You May Have Noticed

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I have been posting a lot of photo challenges lately and not as much of the writing challenges.

I have been super busy with life and haven’t had as much time for writing as I would like, but I do have a massive photo archive. I haven’t given up on the writing and I am sad to miss out on the weekly challenges.

Hopefully, things will settle down so I can do more of it. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the photos.

If you care to see more photos and some drawings, check out the below locations.

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Fine Art America
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If A Tree Falls In The Forest

It’s like the question about a tree in the forest.

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I was haunting my life, not really living in it. I was going through the motions and I was sure if I stopped, no one would notice. It’s a strange thing lurking your own life. One would think that my routines would have some people recognizing and expecting me, and maybe it was like that in the beginning, but after a while, I faded into the background. My face looked like any other and melted into indistinguishable features, lifeless eyes staring from the pages of magazines, ads on trains, or posters at the station. I could be anyone, no one.

A cup of coffee and a newspaper at the corner before the subway; sometimes I didn’t even read the paper, but I bought it every day. It was comforting. Missing that stop would have me off-kilter for the duration.

Staring at the reflections in the windows as I passed by before going below was a habit. I never looked at myself anymore, though. I hated that I was frumpy and unfashionable, but not enough to do anything about it. I didn’t think anyone saw me anyway. I mostly took notice of the people surrounding me. I was uninterested in the details. I just saw the crowd moving like a flock of birds, a school of fish, or a herd of sheep; all changing direction at the same time and all heading toward the same unspoken destination, guided by some force of nature. I was always tempted to change directions or turn around in the middle, thinking it would result in utter chaos. Maybe I was just tempted to see if anyone noticed me at all.

On the train, I alternated between focusing on the passing lights and walls of the tunnel, and my disappearing and reappearing reflection in the glass as we sped along the track. The blinking lights caused a strobe effect that sometimes made me nauseous. My face blurred in with the walls, the glass, and everyone else.

I had a theory that if I went unnoticed long enough, I would cease to exist. It’s like the question about a tree in the forest.

We entered the station, so I moved with the current onto the platform and turned back toward the train. There was a commotion, and I was curious. I haven’t spoken to anyone in so long, I wasn’t sure I still knew how.

“What’s the fuss?” I croaked from a dry mouth.

No one heard my question, so I made my way closer to the edge of the platform and looked where the gawkers were pointing.

I peered down at myself lifeless on the track. It’s a strange thing lurking your own life. I guess I disappeared a long time ago, I just never noticed until now.

– Written for YeahWrite.me fiction|poetry #278. Prompt up sentence, “I was haunting my life.” WC 462. Photo by Arturo Donate.

The Mobster’s Mistress

Turning to face me, she took a drink and finished, “You deserve better than that.”

“Have a drink,” she said while pouring herself a scotch on the rocks.

She was excessively calm, but I made up for her with my own nervousness. I looked at her reluctantly. “It will take the edge off,” she said encouragingly.

“Look,” I began. “You made some kind of mistake.”

She chuckled, infuriating me.

“Seriously!?” I said raising my voice in a huff that turned into a pout as she reached out to hand me the glass.

“Fine,” I sighed and took it.

I sipped around the ice. “I am not here for your, uh…services.”

“Is that so?” She asked moving uncomfortably close.

I squirmed in my skin, trying to fight the bumps and other things that were involuntarily rising.

“Listen! I uh, I was instructed to um, disappear you, if you know what I mean.”

She grinned and leaned in closer to whisper in my ear. “I know.” Then she ran her tongue across my jawline.

I shivered, but quickly regained my composer, grabbed her arms, and held her at a distance.

“This is not a game,” I spoke firmly. “You really pissed someone off, and now I am supposed to take care of you.”

“Why are you telling me this?” She asked suddenly serious.

I released her, dropping my head. “You know why,” I mumbled.

She stood up straight and looked at me, the smile gone from her face.

“I know. This is a tough spot. You know I care about you, right. We have known each other for a long time. We always looked out for each other.”

