Note – I wrote and posted this almost exactly three (3) years ago, on March 1, 2018. It was written for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge that week. Since Sue is unable to post new photos, many of us are bringing back posts from the past to show our appreciation for the stories and ideas that she inspired :) See below for more detail on this story.
With no wizard’s light to guide us, we ran through the darkness. Occasionally a great leap of fire was reflected on the dark stone, casting an evil red glare across our party, but mostly we moved through a black so deep it seemed a physical force. On we went, stubbing toes and scuffing hands as we ran in pitch black.
“I see light,” the sharp eyed elf yelled. “Daylight!”
We ran faster, though us mere mortals could see naught. I bumped into a man, a common occurrence in this mad dash. But then something amazing happened. I could make out his form. In a few more steps, I too could see the cool blue daylight. We might make it!
There were guards at the entrance, but they were expecting an attack from the outside, not one from within. We swept them away without an injury on our part and pushed out into the open.
(This story was posted almost exactly a year ago, on 2/14/2020 (Valentine’s Day!) With Sue not able to put up a new write-photo prompt, I decided to revisit this one :) And a reminder to visit the Carrot RanchSue Vincent Rodeo Classic.)
I felt the turbulence as she entered the room, the low pressure system sucking the air out and drawing all eyes in.
A flash of lightning struck as she glanced around the packed room.
The crowds parted as torrent moved forward.
She didn’t even see me as she passed inches away, but the gale force winds turned me with her.
She went at the bar.
People turned back to what they were doing. The music came back on.
I remembered to breath.
But then I saw her again. I drew in a sharp breath.
My mind clouded up.
How dare I even think I could even speak to one such as her?
It seemed that every time I opened the door they were there. They followed me when I walked and even when I drove. They were everywhere. And, no, it wasn’t just my imagination since a few people commented on it.
The wings were beginning to drive me crazy. Why was I being shadowed so?
We all know what happened next, and the less said, the better.
Yep, lucky me, I was a survivor. A one in perhaps ten million survivor.
Only it wasn’t luck.
As I explored the new, emptier world, I still had my constant companions. The wings stopped bothering me and became welcome.
The world was not just emptier, it was lonelier and so I tried to communicate with my new “friends”. I slowly began to understand them.
No, it wasn’t luck.
I discovered that I was the region’s appointed survivor.
They knew it was coming and wanted a representative human to keep around for a while. You know, as a warning.
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.