Holi

(100-word flash fiction)

It is Holi. The neighbourhood youth are gathering logs and twigs for the bonfire.

She takes her wedding sari out and weeps into it. Endless pain after years of abuse comes pouring out, soaking the red silk into a dull-blood burgundy.

The lit bonfire is steadily growing.

She takes the mangal-sutra off her neck and tucks it into the soggy sari.

The fire is a roaring beast, flicking tongues of pure flame.

She walks to the bonfire and tosses the sari into it.

Elsewhere, her husband, quite by accident, trips on a naked, high-voltage wire and fries to death.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The festival of Holi begins on the night before when a bonfire is lit and people perform rituals in front of it. The name comes from the mythological story in which the demoness Holika is burnt to death by Lord Vishnu and symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It takes place at the end of winter and a deeper meaning suggests getting rid of all internal, unwanted garbage (the diseased, decaying and dead) in us, so that we can welcome the oncoming spring purged and fresh. Holi – or the festival of colours begins the next morning with the smearing of colour on each other in a friendly, playful, and relaxed atmosphere. The many hues of colour signify the new, emerging colours of spring. It is also harvest season and the time to meet and rejoice, end past conflicts and mend broken relationships.

The mangal-sutra (literally meaning blessed thread) is tied around the bride’s neck by the groom during the wedding.  A Hindu married woman wears it until she dies or becomes a widow.

It’s Wednesday night and time for the weekly Friday Fictioneers fix. Thanks Rochelle for being such a champ and hosting it every week and for faithfully reading ALL our stories 🙂

Photo prompt –

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Stone-heart

(100-word flash fiction)

She didn’t know when her heart had turned into stone.

She remembered the first walls, built purely in self defense, to shield her sensitive heart. She even decorated them with plastic smiles and forced cheerfulness. But, unknown to her they began to thicken.

She met everyone on the outside, playacting friendliness. Flirting with men, but not knowing how to give her heart away. Because, eventually, even she didn’t have access to it.

Arthur had come, stayed briefly, called her a ‘stone-hearted goddess’ and left.

Yes, she had a heart of stone.

Until, she found the abandoned baby in the dumpster.

~~~

It’s that time of the week when we scratch the FF itch and conjure stories of all form and manner in 100-words all of which presided over by our ever gracious hostess Rochelle. 🙂

PHOTO PROMPT© CEAyr

The bouquet

(100-word flash fiction)

The flowers were sitting on her doorstep glowing in the golden hour sunlight.

“Thank you, dearest Simon,” she smiled at the thought of her at-last-found true love.

She scooped them up as she let herself in. Taped to a stem was a heart shaped card. Her heart fluttered then burst into beam exactly like the light she had turned on.

“You cannot live without me. I will not let it be.” It said in Zac’s sloppy hand.

Behind her bowed head, a bee rose from a half-open bloom and found her neck. She was dead before she hit the ground.

~~~

Nothing original about the story, but hey, the muse deserves a break too 😀

Thank you Rochelle, for another lovely photo and for presiding so ably over the Friday Fictioneers 🙂

Photo prompt –

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

The call

(100-word flash fiction)

The phone rang at the oddest hours. At night when she was asleep.

It was always a child, whispering plaintively, sometimes frantically but in a strange language. She was sure it was a prank, someone mimicking a child’s voice to pester her. The next time, however, an adult shout was heard followed by the sound of a slap and whimpering.

She decided to record the call. She had to wait for two months.

She then spent the rest of the night on Google Translate which translated, “Save me from these people. Help me find my parents. Please come rescue me.”

_____________

I had the good intention of writing a nice, happy story. But my mind got hijacked by a post I read about men stalking and grooming young pre-teens with the criminal intention of sexual predation. We might write what we think are dark and dismal stories but the reality, it seems, is far more unfathomably dangerous than what we can imagine.

However, on a lighter note. I am much grateful to the lovely Rochelle for providing the space and platform for all of us Friday Fictioneers to meet and write 😁

Photo prompt –

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

The chariot

(100-words flash fiction)

The curtained chariot waiting at the edge of the forest had strange markings. It was only after a while that she realised there were no hoof-beats, no shudder, only a gentle swaying.

