Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Don't Panic Picture Prompt: April 18th

So, there was one person willing to take the Don't Panic Picture Prompt dare last week.  Who is willing to take it this week?  1-500 words based on the picture below.  Due by April 24th at 11:50 pm.  Try to keep it relatively PG or at least put a warning on it if it may not be.  Put your links or your response in the comments.

the stories this big old paddleboat could tell. Abandoned but an odd beauty.:

from http://www.skylerbrown.com/Albums/The_Modern_Error/pages/Mamie_S_Barrett.htm

Let's see what you got!



    “Mom, I told you. I like puzzles with a lot of colors.”

    Angie sighed. She knew her daughter, recovering from leg surgery, was bored and cranky. There just wasn't much money.

    Probably not many people in Mason county, where the old plantation homes were newly renovated, considered jigsaw puzzles expensive. Of course, most of the women worked no jobs, not two and a half like Angie did.

    “Baby, it's brand new, with the plastic still on the box. The muted colors make it more challenging.” Angie had been delighted to find the puzzle at a garage sale for three dollars, although she wasn't going to tell her daughter that. Let her think it came from Barnes and Noble.

    Jana, seated with her leg propped up, frowned. “You know, Mom, that ship is haunted.”

    “Looks that way.” Oh good, Angie thought to herself. Maybe she’s getting interested in it.

    “No, I mean it really is. Don't you recognize it? Shasta told us about this boat. It was used to move slaves up the Mississippi. Some of them died, and their spirits never left.”

    Angie’s forehead wrinkled. Shasta was Jana’s friend from next door, a scrawny boy, mixed race. Green eyes like a jungle cat. Unsettling.

    “Honey, how would Shasta know that?”

    “Because he was there.” Jana fiddled with her phone. “Look, there he is.”

    Angie walked over. Her daughter showed her an old photograph. It certainly did look like Shasta standing next to the paddle boat in the puzzle.

    “It’s from the Whitney Plantation in Wallace, Louisiana. Shasta said the owner hired him out to work along the riverside, loading and unloading cargo. He hated that particular boat because there were always slaves being shipped north, to Greenville and Memphis. There was a market nearby, and half of them, newly sold, would be wailing like bashees.” Jana frowned. “What are banshees, anyway?”

    “Female spirits in Irish mythology. Something to do with death.” Angie sat at the table. “Say, honey, Shasta's pulling your leg. He saw the photo online and made up the story.”

    Jana gave her a funny look. “No, he didn't. He was there. He’s been alive for 160 years. Well, I guess more like 172. He looks about twelve in the photo, and he was still able to be out in the daylight.”

    “Jana, what on earth are you talking about?”

    “I told you, Mom. He's a vampire. His whole family is.”

    Jana cleared the picture off the phone. “I'm going to text him to come over tonight to work on this puzzle. Boy, will he get a kick out of it.”

    1. This is great! I love how you have the mother so disbelieving and the daughter convinced of the truth about her friend. It's very believable.

  2. Replies
    1. They are posted once a week, generally on Monday evenings.

  3. Here's my offering! https://fictiontrials.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/bonus-moving-along/

  4. Ginny Jolly, author of The Tangled Web of Jonathan Smitty, offered the following response. Check it out and take a look at her new book on sale now!

    "Ohhhh, I wish I had the money to restore her right now! Completely!" my old high school friend Brent sighed. "She's quite a beauty!" He rubbed his hand across the wheel of the old, drydocked sternwheeler, loosening some rust and splinters under his well-calloused hands.

    I could imagine the sternwheeler chugging down the Ohio River, churning the brown waters, giving chase to the Delta Queen from New Orleans and the Belle of Louisville right here at home. Who would win the Great Steamboat Race when this beauty was added to the mix? I couldn't tell. Only long-time river-bred folk like Brent could.

    "What would you name her?" I asked, knowing that wasn't the most important thing about restoring such an icon of a pre-industrial era. It needed smoke stacks, for one thing.

    Brent shook his head. "I don't know. And I'm not naming her before the right name comes to me. It's bad luck to change a ship's name."

    He stopped talking and simply gazed at his new lady. If I knew anything, he would do a lot of horse-trading -- so to speak -- to polish her up and re-launch her into her home, the river lanes that stretched from Pittsburgh and Minneapolis down to New Orleans.