Once and Future
By Wakefield Mahon

Four passengers floated on a raft through cool mists across the lake.  The woman with fiery red curls, and green eyes that burned just as brightly, jumped off first to moor the raft, offering her hand to her half-brother.

"I'm not invalid anymore.  I can get off the raft myself."

He immediately caught himself.  "I'm sorry.  I know you mean well.  I thank you for the care you've given me during my recovery."

She simply smiled.  "Are you ready to go back home?"

It was so long ago, but the memories had not faded.  Of all the battles he fought and won, the war within him had cost the most.  Time had healed the physical scars but he still remembered the betrayal of his best friend and his wife and worse yet of his own son.

"I've learned from my mistakes.  I will not let pride nor jealousy distract me from serving my people."

"I need to prepare you.  Things are not the way you remember them."

"I don't care if I face a horde of demons on winged dragons.  I will fight to defend my kingdom."

"That's good to hear, because your people need you now more than ever.  Moreover, this world has wonders even Merlin could not imagine.  Oh and we'll have to disguise Excalibur."

Morgana waved her hand and the mist faded.  Arthur and his three companions stepped through a door into the bustling crowd of Heathrow Interplanetary Spaceport.
 
I don't actually care whether my entry places this week.  I tried to speak, I tried to cry and these feeble words are all that came out:
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I don’t want this feeling.
Smoky eyes betray the burning heart within my chest.
Fire, she’s coming down on her own now.
The song echoes through my head.
Each morning when I bathed, Apollo came to the well and listened to my sweet song.
Today my trembling voice offers only a dirge.
Sweet Artemis covers his face.
A moment’s respite from Apollo’s searing gaze.
The reprieve expires and daylight lays bare my brokenness.
My time has come.
A thousand years is not enough to forget her face.
Flaming droplets from my eyes set my bed to kindling.
Tell me it is more than a myth.
Accept this offering Apollo that in the morning, I may be reborn.

 
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The rainbow of color illuminates the sky:  Violet, cobalt, chartreuse, amber, gold, crimson and all of the shades in between; pure white split into all of its elements.  It reminds me of the way pure emotion splits into pride, sadness, envy, joy, fear and passion.

Long ago, the human race split into all of its colors and shades. Still, so few people appreciate the beauty and splendor of the tapestry.

With this beautiful death ray, I will remedy that situation.  The rays will unite into a brilliant white flash that will eradicate all human life leaving only the light behind.

 
I wish that you were here, so I could tell you why
But all I have are tears and murmured lonely sighs
The day I made that choice I still cannot forget
And still this inner voice echoes in regret

I feel their lofty eyes, staring down on me
But none were by my side, so none were there to see
It hurt me so to let you go, I had to set you free
 
Another honorable mention for this week's #TuesdayTales Hopefully we'll get it next week.
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Disappeared
By Wakefield Mahon

You hear them spout on about how hindsight is 20/20. I guess I haven’t had enough time to process it yet because I’m staring in the rearview mirror and still not sure what happened. Two days ago, I was a happy husband with a good job, well respected in the community, and yesterday it all disappeared.
I woke up yesterday, expecting the smell of coffee she made as part of our routine, she worked nights and I worked days, but we spent weekends together. When I couldn’t find her, I called her cell phone. Uneasiness gripped me when I heard her silly ring tone. I found the phone lying in a dirty pile of clothes she’d left on the living room floor.
I called the police. After an hour of questions about every man she’d ever spoken to and every disagreement we ever had, Detective Harris asked if I had a theory. I told him I thought someone had broken in. The blinds had been knocked down; she had been bugging me to replace them for the last month.
He told me he was sure to turn up soon. Still, something about the way he told me to stick around said he suspected foul play and I was suspect number one. I panicked and jumped in my car as soon as he’d left the block.
I don’t know where this road will take me but I’m leaving that crazy town behind. I know they’ll come for me, but I have to find her. Maybe I’ll find her at some highway rest stop hitching a ride. I need to know what happened – why she left.
The sun is so hot today, I feel like I’m burning up. Maybe I should pull over and find somewhere cool to stay until tonight.

