The Button Collector

Inspired By The Danse Macabre Writing Prompt: Visiting The Other Room

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We

were standing in a room full of doors.

Each door was shut, each door looked exactly like the door next to it

and all of the doors smelled like wood polish- orange scented wood polish.

” Sometimes it is so hard to choose. ” she said to me.

I waited, as I always do, patiently.

There is no rushing her on days like this.

” One is as good as the other.” I reminded her.

She shrugged.

” It’s all so random. I mean. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could say today I am taking doors five, eleven and 64. I could even plan it days in advance. How great would that be? No surprises, no arguments. Just one-two-three and I’m done for the day. I could have all the time in the world to pursue my hobbies, maybe even work on a tan.”

I coughed delicately. ” You have hobbies?”

” Of course. I collect buttons and keys.”

” You know, I never would have guessed that.”

She reached over her head and pulled her hood over her forehead, she took up her scythe and squared her shoulders. Death spun herself around three times- stopped and pointed and she asked ” Am I pointing at a door?”

One of my other two heads replied, ‘ You’re good. See you later.”

” Later Gator, I mean Cerberus. You know I mean all three of your right?”

We did.

Death chose her door as randomly as she always did and we set down and watched the doors like we always do and we waited for our friend to return to us.

Like she always does.

He was taking pictures of the fog rolling up from the Sound, it was thick that morning and the Ferry Boats looked like they were floating on gray clouds.

” These shots are going to be so good.”

He was going to be the biggest thing in Instagram today. He could feel it on his bones.

He took a minute to look them over and just as he clicked on the last one, an artery in his brain swelled and then it tore and the last thing he ever saw was that picture of a ferry gliding towards him on a sea of gray mist and the woman in black standing at her bow.

And she was looking right at him.

I Did Not See That One Coming

Inspired By The Danse Macabre Prompt: Just Seven More Minutes

Melt a Smartie

Make French Toast Sticks

Fly a Tiger Jet helicopter after it’s been charged

It takes  seven minutes at the speed of light to reach the surface of the Sun

If I could spend seven minutes with someone I loved and lost

I’d probably want to do one of these things

with those seven precious minutes

because

Eternity is a long road with no rest stops

Death is a brutal cheat

and memories that make you smile

make you smile forever.

 

A Little Danse

Inspired by the Danse Macabre Prompt: Cemetery Exploring With Akari 

Photo A.M. Moscoso

One year, just a few days before Halloween I took a tour of some local haunted sights and I even visited a graveyard.

It was nightfall by the time we got to the remains of the cemetery- and I call it the remains because some graves and most of the headstones had been moved.

Apparently the cemetery had fallen into disrepair, it wasn’t being cared for and it had been over run by blackberry and sticker bushes- from what I understand some of the headstones had been stolen and vandalized too.

But then the community rallied and some changes were made.

I’m sure the process of cleaning the area up was done correctly and with the dignity required because this cemetery is located in a part of town where gentrification is taking place and nothing spells decorum and dignity like not making homes you want to sell to well to do young families come across as that development with all of it’s issues  in ” Poltergeist”

You can see the very little cemetery from decks tricked out with  plants and fancy outdoor furniture and  in couple of cases, dining room windows.

I’ve never seen this cemetery by daylight- and I’m not sure I want to now.

Something about that sad little place touched this former Cemetery employee’s dark little heart and I want to remember it as it was-

just before Halloween, at nightfall  when the air was cold and the  sky was full of  clouds and stars.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

We Touched The Sky

Inspired By The SFC prompt:  Creating with the heart of a child.
Ideas springing from kindergarten art.

I don’t know who the sidewalk chalk artist in my neighborhood is- but I am sensing a theme.

At first they were drawing people standing next to things that looked like planet- here’s one.

Welcome to Earth it seems to say.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

A few months ago they drew dinosaurs- good ones too.

Photo: A.M. Moscoso

 Below is a cheesy picture where I posed Hamish so that it would like the dinosaur  was biting Hamish’s backside.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

This morning I was out walking my dog, Hamish and lo and behold there it was-

our solar system.

I did adjust the contrast to bring the colors out because colored chalk is pale- plus it gave it that outer space vibe.

I am a science geek, so seeing this really made my day. I hope they draw more because I will enjoy it and so will Hamish.

