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May 2017 Writers' Challenge

  • 16 May 2017 2:59 PM
    Reply # 4836758 on 4789090
    Jim Keen (Administrator)

                                             The  Water House

                                               by Katirie Leach

     

     

         He felt the rail.  Splinters . There had always been splinters.  Pick up your foot.  Pick up your hand.  Slowly he climbed up the steps from the water.

     

         He felt the house sway, inhaling, exhaling the evening air.  He heard the water lap at the pilings.  He saw the purple sky fold into the mauve sea. Dusk confused him now. 

     

        He walked through the house.  He could see little. Indigo light played through the windows.  There was no electricity.  There never had been. He returned to the back porch .  He sat in the rocking chair, the only chair left.

    It grew dark.  Water and sky became one. The stars would come later.

     

       His grandfather built the house.  Big Daddy made a living on the water.  He was a commercial fisherman but he came here to the water house to relax…and fish some more.  Big Daddy brought him on his thirteenth birthday.  Only men could come to the water house. It was a proud day.

         He came with his father.  He came with his brothers.  He brought his sons when they turned thirteen.  He brought his grandsons when they became men.  The water house was a rite of passage…a bridge to manhood.

     

         He smelled the fish frying.  He heard the oil popping.  He tasted the fish.  He saw the old stove. It was wood burning. The men cut the wood and rowed it in boats to the water house.   He saw the rusted ice box. He felt the cold ice as he filled Big Daddy’s bourbon glass.

     

        He heard T. Boy’s banjo.  He heard Cody G.’s harmonica.  He heard Wilbur and Nathan’s soft duets float out across the still blue water.

     

         He saw Big Daddy with old Simon Miller, Mr. Fiddler, J.J. Wright, Slim McKinney sitting at the table playing poker by the kerosene lantern.  He saw the wooden matches used as chips.  He saw the bottle of bourbon and half filled glasses.

     

          He saw the cleaning table on the porch piled high with fish.  He saw the blood, bones, heads of fish that had been swimming only hours earlier. He saw his sons hanging over the deck lowering fish heads tied to string  into the blue-green water.  He heard their laughter.

     

         He rocked, he saw, he slept.  Dawn’s pale rose hue lined the horizon. He awoke.  He rose stiffly from his chair.  He looked over the still water. He sighed.

     

         He moved towards the steps. He felt the rail. Splinters. There had always been splinters. Put down your hand. Put down your foot. Slowly he stepped down the stairs to the water.

     

         He stepped into the boat. He started the outboard motor.  He untied the line from the water house.  He sat down.  He put the engine in gear and turned toward the shore.  Dawn had lightened the blue of the water.

        

          He looked back. The water house floated on steel blue water.  It would soon be demolished…spanned by a bridge of concrete and blue steel.

      

                                         Copyright Katirie H. Leach  2017

    Last modified: 17 May 2017 9:33 AM | Jim Keen (Administrator)
  • 16 May 2017 1:40 PM
    Reply # 4836656 on 4789090
    Sandra Wynne

                                                    THE HOUSE   ON PILINGS

                    Arrival time had been later than planned John thought to himself as he slowed the car, made a half circle, and purposefully backed into the driveway leading to the house on pilings.

                    Ever in tune with Melissa’s needs, he gently touched her hand.  A slight curve of her slender fingers was his reward.  They both sat still in the stopped car, their backs to the house on pilings that had actually brought them together almost ten years ago.

    John remembered the first time he had seen Melissa.  She was in the Emergency Room Trauma Unit.  Tubes were everywhere; every attendant worked with efficient, hurried efforts.  His first quick look was to simply evaluate her injuries in order to start on the most vital ones; but in the same instant, he realized there was a glow about her, a beauty that even the trauma to the back of her head and down the right side of her body, could not diminish.

                    “Please help us, Dear God,” he quickly and silently prayed.  He then began ordering every test needed to help her survive.

                    Also, Melissa’s thoughts had dropped back in time.  She could not remember the time of impact:  The time when Alex, a teenage boy from the neighborhood, had a fight with his girlfriend, jumped into his jeep, and sped away as fast as he could.

