Capturing Fireflies

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I captured my memories of you,
and placed them inside a glass jar.
Holding it close and so none could dare escape,
I screwed on the lid twisting it as tightly as I could.
Like the fireflies we had captured when we were young,
each memory flew innocently around inside the jar.
Upon rising the next morn I came to find,
each memory was dead from lack of air.
Nothing was left and utter despair filled my heart.
I resolved that I could and would do better,
so eagerly I set about capturing more.
Into the glass jar I placed each one and again
screwed down the lid, this time tighter than before.
Believing I had learned a hard lesson in life,
I punched holes in the top so air would enter in,
believing the memories would now never die.
I watched them flutter so happily about,
which brought an ever present smile to my face.
Until, eventually I dozed in this contented place.
Waking many hours later in the early evening.
I looked for the memories to remind me of you
but the jar I held was now empty and cold.
Unscrewing the lid I could find nothing there.
I sighed deeply, realizing that the holes must have
been too big, allowing each memory to escape.
I could not ever hold them I thought,
as I sat clasping the jar with clenched fists.
The evening began to fade as the dark curtain
of night began to fall covering the land.
My hands still gripped tightly to the empty jar,
my heart void of anything, feeling nothing.
The darkness smothered the forgotten light of day.
Finally, I dared to move and looking up over my head,
I was astounded by the sight before me.
A million twinkling lights, each a memory of you
shone white hot against the dark canvas of night.
As the memories flooded back in wave after wave, 
I distinctly and clearly remembered this one.
How we ran and laughed capturing fireflies,
without a care in the world; when we were young.

~Mark Schutter ©2015

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Two Doors

I found myself standing before two doors.
Tall and strong they stood.
Above each door hung a small sign.
In simple script one read,
Joy and Sorrow
And the other,
Pleasure and Pain
Hesitatingly, I approached to peer through the small peephole of each door.
In shock I gasped, astounded by what I see.
Each room holds a mass of the most wondrous sights shining brightly.
And horrible grotesque ugly things I had never dreamed could be.
This was an odd assortment of characters,
some that glowed in beauty untold and others that reeked of evil misery.
The uproarious laughter and joy of some shone pure grace and mercy.
In stark contrast to the wretched screams of those who writhed in pain unceasingly.
Easily my decision was made, I reached for the doorknob with a shaking hand.
With a pounding heart and no regret,
I slowly turned the knob of my chosen door,
the one less used,

and to borrow words from Mr. Frost,
that has made all the difference.

~Mark Schutter ©2015

By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (blue and red doors Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (blue and red doors Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A Short Story of… Love

He stumbled forward into the cold night. Overcast and dreary, the sleet pounded down relentlessly. Oh how long since he had seen the sun he wondered silently to himself as he walked.
His mind was as numb as his exposed fingers in the cold night air. Yet, still the soft singular voice of her continued to sing that same song over and over in his mind. Thoughts of those long summer days spent in Saskatoon would haunt him like a specter for the rest of his life.
It was a special time long ago with little static to cloud his thoughts or life. Now his life was surrounded by seemingly endless dark and steep climbs. The ambient sounds of the night, he barely noticed until filling the cold empty air all around him was the steadily barking of a dog.
As he looked up the last thing he saw was the large Siberian husky as it leapt from the shadows. He was knocked to the ground and the dog was on top of him in an instant. He screamed as the large furry dog began licking his face with vigor, its tail wagging furiously.
As the sound of his scream faded into the night, a slow smile spread across his face. He lay silently not feeling the cold earth beneath him as the he let the warmth of love wash over him.

~Mark Schutter ©2015

This short story was written during a 5 minute free write using the words in bold above. This occurred during a meeting of the lunch time writing group at my workplace. I have to admit, I did edit a bit while typing it in the blog post, yet easily 95% is from free writing. Hope you enjoyed it!

Something Completely Different!

He quickly dried himself and tossed the towel aside. Wrapping the soft white bath robe around his waist he tied the belt around his waist making a knot in the front. He then exited the building into the warm afternoon sun. It seemed to be a normal spring day with the sun shining amongst billowy clouds floating across the canvas of a cerulean sky. He quickly spotted her standing a short distance away with her back to him. She was wearing a similar white bath robe and her long brown hair hung down over her shoulders. She appeared to be having a conversation with a man who he did not know seated in front of her in a lawn chair. The distance between her and the man appeared to be about two yards and he seemed to be listening intently.

