mlm menagerie wordle 20, 21, 22: petrichor

I boldly stated in at the end of “When The Raven Speaks:”

I’ve been using mlm’s (mindlovemisery & mindlovemisery’s menagerie) various types of prompts as chapters in two novella length pieces very different from each other. Using prompts means the stories take unforeseen twists. I don’t know how the story will end, and I don’t know which prompt will seem to be saying fini. The prompt “Advice 65” is part of story A.

I have a perhaps starting point, Ice & Blood, and a potential ending point, “petrichor.” A few bits and pieces in between. Unlike most of my writing projects, this one at least exists outside of my head. Story B is still more in my head that on my blog. I found “forcing” either one to fit a prompt wasn’t beneficial to me or potential readers. The prompt has to bring these or other stories to life.

To recap, during a wicked storm, “she” falls and hits her head hard of the floor. The violence of the storm is mirrored in her injury. Her head has a “halo” of blood.  As I say in petrichor:

Drifted off again, slipping into another world, was it a memory, a dream, or reality. She no longer knew/sensed the boundaries in between. Her time line was disintegrating.

Raven is re-introduced, and the little girl with the patent leather shoes makes an appearance. I was 3 wordles down, so I combined words from wordles 20, 21, 22. Cheating a bit, but at least treading water again rather than sinking.

Other glimpses into her world can be found in: “Chapter 2: Tender Love”; It Would Be So Easy”

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Her head hurt as if it was full of shrapnel. She thought if she could drag herself to a wall and sit up, the pain and the pattern of blood might change. Raven said time was a commodity she had little of. If she could make it to the wall, then maybe she could find her cell phone and call for help. In the darkness, she couldn’t see it’s shiny face.

She managed to turn over, pulling her hair out of the pool of dark, dirty pool of blood with a tug that made her head spin. She crawled towards the nearest wall, each inch must have taken an hour. “This is meaningless,” she thought. “I don’t have the time left to find sanctity.”

She lay back down to rest, when she heard a small voice. Opening her eyes, she saw a pair of black paten leather shoes and patterned tights, sagging at the knees. She wished she could raise her head farther, but then the monsters in her head threw kicks and punches at her brain.

“I’ll help you,” the little girl said. Together, somehow, they pulled and pushed until her back touched the wall in a slouchy sort of way. The effort made her tired, and she closed her eyes.

“I’ll be right back.” There was the the tap tap on the shoes on the kitchen linoleum. Dragging sounds as the little girl moved the stepstool toward the cupboards near the sink. The child came back with a sloshy bowl of water and some towels. Hurrying back, she brought a glass of water.

“You must be thirsty”. The girl held the glass so she could take small sips. The water was like silk, wrapping her throat. Wetting a towel, the child cautioned, “This will hurt. It does when I fall and scrape up my knees.”

More than the shoes and stockings were now revealed. The young girl was wearing a blue print dress, a sweater buttoned incorrectly, hair frizzling out of the braid that fell down her back. Her eye lashes fluttered behind black framed glasses.

The child chattered away. “My name’s the same as yours. Everyone just calls me Cassy.” There was a towel wrapped like a bandage around her head, and a soft pillow to help support her. Cassy said “I’ll be back in a while.”

Drifted off again, slipping into another world, was it a memory, a dream, or reality? She no longer knew/sensed the boundaries in between. Her time line was disintegrating.

She was back with raven, or maybe just his words like a Cheshire cat. He was sitting on her table, repeating his questions/puzzle as if that was all he could say. “No” she said. “Tell me another tale. I refuse to hear that one again.”

The raven looked at her with his head bent, and his deep black eye on her. “Well, you have not answered my puzzle, so I must follow you around til you do.”

The scenery changed like a theatre production. She was on a hill of flowers and butterflies. Baroque music from an invisible orchestra wafted over head.  The wind was full of sea tang. She could hear the waves collapsing on the rocks and shore.

She looked across the field, and there he was. Someone special. Maybe the One. But, he took a ride with a crazy, drunken friend who wrapped the car around a utility pole. The driver survived with major injuries, but Jonathon was DOA at the site.

Yet, there he was. Gesturing her forward. Across a chasm of time. Was that really Jonathon on the other side of the precipice. Was he in her heart and soul? To join him, she too would have to die. She remembered Raven’s warning:

“What would you not sacrifice to the gate keeper no matter how sweet and slippery his entreaties may be”

Then she knew the answer to the Raven’s riddles. The thing most precious. The thing she would never give away. The most important thing was her life.

She turned her back on Jonathan. Or the gate-keeper in disguise and walked back into her apartment. With trails of blood, glasses of water, raven feathers.

She had answered Raven’s question. She valued her life most of all. Raven said that time was a commodity and she had little of it left. But the raven and the serious little girl with the patent leather shoes kept her alive. Maybe they knew the answer all along.


mindlovemisery’s menagerie wordle prompt 23: what could go awry?

What could go awry? We were merely sailing from the dock in Finnegan’s Harbor to Lovelost Island. A picnic, kite flying running along the sandy shore, if we stayed late, a bonfire.

Zero clouds in the sky; sun off the water like diamond dust and crystal powder.  Our little boat was overshadowed by the big cruisers and yachts. We raised the sails, did all kinds of nautical things, and The Waif sailed gracefully out past the seawall and into open water.

The breakers and white caps increased as wind out of the east became stronger. The sky was bright; no frown on its face. Like something from the Discovery channel, a huge wave smashed into us. Then it was blackness shot through with light, kicking, fighting to break the iron seal dividing water and air.

Falling into the cold water was percussive; all my strength flowed from me into the dark waters. I would need an anodyne. The darkness of the water magnified as I thought of the odds of getting out of this alive. I swam and treaded water, calling, hoping to hear voices that never called back.

The boat had flipped over, and I found shelter and air under a flimsy piece of the hull. Feeling my way along the “walls,” I found a small cavity and swung my self up.

To pass the time til help arrived, I chanted sea-themed poems and stories. I started with the Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea/ In a beautiful pea green boat . . .
I chanted for a very long time; I was just starting “I’m Popeye, the sailor man” when I heard thumping of the “roof” of my niche. With all the strength I had left, I managed to return the message.






mindlovemisery’s menagerie, tale weaver #23 underground railway: a stitch to freedom

The Underground Railroad

Theodor Kaufmann

a stitch to freedom

We spent the winter cutting pieces from dresses, linens, bedding, any thing fabric. We held quilting bees, the women of the community working together regardless of status, politics or religion.

We quilted maps, safe houses, warnings, gathering spots, the next depot on the underground railway. Each stitch held a meaning pointing towards the purpose of the quilt.

We memorized the codes and messages contained in the carefully arranged and quilted squares. Nothing was written down; no record of our work and it’s meaning.* We were simply a community holding quilting bees to pass the slow, dreary days of winter.

Hung on the clothes line in the sweet spring air, the quilts were signposts for safe journeys to the North. Maps for freedom.


*Many believe that the idea of quilts as symbols to escaped slaves is a 20th construct. No where in the annals of slavery is there a mention of quilts. Nor recorded by the white underground railway workers. While books have been written supporting this idea, the story is often built on suppositions, analyzing quilts from the time period, and suggested by detractors, perhaps a little bit of fantasy.

When I read the prompt, the quilt story came to mind.