Speakeasy #157 — Hope

For Speakeasy #157

Here are the rules:

  • Your post must be dated April 13, 2013, or later.
  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • You must include the following sentence as the FIRST line in your submission: “Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.”
  • You must also include a reference to the media prompt.

Winter seemed reluctant to release is hold. That’s the way it always has been up here in the North East Kingdom. It was always one “Nor’easter” after another, sometimes starting as early as November and sometimes lasting until early May. Snowfalls of 24 inches or more were almost common. People joked that the summer season is July 22nd.

That’s why George had built his below ground home. He made the decision after the 1991 “Perfect Storm” which combined the Nor’easter with a hurricane causing severe damage. In fact it had destroyed his remote cabin. His wife Mary thought it would be an adventure to live underground. She loved being isolated as much as he did.  With the population growing more and more each year, they realized that it was only a matter of time before more  people started building their homes underground like Hobbits from the Tolkien tale. Mankind started off living in caves, and now we realize that “earth homes” are actually a very eco-friendly way to live. George built his home with the  latest leading edge technology for underground green homes. It was  a modular construction , manufactured with composites, designed to be covered with earth.  And cover it he did. He had no car and therefore no driveway. If you looked from the road that passed by all you would see is a small mound. No one would ever guess that there was a two bedroom home there.  Their home was 100% water proof, it was easy and fast to assemble, was highly tornado and earthquake resistant and  all with an interior that featured a smooth clean futuristic appearance.

Their underground cave was unique in the fact that it had no windows or doors that were visible . Their escape was through an underground tunnel that led to a “hatch” about 50 yards from their home. When their home was first completed George had stocked it with almost  six months of provisions. After the initial stocking he would walk the 3 miles to the little country store twice a month and restock for another couple of months. Their water supply was from a nearby stream where Mary would go with her old plastic containers and fill two of them which would last for about a week. George had also purchased a 5.3 gallon portable toilet (passing up the 2.6 gallon so he would not have to empty it so often) which included a sealing slide value to lock in odor and protect from leaks.

Mary had told George about her pregnancy a few days earlier. They were both ecstatic.

Mary ended her treks about two weeks ago as the child she was bearing began to move and make it very painful for her to walk. When George absorbed her duties it was his only contact with nature except for his twice monthly trip to the country store and emptying the portable toilet.

His home was very quiet from outside noise and safe from tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes. Still on March 16th, despite this insulation, they  felt, rather than actually heard a horrific wind that shook their  quiet little cave. This shock wave was followed by a tremendous and ominous loud noise. George dismissed the cause as a possible tornado or hurricane because it was only March. The shock waves continued and Mary found herself in labor. George, drawing on his medical training in the Marines, helped with the delivery of a tiny little girl that they immediately named Hope.

After making sure Mary and Hope were comfortable George could not resist walking toward their  hatch exit. As he peeked out of his little periscope he saw what look like a huge smoke ring. A very large smoke ring as if God had blown it. He knew better.

Dropping back into his cave he did a quick inventory of his supplies and guessed they would last him, Mary, and Hope for 2 months more or less. He took his flannel shirt off and removed his white tee-shirt. Returning to his escape hatch he stopped and picked up a stray branch. Inserting the branch between both sleeves he made a flag. A flag of surrender. A flag to mark the earth to indicate that there may be life below.  If there is anyone left he thought.

Retracing his steps back to the main part of the cave he observed his wife Mary and their little one.

I least we have Hope he thought.


Word Count = 736










Fifty Words

The Daily Post: Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty


Photo Credit: Danny James

Sometimes  things are just about perfect.

A lush morning meadow in a New Hampshire countryside.

Cool rain clouds passing west to east.

Just the slightest breeze I can detect.

Oh how silent it is.

I can hear the swish of the far away horses tail.

This surely is a dream.





In The Dark I Found

…nothing. It’s still hard after all these years to reach out for someone in the hour before daylight and find nothing. Nothing to touch. Nothing to snuggle up to. Not even the heavy breathing that characterized her final days. She had been my faithful companion for the last fifteen years.

Lucy also had an attitude problem. I would joke with my friends that she even walked with an attitude. It was like her body language said “You want a piece of me? Well bring it on mister.” She became ill a couple of years ago and her state of health was deteriorating quickly. In her last days she became very irritable at the slightest little change in her daily routine. I now had to feed her myself. And she hated taking her pills that the doctor had ordered for her. “What do they know about my state of heath. I bet they look it all up on Goggle and then regurgitate the information hoping that  I would understand what the hell they were saying.” On her last medical appointment the doctor had prepared me for the worse case scenario.

Her death came very quickly. I put her in the hospital  the night  before and  the  doctors called me late the next afternoon to say that I should come down to the hospital quickly to say my goodbyes.

