Nominated For The Real Neat Blog Award

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Hi everyone,

It’s been awhile since we last had a non-fiction post! But I just picked up a message about being given this award and I wanted to announce it. A big thank you to Amelia over at http://www.youcanalwaysstartnow.com for nominating me.

Rules;

1. Post the Award logo and answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you.
2. Thank the person who nominated you in your post and link to their blog.
3. Nominate and link to some bloggers you’d like to see respond.
4. Create 7 questions for your nominees to answer & let them know they are nominated in a comment on their blog.

The seven questions I have to answer are;

What are you currently reading?

The Beast by J .R. Ward. I’m going to finish it tonight though and then I’m going to start Prince Lestat and Atlantis by Anne Rice. So looking forward to that!

What book(s) or courses are on your 2017 list to take?

I’m going to do a first level degree in blogging and a level 2 teaching assistant course. I brought them off Groupon a few months ago and as of yet haven’t gotten around to taking them! I also want to look at doing a Youth Worker course again and now maybe an admin or business one too. I’ve a massive book list, but I want to read The True Blood series next year now.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?

I want to go to Texas USA. I’ve no idea why I feel so drawn to Texas, but I just do.

What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

Don’t listen to the year 4 teacher who told you to give up writing stories because you weren’t good enough!

How/why did you get into blogging?

As a piece of homework at uni. It was to set up a blog and write a few posts, but I got addicted. Now, I’ve like 3 blogs!

What is your favorite decorating accessory?

Yankee Candles – you can’t go wrong with them really as they look nice even when they are not lit. If that doesn’t count then I’m going with fresh flowers.

What are your favorite Instagram accounts right now?

I’ve Instagram, I think, maybe…but I don’t use it much. So I don’t know.

 

The seven questions I’m going to ask are;

  1. What are you looking forward to most about 2017?
  2. Have you ever written a story about a pet you owed/owe?
  3. What’s your favorite thing to pin on Pinterest?
  4. Have you done all your Christmas present shopping yet?
  5. What book/s are you most looking forward to being published in 2017?
  6. Have you ever knitted something?
  7. What was the last thing you brought on Amazon?

 

I’m going to nominate;

https://scvincent.com/

https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/

https://yzhengblog.wordpress.com/

https://rumpydog.com/

Done!

Here are some links to where you can also follow me if you want to;

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thestoryfiles

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ironmaidenfan9

Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/user?u=327832

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=208056472&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/hails9/

Blogger: http://hailscrazyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

WordPress: https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/ and

https://negativitybreakout.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7400715-hayley-hardman

Google + : https://plus.google.com/u/0/+HayleyHardman

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/thestoryfilesblog

Also, I know there something up with the display bar on the right side, but I can’t figure out how to fix that. Might have to take it all down and re-put it up when I have the time.

Thanks so much for reading my stories, liking them, leaving comments and following this blog. I’ve 363 followers and even though it’s a push I’d love to hit 400 by the end of the year. So please share my blog and spread the word.

Tomorrow sees the start of December and Christmas/winter themed short stories. I can’t believe another year is almost over! That means I’ve been writing this blog for three years now. I still have plans to put together short stories collections for kindle

Also, if you’d like to submit a short story please do. I’m looking to really get some for next year now. The guidelines are here; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/submission-guidelines/

Once again thanks to Amelia for giving me this award, see you all tomorrow!

Hayley.

December’s Arrival

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The nights were darker and the days seemed shorter. There was less color in the world and it was quieter too. As Mavis watched the midnight hour arrive from her bedroom window, she let go of the breath she had been holding. It was December at last.

Snow Dust

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The bench sat facing out to the water which would have froze over had it not been for the waves constant movements back and forth. A light dusting of snow covered all, making the bench useless, for who would want to sit upon it and stare out at the waters on a day like today? There was nothing to see anyway, but the cold grey sky and even duller landscape. It was enough to make anyone depressed and wishing to be beside a fire where it was bound to be warmer and happier.

Cold Morning

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Lizzy didn’t want to get up, but the alarm clock was demanding she did. Throwing the bedding back from her nest, she got up and ran to the bathroom, before her body had time to register the cold. She got in the shower and blasted hot water until she felt like a layer of skin had been burnt off.

She got out before she had fully thought about it. Leaving the shower to drip itself to a stop, Lizzy wrapped three towels around herself and went back to the bedroom. There she got dressed, trying not to take too long to decide what office clothes to wear. Anything warm and comfy would do.

In black trousers, a dark blue blouse and a long black cardigan, Lizzy sat before her mirror and sorted out her hair. Then abandoning the towels on the heating rack, she went into the kitchen and made breakfast. It was at that point Lizzy’s mind fully awoke. It was as if someone had flipped the switch that made her off autopilot and on to normal again.

Lizzy sighed as the kettle clicked and the microwave binged.

‘I don’t want to go to work today,’ she muttered, ‘its going to be another blue Monday.’

She made a cup of tea then collected her porridge out of the microwave. She put the TV on just for background noise and had breakfast whilst half watching the news. Then she left her things in the sink, feeling an odd sense of satisfaction that no parent or housemate could yell at her. Living alone might have it’s loneliness, but there were so many benefits.

Gathering her things, putting on her shoes and coat, she risked a peek out of the windows and saw the streets below shining as if a million tiny diamonds had been dropped on the tarmac. The weather forecast hadn’t lied.

Leaving, Lizzy didn’t bother calling the elevator, but went straight down the five flights of turning stairs. She braced herself at the front door then opened it. An icy wind blew in her face and around her legs like an old man’s wandering fingers. Lizzy fought it off and hurried outside. She walked boldly to the bus stop and waited with a few other people.

There were two old women dressed like Antarctic explorers with shopping bags on wheels. A middle-age man in a tried grey business suit who looked washed out by society’ demands. Four chatting school girls in mini skirts and nothing covering their legs, but short socks. Lizzy wondered how they masked the cold they must be feeling so well.

The bus pulled up and it was full as was to be expected. She showed her pass and had to stand up for the twenty minute ride into the city center. Luckily, her office was just around the corner. Getting off in a sea of people, Lizzy hurried down the slippy street and to the office door. She took off her gloves keyed in the numbers and opened the door when it clicked.

Climbing the stairs, she decided to head straight to the kitchen and make herself a hot drink. Maybe some fancy fruit tea? She pushed open her office door and stopped.

Brightly colored Christmas decorations were hanging from the ceiling and the windows. Plastic ornaments spun in the breeze from the door and the soft notes of Christmas songs tickled her ears. In the far corner, a fake green Christmas sat. Heavily decorated with cheap tatty things which the string of fairy lights lit brightly up.

Lizzy walked in and closed the door. A few people were at their desks all ready. Their voices as they spoke to one another or to someone on the phone rose and fell. She went into the small kitchen and found that had had a make over too. Someone had hung some mistletoe up by the window and there was a wicker gift basket by the sink.

She went over and looked at it. A large noticed announced it was a collection for the homeless to be given to the church just up the road on Christmas Eve. Lizzy tucked the card back and made herself a strawberry and lime tea. She took it back to her desk and just sat there for a few moments.

There’s just something, she thought, about Christmas decorations that makes you feel at home. I guess I was wrong about it being another blue Monday.   

Fairy Shrine

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Lucy walked briskly through the woods, letting her dogs run free. This early in the morning the paths were almost empty and Lucy thought how wise people were to stay in bed. She longed to be back in the dry warmth instead of out here in the freezing damp.

Winter had arrived over night shaking away the mild glorious autumn. A thick frost covered the ground turning everything white. Small puddles were iced over and tree trunks were splattered with water crystal patterns. A thin fog hung high between the tree tops, hills and clear bright blue sky.

Lucy’s breath misted before her face and no matter how much she tried she couldn’t stay warm. Her boots scuffed over the stone pathway then she turned off and walked up a slope of grass into large group of trees. The frosty grass and fallen leaves crunched under her in nice crispy sounds. Ahead, she heard dogs barking and as she walked passed the first tree, she saw her four dogs fighting over a large branch.

The big husky was yanking one end of the branch whilst the border collie cross and cocker spaniel had the other. The jack russel was stood in the middle barking his head off.

Laughing, Lucy took out her phone and snapped some photos.  Then calling the dogs to her, she carried on walking. The jack russel was the first to come to her heels. Encouraging him on, the others gave chase and they all vanished into the trees once more. Following the path upwards, she walked her normal route.

However, as Lucy reached the top of the hill she decided to go left instead of right and take the shorter way back. Calling the dogs to her, she headed into a more dense part of the woods. The tree branches were bare above her and arching upwards to the sky. There were less leaves covering the floor up here and the ground was hard. Hurrying on and making sure she had all the dogs with her, Lucy noticed something.

Above her was an exposed rocky section of the hill and there was a doorway a meter further down.