                    Alex had roared down the narrow beach road, had run off the road into soft sand, overcorrected, and slammed into Melissa’s car.  Caught in the impact were Melissa’s husband and two-year old daughter, who was being fastened into the car seat.  None survived other than Melissa

                    Just before the accident, Melissa had stepped to the end of the pier to snap another keepsake picture, just one of many to record a happy memory of the summer house on pilings.  She heard the horrible sound of the cars hitting but did not have time to turn before the crushed jeep spun into her, pushing her head first into a pier post, her body slamming against the walk planks.  She did not see the jeep spin back around her way to stop inches from her body.  Nor did she see the camera fall into the water underneath the house on pilings.

                    Thankfully, all Melissa could remember, after many months of therapy and years of recovery, were occasional glimpses of a little blond haired toddler playing in the sand near a house.  She could see the child blow her a kiss from her sand covered fingers and then run back to a tall figure that swung her to the car to begin strapping her into the car seat.  But, she could not recall the accident.

                    With a silent, sustaining look into each other’s eyes, John released Melissa’s hand, went around the car to open her door, almost at the same spot where the tragedy had happened so many years ago.

                    John knew instantly the small things Melissa was experiencing, which someone passing by would never have seen.  He saw the pain in her eyes, felt the almost hurtful clutch of his hand, and noticed the slight limp as her right foot stepped down and took motion.  She had come such a long way from the past.  He prayed this day would bring a final healing.

                    Melissa pointed to a small sand dune; and as the sun began to set, they sat quietly, side by side with John’s arm lightly touching her shoulders, his free hand clasping the hand of the woman he had loved from the moment he had seen her in the Emergency Room.

                    There was no need for words.  Each knew what the other felt and needed.  Their shared silence was like a warm blanket, a sheltering blanket.  The sprinkling of lights had come on from the nearby town, and the water sent off a beautiful glow of pink as the water met the distant sky.

                    Melissa said, “All is well.  All is well.”

                    In completion, John responded, “with our soul.”

                    Once again in the car, John waited for Melissa to let him know when it was time to leave.  Without having to or needing to look back at the house, Melissa pointed straight forward to the road, never looking back at the house, at all.  With a damp tissue, she brushed away a few grains of sand that still clung to her hands.

                    The day after they had visited the house, the real estate agent had handed the keys to the new owners of the house on pilings.  The following month of the visit, John and Melissa were married in a private backyard ceremony, the backyard of their newly purchased house.

                    A year later, John still worked as head of the Trauma Unit in a nearby hospital.  Both staff and patients knew how special he was.  They knew he was a doctor with incredible skill and a heart of faith.

                    Melissa welcomed every day with love for her husband, their adopted son, and her kindergarten students, who loved her right back.  Both John and Melissa began each day thanking God for His blessings.  As for the house on pilings, it too had a new family and all was well.

                                                                                                    Submitted by:   Sandra Wynne

                                                                                                    Date:  May l6, 20l7


  • 16 May 2017 5:55 AM
    Reply # 4835788 on 4789090
    Sherri

    Kate, the story is good but second person is difficult to master. It distances the reader. Interesting twists.

  • 15 May 2017 11:06 AM
    Reply # 4834545 on 4789090
    Kate

    Nice to See You Again

    "We have to go....in that?" 

    "That's what these instructions say...." He sounds no more enthusiastic than you are. Originally, you'd thought it was kind of cute when a set of instructions for a scavenger hunt showed up in your mailbox. Of course, you'd assumed it was Marshall's idea and you were hoping for the question with a ring at the end.

    First, you and Marshall visited the restaurant where you went on your first date. In fact, the clue was stuck underneath the exact table you'd had dinner at. You fondly remember that dinner. You and he had sat for three hours, until the restaurant staff begged you to leave, and just talked about everything! His ability to talk about serious topics and then turn right around and make you laugh so hard your stomach hurt really attracted you to him. Later on, you would insist that was the night you knew you were in love with him, although you never used to believe in falling in love that quickly. You love the way his thumb rubs circles on yours when you hold hands, and the way he always leaves a little chocolate kiss on his pillow when he has to go on a business trip. Besides his obnoxiously loud snoring, you think, he is pretty much the perfect man.

