The Rain – #WOW555

So, here was the prompt:  Choose whatever kind of story you want to tell, but show us a moment of growth.

For some reason my mind went back to an old story called “The Time it Never Rained” about life in West Texas in the ’50’s. The growth in this story is both physical, spiritual and emotional. It’s a little more traditional or old-fashioned than I’m used to. I hope you enjoy it.

The Rain

Jake kicked at the scrabbled dirt as he stepped off the porch. He had worked and saved to buy this farm. It had been his dream ever since he was a young boy. There was just something about working the land that he loved. He had taken every odd job he could to put money aside for this farm even when he was young. Louise had sacrificed alongside him once they got married. She knew his dream and supported it. They had eaten so much beans and rice so they could save enough money for the down payment that their only variety was when they had rice and beans. But she loved him and his dream. He loved her. It was a love story that had overcome all kinds of problems. Then finally, they had scraped together enough of a down payment to buy this plot of land.

“Some dream,” Jake thought to himself with a sigh. “Six months without rain and we ain’t seen a thing growing.”

Louise came up behind him, startling him with her touch. “I prayed hard, today, Jake. We’re gonna get some rain. Just you wait. It’s coming tonight.”

Jake looked at the setting sun. It was red. There’d be no rain. He knew that. How could he dampen the faith of this amazing woman though? Her faith in God, her faith in him kept her going. “Sure, Louise. I bet you prayed real good. I just hope God wasn’t too busy to listen.” He smiled in spite of his distress.

She glared at him. “Jake, don’t you dare lose your faith. I know what they say about the sun. I don’t care about that!” She softened a bit. “God let me know that it was going to rain tonight.”

He loved this woman and her fierce faith. “He didn’t tell me, hon, and if it doesn’t rain by Saturday, our dream is gone. We can’t afford to irrigate and we won’t grow any crops without the rain.” Tears stung his eyes. “I sure hope you’re right, though. I’d hate to give up on this dream.”

“Tonight, Jake, or I’ll make the for sale signs. God put us in this place. I think He wants us to keep it.”

Jake smiled. “Let’s eat, hon. One way or t’other, tomorrow’s gonna be a long day.”

They walked up the steps together. Louise went through the door first. Jake, looked back over his shoulder and shook his head.

________________

Jake woke up with a start. “What was that…” he began and then stopped suddenly. “Oh great,” he said softly, not wanting to wake Louise. “I can’t believe that the roof leaks.” He wiped a big drop of water from his face. He started to close his eyes and go back to bed. Then he sat up and smiled. “The roof leaks,” he repeated with a trace of giddiness. He got out of bed and walked to the window. The rain was pounding on the roof and he savored each drop as he watched it out the window. Louise had been right and now the crops would grow. They had a fighting chance to keep their dream alive.

Head on over to Wendy’s Place, check out the entries and then vote, (Voting from about 5AM CST Saturday to 5PM CST Sunday)

Just Not Right – #WOW555

So, let’s be honest. Sometimes we write and nothing works out. Ideas don’t flow. We’re trying to meet a deadline. You know what I mean. That’s what happened to me this week. The prompt was “For this week, your story should incorporate the concept of spirit in some way. (See what I did there :) ).” I liked that. I couldn’t find a good story, but since I like this contest, I tried anyway. Things just didn’t work out. That being said, here’s my entry:

He was feeling flush. The money was burning a hole in his pocket. He was ready to head out and spend it. “C’mon, Fred!” he yelled. “Let’s go.”

Fred shouted back, “It’s too early. You dragged me into this, so at least follow the plan!”

He glare back at Fred.”That was the old plan,” he said. “We have a new one now.”

“We?” Fred’s raised eyebrows showed his disdain. “Any plan that involves heading outside and spending the cash now is worse than the old one of stealing it in the first place. And why did you rope me in anyway?”

“Just doing you a favor, man,” he said. “I gotta way to make it right.”

“You stuck up the St. Peter’s church bingo parlor and you have a way to make it right?” Fred asked – the disbelief dripping from his words.

“Sure, we go to St. Paul’s and drop a couple of hundred in their offering box. It’ll be cool.”

Fred looked at him, aghast. “Tell me you didn’t say that!” He was yelling now. “Hey God, bless this money we stole from St. Peter’s because we gave part of it to St. Paul’s. Do you really think God will give you a pass because you gave back some of the money you stole from His church?”

He nodded his head and smiled. “Pretty neat, right? The Bible talks about giving ten percent of your increase. I give ten percent and I’m good.” He started out the door. “You coming or not?”

Fred decided to follow him. “I’m coming. I’ve never actually seen lightning strike a person before.” He threw on a coat and followed him out the door. “You’re messing with God man. That is just so not cool.”

He laughed in my face. “And you’re not? You helped me.”

Fred toned down his voice now that they were in public, but he could still feel the rage. “You tricked me into helping you. I’m not keeping any of the money. Don’t count me in.”

He nodded his head. “I see,” he said, “so if you aren’t with me, go talk to that cop right there.” He pointed at the cop heading towards us.

The cop saw him point and he approached the pair. “Anything wrong, gentlemen? Can I help you?”

Fred took a deep breath, and then he faltered. “Nothing wrong, officer. He was just a bit nervous,” Fred pointed at him, “and I was helping set his mind at ease. He was happy to see that you were around.”

The cop looked at him. He beat the cop to the punch. “First time in the big city, officer. I’ve heard too many stories.”

