Tag: Whisper

WHISPER: Untitled By Michael S. Jones

Word: WHISPER/AGONY
Word Count: 500
Untitled
By Michael S. Jones

I can’t remember when drafts became whispers. When did heated air bleeding out of chinks in my walls change character. When did seeping air becoming sibilant?
Back then I turned toward Jim’s empty chair more than once, biting off some remark he would never hear. I caught movements in the corner of my eye. Were they grief-driven fantasies? An echo of James? Or, in hindsight, was it her?
The day of the accident shown crystalline blue, but a vagrant cloud darkened the porch as I passed under chiseled roses the color of dried blood.
I’ve always known if home was empty or merely quiet. I knew immediately that Jim was not asleep in the den.
The news came with a knock on the door. James was crossing on the green when a taxi knocked him and his bike twenty feet. I sat on the stoop and wept as the officer kept my
agonized company.


Grief changes but it never ends. I continued, and in some ways thrived. But when I came home I always sensed the cavernous emptiness of our brownstone…until the whispers.
They divided and became syllables, audible but always just out of understanding.
Once I came home cross and shouted,
“Be quiet!” And the house became silent and empty immediately.
Days later, sipping chamomile, I spoke to the nothing.
“I like your home,” I said.
Her reply was clear but without resonance… lacking depth that lungs and larynx offer.
“I’ve always hated it myself,” she said. “Women weren’t consulted in my time. As a woman of means I seldom left home and now never will.”
“I never feared you.”
“And I never liked the occupants of my house until you arrived.”
“Where is your husband?”
“I don’t know. And your Jim?”

“I don’t know either. I felt YOU from time to time since he died, but always knew it wasn’t him. Why can’t I see you?”
“‘Women are to be seen but not heard.’
Perhaps now it’s the other way around.”
***
“What is your name?”
“Annabel”
“And your husband’s?”
“I almost don’t remember.”
***
One day I brought dusky red
roses for us both.
“They’re nearly the color of my door-lintel flowers,” said Annabel. “Do they smell wonderful?”
“Yes,” I said. “Sweet and rich.”
“He carved those roses for me,” she said. “The only part of the house I ever loved.”
“He loved you very much, I think,” I said.
“More than I did him, perhaps. I almost don’t remember.”
***
We were talking during tea time, though only I drank of course.
“Why didn’t you show yourself to my predecessors? Did they fear you?”
“Perhaps, but people changed so much. Radios, then televisions and those horrid video games. Your century is a cacophony.
YOU became quiet only after Jim died.”
“So you’ve hidden inside for a century?”
“Well, stayed inside anyway.”
“Then you CAN leave?”
“I have no substance… Doors can’t hinder me.”
“Well, you are my best friend and there is a garden nearby. Let’s take a walk together.”

WHISPER: Small Moments By Beverly Jones

Word: WHISPER
Word count: 485
SMALL MOMENTS
By Beverly Jones
The young woman sat on the cold floor tiles of the centuries old cathedral with her back against the pockmarked stucco walls. She was sure she was called by God for something, but she couldn’t discern what that something could possibly be.
Listening in the silence for whispers and intimations of guidance, she heard a minute whimper. Peering around the corner she could see a tiny figure wiggling on the floor. She crawled over to it and discovered a puppy, not yet old enough to have its eyes open. She struggled to her feet cursing the soccer injury that left her with a permanent limp. She scooped the puppy up and held it against her shirt.
“¿De donde estas? Where did you come from?” she crooned in a soft voice.
She looked around the church the rest of her lunch hour, but could find no trace of another dog. Leigh Anne walked into the searing heat, heading back to her office.
She paused at the pet store. “Necesito leche por el perrito. I need milk for the puppy.”
The clerk handed her the small feeding bottle and milk, but shook his head at her question. No, he didn’t know of a mother dog who might adopt an orphan.
Leigh Anne wrapped the puppy in a towel and squirreled it away in her bottom desk drawer. She fed it every couple of hours, and because it couldn’t use the bathroom by itself, she would stroke it gently with a warm wet paper so it would think it was its mother’s tongue.
Each store she stopped on the way home in to buy meat, vegetables and fruit for dinner had the same reply.
“No conocerlo. I don’t know a dog that could help.”
She climbed onto the bus, juggling her bag and groceries, favoring her bad leg.
“I’m sorry sweetheart. Lo siento querido,” she crooned as she petted the puppy on the ride home.
Leigh Anne limped up the cobble stoned street to her apartment building. Mrs. Garcia’s flower pot on the stoop was overturned again by the fat yellow cat living next door. She straightened the pot, told the geraniums how beautiful they looked and walked into the atrium. Mrs. Garcia’s door was open. She was crying. She explained between sniffles that her dog had birthed puppies that morning but all had died. Her dog was grieving as was she.
Leigh Anne sat down her bag of groceries and lifted the puppy from her shoulder bag.
“¿Que piensas? What do you think?”
Leigh Anne set the puppy near the bereaved mother dog. The dog smelled the puppy all over and heaved a sigh as the puppy began to nurse.
She straightened up, shaking a cramp from her leg. She had her answer. If righting flower pots and rescuing puppies was what she was called to do, that was okay. It was her ministry of small moments.

