Cliff Diving #WeeklyWritingPrompt

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I felt numb as I plunged into the coldness of the sea. The strong waves washed over me, I held my breath and pushed back upwards. For a few seconds, it felt as if something was pulling me back down then I broke through the salt water.

Gasping in deep breaths, aware suddenly of all the sound and touch again. I could hear my four friends on the cliff edge calling down to me, clapping and shouting. I had been the first to take the dive, not because I was the bravest but because I had drawn the shortest dune grass.

The waves echoed in my ears as well as the splashing against me. I could feel of the cold blow of the water against my warm skin, running down my hair and face. My navy blue swimming trunks flushed tight against my upper legs and waist. From above, came the heat off the sun, in a cloudless, crystal blue sky and the distant screeching of seagulls.

Letting the motion of the sea drift me away from the cliff, I bobbed about. Having had my minute of fame, though perhaps it had taken less time to fall, I waited for my friends to join me, it was one of the rules we had agreed on as we had walked up the cliff. We’d then swim back to the shore and meet up with the two girls who had stayed on the beach.

Something brushed my leg and I looked down into the settling water. It was properly just some seaweed but it could be a jellyfish. We had seen some washed up on the beach before as we had explored; clear and purple dotted moon jellyfish, a large flopping lion mane who’s sting would hurt for weeks and a possible barrel jellyfish, alien looking with it’s large domed milky white body and twisted tentacles trailing out of it.

The last thing I wanted on this holiday was to get stung or injured by something. I couldn’t see anything below the waves, just my legs kicking about. There came no tingle of pain, so it was just seaweed after all. A small part of me didn’t feel convinced by that thought, but surely, I argued with myself, I’d be able to see a jellyfish.

Looking up at the cliff, I watched the next person jump. They were wearing black shorts and had tucked their legs and arms in like a more practiced diver. I guessed it was Eric. I hadn’t stayed to watch the others draw, wanting my jump to be over before sense got the better of me.

It was an exciting but silly thing to do. The others though, had reassured me it was fine. They had jumped from that cliff often enough and there were no rocks as long as you jumped out a short distance away. If you jumped straight down, which was a stupid thing to do, you’d likely smash into the cliff side or the rocks that formed a wall at the base.

Eric hit the waves hard, sending up great splashes which washed over and caused me to struggle to remain a float. He reappeared some distance away to my right and we had to swim towards each other.

‘What a rush!’ he yelled, shaking his dripping dyed lime green hair back.

I paused, feeling something touch the bottom of my left foot then climb to my ankle. I trod water and looked down but there was too much disturbance to see.

‘Something’s got my foot!’ I shouted.

‘You what?’ Eric hollered back, ‘look, here comes Hoggy and Brad, the chicken!’

I glanced up in time to see the giant form of Hugh Hogson hurtling towards the crashing waves. I heard the slap of his over weight body hit the surf then I felt a harder tug on my leg. Twisting and kicking, I tried to release myself but the force of the waves bashed into me and I floundered for a few seconds.

My head couldn’t stay above water and all I could hear were the waves. The something tightened on my ankle, crawling up my leg and dragging me down.

‘Help!’ I screamed.

Sea water rushed into my mouth, the salt stung my eyes and I went under. The waves rocked around me, tossing me like a ball between children. I tried to look at what had got my leg, but everything was so churned up. I thrust my arms out and began sweeping them upwards like a bird trying to get off the ground.

Can’t breath! Have to get up!

Kicking and pushing, I fought against whatever was holding me and the current. My head popped up, I sucked in air, once, twice then was under again. I was aware of nothing but the tight pain across my ankle and sea in my ears, nose and mouth.

Stop panicking, hold your breath and look.

I stopped moving, breath held and chest tightening. Looking down, I saw a thin rope wrapped around my leg. I couldn’t see where it lead to; a rock, the sea floor? It ran away, back towards the cliff.

Reaching down, I gripped the rope in both hands and tugged. I couldn’t tell if it came loose or not. The sea seemed determined to stop my efforts though and it was as if it wanted me, was holding me captive. That was a strange thought. I needed to breath again.

Struggling upwards, feeling tried, I broke the surf again. I bobbed and looked around. Eric had been close enough before but now I saw no one just the white topped waves hurrying towards me.