He began to walk towards her and this stranger, covering the distance quickly as his instincts raised the hairs on the back of his neck. The area was the grounds of a campus of some sort with people milling about amidst numerous large brick buildings. As he drew closer in his approach to the two figures he heard her voice. She seemed to be replying in response to a question from the strange man. Others passed by ignoring them both.

Coming from behind she was unaware of his approach and his nearness allowed him to hear her say the word ‘cancer.’ At that moment her hands quickly untied the knot at her waist holding her bath robe closed. Grabbing both front seams she tore open the robe her arms outstretched to her sides.  Shocked, he quickly covered the last few yards to where she was standing. Without hesitating he placed himself squarely between her and this man sitting there with an almost deliriously evil grin on his face. He was able to block the man’s view of her with his body. As he had moved to intersect the sight line between the two he was even more surprised to catch sight of bare skin and the swell of a breast. The realization that she was completely naked beneath the bath robe and had exposed herself to this strange man sent his mind into a free fall.

Catching his breath he quickly grabbed the edges of her robe and pulled them together to cover her nakedness. She did not resist and others passing by seemed not to notice. He then grabbed her by the shoulder and turned her away from the stranger. They began walking away as he guided her with his arm around her shoulders. As they walked, his legs felt as if he had just ran a marathon and only kept moving on instinct. His mind was reeling, his heart beating loudly in his chest. Minutes pass as they walk in silence before he is able to speak.

“What are you doing?” he asks incredulously trying to hide the anger and dismay. Her response is short and clipped with very little emotion, “You do not understand.”

“I do not understand?” he questions her.

“No, you do not,” she states simply.

She pauses before calmly adding, “I am the one dying.”

~Mark Schutter ©2014

Dying 2014(This story came to me in a dream, I have written it down here verbatim from what I recalled the next morning upon waking.  I have tried to add no extra details and if I have it is unintentional.  The mind has dreams of its own, of which in the light of day the reasons behind the dreams are chased away with the rising of the sun. ~M)

The Protector (A short story for free write Friday)

Source: We Heart It

You suddenly find yourself standing alone on an unknown sidewalk in an unknown place. It’s night and snowing and the only other person around is walking away from you….

As I watch the silent figure grow smaller in the distance the softly falling snow illuminated by the street lights adds a mystery to the night.  I notice the red drops of color mixing with the white of the snow amidst the footprints she leaves that are quickly being covered by the falling snow.  The red mingles with the white to a soft pink as it is absorbed.

Where she is headed I have no idea but it really does not matter, I only know that I must follow so I did.  This is my mission, my destiny, whatever one might call it.  It is the only road I have ever walked and it is one that few people would dare tread if given the chance. Like a hazy dream I can remember my mother reading out of the bible as I lay quietly in my bed in the early evenings.  Her voice soft and caring as she would read and then explain to me what the words meant and the destiny she believed God had for me.  She had told me God had spoken a verse to her while she was pregnant that was especially for me and the calling that was on my life.

“The LORD will protect you from all evil ; He will keep your soul.” from Psalm 121:7, I would never forget that verse as she recited it to me often and I accepted it into my heart.  She also explained to me that this promise meant God would protect me, but that also I was meant to protect others.  It was so easy as a small child to believe in the unseen and trust my mother like one trusts gravity or the rising and the setting of the sun.  It is just as real as any solid object.  My life had continually born out this verse in so many ways that I had long ago stopped questioning.

As I followed the young lady I noticed the hunching of her shoulders and head pitched forward under the umbrella as she walked into the cold wind.  The drops of red that different people left behind had always intrigued me and even frightened me somewhat.  It was a privilege and power that most never ever witness.  The soul is a magical and mysterious place and the scars this life leave on it are unseen by most human eyes.  This gift was something I had never asked for but my mother had said, I had simply been chosen.

The city streets were quiet this night as the storm seemed to gather intensity.  Most people had chosen to stay inside safe from the cold.  She continued to walk, me following, past rows of nondescript buildings and storefronts.  Homeless people huddled in the doorways heads and hands buried against the freezing night trying to stay warm and sleep.  For these nameless people she paid no heed but simply continued to walk her stride never wavering.

The gift of seeing the pain of someone’s soul and the blood that continually dripped from the wounds that others and this life had inflicted, was both a blessing and a curse.  I carried within me the torture and ache that each person endured.  At times I was given the ability to ease that suffering, but those times seemed all too infrequent.

