The Call

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Carrie woke to her cell phone lit up and vibrating on the nightstand. It was a text that simply said,

” It’s ready!”

“Please call ASAP.”

She had been waiting anxiously for the past two months for this call. Three times a week, as Carrie sat hooked up to the dialysis machine, she dreamed of this day.

This was an experiment she volunteered for over a year ago. Researchers at Wake Forest University finally perfected a way to take tissue from her bad kidney, isolate the good cells, and grow a new healthy kidney. It would eliminate the rejection factor.

But would it work?

Many anxious thoughts raced through her mind as she stared at the phone. “For how can I be sure I shall see again the world on the first of May?” she wondered.

There were no guarantees, she would be the first.

***

Today at d’Verse, Merril gave us this prosery prompt:

For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May”

–From “May Day” by Sara Teasdale

We are to take this line from the poem and include it in a flash fiction piece of 144 words. My story inspiration came form a PBS show where are Wake Forest Research doctor talked about this kind of thing being studied. In time they will be able to grow new organs from your own body tissue. How amazing is that!

Join us at: https://dversepoet.com

The Climb II – segments 8&9

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Jim was glad he had worn his jeans today instead of shorts. Cautiously he climbed into the cave. There wasn’t much head room, but he was able to maneuver and turn around without much difficulty.

The leaves that had blown into the cave smelled dank and musty. But they were dry and made it easier on the knees for Jim.

I can see why you chose this cave to get out of the snowstorm,” said Jim, as he settled into the spot where George had spent the night. “Between you, your gun, and pack there is very little room left.”

It really was a tight fit, George replied. “There was so much of me in there, there was no room for the cold! But it did keep me somewhat comfortable through the night.”

Jim laughed as he scrambled back out of the cave into the sunshine and onto the flat rock where George was sitting. By now the sun was high overhead and George suggested that this might be a good place to eat their lunch.

You know,” said George, as they ate their sandwiches. We are sitting right at the spot where that Mountain Lion would have been that night. It was pitch black, I could not see anything, but there was a slight reflection from the snow.”

How did you know where to shoot if it was that dark?” wondered Jim.

I could hear heavy guttural breathing out on this flat rock, George replied. “Not wanting to take any chances, I decided to shoot before it stuck its head in the opening. As a result, I must have just grazed him, from the light blood stains I found the next morning.”

Wow! Thought Jim, you were a lucky man.”

***

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Jim’s mind wonder off, thinking about all that George had gone through that cold night two years ago. He was so glad that his friend made it home again and had recovered well from his triple by-pass surgery.

Jim offered George one of his chocolate bars as George pulled out some dog biscuits for Old Blue. Blue snatched them up and chomped down on one crushing it between his strong teeth. Sitting on this particular rock with George gave Jim a warm feeling and he was glad George had drawn him away from his reading to come along with him.

Old Blue gobbled down the biscuits and stood wagging his tail, giving a bark letting George know he would like another one. George gave him the last biscuit he had brought along. After eating it, Blue wandered down to the creek below for a drink.

As Jim and George sat on the rock finishing their lunch, Old Blue went sniffing a little farther up toward a large pile of rocks nearby. After a few minutes, he started barking furiously standing his ground near one of the rocky outcrops.

I wonder what he is so excited about,” chuckled Jim, as they closed their packs.

Probably just another ground squirrel that ran under a rock,” George replied. “Lets go see what he is up to.”

They put on their packs and headed down and back up to where Old Blue was having a fit. As they got closer, George stopped and listened. He immediately called Blue back to him and took out his pistol. Jim was surprised at George’s actions until he looked at what Old Blue was barking at.

There curled up under the ledge of the rock was a timber rattler! He was eyeing Old Blue and his rattles were shaking with a steady warning rhythm. Fortunately, Blue’s instincts told him to keep his distance, but that did not stop his barking frenzy.

Just stay back,” George told Jim. “This is not something we want to tangle with today.”

Are you going to shoot it?” Jim asked excitedly.

No,” George replied, “we are going to keep our distance and move on away from it. It wants to avoid us as much as we want to avoid it. Those warning rattles are telling us to keep away.”

