The Great Escape

Today’s Daily Prompt is Fictional Intruder: “Go down the rabbit hole with Alice; play quidditch with Harry Potter; float down the river with Huck Finn… If you could choose three fictional events or adventures to experience yourself, what would they be?”
I took a slightly different approach and instead of picking up three fictional events, I picked up three fictional characters and went on an adventure with them.

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“Hey, you!”, I hear a strange voice calling behind me. If you knew me, you would know I don’t turn around when men yell after me, whistle or try any other lame approach to get my attention. You simply don’t do that. Not if you know me.
“Hey lady, I am talking to you. Don’t pretend you didn’t hear me.” So, we have a combination of brave and stupid here. If I am honest, not one of my favorites. Stupid people give me no thrill, they rank below bugs on my radar, something squishy that stucks to the soles of my shoes. On the other hand, bugs I like.
“Psssst, psssst, lady…please, can you help us?” I give up and turn around. There’s no one there. I start to turn back, when a movement behind the dumpster catches my attention.
I am not worried, for my looks can be deceiving. And if things turn for the worse, I bet no one suspects me carrying a sword stick. This old cane is my prized possession, ever since sensei gave it to me 73 years ago.
“Ok, you have my attention, so will you be so kind and show yourself to me?”, I call out.
Now, I am not easily surprised, considering where and when I’ve been so far. But I was not expecting to see Batman, Rapunzel and Pipi Longstocking. And I was certainly not expecting them to be half my size. They stand before me, like the little merry band of kids in their favorite Halloween costumes.
“Are you real?”, is all I can choke out in utter amazement.
“Of course we are real, what do you think, early dementia hit you and you are hallucinating?”, Pipi Longstocking spat out. “We need your help, old bat.”
Batman looking a little bit offended, says: “Come on now, no need to call names. Bats are underrated as it is.”
Rapunzel rolls her eyes and sighs: “You two are at each others throats since we fallen out of the box. Can you please stop? I swear I am this-close to strangling you both.”
“Oy, oy…kids. Enough. If you want this old bat’s help, zip it. I’ll ask questions and I want to hear one answer at the time. Got it?”, I tower over them, using my best grandma voice. They just look up at me and nod.
“Ok, where the hell did you come from? And what do you mean you fell out of the box? And how come you three are together?”
“Not to be a smart-ass, but you just asked three questions.”, Rapunzel says with a little smirk, that I want to erase so bad. “Now, listen to me, you little…”
“No, no, she was just kidding. Let me explain.” Batman interjects quickly, moving to stand between us. I nod, keeping one eye on the little brat. “First of all, you know how we are supposed to be only in books, comics and movies? Well actually, that is not entirely true. There is this other dimension, you know, like a fantasy land and we are all stuck in there. Me, Superman, Spidey, those awful Avengers, these chicks, and don’t let me start on those seven dwarfs. Gandalf and his crew act like some kind of lords, treating us like we don’t have superpowers…Ok, I don’t. But my gadgets are cool, too. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I ran with these two in our latest elections for the Parliament, but there was some kind of  wishy-washy with our financial reports, so we had to lay low for a while.”

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“Wait, wait. You have a Parliament?”
“Seriously, of all the things I just said you picked on that? Yes, we have a Parliament, we thought it was a good idea. Actually, Shrek was the one pushing all that stuff, he is way into politics. Like he had a chance. First green Prime President, come on.”, Batman sardonically says, picking up some glitter from his cape. “As I was saying, we had to lay low, but that bloody traitor Harry Potter was on our trail. Imagine that, “The boy who lived” was not enough, he just had to become the most successful head hunter in the realm. He was closing on us and we had no way out, when all of a sudden I spotted Tardis. We jumped in, but of course that bastard of a doctor wouldn’t have anything with us, so he kicked us out. It seems we hit some kind of a space-time continuum distortion and lo and behold, ended up here.”
“So, you were running for the Prime President of the Fantasy Realm? Really?”
“That’s enough. I can’t stand this anymore.”, Pipi Longstocking shouts, throwing her hands in the air. “It’s not enough that he just called us chicks, the idea of him being the Prime President…Come on, if anyone had any chance, it was me. Rapunzel here was No.02 on my ticket and he was our campaign manager. No wonder our finances were wishy-washy. What was I thinking?”
“Now, now…I am equally to blame, it looked like a great idea at the time. Who knew he was such a looser?”, Rapunzel says, putting her arm around Pipi’s shoulders.
“I can hear you, just so you know. And I thought I would return money in time.”
I look at them and can’t help but smile at the plan that is forming in the back of my mind. “Come on, kids, no point in arguing. You, remove that silly bat mask and that glittery cape. Girls, you need to fix your hair, one goes up, one goes down. Chop, chop, we got to move, tomorrow is going to be a long day.”
“Where are we going?”
“I am hungry.”
“Why don’t my gadgets work around here?”
“Do you think Potter will follow us?
“Why is so dark here?”
“Oh, I see some kind of a billboard.”
“What does it say?”
“Barnum and Bailey Circus.”
“Hey lady, is that some kind of a hotel?”
“Yes, indeed. Come on kids, just follow me. Dinner is about to be served and we’ll find you some place to rest.”
“You know, for an old bat, you are not that bad.”
“Pipi, don’t start again…”
“What? I’m just saying. She is ok. Oh, look at that bearded lady! That’s hilarious!!!”
They run past me into a tent and I think of all the coins they will get me.