WHISPER: Whisper of Wings By B.A. Sarvey

Word: WHISPER
Word Count 498
Whisper of Wings
By B.A. Sarvey

The whisper of hundreds of moth wings washed across the meadow, like words spoken into the darkness.
Sensing their desperation, their fear, Luna silenced Guff’s outcry. Arms outstretched, she began to hum, a quiet reverberation. The moths responded. Illuminated by the moon and Howard’s wings, they looked like fairy lights dancing above the flowers.
Guff cringed as the mass headed toward him, but Howard slowly fanned his wings, beating out an invitation. “So p…pleased. Welcome.” A pinkish tinge flushed his luminescence.
“You know them?” Guff croaked.
“Only by l…legend. That they inhabit a crystal cave. N…not mine. No. I have so wanted to meet.” Howard shuffled his feet, continued fanning. Slowly, he withdrew his pouch of remaining crystals from his cloak, opened it to allow the greenish light to escape. It drew the moths like a beacon. Still, they hovered at a distance from the hillock where the trio stood. Finally, the lead moth approached; landed on Luna’s left hand. A second lit on her head, a third on her right shoulder. Each was larger than her hand-span. Luna stopped humming.
She silently scrutinized the great, pale green moth on her hand. The moth, with its compound eyes, peered back. Wordlessly they exchanged information. “We must aid them,” Luna announced. “A group of galumpshes is mercilessly hounding them. Eating all they can catch.”
“What are galumpshes?” asked Guff.
“Bird-like creatures,” Luna replied. “Enormous.”
“I have heard, y…yes. As large as m…myself,” Howard stammered. His wings slowed and the pink tinge paled.
“Oh, no,” Guff blurted, shaking his head. “Helping people is one thing. But moths? I don’t know that I am willing to die for an insect.”
Luna smiled gently. “You may go home, if you wish. It is I who must follow destiny. Remember, you invited yourself along.”
“My d…destiny, I think,” Howard said, “is to join yours.”
Guff shifted his weight and sighed. “You did rescue my settlement. Both of you. And we have been walking for days. A long way from home….” He held out his hand to clasp Howard’s. “So what is this destiny thing?”
“It appears,” said Luna, “I am to assist the endangered. Who- or what-ever they may be. Are you certain you wish to stay with us? I know little about galumpshes. Except they are dangerous.”
“If you are willing to risk it, so am I—if not for the moths, then at least for you and Howard. The moths are magnificent, though. Odd. The same color as your eyes, and Howard’s crystals.”
“Perhaps that is why we are drawn to each other. It may serve us well at another time. Right now, we must conjure a means to save these moths.”
“If ga…galumpshes favor these m…moths, then we m…must somehow make the m…moths taste bad.”
“Howard, you are brilliant!” Luna said.
“Too simple an explanation. And too difficult to achieve,” argued Guff.
Howard’s wings flushed. “Luna has ch…charms. She pulled the stingers from those other creatures. She can do anything.”

WHISPER: Home By Peg Scarano

Word: Whisper
Word Count: 471

HOME
By Peg Scarano

I can’t remember the moment when my life actually began. I only know I wasn’t in my tiny world very long before I started to discover things. At first, it was little things I noticed, like the steady rhythm of a beating drum that never went away, but I found it very comforting.

Since I couldn’t see very well, as time went on, my hearing seemed to become more acute. What I remember most were the murmurs. I heard sounds all of the time. I couldn’t understand what they were, but I did know they were all different. There were sometimes sharp, loud noises that startled me so much I would jump in my little room. There were sometimes voices of strangers which were interesting, but never seemed very important to me.

Sometimes there were what I can only describe as liquid noises and blares from large things. On a regular basis, there would be these mewling and howling sounds from God knows what. At first, they frightened me as well, but as time went on, they became my new normal.

