Noctuary #atozchallenge

book-2899636_1920

Noctuary; the record of a single night’s events, thoughts or dreams. 

I had the dream again last night. I was in the library, there were the hushed sounds of voices and pages being turned. The smell of old leather, paper, ink, wax and dust drifted like a strong perfume. I was at an old desk, candles in lamps flickering around me and I was wearing a long white dress with a black corset.

Books were piled around me and I was reading one, open on a stand and the writing seemed to be in Latin. I was looking for something but I couldn’t seem to find the answers in any of these volumes. There was an ink pot and feather quill in a stand on my right side with some sheets of yellow paper.

Closing the book, I selected another one and flipped through it. Stopping at a page with a coloured drawing on one side and tiny writing on the other, I looked at the picture. There was a girl, older then me and she was wearing a white dress too! Her’s was tied with a large black bow at the back. She was going up some stone stairs in the middle of a forest. There were tall, green pine trees fading in the distance and lines of sunlight pouring through them.

I tried to read what the picture was about, but the book was written in a language I didn’t know. I studied the girl, noticing how her hair was the same brown colour as mine but it was straight and not curly. I blinked and the girl’s head had moved! Her face had turned to look over her shoulder and out of the page!

Gasping, I tried to convince myself it wasn’t true but I knew the girl was watching me. Her eyes were the same colour as my own and her face though on the edge of adulthood was mine too. I pressed my face closer to the book, my hands trembling as I clutched the edges. I saw a wind playfully blowing the girl’s dress about.

She was saying something! I lent closer in, trying to hear what the girl was saying.

‘It’s not here, what you seek,’ she whispered.

‘It’s not?’ I uttered back.

‘It’s here,’ she said and waved her hand at the forest in the picture.

‘Where?’ I pressed, desperately.

‘You know,’ she hissed back.

The wind played with her hair and the tails of the long black ribbon then everything became still. The girl’s head turned back and the picture was still again.

The book slipped through my fingers and hit the table top hard. The noise rang through the library then the dream was swirling away.

Next moment, I saw myself standing as the older version of me had done. I was on the steps leading up the forest. I could smell the pines and the green bushes. Birds were twitting and the wind was waving the tree tops. I looked down and saw myself in the same white dress with the black ribbon as she had worn them.

And I as walking through the trees, looking for what I knew to be there; the answers I had been seeking to life itself.

Advertisements

Carved #writephoto

I stopped before the rock and slightly tilted my head to one side as I pondered what to name this shape as. Around me other staff and volunteers were doing the same; standing before rocks and naming them. It was all in aid of our big push to encourage more visitors to the visit this section of moorland which was famous for it’s strangely shaped rock formations.

I ran a few different names through my head; the up turned wheel, the melting pot, the hole, the bowl…The Giant’s Bowl? That sounded kid friendly and the rock did kinda look like a mis-shaped bowl. All the names had to be approved anyway, so why not?

I jotted down on the map I had which showed little drawings of all the rock formations. I moved on to the next one which kinda looked like a tea cup on a plate if you saw it from a certain angle. With a shrugged, I named it The Giant’s Tea Cup. Sticking with that theme, I named a few other rocks close by then moved further out.

Two months later, everything had been approved and I was putting up name signs for The Giant’s Breakfast Table section of rock formations.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/03/22/thursday-photo-prompt-carved-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Between #Writephoto

I don’t remember much about the Between, but mum said I spent a lot of my childhood there. I was an only child and Mum was a single parent on the run from her abuse ex-husband, a father I never knew. We moved around so much, not having much contact with anyone. Years later, I asked her why that was, couldn’t she have gone to the police or someone for help? She said, things back then were just different. It was normal for a husband to hit is wife.

I didn’t go to school and was only let out sometimes, so the Between was my imaginary world. Mum said it started when we stayed in a semi-abandoned farmhouse when I was around six. She let me out to play in a wild meadow and I came back talking about fairies and unicorns.

