine.

“You don’t need the Seven,” she whispers. “You’re the seventh wonder of this world.”

______________________

Seven Wonders:

They Are Coming

By Brianne Barkley

This one is based off a Writing Prompt from Reddit.

brianne, barkley, writes, blog, fiction, flash, creative writing, story, short, scary, halloween, alien

Courtesy of WallpaperUP.

__________________

When I was a child, they always picked at my mind with long fingers. My dreams were filled with them. At night, I would lie in bed and watch the lights dance across my closed curtains, unsure whether the next burst of light would be from a passing car or from them. I would lay still and wait for the telltale tapping of too-long nails.

It was just a tree scratching to get in, people told me.

It was just the headlights of cars driving past, my Mom said.

It was just the wind you heard whispering, my Dad convinced me.

But I knew. They came in my dreams, and they came in my waking nightmares.

It’s been them. It’s always been them.

Night Terrors

By Brianne Barkley

sleep paralysis, nightmare, old hag, scary, dream, brianne, barkley, writes, creative writing, story, flash, fiction

__________________

She comes to visit me every night. Lost in my dreams, I don’t notice her until her breath is soft on my face. Then my eyes snap open and I am lost in a blue-white world. Her eyes might once have been beautiful but the cataracts have now consumed them. She doesn’t blink as she stares at me; a small fact that only started to bother me recently. Or maybe I never noticed it before, when she used to sit in the corner of my bedroom and watch me thoughtfully. She was a consistent presence and perhaps I ruefully saw her as a kind one too.

“Why are you here?” I would ask her with the curiosity that only a child could show. Of course, she never answered. Sometimes she would curl her lips up slowly into a toothless grin, other times she would do nothing but stare at me.

I used to tell my mother about her. Bright mornings brought faded memories of my late night visitor, and I would describe in broken detail how the old lady with the limp grey hair would sit in the corner with reflective eyes and study me like a curious cat. My mother would glance mechanically towards the corner I pointed at but would only laugh and mutter things about “a child’s imagination”.

As I grew older, I stopped sharing the stories of my visits with anybody. There’s a point in your adolescence when you realize that you’ve passed the barrier from a child’s imagination to an adult’s insanity. And, more to protect yourself than anything, you start to keep certain secrets to yourself.

Tonight I woke up to the deep growling of my dog. A dog I named Angel, with a forlorn hopelessness that he might be my protector. However, she does not seem to be bothered by him. I woke up gasping for breath and felt a familiar weight on my chest. The bony weight of knobbly knees puncturing my skin. Her breath reeked as she stared down at me with sightless eyes, a lopsided smirk hanging from her mouth.

I stared back at her defiantly. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t move, and could scarcely breathe. I shouted obscenities at her in my head. I watched Angel from the corner of my eye, his great amber eyes stared at the stranger in his bed and his lips curled angrily. But his head stayed low, comfortably resting on the same pillow it had moments before, frozen to the spot.

I felt a bead of sweat -
(drool?)
slip down my neck and soak into my pillow. I clenched my eyes shut and made a savage attempt to free myself. Many moments later, my eyes snapped open to complete darkness. Next to me I felt a rough nose nudge my arm and felt the amazing relief of warmth flooding my body and air filling my lungs.

From the darkest corner of my room, I watched as two glassy reflections retreated into the shadows.

Yield Thy Icy Heart

By Brianne Barkley

brianne, barkley, write, writing, creative, story, short story, flash fiction, fiction, ice, cold, avalance, storm

I stumbled upon this image months ago and it immediately caught my eye. I saved it for inspiration, which came today.

___________________

They passed him by with quick, sunken steps, leaving ghostly trails across the arctic wasteland. The wind picked up snow in heaps and threw it tersely at any who dared to cross its path. The cold bit at their faces, pecking at any bit of skin it could find. But they carried on their search.

He watched them from his hiding spot, his heart ached but its beats had slowed down. He counted them slowly…

One…

Two…

Three…

Four…

Had a minute passed? He felt like his heart should be pounding, should be trying to rip its way out of his chest. And yet he lay still, with his heart giving a feeble beat between long, unendurable pauses.

His eyes, blue as the pristine sky above him, darted back and forth, watching the breath of the other men rising up. They were so close that he was sure he could feel their warmth sinking into him. Warmth that started at his numb toes and spread wonderfully up his body. He would sigh if he could move his blue lips.

“Do you see anyone?” A voice called loudly, the tiniest hint of chattering teeth breaking it.

“No,” another voice answered gruffly, “No one’s here. And I don’t want to be here when another slide comes down the mountain.”

The man listened from his icy hiding spot as the voices grew quieter. But he did not care, for his body did not feel cold anymore. He was on fire. His heart gave a last frail thud and the man sighed and let himself drift into warm oblivion.