The Eyes – Mokumoku Ren

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Hideo dashed through the lashing rain, his wooden clogs slipping on the dirt track, his back weighed down by his heavy travelling pack. He looked desperately around but he was surrounded by abandoned rice paddy fields and there seemed to be no shelter to be had.

He made for the nearest tree which was only just taller then himself. Hideo shivered and wondered how far it was to the nearest village. Trying hard to convince himself that he wasn’t lost, Hideo fell into prayer.

When he opened his eyes and looked down the road, he saw a gate sticking out of the undergrowth. Smiling and feeling like his prayers had been answered, Hideo walked over, the rain and wind whipping around him. He tugged himself through the half open gate and went up what had once been a path which led him to an abandoned house.

Entering, he called out and listened to his echoing voice. Normally he had would have taken off his clogs and left them at the porch but he had no idea what would be on the floors and thought it might be safer to keep them on for the moment.

The abandoned house’s roof was sound and the all the rooms were dry. Hideo went into the front room and set himself up on the floor. He was tried but he had something to eat and drink before settling down to sleep.

The rain hammered on the roof like a banging drum and the wind howled through ripped screen windows. Normally such a racket would have kept Hideo awake but he was so tried sleep came easily.

Sometime time later, something disturbed his sleep and Hideo woke up, he lay in the dark wondering what it was. Thunder rumbled and he decided the storm must have awakened him. Grateful, he had found this abandoned house, Hideo lay down to sleep again but a creeping feeling of being watched prickled the back of his neck.

Muttering that it was just the storm and tiredness, Hideo tried to rest. The feeling wouldn’t go away and seemed to grow until he was forced to give in and light his lamp.

‘I’m sorry for entering your house!’ Hideo spoke in Japanese, ‘I was only seeking shelter. Please let yourself be known. I mean no harm, I am but an old travelling merchant who became lost in the storm.’

Hideo listened to his words faded but heard no reply. He debated getting up and walking through the house, making peace and saying thank you for the shelter. Something flickered out of the corner of his eye and Hideo turned to see a shoji screen behind him.

Another flicker of movement and a human eye was staring at Hideo.

‘Thank you for letting me stay here,’ Hideo spoke and bowed low.

When he looked up again more eyes had joined the first and they seemed to be forming across the screen.

Hideo swallowed and watched as soon the whole screen was taken over by staring eyes.

‘Mokumoku Ren – haunted shoji screen. The first sign of a haunted house,’ Hideo whispered.

Quickly, Hideo began uttering prayers, blessing and thanks, everything he could think of that might keep the spirits of the abandoned house at bay.

Finally exhausted, he collapsed on the floor and fell into a deep sleep.

Sunlight tickling his face woke Hideo. Startled, he looked around, the memory of the haunting eyes hurried him to leave this place. Gathering his thing, he rushed outside then remembered to be respectful and turned back with a low bow to the abandoned house.

‘Thank you for letting me stay. Please don’t haunt me!’ Hideo called.

Spinning around, he ran down the pathway and back onto the dirt road, praying that no spirits followed him.

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Ritual #FirstLineFridays

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They congregated up in the hills, far away from judging eyes. The ground was soft and wet under their bare feet. A warm breeze blew their simple robes about their ankles and wrists. The sky was blocked by a low hanging fog that hugged the hills in a chilly embrace.

They gathered around the huge standing stone who’s jagged edges pierced the sky. Strange symbols and patterns covered the stones surface, darkened by dried blood and faded blue paint.

Around that hill top, smaller standing stones raising up out of the long grass formed a circle Each had a symbol on that had once been painted green. Perhaps they were a warning? Or protection for those inside?

The people took off their robes, felt the chill of the air and fog on their skin. Tattoos covered their bodies, matching the symbols on the standing stones. Everyone joined hands and began singing in a language that was hardly heard today.

Before their voices died away, a wizened old man, bent almost double and leaning on a gnarled old walking stick came forward. He touched the stone and began chanting. Other voices rose and fell around him.

The ritual had begun.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/first-line-friday-july-19th-2019/ with thanks).

 

Moon Landing #3LineTales

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, photo taken by Neil Armstrong

Neil smiled within the helmet and thought, everything’s going to plan perfectly, it all seems so easy! 