From then, I would often talk aloud and play with the things from the Between. I drew pictures too, to show mum what the animals and people were like. She kept some of them that I had drawn in a small sketch book. There was a fairy princess and queen, a unicorn, strange dragonflies and butterflies, gremlins, goblins, imps, pixies and other fantasy creatures.

‘You must have told me about them and I just imagined it all!’ I laughed to my mum.

‘No. I never said anything about any make believe things,’ mum explained, ‘not even Father Christmas or God.’

‘Oh…Then I must have read about it somewhere,’ I wondered.

‘Perhaps. I don’t remember,’ she replied, ‘I was sad when you grew out of it though.’

I hummed as I thought back. It was hard to remember clearly, but I started high school in one of the towns we were hiding out in. Something about being forced to go…But it meant that town became our permanent home. I had something of a normal life then and the Between was lost to me.

‘I guess it was a childhood thing,’ I added with a shrug, ‘but why were you sad?’

‘Because it meant you were grown up.’

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/02/15/thursday-photo-prompt-between-writephoto/ with thanks).

Almost Love #FlashFictionChallange

rose-3121239_1920

When she woke up, the first thing she saw was the white rose he had left on bedside table. Picking it up, she saw a scrap of paper with I Love You written on it in between the petals. Smiling, she knew she was never going to forget him, he was apart of her now. If she ever wanted to see him again all she had to do was close her eyes and he would appear in black and white before her. Then they could travel to any dream they wished, living as they both wished they could.

(Inspired from; https://carrotranch.com/2018/02/02/february-1-flash-fiction-challenge/ with thanks).

Distant #writephoto

There were once three companions, a dwarf, a gnome and a fire sprite, who decided to set off on an adventure to the Ice Capped Mountains to kill the red dragon, Usullen, and take his treasure. They believed together and with their magic weapons, armour and years of experience that they would easily be victorious.

The journey from their home town, took two whole years and was extremely difficult. They faced many monsters, bad weather, fell out with each other often and got lost. They all wanted to turn around and go home but their stubbornness wouldn’t let them give in.

‘I’ve faced worse then this!’ the dwarf said gruffly.

‘Then you can face Usullen by yourself!’ the gnome snapped.

‘Fine by me. All the treasure will be mine!’ the dwarf responded.

‘No! Only half,’ the fire sprite jumped in, ‘I have changed my mind again.’

‘If you are still going…I must too!’ the gnome grumbled.

There was a collective groaning around the campfire then since there was nothing else to say, they tried to get some sleep on the hard, cold ground.

The next morning soon after they started walking again, they got their first look at the Ice Capped mountains far in the distance. The sky above was grey-blue, heavy with clouds containing snow. The bare green landscape was dotted with snow piles and twisted trees. Continuing, they felt in better spirits as they neared their destination.

The trek up the mountains to search for the red dragon’s cave was the hardest thing they had done. The wind howled around them, chilling them and threatening to throw off the mountain side. The snow hit them, blinding them then sticking to anything it could and weighing them down. It lay thickly at their feet making the going hard and hiding rocks that they tripped over.

The fire sprite used his power to light the way and the snow that fell on him melted away. The dwarf and gnome were too frozen and tried to argue about it. They pushed on and soon all their hard work was rewarded when the fire sprite spotted a cave. At first it was hard to tell if the cave was the home of a dragon, it was big enough to be but snow drifts covered the floor and walls.

They went deeper into the cave. The fire sprite flying high above so that the dwarf and gnome could use their dark sight better. They all spotted a sword laying on the floor, the skeleton remains of its owner, close by. Being careful not to disturb the dead, they went deeper still. More bones, weapons and armour littered the floor. There was no doubt now that they were in the right place.

They felt the air getting hot and shadows of light appeared on the walls. They entered a massive cavern and looked down to see a hoard of glittering treasure below. Breath caught in their throats and they couldn’t believe their eyes. But were was the red dragon, Usullen?

Looking around, they couldn’t spot the dragon anywhere. Had they arrived whilst he was out finding food. Going down into the cavern didn’t make the dragon appear. The gnome and fire sprite began filling the empty sacks they had brought with handfuls of treasure. The dwarf, kept guard, holding him might warhammer and searching everywhere.

