What follows is offered in response to Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge. The challenge, this week, is "Radiant".
The sun sat high in the sky, radiant and warm, feeding the grasses that covered the graves of these soldiers long dead. These men who died at Gettysburg.
Men whose faces would never again raise to bask in the light and warmth. Men whose muskets and bayonets have long since died to rusty ruin, men who will be joined by those not yet dead on other battlefields, but who will be. Because we haven't learned the lesson they, the brave and wasted men at Gettysburg, try to teach us.
The sun warms the grass, and their headstones. But not them.
They say there's no fool like an old fool. Fergus knew that. Fergus lived by that. It was his personal mantra.
His latest love had flown the coop and again, he found himself alone and lonely. He no longer sought solace in the bottle. That habit had proven dangerous to his health some long time ago, so now he threw himself into his work, instead.
Fergus was a detective. A private detective. And a good one. Unerring. Honest. Instinctive.
Most of the time, he was broke.
The folder on the table in front of him had all the information he needed, he was sure. Yet there were things that made no sense - things in this file kept throwing him off his game. Yet, he couldn't put his finger on just what it was that was wrong. He slammed the folder closed and walked out of the house, hoping a walk to the corner drug store would help clear his head.
The night, thankfully, was cool and the sky, clear. New streetlamps lit the way, so unlike the lights they had when he was a kid. He had lived all his life on this street. Everyone he'd grown up with had gone. Moved away.
The neighborhood had changed a lot. Rather seedy looking now. It had become diverse, as they say. Most of the houses needed paint, at the least, some needed much more than that. But he knew them all. He knew every break in the sidewalk, every bump in the street, every blade of grass growing up through a crack.
Knew where Tooty Schmidt had gone over the handlebars of her bike and broke out her front teeth. He knew the house where Bronco lived, and Bobby and Valerie and Gloria, whose older brother would be taken out in a mob hit. He knew all those houses - who lived there then - who lived there now. The neighborhood surrounded him like a blanket. It kept him warm and kept him safe.
And sometimes, just sometimes, Fergus needed to be kept safe.
For a while, I was thinking I'd kind of lost my mind.
Everyone who ages to a certain level finds that things kind of ... slip away. You forget stuff. It's a constant, "Where did I leave my phone?" "Why did I come up here?" "Which website was that I was going to go to? And why?"
But. Sometimes you lose track of something you value and no matter how much you try to remember where you saw it last, or where you might have left it, it defies your efforts to find it.
And it makes you crazy. And it makes you think you're losing your mind.
Yesterday, while searching through the garage for a hose nozzle, I found my iPod Touch, which had been missing for months. My 32gigabyte iPod. The one named "Lou's Muse". The one I listened to music on as I wrote "The Kid" and "Vigilante: The Sarah Pierce Story."
I haven't written or worked on those stories since I lost track of that iPod.
The funny thing is that I do have other iPods. But none of them are THAT iPod. None of them inspire the Muse to come to me so I may write.