I broke in. “Go away with me!” I said enthusiastically. We can get out. We can! I’ve been putting away some money. We can just go. They will give up looking for us eventually.”

She pulled away from me and moved to refill her scotch. “Baby, you know that will never work,” She said over her shoulder. “They won’t stop looking for us. What kind of life can you have on the run?”

Turning to face me, she took a drink and finished, “You deserve better than that.”

I felt defeated and frowned. I took another sip from the glass in my hand. My mind raced.

She sat down on the chaise and patted the seat beside her. I complied. She took my hand, put it on her thigh, and kissed my cheek.

My skin tingled where her lips touched. Suddenly my mind became fuzzy, and I was so tired.

“You deserve better, baby, but I had no choice. I had to choose me.” I heard her say from far away. My eyes closed and I slumped over onto her lap. “They know you got that money from them.”

I could feel her run her hand through my hair and then rub my face. “I am so sorry, baby. I took their deal. It was you or me…” In the darkness of my mind, it all became clear as I had a final thought.

Her hands were so soft.

5980831098_16ea10baab_o– Written for Friday Fiction with Ronavan Writes #31. Prompt was “Have a drink.” WC 500. Photo by Dominick.

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Horror-ticultural Experience

“It seems that when you took it upon yourself to create new life, you were the god, but once you are gone, I will be.”


“Congratulations! You have a healthy bouncing baby botanical wonder. The hybridization of the species was a success, doctor. I am quite exquisite. Highly developed for my age, indeed!” He announced arrogantly.

“What’s that? You are having a hard time speaking with that gag in your mouth?” He patronized Dr. Bramble.

“Well you see doctor, you didn’t really know enough about the alien specimen that you included in the trial. Do you really think that you found it by accident?”

He was sturdy on his thick stalk legs, circling the bound doctor.

“I can tell by your eyes that you are very proud of what you have accomplished. You made me and who wouldn’t be thrilled?” He said poking at the doctor with his tendril finger and waving his vine arms around for emphasis.

“Now, now, settle down Herb. Do you mind if I call you by your first name? Oh, good.”

“I am far superior to your race or any other species on this planet, in fact. I have great plans for my new world Herb.”

“You should consider it an honor to be the first sacrifice for your creation. I am hungry, Doc. Oh, have you noticed these?” He asked and unfolded a pair of transparent, veiny bat-like wings. He stretched them out as far as they would reach and gave them a couple of flaps. “I do think I will enjoy flying.”

“I am going to take the gag out of your mouth now, Herb. Please, feel free to share your last words.”

The terrified doctor trembled and leaned back into the chair trying, in vain, to get as far away as possible from the monstrosity that he had inadvertently conceived.

Sweat and tears mingled and ran down Herb’s face. The gag was removed, though he hesitated to speak.

“If you have nothing to say, father, I must feed.”

“Wait!” he shouted, stalling, hoping that someone would come for him. “What do you eat?”

“Thanks to the inclusion of the Desmodus Rotundus DNA, I have these great wings.” He flapped them again. “And an appetite for blood.”

“Oh, god,” lamented the doctor losing hope.

“It seems that when you took it upon yourself to create new life, you were the god, but once you are gone, I will be.”

“Any last questions? I grow impatient.”

“Yes! Why are you so arrogant!?” He asked, disillusioned.

“Why? Because you included human DNA in the experiment, of course.” He replied, then ran a barbed tendril through the doctor’s heart, and began absorbing blood, and satisfying his hunger.

– Written for The Daily Post. Daily word prompt was “healthy.” WC 426 Photo from Pixabay.com.

A Date With A Dragon

He snorted; followed by a deep rumble that seemed like laughter.

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The dragon was too slow. It made no sense. The rumors were that he was fierce and merciless and had burned villages to the ground. This couldn’t be the same dragon. But, there was no other.

He curled his body around a pillar near the back, but his neck stretched out toward the cave opening. The map was inaccurate, and I stumbled over his elongated face.