‘We can’t just take the treasure without killing the dragon. We are not thieves!’ the dwarf rumbled.

‘Maybe, someone else killed the dragon but they didn’t know where his hoard was?’ the gnome suggested.

The dwarf didn’t believe him.

Taking all they could carry, the companions left the cave and went back out. A snowstorm was raging, so they had to wait for it to pass. They found a side passage that had been blocked off at the back. They made a camp and had a small celebration. The dwarf though, could only taste bitterness in his mouth. He had so wanted to kill the dragon!

The gnome and fire sprite fell asleep, finally able to relax now their goal was complete. The dwarf started awake, lost in his own thoughts.

In the morning, the storm had stopped and the companions began their journey down the mountains. It was harder then before as now they were weighted down by all their treasure and they were all wondering where the dragon was. Though no one wanted to voice that for fear of cursing their good luck.

Finally, they got to the base of the mountains and began to walk across the snow covered ground. A loud flapping and a shower of snow had them all turning to the right. There before them stood a might dragon! He’s bright red, gold tinted scales shone, his gold claws dug deep into the snow and his huge head with bright golden eyes turn towards the companions.

‘Ah,’ said the dragon in deep, tree shaking voice, ‘thieves!’

‘No! Dragon slayers!’ said the dwarf, waving his warhammer.

The dragon looked at the dwarf, the gnome and the fire sprite in turn, ‘You are not worthy of my time,’ he replied.

With a big intake of breath, the dragon breathed out and before the companions could prepare themselves, the dragon turned the thieves to stone and left them there as a reminder to all future adventurers who planned to steal from him.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/01/18/thursday-photo-prompt-distant-writephoto/ with thanks).

The Tree #TwitteringTales

pexels-photo-veeterzy.jpg

The Druid tree stood bare in a forest full of green. Only when a person of nature magic touched the empty soil at the base would the tree awaken. The branches would fill with green leaves and pink blooms then the trunk would open, revealing the secret grove of the Druids.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/01/16/twittering-tale-67-the-tree-16-january-2018/ with thanks).

Winter Forever

100WW_W48.jpg

The world had never been the same since the Evil Knight had taken over. We were all trapped in a snowstorm of winter, waiting to be freed. I didn’t believe the stories that a princess would come and melt his heart, this was beyond fairy tales now. No, I was going to do it; the village blacksmith with muscles described like ships’ anchors and a mighty warhammer made of long lost dwarf metals which I had perfected for years. There was no failure in my mind, only the hope that I was going to change the world.

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2017/12/06/100-word-wednesday-week-48 with thanks).

Bleak #writephoto

The winter had stripped the land bare. The only place to go which the snow didn’t cover were the rocks jutting out of the sea. It was there that I stood that day and wondered what we would do if the winter remained. The wind whipped the lowering tide up and spray wet my flushed cheeks. The sky was dusky and the clouds heavy with another snow storm.

With my gloved hands, I pulled my cloak tighter around me. I was use to the freezing chill now. We had suffered five months of this bleak weather. Balancing on the jagged rock tops, I walked across to the tiny temple which the out going tide had revealed. I had no idea who had built the four short pillars and roof but we had always come here to worship the Goddess of nature and the God of the sea.

Everyday since the snowstorms had started, everyone had visited the temples once or twice a day. They prayed that spring came and that the snow went away. I had gone to but then I just couldn’t face it anymore. So, whilst the starving town and village peoples knelt together and muttered prayers, I came out here, to the edge of the world to look for something else.

Entering the temple, I could see the sea on three sides. The waves were a tumbling mass with chunks of ice floating on top. I watched two larger shards bump together then ride away on the waves. Water was dripping off the columns and there was seaweed on the floor. I picked that up and tossed it away. There were some worn etchings underneath.

I wrapped my skirt and cloak around myself before kneeling down. I traced the patterns slowly. They felt familiar and yet I didn’t know what they said. Perhaps, they were nothing but a pretty design on the floor or maybe a prayer. I hoped they were much more though. A spell maybe, to call upon Goddess’ help.