Please take the time enjoy the art, it really is beautiful.

amm

PHOTO A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo  A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Hamish posing next to his favorite planet and what I am sure is his heart felt belief.

Photo of Hamish Macbeth by A.M. Moscoso

The Roomates

Inspired by The SFC Prompt: The Lonely Ones

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

” Do you know what I would really like, right now even if it’s just for a little while?” The lady who lives next door to me said last Thursday.

We were in the garden watching the birds and dragon flies gliding around the flowers and trees that were in need of some attention.

” No. What would you like?”

The truth is I did know because she always brought it up on our walks. But the poor dear only ever wanted to talk about her room, which she hated because she had to share with not one but three other people.

It is pretty disgraceful situation.

” I’d like a room of my own, one that I didn’t have to share because our home is running out of space. I want a room of my own where I can paint and read and watch birds and a room of my own so I don’t have to worry if I pass gas.”

Personally I think she was only worried about the gas thing because I never saw her do anything  except for talk about how awful her situation was.

She sighed and sat down on our favorite bench. ” I want the kind of room my Grandmother had. Oh, it was so lovely. She slept under a handmade quilt that her Mother made her for her Wedding day and she had fresh flowers brought to her every morning. Her room  still smells like cinnamon.”

” The Devil you say.”  I said in disbelief.

” It’s true Mavis. Her room still doesn’t smell like disinfectant or old clothes or old people. Her room still smells like cinnamon.”

” How did she managed that?” I asked my neighbor- whose name is Daisy- in case you’re curious to know.

Daisy leaned close to me and whispered, ” I think it had something to do with the cookies she baked in her kitchen. The smell you know. She used a lot of cinnamon to mask the smell. She’d boil it in water day and night on her stove top.”

Daisy’s Grandmother  was famous in her hometown. And it wasn’t for her cookies. It was more for what, or specially who she put into her cookies-which ranged from her nosy neighbor to her children’s dog to the men she rented rooms to and robbed for their pitiful few belongings and the money they had in their wallets.

” Her brother said that smell was her mark, pretty much like the one Caine had.”

” But her room, really. You can still  smell the cinnamon from- well, from her? ”

” You still can.” Daisy said.

I shifted a little on the bench. ” So, does anyone else  use her room now?”

I suppose I was lucky. I don’t share a room but that could change at any moment because I  couldn’t imagine Mrs. Flynn, the President of the Company that owned our home and several others not using every square inch of space that she could dig up. She is as greedy as she is shifty. I can’t stand that piece of wreckage.

If anyone deserved to be baked into one of Daisy’s Grandmother’s cookies it is Mrs. Flynn.

Daisy and I looked down the rows and rows of tombstones marking the spots where the coffins below were stacked like cordwood. ” She’s all alone down there.”

I thought about that and then I said,

” Lucky Devil.”

And Daisy agreed.

Photo by Daian Gan on Pexels.com

Inspired by The SFC Prompt: The Lonely Ones

Reference Material:

Bodies to be stacked double in old graves

Coffin stacking idea in Banwell Cemetery to save space

Hanging coffins of Sagada in Philippines

The Temporary Companion

You can stay with me

for a night or two

before you move to the other place

where it doesn’t matter if your eyes are closed or you hands are cold.

Does the darkness shine like the Sun, to you?

Is it bright, in it’s own somber way?

I used to wonder about that after I turned the key and walked away from

my tenants in those quiet new homes of wood and stone and marble.

 

You can stay with me, here

until it’s time for you to go.

Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I talk about my herb garden and my cat

I wear bright color and sometimes I wear perfume that smells like Cotton Candy.

I think we’d both like to remember

together

what it’s like to be alive.

 

 

The Hiker and Her Dog

I went on a hike

deep in the woods

I went on a hike

with my dog.

I went on a hike to see a little of the world.

I thought I was so quiet, a shadow among so many others.

I thought nobody knew I was there-

except for maybe some birds

a poet looking for inspiration

Did he really see me?

I didn’t think he did, I did not think anybody did.

I would have sworn to it.

But I was wrong.

They saw me,

the trees.

I didn’t see it until later, there in the pictures I took.

