The Hub

Library High Angle Photro

I had no idea what the person next to me was doing. In fact, I had no idea what anyone in this office or even building was doing. It was a strange thought and one that had not even dawned on me before.

I looked around, taking in the long rows of desks, the tops of computers and stacks of papers. Someone was sat at every desk, typing or writing away, their heads mainly down. There was a low murmur of voices, tapping keys, scrabbling of phones and churning of machinery. Around the walls of the room rose the bookcases. They were packed with multi-colored book covers and contained all the knowledge of the world, from start to finish.

How long had I been working here now? Five, six, seven years? And not once had I thought to find out what this company was and what the other workers did. There had never seem to be any need though. I had always known my job and just got on with it. The awareness of everyone else had been there, but I guess I had never really noticed.

I peered over at the person to my right. It was a woman and she was busy tapping on a laptop. There were books, paper and pens scattered on her desk. She ignored me, either not realising I was watching or not caring. She was working on a research piece about monkeys, something which I could link to my own work.

I turned to the left and looked at the man there. His desk seemed the same as the woman’s, only he had no laptop and busy handwriting notes. There were many large books open before him. He was writing about monkeys in films. Once again, he didn’t seem to care I was watching him.

I got up and slowly made my way around the room. Everyone was researching and writing about something different and yet it all connected together. Finally, I concluded that we were working on a complete history of Earth’s animals. Each person had been given a different animal and subject matter which at first seemed a little out of place, but was actually a piece of the jigsaw we were creating.

I went back to my desk. My thoughts really awake for the first time.

The Wizard’s House

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I rang the door bell of the mansion and stood on the step waiting. Struggling to control my excitement, I looked at the letter in my hand. The script was large and loopy, almost rushed so that the words blurred together, but I could still make out what it said; the world’s most powerful wizard had hired me to be his cleaner!

My mind rolled with all the things I might see in his house. There’d be a library for sure! Books and books lining the walls. There’d be a lab for making potions, comfy rooms to rest in, kitchens to feast in and spaces to amaze guests in. Oh, it’s going to be so wonderful!

Slowly the door creaked open, light and darkness met in the middle.

‘Hello? I’m Henrietta. The wizard’s new cleaner,’ I declared.

The door got thrown backwards, banging against the side and a loud, booming voice said, ‘Of course you are!’

I felt my heart and stomach jump. The wizard was standing before me! He was very tall and dressed in a bright blue robe with a large pointy hat on his head. There were yellow crest moons and stars on the hat, as was tradition for someone as high up as the wizard. Most of his face was covered in a white curly beard, which was actually shorted then I’d thought it be. Nice blue eyes stared back and the face look youthful.

Suddenly there was a flapping of wings and a large brown bird that had been siting on his shoulder took off and flew past me. I gasped as feather brushed my cheek.

‘Blast! Adrastos! Come back!’ the wizard shouted.

I glanced over my shoulder but the bird was gone into the early afternoon.

‘Was that an owl?’ I asked politely.

‘Damn right it was! And the last I’ll see of him! Took me years to capture and train him! I knew giving him that name was a jinx!’ the wizard yelled.

‘Oh….I’m sorry….’

‘Do you know what Adrastos means?’

I shook my head.

‘Not inclined to run away,’ the wizard answered, ‘and look what’s happened!’

‘Maybe you could tempt him back?’ I asked gently.

The wizard fell to muttering and ignoring me. Peering about and around him, I saw there was a large toad at the wizard’s feet. The toad was croaking but didn’t seem interested in escaping.

‘Well,’ I said, ‘at least your toad stays. Does he have a name?’

The wizard snapped back and looked down to where I was pointing. He scooped the toad up and held it close to his chest.

‘Don’t be silly! Toads are not worthy of names. Now, come in before anything else gets out!’ the wizard snipped.

Nodding, I followed him inside. The hallway was cluttered with coats, shoes, umbrellas and contraptions. A number of kites were on the floor tangled together as if they had just fallen from the sky. Wires dangled down with things attached to them and there was a whole stack of cardboard boxes to my left before the towering staircase.

We went into through a door to the right and I had to stop as the room was jam packed. There were so many things, it was hard to describe them all. Furniture poked out from piles of books, papers, paintings, shinny objects and bric-a-bric. I saw the wizard placing the toad in a cloudy bowl of water then shuffling through a mountain of paper on his desk.

‘Oh my,’ I uttered.

‘I don’t have time to show you around the house,’ the wizard spoke, ‘I’m too busy.’

He waved me away and sat down with a little puff on a stool.

‘Well….where should I start?’ I asked.

‘Where ever you like! But remember when you move something always put it back where you found it! There are some things in this house that are very dangerous,’ the wizard explained.

Without further words, I left and began picking my way through the house. Ever room and hallway was full of stuff, dust and dirt. The place hadn’t been cleaned in decades! How could the world’s most powerful wizard live like this?

Finally, I found the library, the place I had dreamed about and it was nothing like I wanted. Most of the bookcases were empty and the books were scattered on the floor or on the desks and chairs that were dotted around. Dust and spider’s webs covered everything and it seemed no one had been in here in years!

Deciding it would be the place to start. I got down to cleaning. Somehow though, I had a feeling this job wasn’t going to last.