Looking up at the roof, I could see the same patterns up there and they were clearer. The sea had done less damage up there. There was the imagine of the sun and moon coming together, the sea rising below them and a gust of wind moving them. Then there were other symbol pictures and things that looked like words. If only I could understand!

I hung my head and clutched at my skirt. Even if I knew what it said, who was I to cast a spell? There had been no wizards or witches here for years and the wise women and hermits I knew didn’t seem to be magic users. Hugging myself, I sensed the strange feeling in my stomach. It was warm, fluttering, almost like a warm breeze wanting to take me somewhere deep within myself.

Coming here made it stronger, somehow but no matter what I couldn’t seem to follow the warm breeze. I was too weak to reach it. I pressed my hands to the tiny temple floor and breathed in deeply. I willed that feeling to get stronger, even if I couldn’t do anything with it yet, I asked it to help in whatever way it could.

I believed as hard as I could then I felt a snowflake on my nose. Blinking open my eyes, I looked across and saw that another snowfall was starting. The waves were also rising up and darkness was fast approaching. Getting up, I wondered how it had gotten so late, it hadn’t seemed I’d been here long.

Saying a quick prayer, I left the tiny temple and carefully walked over the rock tops. The wind tugged at me almost as if it wanted me to go back and the snow was making the rocks harder to cross. The rocks gave way to dirt and grass which the snow covered faster. I stumbled on, the strange feeling inside of me gone and my mind only on getting home.

Something though seemed to be happening behind me. There was a blue circle of light growing. Perhaps it was just the sea coming back in? I paused and looked but it was hard to make out. The wind blew my hood down, I gasped an turned back again. Either I could open my cloak, remove my hands and put the hood back or I could keep the warm against my body.

The storm was growing, blinding me with snow flurries and forcing me backwards. I tripped on something and fell down. I pulled my hood up and huddled on the ground, hoping it would be over soon. I saw that blue light again and realised that it wasn’t the sea but magic!

I gasped and forgetting everything else, I reached out for it. The light was warm and fluttery, it ran though my hands then was gone. The wind dropped and the snow slowed. I wiped my face, there were icy tears on my cheeks. The blue light was gone and behind me at the temple was nothing.

I got up and walked home. The snow stopped before I got there.

And that was the end of winter.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/11/23/thursday-photo-prompt-bleak-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Sight #writephoto

I peered through the viewing hole in the rock and the damp moors transformed before me. The pale grass became bright and lush, the washed out sky turned blazing blue and the other rocks in the distance shimmered. I held my breath and waited.

‘There’s one!’ I cried out.

A fairy with blonde hair, wearing a green filly dress and carrying a small wicker basket fluttered by, her wings a purple irradiant colour. Her toes skimmed the short grass then she flew away.

I gasped and took my face away from the rock. I rushed around it and looked for a flash of green or purple. There was nothing but a late summer butterfly, lazily hovering above the grass.

I scampered back to the rock and looked through the hole again. Behind me, I heard my grandfather chuckling.

‘You can only see the Fae folk through that portal, Harmony,’ he spoke, ‘they use it to get in between worlds, like I told you in the stories.’

‘And I believed you, grandpa!’ I spoke, my voice slightly muffled by the rock.

‘What can you see now?’ he asked, his voice full of laughter.

I looked harder, the vibrate colours of the moor and sky stinging my eyes. I saw two small figures walking through the grass. They were male, wearing brown clothes and brown caps. They were carrying cleaning tools and looked like they were on their way to work.

‘Brownies?’ I muttered, trying to recall what they looked like in Grandpa’s big book.

‘What was that?’ he asked quietly.

‘I think those two are brownies,’ I said, coming away from the rock, ‘you look grandpa.’

‘Alas, child, I can’t. These eyes aren’t what they use to be. I lost the sight gift a few years back,’ Grandpa spoke sadly.

I nodded thoughtfully, remembering one of the stories he had told me about seeing the king and queen of the fairies. That was the last time he had seen the Fae folk. I glanced back at the rock then asked, ‘do I have the sight gift, grandpa?’