What comforted me the most besides the drumbeats was this whispering voice that spoke to me more and more frequently as I grew bigger and my room grew smaller. Sometimes this voice would seem professional and businesslike. Sometimes it would be quiet and not directed at me. I could always tell when this voice was paying attention to me. It would be soothing and consoling. It would calmly tell me wonderful stories and tales of places and things I had never seen. This sound always seemed to suggest that things would be different for me someday. Sometimes this pleasing resonance would be accompanied by gentle touches reassuring me that all was well in my world.

One time, after what seemed like a forever day with all kinds of different sounds and the piercing clash of things and the excited voices of strangers, I gained my sight! It was like coming out of the darkest tunnel and seeing the bright light of day. I could see where the sounds were coming from and it was the scariest thing ever! I remember screaming in terror.

Then, all of a sudden, I felt that familiar, reassuring touch and I recognized the gentle whispering voice only this time it was a bit louder and not as muffled. I couldn’t see very clearly, but something told me I was really home now. I could stretch, but at the same time, I was wrapped tightly in something soft and warm. I was cuddled and cooed to and contentment surrounded me. I felt the promises and stories I had heard in my little room were fulfilled as my mom whispered to me, “Finally, I get to meet you my precious little one! I love you so much!”

WHISPER: Of Whispers and Whales By G. Ackman

Word: WHISPER
Word Count 474
Of Whispers and Whales
by G. Ackman
Fourteen year old Herman groaned as his mother woke him up. It was still dark outside and he could barely see her in the doorway, silhouetted against the weak lamplight. Today was the day he had to assume the duties his older brother had had on the whaling schooner Vanquish. George had been much more suited for the work, but his appendix burst last week and his spot would be sold to another family if Herman didn’t step up and take George’s place. It was going to be hard on Herman, who held the widely unpopular opinion that whaling was brutal and inhumane. Of course, Herman had a soft spot for all animals, always bringing home stray dogs, motherless kittens, and birds who had fallen from their nest. It had infuriated his father, who was a third generation whaler. His mother indulged Herman’s nurturing tendencies, but when it came to money, her heart hardened, especially since his dad hadn’t come home from last season’s whaling. “They’s just animals, Herm. They don’t feel pain like us do.” But Herman knew better. He didn’t know how he was ever going to participate. He knew at fourteen he would be merely a foremast hand and wouldn’t be allowed to handle one of the valuable harpoons, but as the youngest and smallest on board, he would be expected to crawl inside the murdered animal to pull out the oil inside the head. It was a smelly, nasty job, and he knew his stomach would roll and pitch more than the boat would.
Three months later, all of Herman’s fears were realized. The harpooners were chasing a huge sperm whale, its green luminesce visible under the surface. Herman wanted to shout “go away” to it, but it breached, slapping the water with its tail, sending spray several feet in the air, and exposing its vulnerable side to the callous hunters. With an excited shout, the harpooners, already in their small boats, readied their weapons. Gripping the rail of the ship, Herman saw the whale’s eye as it rolled over, an all-knowing, soulful eye that seemed to look right at him and mark him as an insignificant piece of nature. “Please dive deep,” Herman whispered. But the whale did not hear his plea and the men laughed as they drove their deadly spears into the noble creature’s body. The light went out of the whale’s eye. Herman’s tears mixed with those of mother nature’s as rain poured on the gruesome scene. That night in his damp and smelly sleeping space in the forecastle, Herman could not sleep, his mind seeing the whale’s eye again and again. “I will stop this somehow,” he whispered to himself, vowing to run away if necessary. As he finally succumbed to utter exhaustion, his last waking thought was “what if the whales started hunting us?”

