Prompted @ Tipsy Lit | The Pomegranate

This week’s Tipsy Lit Prompted challenge piece is about big risks. Enjoy, and remember – feedback always appreciated here at manuscripts & marginalia!

Note: Word count squeaks in at 499, right under the 500-word max.

Prompted @ TIpsy Lit

He’d been following me for a week. I thought he was new to the neighborhood. He never paid any attention to me, so I felt like the interloper. That should’ve been a clue; men always look at me. At first it’s a glance, then a sweet, studious stare. They say I remind them of their mother. Damnedest thing.

He never batted an eyelash in my direction. Vanity should be my shield, but I set it aside.

My stomach flips; we’re going over a hill, I think. Images of torture porn and abandoned warehouses fill my head. I didn’t want to cry, but terror takes over and tears dampen my blindfold. I will the car to stop, and then it does.

He opens the trunk and the air is cool and fresh.

“Not the way to make an impression,” he says. Nimble fingers untie the blindfold.

The canopy overhead filters sunbeams into lacy patterns of light. Mossy tree stumps and boulders form a perfect circle.

In its center is a woman.

“Thank you, Moshe,” she says. Her skin is darker than mine, but not as smooth. She looks older in the eyes, even though she must be close to my age.

“I am sorry he scared you,” the woman says. “I did not think you would come on your own, if you knew why I summoned you.”

She sits on a boulder and gestures to the stump beside her. I walk forward and sit on it awkwardly, tucking my knees under my chin. I cannot find my voice. Perhaps it has been taken from me.

“Moshe has been my familiar for a long time,” the woman continues, “but it is good to have you here again.”

My mouth feels heavy, but it manages to form the word.


“Poor Eve,” she strokes my cheek.

“My name is Av – ” I can’t finish saying my name; it tastes sour.

“You’ve forgotten,” the woman looks away. “Do you remember me?”

A name surfaces and when I speak, the wind carries it away: Lilith.

“They took it from all of us,” she says. “They stole our power first. Made us wives when we were goddesses. We didn’t know subservience, and it never took.”

Lilith’s dark eyes are angry and fierce when she looks at me.

“They lured us. Set us up to fail. And when we did, they left us without memories. Without knowledge. It took many lifetimes for me to find myself again. Even more to find you.”

“Eve,” I say.

“There are more.” She gestures to the circle and I feel a pang of sorrow.

“Eat this,” Lilith breaks a pomegranate open with her hands. Seeds burst and the juice ruins down her skin, dark and beautiful.

“Remember,” Lilith begs, “and we can fix it. Restart salvation.”

Images flash in my mind.

The serpent.

My husband.

Hiding from Him, dried juice staining our lips and hands.

I fish out the seeds, ripe and tart. Knowledge returns, and I bid adieu to Avalon.

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Prompted @ Tipsy Lit | Go Fish Yourself

My first foray into the Tipsy Lit Prompted challenge, this week’s piece is about family game night. Enjoy, and remember – feedback always appreciated here at manuscripts & marginalia!

Note: Word count is 482, right under the 500-word max.

Prompted @ TIpsy Lit

“We should have done this years ago,” Michael says. He wades out of the sea of stained, warped cardboard boxes, long forgotten by anything other than dust.

Julie hands him a bottle of water and surveys the basement. It’s a sad monument to their mother, who would have kept it in order, would’ve forced Dad to give away things outgrown and unused.

Sweat beads on Julie’s arms and drowsy fatigue rolls over her. She is exhausted, but not from the funeral – from the decades that preceded it, always on edge and uncertain how long their father’s tenuous grip on life might hold.

Sensations of gratitude and loss bubble to the surface of her consciousness, and although Julie has been preparing for this for most of her adult life, she’s not ready to confront it. She opens the closest box and begins to rifle through it.

“Jeez,” Michael says as he peers in, “are those just pieces of board games?”

“It’s like someone poured the rec room closet into this box,” Julie says.

“Oh my gosh,” Michael’s voice takes on that edge of childhood wonder and elation. He pulls out a rubberbanded stack of bent cards. The colors have faded, but Julie recognizes the massive deck she and Michael designed one particularly rainy summer.

After excavating several layers of instruction manuals and game pieces, Julie unearths the flimsy cardboard painted with garish patterns and undisciplined shapes.

“Go Fish Yourself,” Julie laughs. She remembers how fun this game was, how she looked forward to playing it every week – up until she didn’t, when gossip became her game strategy and thick, sweet-scented lip gloss won you a better prize than picking the ice cream flavor Mom got at Kingman’s Sundries.

“Do you still remember how to play?” Michael asks. “I mean, it’s Tuesday. It seems wrong to ignore it.”

“I think so,” Julie replies. “Let’s show the kids.”

When they get upstairs, Julie’s husband is trying to goad their youngest daughter into giving up a dirty dish towel she found buried in the pantry.

“It’s a magic blanket for a princess,” Callie wails.

“Sorry, sorry, I turned my back for one minute,” John says. He stares at Julie and her younger brother, dusty and sweaty and grinning like fools.

“We need to take a break,” Michael glances over at the other children, sitting motionless and maudlin on an ancient plaid couch. Julie places the cardboard on the kitchen table and she and Michael sit down.

“Do you want to be the Warden?” Julie asks. “I think you should. I’d be better as the Teller.”

They don’t talk about taking the roles their parents would play, or why they must. The transition to “survived by” is made easier with heavy-handed paint jobs and the low-grade fever of competition.

“Hey kids, come play a game with your Mom and Uncle Mike,” John calls.

Julie begins to deal.

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