‘Probably, Harmony. It has been passed on to all the Turner children but only some of them have embraced it. Your mother was only interested up until her late twenties. Then she got married and had you. She said she didn’t have the time anymore,’ grandpa explained.

‘She never talks about them,’ I pointed out.

Grandpa nodded, ‘she’s lost her belief. That’s the key to seeing the Fae peoples and everything else too. Having a hard belief in something will always make it real even if some times you can’t actually see it.’

‘Then I’m going to hold on to my belief forever, Grandpa!’

I smiled brightly and he smiled back then I turned back to the hole in the rock. Looking through again, I could see that other world taking shape around me and the Fae people going about their lives.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/31/thursday-photo-prompt-sight-writephoto with thanks).

Watchers #writephoto

Pausing on the footpath before the tall jagged rock faces, I got an odd feeling that I was being watched. Looking around, I couldn’t see anyone. The normal sounds of birds singing, the warm breeze shifting leaves and the water from the stream lapping still surrounded me.

I raised my head, noticing the small trees growing straight out of the rock alongside the grass clumps and moss. It was hard to tell if anyone was up there. I thought about shouting out, but that seemed pointless. Finding a boulder to rest on, I took out my drink bottle and phone. I took a few photos of the fantasy setting likes scenery and sipped my tepid water.

I had originally planned to walk the path between the two rocks and head further into the woods but now I was here, doubts were setting in. There didn’t seem to be much of a path and a lot of fast growing plants made the gap look smaller. Still, though it would take too long to walk around.

Feeling a little like Red Riding Hood, I set off again and past between the rocks. My rucksack scrapped against the sticking out stones and my boots chomped down on the undergrowth. Pressing my hands, against the rough sides for balance, I eased my way through.

The abrupt cries of two crows startled me. Stopping, I looked up and saw one of them -an old scrawny bird, on an rocky outcrop far above me. My breath caught in my throat as I realised the crows was rising an alarm. A gust of wind whipped up around me, pressing cold fingers against my legs. I felt a shiver run up my spine and my fingers began to claw into the passageway as if the rocks were moving into suffocate me.

I started to feel on the edge of a panic attack. I dropped my head and took in deep breaths, willing away the urge to get out and be far away from here. I tried to convince myself this was nothing but my feelings were telling me different. I needed to sit down but I couldn’t. Letting my hands slide, I felt then becoming grazed but I didn’t care.

The crows was screaming above me and I couldn’t hear anything but their shrill cries. I thought some wild tribesmen are going to appear and cart me off or a witch pop up and casting a curse on me. I tried to laugh it away, telling myself how silly I was being. Nothing was going to happen!

I focused on the ground, counting all the stones until they merged into one. There came the sound of something heavy shifting and groaning. I looked up, picturing a giant emerging from the rock face. Instead though, I saw a few small rocks tumbling down. Frowning, I turned my attention to that and saw a chuck of crag cracking away.

Rumbling vibrations came through the ground, shaking through me. Movement re-entered my body like water bursting through a dam. I spun and fled, pain shooting into my right ankle. Branches scrapped at me as if trying to hold me back, but I broke free and stumbled out of the pass. Landing heavily on sharp grass, I twisted and looked back.

A rock slide was happening! Close to where I had been bits of crag were falling and whacking the plants. The sounds were a mixture of rock on rock, crunching and snapping of greenery and groaning. Dust plumed, forming a creamy-yellowy cloud that puffed itself into the sky.

I lent back, breathing deeply and tasting grit in my mouth. When the echoing noises had faded, I eased up and inspected the now blocked passage. It was hard to tell and maybe I was being too dramatic, but that had been a close call.

A ruffing of wings drew me away and I saw two crows land on the boulder and stare at me.

‘Thank you,’ I said aloud, ‘you were trying to warn me, weren’t you?’

The crows eyed me, clicked their beaks and took off again, flying away over the treetops.

With a final glance at the pass which now seemed harmless once more, I turned away and took the longer route into the woods.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/03/thursday-photo-prompt-watchers-writephoto/ with thanks.)