Archive for the ‘short fiction’ Tag

TRANSFORMED

TRANSFORMED

The homeless man crouched down under the bridge, hunched over, shielding himself from the cold. His mismatched, dirty pants and shirt hung loose on his thin, weathered frame. His shoes, stripped of shoe laces, were worn through till only the inner sole rubber made contact with asphalt.

After searching through dumpsters in alleys for something to eat, he was convinced he had arrived too late. They were emptied of their contents that morning after trash pick-ups. All that remained was the stench of the garbage they held. His stomach gnawed from lingering hunger. For longer than he could remember he’d hidden in the shadow of shame, losing all but the ragged clothes on his back, with no job, and or means to support himself. He slept on park benches, under bridges, in or between boxcars, wherever he found shelter or small spaces, not yet claimed. But, there were guarded areas few like him could dare encroach upon. Like seasoned night hawks they laid claim to their space and things. Weapons fashioned of things found like sharp tin can lids made into spears protruding from sticks were bayonets, and jagged cut bottles or jars with sharp edges they used to ward off newcomers. Their found treasures, protected and hidden behind the enclaves of discarded mattresses, sheets of cardboard, crates or boxes were coveted things he had yet to lay hold to, or confiscate from another. His body still held cuts and scars from his attempts to take what another one had found.

He watched a worm slither out from its crevice in the ground until free of its cold, dark domain. When it began its slow crawl across the walk he reached out for it, but a crow swooped down and snatched it up, the worm squirming from its beak as it lifted into the sky.

As night approached the void became darker, the air colder. But he fell asleep, weary from his struggle and despair. He saw sunrise creep leisurely across the sky, bright colors in orange and yellow. He felt warmth wash over him, a soft breath of one speaking his name. “John.” A wispy like flutter brushed across his nose. A butterfly flying around him as if unafraid, unfettered, remained. Lakes, ponds, green valleys, and gardens opened up before him. Birds sang incessantly from a forest of trees.

A man walked from the light to stand over him, stretched out his hand and pulled him up. Placing a clean, warm blanket over his shoulders he embraced the man, and led him away. There before him was a table spread out with all kinds of food, and containers with fresh water.

“Eat whatever you want, whatever you like, John.” People mingled around, jubilant with praise. At the head of the table, the man spoke to all those there, saying, “Transformation, a spiritual process of re-birth is not only one of the soul, but of the mind. Today, you will be transformed. You need never go hungry again, or be homeless, or in want again. God has a plan for your life.”

The man jerked, waking up. Everything looked the same, before he fell asleep. But, there stood the one from his dream, standing before him now, helping the homeless man up from the ground.

“Here, let me help you, John. We have a place near here where you can rest, and food to eat, a shelter for those who have no home, or place to stay. We have clean beds, food, and people who want to help.”

One year later, John stood, transformed from the man he once was, in the kitchen at the shelter cooking, and serving to the homeless. Smiling at each one, he filled their plates, and offered encouragement, hope. “Enjoy your meal. There are clean clothes, shoes and socks over there, and cots where you can rest.”

Ten years later, John became the director of a new shelter. The sign above it read, “TRANSFORMED,” It became a beacon to the community. Every day, he and a team of volunteers went out on the streets, inviting those in; the homeless, needy and helpless, even disabled veterans came through their doors seeking help.

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Joyce E. Johnson – 2013


Captive

Below is my Friday Fictioneers 100 word story based on this week’s photo prompt, provided by Madison Wood’s Friday Fictioneers website. Feedback and comments are welcome.

On a personal note: For the benefit of those reading my blog and stories that are not writers of fiction, but maybe readers only, please note that all of the Friday Fictioneers stories I write and create are only fiction, or what we all loved as a kid growing up, the ‘make believe’ stories we read, listened to as told, or from books we treasured. They do not relate to, tell about, share the same views or opinions, or are similar to any experiences I have had. The characters, plots and stories I create are of my own making and ideas, not someone else’s. That is the beauty and the fun of creating characters and plots with different circumstances, problems, or issues in their life. And of course all these little fiction stories are all based on a photo used to prompt us writers to create a 100 word piece to go with it. That is another part of the fun, and freedom to be expressive in our creation. Sometimes I like to use an idea from issues that are found in the news stories these days, or are similar to situations that may seem real, not just imagined. With that in mind, I like to think about a real life person in this situation or role, and how he or she might react to it, think, or do. As a Christian and a person of strong faith, my characters are not always people like that, but are in fact ones without such a faith. What they do, think and decide for themselves in their situations could, or may not change the outcome of their situation. It is entirely up to them. It might turn around their situation, make it worse or leave them with one thought: What now? What should I do? Who do I turn to? Who will help? The story below is a tad bit similar in a way to one of my favorite genres, ‘Espionage’. Hope you enjoy it.

***********

She waited, anxious between cold, concrete walls no wider than a produce cart.

She was desperate.

She’d sought them out, pleading, “Can you help?”

“If you work for us, and the revolution. Yes. We’ll get her out.” he said.

“But, I’m an American. Not a spy.”

“Doesn’t matter. We fight, for the cause of freedom. To eradicate the opposing government, and free those still held. In Iran.”

They held her daughter, a journalist, prisoner.

She’d wired the money, sent the transcripts, even forged documents.

Her ‘contact’ was an hour late. What if he doesn’t show?

Someone’s coming.

“Sarah?”

“Yes, mother!”

*********************


“RAINBOWS” – 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, May 18

Ribbons of pastel stretched across the sky in a half-moon. Sunlight poured out of heaven covering the meadow in a warm blanket. Trees and plants suddenly looked greener, fuller after the summer rain. Robby stood staring up at the rainbows, his mother beside him. “See, mama? They came to cheer you up.” he said. “Don’t worry.” But, his daddy still had no job, and often got grumpy, mean. His mama cried a lot. They had no money, hardly any food left. Robby said a prayer. A short time later, his father burst through the door. “I found a job!”

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