The word of the week is KNOT, and I am going to be entirely honest, I have NO idea how I got to this story, from that prompt.  This is the story about a woman who is the keeper of a knot, ensuring it does not be untangled, and I can’t really explain more without giving the story away, but think mythology…

Her fingers were bleeding again, but it didn’t matter, because she knew that she couldn’t be the one to let the knot unravel.

Everyone had heard of the tapestry, the threads, but what most didn’t know was that in the tapestry there were knots, and no matter what happened they could not be allowed to unwind.

Once unknotted, that which they contained would be lost forever, and the last time it had happened, an innocent girl had been blamed for the trespass, as if opening a box could have caused such a calamity.

There were only eight knots left, and as thankless as it was, keeping this one tied was her life’s work, and she would not see it undone.

She would never know which of the knots she maintained, as the nature of the knot could only be revealed in its destruction, and the fates were careful not to tell the volunteers if they guarded the remaining virtue, or one of the seven great vices.

And she would give her life to the knot, in the understanding that it was the hope in the hearts of all men that kept them going when they had nothing else, and that she would not be the reason it was lost.

Trip of a Lifetime

I actually think I might have written a story by this name before, but this week it’s a response to the challenge of writing a story with the words “Typhoon, Vacation, Mask, Teller”. This is the strange little story I came up with. Its weird, dark and unhappy, with a spot on fortune teller!

Lynn gripped the arms of her seat with desperation as the plane dropped another few feet. She knew it was serious when the airline attendants buckled in, and the pilot hadn’t even tried to soften the blow with a “minor turbulence, nothing to be concerned about” announcement.

The luggage flying out of the overhead bins was followed by the dropping of the oxygen masks, and she wasn’t sure which one was causing more panic among her fellow passengers. As pried her fingers from the arm rest to secure her own mask, she thought back to how she had gotten here, on the last plane out before the typhoon hit, wondering how it had all gone so wrong.

It started, strangely enough, at a fair, with her playing good Auntie with her youngest sister’s two kids. They were 9 and 11, just tall enough to go on the rides, and young enough to find spending the day at the fair with their aunt, awesome.  It was Brandy’s idea to go to the fortune teller, and upon hearing that Lynn would “win something she hadn’t expected to” in the next month, it was Brandy who insisted she enter the contest that won her the vacation she was on now.

To Brandy, it seemed like proof that the woman they saw was a true psychic, while Lynn suspected it had more to do with Brandy making her enter every sweepstakes, radio contest, and raffle within an hour’s drive. Between that and the half dozen lottery tickets she had purchased in the month following the prediction, she was bound to win something, but the awe was adorable, so Lynn played along.

Her first reaction to getting the phone call saying she had won the grocery stores “get-away” contest had been to hang up the phone, and the second, but the third call the lady begged her not to hang up, so she listened to the spiel.

It helped she remembered this particular contest, making her niece do the skill testing question in the name of math skills, and when they didn’t need any of her personal information on the line, agreeing to do it through the air line, Lynn ended up accepting.

Getting the time off was surprisingly easy, her boss ate the fair/sweepstakes story, and all but demanded she go.  

So she went, and for the first three days of the trip it was amazing, a little hot and humid for her tastes, but well, it was a vacation she never would have been able to afford, the air fare alone was outside her meager budget. 

Then the weather changed, and it took two more days, and then a google search to figure out exactly what a typhoon was.  She still had 3 days left on her all-inclusive, but she packed her bags and headed for the airport.  She expected to have to pay for the flight, but the agency was surprisingly accommodating, and after being bumped three times she was finally seated on what she found out shortly before take-off would be the last flight out. 

She thought that she had been lucky, but as the plane plummeted through the air, she thought back to the second part of the reading she had all those months ago, “something wonderful will turn into a tragedy”, and she thought that the woman might have been psychic after all.

Precious Cargo

The word of the week is EXCHANGE and I will admit this one is a little weird.   I went with the definition of exchange, as an exchange of goods.  I have to admit, this is not my favorite six, and sometimes you write something and just go, ya, okay, that’s odd.  This is that story.

There is something about using the barter system that makes me feel like a peasant in the Middle Ages, a drug dealer or a spy.

As I stand on the darkened street corner, waiting for the guy with the goods to make it to the exchange, I think that today we are leaning more towards drug dealer.

He finally shows on foot, looking around furtively as he crinkles the top of the folded paper lunch bag with one hand, and is that what I think it is?

He asks if I have the stuff, and I pull the plastic covered pages from the inside of my jacket, hesitant to expose them to the low drizzle starting, and startle when he wretches them from my grasp, shoving the paper bag into my flailing hand. 

He fingers through them quickly, as I desperately try to get into the bag, relief forming as the delivery seems unaffected, exactly as I wanted, but when I go to say so he is already walking away, so I cradle my precious paper bag in my arms and speed walk home.

Finally there, I delicately lift my precious out, looking into the curious eyes of a perfectly adorable kitten, worth every comic book, and I wonder what possessed the man to put her in a rolled-up paper lunch bag…

For anyone wondering about the paper bag, this one is actually based on reality.  When I bought my first cat, the man at the pet shop put it in a lunch bag, rolled it up and handed it to me. I was three, and the confusion about how the cat was going to breath as I took the bag is one of my first memories.