300 words
Wakefield Mahon


 
Menage Monday is hosted by Cara Michaels.  This week's entry earned an honorable mention.  Congratulations to winner Rebekah Postupak!
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Just Another Townie
by Wakefield Mahon

Same old story: she was a townie, he was a carny; everyone knew they were star-crossed from the word go.
That first night of the carnival, a beautiful girl met a muscular young man and their passion was more palpable than the heat of the moist August night.
***
It was Tony’s job to check the hinges on the rollercoaster. When the ride came to a halt and threw them loose, he cursed himself for letting a girl get into his head and make him so sloppy.
They hung suspended 300 feet in the air, miraculously he had caught her by the wrist. Seconds crawled by. A pool of sweat in his hands threatening to separate them. “Just hold on a minute longer,” he said. “Help is on the way.”
Mary’s eyes filled with fearful tears. “They’re too far away. I can’t do it anymore. I have to let go or we’ll both end up on the pavement.”
“You know what you’re right.” He let her fingers slip away. “There are a dozen girls in a dozen towns waiting for me. There’s no point in both of us dying.”
The rescue truck arrived just as Tony hit the ground.

198 words
@WakefieldMahon


 
Another great week of stories over at Friday Picture Show, Hosted by Jen De Santis.  Here's my entry and one of the honorable mentions this week.
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I suppose the sign is intended to be ironic: “Something Strange Happened Here” The garish neon light irritates my eye. I’ve lived here for twenty years and let me tell you nothing ever happens here.
Heck, I don’t even have visitors. Occasionally some out-of-towner wanders across the river, but turns tail as soon as they realize they’ve left the beaten path. Sure, every now and again some teenager tries to prove he is brave by running around the sign.
Whatever, we’d never waste resources on such a gaudy sign, for a place where nothing ever happens, on my home planet.

 
This entry won this Thursday Threads contest with a prompt of "I'm terminal, not contagious"  Thank you to Judge Angelica Dawson and host Siobhan Muir.  Congratulations to the honorable mentions and Motivation Monday regulars: Ryan Strohman, Sheilagh Lee, Jeffrey Hollar & Charles W Jones
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Faded Memories
By Wakefield Mahon

Ramey, put on a containment suit, gloves and a mask before she walked into the room. She trembled as she stared at the most important person in her world.

In her time, Nana was the most advanced nanny-bot on the market, nearly human in appearance with the first fully functional emotional array. Best of all, she willingly devoted herself to all of the human children she helped raise.

No matter how much work Nana had to do, she always managed to make Ramey feel special. It was so long ago, but the memories hadn't faded. Seeing her like this broke Ramey's heart.

"I'm terminal, not contagious. Even if EOL was viral, there hasn't been a machine to flesh infection in over two hundred years. I'm not THAT old!"

"I'm sorry Nana, I didn't mean to insult you." Ramey's tears overflowed rendering her goggles opaque.

Nana swiveled her head and offered a sympathetic if crooked smile. "There, there child; it's alright. You humans are so emotional, I don't think they could give me enough upgrades to keep up."

"It's your memory Nana."

"What do you mean? Sure, they don' t make my memory chips anymore, but the upgrades are lightweight enough. I just don’t think my central processor could keep up."

"No, I mean your memory is failing." Ramey choked back a sob. "I'm not a fleshy, Nana, I'm your daughter."

 
I was ruminating on an article about dystopian futures when this scene popped into my head.  Check out more stories at Madison Wood's Friday Fictioneers
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Grandpa gazed at the darkened sky, the light of that celestial orb muted by the clouds.
"What are you thinking about Grandpa?"
"The good ol'days."
Grandma clucked her tongue.  "Don't pay your grandfather any mind, Roger.  Every generation regales their chldren with tales about the old days as if they were somehow better than today: more moral, more promising.  But the old days had their troubles too.
"Yes, I suppose your're right Margaret. "  Grandpa's shoulders slumped slightly as he walked back inside the house and removed his gas mask and containment suit.  "I just get sentimental on bright sunny days I guess."

 
I brought back my characters from Undeclared for this week's Tuesday Tales entry.
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“I wish you’d stop smoking, Margot”
“It’s not like I’m a heavy smoker, I’ve only had a couple since I woke up today.”
“A couple is two; you’ve had three.”
“It’s the same thing. Why do you always have to equivocate over tiny details?”
“You mean quibble, I’m not the one who uses ambiguous words.”
Margot rolled her eyes. I swear you pick on me out of jealousy over Luke.
“I admit I am particular, but nagging about your health, that’s because I care. I love you.”
“You do?”
“Yes,” Carrie tucked a stray hair out of Margot’s face, “unequivocally.”