Writing Prompt – Always on Top

11 comments
A Story, Photo Story, writing

 

For these photo writing prompts, generally I take one of my photographs (up until this time) and use it to spur on some writerly action. I saw this neato-mosquito image on Facebook and asked the man who posted it for the source. Prompted by this image, below is the story I wrote. [Please note that this originally was posted 8/11/12, but I updated some pooped out links today, 4/5/13, so this explains why you might be getting it in your whiz-bang! subscription thing and why it probably looks familiar.]

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Darla finished her morning study time and stacked her spiral notebook, tooled leather journal, concordance, and bible on the picnic table. Always put the bible on the top. She grabbed the basketful of wet laundry from underneath the table and walked to the clothesline across the yard as her grandmother’s words from long ago followed her: “Darla, God’s Word is Truth. Take it with you, read it, study it, believe it, and store it in your heart. But, don’t ever, ever let anything or anyone else be above God and His word.”

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Like always, Darla took her grandmother’s advice. Literally.

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While Darla clipped each piece of laundry to the line, she couldn’t help but notice the ramshackle yard as compared to how it was in the glory days of her childhood. What once was green, lush, and pristine now was ugly, dry, and hard-packed dirt with clusters of scraggly weeds. To put a bit of normalcy in to her routine, she planned to water the forlorn patch every morning and maybe even mow the weeds every couple of weeks.

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She flung a flat sheet over the line and dropped the corner in the dirt. In the old days she would have cursed it, rewashed it, and hung out again, but today, today she yanked the blue-flowered sheet edge off the ground, doubled it in half and secured it to the line.

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“Oh well. When the dirt dries I’ll just brush it off. Right, Emmy?” Darla said to her dog, Emmy; the dog wagged her tail. Darla bent low and cupped the dog’s face in her hands and remembered how they first met.

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Several months ago, when Darla had just returned to her deserted childhood home, she wandered along the lakeshore, to the far north and then veered west. She hiked through the meadow and then deep into the woods, trying to find the shortcut trails that led to the river below the property boundary line. After searching for an hour, exhausted and frustrated, she leaned against a log and stretched out her long, lean legs. A short rest gave her physical body a much-needed break, but it did nothing for her frustration level, so Darla broke the wooded silence and talked aloud to the Lord.

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“Okay, God, it’s up to You. I mean, You are gonna have to be loud and clear with what You want me to do next ‘cause we both k now I need some serious directions right about now. And…”

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Before she finished speaking, Darla heard a whimper, like that of a baby separated from its mamma. Separated from its mamma way too soon, she thought as she scrambled to her feet.

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Darla knew full well the pain of that sort of separation. She stood still and listened close, and once she had a handle on the direction of the noise, she ran like a wild thing, through the brush and between the trees. The underbrush stung and left red welts as it whipped her face. Not hearing the whimper, she stopped and listened again, only to discover that the sound was close by. Hands on her thighs, she gulped air, looked around to get her bearings, and realized she was at the river’s edge.

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Finally, I found the river. But wait, what about that strange noise?

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She found the source, dropped to her knees, and untied the burlap sack that had gotten entangled with some branches near the river’s edge. She pulled small puppies out, raising each one close to her face as she did. Only one was still breathing – its whimper barely audible now. Darla put all the other pups back into the sack, tucked in her flannel shirt, and slipped the living one inside, next to her hot belly skin.

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She carried the whole lot back to the big house where she buried four underneath the weeping willows and kept the one alive. Emmy.

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“Oh, Emmy, you’ve been such good company and a faithful friend during these first few months here. Yep, God knew we needed each other,” Darla said as she scratched her Rottweiler companion on the rump.

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She hung the last bath towel, ratty and faded, and flinched as a twig snapped in the woods, some twenty feet from where the clothesline was strung. Despite being only six months old, Emmy growled, low and guttural, and the young dog positioned herself between the trees and her master. Darla wondered who or what had made that noise.

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Was it her secret protector? She wasn’t even sure if he was real, and if so, had he followed her to this desolate house?

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Or was it someone else? Someone who didn’t want her back home?

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“Oh Father God, You won’t leave me or forsake me. I know that is true. But I need You right now to give me wisdom and keep me calm,” Darla silently prayed.

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Either way, she knew it was time she took responsibility for her own safety. With as much normalcy as she could muster, Darla grabbed the empty basket with one hand and settled it to her hip; while with the other, she reached inside her apron pocket and slipped her hand around the pistol grip. Pretending that all was right with the world, she called Emmy to follow her and they both walked across the yard toward the back door.

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* Maybe some of you have read Glynn Young’s recent snippet of his about-to-be-released novel… if so, please know that I wrote this story about a week ago, long before I read his post. It seems we have a similar concealed object in our writings. Great minds…

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* another reminder of the photo link:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeancient/2455431562/ 

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11 thoughts on “Writing Prompt – Always on Top”

    • Miss Sandra –
      Glad you stopped by and gave it a whirl! And that’s the problem with digital books, no fumbling, eager fingers to flip the page. 🙂

      Blessings.

  1. A good mystery – or the promise of one – always sucks me in. (And thanks for the mention.)

    • Sir Glynn –
      When I saw your recent novel teaser I had to post my little ditty too… No, foolin’ about the mystery angle? Yep, yes, indeedily-do, we are anxiously awaiting your next installment. Gettin’ restless here.

      And you are most welcome for the mention. Everyone should read your books!

      Blessings.

  2. lschontos says:

    Well, add me to the others who are anxious for the next episode. I need to know what happens next!

  3. Jody Lee Collins says:

    Darlene, just seeing your face makes me smile. Then I read a post like this and wow! I smile even more. my husband and I celebrated 39 years in July. It’s all the grace of God.

    I read your Rahab post a couple weeks back and checked out the link for the Seattle group doing the fundraiser for Arts Aftercare…think I might make that party. It’d be awesome.

    (I see we are in the same state……….although there are mountains between us.
    Yay, Washington.)
    I look forward to reading more of what God puts on your heart. yeehaw!

  4. Darlene, finally working out my schedule [again] to read more and more posts. You’re my “today” visit.

    The story has my attention. That’s a good thing. [The Lord has laid it on me to write/edit my books, and I’m trying to read posts, DO posts, and read and write my stories. LIVING on my computer a bit too often, I think.]

    See you soon. YIPPEE!!

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