Kreative Kue 344

Kreative Kue 343 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

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John W Howell is a multiple nominated and award-winning author who blogs at Fiction Favorites. Details of John’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

Camp by John W. Howell © 2022

“Okay, now let go.”

“I’m not sure I should.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t think he’s got the hang of it yet.”

“You know, at camp, everyone has to be on their own.”

“I know, but maybe we can do this later.”

“For heaven’s sake. You have been saying that for a week.”

“But look at him. He looks so frightened.”

“He’s not frightened. He just has gas.”

“Well, whatever. It’s not my idea to send him to camp.”

“I know it’s mine. The kid has to learn to get along in the world. The first thing is to let him swim on his own.”

“He’s never done that before.”

“I know. How do you think I feel when the whole pod is laughing behind our backs.”

“Why would they do that?”

“We are the only dolphins on the planet whose kid can’t swim.”

“That can’t be true.”

“Well, it is. Kids are supposed to be natural swimmers when they are born.”

“Ours is special.”

“That is one way to describe him. Please let him go.”

“Okay, but you better save him if he gets into trouble.”

“I’m always here.”

“There he is on his own.”

“And look at the wake he is turning up. Go boy go.”

“I’m really surprised.”

“I told you it was instinct.”

“But my child is just not any run-of-the-mill dolphin.”

“Yeah, I know. He’s now a dolphin who can swim and ready for camp.”

“Can I go too?”

“Against the rules. You and I will go to our own camp.”

“You devil.”

“I resemble that remark.”


My effort was:

If we can find them…

I suppose I had about eight winters the day it happened. It was between my eighth and ninth winters, anyway. 

About three months earlier, Dad had suggested we break away from the pod and set out to find our own feeding waters. You see, the pod had grown to such an extent by then, that there were times when the shoals of fish we found were simply not big enough to feed us all. Breaking the pod up into smaller units was the only sensible solution anyone could think of. You see – there were more than two hundred of us before we broke away, and it needs an immense shoal of small fish to feed two hundred hungry dolphins as well as the others that follow us, knowing our ability to track down mega-shoals is unmatched in the oceans. If we could agree to split in half; two pods of a hundred members; our ability to find food would quadruple. That’s according to Uncle Gr’nant’sk’s calculations, anyway. And he should know – he’s the smartest dolphin any of us has ever met.

But the council didn’t agree. Strength in numbers was the only mantra they’d ever subscribe to.

So, Mum and Dad agreed that we’d leave as a family. Including siblings, aunts and uncles, there would have been twenty-seven of us. That’s enough to satisfy the strength in numbers requirement as well as increasing prey availability fifty-three-fold (again, according to Uncle Gr’nant’sk’s calculations).

Uncle Gr’nant’sk fell ill whilst we were making the preparations to leave the pod. Being weak, he fell behind and got himself caught up in some nets that the uprights were using to catch tuna. He didn’t survive that encounter.

That really shook everyone’s confidence. The entire family, excepting only Mum and Dad, decided that strength in numbers was everything. They knew that the feeding opportunities were limited and becoming more so by the season but chose to accept a small number of losses through malnutrition rather than, as one elder put it, leave themselves open to who-knows-what in a smaller group. There was a discussion, which turned into an argument which turned quite nasty. Dad said something I didn’t hear clearly (because Mum stuffed a flipper into each of my aural orifices) and managed to earn us what they called a temporary banishment.

Now, anyone who knows anything about large, and I mean really large pods will tell you that one of their chief characteristics is that they are always on the move, always on the hunt for those shoals whose membership can be counted in millions because that’s the size the pod needs to feed adequately. So, when they say temporary banishment, they should really add, “and good luck finding us when your exile ends.”

We left. Just the three of us. Evicted from the pod, ejected from the family, shut out of all our relationships. 

At first, it was good. Okay, perhaps not-too-bad would be a more accurate characterisation. We played on the waves, raided groups of fish that were probably too small to be termed shoals and generally had a life that may not have been described as actually comfortable, but which was okay. We rarely went hungry for long and we had each other for company.

We found ourselves near an area where, according to Dad, the uprights were trying to find shoals large enough to feed their voracious appetites, and we should move away. Trouble was, Mum and Dad couldn’t agree which way we should follow. I’d never heard my parents argue before and it was frightening. Dad kept saying that his logic told him we should go one way, but Mum said her gut pointed her in a different direction. In the end, Dad followed his logic and went off towards the east, whilst I chose to follow Mum and her instincts heading south. We agreed to meet up in this same place after a few days to compare notes.

That was the last time we ever saw Dad.

It’s just Mum and me now, condemned to spend our days searching for our old pod and our family, hoping they’ll take us back.

If we can find them…


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Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithchanning@gmail.com before 6pm on Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.

Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next time.

Sunday serialisation – Andrea 9.3

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Andrea – in search of space, picks up where Making Merry left off.

Fresh from her work on Project Prodigialis, Rear Admiral Andrea Smithson takes command of the Terra II project.

The largest in-system luxury cruise liner had been refitted and recommissioned in the Royal Space Regiment fleet as HMDSV Colin Pillinger. Its mission? To identify, locate and survey a habitable but uninhabited planet which can be populated over time to take pressure off Earth and its resources.