When she had parted the curtains and looked out, they were gliding through the air, her castle retreating below in the gathering gloom. The swaying had lulled her into peaceful sleep.

She awakened to a sudden noise. Light was streaming in from every window.

The door opened and there he was wearing the strangest clothes and a wicked grin. Opening his arms, saying, “Welcome to the 21st century!”

~~~

A little nonsensical, whimsical, maybe even magical piece for the usual Friday Fictioneers fix shepherded by the lovely Rochelle.

Photo prompt below –

PHOTO PROMPT © Kent Bonham

 

 

 

Firefly

(100-word flash fiction)

She put the last firefly into the jar and closed the lid.

Twilight had quickly turned into night in the woods. Holding the jar up to let the glowing light from her captives guide her she pushed forwards.

Light glowed from windows in the distance. Soon, she would be home.

That’s when she saw it. A huge firefly, meandering lazily to her right.

‘Ah! The prize catch,’ she thought as she stepped towards it.

Her hand closed in on a cold metal object on the other side of which was a sneering face.

“What have you got there, little girl?”

~~~

I have been getting comments about the incongruity of my blog name and the dark nature of some of my stories. Here’s my take on it. Joy, peace, love are states of being and is our essential nature. It’s like the sun, always there, even when we cannot see it. Emotions like despair, anger, jealousy etc are transitory. Like dark clouds that obscure the sun. They come and go but the sun stays like our true nature which is that of joy and love. Therefore, I will always be Just Joyfulness 😀 (Phew! That turned out to be mini-post 🙂 )

Thank you Rochelle for so ably orchestrating the Friday Fictioneers gathering. Thanks to the weekly prompt, I get to keep my writing pencils and wits sharpened.

PHOTO PROMPT © Janet Webb

To read the rest of the stories, click here.

 

 

Pen

(100-word flash fiction)

She grabbed the red-ink pen as though it was a dagger.

The blank, white page looked like a virgin, innocent and waiting.

When she put pen to paper, words flowed as though blood were pouring from her fingers. Her mother’s words were dim in her memory, “words can heal or they can kill.”

She didn’t care. For her these words were like a vicious blood clot, cutting off supply to her life, choking, almost killing her. Blood had to be let.

And hand delivered.

She drove to his house. Outside, there was an open ambulance with a covered body inside.

~~~

Glad to be back writing for the Friday Fictioneers orchestrated by the lovely Rochelle. I think I got on the bandwagon a bit early this week 🙂

Photo-prompt below –

PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Sheldon

The rest of the FF stories can be found here.

Tunnel

(100-word flash fiction)

The train had entered a tunnel and quite inexplicably the lights had gone out. When they had emerged into the daylight, there he had been, sitting opposite her. Quite inexplicably her heart had fluttered. At the magic of it. His sudden appearance or the meeting of their eyes, she wasn’t sure.

He had smiled, as though looking knowingly into her heart.

Twenty years of togetherness had ensued.

Now, after the funeral, looking up at his smiling photo, it seems as though he is still looking deep into her heart, past the grief, and saying, “the magic will always be there.”

~~~

Getting a bit sentimental this week for the Friday Fictioneers fix. 🙂

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Prison

(100-word flash fiction)

His arms had been the bridge from her tormented world to his – calm, soothing, secure.  She had dived into his open, welcoming heart, as though rushing in from a raging blizzard into a warm home.

Together they had sailed, on new adventures, like jubilant, freed prisoners.

She didn’t know then that life is always a prison.

Now, all she feels is submergence.

Cold, suffocating waters of indifference press into her mind, nostrils, lungs. Sobs sit heavy-footed on her chest like tons of water. Words claw with shark teeth at her throat to break free.

Maybe, fire is the escape.

~~~

Life’s a bitch sometimes, (I do have great respect for the female of the canine species 🙂 but it sounds compelling somehow 😀 ) because it keeps me away from joining the fun at the weekly gathering of the eclectic group called Friday Fictioneers, all shepherded lovingly by the lovely Rochelle.

This week’s photo prompt –

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz