The Fire

“You are very lucky”, they have said that several times, the doctors, the nurses, the white-coated collection of people who regularly pass through my room.

“Only superficial damage. Nothing permanent.” They say and then they smile. I nod, they tick the chart and they leave. Leaving me alone to dwell on my own superficial life. The cycle has repeated steadily over the last few days since the accident. The worst part to me is the word ‘superficial’. Who came up with that word to be used when my skin looks like it has been dragged backwards through a shredder? I mean for crying out loud, it has the word ‘super’ embedded right in there. So, I am stuck in this bed with my superficial face, dwelling on my superficial life, that had seemed so perfect, on the outside at least, like my skin, when inside my thoughts are consuming me.

It starts with those sleazy facebook psychology questions.

“Would you run into a burning building to save an animal?”… probably not.

“What about your own pet?” Oooh, harder… probably…

“What about a relative?”…yes most definitely.

“What if you got inside that burning building thinking you were saving someone but there turned out to be no-one inside the building apart from yourself? And now you are the one that needs saving? What if the person that then saved you died? Would you feel lucky? Thankful?”

The words swirled their way around my head. Taunting every waking hour. I was sure something had driven me inside that building. I must have seen something… or heard someone… I wouldn’t run into a burning fire for nothing. So, what had lured me there? I had to get out this hospital bed, go back to the building the fire had taken place in, I had to find out.


Originally written in response to Daily Post prompt – Superficial. Couldn’t resist toying around with this prompt, definitely something mysterious about it! I have a few thoughts on how to expand the story but thought the concept was an intriguing start.

KL ❤

It is the Beautiful Bird which gets Caged

There is a Chinese proverb which goes a little like…

Chinese Proverb - beautiful bird gets caged.

…this is where the story begins…

The sounds of the crowds drew her attention first. The excitement, the cheering, it could only mean one thing. The royal party was passing through. Cece pushed out the shop doorway to stand in the street where crowds now aligned each side. She was small framed and fit through the swarms of people to make her way to the front.

As the Royal train approached, she caught her breath, the beauty was beyond words. The musicians announced the approach. The Royal guard arrived first, their heads held high, their uniforms crisp and the horses held strictly in line. As each passed by the crowds pushed further and further forward.

The Royal carriage arrived next with the queen proudly waving from the window. The crowd leant further again. Cici found herself getting crushed, her breath drawing short, she gulped for air. As the carriage passed by the crowd finally gave way but on release Cici fell forward and collapsed to the ground, the rough surface shredding the skin of her arms. A sigh escaped from the crowd, and as Cici sat up cradling her aching arm, strong hands began helping her to her feet. To her astonishment, it was the prince.

“Are you okay?” concern filled his anguished gaze but Cici found her throat completely dry staring into his deep dark green eyes. After a few minutes, silence embarrassment filled her.

“Sorry, yes. Fine thank you.” Cici stammered. As she spoke a guard came towards them and Cici glanced up noticing the royal carriage ahead had also stopped. The queen was staring straight at Cici, her face a mask of fury.

“Sorry miss, we’ll need to move you. Lady Propensus is about to arrive.” Cici rushed to her feet, as the guard spoke. She nodded and made her way from the road back to the crowd. As she did, the prince grabbed her arm and whispered something in her ear. She wasn’t quite sure what it was and the prince walked away then effortlessly swung his body back onto the horse before she could ask him to repeat it, but it sounded like, “I hope to see more of you.” As he turned the horse to ride on, he gave one last wink to Cici, causing her to blush immensely.

As Cici turned to find her way back in amongst the crowd she felt eyes heavy upon her, uneasy she glanced around. Although most eyes, had now moved back to the prince a few gazed upon her, but it was the steely unmoving gaze of the queens stare that had caused the fearful feeling in Cici, turning her blood cold as she pushed her way through the crowd and back to the shop. It was only once inside she heard the queen bark the order for the carriage to move on.

 

Caged image by Sue Vincent.png

Caged photo courtesy of Sue Vincent

 

Several weeks passed and the town was full of excited whispers. No-one saw Cici pickpocket the prince, but the queen swore she had. All of that was forgotten in the frenzied excitement as the prince and his new bride rode down the street. The prince felt the guilt heavy in his stomach. The lady was no looker, not like the fallen beauty who had captured his heart a few weeks before, but the queen had assured him that was not to be his fate and taken care that it never could be. The secret of the innocent beauty was his burden to bear, the only way the queen would grant him his kingdom.



Originally written in response to Sue Vincents #Writephoto challenge – Caged!
Use the image to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… by noon (GMT) Wednesday 17th August and link back to Sue’s post with a pingback. KL❤

Dissolution

The monk put his head down as the discussion got heated. The royal commissioner had just finished reporting his findings and left. His report stating the monks were seriously breaking the rules they should be living by.

The monk knew it was his fault, he had gone to the Royal Commissioner in confidence. He had only meant to get his abbot in trouble, he lived a life of luxury while the rest of the order lived on a pittance.

The Royal Commissioner had grossly exaggerated his report and now the monastery was to be closed, they had a month to leave. Maybe they would reconsider? Or get an endowment to support the monastery themselves?

For now, he’d go to pray…tomorrow was another day.

trust_innocent_liars_tool_stephen king


Story originally written for Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge #WQWWC – Innocent.

How to participate? Select a quote that inspires you. Then write a short piece of flash fiction or poetry to share with us using the quote either in your story or as the title of your masterpiece. Then link back to Colleen at :-

https://silverthreading.com/2016/08/10/wqwwc-writers-quote-wednesday-writing-challenge-innocence/

Go on lad!

Jon stood on the sidelines watching. He hadn’t been picked, it was the same old story, the same old joke. He glanced over at his mother, wondering if she was disappointed. She sent him a smile and a thumbs up, perhaps he’d tell her he was too ill to come next week. The whistle blew and snapped him from his daydream. He glanced over to see his teammate on the ground clutching his leg. He felt a heavy hand on his shoulder and looked up at his coach.

“Go on lad! This is your chance. Go make us all proud.”

football match - photo by yinglan


Originally written in response to FFfAW. Thank you Yinglan for the photo prompt for this weeks FFfAW’s Challenge – to write a story in 100-175 words (or less) using the above image..

Unearthing the Ancestors – #Writephoto

Sam’s team had been digging for days. The heat had been unbearable, the sun relentless in its crusade against them. Sweat dripped from every pore stinging their eyes repeatedly. It hadn’t mattered, Sam’s craving to know what was inside had overruled it all. And now it was time, the boulder was now ready to move. He nodded at the men gathered around the stone and they each got into position. He nodded again and they all began to push. At first, there was no movement. He urged the men to push harder and little by little grit began to rain down from the wedged stone. With one final heave, it began to roll away.

A cloud of dust escaped from the chamber and landed on the men, obscuring visibility of what was inside. As the dust settled they could make out a hallway between the stones. The men turned to Sam awaiting instructions for who was to go inside but he held up his hand and made his way into the chamber, once inside his men followed.

Liminal - Chamber Photo by Sue Vincent.png

Liminal – Photo courtesy of Sue Vincent

 

As he walked Sam’s steps became robotic, an automated movement, his men behind him looked at each other confused, something wasn’t right. As they walked each of Sam’s men began to cough and splutter, finally dropping to their knees and crawling from the chamber. Eventually, only one man remained, he glanced towards Sam’s disappearing shape and back at the direction of the men who had all left him. His throat began to itch. With one last glance at Sam, the man turned and ran from inside the chamber.

Sam completely unaware was now alone in the chamber, yet he continued to walk on and on… Exactly as the ancestor’s voices told him too.


Resisted the temptation to call this story “The Chamber of Secrets” – I’m sure that title has been used someplace else – haha! Originally written in response to Sue Vincents #Writephoto challenge. Use the image to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… by noon (GMT) Wednesday 10th August and link back to Sue’s post with a pingback. KL ❤

Stepping Stones – #writephoto

She walked hastily to the stones. It was her favourite time sneaking across to see him. All her friends told her no. She would get in so much trouble, but it was worth it for those few hours in his arms. They would run through the woods together, share sandwiches together. Last time it had been even more exciting, he had placed a daisy in her hair and leant in and kissed her. She couldn’t believe it and couldn’t wait to do it again.Even the rain couldn’t dampen her spirits.

