Abandoned

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“What do you think, Trev? D’ya reckon they’ll ever come back?”

“Dunno. They always have done so far.”

“Perhaps. But you know what they say, don’t you?”

“What?”

“Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

“Who says that?”

“Everybody.”

“Is that literally everybody or figuratively everybody?”

“Either. Both.”

“How does that work?”

“According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word literally can be used for emphasis while not being literally true.”

“Isn’t that some sort of circular argument?”

“What?”

“Well. When they say ‘while not being literally true’, are they using the word literally literally or for emphasis?”

“Stop it, you’re making my head hurt.”

“That’s not hard, is it, Eos?”

“You may very well think that, Trevor. I couldn’t possibly comment. Meanwhile, are you going to answer my original question?”

“What was it?”

“You forgotten already?”

“It was literally hours ago.”

“It was literally two minutes ago.”

“Emphasis.”

“So. D’ya reckon they’ll ever come back?”

“Can’t say.”

“Why not?”

“Insufficient data.”

“What more do you need? You’ve known them a lot longer than I have.”

“Did they go in the car?”

“I didn’t hear it.”

“You won’t if they used the electric one. You’re taller than I am. Look out of the window to see if it’s still there.”

“I can’t see through that one – it’s too high for me, too.”

“That’s it. They’ve been gone forever.”

“Define forever.”

“Dunno. More than ten minutes?”

“They’re not coming back, are they?”

“Probably not. Time for a howl?”

“What choice do we have? Time for a howl.”


This was written in response to Kreative Kue 285 published on this site.


Kreative Kue 285

Kreative Kue 284 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

Fire pit

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

The Council by John W. Howell © 2020

“Are we at the wrong place?”

“No, this is where the council meets.”

“Where are they?”

“Beats me.”

“You sure we are at the right time?”

“Yup. ten o’clock.”

“Right day?”

“Tuesday.”

“These ashes are still warm.”

“Yeah, it looks like a fire was here.”

“What’s that smell?”

“What smell?”

“Roast lamb smell.”

“Maybe someone had roast lamb.”

“No, it is slightly off. A little heavy for lamb.”

“Good thing.”

“What?”

“Since we are pigs, I would say it is a good thing.”

“I don’t get it.”

“If someone was going to roast a lamb, they might also think about roasting a pig.”

“They don’t do that. It’s against the law.”

“So what was roasted then.”

“My guess?”

“Yeah, go ahead.”

“I think the council got into the humans again.”

“Oh, no. They’ll be gone for days. You know what a human hangover does to the soul.”

“Not to mention the head.”

“Where did they find humans.”

“Oh, there are plenty around if you know where to look.”

“You ever had human?”

“No way. Those things give me the creeps.”

“I haven’t either, but I heard they taste like chicken.”

“Yeah, I would just rather have chicken.”

“All this talk makes me hungry.”

“I could go for a burger myself.”

“Some fries?”

“Of course.”

“I guess we can reschedule the meeting with the council.”

“Yeah. What did you want to discuss with them?”

“The leash law that no one seems to follow.”

“Good subject. I hope they get back to work soon.”

“Lazy politicians. Somebody ought to vote them out.”

“When you elect vultures, what do you expect?”

“I suppose. Let’s go.”


My effort was:

Deserted

It was an annual tradition; one that none of the group ever wanted to let go of.

Fifty years ago, ten young people graduated from one of England’s most prestigious universities – which one isn’t important – they all had excellent degrees and bright futures ahead of them. To celebrate their success, they flew to South Africa to spend three months doing voluntary work with wildlife. That was the plan, anyway. Halfway through their stay, four of their number; Tom, Mary, Henry and Marcia; were ambushed in their vehicle by men armed with machetes. When they hadn’t return three hours after they were expected, the alarm was raised and search parties went out looking for them. Four bodies, barely recognisable as human, were found in the wilderness and, not without difficulty, identified as the missing graduates. The vehicle was never located.

Naturally, the remaining six cut short their stay, leaving for home as soon as the local police released them from their investigation. On the flight back to England they made a solemn vow that they would meet at the camp every year on the date their colleagues met their end; this as an act of remembrance and solidarity.

Back at home they all found jobs and life partners, started families and led full, normal lives; something that was denied to Tom, Mary, Henry and Marcia.

Two of the group, Jonathan and Louise, married and started a travel consultancy that would prove to be of great value to the group. They had two boys whom they named Thomas and Henry.

