I used to beg Mom to pass by the Tree Man’s house all of the time, even though I knew it was many miles out of the way.
Sometimes she humored me and we took that detour.
The house was lost in a jungle of overgrown underbrush and grass gone wild. All of this was in the shadows of five giant, ancient trees.
Around the yard he had planted strange sculpture carved from tree trunks. There were several up front with a “For Sale” sign, but most of them hid and creeped through his semi-suburban, semi-rural forest. Over the years I don’t think one of the “For Sale” sculptures were changed, neither a new one added nor an old one sold.
Rob paused at the door. Pa had gone into his special grove, as he did most days. Sometimes he’d just go in, whisper a few words, and then quickly catch up to Rob. Other times he might spend a half an hour or more, silently staring at the ground and that little bit of granite. Or that is what he used to do. Rob hadn’t followed him back in there in a few years, at least since he was 10. Now almost 13, he knew better than disturb Pa in his special place.
Satisfied that Pa wasn’t right behind him, Rob put the numbers into the cipher lock.
Pa had built the little three-room entryway ages ago, just after the Collapse, but over the years, Rob had helped him flesh it out.
Still not seeing Pa, he let the door shut and lock. Nobody had ever tried to break in, at least not that he knew of, but there were crazies out there and there would be Hell to pay if Pa found the door open.
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.”
Matt watched from his bedroom window as Ryan stormed away from the house. What did he say to Mom? Matt wondered.
Ryan stopped at the end of the drive, looked both ways, hunched his shoulders and then slowly walked down the road.
Ryan was in one of his moods again. When wasn’t he? Was that what 17 was all about, hatred and anger? Resentment of everything?
“Don’t try following me, you lib-tool snowflake!” Ryan had said. “And if you even think about going in my room, they’ll never find the body parts.”
All Matt had said as “Good morning,” and maybe something about being glad it was Saturday, but Ryan blew up at him. And what was with that stupid warning about his stupid room? Nick had said that he thought Ryan was making bombs or something there. Matt wasn’t sure if Nick was joking.
He had done it again, descended so far into his work that he lost himself. The little beep, to let him know someone had entered the gallery, had snatched him back to the present.
He pushed away from the easel. He always fretted that he’d never get back to that spot to continue, to finish, but he always did find his way there, and being a color pencil drawing, he didn’t have to worry about what dried and what didn’t.
Matt turned off the light and moved to the window at the door from the studio to the gallery. From the gallery side the widow was a mirror. Matt liked to know who was there before he entered.
The woman was only a few steps inside, doing a slow sweep of the shop as if lost. Her eyes were wide and her mouth slightly open. She took a tentative step and stopped again, staring at a painting.
Matt hesitated. Something about the woman. Her lines. He grabbed a sketchbook and drew a 10 second gesture. Not quite it. The rhythm of her body was off. Continue reading →
At last, a few minutes to sit and write! What a freaking nightmare it has been. I guess I need to start at the beginning, just in case I don’t make it, so people know what happened.
I was on a flight from LAX to Seoul to join up with the rest of the cast. I’ll admit that I was excited to be starring in an action film based in Asia. I mean, when I was a kid, women were the victims in this type of film, and yet, here I was… Anyway, the flight didn’t go well.
OK, just a few flashes on what occurred on the flight.
We kept diverting south because of a major storm. And then the turbulence. I once experienced sever turbulence, the scariest half of an hour in my life.
This was worse.
Yeah. Nightmare. Maybe someday I’ll be able to say more. It is too soon.
I came to on a beach.
Every inch of my body hurt, yet, after checking myself, I only had a few minor injuries.
About an hour later I saw something floating towards shore. OK, I had seen a few other pieces of wreckage wash up, but this was larger and as it got closer, I realized that there was person on it. Continue reading →
“I’m afraid so,” Tej said. He pointed out into the water. “Look, though, you can see the path is still there.”
I had seen it, of course, but it didn’t help our cause.
The trail continued into the sea for a very short distance on a narrow point of land. As it went out, the soil was washed away leaving bare rock. And finally, the rock was gone leaving just water.
I shook my head. “That’s it. Fine. Let’s make camp on higher ground. We’ll look around tomorrow, but I’m afraid we’ll have to return empty handed.”
I followed Tej, our best tracker, away from the water’s edge. He would find us the perfect place to spend the night. He always did. He had a feel for the land and a knack for discovering its secrets. Continue reading →
“We have come to an impasse. As you are well aware, the farther we move from the shore and into the mountains, the more often we have come across small falls, rapids or other discontinuities. We have found a way to overcome all, until now. A cascade which, though small, is surrounded by sheer cliffs, now stands between us and our goal. It is impossible to portage our craft and provisions around this wild water and no clear trail can be found.
“We are now setting up a small fort, where we plan to winter. Come Spring, we will either find an alternative route or call off our quest.
“At this time, all forward motion has come to an end.”
Reg read the note from his forward captain, Dwight Pashey, three times over.