Change #1LinerWed

change-2930404_1920

I ignored the sign and speeded on the motorway with Five Finger Death Punch blaring through the speakers but seconds later hanging upside, blood dripping, smelling petrol, I wished I had listened.

 

(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2020/03/25/one-liner-wednesday-change/ with thanks).

A World Gone To Pot #TWPC

globe-3383088_1920

I put the key in the lock and pushed open the door. The familiar smell of grandma’s house flooded my nose. Lavender, lily of the valley, mothballs and old cigarette smoke.

‘Gran, it’s me!’ I called.

Closing the door with my foot, I took the bags of shopping down the short hall and into the kitchen. Dumping everything down, I began to unpack things.

‘Gran?’ I called after a few moments then stopped to listen.

She didn’t reply so I went into the living room. The TV was up full blast and she was fixed to the screen watching the news report about the spreading virus.

‘Did you lose your hearing aids again?’ I asked then muted the TV.

Gran looked around at me wildly then shouted, ‘Cara? When did you get here? I lost my hearing aids! Have you seen the news?’

I rolled my eyes and answered, ‘yes, gran.’

Searching for her hearing aids took a few minutes; they were down the side of her chair. Then we put the TV to a lower volume and I went back to unpacking. After, I made us both tea, sandwiches and cakes.

‘I got all your shopping in, gran. There’s no need for you to go out,’ I said.

‘What was that, Cara?’

I signed, my gran was ninety-four and still living in her own house because she was so stubborn we couldn’t get her to move into a home. Beside from her deafness and slowly fading memory, she was healthy and seemed to be coping fine.

‘We talked about this yesterday. You can’t go out and have to stay isolated because of the virus. You can’t catch it. That’s why I’m doing the running around for you,’ I explained slowly.

‘I remember! I’m deaf not dumb, child,’ gran shot back.

I sipped my tea and watched the news. There seemed no escaping the pandemic.

‘World’s gone to pot!’ Gran cried, ‘you youngsters don’t know anything. I lived through the war I did! We had to make sacrifices, live as we could, get on with things. We knew what to do; mending and growing, saving, scrapping, getting by without. We had to support our boys too. I knitted socks and scarfs to keep ’em warm. And what’s all this now?’

She waved her hands at the TV in anger and carried on with her speech.

I half listened, having heard most of this before. She was right of course. Everyone was behaving badly, only looking after themselves and driven by fear instead of fact. Gran had lived through worse times and she and others got through it.

‘Fighting over toilet roll!’ gran shouted, ‘I wiped my bum with last week’s newspaper!’

‘Gran!’ I snapped in shock.

‘It’s true, girl. We used what we could back then.’

‘I know. It’s okay. Let’s change the channel.’

With gran muttering, I put something else on; a repeat episode of an old TV drama series. We watched it for a while then I tidied up and got ready to go.

‘See you tomorrow, gran,’ I said.

‘I don’t need babying,’ gran mumbled.

‘I know, I know,’ I signed ‘and you are right by the way. People need to behave better, like they did back then. It would be easier if we were all not selfish and just able to carry on.’

‘Keep calm and carry on!’ gran yelled, ‘we use to say that!’

‘Yes, yes, you did and that’s what we need to do now. Right, see you later,’ I added and kissed the top of her head, ‘and remember no going out. Though the garden is okay. All right?’

‘Yes. It’s time for Countdown. Where’s the control?’

‘Right there, next to your hand, gran,’ I pointed out.

She nodded and changed the channel.

‘Bye,’ I called and let myself out.

 

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Split Light #WhatPegmanSaw

split-rock-light-house-3538652_1920

Lee was the last lighthouse keeper and that thought weighed heavy on his heart. He had been in the job for thirty-seven years and had come to the end of the era. There wasn’t much need for a beam of light to circle the bay now there was all that technology mapping on the ships.

Lee felt quite sad about that but maybe the lighthouse would get a new lease of life. There was talking about turning it into a museum and allowing the public scenic views from the top. And perhaps, he could return as a volunteer? Wouldn’t that be great to give visitors tours and share his stories.

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2020/03/14/silver-bay-minnesota/ with thanks).