He looked around, still unable to believe he was walking on the surface of the moon, it was too dream like then something caught his eye, a little movement at the edge of one of the craters.

Neil focused on it, he saw three green tentacles with eyes watching him, shocked he walked over but by the time he got there whatever it was had gone, it’s just lack of oxygen or something… shaking his head, Neil walked back to the shuttle.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/07/18/three-line-tales-week-181/ with thanks).

The Pen #TwitteringTales

The lawyer set himself up, clicked on his pen and began to write as his client talked. Suddenly, he noticed that his words were disappearing on the page. Frowning, he looked at the pen, it seemed normal enough but it wasn’t, it was filled with invisible ink and his client’s demands had vanished.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2019/07/16/twittering-tales-145-16-july-2019/ with thanks).

Castle #WritePhoto

The lake waves lapped at the shore of the island, making the stones on the pebble beach wet. Against a stone grey sky, the dark castle rose up, the towers almost disappearing into the clouds.

The children had been looking for a boat or another way to get across the lake to the castle but they hadn’t found anything. Dipping their bare feet into the cold water, they thought about swimming across.

The oldest three would have no problems, even though it would take them almost an hour to make it. The middle two would have struggled but with help they could have done it. The youngest one though – only seven years old, could not have done it and since none of them wanted to stay behind, swimming was ruled out.

As the boys skipped stones, the girls looked at the castle on the island and wondered what could be in there. A sleeping princess? A handsome knight? Perhaps, treasure guarded by a dragon?

‘There’s nothing in there,’ the oldest boy announced, ‘I went in there last summer and it’s empty.’

The imagination bubble popped, the girls stopped daydream and debated what to do next. The youngest was hungry and wanted to go home, her brother didn’t want to as the boys were building a den in the woods. The girls not interested in this, decided to pick wild fruit and nuts.

By the time they all meet on the lake shore again a faint drizzle had started. They looked over at the castle but could barely see it in the dim light and low clouds which had come down like fog. It seemed the castle had become ghost like with just a faint outline left behind.

‘We should go,’ the oldest girl spoke.

‘Fine, take my sister with you. We are going to swim across and spend the night in the castle,’ the oldest boy replied.

‘That’s not a good idea.’

The oldest boy shrugged, ‘I’ve done it before.’

‘And what if….’ the oldest girl trailed off.

‘You are all chickens!’ one of the other boys shouted.

A brief argument started then the girls stormed off and left three boys to swim across the lake.

 

Days later, police entered the castle looking for the missing boys. Inside, just as the oldest boy had claimed, the castle was empty. The police searched the lake and the woods but the boys were never seen again.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/07/11/thursday-photo-prompt-castle-writephoto/ with thanks).

Last #CCC

He walked down the dirty road, the only sounds his movements and wind in the grass. He had been out hunting – if you could call it that. In his rucksack were rusty cans of vegetables, stewed meat and bottles of clear river water which he still had to boil before drinking.

Arriving back at the farm house, he checked on things – animals and crops good – then he sat at the worn table and ate a tin of peaches. He found them good but too sweet, still he savored them, knowing they could well be the last just like he was.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/crimsons-creative-challenge-35/ with thanks).

 

 

Answers

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I know everything now, I talked with my neighbour. His wife died. Unable to sort things, he had buried her stuff in ‘graves’. Shamed, he set about digging things up and I decided to help. What else could I do? I was embarrassed about over my thoughts and actions.

Unearthing

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I had to know what my neighbour had buried. I broke into his garden when he was out and dug into the newly disturbed soil. The hole was deep. Two hours later, I found the sheet and opened it up. Inside was not as my wild imagination had been picturing….

Questioning

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The neighbour was digging again, shifting soil from the bottom of his garden. He had a wheelbarrow this time and there was something big wrapped in a sheet falling over the edges. The clock read three-thirty AM. I’m worried, should I call the police and report suspicious activity?

Digging

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My neighbour was digging in his backyard. I know it’s a normal task, maybe he’s planting flowers or pulling up weeds but you see, it’s three AM and that to me is not the time to go and do a spot of gardening, so what’s he up to?