For the cast of characters at the start of the project, click here

For a brief list of acronyms and initialisms used, click here

 

Andrea – in search of space. Chapter nine, part three.

Andrea had a difficult night. Her thoughts kept turning to Jason Strangename and, as happened far too frequently, she found herself analysing her every action, her every word over an extended period to see if there were anything she could have said or done differently that may have prevented Jason from succumbing to that dreadful virus. Of all people, why him? she asked herself over and over, never finding an answer that could assuage the feelings of guilt that she still harboured, even after all these months.

Another restless night, another morning when she awakened feeling dreadful; physically, mentally and emotionally. Another day she’d have to start by giving herself a dressing down and telling herself to get a grip – she’d a job to do and better than five hundred souls relying on her to keep them alive, employed, busy and safe.

So good was her self-discipline and so convincing her act, that no-one had any idea she was struggling. Dr Turner had suspicions and questioned her regularly on her physical and mental well-being but even he had nothing more to go on than a gut feeling. He decided to raise it with her in a more round-about way.

“I’ve noticed, Andrea, that there are amongst the crew, some individuals still struggling after the virus hit us.”

“Struggling in what way?”

“Some feeling unsafe, some exhibiting OCD symptoms and some showing unmistakable signs of unresolved grief.”

“Do you have a proposal for me, Doctor? Something that could alleviate these issues?”

“I do. For other ranks, one of my mental health nurses: Lee Chun-Chieh, is a fully accredited counsellor – anxiety, loss, grief, the full works. I would like your authority to offer him a field commission and badge him as sub-Lieutenant, which will give him the authority he would need to mandate any action that he feels needed.”

“Approved. You said for other ranks. What about officers?”

Jack Turner leaned forward. “Do you believe there to be any officers who could benefit from counselling, Andrea?”

“None that I’m aware of, Doctor, but it’s not uncommon for things to, as it were, come out of the woodwork when a service is offered, is it?”

“You’re right, Andrea. Will you approve a requisition for a senior, experienced counsellor to be recruited?”

“Reporting to medical?”

“Who else?”

“I suppose it doesn’t matter, if absolute confidentiality is maintained.”

“Quite so.”

“Okay, Doctor. Approved in principle. Do you have anyone in mind?”

Relaxing back into his seat, Dr Turner replied, “I do, as it happens. Dr Louise Green is a psychiatrist and psychiatric counsellor I’ve worked with over many years. She’s probably the best in her field and more than qualified for this job.”

“Will she be happy to leave her current position for a jaunt into the unknown, the unknowable?”

“When you put it like that, isn’t that exactly the decision each and every one on board has had to face?”

Andrea grinned. “Only those of us who actually know what the project entails.”

“And the others?”

“They’ll find out. And yes, before we reach the point where we’re ready to make the final journey, everyone will be given the option to back out. Now, what about your Dr Green and MTS?”

“I can’t speak to that until I’ve raised it with her. I would like to offer her an interview first. If she accepts that, I would plan to go to Packway to conduct it. Would you care to come with me? Ishmael is more than capable of running the show in your absence.”

“It would only be for a few days, wouldn’t it?”

“Long enough to interview Dr Green and for you to catch up with the Strange-Names.”

“How did you know I would want to do that?”

“I didn’t. Just a guess.”

International Limericks 27

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© Can Stock Photo & damedeeso used with permission

 

As an exercise in mental masochism, I shall attempt to produce, in strict alphabetic sequence, a limerick based on the name of each of the 193 member-states of the United Nations* (using the short name as commonly used in UK English, abbreviated where it is common practice or makes it easier). 

* from the official list available on-line on 5th July, 2021. The addition or removal of countries during the course of this exercise will not be reflected Changes of name will only be reflected if it is in my interests to do so.

Comments or implied comments about countries, including those of a geographical nature, are often the result of my struggle to find a set of words that will satisfy the rhythmic and metric requirements of the format. As such, they don’t necessarily reflect my experiences or opinions, or indeed any form of reality.

Let me know what you think.

 

SAMOA

Homo sapiens has slowly increased 
For three full millennia at least.
You won’t find a boa
In trees on Samoa;
‘Coz man’s the most dangerous beast.

SAN MARINO

San Marino’s described as serene;
It’s a place that I’ve so far not been.
If it is the same
As its given name
Then it’s one that just has to be seen.

SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

I don’t want to give rise to panic
But although these are islands volcanic.
The main, São Tomé
And next door, Príncipe
Are both healthy, sun-drenched and organic.

SAUDI ARABIA

A Saudi Arabian daughter
Lost her job as a TV reporter.
Despite all that trammel
She rode on a camel
The length of the vast Empty Quarter.

SENEGAL

We boarded the plane in Nepal
Flew westward to fair Senegal
Soon after we landed
We found ourselves stranded.
Who’s worried? We’re having a ball!

SERBIA

In Serbia, let’s go exploring,
We’ll watch eagles and vultures a-soaring.
They hunt and fish there,
Not that I really care;
I find all that stuff rather boring.