 

 

Desert #WhatPegmanSaw

desert-1270345_1920

Sand lay for miles with nothing but dunes. Wind flapped the tents that the travellers were sleeping in. Their camels were all tied together, burden free for the night.

Hymn listened to the sand shifting. She was exhausted but too restless to sleep. Her body ached from hours of camel riding. No one said it was easy crossing the desert but she needed to do it. There was nothing left for her back there. The war had wiped everything away and forced the survivors to flee.

There was no safety in the desert, Hymn knew that but what else could she do?

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2020/03/07/wadi-ad-dawasir-saudi-arabia/ thanks).

Sand Turtles #WWP

sandburg-1639999_1920

He did his art on the beach. Moving the sand into shapes from his imagination and memories. He liked fantasy and animal sculptures the best but sometimes he expanded out into food or historic places.

Today, he created two turtles swimming out of a small sand pile. He took a photo, a reminder not to duplicate the piece. Then he left his art behind for people to admire before the sea came to claim the sand back again.

 

https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/weekend-writing-prompt-144-sculpture/

Down Under There #WriteNowPrompt

cave-3219804_1920

I hurried to work as snow began to fall and passed another dug up road in my way. Wondering if it was some kind of London law that roadworks always had to be going on, I squeezed passed the plastic barrier.

The vibration of a drill going through tarmac went straight into me. Heavy, grubby men in yellow high visibility vests and hideous matching hard hats crowded the scene. They were calling to each other then one turned to me before I could escape.

‘Can’t ya see the signs there, mate?’ he shouted.

‘I’m late,’ I yelled back.

‘It’s there for a reason!’ he spat.

‘You tell him, Jack!’ one of his colleagues cut in.

Trying to ignore them, I walked quickly but the lights at the cross road change to red and I had to stop. Looking back as cars whizzed by before me, I saw the man pushing the barrier tighter into place but nothing could stop a Londoner in a hurry.

The drill stopped, my ears continued to ring and I turned my back on the diggers. Concentrating for a gap in the cars that I could run through, I felt the ground began to shake. It was just the drill starting up again or that claw plough scooping soil.

The shaking carried on then there were mighty rumblings and rocking motions which almost threw me to the floor. Everything felt tilted and unstable as if an earthquake was happening. I somehow saved myself by spinning and grabbing some nearby railings.

Deafness and dizziness flood me. My legs didn’t want to work and they didn’t seem to belong to me anymore. Panic was controlling me but I couldn’t do anything other then cling onto the railings and shut my eyes.

The earthquake subsided and I heard the distant voices’ of people crying, screaming and shouting as all hell had broken loose. I felt wobbly as if I had just got off an extreme roller coaster. My legs felt numb but I found them again and stood up. I kept my fingers weaved through the railings, just in case.

In the middle of the road, pushing outwards from the hole the workmen had been creating was a huge crater. Torn up tarmac created a jagged line around the edge and dust was spiralling upwards.

A back cab was teetering on the lip of the crater and a dazed cyclist was sitting on the road wondering where his bike had gone. Crowds of people were pushed back on both sides of the pavement and all the morning rush hour traffic had halted.

‘Did anyone fall in?’ a workman questioned.

There was an unsure mumbled from the crowds.

‘Help us!’ a woman cried in a French accent from the back of the taxi.

A human chain was made and the cab was pulled back from the edge. The doors opened and a family tumbled out alongside the Muslin taxi driver, they were all in shock but glad to have escaped.

‘What you got there’s a sinkhole!’ a fat, red faced America man called out.

The word echoed in my head and I just had to get a closer look. Creeping forward, I looked down into the huge hole that was almost taking up all of the road. Through the dust and debris there seemed to something down there. Was it the London Underground? Or some other forgotten Victorian structure?

‘Stand back there,’ said a man and I turned to see the worker, Jack, who had told me off before.

‘There something down there,’ I pointed dumbly out.

‘We’ll take care of it. We are experts. Stand back there,’ Jack add as some other curious people came towards the edge.