‘Help! Help! I shouted.

I splashed in the waves and felt the rope tighten around my foot again. I knew this time I was going under so stopped speaking and downed lots of air. A sharper tug and the waves were back crashing over my head as I spiraled downwards. Blindly, I reached down to my foot, trying to curl my body to make the distant shorter. I felt the rope and panic soared though me.

Something grabbed my arm. A hand? Fingers? I felt myself being pulled up but at the same time the rope was tugging me back down. I was aware of someone else beside me and we both broke the surface together.

‘There’s a rope around my foot!’ I shouted, not even bothering to see who had saved me.

A large wave drove into me and I was washed away and down again. I’d only taken one breath and it was knocked out of me. I spun, kicking and trying to escape. I thought I felt someone or someones touching me and the rope was a constant pain and tugging.

Strong arms, yanked me up and I was able to breath again. I couldn’t see, there was too much salt water in my eyes.

‘Stay still!’ Hog’s voice shouted.

I thought about laughing, maybe I even did little bit. Didn’t Hog know that was impossible? The sea had decided to take me prisoner and it wasn’t going to let me go. I felt myself floating, the waves carrying me away. If I just let them it would all be okay. Maybe, the sea would be happy with just me and wouldn’t take them?

Water spluttered out of my mouth and my eyes eased open. My vision was blurred and I felt pain all over but it was worse in my left ankle. I wanted to roll to my side then try to sit up but two men in red t-shirts were holding me down.

‘Just breath and take it easy. You’re safe now,’ one of the men said.

Safe at the bottom of the sea with merpeople?

No, I was on the beach, I could feel the sharp shelly sand underneath me. Slowly, my vision and the sound of my ragged breathing cleared away. I saw my friends looking down at me; the boys dripping wet and the girls in their bikinis.

‘The ambulance is here,’ someone said.

I tried to say I was okay and didn’t need it but I just coughed up more water instead. The two coast guards and man from the ambulance got me on a stretcher and carried me up to the road and the awaiting yellow van.

Eric came with me, bring our bags from the beach. I was grateful but too tried to tell him. I dozed on and off during the ride and thought the sea was still trying to claim me. I spent the rest of the afternoon in hospital and was well enough to go back to the hotel in the evening.

My nightmares that night were filled with drowning and the rope. Sometimes I was surrounded by angry looking fish, other times it was merpeople, the rest I can’t remember.

Even since, I have stayed away from large bodies of water. Not even wanting to dip my toes in. The lingering idea that the sea was trying to keep me prisoner sticks with me, even though I know it’s not true, I can’t shake the feeling that there was more then just the rope holding me beneath the waves that day.

 

(Inspired from; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/06/25/weekly-writing-prompt-147/ with thanks).

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Flag #FFfAW

The take over had been slow at first but now it was sweeping all over. Everyone left from the alien invasion could see they had no choice but to unite as one country, one world.

The strips and stars flags appeared everywhere; houses, skyscrapers, ancient structures and mountains. Whilst anything that might divide people was temporally removed.

Humans needed to be as one at this time or they might not survive the next attempted invasion. Despite what some believed, another war was bubbling into life on a distant plant that would challenge the fate of humankind.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/06/25/fffaw-challenge-171st/ with thanks).

In The Cards #TwitteringTale

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I shuffled the tarot cards, they would reveal my future but I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. Taking the first ones, I made a cross shape then placed three on the right. I turned over all the cards and read what they meant. Seems the cards had read my mind; they told me nothing.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/06/26/twittering-tale-90-pick-a-card-26-june-2018/ with thanks).

Wings #WritePhoto

It was too hot to do anything but Rose had to stay out of the way. She sighed and flopped down in the wild meadow that ended the decorative hedged gardens. After Rose’s morning lessons and lunch, her maid had sent her outside to ‘play’, giving her a strict warning about not coming back until supper time.

Rose looked back in the direction of home but she couldn’t even see the chimneys from here as the tall trees hide them away. Everyone at the manor house was busy preparing for the ball this evening which she wasn’t invited to being ‘just a child’.