Shouldn’t we kill a poisonous snake,” Jim inquired.

Snakes are a very important part of the ecosystem. They help keep down the rodent population as well as the rabbits and squirrels. So, no we are not going to kill it. Many people are afraid of snakes, but they are seldom aggressive unless cornered or messed with in some way.”

George went on, “Old Blue is lucky he kept his distance and waited for us to come. If a dog gets too close the snake will strike at his face. In most cases the dog will recover, although there will be swelling, and it will be painful for him. It is important to get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

With humans, antivenom is used to counteract the bite. Timber rattlesnake venom is considered a hemotoxin, which means it acts to destroy tissue as an aid in digesting its prey. It also has neurotoxins, which affect the nervous system. Getting medical help is very critical to preventing tissue damage. Most people will recover from snakebite!”

***

For more information on Timber Rattlers check out this YouTube clip:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Timber+rattler&docid=607996575647475445&mid=6A10E5084F83CEF29E566A10E5084F83CEF29E56&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

The Climb part II (segments 2 & 3)

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Jim paused mid-sentence, his mind leaving Narnia behind. Georges words stirred a sense of excitement in him, as he thought back to the winter two years ago when his friend George was trapped in a cave while hunting his last big buck.

I checked with Patrick, and he said it would be alright for you to go with me. We’ll take old Blue along as well.”

Blue was jumping up on the bottom rung of the ladder barking up a storm.

Jim had not been up to the cave and had only heard George telling him about it.

He stuck his head out of the treehouse window and gave George a big smile.

Sounds like a great idea to me. I need a break from reading all my books and I would love to hike up to the cave!”

George felt a surge of excitement knowing he would get to spend the day in the woods with Jim. It also brought back some strong feelings about is ordeal on the mountain.

I will stop by your house in the morning around 8:00. It should be a beautiful day in the mountains.”

Okay,” said Jim, “as he shifted his mind back to Narnia.”

***

It was the end of June, and Jim was enjoying the carefree days of summer. His teacher at Windy Gap Middle School had introduced him to C.S.Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles. Since school was out, he could not put the book down. He hoped to read the whole series by summer’s end.

George was his dear friend, who unknowingly to Jim, was now being replaced by adolescent interests. Even so, he still enjoyed his time with him and Old Blue. Their hike up to the cave would be a great time to reconnect.

Jim rolled out of bed at 7:00 AM and went to the kitchen to pack a lunch for the hike. His mom greeted him warmly and helped him get two ham sandwiches, an apple, a granola bar, and two Hershey bars. He filled his boy scout canteen with water.

Patrick reminded him to take along his Leatherman multi-tool.

You never know when you might need it.”

At 8:00, Jim heard Old George’s truck come rumbling down the gravel lane. He was out on the front porch before the truck even reached the gate. As the truck stopped, Jim hopped up onto the seat next to George and Old Blue. Blue barked a friendly welcome.

Good morning, Jim,” greeted George, “looks like a beautiful day for a hike,”

Good morning, George. It sure does,” Jim said, as he reached over and scratched Old Blue behind the ears. Old Blue edged closer and laid his head up on Jim’s leg.

Jim waved out the window as the old truck started down the lane.

***

Note:  I decided to revisit my story of The Climb and have Old George and Jim go back up to the cave where George was trapped in a snowstorm while hunting. I will be doing several segments each day.

The Climb … segments 10-11-12

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George awoke stiff and cold from his unsettled night in the cave. Sunshine reflected off the shimmering snow outside, with the promise of warmth in its rays. George picked up his gun and made his way into the morning light. The sun on his face felt wonderful and took away some of the chill he felt. All around spread a world of white with only a whisper of a breeze in the trees above.

As he ate the last half of his granola bar, he was glad he kept the water bottle in his inside pocket. His body heat kept it from freezing solid. George knew his climb down to the valley below would help him warm up. Stomping his feet, numb with cold, he felt his joints talking to him telling him he was much too old for this kind of activity. His left arm was tingling again and he had a slight tightness in his chest, so George popped a glycerin pill and let it dissolve under his tongue. He always carried them with him for situations like this. His heart was not happy with all the strain, but the tightness and tingling soon subsided.