I knew it was time as my pace quickened slowly closing the distance between her and me.  With the rushing winds I knew she would never hear my approach so was unworried about being detected.  Even though there was no traffic she stopped and was standing at the intersection just ahead and waited for the cross walk light to change.  Approximately twenty-five yards behind her, I knelt down in the shadows of a doorway and raised my rifle. I felt the firmness of the stock against my shoulder as I pointed the barrel in her direction.

Looking through the attached night vision telescopic sight I was able to penetrate the darkness of night.  I slowly continued to raise the rifle above her head and into the blackness until I saw the dim flashing red light through the still falling snow.  My mind was calm as I slowly took a breath and exhaled my finger tightening on the trigger.  Within the cross hairs I could see the unmanned drone craft as it hovered silently some two hundred yards above her head monitoring her every movement.  A loud rumbling truck roared through the intersection as I slowly squeezed the trigger, firing the rifle and the craft in a silent flash of light disappeared.

The light changed to ‘Walk’ and she oblivious, began walking again crossing the street and continuing on towards her destination.  I knew she would be safe this night.  As I stood and silently watched her walk into the distance I knew my job was far from over.  There were others, there would always be others.

~Mark Schutter ©2014

The above was written for Free Write Friday from the Time and Place Scenario in italics at the beginning using what is called stream of consciousness writing, no editing, no proofing just writing! Please check out Kellie Elmore’s official site or click on the Free Write Friday Image for more information. Post your submission with a comment and link to your blog on Kellie’s blog, post on twitter with the hashtag #FWF, Facebook and join the fun!

Cowboy Movies

“Stop right there sheriff!”  the masked man said with a grin.  The sheriff upon hearing the voice behind him slowly turned to face the unknown masked man who was pointing his pistol straight at him. The sheriff stood stone faced with no expression only a tautness to his muscles ready for action.  The crowd on the boardwalk quickly ran for cover in all directions leaving the two of them facing each other alone in a standoff.

I held my breath in anticipation watching the scene unfold through the window of the department store.  The black and white western capturing those thrilling days gone by where I wished I had lived when a man, a horse and a six shooter could conquer the world an always win the heart of a beautiful lady.  Although, I wasn’t to concerned with girls at this point in my short life.  As others passed by barely noticing my presence as I watched silently through the glass straining to hear the words from the television.

I was young. I was standing in front of a shop window watching something on the black and white television inside. A woman grabbed my hand and ran down the street, pulling me along…

My feet could barely keep up with her as I struggled to free myself from her hold but her grip only became tighter.  We rounded a corner narrowly missing other pedestrians and quickly headed down a dark alley.  Suddenly, the world went dark the buildings rising higher and higher on each side until they blocked out the sun.  I felt light headed and my breath came in ragged gasps.  It was then that I realized I was floating, no maybe flying.

The woman was gone as I looked down and saw the earth below small lights twinkling from cities and towns as I sailed through the dark.  I felt things flying by me as I moved through the night but was unsure what they were in the darkness.  I closed my eyes tightly suddenly afraid of falling.  After a few moments I opened eyes and realized I was floating on a log down a narrow river.  The tree’s branches on each side reached over the water like long fingers.  My young mind saw them reaching for me to pull  me into the water and I again clenched shut my eyes.

I waited for the inevitable and then slowly opened my eyes when nothing happened.  The world was fuzzy around me and I blinked several times until I realized I was lying in my own bed.  I felt a sharp pain in my arm as if needles were poking into it and I moved it ever so slightly from the position under me where I had been laying on it.  As the blood began to flow back the pain at first became worse then began to lessen.

I lay quietly the silence of my room and the dark enveloping me.  I remembered the words of the witch from the Wizard of Oz that I had watched earlier that evening with my sister.  She had said to Dorothy, “I will get you my pretty.”  Okay, that was weird she was a girl and I was a boy .  As I realized this had all been just a dream I resolved right then and there to only watch cowboy movies from then on out and to always keep my feet firmly planted on the ground unless I was on the back of a horse.  ~M ©2013

The FWF prompt this week Time and Place in italics in the story above.   Free writing is what is called stream of consciousness writing, no editing, no proofing just writing! Please check out Kellie Elmore’s official site for more information. Post your submission with a comment and link to your blog on Kellie’s blog, post on twitter with the hashtag #FWF, Facebook and join the fun!