    He grabs your hand now as you walk across the crumbling bridge on stilts towards the house. Your anxiety increases with every creak of the boards. "Look babe....I know you planned this all out and everything but this is getting really creepy....."

    "I didn't plan this. I thought you did!" You swear your heart literally stops for a second. He didn't plan this? But.... Your mind tries to make sense of it. 

    "If you didn't plan this, then who did?" His face is all twisted, the way it always gets when something confuses him. He opens his mouth to speak, when a loud burst of music startles the both of you, making you jump. When you land, your foot goes through a rotten board and you fall through the bridge. Your sandaled foot skims the murky water below and you're stuck in the rough opening. 

    "Ow babe!" You yell, trying to keep any more of your body parts from falling through the splintered opening. Marshall's big hands grab you under the armpits, like you're an infant, and yank you back up. The effort forces him onto his backside and you collapse on top of him on the porch of the house. "Shit," you feel the cuts as the blood slowly trickles down your leg, pooling around your ankle. Marshall helps you to your feet. 

    "Are you okay?" He asks, pressing a soothing kiss to your forehead. "I think so....probably have a million splinters though. Can we just go babe?" You're ready for this night to be over. He nods, but glances back towards the door hiding both the music and the light you can see streaming out from under it. "What? You still want to go in?" Marshall shrugs.

    "I mean we're already here....and it looks like this is the last place on the hunt." You sigh. 

    "Fine. Let's just see whatever this is." This is probably some weird kind of promotion or something, like all the new cars for this year will be in here and we get to review them for a commercial. Or....Marshall's lying to me! Of course he would never admit that he was really planning this whole thing until we get inside....alright I'll just act really surprised. 

    Nothing could have prepared you for what was actually inside.

    The door slowly swings open, and the candlelit room is revealed. You step inside, and you cannot believe your eyes. Covering every inch of every wall are pictures of you. Pictures of you walking to yoga class, picking up your dry cleaning, even doing the dishes in your kitchen. Some pictures are of you and Marshall walking somewhere together, but his face is horribly scratched out with red ink. "What the hell...." Marshall trails off, staring at all the stalker photographs pinned to the walls.

    "Babe what the hell is this?!" You recognize yourself in some of the photos. This was two years ago....before I even met Marshall! Your heart thuds in your chest, and you really feel the need for some fresh air and a drink.

    "Um....babe?" Marshall sounds panicked and yet still strangely calm. You turn to look at him, and find him staring at the ceiling. You can't help it, you start shrieking when you finally gather the courage to look up.

    NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN JENNIFER is painted, in what you're hoping is red paint, on the mirrored ceiling. You can see your reflection and Marshall's against the streaky red letters. You feel violated and any sense of security you once had is gone. The tears are frozen in your eyes and a horrifying twist in your gut tells you that, whatever this is, it is far from over.

  • 15 May 2017 8:45 AM
    Reply # 4834265 on 4789090
    Sherri Hollister

    Oh Gee, Michael! My heart is pounding, I hope they survive. I'm a little confused whether the alligator got her leg or if it was broken as she was coming out of the window.

  • 14 May 2017 8:12 PM
    Reply # 4833224 on 4831214
    Rabbit
    Michael, the title was spot on. I couldn't stop reading. I love the way you kept it exciting and made me wonder if the woman would make it in the end. It was as if I was there. Keep posting on this site. I love reading works here.

  • 14 May 2017 8:09 PM
    Reply # 4833221 on 4821882
    Rabbit
    Bob, wonderful story. It was moving and showed the love a family has for one another. Thanks for the read. I look forward in seeing you post more works here.

  • 14 May 2017 8:07 PM
    Reply # 4833220 on 4818328
    Rabbit
    Abarr, I enjoyed the intrigue of the story. Please come back and writer more. I love reading and feeling what others want to tell.

  • 14 May 2017 8:02 PM
    Reply # 4833204 on 4816979
    Rabbit
    Janine, I like the story. Although, the ending didn't seem to have a conclusion. Please keep posting here if love reading works by people who love to write.

  • 14 May 2017 7:55 PM
    Reply # 4833171 on 4827912
    Rabbit
    Sherri, the story was enthralling and has a pace that helped me feel for the mother. I love the ending, it was an emotional piece. Please keep posting. I love reading this site. 

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