There’s a sucker born every minute.

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In Darkness

I stumbled upon The Daily Post prompt Contrast: “Light and dark, tall and short, happy and sad — this week, share a shot that captures a contrast.”

I remembered this photo I took in the Public Aquarium, and although at first glance it is about contrast of light and dark, I find a deeper contrast within – illusion of freedom in a little fish tank.

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“No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.”

— Jacques Yves Cousteau, Oceanographer

Feast of All Saints

Another short story as a result of The Daily Post prompt Familial Feasts: “Yesterday was Father’s Day in many countries. If you could dedicate a holiday to a more distant relative, who would it be — and why?” I must admit, once I started writing, the story took me to a different direction. But what can you do, when your muse comes calling, you better listen to her.

Feast of All Saints

Hunched back, cane in her left hand, rosary in her right, black scarf tied around her neck…she is making a slow progress from the bus station to the cemetery entrance. People passing her by, carrying flowers and candles, rushing…almost beliving those who are waiting for them might lose their patience and leave. But not her, she is taking her time, slow steps challenged by the years that burden her shoulders and knees.

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A young man stops at her side and greets her: “Hello, ma’am. May I help you? Here…lean on me.”
She smiles at him, drops the old worn rosary to her pocket and puts her trembling hand on his: “Thank you, young man, you are very kind. It seems these days people are always running somewhere.”
“Well, not you and me.” he smiles, as they pass through the gates. “Today we take our time, as much as we need.”
The old lady, curious look in her eyes, stops for a moment and leans on her cane: “I must say, you are a bird with strange feathers. And I’ve seen many birds in my life.” She points a crooked finger at his towering form and chuckles: “If only my dear husband could see us, I bet he would have few chosen words for you. It was his biggest concern, how I would manage without him. He always thought me a fragile creature, made of glass. Imagine that.”
“So, you are visiting your husband’s grave?”
“If only. They are all waiting for me, my child. My husband, my parents, my brother, my sisters…those are the easy ones, expected. But, my children…those are the ones that break my heart every morning I wake up…Ah, here we are! Here, let me rest on the bench. You know, my Xavier built it, he always said that I would outlive him and that I needed a solid bench, so I could come and talk to him. That’s what he said he’d miss the most – my voice. But listen to me, an old woman babbling…Come, sit down for a minute, tell me your story.”

