The Nautilus Shell

She grew a peach tree in a nautilus shell. Her mother had grown cherries; her grandmother, a gnarled crabapple. She gave the fruit to hungry children so they could have sweet dreams and built huts from the pits to shelter the poor.

On occasion she’d leave the most perfect peach for an ill-mannered individual to give them dreams of metal bars; leaving the taste of misfortune on their tongue.

When the end came, she transplanted the tree and cleaned the shell before passing it on to her little one who dreamed of nectarines.

She’s growing a nectarine tree in a nautilus shell. Her mother had grown peaches, her grandmother, cherries, and her great-grandmother, a gnarled crabapple before that.

The tree is stunted, lacking sun and clean water. The shriveled fruits are no larger than the pits they surround. It gives the children no dreams at all. The poor burn the pits for a few seconds of warmth and the ill-mannered are immune to its omens.

When the end comes there will be no earth to transplant the little tree. No little one to pass the shell to. Eventually it will return to the ocean when she climbs, wave over wave, upon the land.

~*~

This is the expanded version of the very short story I wrote for the August 13th prompt “shell”. The original is posted on my Twitter page here (direct link). I pulled a bit of a bait and switch with the mood.

Thank you for reading.

~*~

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Moonrise Water

Turn off the nightlight

Sleep is better in the dark

A bowl of water on the sill

catches the moonrise

The trees tell me in a dream

the Witch Queen likes the taste of moonshine

It will put her mind to ease

and keep her from devouring me

A red tongue suddenly licks bark lips

the branches form a face

“But who can resist

the sweet, sweet snapping

of a dreaming child’s limbs?”

I wake to a crunch

and stifle a scream

But I am me and I am whole

and the moon glow on the floor

illuminates the bowl

shattered upon spilled moon water.

~*~

Written for @PoemTrail’s prompt 372 “nightlight” and “moonrise”.

Thank you for reading! If you have a moment before you go, please leave your thoughts below.

@sm_saves

~*~

Say It

I don’t say much unless I say it in verse
Won’t say it unless I’ve had time to rehearse
Even if it takes an hour or all day
spent hand picking meanings I wish to convey.

Stringing words together is the easy part
Announcing them aloud is a practiced art
Like a parakeet mumbling inside my cage
but a writer, ink spilling, onto a page.

Rereading when the ink has had time to dry
Striking out extra words, wishing them good-bye
Rewriting the lines, presenting them neatly
Hoping that they are understood completely.

Looking up and I find everyone has gone
I’m late to the party. Everyone’s moved on.

~*~

As always, thank you for reading. If you have a moment, please let me know your thoughts below.

~*~

Oh Hell

So this is what hell is like

Lying with my entrails out

Vultures swoop in for a taste

While the crows peck at my face

Over and over again

I only scream when I’m bored

And that’s the thing about hell

The pain in temporary

The boredom is forever.

~*~

Hell was yesterday’s #vss365 prompt. I’m a day late but when the first two lines popped up in my head and they were both seven syllables per line (seven heaven, right?) I had to keep it going. Original tweet [here].

Thank you for reading.

~*~

The Bone Fairy

A bone fairy is born when you deny a tooth fairy your teeth.

Bones are incredibly valuable to the fairies, teeth most of all with wisdom teeth being the most sought after. We made a deal with the fairies long ago to give them our teeth as we lose them so they would leave our other bones alone.

Not leaving your teeth under your pillow at night makes a tooth fairy angry. That fury reshapes her delicate hands into sabers, replaces her wings with spines. She has empty sockets. Eyes do her no good because all she sees is bone.

When you hear her haunting tune, you’ll know she’s coming for you.

So place your teeth under your pillow. No need to wash them. The dried blood is an extra treat and will put you in good favor with your tooth fairy. She may even leave you an extra half dollar under your pillow.

“This story’s stupid,” my charge complains sticking his tongue through the gap left by his missing front teeth.

“I told you I’m not a good storyteller but you demanded a story. Now you want to complain?”

“Yeah, but you didn’t say you were going to suck at it.”

“Are you going to put your teeth under your pillow or not?” I ask, not used to being heckled by a six-year-old.

He takes them from the nightstand in his fist. I imagine him throwing them at me but instead he swallows them.

“Tooth fairies hate sifting through poop for teeth,” I tell him.

“You know what I think?” He leans to one side and farts in triplets.

“Well, goodbye then.” I leave the door open and turn off the light.

“Night, fart-face!” he laughs.

I leave a note on the table. It’s eleven pm. His parents won’t be home until midnight. I step out into the night. He won’t be alone long.

When I reach the end of the drive I hear them. It sounds like wind chimes made of hollowed bones. Something flies past, grazing my cheek. My wisdom teeth ache. They came in straight so I never had them removed.

What a pity. The bone chime sings and I pick up my pace. Despite the distance, I hear the song carried by the wind.

Bones, bones, precious bones.

Ribs, toes, finger bones.

Cleave the skin like a peel.

I want all of your bones!

They are always so young…

~*~

On July 11th, the #vss365 prompt was “fury” and I wrote a tweet-sized story about the bone fairy [here]. I wanted to see how it would turn out without a character limit.

If you have a moment, please let me know your thoughts? Did the longer version have as much impact as the shorter version?

Thank you for reading!

~*~