She skipped happily towards the bay, but on arrival was devastated to see that the water was too high and the stone crossing was hidden beneath the waves. He waved to her from the other side but with little she could do, they both turned away. She stepped slowly and gloomily down the bay until she came across a stone shelter, glancing back she decided she wasn’t too far away, she could wait here until it was clear and then surprise him.

Nestled in she waited for hours listening to the water. Finally, her eyelids became heavy and she drifted off to sleep. She awoke with a start, then remembering where she was and her plan she looked out of her cave towards the stepping stones, they were clear. Clumsily she started to climb from the shelter. Her excitement mounted as she watched him emerge from the trees, had he waited for her too? Then from behind him stepped a girl. That was when she noticed, his hand was entwined in hers and the girl wore a daisy in her hair. To rub salt into the wound, he stopped and kissed the girl.

Walking back from the shelter to her home, her sanctuary, she wiped the dripping tears. She would never tell the others what happened by the stepping stones.

 

Stepping Stones by Sue Vincent

Stepping Stones Image by Sue Vincent

 

 


Originally Written in response to Daily Echo’s #WritePhoto challenge. Use the image to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… by Wednesday 27th July and link back to Sue’s blog.

Another Way

Yan cut through the tiny alleyway.

He knew it was a risk, if the market stall holder caught him here he would be trapped and they would beat him, but if he could just make it to the end he knew he could make his way down several other snickets and away to safety.

He had never wanted this life, never wanted to steal from innocent workers.

Fate had other plans and with a small child to feed he had no choice, but as he ran for his life, he couldn’t help think there had to be another way.

 

Alleyway photo by Jan Morrill

Alleyway photo by Jan Morrill

 

 

Originally written in response to Friday Fictioneers challenge. Using the above image create a short story in 100 words or less.

 

Roane’s House – A selkie’s tale.

My mother had told me the legend many times growing up, but it wasn’t until I met him, my secret, that I realised it was true.

We met the day before my sixteenth birthday. I walked along the shoreline, my heart breaking, the tears falling, and my frustration at the unfairness of it all as I recovered from the news that the boy I loved was due to be married to another. As the wind whipped my long red hair into a tangled frenzy and the wet sand beginning to stick between my toes, I decided it was time to head for a bit of shelter and made my way to Roane House. Roane House was an abandoned house that was often under the waves of the sea but when the water was out, as it was today, it was a sacred, mystical place, a tween place, half owned by the land half owned by the sea. It was the perfect shelter for me today to be alone with my troubles, or so I thought.

Still Waters Photo by Sue Vincent

Still Waters photo by Sue Vincent – #writephoto

 

Sitting in the ancient doorway, I startled when he approached from behind me.

“Do you mind?” Has no-one told you it’s rude to sneak up on someone?” I got to my feet and folded my arms crossly how dare he invade my space unwanted.

He tilted his head to one side and grinned at me. His eyes were so brown and large, the twinkle of glee in them infuriated me further.

“You” he pointed, “are the one in my house”.

“Your house?” I stammered, I had not expected this.

“Yes, I’m Roane and I think you will find this is my house, it has been in my family for generations.”

“But it’s not even a proper house, it’s a shell.” I tried desperately to think of something clever to say, nothing was coming quickly to my mind. “Besides, I’ve lived here for years and never seen you before”.

“Well, we don’t always come here, and I’m not always allowed on the land…” The glint from his eyes dimmed just a little. It surprised me that I hated to see it fade.

“You mean this bit of land? Does your family have a lot of land then?”

“Yes, we travel all over to lots of land.” The twinkle appeared once more. “This is my favourite place, though.” I nodded understanding, it was for me too. A few precious moments of silence filled the air as each of us got lost in our own thoughts.

“Do you want to take a walk?” I asked.

“I love walking!” Roane exclaimed. I looked at him. He truly was strange but his smile couldn’t be resisted, so I giggled in agreement. We walked along the stones to the sea, then along the sandy mounds of the bay. He told me of the sights he had seen, his world seemed so adventurous compared to mine. As the sun set, we walked back towards Roane House. I leaned against one side of the doorway and he nervously leaned against the other.

“It’s late and I should go,” I said, knowing the last thing I wanted to do was leave.

“Well you come see me again?” he asked, his dark brown eyelashes framing his large pleading eyes.

“Of course. Tomorrow?” He shook his head no, then scuffed his feet against the stones.

