A Bloody Place

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

Two ghosts sat on the wall beside the keep. They were silent for a very long time.

Finally, the one who knew William the Conqueror in 1066 sighed. “Twas a bloody place, indeed.”

The one dressed in armor from another century said, “Did you die here?”

“Aye. A spear right through my heart, Vultures picked my carcass clean. You?”

“Oh, aye. Took my head clean off, they did. I rotted, over time. Never buried.”

Both soldiers sighed. The older finally said, shaking his head, “All for naught. Look at them down there. Oblivious.”

“Aye, But peaceful.”

Not Romantic at All


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt


I remember reading  Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe when I was a kid. It seemed so adventurous, and tested the ability of those involved to survive in precarious situations.  Even Mutiny on the Bounty had a rather romantic ending, and being cast adrift seemed to be not such a bad thing.

Then I read a true story of some people whose boat was wrecked in a storm.  I don’t remember the name of the book, but I do remember that their experience was anything but romantic and adventurous.  It was a nightmare.  Once the rations that were stored ahead in the lifeboat were used up, it became nothing more than slow torture as they drifted to nowhere.

Hot sun, no wind, very little potable water; no clothing to keep their skin from burning, nothing to protect them from whatever weather they encountered.  A couple of them died, and there was even talk among the survivors about cannabalism.  They ended up voting against it, and simply dumped the bodies over the side.

When they were finally rescued, they were all hospitalized for a variety of ills. Some of them suffered terrible nightmares, and what we would recognize today as Post-Traumatic Stress.  None of them looked back fondly on their days together in an inflatable lifeboat.


I love the ocean, but not the idea of being adrift at sea.


Alpha Male

Note:  Mac was 15 years old this past November, and he was in a lot of physical discomfort.  He was still dedicated to my daughter, but he had so many problems that she knew it was time.  She had him put down a week ago today.  We will all miss this great little dog, who had a wonderful life and brought a lot of happiness to the whole family. I wrote the following story about a year ago. 


The last Christmas our daughter lived with us, we got her a puppy.  He was the offspring of a friend’s tiny little Maltese and the neighborhood Dachshund who came visiting one day when she was out on a running leash in their back yard. This little five-pound momma had a litter of six finger-length pups, with all the varieties of color and markings you can imagine from such a combination.

Our daughter used to babysit for this family, and she immediately fell in love with one puppy in particular. When she first met him, he fit nicely into the palm of her hand. She talked about him all the time. That was in the late fall.

My husband got busy and built a crate for the pup, without telling our daughter, of course. Just before Christmas, he passed the crate over to our son, who stopped  at the home of the puppies and picked up the one our daughter loved.  He was too cute for words by that time.  If memory serves he was about six weeks old.

When our son walked in the door on Christmas morning with the crate in his hands, Deb was completely taken by surprise. She was in tears pretty quickly, and Mac the Dachtese became our entertainment that day and for many months following.

That spring, Deb got her first phone call from the young man she would marriy.  He was quickly a frequent visitor in our home, and Mac wasn’t especially thrilled. At four or five months old, Mac’s attachment to our daughter was very strong. When Aaron showed up, Mac would raise his little black lips and snarl. There was never an all-out attack, just the snarl.  Often, Mac would insinuate himself between Deb and Aaron if they were sitting on the sofa. We laughed. Well, most of us did. Aaron wasn’t so sure.

Although Mac was doing well with house-training, we kept him off the living room carpet  by propping a piece of plywood across the opening between the living room and dining room, exiling poor puppy to the back side of the house. One day when Aaron came over, Mac was especially unhappy. He growled and howled, but no one took much pity on him. We all went about our business.

In maybe fifteen minutes, I realized Mac was nowhere to be seen.

“Deb, do you know where the dog is? I haven’t seen him in several minutes.”

“Uh oh.  Better check.”  Deb got up and stepped across the plywood, checking first in the kitchen and then coming back through the dining room to the bedrooms.  I’d gotten busy with something else, so when I heard her say, “Oh, NO! Mac! Bad dog! NO!” I  had to go see what the problem was.

She found him in the bathroom.  He had spun all the toilet paper off the roll and trailed it all over the place.  Fun new trick.  But that wasn’t all.  In several places, this tiny little dog had dropped enough  doodoo to make a whole new version of himself!  Piles of it, all over the bathroom floor.  Then he had sneakered out to a corner in the dining room, leaving another pile in one corner.  When Deb found him, he was hiding behind the bathroom door.

“Oh gross!  Oh man!  I can’t believe this!  How could such a little dog have that much in him!  Mac, you little brat!”  As she cleaned up the mess, though, she began to laugh. And so did all the rest of us–except Aaron. This was  such a perfect display of alpha dog marking his territory, letting Aaron know who was boss, keeping Deb’s attention on himself.