The officer laughed. “Have a good…”

I re-read what I had written. “This stinks!” I said to no one in particular. For some reason I just can’t get in the spirit of writing now!” I highlighted everything and pressed the delete button. I’d try again, just not now.

Interestingly enough, the word count was exactly 500. I also couldn’t find a good way to differentiate the story inside. Any suggestions on formatting?

It All Started With the “Fight” #WOW555

The prompt this week is “Your story must include some form of romance.” I decided to combine a couple of ideas and look at things from a more innocent side. I hope you enjoy it.

I love the bigger birds, but mating rituals of all the birds fascinated me. When I saw the mockingbirds going at it, I stopped and watched with wonder. I raised my camera to get a few shots. Then, the silence was shattered.

“Look auntie! Birdies fighting!” The toddler’s yell scared the birds and they flew off, perhaps to a more secluded spot for their romantic encounter. I sighed with disappointment.

“Yes, dear. They shouldn’t be fighting, should they?” I looked back and saw a cute young lady who shrugged as she caught my glance as if to ask, “How else do I explain it to a three year old?” Then she turned to her niece and said, “Honey, head on back to your mommy. I’d like to talk with this man here. I’ll watch you run!”

As her niece ran back, she watched her and then headed towards me. I tried not to let her see that I was upset, how can you be upset with a three year old kid, and got off my knees and walked to her.

“I’m so sorry,” she said.

I shrugged. Then, I laughed at the absurdity. “Fighting?” I raised my eyebrows like my old teacher used to whenever I gave a stupid answer.

She laughed. “Her mom can tell her about the birds and the bees.” Then she looked like she was debating her next line. The temptation got the best of her and she said it. “Besides, make up sex is best, isn’t it?”

I felt the burning in my cheeks. I didn’t talk about sex much, especially with a beautiful girl I didn’t know! “I wouldn’t know,” I finally managed to stammer.

“Sorry to make you uncomfortable,” she said. Her apology even sounded genuine. “I don’t know why I said it.”

“That’s ok,” I mumbled.

The silence was awkward. “Can I see your camera? Did you get any good shots?”

We were back on comfortable ground again. She came close enough to look and I never did take the camera off my neck. “Sure, I got a few good pics during the ‘fight.’” I laughed a bit. Her smile lit up my day. She looked genuinely happy to be looking at my pics. Her breath made the hairs on my neck stand up as she flipped through more pics than I got of the mating. She not only appreciated the camera work, she seemed to know her birds, too.

She turned and looked at me. Our lips almost touched we were so close. “This is going to sound like a bad pickup line, but my sister was holding my camera while I walked with Elaine. Can I invite you over to see my pictures? I’m not half bad as a photographer myself.”

I was finally beginning to feel at ease. “I’d love to,” I said as I smiled.

“Come with me, then,” she said. She reached out and took my hand. “I think we’re going to like each other.”

The Rescue #WOW555

Interesting prompt this week. We had to include the phrase “Focus on the feet.” There’s no telling what everyone else did, but the style, again, is a different form than I normally do. I haven’t really seen this style from others. So, here’s this week’s #WOW555 entry:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“Where’s my son?”

The mother’s distraught cry broke through the noise of the crowd. Picking up the debris was a slow, painstaking task as we worked as safely as possible. The cops held back most of the people who rushed in to help. They were untrained and a boy’s life was at stake here. He’d been playing by the house when the wall collapsed. There was a chance he’d be ok. Not a good chance when you have a house fall down on you, but a chance. Still, we removed the pieces. Still we looked for life. If he was to survive, the time was short.

“My boy! My boy! Where is he?”

The wail pierced each man’s heart. We had done this job too many times, but the cries of the mothers never failed to have an impact. We knew that the kids were never victims, they were some mother’s son. We didn’t have statistics; we had people’s children whom we saved, or for whom we were too late. We each prayed silently and moved a little quicker – spurred on by the grief of his mother. Three of our men had joined the unit after their children had died in similar circumstances. Earthquake country was not friendly to houses or people.

“I think I see a shoe!”

Juan’s shout rang out. The crowd hushed in anticipation. We moved cautiously but quickly towards Juan. Spurred by the hope, we pushed a little harder to remove the debris. Still, even as we pushed harder, we exercised even more caution. Two years ago we had lost one when we tried to move too fast. The boards had formed a pocket that actually protected the kid and our haste caused a collapse that crushed him. The team suffered numerous broken bones as well. We knew too well the price of recklessness. Slowly we uncovered more of the legs and soon we saw both shoes and parts of the legs. There was hope!

“How is he? Is my boy alright?”

She finally sounded as if she had hope. The problem was that she had gotten past the police line. We glanced back. The police were holding her but not pulling her back. This was trouble. VIPs had to be handled with as much care as the pile of debris. The team continued making progress, but I had to leave to talk to her. We rotated the VIP handholding job and it was my turn this month. I made my way across the pieces of the wall and stopped next to her.

“Focus on the feet, ma’am. Focus on the feet.”

If the foot started wiggling, we could expect a full recovery. First he would be alive. Second, there would be no paralysis. If the feet didn’t move as the debris was removed, chances weren’t so good. She stared intently at the feet while I put my arm around her. Her breathing almost stopped at times as her eyes never left the feet. The men brought out a stretcher and laid the kid on it. “He’s ….” The news was interrupted as the mother screamed, “Oh God!” The boy had kicked off his shoe.

I thought about leaving off that last sentence so that the ending would be hanging. Decided to include it eventually. What would you have done?