“No it can’t be tomorrow, it will be seven years before I can return. Will you come see me again then.”

I nodded my mind not really understanding, he smiled, leaned forwarded and planted a heavy kiss on my cheek. Pulling away he grinned, then I watched as he turned and ran along the stone walkway to the water. He dove in head first with a cheer of delight, while I watched in horror. Seconds later a head appeared, although it was no longer that of the boy I had spent my day with but a seal in his place. I paused running along the walkway with him, my eyes never leaving the seal’s face. As I drew closer I noticed his eyes and my mind finally understood. Roane was a selkie. I nodded and raised my hand to wave goodbye. With a splash, he jumped back into the water and swam away from sight.

“See you in seven years, Roane.” I whispered to the sea as I turned and made my way home.


old myths - old gods - sleeping - wisdom - stanley kunitz.png



I combined Sue’s beautiful image from her #Writephoto challenge with today’s WQWWC – Inspiration with the fabulous quote on old myths, to create this mythical piece of fiction. I loved the themes combined and hope you do to.

Much Love
KL ❤

If Only They Knew – The Watching Witch #writephoto

She stood against the tower window looking down at the modern streets below. Most didn’t realise she was still there, her hair long and grey now,

The Tower - Photo Courtesy of Sue Vincent

Tower Image Courtesy of Sue Vincent @ Daily Echo

her fingers gnarled but her mind remained as sharp as ever. There was occasionally a few who sensed her watching. A witch they called her. She didn’t mind the name really but she liked to think of herself as more of a watcher. She enjoyed the watching.

 

What they didn’t know was that she had a job to do, an important one, she was the one that changed the weather when she needed to. In the height of summer when the rain came, it was because she sensed the grass was beginning to whither. When the winter came yet a day was warm, it was because she had sensed an elderly lady whose time was not yet up, but that was at risk from the cold. When the grounds flooded, it was to wash a beached whale back out to the sea. Yes, they may not know she was there, they may complain at her powers, or the seasons or the weather, but if only they knew the real reasons she watched and what good she did to their small world. It seemed there was a lot of complaining about her good these days, maybe it was time to take a break, maybe then they would realise?


Originally written in response to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt – with the amazingly mysterious tower picture (above) combined with my own #maydays prompt. Check them out for a fabulous collection of tales and maybe some inspiration for your own blog too.

KL ❤

The Story of Arthur and Rose – #Writephoto

I was sitting on a bench by the river studying on a perfect April day, the sun was shining warm upon my skin and a gentle breeze occasionally rifled the pages laid out around me. Engrossed in the course-work laid out before me I was unaware of the little old man wandering along the pathway until he was beside me on the bench.

“Morning,” he said cheerfully as I glanced up at him from my books.

“Morning”, I replied and watched as the little old man sat down on the end of the bench, a beautiful bouquet of roses wrapped in twine filling his withered hands. I moved some of my books to allow him more room but he never moved and seemed happy just to sit in his spot watching the river glide past. After 10 minutes, the old man stood and walked towards the little bridge going over the river but instead of stepping on it, he made his way down the pathway and ever so gently placed the flowers in the water and watched them drift away down the river. Once they were out of sight, he made his way back up the bank across the little bridge and away.

I stared after his disappearing form, my mind trying to understand the strangely beautiful sight it had just witnessed. The flowers must have been fake, I thought. When he disappeared from view I returned to my books and soon the moment was forgotten.

As the beautiful weather continued, I returned to my favourite study spot as often as possible. Exactly one week after the first incident, the old man appeared once again. I struggled to suppress my excitement when he sat down beside me with the most beautiful flowers once again with the same greeting as before. My eyes focussed on the flowers, they were definitely real.

“Those flowers are beautiful”, I stammered trying to encourage conversation.

“Thank you, I grow them special for my wife, her favourite is the roses”, the old man responded and then turned his head towards the water. His eyes glazed over as he stared out and despite nothing else being said, I understood that the moment was private and his own. Once again after a brief period he stood and made his way to the water, delicately placed the flowers and watched as the water took them away.

This continued every week until my exams were over, we said little to each other apart from the same greeting and I understood the moment was his. Then summer started and I forgot all about the little old man who made the trip to the river each week.