I set my briefcase down and despite my expensive suit, I knelt tried to see what had been revealed. I saw a ceiling and wall of a cavern and it didn’t look man made. Things were still settling so it looked fogging. I could hear rubble falling and perhaps running water but there was the echo of other traffic from the surrounding roads.

‘Mate!’ Jack shouted, ‘I won’t tell ya again! get back!’

He grabbed my shoulder and tried to haul me back but I twisted out of his grip.

‘I cave explore for a hobby,’ I said, angrily, ‘and I’m telling you there’s something down there.’

‘All right, let’s take a look,’ Jack said and knelt down beside me.

He took out a torch. I grabbed my phone and put the torch app on. Together we used the light to show what was below us. At first it seemed to be hard, discolour brown walls but then we saw stalactites and stalagmites, growing up and down in what seemed to be a vast cavern.

‘How can this be under London and no one know about it?’ I muttered.

‘There’s lots underground that people don’t know of,’ Jack explained, ‘but I never seen anything like this before!’

I nodded, ‘it looks like a Yorkshire cave or something like that…’

‘Well, nothing can be done about it right now,’ Jack spoke, ‘have to be investigations and all that. I’ve got things to do now, got to make sure no one gets hurt and sues us.’

Jack left and got busy with securing the scene. More barriers were being set out and people were slowly moving on. Car horns were beeping loudly as was typical of road rage London drivers who had been stopped for more then five seconds. Ignoring everything else, I carried on staring down into the cavern.

I wanted desperately to go down there. The urge to explore put fire in my veins but I had no equipment, no map of the layout and who knew what dangerous were hidden in there?

I couldn’t help myself! I got up and searched for Jack. Picking his form out from a group of yellow jacketed men. I went over and waited till they stopped talking and noticed me.

‘Jack? A word?’ I said.

We stepped away from the others, our backs to them and our eyes looked towards the crater.

‘I want to go down there,’ I said in a low voice, ‘I need to see what’s there. Please, help me.’

‘I can’t, mate,’ Jack said and scratched his dark hair under his hard hat, ‘regulations and all that.’

‘I know, I know,’ I hissed back, ‘but please? This would mean so much to me. Like a dream come true! The first person to explore under there, it would be just…just…’

‘No. It’s not happening!’ Jack snapped back.

I licked my lips, thinking hard, ‘all right,’ I said, ‘I can give you money. As much as you want. I’m a rich businessman. I own companies here and in China. I could give you a million pounds right now if you let me go down there.’

Expressions began to cross Jack’s face and a fight seemed to happen as he battled to do the right thing. He balled up his fists, shuffled his feet and was trying to weigh everything up.

‘I shall write you a cheque and a contract write now,’ I said and sort out my briefcase.

I went over, opened it and withdrew papers and a fountain pen. Kneeling on the floor again – my suit was ruined anyway- I began writing things out, using my briefcase as a makeshift desk.

‘I don’t know about this…’ Jack said.

‘Don’t worry about it. I can sort out any problems later. Here’s my details on this card. Here’s the million pound cheque and this is a basic contract, saying you have agreed to let me down there for payment. My life is in my own hands, you have no responsibility for what happenings down there etc, etc.. I shall sign it here and you, sir, sign there.’

I held the fountain pen out to Jack. He took it with a shaking hand and signed his name. Then I folded the contract with my business card and the cheque in the middle and handed the lot to him.

‘Now, do you have any spare clothes and equipment I can have?’

‘Yeah…put what do I tell ’em?’ Jack said and nodded to the other workers.

‘Tell them, you know me and I was your boss on other job,’ I said quickly, thinking on the spot, ‘tell them, I have all the training, clearance and expertise needed to go down and take a look. Say isn’t it lucky, that Doctor Gideon Charles was passing! We’ll have this mess cleared up faster now!’

‘Doctor?’ Jack muttered and looked at the paperwork in his hand.

‘Of science,’ I explained, ‘not the medical kind. Now, can we get down there?’

‘Sure thing, boss,’ Jack said with a huge smile and I guessed he had just seen all the numbers on the cheque.

Soon enough, I was dressed in some spare blue overalls, a high visibility vest, a white hard hat, a powerful torch and was rigged up to go down on a harness and rope.