The trees were reaching out towards me,while I was looking through my camera

unaware, preoccupied, vulnerable-

They were so close to catching me

with their dark and twisted hands.

They didn’t hook me with their claws but they followed me home.

I’m looking at them right now.

Just pictures. Only pictures. Locked in my computer.

Still

I’m not sure I should look away.

Right now.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Writing Prompt: Give Them a Hand

Write a scene about a conversation or another interaction, and include a focus specifically on the characters’ hands. Include the appearance of the hands, as well as the way they move and gesture. What do the hands say about the personalities involved?

Raison d’être

From The Bancroft Project: Creating Character Dossiers-Establishing Blocks of Time. To add to our dossiers we worked with the concept of blocks of time and pathways chosen, blocked, travelled, and bypassed. We also considered others whose paths crossed ours or the path of our characters-

Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

” I have all the time in the world.” the Ghost said to herself as she stood, or more specifically, as  she floated a little above her empty Grave.

Even though she knew she was alone there in her spot above her empty Grave where nobody had left her flowers for so many years she had lost count, she waited for a reply.

Of course there wasn’t one.

There never was.

” I have all the time in the world to decide what kind of ghost I could be. ” the Ghost said firmly and the place where her eyes would be seemed to glow a bit and the place where her jaw would had it not been covered by a  shroud of light blue haze, looked a little firmer.

The Ghost thought about her options for a moment. ” I could be a vicious ghost and throw things around and push people down stairs and scare cats and dogs-well. Not scare exactly but I can  make them puff up and growl.

Or I could be a nice ghost and when I show up people would smell things like freshly baked cookies or flowers. Actually. I wasn’t exactly a nice person so that probably isn’t going to happen at all.”

The Ghost looked down into her empty Grave and then her misty face swirled like fog rolling from the sea up to the beach and when the mist settled down she was smiling.

” I know, I could be one of those ghosts that shows up when bad things are going to happen. I could make myself look like a cat or a big black dog or a black as coal rabbit with fiery red eyes. Now that sounds like the ticket, doesn’t it? The possibilities for what I could do there are only limited by my imagination- which as we both know was pretty wild monster back in my day. I mean, that’s how we ended up together after all.”

Her empty Grave, as dark and inscrutable as ever offered no opinion.

It never did.

She sighed and her misty face broke apart.

 

Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

” I have all the time in the world.” the Ghost said to herself above her empty Grave when nobody was listening because nobody was ever there.

Even though the Ghost knew she was alone there in her spot above her empty Grave where nobody had left her flowers for so many years she had lost count, she waited for a reply.

This time she got one, in fact, this time she got several.

She swirled in confusion, a light blue mist hanging above her empty Grave because something behind her roared and to her left,   dead rose bushes  snapped and fell to the ground which was a riot of sticker bushes and weeds and chunks or marble and concrete.

The roar was gone and after a few bangs and thumps she heard someone say not very clearly, ” yes I’m sure it doesn’t matter if we dig around here. We might find a few bones or maybe some wood but who cares?”

The Ghost followed the voices  with her almost non-existent eyes and saw that the voices  belonged to two men with shovels.

They chose a spot and begin to dig into her empty Grave and after several hours they seemed satisfied with their work. They went away and came back many  times with black bags- several in fact and after looking at each other for a minute one said to the other. ” Lunch at The Oak Tree  on Main Street after?’

The other man said, “Sounds good. Their burgers really  hit the spot”

Unceremoniously they began to drop the black, lumpy and in some cases leaking black bags into her empty Grave.

Then they filled it.

They were not acting like they had all of the time in the world.

Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

” So  now you have a purpose, . ”  the Ghost said to her dark and inscrutable Grave. How tragic is that? My empty Grave has a raison d’être and I don’t. ”

Had she had  lungs she would have taken a deep breath  before she screeched- so she just skipped to the screeching part, ” My entire situation is ridiculous and intolerable!”

This time she felt like her dark and inscrutable formally empty Grave was listening to her.

The ghost simmered and then she snapped together atom by atom, nightmare by nightmare and when she was done her eyes were fiery red and she was covered with dark silky fur.

Then she hopped over her once Empty and inscrutable Grave and she went to start her own  reason for being and her little black nose quivered with excitement.