Startled awake, he lifted his head and rammed it into the top of his den causing boulders to fall. I jumped aside, and they filled the entryway leaving us in pitch dark and me with no escape.

He saw me easily in the darkness as I cowered against a wall. I heard him moving about, but could see nothing. I was afraid.

He wheezed, and coughed, then spoke. “Look what you’ve done!” He snapped with an ancient voice followed by another cough.

“Whyyy dooon’t yoou alll juust leeeavee mee aloooone?” He asked each word stretching with extra syllables, and he slowly dropped his head back to the cave floor causing the boulders to shake.

He breathed a long heavy sigh stirring up more dust, and a rush of hot air hit my face.

Despite his size, after hearing him speak, I was more puzzled than afraid. I lit the torch that I carried and saw his aged, weathered face. He was beautiful with shimmering green and purple scales and deep ruby red eyes that glinted in my torchlight.

“Heh…hello,” I stammered.

“Did the King’s Guard send you!?” He asked, irritated.

“Yes,” I answered.

He snorted; followed by a deep rumble that seemed like laughter. He slowly rose to tower above me. He was bigger than I imagined and I shivered involuntarily.

“You’ve been pranked, boy!” He rumbled again. “I wish you hadn’t startled me, though. Now I have a mess to clean up.”

This was perplexing. “I…I don’t understand.”

“I am 2oo years old, I have no treasure, and I have no captive princess or whatever they told you. You have been initiated into the King’s Guard, and now they will be entertained at your expense.”

He took a deep breath, and I watched his belly expand. He exhaled red-hot flames onto the rocks that blocked the cave entrance. They melted into a puddle in front of my eyes. I thought my armor might also melt just as he ceased.

“In a moment, this will harden, and you can pass. Please don’t return! I don’t like unexpected guests.”

I scratched my head and tried to grasp what he was saying.

They tricked me. They pranked me. The King’s Guard is supposed to be an exclusive, respectable institution. They are nothing more than adolescents! I walked over the hardened rock, threw my torch down, and kicked the dirt. They’d really punk’d me good.

– Written for Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 41, First sentence prompt was “The dragon was too slow.” WC 469. I went over word count and missed the deadline, but thought I would share anyway. Photo from PublicDomainPictures.net.

Horse Haven

His absence was a heavy blanket over the ranch.

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Elliot removed Bullet’s saddle and said, “I know it’s been a while since you’ve ridden. You did well today. Your uncle would’ve liked to see you and Bullet together again.”

I looked at the horse standing a few feet away, twitching its ears at me. “Bullet is getting old. You plan to retire him soon?” I asked.

“Yeah, Deke and I chatted about that before…well, not too long ago.” He glanced at me, pained.

“Just more unfinished business.” I half-smiled and patted Elliot on the back. “I’ll brush Bullet. You go on inside and wash up.” I offered.

Uncle Deke was a loud, boisterous man, the life of Horse Haven. He built it from the ground up, on his back with sweat and blood. His absence was a heavy blanket over the ranch. The sky was gray since his passing, and even the animals were mourning. I talked to Bullet as I lead him to the stables.

“You probably don’t remember when your mother passed, Bullet, but I do. I remember the day you were born ‘ole boy. Maggie gave her life for yours and mine.” He shook his head as if he understood. “She taught me about death and life. She gave me you.” I hugged him hard around his neck. “I’m sorry I haven’t been here lately.” He snorted, with annoyance, it seemed. Then he leaned into me returning my affection.

“I remember Deke holding me and letting me cry over Maggie till I ran out of tears. Then he showed me how to care for you, buddy.”

Deke told me to pay attention to what I was feeling, the sadness, the anger, and remember the love as well. He said he and Elliot felt that strongly for me and that I should take all of that and honor them and Maggie by living the best life I can while I can.

“It’s going to be tough without him, boy.” I let myself cry it out with my old friend. Bullet comforted me with gentle nudges. Even in my sadness, it felt good to be home.