‘I’ll be coming with ya,’ Jack said.

I nodded, ‘best thing to do.’

Slowly we descended whilst the other workers peered down at us and also shone torches to guide us. They created spotlights along the wall and the cut away edges of the ceiling above. The rock face was rough, natural with stains of hundreds of years of water and built up of features.

Stalactites hung from the ceiling, some looking thick and strong, others appeared thin and fragile. Growing up from the floor were the stalagmites, looking like sharp spikes. Here and there, the two had actually met and formed a pillar.

We landed and I looked around in awe. It was breathtaking, so natural and fresh.

‘We could be the first ever people to see this,’ I whispered, ‘and to think it’s been undisturbed under London all this time…’

 

(Inspired by; https://todaysauthor.com/2020/01/21/write-now-prompt-for-january-21-2020 with thanks).

Luxor Temple By Air #TaleWeaver

the-valley-of-the-kings-578690_1920

Seif had grown bored of his business in camel tours. There were so many other Egyptian’s hiring out their camels for treks around popular ancient Egypt’s ruinings that there was always going to be someone selling at a cheaper price then him.

He wanted to to do another tourist trade instead, something that was less competitive and didn’t involve smelly animals. Seif looked to the crystal blue sky for inspiration. How could he still show the tourists the Wonders but differently?

A bird flew across his vision and the idea came to him as if inspired by the Gods. By air was the way to go! But how? He didn’t want the responsibility of flying a plane and that could also be expensive for some tourists. So…?

Seif fell hard into thinking, a cheaper mode of flying…By hand-gliding? Parachuting? No, something more relaxing and less risking….Think! There must be…Ah! A hot air balloon! 

Quickly, he went to work, researching and deciding. There was money to be saved, training to happen, his camels to be sold, his wife to be reassured but finally, the day arrived.

His hot air balloon had a pattern of yellow, orange and red squares. Underneath hung a large wicker basket with enough room for six to eight people including himself. He had been assigned a pitch and he put up a sign advertising tours and his prices.

He didn’t have to wait long before tourists became interested.

‘Let’s see the temple of Luxor from above, wouldn’t that be special for our honeymoon?’ a British couple spoke.

‘Come, come,’ Seif called to them, ‘as first customers and newly-wed, I give you special price!’

The couple agreed and soon they were floating over the temple, pointing things out and talking happily.

Seif smiled and thought, yes this is a much better job for me. 

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/tale-weaver-259-temple-23rd-january/ with thanks).

Smoke #Photochallenge

first cigarette

She took the pills and washed them down with strawberry vodka. Laying on floor with the empty bottles, she lit one last cigarette.

Dozing and watching the exhaled smoke, she imagined that soon she would be floating away and fading into nothingness.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/photo-challenge-300/ with thanks).

In The Light Of The Moon

landscape-4762468_1920

I couldn’t sleep, my insomnia was paining me again. I took a lantern and went out to the shore of the lake. Despite the lateness of the hour, a freezing fog was hanging in the air. I let the lapping of the water guide me and felt the wooden planks of the jetty under my boots.

The wood creaked and the water splashed against the poles. There should have been the addition of a rocking boat but last month it had been overcome by heavy rain and sank. I could picture the bones of the boat resting on the bottom of the lake.

The moon was full and low in a cloudless sky. I marvelled at her, not being able to recall seeing another moon see big. Something drew my eyes downwards and at the end of the jetty I saw a figure standing out against the fog.

I frowned, there should have been no one out here. The servants had their own house further back and we were miles from the nearest village.

Before I could address the figure, she turned to me and I saw it was a young woman. She was tall with red flaming hair and wearing a sky blue dress that floated around her. She smiled sadly then turned back to the lake.

I rushed forward, the sense that something was wrong vibrating through me. I reached the end of the jetty and held my lantern high.

There was no one there!

I turned and twisted, looking everywhere. The fog couldn’t have been playing with me for I swear the woman was as real as myself and yet, there was only the lapping of the lake breaking through the night.

Screaming

city-4764064_1920

A murder happened in the apartment block and ever since the screams of the woman could be heard each night.