‘What is that? I’ve never seen it before,’ Lucy spoke aloud.

Interested, she walked towards it and came to a stop before the doorway. It was made of white stones and seemed to lead into somewhere. It was too dark to see though. Walking on, she wondered if there was a pathway along there. Forgetting about the cold, she headed on and when the path came to lead off in a few directions, she turned left on a path that rose up and matched the one she had been on.

The dogs were barking in the distance and for a moment she wonder what trouble they were causing. Her eyes spotted the white doorway and all other thoughts left her mind. The doorway was low and narrow, but she could fit inside. Digging out her phone again, she turned on the torch and shone it in.

A passageway led further in, the walls, floor and ceiling were white like the doorway. Lucy stood up and glanced around. She thought about calling the dogs back to her. If there was something dangerous in there they could defend her. However, they were bound to get in the way. Shrugging, Lucy walked inside.

A few steps and the passageway opened into a small room. Objects were scattered everywhere; dried and dead flowers, statues of fairies and angels, coins, a small plastic waterfall, burnt out candles, teddy bears, tea cups and note cards.

Puzzled, Lucy shone the light around more then bent to look at one of the note cards. It was in a child’s handwriting and she could hardly read it because of the bad spelling. It seemed to be a wish of some kind. Lucy looked at the next few and they all seemed to be wishes.

Something wet pressed against her hand. Lucy cried and jump twisted around.

‘Benny!’ she cried at the jack russel, ‘don’t do that!’

The little dog wagged his tail and barked.

Lucy patted his head and looked around again.

‘What is this place?’ she asked.

Benny barked and jumped up at her.

Scrubbing his ears, Lucy heard her other dogs scuffling outside. Sighing, she headed back out. Dusting herself off, she walked back along the pathway, wondering about the tiny cave, the offerings and the wishes left inside.

 

(Story inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2016/11/24/thursday-photo-prompt-mystery-writephoto/ with thanks. Click to read stories other writers wrote.)

Frost

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Jack Frost opened his eyes and raised his head up. Around him, in the small underground cave he called home all the dead leaves with covered in ice. He rolled over, stretched and feeling -but not feeling as it- were the chill of the air around him. He rested back, putting his long pale blue arms across his skeleton chest and interlocking even longer fingers.

Looking up at the soil and roots above him, Jack listened to the earth. He had half hoped he’d been wrongly awoken, but no, autumn was coming to an end and it was time for him to go to work. He wiggled his long pointer toes then rolled back over and got on to his hands and knees.

He climbed out of his home and using the roots of the tree above, stood up. He could see the woodland floor was covered in leaves and mud, the tree branches above were bare and the sky was a dark grey wash. He began walking, leaving a trail of shiny white frost behind.

Jack reached his long fingers out and began touching the tree trunks and tall bushes. The icy spikes began to spread and he left them to cover everything. He walked down to the river’s edge and though there was little he could do to make the whole thing ice over, he tried anyway. It just wasn’t cold enough yet though and he could only form small ice patches.

He wandered on, trailing his fingers everywhere and leaving the frost behind him. Jack became lost in thought and sometime later he stopped and looked up at the sky. He could see the coming dawn.

How much longer until Santa arrives and brings the snow with him? Jack wondered.

He could never tell, only he knew it when he felt it.

He walked to the top of a hill. The highest one in the woods. He rose his hands to the sky and sent out waves of frost. Small snowflakes fell about him, telling Jack his frost was on its way to places. Yawing, he saw that dawn was tinting the sky yellow. He walked slowly back to his home, crawled inside and curled up to sleep again.

Tomorrow he would awaken again and create more frost.

Not A Merry Time

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Everywhere was Christmas themed and spirits were high.

He took no pleasure in it and shut out the carol singers.

He went back to sitting before the fire, sucking on a humbug whilst he thought, bugger them all.

Latte

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Sato felt warmed inside and out despite the rain hammering against the window. Sitting back in the over sized royal purple colored armchair, she carried on watching the wild wintry weather. Around her, the coffee shop was humming with soft voices, machines, people eating and drinking. The air was heavy with the smell of coffee beans, tea and cakes.

Wrapping her hands around the large red mug, Sato let her thoughts drift. She tried not to think too much about anything though; not her job, part-time studies, recent conversations with grandma, the breakup with her boyfriend. She thought about returning to Japan for Christmas. At least that would stop grandma complaining, but she still wouldn’t have anyone special to share Christmas Eve with.