Well, things are better now.  Mac has reluctantly accepted Aaron’s alpha male position, and has even  welcomed three new little people into the mix.  He and Aaron aren’t exactly what you’d call soul mates, but they do all right.



Friends At Last!


What’s the strangest place from which you’ve posted to your blog? When was the last time you were out and about, and suddenly thought, “I need to write about this!”?


If I’d had my laptop handy, I would have stopped to write a post from my therapy gym this morning. It would have started with the gentleman who was in the other side of the therapy pool (love that pool!  Water is about 96º and it feels SO good!) who was telling me about the fundraiser they have every year in memory of his son  who died from complications of MPS. I’d never heard of it before, so I got some education.

Then I moved on to the table where the therapist did some stretching on my hips, and overheard the patient on the table next to mine talking about the accident that cost him a leg and left him with some permanent physical disabilities.

From there we went to the gym, where I was very proud to increase my treadmill time and speed, and I recognized a friend I hadn’t seen in some time.  She took a nasty fall during one of our icy days last winter, and broke both her ankles. She’s my age and her recovery has been difficult and long. Her daughter was there with her to provide support and transportation.

As I waited at the front desk to set up my appointments for next week, I watched one of the therapists help a woman walk carefully up and down the length of the room.  She had an artificial leg below her right knee, and was moving with great care. She also had some serious hair loss, so I’m wondering if there was cancer that had to be amputated. Maybe I’ll have a chance to talk with her sometime soon. So many people with so many different injuries, illnesses, debilities.  I’m there because of herniated discs and arthritic degeneration.  I know what pain is.  The shots and the therapy are helping a lot.  But my stuff seems pretty paltry compared to what some of my fellow rehabbers are experiencing.  They all have a story.  Most of them are willing to share their stories.

Who wouldn’t want to write about them?  It’s the stuff that life is really all about.


Poetic Justice

Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your postmust include a speeding car, a phone call, and a crisp, bright morning. (Wildcard: you can swap any of the above for a good joke.)


It was an inauspicious way for the work day to begin.  Normally, Leigh started at 10 a.m. and worked until 5 p.m., except for Tuesdays.  That was her long day. On Tuesdays, she saw clients until nine in the evening, and went home exhausted and ready for bed.

That day, however, her phone woke her out of a sound sleep.  It was a client who was struggling in an abusive marriage, and when Leigh picked up the call, the woman was sobbing so hard that Leigh couldn’t understand her.  Working to calm down her distraught caller, Leigh finally understood that the husband had just beaten her up and then grabbed the two little kids and hauled them to his car.  Leigh was terrified that he would hurt them. His parting words had been, “You’ll never see them again–and you have no one to blame but yourself!” 

Leigh promised to meet her client at her office within the hour, as soon as she could get herself up and moving.  The first thing she did was to call the police, reporting the domestic violence situation and the husband running off with the kids. She gave the police his license plate number and made sure they had both her office number and her cell. They’d worked together before, and knew each other by name.

Clicking her phone off, Leigh dressed quickly and gulped down some orange juice. She grabbed her purse and jacket on the fly, knowing she was going to be battling rush hour traffic. She quickly charted a backroad route instead of her usual  way to the office.  Tossing her things into the car, she pulled out of the garage and backed up to the road running in front of her house. She counted ten cars going by before she could back out.

Leigh put the pedal down as soon as she was clear of neighborhood traffic, school buses, walkers and joggers. She flew around the twisting country road, praying no one would come roaring up behind her to pull her over for speeding.  She couldn’t even take the time to enjoy the crisp, clear November morning as she tried to think through the best steps to take for her client.

Shelter. She needed to get her into a shelter, because the husband would  be back. He was addicted to abusing her, couldn’t go very long at all before the need to attack her would drive him back to the house they lived in.

Find the children. Was he planning to harm them, or just to scare his helpless wife?

Leigh had a hard time understanding the helpless part. She would never allow her own husband to bully her and abuse her, not that he ever would.  The victim of such behavior, it seemed to Leigh, also had some kind of addiction to mistreatment, believing it was all she deserved.

As she neared the turn-off to her office, Leigh’s cell rang. She pulled over quickly, picked up, and heard the officer from the police station give his name.

“Leigh, we’ve just had an accident call from over in the next township. It’s him. The license plate is the same.”

“Oh, no! The kids?  Are the kids okay?”

“Banged up, but he’d taken the time to belt them in. They’ll be all right.  Mr. Jones, however, is in pretty bad shape. They’re taking him by helicopter up to the trauma center.  He’s unconscious.  Listen, is there anything we can do to help with the wife and kids?”

“No, no, but thanks. Today, they can all just go home and stay there until we know what’s going to happen with that bum. I’m sitting outside my office right now, and the wife just pulled in.  Listen, thanks for letting me know.  She doesn’t have a cell–he won’t let her, so I know you couldn’t get in touch with her.  I’ll let her know what’s happened. What hospital are they taking the kids to?”