WHISPER: PPSSSST! By Nan Ressue

Word: WHISPER
Word Count 500+
PPSSSST!
Nan Ressue
“PSSSSST! PSSSSST! Grandma, I’m over here;” whispered my youngest granddaughter from her hideout behind the garage.
I slipped quietly through the tall grass so I could better hear her small voice, which was delivering an urgent plea.
“Would you help me get Velvet into the house?”
This is more complicated than you think. Velvet is a horse.
“Only if you can give me an excellent reason,” I replied, trying not to say no immediately.
“Well,” she said thoughtfully,” I can think of two to begin with. She is lonely in the garage and she also chewed the upholstery in the Mercedes. She only ate a little piece but now she feels sick.
“That was pretty stupid when there is plenty of hay out there to eat. “I said critically. “Besides that, horses usually don’t live in the house.”
“Grandma, please reconsider. She promised not to poop in the bed.”
“Well, in that case, I guess we could give it a try”, I said, suddenly convinced I had lost my mind. I felt better after realizing that the move could be for an hour or better than that, ten minutes.
“How do you propose we do this?” I asked the owner of the horse.
The forehead of that little face wrinkled in concentration until her scheme had taken shape.
“Probably going through the front door would be the best route as the staircase is right across from the door. I could pull her in with her rope while you push from behind.”
The horse was willing to try but there she was, halfway through and firmly stuck between the doorjambs. The humans had forgotten to measure.
“Well, will you look at that! Jammed in the jambs”, I said to myself, enjoying my own wit.
AND, wouldn’t you know it…. The project was in full swing as the patrol car made the corner, and screeched to a halt, obviously summoned by a neighbor who was supervising from behind the living room drape. A policeman with a red face jumped out of the car and charged full speed across the lawn, yelling as he came.
“Wait! WAIT! Just what do you think you’re doing?”
Assuming my most feeble, elderly look I replied, “What you see here officer is a humane act of kindness toward a pitiful, lonely animal. These painful feelings are going to be cured by allowing her to join the family group.”
Turning to look at the horse rammed halfway into the house and then at me with a withering stare he said, “I thought I knew a horse’s ass when I saw one but the prize winning one looks just like you. Back her outta there girls”.
A gob of Bag Balm on each side of the animal did the trick.
Later that night, coming home from my bridge game, I met my granddaughter on the sidewalk carrying her suitcase.
“Where are you going honey?” I asked carefully.
“Grandma, I’m sorry our plan didn’t work out this afternoon but thank you for your help anyway. I’ve decided to move into the garage. Velvet said yes because I promised not to poop in her bed.”

WHISPER: A Surprise By Joann Dickson

Word: WHISPER
Word Count 443
A Surprise
By Joann Dickson

No one knows where Pandora came from – she just showed up in town one day with her two daughters, bought a rundown building on Main Street, and proceeded to fix it up.  On the first floor she opened a bookstore called “Pandora’s Books” and on the second floor she remodeled the old apartment into a comfortable home for her family.  Rumors were whispered around town – maybe she escaped an abusive marriage, maybe she was in the witness protection program, and so on.  But she kept to herself, and her little girls and the bookstore flourished.

Mary Simmons, a retired teacher, loved to come into the store and read to the children during story hour.  She was a widow and had no grandchildren of her own.  Mary and Pandora became friends, often chatting over a cup of tea after the shop had closed.  Allison and Amy, Pandora’s daughters, loved to sit on the beanbag chairs and listen to Mary read their favorite stories.  They had begun to call her Auntie Mary.

Mary knew that Pandora’s husband had been killed in Afghanistan, and his life insurance money had enabled her to start up her business.  One day Mary said, “It’s so sad that your husband won’t get to see your daughters grow up to be beautiful young women.  My husband and I could never have children of our own.  My students were my children.  I wish….”

“What do you wish, Mary?” asked Pandora.

“There was a little girl, a long time ago…” replied Mary.

“And you had to give her up for adoption?”  Pandora prompted.

“H-H-How do you know that?” stammered Mary.

Pandora replied, “My adoptive parents gave me all the information I needed to find my birth mother.  Since they are both gone now, I thought the time was right to find you, Mary.  I wanted you to meet us as strangers, and get to know us without any strings attached.  I was hoping that you would welcome us as friends, or even better, as part of your family.”

Mary burst into tears.  “I was young, and in those days, a single girl just couldn’t raise a child by herself.  The day I gave you up was the hardest day of my life.  I always hoped that someday I would find that little girl and see how she turned out.  And now, my goodness! I found you and two granddaughters too!  This is the happiest day of my life!  Let’s go tell the girls so they can start calling me Grandma!”

Mary and Pandora hugged, crying tears of happiness, and went to tell the girls the news.

WHISPER: The First Cotillion By Sally Madison

Word: WHISPER
Word Count 383
The First Cotillion
By Sally Madison

The master of ceremonies announced, “Miss Sarah Hogan of Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Arthur Morgan of Charleston, South Carolina.