 

Birds and Stars

Life Isn’t a Straight Line — How to Chart Your Own ‘River of Life’
This exercise is designed to help you reflect on your life and tell your story.

If my life were a river

I think it would go through dark forests and it would run under cloudy skies

and nothing would want to live in it because the water would always be so cold.

If my life were a river

nobody would raft on it, or picnic near it because  if my life were a river

it would be traveling along, wearing itself against the Earth until you could see the scars from a satellite circling the Earth

and when the scientists see it, the River that is my life, they will be appalled because such a mindless force tore away at something so beautiful and left it’s  vacuous mark behind.

And they will echo then mantra of my childhood,

” You’re a  stupid useless good for nothing kid, you’ll never amount to anything. No one wants anything to do with you.”

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Photo A.M. Moscoso

When I was five years old,

the river that is my life had tangled brown hair and a desire to read and to write

and to sail in a spaceship to Mars.

Then I learned to read and I learned to write but that didn’t matter

I was told,

because anybody can read a book or write a story

so the River that is my life moved on and when

the River that is my life turned 14

it’s greatest accomplishment was for coming in first at an Ugliest Date contest.

I was learning to play the guitar, I won awards for my writing but none of that mattered

that year.

The River that is my life turned to the nowhere and headed for the darkest hills it could find.

That is managed to do with absolute success- a roaring black river with icy cold water disappeared one day and not a single solitary soul noticed.

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Photo A.M. Moscoso

The River that is my life got older and one day it got slower and once again it found itself all alone.

The good for nothing useless kid grew up to be a good for nothing useless woman who existed day to day  and in a round about way I guess I won the Ugly Girl Award again.

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Photo A.M. Moscoso

One day and purely by chance,  the River that is my life wandered off track and it cut it’s way out of  those dark forests under cloudy skies and while it was there it found some friends who wrote stories and loved to listen to music and painted pictures and would wonder if there had ever been life on Mars and one day while the river was taking it’s time instead of running under dark and cloudy skies, the River that is my life saw a puppy running at it’s banks.

It laughed and splashed around and it even ran into a tree but then it shook it’s head got back on it’s little paws and laughed the way puppies do.

So the river slowed down so that the puppy could catch up and it even cut new trails into places just so the little puppy could see sunlight and hear people laughing and talking and where it could run under blue skies.

One day the River that is my life came to a place where it saw the dark mountains covered with snow and the black skies full of clouds and it wondered if it was time to go home.

Where it belonged.

But the River that is my life saw the puppy, who is now a full grown dog who ran at her banks and followed her just because it wanted to be with her and she knew he would have followed her back into her darkness, where at least she wouldn’t be alone.

Only there was so much more to see and the sky was so big and it was so full of stars and birds and rain and snow that River that is my life wanted her dog to see all of that.

So the River that is my life, decided for her dog she would see this other world, just for him.

And that is where they are today- they are running together under a sky that isn’t always empty or dark because now  it’s full of birds and stars.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Bancroft Manor Creating Dossiers:

 

The Puzzle

Guided Imagery Prompt: Paradise Found

Meditate upon Milton’s Sonnet XX and consider how your light is spent; who you must serve. Peek through the doorway of Milton’s cottage, glimpse paradise and write about ‘Paradise Found’.

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It’s a puzzle to me

how it is that I broke into so many pieces

how it was that my pieces were scattered and lost

in such a small space.

 

Some of the pieces that I found were bright and looked brand new

others were bent and twisted, their markings rubbed away

a few seemed to be hiding in the cracks in the floor, wedged and hiding

in dusty wooden drawers

swollen shut with mold, wood rot and decay.

How did they get in there I wondered, not wanting to touch them

not wanting to think about them

I wish they would go away I’m not sure they can be saved.

 

I did try to gather up  as many pieces as I could,  I tried to put them together

I tried to make them look like a picture, I wanted them to tell a story

I wanted to put them in a frame and hang them from a wall and I wanted

them to shine like the other puzzles I’ve seen sitting next to me on the bus,

or eating dinner with me at family gatherings, or puzzles I’ve called husband or friends.

 

But there are so many pieces of me scattered in such a small space

I’d like to arrange them so that they would make sense.

But where do I start?

The most overwhelming, the most terrifying thought of all?

What will it look like

when I am done?

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