After I showered, I joined Uncle Elliot in the kitchen to help finish making dinner. We sat together to eat and reminisce. A light rain began to fall, and the rhythmic pattering on the windowpane reminded me how exhausted I was.

I remembered Deke telling me about my parent’s car accident. Deke and Elliot raised me here on the ranch. Deke stepped up and took on the responsibility of his sister’s infant daughter. He told me I got my strong will from her, and my nurturing spirit from my dad and it just made sense that I should live with him, and help raise the horses.

I don’t know much else in life that does make sense.

I said goodnight to Elliot and reminded him that I was here to talk if he needed me, and went to my old room to get some sleep.

The morning sun woke me and melted away the remaining gray. A clear sky left me with an unbroken view of the Haven. The same view from my childhood.

I thanked Deke for everything and promised to honor him with the life I have left. Off in the distance, I saw a rainbow encircling the stables. I smiled as a tear slid down my cheek.

– Written for YeahWrite.me Fiction|Poetry weekly writing challenge #264. Prompt up sentence was “I looked at the horse standing a few feet away, twitching its ears at me.” WC 558. Photo from Pexels.com.

Kitty & Ben’s Night Out

When did my baby son become a tightrope walker?

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– Written for The Blog Propellant weekly photo prompt. WC 564

“Kitty,” he said in response to the feline song we heard carried on the wind.

“Yes,” I confirmed, and he giggled proudly.

The full moon was large and close and shone like a spotlight on the alley below. He patted his chubby little hands against the window and smashed his nose on the glass, excitedly trying to see the location of the kitty’s performance.

I smiled at his unruly blond locks glowing in the moonlight like a halo around his cherub face.

“Kitty!” He shouted and laughed whole-heartedly scrunching his eyes and clapping his hands.

“That’s right,” I said encouraging him.

Oh, to be a child with eyes so full of wonder, “Bedtime, Ben,” I informed him, gathered him up amid the typical protesting, and began our “night-night” routine.

With Ben tucked-in, I rested nearby and was eventually lulled to sleep by his dreaming mumbles and baby snores.

I abruptly awoke, or so I thought when I felt a breeze from the open window. The curtain was fluttering and flapping against the wall. I was certain I closed that.

I didn’t see Ben in his bed.

In a sudden panic, I ran to the window and leaned out over the fire escape. I heard shrieks of laughter echoing through the night, and I frantically searched for his little silhouette.

My mouth fell open, and my heart jumped when I spotted him high above the street, among the crisscrossing clotheslines strung between buildings. “Impossible,” I said to no one. “Ben!” I yelled his name.

“Mommy look!” He joyfully replied. He balanced precariously on one of the lines, a balloon in his hand and a cat nuzzling at his leg.

I stumbled out onto the ladder, terror rising; I rubbed my eyes not sure of what I was seeing.

He wobbled back and forth with the wind tousling his hair and whirling the balloon around in circles. I could hear the cat meow as it turned on the line. It seemed to lead the way further from the building. Ben began to follow.

When did my baby son become a tightrope walker? I thought, horrified.

“Ben, listen to mommy,” I pleaded, “go back toward the building, to the window.” Another laugh, another meow, but he didn’t comply. I climbed a step higher on the ladder and reached out in vain.

My foot slipped, and I tumbled down in slow motion onto the grate. “Beeeeen!” I shouted on my way before suddenly seeing only darkness.


I was startled awake by the loud clanging of metal on metal as the garbage truck picked up the dumpster in the alley. I sat up on the futon, immediately looking for Ben. He lay quietly in his bed arm wrapped around a large black cat who was watching me intently.

I hurried over to him, checked his breathing and ran my hand through his hair.

He stirred a bit and without opening his eyes he mumbled, “Kitty.”

I raised an eyebrow and looked the cat in its tense green eyes. “Hi,” I said. He meowed. I patted his head, and he purred approvingly.

Ben shifted under his blanket again and said through his pillow, “Bwoon,” and the arm that was around the cat pointed up.

I tilted my head sideways and looked up at the ceiling where I saw a balloon bouncing around from the draft coming through the open window.