Moral Mondays: Who put the us in victorious?

 

Muddy soccer boots

Image: Pixabay

 

‘There’s no “I” in “team”.’ Toby paced the changing room like a caged hamster. ‘But there is an “us” in err …’ Sweat prickled his top lip. ‘In err.’ Egregious? Platypus? Virus? What was that word?

Halftime talks were not one of his strengths as a coach. Right now – six nil down after the opening half of the season – he wasn’t sure he had any strengths.

As the players clumped back onto the pitch, the goalie squeezed his hand. ‘It’s okay, Dad.’

Toby looked down at his son’s smiling face. At least he was good at something.

 


Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays prompt. See the moral – this week it’s There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’ – and write a story in 100 words to go along with it. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

Moral Mondays: No blessing from my lips

 

Lidice children memorial

‘Bless those who curse you,’ he says, laying a gnarly hand on my arm before he hobbles back to the car.

By my feet are soft toys – teddy bears bleached by the sun, rabbits whose fur has turned straggly in the rain. There are dozens of them in front of the plaque, poking from the greenery below the statues.

I find it hard to look at the bronze faces of the children. How the real boys and girls would have loved those toys, loved to have the chance to play.

A blessing is the last thing on my lips.

 


Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays. Take the moral – this week it’s Bless those who curse you – and write a tale in 100 words or fewer.

When I saw today’s moral, I had just read a piece about the town of Lidice in the former Czechoslovakia that was razed to the ground by the Nazis in retaliation for the assassination  of Reinhard Heydrich, the author of the Final Solution – the plan to exterminate the Jews.

There is a touching memorial on the site of the town to all the children from there who were murdered. If you’d like to learn more about Lidice’s tragic history, see here.

The smile that reaches her eyes

Hammer

Image: Pixabay

 

‘The house looks great.’

He smiles nervously, waiting for my response, to see if I’ve taken the comment as praise or as a criticism on how it looked before the decorators came.

‘Thanks,’ I say, smiling widely, making sure it reaches my eyes, something I’ve been practicing in the mirror. Something I’ve got really good at.

He looks relieved. I’ll let him have that moment, knowing he won’t have many more, knowing Sam is waiting with a hammer.

There’s a moral to be learned here – never tell your scorned wife the contents of your will.

 


Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays. See the moral – this week it is MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL – and write a post in 100 words of fewer. Play along here.

Moral Mondays : To turn a witch pricker

Wood fire

Image : Pixabay

Master North spears the fire with a poker, sending sparks flying.

I lick my lip, feel cracks like chasms. When did I drink last? Time slips away like hot grease.

He looks to me, the glow of the rush light turning his nose to a hook. ‘Who else was at Grimmin’s Hill?’

The bodkin slips twixt his fingers.

I know who pointed that beak my way. I’ve kept my peace so far, faced Hell alone. But that bodkin could find other flesh to punish …

‘I saw Goody Huggins was with the Devil. I saw Goody Wallace with the Devil …’

 


Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays. See the moral – this week it’s Judge not lest you be judged – and write a suitable post.

Here be one about witches and witch prickers. Want to know what a witch pricker is? Take a look here.

 

Moral Mondays: A Freedom State of Mind

Swallow diving

Image : Pixabay

 

The building had large plate windows on all sides with views onto the surrounding fields: yellowing knee high grass interlaced with poppies red as a fresh scald. A flash of black and white cut the yellow – a swallow skimming up gnats in its scalpel sharp beak.

‘What’s to stop me running?’ asked Nick.

The guard threw a rock that arced so high it vanished in the glare of the sun. ‘You can run,’ he said.

A bang. A shower of earth. A flutter of black and white feathers.

‘But remember freedom is a state of mind, son.’

 


 

Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays. See the moral – this week being Freedom is a state of mind and write 100 words or fewer to go along with it. See here for full Ts and Cs, people. 

 

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Moral Mondays: Death of the Baikal Bossman

Graffiti

Image: Pixabay

 

You started it.

‘They need to take us seriously,’ you said, backside hanging out of your jeans, blade tucked in your boot, eyes frantic like every other teenage hood on the estate.

Roll on a few years and you’d picked up your own Baikal. ‘You gotta be tooled up if you’re bossman.’

You run a gang of kids, all desperate – those same wild eyes. Your own are harder now, always glancing behind.

Now police tape flaps about, above you, your blood blackens the pavement – gun still wedged in your back pocket.