In September, school restarted and I returned to my same study spot, I couldn’t deny my excitement when I saw the crooked figure walking towards me, his routine remained unchanged. Yet, this time, my eyes couldn’t stop staring at him, his step was much slower, his back was now a lot more hunched and his eyes looking deep and sallow in their sockets. I returned to my books as he sat down, trying to stop the staring but I couldn’t help my eyes returning from over the pages.

“Hi Kayley,” he said towards me.

“How did you know…” I started but his withered hand stretched out and returned to the notebook on the bench, my name in bold on the cover. I laughed in response.

“My name is Arthur.” I sat upright and leaned towards him taking his old hand gently I gave it one short shake.

“Pleased to meet you, Arthur”.  He nodded then stood up to leave, but after struggling to catch his breath he landed back heavily on the bench.

“Are you okay, Arthur?”. I threw my books down and fled to his side, picking up his roses that had fallen heavily onto the floor. A few of the stems had broken and as I handed them back to Arthur tears fell from his eyes.

“Oh no. I have broken my promise.” He mumbled under his breath.

“It’s okay Arthur, they aren’t that bad and you only put them in the river anyway.” I said trying to soothe him, but his eyes turned dark and hard as he looked at me, the pain glistening through the tears.

“I don’t put them in the river. I send them to my wife.” Confusion filled my face and I tried not to question him as I could see he was getting more and more upset. He slowly got control of his breathing, then looking at my anguished face continued.

“When my wife agreed to marry me I promised her flowers every week for the rest of her life. She was taken from me far too young and it was her wishes that her ashes be scattered in the river.” I nodded understanding and watched as he outstretched his arm. “It was that bridge I proposed to her. But once I scattered her ashes I had nowhere to send her flowers, then I realised the river would take them to her for me. I have sent her flowers every week since until I can be with her.” At that, he gave a hefty cough. “I don’t think that will be long now. And look at those flowers, I cannot send her those.”

I followed his gaze down to the sorry looking bunch of flowers. In a moment of inspiration I carefully untied the twine and removed the broken flowers, there wasn’t much left but a few strong roses remained. I stood up and wandered from the bench selecting some long grass stems, some ferns and some purple flowers from a tree and some big white daisies. Returning to the bench I selected the best from my collection and structured them by height with the roses featured prominently in the middle. Carefully taking the twine I wrapped them back up and handed them to Arthur’s trembling hands.

“Will she accept these, Arthur?” I asked cautiously.

“She will love them.” I nodded and slipping the rest of my books in my bag stood and helped him up.Roses

“Why don’t you let me walk with you, Arthur? I think I have been sat too long.” He nodded and I eased him off the bench. We walked arm in arm to the riverbed where he placed the flowers then I walked alongside him, to his front door just over the bridge.

“Thank you, Kayley.” He said as I stepped away from the doorway.

“Arthur, what was your wife’s name?” I asked.

“Rose.” I nodded just the once then left, knowing I had intruded on his personal space enough.

The next week I sat by the riverbed but Arthur didn’t return. I waited and waited but he didn’t show. Eventually, I stood and made my way over the bridge towards his home. As I did I searched the river for a sign he had been and I had missed him. My heart caught in my throat as on the opposite bank the bouquet I made stood caught in reeds. It hadn’t floated down the river. I reached over into the water and pushed the dying flowers on their way but once again they got stuck. I pushed them once more and finally they floated off down the river. Walking to Arthur’s house I could see people stood outside in a huddle. I stopped to listen and it turned out Arthur had been found in his greenhouse that morning.

I smiled as I walked away, my heart finding peace in the sadness. Arthur was taking Rose her flowers.

The next week I returned to the bench but my mind couldn’t focus. I kept looking for Arthur to appear, knowing that he wouldn’t. Frustrated, I looked at the crumpled pages before me. Ripping the page from the book, I began to fold and fold my mind lost in the motion. With my masterpiece complete I stood up and walked to the small pathway beside the bridge. Leaning carefully towards the water I placed the paper rose in the river and watched as it floated away. So, if you ever see a paper rose in the water, you know it’s just me saying hello to Arthur and Rose.

Origami River Rose


Originally written in response to this week’s photo prompt for Sue Vincents #writephoto challenge. A bit of a risk but I hope people enjoy it; romance isn’t really my genre but sometimes a story just wants to be told.