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He sat down, his elbows on his knees, his eyes fixed on a horizon, searching for the unknown: “You know that old saying that you know a true love ony when you lose it. Well, if that is true, I guess I loved one too many times. When my parents died, I managed to move on. But I don’t know if I can do it now, when I lost my wife.”
She laughed then, shaking her head: “My dear, I can tell you, that is a pile of rubbish. You know, I used to come here often, at least once a week. Seeking solace, reprieve, redemption for imagined sins. Not anymore, now I come here once a year, on this day – Feast of All Saints. Look at all these people, look at all these flowers, all the colors. It is a celebration of lives our loved ones led, of people they left behind. Life is for living, not regretting.”
“How can you be so full of life when you lost all your loved ones, when you are so….”, he hesitated, not finding a proper word.
“Old? Ancient?”, she chuckled, “I’ll tell you a secret – I am not alone. You see that gorgeous gentleman approaching us? That is my husband, well, my second husband. We met in the retirement home, and let me tell you, sparks were flying all around us. Oh, don’t be so shocked, we are old, not dead!”
He laughed out loud and put his arm around her bony shoulders: “My dear, you made my day!”
The older man stood before them and said in a stern voice: “Young man, keep your hands to yourself.”, turned to the grave and whispered: “Xavier, don’t worry, I have it under control.” , then turned back and winked at them.
“Eric, stop it, you’ll scare this wonderful young man. He was only keeping me company, it is not my fault your new hip is not working properly, making you slower than our neighbours turtle. I am sorry, I never introduced myself, my name is Gabrielle. And this is my husband, Eric.”
“Nice to meet you, Gabrielle, Eric. I am Charles.”, he stood up and shook their hands. “I took enough of your time and I see you are in good hands now, so I should leave. It was a real pleasure talking to you, Gabrielle. And thank you for your advice, I will try.”
“Promise?”
“I promise.”, he leaned towards her and placed a feather light kiss on her wrinkled cheek.
She smiled and patted his hand: “Good, good. It’s always good to listen to us elders.”
Charles turned around and started walking away, when Gabrielle called after him: “Charles!”
“Yes?”
“Same time, same place next year ?”
“Sure!”
“I can’t promise we’ll be around to speak to you, but be sure to stop by and share a story. Surely, we’ll be around to listen. And besides, it would be a waste of a good bench if no one came to sit on it at least once a year.”, she winked at him.
Charles waved at them and started walking away, shaking his head, noticing a new-found spring in his steps: “Feast of All Saints, imagine that!”

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To breathe… To live… To believe…

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The Daily Post prompt Reason to Believe.

To gather strength and keep going on, no matter what comes your way…
To survive against all odds…
To find a reason to believe in this world of destruction and decay…
It is hard, yet surprisingly simple…Look around, and you will find beauty…In a fragile flower blossoming through the cracks on the pavement…In a song of a bird perched on the branch of the solitary tree in the parking lot…In a child’s laughter echoing through the empty playground…In a kind gesture of a stranger…In a hug from a friend…In a kiss from a loved on.

Where there is life, there is beauty. Where there is life, there is a reason to believe.

Wayward Souls

Roaming the ends of the world
Trying to fill these holes
Seeking solace well deserved
Our tired wayward souls

Looking in the mirror
Not sure what we’ll find
Faces we no longer recognize
Hands desperately entwined

In a blink of an eye
The world around us disappeared
Land and sky turned dark
All was lost as we feared

Forests and mountains crumbled to dust
Oceans vanished without a trace
All that once thrived brought on its knees
All that mattered lost its beauty and grace

Like fools we were watching
Our lives reaching a point of no return
Breaking all that stood in our way
Knowing some lessons we will never learn

Spent our time trying to survive
When in the end only one thing is true
All that I am saying
In the end it’s me and you

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I Can’t Stay Mad at the World (Cause in the End, I Love Myself More)

The Daily Post prompt I Can’t Stay Mad at You.

As I sit here and watch people walking by, it seems to me some of us spend our lives riding on the never-ending roller coaster of anger and regret. Like ballroom dancers, we move in circles…over and over again.

If we could turn back the hands of time, would we make the same mistakes? Could we choose a different path? Or should we leave it all behind? Our lives and our choices, every turn we take, opens up a new direction, a new adventure waiting on the horizon. We are bound to each other, from our past to our future.

Where to go when you reach a point of no return? Where to turn when in need of a helping hand? Why do we try to climb walls and forget to knock at the doors? Why do we choke on regrets, when all we have to do is forgive? It is a heavy burden to carry around, trying to remember every single wrong thing we encountered along the way.

They say only fools forgive and forget. I say, only a free soul can do that. If we forgive, that doesn’t make us weak. If we forget, that doesn’t make us fools. We learn life lessons and we move on. And if we are wronged again by someone new, which is bound to happen, it is not because we are fools, but because we didn’t lose our hope for goodness and kindness.

And if that is the price of my humanity, I wholeheartedly accept it. There is too much beauty in this world, to waste the time that is given to us.

The Mission / How Great Thou Art – ThePianoGuys