I look up at the dark ridge where I last saw him silhouetted against the sinking sun.
It continues to scream its emptiness.
I had always heard that he was the type to hold a grudge, so was a little surprised when he called me. After a nice, amicable chat we decided to go hiking in the mountains. We both loved getting out into the fresh air, though I had to admit that he was a better, stronger hiker.
He drove us out into deep wilderness. Perfect. We didn’t see a person all day.
I have no idea what happened. The day had been long and I was very tired. Making mistakes. Having a hard time with footing.
The way the sun rose sluggishly that morning; the way the mist clung to the tree branches, refusing to let go; the way the birds wouldn’t roost or stop to eat at any of the feeders, restlessly flapping from place to place with no rest; the way the light turned from a pleasant dawnish yellow to an ugly violent violet; the way a slight breeze made the ancient tower of the ancient church sigh and moan; the way the shadows seemed to dance and move instead of lying peacefully on the ground; the way that bark of the dog thudded dully, swallowed by silence instead of sounding bright and coppery, echoing through the streets; all of these things and more told the people of the village that this was no ordinary day, that things were going to happen, perhaps unpleasant things.
Penelope rose, sniffed the air and went back to bed. She never did that; she was always the first to greet the day with a smile despite having nowhere to go and nobody with whom to share the day. William’s car wouldn’t start, no matter what, and so he was late to work for the first time in over 30 years. Bruce, who usually walked ever so boldly down the street, slunk with his head bowed down, casting frightened glances over his shoulder as if he thought a band of demons was on his tail. And perhaps there was.
This one is a little different – I wrote a new story for one of the old photo prompts. I hope you enjoy
Becky stared at the reflection on the water without seeing. Her mind had wandered to its own place, a place in the past.
She had discovered over the last two weeks of living with her uncle that the lakeside was the one place she could find shelter, to be truly alone for a short time. Alone. Away from him.
In the two weeks she had been there he had barely said a word, and when he did talk it was brusque, harsh. He rarely put more than three words together, and most of those phrases had the word “time” in them: “Time for dinner.” “Time to go.” “Time for bed.” The few others were just as bad: “Brush your teeth.” “Get ready.” “Wash up.”
And he didn’t even look at her most of the time! He might point his face at her when giving his orders, but she could tell that his eyes weren’t seeing her. Except when he did look, usually when she was doing something else. She would see him out of the corner of her eye just staring at her, a deep frown on his face.
(Originally posted on 22nd of November, 2019 for Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge)
It was just after the first real snow of the year. A couple of wet inches, which might be gone by noon or may last all winter, greeted us. It sure was pertty, that untracked white. I smiled at the sight, though dreaded the cold winter ahead.
A chill ran through my bones as I thought of last winter. Not everyone lives through winter, see? At least not out beyond the frontier. Yeah, it was pertty an’ all, and I was as happy as the others, but…
“I say winter is here, no matter the calendar tells us. Let’s get our tree today,” Pa said as we stood around gaping the changed world.
This was written for Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge on May 25, 2017. As Sue is taking time off of posting new challenges, Willow has had the great idea to re-post old stories created for the challenge.
I crested a small ridge and the countryside became familiar. It wasn’t anything that could be seen, not any feature or landmark, it had to do with the scent of the air, the feel under my feet and the quality of the sunlight. I inhaled deeply and knew that I was almost home.
I was but a child when I was ripped from my parents’ arms and given an unbalanced spear and loose fitting leather cap. I was told to kill or be killed, that king and country depended on me and my fellow farm hands that were rounded up to be shipped to distant lands to fight for noble arguments none of us understood.
Within weeks I was the only person from my village left alive. Within months there was no other surviving commoner from within day’s walk of my childhood home. The local lord, who had taken me from my fields, died within the first year. His lord, a baron, was dead within three. Ten years of constant battle and we had taken the enemy’s capital. Another five and I was sent home, dressed in fine silks and fine mail, a bag of gold and silver at my hip and another tied to my saddle.
(This was originally posted on April 6, 2017 as part of Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge)
“See here,” wise Beandor said to his young pupil, Therry, “This arch, though appearing so weak, is very strong. Although the walls may crumble, unless the keystone is disturbed, the arch will stand and bear weight.”
Beandor used his staff to tap the keystone of the arch.
“This arch has allowed people into this temple for over a thousand years, protecting our town of Kernsh from every attack. Look at this ancient place, overlooking the mighty ocean, it appears weak, and yet it is so strong, like our people. Our fair country, Aladia, seems fragile, and yet it is just these points that keep it whole.”
(This was originally posted on May 30, 2019 as part of Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge)
Meg crested the small hill and stopped. A last fragrant breeze wafted up from the ocean as the sun slipped down for the night, causing the sky and water to flame.
Her heart bounded and for a minute she felt like a little girl, full of the desires of youth and pull of the sea and distant lands, the deep unending yearning, the yearning to be someplace, anyplace, else.
She brought herself back to the present and found An watching that same sunset. She gave a knowing smile and walked over to her granddaughter.
Edna sat down at her favorite bench, giving silent thanks that it was open. She had seen it occupied at other times of the day, but it was always open for her late morning breakfast and had been for years.
How long had it been?
She thought back. She had started to come down to the park the year after Ed died. Let’s see, that was in ’98. And it was two years later that she settled on that one bench.
So there it was, 18 years of sitting there with her lunch every day.
She spread some crusts out, as always, before getting up and doing her the bit of walking she did every day.
There were a few paths that curved around the lovely garden that she loved to take. Her favorite, though, went through a little hidden grotto. Not a cave, just a little nook in the wall.
“Hey boy, get me that crescent wrench. The middle sized one, now, ya hear, boy?”
“I’ve got a name,” Mark grumbled to himself as he dug through the pile of greasy tools trying to figure out which wrench was the “middle sized one”.
As Mark compared seven different wrenches, he inwardly cringed. Dad would mangle the car and make it worse. No use telling him that he needed the right tool, and that the crescent wrench, even the exact one he wanted, wasn’t right. He’d heard it before. Continue reading →