They finished it.

 


 

Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays. See the moral – this week it’s Finish What You Started – and write a 100 words or fewer. See here for Ts and Cs.

 

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Moral Mondays : The return of the corduroy kid

Corduroy jacket with metal button

Image : Pixabay

 

‘You’re wearing that jacket?’ said Nell.

‘Yes,’ said Dad.

‘It’s a bit 1985 Geography teacher.’

‘It’s retro. Corduroy will make a comeback.’

‘Not in your lifetime. Mine, maybe.’

‘Thanks for reminding me how ancient I am.’

‘Are you nervous?’

‘A bit.’

‘How long is it since you dated?’

‘Put it this way, I’d just bought this jacket.’

‘Lord. Just don’t come across as desperate. Floss between courses and don’t put out on the first date.’

‘Nell!’

‘Just … Make her realise how great you are first.’

‘Thanks, love.’

‘Now, go on. And careful coming home.’

‘Night.’

‘Night, Dad.’

 


 

For Nortina’s Moral Mondays. See the moral – this week is lessons from Dad – and write a story in 100 words or fewer. See here for full Ts and Cs.

Moral Mondays: My Sweet Butcher

Opium poppy

Image : Pixabay

Light stabs through a meagre gap between the curtains. I could rise, pull them to, but the effort is more than I could bear. I turn over, hoping sleep will welcome me back.

Once I dreamed of sun slicked pebbled beaches, the scent of seaweed, frothing waves. Now sleep holds only darkness, hate filled eyes, the death of love.

I could ring the bell for the maid, have my hair dressed and coiled, my waist turned waspish, laced and corseted. I could.

My hand reaches for the stout brown bottle, my sweet butcher of nightmares.

 


 

Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays. See the moral – this week is ‘say no to drugs’ – and write a story of 100 words or fewer on the theme. See here for full Ts and Cs.

At the mention of drugs, I didn’t think of rave culture or crystal meth or the UK’s recent ban on ‘legal highs’, but of the 19th century’s addiction to opiates.

Women particularly used a tincture called laudanum – usually a mixture of opium and alcohol – for every conceivable malady from menstral pain to diarrhea. Many 19th century literary figures used laudanum too: Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe and Elizabeth Barrett Browning among others.

See the marvellous Victorian Web for Dr Andrzej Diniejko‘s article on Victorian drug use.

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Moral Mondays : Death of a witch

Bloodied sword on wooden floor

Image: Pixabay

 

The witch died today.

She threw incantations like dice, they said, her evil eye roving from King to beggar. Her hair was a raven’s wing, eyes inky pits, six fingers on one hand turned to claws by the Devil’s nod. I’d shivered in my bed, muttered a prayer to the Virgin to keep me.

As the sun blushed and the witch stumbled to a fresh made scaffold, I gawped through the scullery casement.

I saw naught but a woman – demure, mouth a ribbon of fear, slim fingers dancing. Still the sword swung, fell, raven hair tangling in splintered wood.

None shall touch her more.

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Inspired by Notina’s Moral Monday’s moral of the day – Look, don’t touch – which reminded me of Thomas Wyatt’s words written about Anne Boleyn –

Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am

Noli me tangere being Latin for Touch me not. It can be seen as a warning to Anne’s admirers that they could look all they wished, but ultimately, she belonged to husband, Henry VIII.

Ironic, since Anne met her fate in 1536 at the end of a French executioner’s sword, accused of incest, adultery and rumoured to have bewitched the king. She was also said to have six fingers on her right hand.

 

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Moral Mondays : Counterpoint to a heartbeat

 

Old man smoking a cigarette

Image: Pixabay

 

Jean pulls cigarette smoke into her lungs. It makes her mind soften, drift away.

She feels her bruised cheekbone. It has its own tempo now, a counterpoint to her heartbeat. Where did Gordon learn to use his fists like that, learn language that can make her stomach shrink?

Sometimes her own anger is like that bruise – a rhythm threatening to erupt, to beat the Stranger Gordon into his chair. Is her husband still trapped inside that crabbed carcass, weeping for her to free him?

The cigarette drops, ember fizzing on the damp ground.

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Written for Nortina’s Moral Mondays. Read the moral – this week’s is Harsh Words Stir Up Anger – and write a story in 100 words. See here for full Ts and Cs.

If you would like to support the Alzheimer’s Society, the anthology Still Me is available to buy through Pewter Rose Press, with all profits going to the AS.