As George prepared himself for his climb down the mountain, he noticed some tracks in the snow outside the cave. On closer examination, he saw the imprints were cat tracks as big as his hand. The tracks left the cave entrance and trailed up the hollow. George looks further and noticed slight spots of red sprinkled very lightly in the snow next to the tracks.

He recalled what he thought was his bad nightmare from the night before. Did a mountain lion actually visit his cave last night? Did George actually take a shot at her grazing her just enough to bleed a trickle of blood in the snow?

George emptied the shells from his rifle. Only five shells in the gun instead of six! Still not believing what he saw, he climbed back into the cave. Sweeping the leaves aside, he found nothing. Then over in the back corner lay his expended shell. He could not believe what he was seeing. In the middle of the night, in his sleep, he had taken a shot at a mountain lion. Who would believe this tale? He knew Jim would love this story.

*****

Feeling extremely cold, George knew he needed a fire to warm himself before starting down the mountain. Dragging out a pile of dead leaves from the cave, he added some small dead limbs from the bottom of the white pines nearby. The leaves were dry from being in the cave and he soon had a blazing fire going. It was enough to take away some of the chill from his body.

By now the sun was shining through the tree tops and the pines covered with snow sparkled like a million diamonds. Overnight the snow accumulated to a foot and a half deep. It would take quite awhile to wade through it all and make it back to his truck.

When the fire had burned down to embers, George covered them with wet snow to put them out. He new it was time to start moving.

Deep snow made walking difficult for George, but he slowly made his way down the west side of the hollow so the morning sun could help warm him in the frigid morning air. After walking for an hour, he brushed the snow off a fallen log and sad down to rest. He really needed a drink so he scooped up some fresh snow and melted it in his mouth. The cold water trickling down his throat refreshed him.

As George was ready to trudge on, he heard a rustling in the pines across the way. In a moment two doe came into view followed by a third. George sat real still knowing they could not tell him from the trees, except by smell or movement. Suddenly they stopped and sniffed the air, ears perked up listening for any movement. Since the breeze was blowing up the hollow, it carried George’s scent away from them, so they continued moving slowly nibbling at the ends of young saplings sticking up above the snow.

What a beautiful sight to see thought George as he watched them moving further up the ridge. Another noise drew George’s attention back to the pines. George could not believe his eyes, as he watched the old buck come into view. He stood tall with a majestic rack that spread above his head like a king’s crown. Being cautious, he always seem to follow the doe who checked to see of there was any danger ahead. The old buck stopped and sniffed the air unaware that George was just across the hollow. It was as though he sensed something different in the morning air.

George’s heart was racing as he saw the buck come closer. This was the chance he had been waiting for and talking about for years. Now the opportunity was right in front of him, with a clear shot that few hunters could miss. George raised his rifle and looked through the scope. The cross-hairs focused right behind the old buck’s shoulder.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

A continuation of an earlier prosery prompt from d’Verse Poets Pub….  Scroll down my site to see earlier segments.

The Climb… segments 8 & 9

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Back home in Windy Gap, the sun was setting and George had not returned home. Since his wife had died three years earlier, he had live alone with his old hound dog, Blue. Like George, Old Blue had also seen his better years. He thought it best to leave old Blue at home for this trip.

Down at the end of the gravel lane, his neighbors the Clancy’s lived with their ten year old son Jim. Patrick and Nora were wonderful friends who looked out for George since his wife died. Nora took George hot meals from time to time and often invited him down to visit.

Patrick heard the roar of the old Dodge truck as George headed down the lane in the hours before sunup. George mentioned earlier that he was headed out hunting on Moonshine Ridge, hoping to come across the old buck that had eluded him the last several seasons.

George told Jim hunting stories and how he dreamed of getting one last trophy buck. Those who had seen the deer said it looked like he might have a rack with as many as fourteen points and weigh at least 200 pounds.

When Jim came in for supper that evening, he announced that George’s truck was not at the house and Old Blue was barking up a storm inside the house. With snow beginning to fall Patrick decided to go up and check on Old Blue and see if there was any sign that George might have returned home and left again.