Rose knew when she got back she would have a simple supper in her day room then her maid would put her to bed. The sounds of the musicians playing, the guests’ voices, the cars and horse drawn carriages at the front door would drift into her room and keep her up all night.  She would try and sneak down as people started arriving, Rose decided. She liked to see the ladies in their huge ball gowns and the men in their black suits.

The flapping of loud wings and a large bird rising in the air, broke Rose’s line of thought. It looked like a hawk or some other bird of prey but she wasn’t sure. The bird flew over the meadow then towards the house. Rose wonder what it was like to be a bird as she dozed off.

Rose dreamed she was at the ball, wearing a dress made of bird feathers. She was dancing and drinking from the pretty wine glasses. The french doors were open, she went out, the dress transforming around her so that wings grew from her back. She took off and flew up to the starry sky and moon, the guests below gasping at her. Then she was falling, the sky seeming to move higher away and the ground rising to meet her.

Rose’s eyes snapped open and she rose up from the tall grass, looking around confused. The warm breeze on her face, the smell of flowers, the buzzing of the honey bees and singing of the birds, caused her to remember where she was. She rubbed her face, wondering what time it was.

Getting up, she walked back into the gardens and into the one where a proud bronze sun dial sat. The head garden’s boy had taught her how to tell the time from were the shadow lay. It seemed to be close enough to supper time to start walking back to the house. Still, sleepy and shook up from the dream, Rose wandered way back, thinking that maybe she wouldn’t sneak into the ball.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/06/24/new-photo-prompt-wings-and-last-weeks-beginnings-round-up-writephoto/ with thanks).

Inspiration

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For the last few months, Yancy had been going around car boots, fairs and similar places. He brought old photographs, postcards and sometimes albums of them if they were cheap enough or he found a picture he liked.

Each morning, he would gather a bunch together and look at them at the desk in his studio. In the afternoon, he would try and draw or paint something inspired by what he had seen.

It was hard going but it was helping to break his block. For months, he’d not been able to bare touching his pencils and paintbrushes but now he was finding it easier each day.

He had yet to move back to canvas though but that would soon come. He tried not to think so much. Best to keep the negative voices down.

That morning, from his pile, Yancy selected a photo of a young child standing in front of a white washed wall. He wondered who the child was and what they were doing. Puling his sketchbook over, he drew the child, ideas turning over his head.

An hour later, he stopped and looked at what he had achieved. He had capture the child’s likeness well. Yancy smiled and decided the time was right, he wanted to paint this on to canvas.

Out Of Control #TaleWeaver

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Police Constable Williams surveyed the scene then slightly lifted his heavy black helmet to scratch his thinning brown hair. He had worked this beat for so long, he knew it like the contents of his house. All the people were like old friends and he had a good thing going with all the factory owners.

This though….This was just something Williams didn’t know what to do about. He wrapped his fingers around the handle of his cool wooden police baton, feeling comforted by the familiarity of the weapon. Then, he looked again, trying hard to understand what his eyes were seeing.

In the middle of the busy cobblestone main street was the wreckage of an iron steam engine train. The front was wedged into the upturned pavement, the body angled up to the building above and the coal truck behind flatted against the wall. The start of the first carriage could be above, balanced on the edge but trapped in place by the coal truck. The wheels and pistons were still moving, though the train was clearly going no where.

Bricks and wood planks of the ruined factory which the train had fallen out of, lay scattered everywhere. Grey steam curled for the train’s funnel and there was the smell of burning coal and fire. People were gathered in the protection of the other buildings, looking in horror and shock. Shouts and screams echoed the Wiliams’ ears.

The sound of a police whistle brought the Williams back and he moved carefully closer to the wreckage looking to see if anyone needed assistance. He could not see much due to the raising dust and steam. The noise of the train’s wheels and pistons were loud and blocked out anybody’s cries for help.

‘Constable!’ a voice called.

Williams turned as a young man dressed in a black police uniform hurried over then stopped as he saw the unreal scene.

‘I don’t know what happened,’ Williams answered the unasked question, ‘just fetch some more help will you!’

The young constable nodded and turned away.

Running footsteps from the opposite direction caused Williams to try and appear around the steam train. Out of the mess came a group of men dressed in simple working factory clothes; dirty white shirts, black trousers, leather waist coats, gloves, flat caps and goggles.

