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.
Paintings: Dwight L. Roth
Spin-off story from Monday’s d’Verse prosery prompt.
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…
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“.
My parents always told me I was an unusual child! When I began seeing visions at the age of six, everyone passed it off as childish fantasy.
As I grew older the visions became more detailed and urgent! There were visions like the time my grandmother was sick with cancer, and I saw her complete and whole again. Within that year she made a complete recovery.
Other visions were not as measurable, such as the time I spoke to my grandfather who had died the year before. He assured me all was well and not to worry.
Yesterday, I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head. I had an unusual feeling of anxiety and fear. It was New Years Day, 2020. The sun was bright, the trees were bare; but, there was this ominous dread like never before.
Painting – Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse we are writing prosery, which is a flash fiction piece of 144 words that includes a given line from a poem. Kim gave us this line: I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head–from The Song of Wandering Aengus, by William Butler Yeats.
Charlie was a farmer all his life. It was a small farm; about a hundred acres. He milked cows every day until he was seventy years old. It was a good life, but much of that was gone now. His wife died a year ago in April. His only daughter married a man who worked in the technology field. The only alternative was to sell the farm.
On auction day, folks came from miles around. Tractors and implements sold quickly. The thirty milk cows did as well. The farm sold for more than a half a million dollars.
All that seemed insignificant now, as he stared at the shell of a dilapidated barn, out the window of the rest home. Charlie thought to himself, “Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, One day I will collapse, just like that old barn.”
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse, Linda asked us to write a flash fiction of exactly 144 words, using a line from a poem, Spring Azures from the book Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. The line is… ‘Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy.’
A Dunkard Brethren church once sat at the top of the ridge overlooking Willow Run. Now in crumbles of brick and mortar, flowering honeysuckle invite bees to commune at their cups of sweetness. Blacksnakes slither through the rubble looking for a toad or rat residing there.
It was in this church where itinerant preachers on horseback brought fiery brimstone, forgiveness, and grace to the faithful who gathered. Souls were saved and dunked all the way under in Willow Run.
On the hillside the full moon reflects off of a few protruding graveyard stones. Most have long since been overgrown and broken. The names on the stones kiss the ground, above the deceased as “In their dreams they sleep with the moon.”
Tales are told by the ancients, who still live nearby, that at midnight’s full moon rise, horses pounding hooves echo through the night!
Today at d’Verse, Merril introduce a prosery prompt. This is a short story of no more than 144 words that can be flash fiction, true, or far out imaginary. It must include a random line from a poem that she shared with us. Her line was from a Mary Oliver poem, (Death at Wind River),“In their dreams they sleep with the moon.”My story is flash fiction, based on a little church from my home town. My two brothers and I visited there two years ago, and I took a bunch of photos. These are a couple of photos from there. The story is made up.
‘There are moments caught between heart-beats’ when one teeters between life and death, or so it seems! This is one of those moments. Reluctantly, Abby agreed to come along on this adventure.
The Rock Island Line ran straight through her uncle’s Texas Ranch. Below the ranch, the river was spanned by an arched steel trestle . The thrill was to hang out by the bridge until the train whistle blew in the distance, then crawl under where the train tracks met the hillside. By then, the train would be arriving at the bridge. Lying under the tracks they could feel the train rumbling above them.
This is the moment of truth. The three of them lay flat on their backs, as the train roared onto the trestle. They all screamed, but no one heard, as the ground shook and their racing hearts stood still.
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse, Kim asked us to do a prosery, which is to write a prose flash fiction of only 144 words, and to include this line from a poem: ‘There are moments caught between heart-beats’. My idea for this story came from a childhood story David Holt, PBS musician and story teller shared in an interview. He said he and his brother used to lay under the bridge and feel the train going above.
The following story is a mixture of truth and fiction. It was accepted to be in the upcoming Old Mountain Press anthology, Happy Holidays. This is a collection of poetry and prose from many significant contributors. Col (Ret.) Tom Davis is the publisher. He has written several books, and puts out poetry and prose anthologies three times a year. I have my works in several of them. Information about the website is at the end of this post. You can check out all of his E-books on Amazon Kindle.
Dwight L. Roth
When I was in the fourth grade, the school I attended did not have indoor toilets! Behind our classroom building were three outhouses: a small one with a green door for the three lady teachers, a little larger two-hole one for the girls, and a similar one for the boys. The boys’ toilet had an L-shaped fence wall around it with a trough in the back where we could stand up and pee! We enjoyed seeing who could get their stream the highest on the wall!
You might wonder how Halloween and outhouses go together. Well, I heard tales of what teenagers do on Halloween; things like scaring little kids, stealing their candy, or throwing rotten eggs at people’s houses or cars! Those tales kept us only going to our neighbors and to people we knew! Unfortunately, that isn’t all teenagers do.
In the Fall of 1957, my friends I were excited to go trick-or-treating with our older siblings. A full moon shone down on us as we walked down our country road knocking on our neighbors’ doors. But, at the edge of town, where we went to school, more sinister actions were going on in the moon light!
The next morning, I arrived at school to a flurry of excitement. Children on the playground talked excitedly to one another, pointing to the back of the school. I soon found out what the excitement was all about. On Halloween night, some of the teenage boys pushed over the teacher’s toilet! As we, took our breaks during the day I looked in amazement at the little toilet with the green door lying there on its back.
In a day or two, the school maintenance men came and got it set back upright. I wondered how the teachers felt, having to use the girls’ toilet. They never did find out who tipped it over.
The full moon crept over the treeless plain. John Clark sat on his broken porch step and watched it rise. Clouds left eerie shadows across the yard. It was All Hallow’s Eve. There was no thought of candy or spooks and goblins.
The dry Oklahoma winds had blown away much of the topsoil. The wheat, this year, dried up in the fields. Last year, it was the swarm of grasshoppers that ate every green thing in sight.These fields were once covered with tall grasses and ranging bison. Now they were lifeless and dusty as a desert. “This is the barrenness of harvest or pestilence.”
John had no choice, but to load his wife and four children in his old Model T Ford, and travel West. They took what they could, hoping to make it to California before the Snow arrived in the mountains.
Dust Bowl Photo: Saturday Evening Post
Bjorn at d’Verse asked us to write a prose piece of not more than 144 words. He took a line from a Louise Gluck poem, which we had to include in our writing. It was also to include the holiday theme of All Hallow’s Eve and Halloween. It was, “This is the barrenness of harvest or pestilence.” I attempted to apply this line to the sad times of the Dust Bowl.