Sighing, Sato looked into her mug at the light brown frothy top. The leaf pattern that had been drawn on top was almost gone now.

Just like autumn almost is, she thought.

Rising her head, she glanced around the coffee shop, which seemed as the weather raged outside to be too empty. There was only a few other armchairs and sofas occupied by single people or by couples. They all seemed quiet and reflective, just like her. Behind the counter, the two baristas were doing a quick clean up before someone else came in. Somehow, they were keeping their tasks quiet as if they didn’t want to disturb the peace that had settled in the air.

Sato turned back to the rain and condensation covered window. People were hurrying by tucked into coats and umbrellas. The wind was shaking the bus signpost and upturning everything it could. A car splashed through a puddle, sending spray everywhere and causing a man with a large briefcase to dodge out of the way.

In a better mood, she would have laughed at that. Instead, Sato felt slightly sorry for the man and sympathized with a near miss to her the other day. As she watched, he crossed the road and opened the door to the coffee shop. A blast of cold air and rain followed him. He went to the counter and began ordering.

A shiver ran through Sato then was gone. She un-crumbled her face and tried to go back to her thoughts again, but then she couldn’t remember what she had been thinking about. Shrugging, she brought the mug to her lips and taking a sip of sweet ginger spiced latte and let the world slide away.

Dragons

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As she handed the egg over, she knew he’d make the perfect father. It didn’t matter that he feared he wouldn’t right now because she felt within her heart thar once he saw the baby everything would be different. Letting her hands drop back to her side, she watched him staring at the cracks that were quickly forming across the egg.

Soon, she thought, we can put everything behind us and start a new life.

Yes, he repiled into her head, having overheard her thoughts.

She rolled her eyes then saw that the top was dropping off the egg. She drew closer, holding her breath as a small nose, large eyes and bronze colored scaly head rose upwards from inside the egg.

The baby dragon looked at them both. Made a little happy cry then hiccuped out a puff of smoke.

 

https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/microfiction-challenge-23-dragons-egg/

Photo ©Grantscharoff

Passage

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He hurried along the unlit underground passageway trying to be as quiet as possible. However, his sandals were slapping too loudly on the worn flagstones and the ends of his dark brown robe were making swishing noises around his legs. He wanted to stop and catch his breath, but he was late for midnight prayers.

He felt a welcome sense of relief as he saw the glowing outline of the door. He pressed on, battling the tightness in his chest and aching pain in his thigh. Keeping his eyes fixed on the light ahead, he wondered how many steps further it was.

Then his thoughts changed and out of no where, he saw an image of her by the flicking candlelight. The whiteness of her skin as the dress slipped off her, that desire in her bright blue eyes. The gold curls of her hair, the red rose bud lips and her voice whispering softly for him to come to her.

His toes suddenly hit the stone steps. He stumbled and fell spread eagle. Feeling pain his head, hands and knees he lay there for a few moments collecting himself. Then getting up slowly, he went up the stairs and through the door.

The corridor was well lit with flicking white candles. Male voices filled the air their words of hymn coming together to seem like one sound. The air was heavy with wax and incense.

He shuffled through an open archway and to the church which was filled with monks. Slotting in with the few at the back, he tried to looked like he had been there all along. Hiding his hands in his large sleeves and joining quietly in with the prayer, he avoided the glances of the men around him.

When it was over, he was the first to slip away. Walking quickly, he went to his cell and knelt down by the side of his bed. His thoughts tumbled and twisted, ideas coming to him then going. he tried hard to think about what he should do but nothing seemed right.

He looked up at the small window in the wall and the single candle on the sill. Then at his desk where another candle sat ready to be lit and the Bible beside it.

‘It is not wrong to love,’ he whispered, ‘you teach us we should love all…but this is stronger then love.’

He looked down at his hands for the first time and saw they were cut and bloody. He put them into his sleeves again and fixed his eyes on the ceiling.

‘I do not know what to do. I do not believe she is a devil of any kind…And was it not I that started this…?’ he stopped and let his voice fade.

He shut his eyes and cleared his mind, after a few minutes he spoke again, ‘perhaps it’s best I just leave. I am no longer a pure vessel for carrying your messages. And I have always wondered if my path was somewhere else.’

Getting up, he looked around his cell and realising he had nothing to take with him, headed to the door. He opened it and listened to the silence. Stepping out, he took his sandals off and carrying them walked through the empty corridors and to the passageway once more.

 

Thursday Photo Prompt – Passage #writephoto