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.)

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Sails #writephoto

windmill at sunset, Brill, Buckinghamshire. Image: Sue Vincent

The world was nothing like it had been in the past. Not that I remember the Before but I’d heard all the hand-me-down stories. Growing, up I had dreamed of living in that ‘magical’ time where everything seemed so easy but having heard the truth now, I was happy enough staying in my own time.

As the sun fully rose over the war torn grasslands, I felt the heat brushing against my skin. I was draped over the edge of the truck bed, dozing and thinking only of my home. The wheels of the truck bounced over the rough ground and my position was uncomfy but I was to tried to move. Also, we were squashed in pretty tight.

A loud banging on the roof of the trunk cab brought me around and the others fully awake. I turned my head up and saw our look out guy pointing at something ahead.

‘Structure up! ‘Bout few miles!’ he yelled.

Everyone began peering out of the truck, wanting to see what he had seen. It had been a day and a night since our last structure. We had gotten luckily there too because it had been an untouched farm. The dream of every surface missioner! I hoped this structure was another good one.

Getting to my feet, I balanced in the rocking truck and looked over the cab. I could see a single building, tall and thin with something attached to the front. It looked strange. As we got closer, I couldn’t really see much else other then it was wooden and the attached seemed to be moving. A radar, maybe?

Right before we pulled alongside, I climbed out of the still moving, but slowing down truck. Landing with a bump on the grass, I broke into a run. My protective mask and bag which were strapped around my chest, bounced of my hip. I knew a few of the others would be sneering and shaking their heads at me, but I didn’t care. Despite the tiredness, I had to see everything as this could be my last trip to the surface.

I stood before the building and looked. I had been right, it was made out of wood and was cylinder in shape. The attachment was wooden panels that had lattice pattern in the centre. It looked like the building was made for flying but instead of sails there was a wood propeller. I wondered how it worked.

Seeing a short doorway, I went in and found a control room. There were lots of wooden beams and bits of metal and stone but they were dismantled and just laying about. I slipped my gloves on and searched around. Dust rose, clouding around me. I wasn’t expecting to find any more then what I could already see.

‘What ya got?’ the gruff voice belong to Pal asked from behind me.

‘Not much. We could take the better pieces. There’s some interesting metal bits. Look at these massive stones!’ I added.

My work had uncovered, two grey rocks that were rounded in shape and had a hole in the middle. My touched them with my glove covered fingers but of course couldn’t feel anything.

‘What are they used for for?’ I muttered.

‘Grinding, perhaps,’ Pal suggested, ‘too heavy for us to take.’

I nodded. It was clear he was right. Casting around, I didn’t see anything else. Which was a shame. I rubbed my face and turned back to Pal. He was standing in the doorway, having just replied back to the team. He stepped out and I followed him.

‘What is it?’ I asked, once again looking upwards.

‘A windmill,’ Pal replied, with a shrugged.

It seemed a shame to destroy a relic of the past but needs must.

 

(Inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2017/07/27/thursday-photo-prompt-sails-writephoto/ with thanks)

Ferry

It had been a long wait but finally we was driving onto the ferry. My car wheels click-clacked over the metal bridge and I parked as the man in the neon yellow vest directed me to. As soon as everyone else had squeezed on, there was a rumble of engine and whirl of propellers which sent vibrations juddering through everything.  Then we were off to the island and the adventures that awaited us there.

 

(Inspired from: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/06/21/23-june-2017, PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz with thanks)

Vellichor #atozchallenge

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Vellichor; the strange wistfulness of used bookstores.

What is it about used book shops? You go, you browse, you pick up a few books, you read a few pages, sometimes you buy book/s and other times you don’t. You might stay for coffee if they  have a cafe. It’s a meeting place, a talking point, a land of discovery.

You like the smells that whiffed from the shelves; old ink, yellowing pages, dusty attic, dampness and salty tang. You like running your fingers over cracked spines and flattened leather. You like pulling random books out and seeing what they are. You wonder who the previous owner/s and why they give this book up.

You enjoy a good mystery and there is always just more then the story inside to be had. You adore supernatural and horror too; ghosts give you chills and vampires have you shaking at your knees. You love adventures to far off lands or under deep seas or high in the sky. Science fiction always makes you ponder if this is what the future will really look like even though it’s your less favourite.

If you could you’d live in the used book shops. In fact, your home is slowly turning into one. Your bedroom is floor to ceiling with books! You’ve read most of them, but there are others still waiting to be read and still you go to the used book shop to see more. It’s an addiction, a terrible terrible addiction and yet, its harmless.

Nefarious

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Nefarious; extremely wicked or villainous.

