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Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words ~~ Juanita’s Joy

This weeks WordPress weekly writing challenge: We are to take one picture and write 1000 words about the picture. The one I chose is below. Why did I choose this one? Because it’s bright, cheerful and full of color. And it was challenging trying to figure out what I would write.

I did come up with a short story, I hope you enjoy.

Source: Cheri Lucas Rowlands
Source: Cheri Lucas Rowlands


Juanita trudged up another hill, carrying her paints and brushes in sack over her back. No one seemed to know Juanita’s exact age, not even Juanita herself. She had been orphaned at a very early age, left to fend for herself in a hard climate, sparsely populated.

Today her gray hair was swept back in a ponytail, her clothes ragged but clean. Her face lined by the harsh sun until you couldn’t distinguish one line from another. Her toothless mouth wide in a smile of pure joy. She loved her life, hard as it was. She knew nothing else, so was content with what  she had.

She taught herself to paint  early in life after she found a few used brushes and paints behind a small shop. Years passed and she became better and better at her chosen work. She sold a few paintings to the frequent tourists to provide food, clothing and her precious paints and brushes.

One day she saw an old abandoned building, sitting alone and forgotten. In her mind, she saw a blank canvas, a beginning of something beautiful. So she started her painting. She loved her old town, the people in it as they had been kind to her all her life. She wanted to give something back and all she had were her paints and her imagination.

She wanted to give the old building life again. With her vivid blues, reds, yellows, greens and purples she painted from sunrise to sunset. Soon the townspeople began to come and watch her paint. They would drop off pitchers of water and baskets of food.

They watched her paint and sometimes heard her sing softly to herself as she painted life into something that was left for dead. That building even got a new person to live in it, as Juanita painted a man in the window content with his work.

When someone saw she had run out of a certain color, a new jar or tube would show up on the doorstep the next morning when she trudged up that hill to the building. Juanita would just smile, and continue with her work.  Her painting was the talk of the town and they would ask the other, “Have you seen what old Juanita is doing to that old building? It is a work of beauty!”

Juanita painted what she knew about life, what she enjoyed. Her neighbors plowing their fields in the hot sun. Ribbons the color of the rainbow gently swaying in the wind. Oxen and cactus and the rare flowers of the desert. She painted them all in a mural that was a beacon to everyone who came through her town.

The townspeople began calling the building “Juanita’s  Joy.”

One day someone noticed Juanita did not show up to paint on her building. They got some friends together and went looking for the old woman. They found her in her old ramshackle hut. The town doctor said she died peacefully in her sleep. The always joyous heart, giving out as she slept.

They gave her a fine funeral, buried her under a large tree near her beloved painted building. The whole town mourned a quiet woman who always looked at life with eyes full of color. The owner of the old building donated it to the town in Juanita’s name. They put her paintings inside for all to see and it was run as a gallery for young and old artists.

One day a beautiful sign showed up on the building.

Juanita’s Joy

A place for all to enjoy beauty in all its glorious colors





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Blogging · Fiction · postaday · Serial story · stories · Uncategorized · writing

The Cat People of Kagir Manor ~~ Part 4

If you haven’t read the other parts you can find them here:

Part one

Part two

Part three


The Cat People of Kagir Manor

With two Purrs either side of them, they were powerless to stop what was happening as the Purrs stripped each man of their clothing. As the Purrs removed the clothing of the men,  they chatted back and forth amongst themselves showing little interest in the men themselves, but more on getting the job done.

Stripped naked the men were taken into the bathroom and told to shower. Once clean they were taken back to their respective beds and dressed in their new garments.

Michael’s blue outfit, a one-piece body type suit, was a good fit but he was feeling very conspicuous in it. The other men were dressed in red, green, yellow, and an unfortunate beige on Roger but as Michael thought, Roger was a beige sort of guy.

As Phil, in red stated, “It could have been worse, they could have been hot pink.”

The Purrs, satisfied they had completed their tasks, then left the room, the door closing behind them with a resounding bang. The men in their colourful attire looked at each other. Forcing themselves momentarily to stifle laughter at each other’s appearance. They did each giggle at the sight of one another as none of the men could brag a physique that warranted being found in a body suit. Their own clothes had long disappeared while they were in the shower and so they could do nothing else other than wait the next development.

After the first few minutes of laughing at each other’s outfits a silence fell among the men. Phil, who was closest to the door, stepped over to it and quietly tried the handle. Just as he suspected it was locked. 

Motioning for the other four to follow him Michael walked to the farthest wall away from the locked door. Huddling together, Michael whispered, “I wonder what will happen next?”

Phil whispered back, “Why are we whispering?”

“They probably have the room bugged.” Michael answered softly, while looking around the room. 

“Camera’s too, I imagine.” Roger whined.

All five of the men looked around, suddenly feeling uncomfortable and just a bit frightened. They could see nothing obvious, but they were in a witches manor, so who knew what was real and what wasn’t.

Michael’s mind went to Catfranka, again seeing her beautiful face and long silver hair. He wondered how that hair would feel against his skin. Shaking the wandering thought out of his mind, he walked towards the door and knocked with the hope someone would answer.

There wasn’t an answer to the knock, but the men heard a slight whooshing sound behind them as a large TV screen opened against one wall. They unconsciously grouped tighter together as the screen flickered, then came to life. An old man’s faced loomed large on the screen. He didn’t look like one of the cat people; he looked human. 

“Good evening, gentlemen. I do hope you find your accommodations comfortable.”

The old man’s voice was strong, yet gentle. His aged face was deeply lined with wrinkles. His blue eyes were bright and youthful and full of intelligence. He looked like a kindly grandfather with steel-gray hair hanging just a bit long.

Phil spoke up first, “Who are you and why is our door locked?”

“My name is Shatar, I am Catfranka’s shaman. As for your door being locked, that is for your own protection, for now. Our people don’t trust humans, so until we determine you will not harm us, you will be quarantined.”

“Quarantined! I would think it is we who should be in need of protection! Not the other way around!” Michael spoke with righteous vigour.

Shatar smiled gently, “You are Catfranka’s honoured guests, you will not be harmed. Unless she states otherwise.”

Shatar waited a moment for the information he just shared to sink into the men.

You will stay in the room until such time as they determine your threat to them. Be patient, don’t do anything silly, a meal will be sent in to you very shortly.” With that said, his image vanished from the screen and the men were left alone.

Again, they huddled in the far corner whispering to each other.

It’s your fault Michael, you were the one to say we should come here.” said a disgruntled Roger.

It was clear, thought Michael, that the beige was too much for Roger and he was allowing it to get the better of him.

We were all curious,” said Michael, “There was never pressure for any of you to come. We are here now and we have to make the best of this situation, I don’t trust any of those cats, never been a big cat lover.”

The others nodded their acquiescence to their predicament except for Roger, who continued to grumble away to himself.


This story is a collaboration between Michael at Morpethroad and myself. It began when we realized our Friday Fictioneer stories


Had a common ground and decided to try our hand at writing a story from this base. So this is the fruit of our labors, a lot of fun and always a pleasant exercise.

Part 5 will continue the story tomorrow on Michael’s  blog. Please keep reading and we love comments!  Thank you.