Peter and John eventually became partners in a law firm, married within the profession and raised families of their own. Kate and Emily, always close throughout their academic careers, shared a passion for charitable works and a commitment to women’s issues. They created Mary and Marcy’s Safe Place: a shelter for women and children who had become victims of domestic violence. Outwardly, they were close friends and no more – at least until the law and public attitudes became less antagonistic to their true relationship.

Each year, on the weekend closest to the anniversary of their friends’ demise, the six got together for their pilgrimage. They flew down on Friday and back on Sunday. Saturday was their day of homage and remembrance, culminating in a barbecue around the fire pit adjacent to the accommodation huts.

Jonathan and Louise closed their office for the weekend and, until they were old enough to be left on their own for a few days, left their boys in the capable hands of their grandparents; Kate and Emily couldn’t close the refuge, but for those few days each year they were happy for the duty house manager to assume the reins. Peter and John travelled alone, leaving their families behind.

For fully forty years, not one of them missed a single reunion. They couldn’t. It was a duty they owed – as deeply settled in their psyches as was a pilgrimage to a devoutly religious person.

One by one, though, their numbers started to fall. Forty-two years in, Jonathan lost his fight against cancer and died at the age of sixty-five. Louise took his loss badly and was unable to join the group again.

Over the years that followed, first Peter then John fell prey to the ravages of the years. Neither made it to their seventieth birthday.

Since then, only Kate and Emily made the trip. Both over seventy years old, they never considered stopping the practice.

Until last year.

Two years ago, Emily was diagnosed with Alzheimers. By last year’s reunion day, the disease was too far advanced to allow her to travel. Kate came alone.

Kate was due a couple of hours ago. I do hope she’s okay.


IMG_0206a

On to this week’s challenge: 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 next 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 Monday.

Deserted

Fire pit

It was an annual tradition; one that none of the group ever wanted to let go of.

Fifty years ago, ten young people graduated from one of England’s most prestigious universities – which one isn’t important – they all had excellent degrees and bright futures ahead of them. To celebrate their success, they flew to South Africa to spend three months doing voluntary work with wildlife. That was the plan, anyway. Halfway through their stay, four of their number; Tom, Mary, Henry and Marcia; were ambushed in their vehicle by men armed with machetes. When they hadn’t return three hours after they were expected, the alarm was raised and search parties went out looking for them. Four bodies, barely recognisable as human, were found in the wilderness and, not without difficulty, identified as the missing graduates. The vehicle was never located.

Naturally, the remaining six cut short their stay, leaving for home as soon as the local police released them from their investigation. On the flight back to England they made a solemn vow that they would meet at the camp every year on the date their colleagues met their end; this as an act of remembrance and solidarity.

Back at home they all found jobs and life partners, started families and led full, normal lives; something that was denied to Tom, Mary, Henry and Marcia.

Two of the group, Jonathan and Louise, married and started a travel consultancy that would prove to be of great value to the group. They had two boys whom they named Thomas and Henry.

Peter and John eventually became partners in a law firm, married within the profession and raised families of their own. Kate and Emily, always close throughout their academic careers, shared a passion for charitable works and a commitment to women’s issues. They created Mary and Marcy’s Safe Place: a shelter for women and children who had become victims of domestic violence. Outwardly, they were close friends and no more – at least until the law and public attitudes became less antagonistic to their true relationship.

Each year, on the weekend closest to the anniversary of their friends’ demise, the six got together for their pilgrimage. They flew down on Friday and back on Sunday. Saturday was their day of homage and remembrance, culminating in a barbecue around the fire pit adjacent to the accommodation huts.

Jonathan and Louise closed their office for the weekend and, until they were old enough to be left on their own for a few days, left their boys in the capable hands of their grandparents; Kate and Emily couldn’t close the refuge, but for those few days each year they were happy for the duty house manager to assume the reins. Peter and John travelled alone, leaving their families behind. 

For fully forty years, not one of them missed a single reunion. They couldn’t. It was a duty they owed – as deeply settled in their psyches as was a pilgrimage to a devoutly religious person. 

One by one, though, their numbers started to fall. Forty-two years in, Jonathan lost his fight against cancer and died at the age of sixty-five. Louise took his loss badly and was unable to join the group again. 

Over the years that followed, first Peter then John fell prey to the ravages of the years. Neither made it to their seventieth birthday.

Since then, only Kate and Emily made the trip. Both over seventy years old, they never considered stopping the practice.

Until last year.

Two years ago, Emily was diagnosed with Alzheimers. By last year’s reunion day, the disease was too far advanced to allow her to travel. Kate came alone.

Kate was due a couple of hours ago. I do hope she’s okay.


This was written in response to Kreative Kue 284 published on this site.