Morgrim Redsbeard sat in the far corner of the Dragon’s Broken Claw inn, nursing his eighth pint of ale and believing it would cure his headache. Keeping low, Morgrim tried to blend in with the shadows, hoping no one recognised him. He wasn’t in the mood to tell tales of his victories tonight.

The Dragon’s Broken Claw was the most popular drinking hole in Eleria Town. It was just bad luck that Morgrim and his adventuring companions had decided to spend the night here. Morgrim glanced up, taking in the packed room with hooded eyes. The loud noise of voices wasn’t helping, but he didn’t feel like going to his shared bedroom just yet.

Taking a mouthful of ale, Morgrim wished he was drinking something more to his palette, like a nice golden dwarven beer. Also, instead of being in this man inn, he wanted to be in the great dwarf halls of his home, surrounded by kin.

Sighing into his tankard, Morgrim tugged at his long red beard which his ancestors had always been famous for. His finger caught in one of the knots and he was distracted for a few moments. Then out of the crowd, a voice caught his ears.

‘There’s always been outlandish rumors surrounding the Grey Tower. Only a few have ever be there though and many more have tried but The Dead Marshes have seen to ’em.’

Morgrim turned and scanned the over-crowded room for the speaker. There was  a tall man standing at other table close by on the left. At first glance, the man could be mistaken for a elf, but Morgrim’s eyes could tell he was just a fair skinned and haired man. There were other men seated or gathered around the table, they were all holding tankards and there was the remains of a meal on the table. The men looked eager to hear a tale.

‘They say an evil wizard rules the land there and he binds all creatures to do his bidding!’ the man continued.

Morgrim huffed into his ale. He had been to The Dead Marshes months ago and he had seen this so called evil wizard with his own eyes. For him, the fight hadn’t be worth it, but at least there was no more trouble for the surrounding villages.

‘Have you been there?’ a drunkard shouted.

A wave of voices followed demanding similar answers. A few other voices called for more drinks and someone else shouted for bread and cheese.

A ghost of smile appeared on the man’s face and he replied, ‘no, but a friend of a friend has! And he said it was the worse thing he every saw. There were armies of goblins and other such creatures working for this evil wizard. The whole land had been stripped bare and fires were burning everywhere. The smell was vile and chocking.’

‘Evil wizard my a-‘ a voice roared but was cut off by raucous laughter.

The man banged on the table and shouted above the noise, ‘This wizard is so wicked that soon everyone will be in danger! He is coming here and either he’ll bend you to his will or slay you all!’

Silence slowly began to fall over the inn. Heads turned and a few voices whispered.

‘It’s true! I tell ya. His name is becoming the most feared across the lands. He wields power no one has every seen before. He is blessed by dark Gods and he is friends with the giants and dragons. Right now, he is gathering his armies to invade. He’ll stop at nothing till he has complete rule!’

Morgrim slide his empty tankard away. His headache finally fading. He reached behind him and from the wall took his warhammer into his hand once more. The weight of the weapon give him great comfort and he always made sure it stand by his side.

‘How do you know this, Man?’ Morgrim spoke quietly in his deep voice.

Heads turned Morgrim’s way and a few elbows nudged each other as people recognised him. A full silence fell on the inn room and it seemed like breathes were being held.

‘It’s been circling for months. Travellers and messengers have been bringing word to the courts,’ the man explained, ‘though I’m sure a dwarf like you would know all about it.’

Morgrim stood up, the table pushed away by his broad and muscular body. He held his warhammer tightly but none threateningly. Casting his eyes, around the room to see that he had everyone’s attention, Morgrim turned back to the man.

‘I see you don’t know who I am, Man. I am Morgrim Redsbeard and I have been to that Grey Tower in The Dead Marshes which you speak of,’ Morgrim stated, ‘and I’m tell you now no such wizard ever lived in that tower.’

The man swallowed, looking deflated and started searching for words to make a come back with.

‘If you want a tale about an evil wizard, I could tell you one. Many have fallen to my warhammer,’ Morgrim declared, ‘innkeeper another pint of your finest ale. I’ve a tale that will chill your very ears off.’

(Characters originally from The Dead Marsh story. Which can be found here;  https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/the-dead-marshes-part-1/) 

Postcard #32 Destinesia #atozchallenge

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Destinesia: when you get to where you were intending to go, but then forget why you were going there in the first place. 