*****

Patrick climbed up the steps to the porch and peered in the window. Nothing seemed disturbed as Old Blue jumped up at the window with a deep mournful wail. Jim found the key under the old crock on the porch and let himself in. Old Blue greeted him happily, jumping up on him trying to lick his face. Patrick left Old Blue run out in the yard to relive himself. He saw there was no water in Blue’s bucket and no food in his bowl. Very unusual for George not to tell anyone to feed Old Blue.

He went to the cupboard and took out the bag of dog food, pouring some into the food bowl. Blue eagerly gobbled it down crunching the hard bits between his teeth. Patrick added a little more and filled up his bucket from the old pitcher pump. Seeing the snow falling faster he had an uneasy feeling about what might have happened George in this extreme weather.

When George did not come home by 9:00 PM, Patrick knew something was wrong. He called the Sheriff’s office in River Bend, ten miles away. After telling the Sheriff what he knew about the situation, Sheriff Taylor said with the storm closing in, and with six inches already on the ground, there was no way they could send a search party into the mountain to look for George before morning. It would take four-wheeled-drive vehicles to make it back to Windy Gap. He told Patrick to meet him at the Sheriff’s office at 7:00 AM. They hoped George found shelter from the storm; otherwise, his chances of survival were very slim.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Earlier segments:  https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/2021/08/18/the-climb-three-more-segments/

The Climb… segments 5-6-7

The Climb…. three more segments

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On Tuesday we did prosery at d’Verse Poets Pub. We had to write a 144 prose piece using the word Cloud along with a line from a poem. I wrote this short story. Several bloggers mentioned they wanted the story to continue, so I am attempting to carry on… This is the first segment followed by three new segments.

The Climb

Dwight L. Roth

The old hunter slowly made his way up the rocky mountain side. He used his 30-30 more as a cane than a gun. It was a beautiful winter day with a cool brisk wind blowing up the hollow. He wrapped his coat tightly around his shoulders as he stopped to rest.

George enjoyed hunting for the past forty years. As he unwrapped a Hershey bar, he thought about his younger days and the thrill of getting his first deer on opening day. Now the thrill was just being able to make it to the high top. The view there was spectacular.

At the top of the ridge, he found trees bent from the wind. The clouds were different today. George wasn’t sure, “But these clouds are clearly foreign, such an exotic clutter against the blue cloth of the sky” Distant snow clouds worried him.

The Story continues:

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***

He knew how fast the weather could change in early winter. George had hiked through the mountain laurel, almost to the high-top, the rise of rocks and scrub bushes that rose sharply before dropping down the backside of the mountain.

In the West he saw clouds were moving in more rapidly than he anticipated. He knew he must head back or he would be caught in a blizzard. In his younger days George could have easily stepped it off back toward the ravine in short order. But, his body would not cooperate like it once did. So, he slowly made his way through the laurel as best he could.

Reaching the head of the hollow, he looked out across the mountains and realized there was no way to make it down before the snow closed in on him. He had to find shelter and find it quickly!

*****

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It started as sleet and freezing rain, quickly turning into heavy snow. He remembered stories of hunters who got trapped in blizzards and did not make it home alive. George was determined that would not be his fate.

Having hunted the mountain many times, George remembered a large outcropping of rock on the other side of the hollow about half way down. If he could make it that far, a shallow cave at the base would provide shelter from the wind and snow.

Although going down was easier than coming up, one had to still be careful not to slip and fall, or step in between two rocks and sprain an ankle, or God forbid, break a leg. Carefully George made his way through the falling snow. In the distance he could see the large rocks, black against the white blanket of snow.

*****

As George reached the overhanging rocks, he could see his short breaths projecting like tiny steam clouds from a locomotive. He also felt an unusual tingling in his shoulder that radiated down his left arm. It concerned him, but he knew he had to find protection for the night so he pressed on.

He climbed up and peered into the shadows of the opening hoping not to find another animal taking shelter there. He breathed a sigh of relief when he realized it was empty except for a large pile of dead leaves that had blown in over time. The cave provided shelter against the wind and blowing snow.

With snow falling, covering everything, there was no way for George to build a fire or gather wood to keep it going. He knew it was going to be a long cold night. Would anyone miss him?