This was Sarah’s first cotillion and she absorbed all the sights, the sounds and the smells.
The six gigantic crystal chandlers lit the grand hall as brilliant as an early morning, as it shone on the pale blue walls and white woodwork. Over the huge fireplace hung a painting of the Madonna and Child that was set in a gilded frame. Other paintings included cherubs and angles. The air was filled with the sent of magnolias and lilacs from the flower arrangements hanging in the sconces on the walls. Potted palms and orange and lemon trees lined the walls strategically. The wood floor glistened like sunshine reflected on a pond. Music from the harps, flutes and violins floated as they played waltzes, minuets, and reels. The exquisite gowns created a swirl of color like a bouquet of lily-of –the –valley, periwinkle, marigolds and carnations.

Sarah’s gown, with puffy sleeves and pointed bodice, resembled a blossom of Bleeding Heart, with the skirt like a spray of Baby’s Breath. She twirled, she smiled, she laughed …she was having the time of her life. Whenever Arthur was not her partner, she would check to see if he was watching, and every time he was, she would smile and laugh as if her dance partner had made the most clever remark of the evening.

When Sarah saw him shaking hands with the host, as he prepared to take his leave for the evening, she panicked. She couldn’t let him go, yet. She headed for the doors to the balcony, as if for a breath of fresh air, sashaying in front of him. “Mr. Morgan, are you leaving without saying good-by?”

“My apologies, dear lady,” he replied. “Although the hour is early, I have business to attend.” Then he whispered, “However, with your permission, I will call on you in a few days. Would that bring me back into your good graces?” Sarah blushed, “Oh, yes” she said agreeably.

As morning approached, Sarah was lying in bed, thinking of the events of the evening. ‘It’s hard to sleep when you have a grin on your face’, she thought. She giggled to herself. ‘The only thing missing …was the glass slipper.’

WHISPER: Whispering Waves By Sharon Collins

Word: WHISPER
Word Count 500
Whispering Waves
By Sharon Collins

(Ariadne’s Thread cont’d)
Shipwreck Beach, a day-tripping destination, wasn’t on a scheduled ferry route. Private estates clinging to the cliffs high above her were of little help. Acknowledging her abandonment, Ariadne emptied her backpack onto the sand. A water bottle, container of olives, and a substantial, if not well-wrapped, chunk of left-over baklava rolled out. Licking her sticky fingers, she contemplated her predicament.”

Not one to simply sit, Ariadne did what she always did when bored, draw a labyrinth. Fascinated since childhood, she was an expert. Given enough space, she could have recreated the eleven-circuit Chartres Labyrinth; however, in homage to her surroundings she chose the 7-Circuit Greek Classic. Sighting East, she etched a cross in the wet sand followed by the 4 dots that would guide the lanes. Sipping water and munching sun-warmed olives, she instructed the waves, her only audience, as she worked. “Walking a labyrinth can help clear a clouded mind or connect a seeker with the answers she seeks.” Ariadne certainly hoped to clear her clouds away. Absorbed in drawing, she neither noticed the lengthening cliff-shadows, nor the smaller shadow, cast by a drone circling while she worked.

Chewing the honeyed- walnut pastry, Ariadne surveyed her finished handiwork and spied the blue-velvet, ring-box next to her empty backpack. She scooped it up and traced the labyrinth logo decorating its lid – Minos Jewelers of Crete it said. ‘What to do?’ she sighed, setting it aside, still unopened.

Returning to the labyrinth, Ariadne visualized Theo, her modern-day Theseus, and couldn’t help smiling at the parallels she was experiencing. Just like the myth, following his “red thread” Theo had escorted her from the Minotaur’s embrace and brought her home to Greece. And just like the myth, she found herself abandoned, maybe not on Naxos, but on an island nonetheless, while he sailed away with Athena, the dive-ship. All she needed now was for the Greek God of Wine to show up and abduct her.

Shaking off her fanciful thoughts, she began the slow pacing that would wind her in and out, back and forth through the circuits. Opening herself to the guidance she knew would come, she began to listen. She heard it immediately, the whisper on the waves. “Let be, Ariadne. Let be…” The bookworm in her rebelled at the mixed allusion. Apparently, the Universe had a literary sense of humor. “I’m not Hamlet,” she said aloud. “Stick to Bullfinches, please.” Suddenly she heard a sound that wasn’t a whisper; it was the gurgle of an idling motor. Stunned, she stared in disbelief at what could only be described as Greek God, stepped from a large fishing boat onto the pier. “Hello,” he shouted. “I’m Dionysus, Dion for short. You look like you need rescuing.” Gathering her belongings, she walked toward him. Standing with one foot on the pier and one on his boat, like the Colossus of Rhodes, he indicated the Greek lettering on the side, “Welcome to the Bacchanalia!” and grinned..

“Thanks for nothing,” Ariadne told the Universe.