Dear Tink,

Just thought I’d let you know I’ve arrived safely. It’s amazing here! There’s so much more to see and do then I realised. In all the travelling and craziness, I seem to have forgotten why I’m here though! I know there was a real reason, not just to see the place, but it won’t come to me. I’ve tried to think deep, to write things down, to go through my stuff, but I can’t find the answer. You’d know if you were here! Hopefully, it’ll come to me soon! If not can you remind me when I call? I’ve been meaning too, but finding signal is patchy. Thought this would get to you faster!

Speak soon, James.

Book Tunnel

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We hadn’t been walking in the forest for long when we came across it. In a small clearing, jutting out of the ground was a metal framed window.

‘You go look,’ my girlfriend whispered.

She had hooked her fingers in the straps of her hiking rucksack and was looking so cute in blue shorts and a cream vest top.

‘I don’t know…’ I trailed, casting my eyes over the strange structure.

‘It could be a secret hatch to an old war bunker or a nuclear shelter. There might be something interesting down there,’ she spoke.

‘Then you go look,’ I suggested.

She shook her head and turned away, looking at the trees that surrounded us. The forest was just awakening after being a sleep all winter. Leaves were budding on branches and flower shoots were coming up. Birds were singing and calling to each other in the distance.

Sighing, I walked forward to the edge of the metal frame and looked though the window. Straight down into a walled hole I stared. Then slowly, I saw that the walls were made of books! Books and books stacked in a spiral going down into the darkness.

‘What is it?’ my girlfriend called.

‘Come see,’ I answered, ‘it’s strange. Nothing scary.’

‘I’m not scared,’ she snapped back then came over.

She came to my side and looked through the window.

‘Oh! It’s books!’ she cried.

‘Yep. Must be some art project or something,’ I added.

‘Wondered where they go. Does this open?’ my girlfriend asked.

We both looked around the edge of the metal frame but found no way to open it.

‘Guess not,’ I said.

My girlfriend pouted, ‘but I want to see the books.’

I rolled my eyes hearing the childish tone of her words.

‘You can see them,’ I pointed out, ‘here I’ll take a few photos.’

I dug out my camera and began taking photos from different angles. Some images included my girlfriend and two of the photos I took with me next to her looking down the window hatch. Most though showed the books spiralling into the darkness.

‘It looks like the hole to Wonderland,’ my girlfriend announced afterwards.

‘Huh?’

‘You know, the book; Alice In Wonderland. Alice fell down a hole lined with all kinds of things. This reminds me of that story,’ she explained.

‘Oh. I guess so,’ I replied.

We give the book tunnel one last look then left to carry on our hike, both of us wondering about the window.

Library

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In the library, she could lose herself for hours or even days. The books whispered to her, telling of tales to be discovered and friends to be made.

Flight

aerial, airforce, falling

He wanted to do some daring to start the new year off with. So, he jumped out of plane with nothing on his back.

Northern Lights

Person Standing on White and Black Field Under Green and Black Sky during Twilight

Enar looked up at the sky, searching the star dotted blackness for any signs. As of yet he couldn’t see any lights, but he knew it must be soon. His breath misted before him, rising in puffy little clouds. It was bitterly cold, way below freezing, but he barely felt it in his long reindeer fur coat, gloves and boots.

In the background, he could hear the wind gently playing with the loose snow and his team of husky sled dogs barking. They had been on edge since seeing that polar bear and her cub. It had been a tense situation, saved only by him firing his gun. Enar hadn’t wanted to, especially after hearing the story of another man who was attacked by a male polar bear the other week. Still though as the bullet had shattered through all the growling, the mother had taken fright and run off, her cub in tow.

Enar came back to the now and looked more closely. There was green light growing in the distance. From his pocket, he took his camera and begin setting it up to take photos. He was clicking away before he knew it, watching more through the lens then anything else as the lights danced across the sky.

The dogs stopped barking almost as if they knew this mysterious force was now surrounding them. Silence fell, well beside from the snow shifting, Enar’s camera clicking and his deep breathing. His lungs were already burning the cold and he knew he’d have to start moving again soon.

He took a last photo, even though the light display was far from over. Rising his head, Enar admired the view above. Even though he knew the scientific reasoning behind it all he couldn’t help but think of the multi-coloured lights as being pure magic. He knew his ancestors had thought the lights to be departed souls and even further back in Norse myth, the lights were believed to be Valkyries and a bridge to Valhalla.

Enar put his camera away, having to fumble with it due to the thickness of his gloves and coat. He turned and walked back down to the dogs. They started barking at him, welcoming him back and seeming eager to be off again. He patted the first dog and made his way to the sled. He hadn’t bothered tying the dogs up. Shouting out, ‘mush,’ he gve the dogs some help then they were cutting their way through the snow once more, the aurora borealis dancing above them.