Duane L. Herrmann

Impossible

Zarah heard screams, then pounding – silence.  What happened?  Her hands and feet were tied.  The room was dark but she could see shapes.  They did not move.  

“Zarah?”  A voice called.  

Zarah didn’t know who could know she was here.  What should she do?  Was someone coming to rescue her?  Who else could be looking for her?  Her kidnapper knew she was here.  But, if he sent someone to torture her more, she wanted to stay hidden.

Just then a small critter, which she couldn’t see in the dark, ran over her leg. Automatically, she tried to scream, but the gag stopped her, yet her legs jerked without thought.  Her feet hit something solid.  She heard something above her make a sound, something off-balance.  She couldn’t see what it might be.  Would it fall on her?

CRASH!

Metal fell on the cement floor beside her.  A door opened.

~~

Homeless

My mate and I found the perfect location for our new home.  We built to our specifications to meet our needs.  That’s always an exciting time for me.  I love the anticipation of new views and new life.  When our home was completed, I settled in for the birth of our children.  Before they could be born though, a huge, fearful creature intruded and I had to flee for my life and safety.

“I hope they didn’t leave for good,” the man mused as he saw the two robins fly away from the nest they had just built in the bush right outside his window.  Earlier, he had looked closer and saw one of them sitting on the nest.  Had the eggs been laid yet?  He was excited to watch their progress.  Had they flown for good?  He hoped not.

They never returned.

~~

A Fair Trade

“I’ll trade you all of mine for only a portion of yours, a tiny portion,” the middle-aged man said casually to his friend.

“No way in Hell!”  His friend exclaimed.  “I’m sorry, but that kind of trade would do me no good.”

“Sure it would. You would gain a wider experience. You could see from a new perspective.”

“Nope.  I’ll keep my limited experience and narrow perspective.”

“Well, don’t say I didn’t make the offer.

“You offered,” his friend laughed.  “And, I was smart enough to turn it down.”

“How about five minutes?”

“Nope.”

“Five minutes of Hell can be a real eye-opener.”

“Sorry.”

“Look at it from my point of view. I’ll take just five minutes of a childhood feeling loved and cared for. I have no idea what that might be like.”

“I feel for you, but I can’t.  Sorry.”

They parted, unable to bridge that gap.

~~~

Herrmann was surprised to find himself in 1951 on a farm in Kansas.  Still trying to make sense of it, he’s grown fond of grass waving under wind, trees and moonlight.  His work has been published in print and online, even some of both in languages he can’t read.

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

Using My Spoons

spoon-theory
Inspired by Reena’s Exploration Challenge #108 – 10/10/19

 

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.*
Every damn day. This life, a daily grind of excruciation.
Always having to adjust mentally, physically and emotionally.
Moving through my day as cautiously as possible.

Pushing through the pain, feeling productive & proud.
I’m beyond the agony when I’m able.
But some days I have no spoons and I go
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave**

 

*Source: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot
**Source: “Dirge Without Music” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Our Pain

 

Untitled

Instantly life pirouettes from gratifying to suffering.

We stand defiantly watching as uncaring nature delivers its blows.

We hear words spoken carelessly influencing scarred individuals.

We suffer from the ravages of aging and illness.

We have enemies and lovers, intentionally or not, damage our hearts.

We ache as good friends with kind souls die and leave us.

We battle with inferior people foisting their rottenness unto us.

We deal with forceful, unpredictable accidents as they tragically disfigure futures.

We hope for respite.

We wonder when it will end.

But we know.