Our 2018 - Week 29 Winner is ...
This week' prompt:
Each week I try to find something new, something that will challenge our writer's and entice our readers to add their story to our thread - and each week I am honored and amazed with the stories that are delivered - without fail.
Mil Ana - Your story was emotional and deep and as always speaks to me in layers that haunt me long after I've read your story.
Mark Morris - You bring the image to life - When you write, you bring me to the place you are writing about - I feel the oppressive heat, I hear the suitcase wheels over cobblestone - it's the little things that add so much depth to the story.
Judging stories is never easy and I love the fact that you two make it so hard. You are both good, technically and creatively. And to be honest you are both worthy of winning. Your stories are so different and yet they both deliver so much.
I hate, and love doing this - This week we have two winners, again - so please, a round of applause for Mil Ana and Mark Morris!!!
Some claim midlife comes with appreciation. I’d say that’s when people start taking everything for granted.
“I have to go back,” he tells me.
Back when we were ghosts, invisible to the world, yet we recognized each other at first glance. The world had been an imaginary mirror, magnifying our flaws, until we found each other. Youth is a lonely place; I was lonely before I met him. I’ve never been alone since then. Not until now.
“I want a divorce,” he says.
He doesn’t even remember the name of the island; it could be Mykonos, or Naxos. The name isn’t important. He couldn’t find a place to stay. Those were the days of adventure. He slept in a coffee shop; the “Cozy Café” was its name, or at least it sounded that way and it felt that way too.
“I could plan a trip for us,” I say.
He has to do it alone. Cause that’s the place he met that girl. She had been living there, yet she wanted to leave the place, to travel the world. How could anyone want to leave paradise?
“Those colors drown me,” she told him.
Into that bright light, she could still see melancholy, only he couldn’t detect it. They spent the summer together, diving into the waters, into each other’s arms, into the moment. She always left her flip-flops pointing towards the bed each night, as if she dived into it, instead of just resting.
“Is it about her?”
He misses the brightness, the soothing - occasionally sad - sound of bouzouki at night, the smell of eternal summer. All those things that girl wanted to escape from. She went North to a city that reminded her of fairy tales. That fairyland soon transformed into a dungeon. She couldn’t stay there for long.
“You’ve kept in touch with her?”
He only chases the sun.
He’s a time bomb.
I pull him close, listening to his heartbeat, the clock ticking inside, imagining the final explosion, like colorful fireworks brightening the sky.
Midlife comes with realization; it’s not just youth, apparently life is a lonely place. Time in between has been but a pleasant dream.
We now stand face to face, aware of the truth; we’re just time bombs, trapped in our flesh prisons, awaiting the end, when we burst into the sky, or oblivion, with a final wish to explode in colors.
The village was deserted, no-one using the chairs arranged in the street outside the bar. The fans embedded into the top corners of the windows whirred, but other than that she heard only tzitzikas, their calls pitched much higher but sounding louder, echoing in from the trees from all directions. Otherwise, everything was silent; there was no birdsong, no dog barks, no sounds of people.
Mariette wafted the upper hemline of her dress, trying to draw a little coolness toward her body. Even standing made her sweat. This would be her worst holiday ever; much worse than theother years in Marbella where there was always a cold drink and a shaded pool close by. Her ever-essential mobile wouldn’t work well here either, its signal barely reaching one bar even when raised at full arm-length. It might have been okay for taking a selfie, but it was useless for everything else.
Her father was pulling his case behind him, its small wheels grinding heavily over the cobblestones. He’d packed for every eventuality, restocking his tea-bag supplies and his insect-repellents at the store at the bottom of the valley. He was suffering from the heat as well and had already removed his socks, his toes wriggling like white maggots through his sandals. Her mother looked distressed too, her hair slowly unravelling into a messy lion’s mane. She’d already asked Mariette to delete all the photos she'd appear in this week.
Mariette’s own case was bouncing lamb-light close behind her. She’d routinely packed almost nothing, preferring to buy only what she wanted when it was needed. It made for easier travelling and made blending in much simpler; her finding the stores the locals shopped at were far cheaper and sold nicer clothing, much better suited to the weather and whatever she’d need. She usually hated to stand out - there was nothing worse than looking like a tourist, given that the residents automatically resented pale-skins from the city. She’d already topped up her sun-tan in preparation.
Her father knocked at the entrance and when no-one replied, the three of them wandered in from the street, finding the door unlocked. A slow, hesitant staccato of footsteps heard through the ceiling preceded a dim face at the top of the stairwell – with kohl-darkened eyes, mahogany skin and the fullest, firmest pair of lips.
Maybe this week wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Congratulations and many thanks for sharing your talent and skill with us.
Please join us tomorrow for the monthly ATA challenge - the winner will receive a free 30 day trial membership to the Author Transformation Alliance.