To be continued:

If you want more let me know…

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

This is where the story originated:

Today at d’Verse, Merril introduced our prosery prompt clouds. In prosery we are given a line from a poem of her choosing and it must be incorporated into the flash fiction story as given. The line she gave us was: “But these clouds are clearly foreign, such an exotic clutter against the blue cloth of the sky” from Clouds – by Constance Urdang

For a free pdf. file of the complete story, email me at: dwru27@aol.com

Dreamer – chapter 8

Chapter 8

The engine moaned loudly as the air brakes screeched on the coal cars, keeping the train at a safe speed.

“You know Henry, if you just use the air breaks, they will burn up before you reach the bottom.” Sometimes you must trust the power in your hands.”

Purrlin sat down in his seat to rest. Simmi jumped up onto his lap and began purring loudly. Henry smiled feeling the wind blowing against his face as he leaned out the window. It seemed the trees were more colorful than ever.

“You can let the engine run on the last half mile,” Purrlin said. “She will roll back to normal when you reach the Broad River… the river… the river…”

The trees were glowing red, orange, and florescent green. Purrlin and Simmi were gone!

“Henry, time get up! You will be late for school.

~The End~

Paintings: Dwight L. Roth

Spin-off story from Monday’s d’Verse prosery prompt.

https://dversepoets.com

I have compiled all the stories into a book of 12 pages with illustrations. If you would like a pdf: copy, give me your email address and I wills end you the file to print.

dwru27@aol.com

Dreamer – chapter 3



When Henry hesitated, the old man reached for a box of stick matches and struck one on the side of the box. It burst into flame and Purrlin used it to light a single candle sitting on a wooden stand by his chair. The candle burned with an eerie green glow of molten smoke rings rising around the red flame.

“Come, come, my boy, tell me what is on your mind.’


As Henry stared at the candle’s aura, it gave him a light headed hypnotic feeling.


“I want to be a railroad engineer,” he said. “I want to drive an engine that belches fire and smoke as it goes down the track!”


“I see,” said the old man, “You are not alone. Many young boys have that dream! Follow my instructions and your dream will come true. Stare deeply into the candle’s flickering flame!”

*****

This is a continuation of a flash fiction story I started as our prosery (144 words exactly) prompt at d’Verse Poets Pub.

Check it out at: https://dversepoets.com

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Dreams – chapter 2

Henry only paused a few seconds. When he heard the voice saying, “If you are a dreamer, come in.” he could not resist. He always had a vivid imagination and loved the mystery of ‘what comes next?’ in the books he devoured.

As Henry stepped from the bright stoop into the dark hallway, it took a minute for his eyes to adjust. “Come in my child, it has been such a long time since I had visitors other than Simmi! As his eyes adjusted to the light, he saw a stooped old man holding Simmi on his lap. There was nothing fearful about him as Henry anticipated.

“My name is Purrlin. I can make dreams come true. Do sit down and tell me your dreams.”

Henry moved to the rickety old chair by the table. Should he tell the old man about his dream?

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

D’Verse Prosery prompt: “If you are a dreamer, come in” from Shel Silverstein’s poem Invitation…

https://dversepoets.com

Dreamer

Henry followed the big yellow cat down the block, wishing to pick her up and hear her purr. He continued across the street to the next block. She showed up before on the door step of his old brownstone buildings.

His mother told him not to wander off, but the cat seemed to want him to follow. Henry’s mother’s words faded away. He would only go a block or two.

The cat paused in front of a long winding stair case, then scampered up and through a large open door at the top. Henry thought perhaps he could meet the cat’s owner, so he slowly climbed to the top. As he peered into the dark opening, Henry heard an old man’s voice, “If you are a dreamer, come in my child.He froze, uncertain whether to go in or run back down the steps.

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Lillian is challenging us with a prosery prompt. Prosery is a flash fiction piece, of exactly 144 words, that includes a line from a poem given by the host. The line is from Shel Silverstein’s poem, Invitation, as published in his wonderful book, Where the Sidewalk Ends. The line is, “If you are a dreamer, come in“.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com