The colonist’s entered the church in silence. The reality of the day overwhelming them. One by one, they filed past the wooden crates that bore the bodies of Emri and Zithri. Beside them sat their only son, Miklak. In time, he would become as loved as his parents, but that wouldn’t be for years to come. For now, he was a child bereft of family.
Miklak misshapen limbs painfully cramped from being so still. He wanted to do anything but sit here in silence.
‘Will this day never end?’ He thought.
Cenotaph: /ˈsenəˌtaf/ : a monument to someone buried elsewhere, especially one commemorating people who died in a war.
Author’s Note: I wonder what kind of cenotaph would be appropriate to Emri and Zithri, the first humans to repopulate the Earth after it’s nuclear wars had decimated the landscape? And, what kind of person will this little boy become? I’ve already written the story of Miklak in other stories, so I know that he will be just as great as his parents were and he will “colonize” a new world within their world.
On a personal note, It has been a difficult week with Covid taking the lives of three very dear friends who lived local. A grandmother, her wee granddaughter, and the daughter of a dear one. They won’t have any grand memorials, but I feel blessed for having had their companionship for many years.
Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donatedby: Dale Rogerson.
Author’s Note: this picture was so inspiring this week that I had to double-dip it. That said, both stories fit well with one another, so enjoy…. Backstory: Another tale in the ongoing saga of Emir & Zithri as they venture into recolonizing Terra Firma…
Emri stood in the promenade, staring up at the lights. He’d always taken them for granted. Now, he looked at them in a different light. In a few minutes, they would be extinguished and the era of shipboard life would be ended. He’d come back to the ship for the last day’s festivities. After the lights were dimmed, they would be removed and transported down with the last load of what could be recycled. It was the ending of an era, and the beginning of a new one.
With a shaking hand, he reached out…
The world went dark.
Zithri twisted her hands; after all this time, they would have electric. It would only be what the generator could provide… but, there would be light. She’d missed the gentle glow in the evenings as they’d danced on the promenade or watched movies at the cinema complex. She felt a clogging in her throat and a burning in her eyes as Emri lifted the end of the cords and held them out to her.
‘Do you want to do the honors?’ He smiled.
‘Let’s do it together.’ She put her hands on his.
Light suddenly filled the room.
Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donatedby: Liz Young.
Several hours later, Jonquil stepped through the kitchen door, inhaling deeply. Pot Roast. Then, he sighed. As happy as he was to have his favorite meal, he regretted the news he least expected to be sharing.
Elizabeth heard the back door open and smiled. Jonquil was home, finally. She’d worried because he was so late. It was a rare occurrence that he was late without calling ahead. Before she could rush to him, he held up a hand to tell her to stay back. She took in his stained and torn uniform with a frown.
‘Jon?’ She swallowed.
‘I’ll change in the laundry room.’ He told her.
‘Have you seen the news?’ He ventured to ask.
‘Bits and pieces.’ She shrugged. ‘ You know how it is with Charles.’
‘I was in the Capital today.’ He spoke as if that would answer all her questions before disappearing into the laundry area off of the kitchen.
Elizabeth stared after him in shocked surprise. She had caught glimpses of the riots and heard a report that the dictator had been assassinated. But why would Jonquil be on that side of the wall? The base where he worked was at least several hundred miles on the free side of the European wall. Now, she was confused.
Soon, Jonquil returned, freshly showered and dressed in sweats.
‘What happened?’ She asked, dishing up a large plate of pot roast and all the fixings to go with it.
‘All hell broke loose.’ He muttered, smiling at the plate she set before him. ‘I’m starved. Thanks for keeping it hot.’
‘You’re late. You didn’t call. I was worried.’ She rattled at him.
‘Sorry about that. By the time I got to where I could call you, I was already on the way home.’
‘I’ll forgive you… for a kiss.’ She leaned into his embrace.
‘I’ve been called up for deployment, Liza.’ He came out with what he needed to say. ‘Word came down as I returned to base. I report next week.’
Elizabeth pulled back out of his reach. ‘No. They can’t do that. They don’t need a lawyer in combat. Just like I don’t see why you had to go over the wall today. You had no business in that place… and today of all days. Do you know what happened there today?’
‘People stormed the palace, Jon. They killed every official they could find. They – they even assassinated the dictator, Jon. Why the hell were you there?’
‘Sorry, Liza, that’s classified.’ He dug into the pot roast in front of him.
‘They can’t deploy you, Jon. You’re not a combat soldier.’ She swayed back to the deployment issue; knowing that once he said something was classified, she’d never get a clear answer. ‘You’re a lawyer, Jon. What are you going to do? Are you going to lob books at them, or fire words in their direction?’ Elizabeth bit back tears. Her worst fears were bubbling up to the surface and trailing down her cheeks.
‘I’m still a soldier, Liza, just like any other soldier. I’m trained for combat. I’m prepared for war. It’s what I do, Liza. You knew that before we married that there might come a time like this.’ He reminded her.
‘I – I never believed they’d send a lawyer into battle, Jon. It’s wrong. You’re a paper-pusher.’ She sniffled into the napkin he offered her.
‘I’m a soldier first, Liza. Look, it’s been a very long and tiring day. I don’t want to argue with you about this. I have my orders.’ He sighed. ‘I’ve trained for war my entire life, Liza. I’ve always prayed I’d never have to fight, but it has come. It’s just something you have to accept.’
‘I can’t. I won’t.’ She allowed him to wrap an arm around her waist.
‘I love you, Liza. No matter what happens, don’t forget that. He pulled her to him and kissed her deeply.
Coming up for air, she muttered against his lips. ‘Is there any way to get out of it?’
‘No. It’s my duty to serve God, the Corps, and family.’ He kissed her again.
This time, Elizabeth pulled back. ‘Family’s always last, isn’t it, Jonquil.’ She picked up his plate and took it to the sink. ‘I want to go back to America; Jon, and the sooner the better. After what I saw today… And now, you being called up… I want to go home. – sniff – If…if the worst…’
She didn’t have to finish before he responded. ‘I’ll make the arrangements in the morning.’
Elizabeth blinked back tears as she pulled the plug in the sink and watched the water circle down the drain.
Another adventure of Emri and Zithri upon the recolonization of Earth….
Tears coursed Emri’s cheeks as the first load of crops exit the field. It was something he had dreamed of seeing for all of his life. It represented the fact that they could survive here, versus the ship that still orbited above.
‘It’s beautiful, isn’t it?’ Aaron asked.
‘Yes, it is.’ Emri smiled. ‘God has truly blessed us and we will give our portion back to him.’
‘The women have created a feast to celebrate the harvest.’
‘Tonight’s fire will be bright.’ Emri nodded to where they would stack the bales, add the first harvests of vegetables and fruits.
Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donated by: Sandra Crook.
This is how the poem is intended to appear. Here’s how WP screws it up…
The day America’s tears
fell in torrents
into rivers of raw fear
and flooded the tributaries
of unfathomable grief
until they converged
into an ocean of anger
with undercurrents circling
around hidden reefs
of rage and retribution
yet… never forgotten.
c. 2021, McQuinn
Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donated by: Penny Gadd.
Author’s Note: The poem reflects where my heart is this week. Already, the 9-11 tributes are rolling in. I’ve unplugged the television, and limited my online presence and will do so probably for the rest of the month. As much as I don’t want to be reminded, I will NEVER forget… nor should anyone. Our nation has suffered a tremendous loss, but we are a strong people who can navigate our little boats amid the torrents if we choose to do so. Find what brings you joy this week, and cling to it.