‘It was an accident!’ one of the man cried.

Williams recognised him as Thomas Smith, the oldest son of the factory’s owner.

‘A likely story,’ Williams muttered.

‘She just shot forward and there was nothing we could do,’ Thomas explained with some wild hand gestures.

‘And what exactly where you doing?’ Williams demanded.

‘Well, we were-‘

A short man, Williams thought was called Henry Pitcher, nudged Thomas in the ribs, making him stubble over his words and go silent.

‘It’s top secret, sir!’ Henry declared loudly.

‘Well, it’s not very secret now is it,’ Williams said, pointing at the train, ‘answer me, what in the devil’s name is going on!’

‘We just experimenting…’ Thomas came back in, ‘we have all the correct permissions. I can show you.’

Williams cocked an eyebrow, not sure he truly believed that. He had had issues with this group of men before and there ‘experiments.’ It had only been little disturbances before though but they had really landed themselves in trouble.

‘That’ll be proven,’ Williams muttered, ‘can you turn that thing off?’ he asked.

The men looked up at the stream train, the wheels and pistons were still going, steam was still blowing and the sound of the gears was growing deafening.

‘Not sure,’ Henry shouted, ‘we’d have to get up there and try turning things off but the coal will have to burn out before we can really do anything.’

‘It might be too dangerous,’ another man spoke out.

Williams would just have to take his word for it, he didn’t know anything about this new metal monsters, just that he was keen on them.

‘Well, I guess we’ll have to try and get it down,’ Williams mused.

‘Leave it to us, sir,’ Thomas said and the men started to scatter around the steam train.

Soon enough, other police arrived and the crowd had grown larger. Some plan was put in place and with the strength of many men and horses, the train pistons were stopped and whole thing was lowered on to it’s side in the street. The coal truck was also lowered but it was too crushed to be saved.

The night was arriving and with the loss of light they had to stop. Williams lent against the wall of the building next door. It had been along day and he was ready for bed. He looked up and spotted an airship flying low above the roof tops of London, parting through the clouds.

Williams started walking home, thinking; I do not know this world anymore, everything is changing too fast. I guess I had better change with it then.  

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/tale-weaver-176-june-21st-trains/ with thanks).

Prophecy #3LineTales

three line tales week 125: heart lanterns for summer solstice

Hugo looked around in awe at all the city folk gathered together, lighting the paper lanterns and sending them drifting into the the pale evening sky.

‘Why are we doing this, mama?’ Hugo asked, tugging on the skirts of a heavy pregnant  woman.

‘Because, the princess has been born today and it’s been written that she will become the warrior who saves us from the eternal rage of the gods, so we are giving thanks for her safe arrival,’ Hugo’s mother replied as she lit a red lantern and let it fly upwards with the hope.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/06/21/three-line-tales-week-125/ with thanks)

 

Gift #FFfAW

Eva reached into the display case and pulled out another item. In the light, she saw it was small crystal wine glass. She twisted and held the glass up towards the old woman balanced on the edge of a fading armchair.

‘Granny, what’s this?’ Eva asked.

‘It was a gift…’ Granny uttered.

‘From grandpa?’

‘No, it was…’ Granny trailed, her face crumpled as she tried to remember.

‘That’s okay,’ Eva replied sadly.

Eva cleaned the glass and set it aside with the other items. Granny hadn’t been able to recall any of them, her memory was too gone.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/fffaw-challenge-170th/ with thanks).

Retirement #FridayFictioneers

He hadn’t wanted to retire, he didn’t like having nothing to do and his wife was happier without him getting in her away at home. Luckily, he had taken that walk down by the docks that day and seen the sign for volunteers at a boat repair shop.

He’d always liked boats and working with his hands. He decided to go it ago and see what happened.

Now, he spends days outside, enduring rain and sun, fixing up boats and painting them. He couldn’t think of anything else he’d rather be spending time doing and he felt useful once again.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/06/20/22-june-2018/ with thanks).

Unexpected Friends #OneLinerWednesday

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Turns out Jack had nothing to worry about at all because his dog and mouse really got on.

(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2018/06/20/one-liner-wednesday-a-game-of-dog-and-mouse/ with thanks).