As I entered the hospital I was greeted by a very somber technician who lead me to a “grieving  room”. This room smelled of death. There was no hiding or masking of that smell. After a few minutes they brought her body in. She looked wide awake. Too wide awake. She had her leg bandaged in preparation for inserting the needle that would take her to another world. In a few minutes  it was over. I stayed and prayed for what seemed like days. I don’t usually cry but I sure was making up for that in a big hurry as the tears would not stop.

When I was ready  to leave they had already put  her in an urn. She now rests on top of the fireplace mantle with our  other  deceased cats.

A Bed Not My Own

I awoke in a bed that was not my own, but rather a very warm and conformable double poster bed. I say that because I have no bed. I arrived in this cacti studded, dusty, old and extremely hot town last week. The only room I could afford did not come with the luxury of a bed. I’m using my torn and battered Sears and Roebuck sleeping bag I purchased at a local second-hand store when I first arrived here.

I know I spent last night at  the Swizzle  Stick bar. I remember the bartender asking me for my id. “What  are you drinking Curt.” Other memories started to reform in my mind. Girls and more girls. Someone asking me to spend the night  with them. Then things went black and the curtain came down.

Suddenly there was movement beside me in the bed.  I smelled some wonderful perfume. A female hand touched mind and said, “You were wonderful Gary. It was worth the wait just to be with you.”

As I closed the door I shouted back, “and I will be sure to tell Gary what a great time we had.”

The Bell Lap

This story is written for Friday Fictioneers.

Copyright - David Stewart

born to poverty, living with fear and crime

left the dirty city with nothing and expected the same and not to do time

he bought this farm with his very last nickel

working day and night with some old hammer and sickle

young and fearless, some say reckless, he married his true love and had five children

determined with all his might not to be a lowly pilgrim

where will it all stop he often wondered

 one thing he knew he didn’t  want to live  to be a hundred

his lined face and worn frame indicated the ringing of his bell lap


Haibun Thinking,  interpretations of the Japanese Haibun, a literary form which explores the relationship between the human experience and nature.

The Prompt I chose:

© Anja Partin

ART © Anja Partin – Oh Pithy Me

I once heard you sing. It still is a musical memory I can’t forget.

I was backstage when you came on. They tell me the wait is what made you nervous.

On stage your voice became hoarse and wheezy and you found  it hard to dance.

You had been amazing at Monterrey and even though this night you  were not at your best , you were still better than the rest.

I think it had a lot to do with Southern Comfort. After all, you danced a masochistic tango with the bottle.

A tumultuous love and a fatal dalliance with drugs all because of your feelings of rejection by your friends.

her voice inspires me

never to be heard again

a mercedes benz

Speakeasy #143 — The Red Flower

Rules for Speakeasy #143 are found here:


“There was a loud crash in the hallway.”

“There was a loud crash in the hallway.” Heikapu thought this was very uncommon in the house that she and Tapuarii shared. It actually was not their house but they lived there when the owners were on business either in Europe or in the U.S. The owners were very rich and seldom stayed there. Instead they would make it available to some of their fancy friends, actually fancy rich friends, or if none of their friends were available Heikapu and Tapuarii lived in it. But very carefully. The owner’s  checked everything when they returned. Heikapu and Tapuarii carefully picked up their dirty sheets, towels, their clothing and carted them back  to their hut. Then the rest of the house was made spotless. The owner’s were scheduled to return tomorrow. This is why the loud noise coming from the hallway frighten her. Tapuarii was out on the ocean fishing for their evening meal.

She tied her long hair up and tucked the red Hibiscus behind her ear. She wondered if Tapuarii knew what the Hibiscus indicated. She thought not. She was brought out of her dream by another loud sound from the hallway. This one much closer than the last. Then the sound of chairs being pushed against the door made her realize that there was someone in the hall and they were barricading her in Tapuarii’s den. A room with no other exit. But why?

And then she smelled the unmistakable. Smoke! Good God, what did these people want from her?

From behind the door a voice demanded “when will he be back”?

“He is out fishing and will not return until later this afternoon, she replied.”

“No, not him. Your husband will not return. He is being taken care of as we speak”

Now she could see the smoke as it drifter into the room. Panic began to sink in.  The kind of panic that is a precursor to death.

“We want the owner, the big boss, not your puny little boyfriend. We know it will be soon as you have cleaned the house and taken your own little cloths and trinkets back to your little shack. You will tell us his arrival time or when he arrives he will find only your burnt body and the bloated body of Tapuarii floating in the sea. The treasures and the land of the big boss will become ours once he has been eliminated. They were ours in the beginning until you took them from us. You took our land and built big beautiful houses on our property. It’s time that they be returned.”

“I do not know when he will return. I swear I don’t. Only Tapuarii knew, and you say you have killed him”

“He IS dead, dear lady. Now it is your turn to Burn.”

As the smoke turned to yellow swirling flames surrounding her she untied the little red flower and placed it in her folded hands. As she surrender to the heat and flames she prayed. “Dear Tapuarii, I was ready, as my little flower will tell you.”