Friday Fictioneers – Come home safe

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

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PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

Come back safe

Tatsuya is away. Will he be back tomorrow, or next week?

I clap twice, fold my arms across my breast and bow to my household shrine, emptying my mind. A melody lures, light and shade slide slowly past each other and my fingers tingle. I push these distractions gently away, letting my mind fill with the nothingness that holds all things. The music stills and the colours fade.

When I open my eyes, I am dazzled by my rice plants glowing green with life. It is a good omen.

Kagutsuchi, please bring Tatsuya safe home from fighting the wildfires.

Friday Fictioneers – For those in peril on the sea

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

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PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

For those in peril on the sea

“Please don’t go, Tom.”

“I must. The lads are depending on this catch.”

Everything was smothered in snow, after the worst storm for years. Mary sat by the fire, snug at home, fidgeting with her cell phone.

At sea, the wind howled, blasting spray which froze onto the boat’s superstructure. Tom, at the helm, was relying on instruments; visibility was almost nil. Although strong and fit, he was exhausted by the continuous struggle against the elements.

Mary breathed a prayer for Tom’s safety. A log shifted in the grate, sending sparks heavenward.

Her phone rang.

“Hi, Darling. We’ve made port!”

Friday Fictioneers – The offering

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

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Photoprompt (c) Roger Bulltot

The Offering

“Dad, may I go into the ruin?”

Russell smiled at his eight-year-old son, John.

“OK. No climbing, mind.”

In the cool shadows, John could feel the holiness of the place. There was a special silence that was full of voices chanting. He took out a trowel from his backpack, and the silver teaspoon that his mum had bought him at the seaside because he had wanted it so much. There, amid the echo of centuries of prayer, he buried the spoon, and wished with all his might.

In her hospital bed, John’s mum peacefully abandoned her struggle against cancer.

Cherry Blossoms (4/5)

Frederic is an excellent poet, and he’s written a sequence of five short poems about cherry blossom. I’ve reblogged my favourite, but they’re all well worth reading, and I recommend a visit to his site to read the others. While you’re there, you might enjoy his poem “The True Poet”. I like it; it seems to me to be very French in sentiment. But is it romantic with a post-modern slant, or is it just romantic? I’ll leave you to judge!

WORDS IN THE LIGHT

they raise their arms to the sky
but never ask for
anything

I admire the way
cherry trees pray

~

Cerisiers et le Ciel, Tokyo © 2017– F.G.M.

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Tokyo – Meiji Jingu shrine

Tokyo has some pleasant parks, and the closest to our hotel is the Yoyogi park. We approached from the north, and came first of all to the Meiji Jingu shrine. This is a Shinto shrine, one of the most important in Tokyo. In the early twentieth century, Emperor Meiji created a garden in the shrine complex, which, according to the various information boards, was greatly enjoyed by the Empress Shohen. One of the boards solemnly told us that the Empress liked fishing, and often went fishing from this specially constructed fishing point. Somehow I just couldn’t visualize her cooking and eating her catch! Nowadays, anybody can walk in the gardens for 500 yen (it’s a standard admission fee presented as a donation for upkeep – fair enough, I think), so we paid up and followed the path to the iris garden.

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The photo shows the teahouse constructed by the Emperor for Empress Shohen

Of course, at this time of year, all you can see of the irises is the green shoots, but it was clear that in the flowering season (June) it would be a spectacular sight. Despite there being no flowering irises, we had the pleasure of the deciduous trees just barely coming into leaf, giving a mist of colour around the nearly bare branches. In any case, all excellent gardens are beautiful in every season and this was no exception.

The photo shows the torii at the entrance to the Meiji Jingu shrine.

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At the Meiji Jingu shrine itself there was a place for people to write their prayers and place them with a donation in an envelope to be presented in the shrine. You could buy all sorts of pre-printed messages, like “I pray to come back to Japan.” It would be easy to make fun of the practice, but as we passed a middle-aged woman got up from where she had been kneeling. Her face was quietly desperate, with an expression of desolation mingled with a forlorn hope. Real people pray here, with real needs. I hope she found comfort.

We spent so long enjoying the tranquil gardens that we never made it to the Yoyogi park itself. Never mind – there’s always tomorrow!