Swan

swan river

The Duchess sat by the lake, looking out over the sunset kissed water. She sighed deeply and wondered what she was going to do now. She had lost everything beside a trunk full of things and her pet swan. She could cope with that though. It was the betrayal of her husband and the kingdom she would never live down.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/01/12/thursday-photo-prompt-swan-writephoto)

The Perfect Photo

animal, close-up, macro

Sitting underneath the gazebo in a camping chair, Martin watched the snow falling. He was wrapped up heavily in woollen clothes and insulating underwear, but he could still feel the chill of the frozen air. In his hands and resting in his lap was a massive digital camera. It was currently off as a result of his frustrations.

From where he was sat, Martin could see very little of the park and gardens that surrounded him. He had picked this quiet corner to set up so that he would get the best photographs. Small trees covered with a thin layer of snow and bushes give him a good background. Whilst the patch of snow dusted grass give a good foreground. However, the centre of the photo was missing.

Martin sighed and checked his watch. He had been waiting three hours now and he had not even seen a flicker of a red squirrel. All that had been to the food he had scattered about was a few birds. And though the robin, blackbird and blue tits had been nice photos, it really was the main star he wanted.

Martin let his thoughts drift and of all the memories to select, he recalled one of his grandma and him watching birds in her garden from her greenhouse. He was about ten and all ready a keen photographer. That afternoon though, he was just watching and looking through a large book on birds.

‘There’s the robin,’ his grandma had pointed out.

He had looked up to the bird table and watched the robin hopping around. Then he had gone back to the book and flipped the pages. There were large drawings of British birds in full colour and close ups of wing markings. Detailed descriptions followed in small writing.

‘He out shines all other garden birds, you know,’ grandma added.

‘Why?’ his younger self had asked.

‘Because of his nature,’ grandma had replied.

Martin coming back from the memory wondered what he had replied and what else grandma had said. He could not think of it, though he was sure there was more to that memory.

Looking out on the patch of grass, he saw more birds pecking at the peanuts he had placed down. He turned on his camera and took a few photos. Then the birds took flight, battling against a flurry of large snowflakes.

It’s too cold today, Martin thought, probably the reason why I’ve had no luck.

Sighing, he looked up at the snow falling and decided to pack up and go home.

Postcard #29

black-and-white, boat, mountains

 

My Dearest Darling,

It’s stormy weather again, I’m afraid. Seems every time I decide to come home it happens! Of course, this is the only communication I can find. God damn this island! I hope this note reaches you. I’ve sent my best bird with it. I would suggest waiting until it’s calm to send him back. My research into the new plants isn’t going well. The weather doesn’t help, but it seems the animals here have a liking for the flowers too!

To be honest I’m thinking of cutting this project short and returning to you. I miss you too much to be a part for any longer. Even in the name of Science! As soon as this storm clears up I shall return to you. Perhaps it’s about time I let this hobby go for it’s causing us nothing but trouble!

All the best, Your One And Only.

The Visitors

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The High Priestess had heard the crying at the temple door for some time now. She had been hoping that one of The Sisters Of Syreth,  her followers, servants or anybody else taking shelter in the temple tonight would have opened the door by now. Wondering why that was, the High Priestess swished down a connecting hallway in her large and heavy blue dress.

Going through a small door, she entered and passed through the huge nave down a side corridor. The air was heavily scented with hot wax, incense and winter flowers from the mountain sides. Flickering candle light glowed from clustered candle groups, but it was not enough to keep the shadows away. A handful of people were sitting in the large, cold wooden pews. Most were silent in prayer or sleep, but every now and then sobbing, moans and whispered voices could be heard.

The High Priestess stuck to the shadows and hurried past. It was late in the night and she had all ready given a long service this evening then spent time with a number of different people. She was tried and had been trying to fall asleep, but the crying had disturbed her.

Going through the large doors into the small welcoming area, she saw the door opposite which led to the porch was all ready open. Voices and light were drifting from the area. Not bothering to be quiet she walked on and came to a stop behind a small group of people. There were five of them; two Sisters of Syreth in there pale blue robes, a male servant and a tall man dressed in a travelling cloak.

‘I am telling you, do not let them in!’ the man was saying.

‘Everybody is welcome in this temple of Syreth. She is the Goddess of protection and guardians. It is our duty to offer whatever we can to anybody who comes to our door,’ the High Priestess broke in.

The two Sisters turned and did little bows. The male servant, who was holding a lantern bowed too, but his was a lot lower. The traveler did not move and the High Priestess saw the tiredness and worry on his face. But he was also trying to mask his fear. Behind them all and coming from the other side of the temple’s double front doors the loud crying continued.

‘What is it? Who is crying out there?’ the High Priestess demanded to know.

There was a pause then the traveler spoke out, ‘creatures. I saw them on my way here and I think they followed me. You must not let them in for surely they are demons.’

‘What do they look like?’ The High Priestess asked.

‘There is two of them,’ the traveler replied, ‘one small, the other tall. They look like ghosts to me. I heard them whispering and calling out to me. But I did not stop. I rushed here and closed the door upon them and since then they have been crying,’ the traveler explained.

The High Priestess fell into thought.

‘We want to open the door to see for ourselves,’ one of the Sisters spoke.

‘Perhaps in the darkness the gentleman was mistaken,’ the second Sister finished.

‘I am not blind! I know what I saw!’ the traveler snapped.

‘Of course,’ the High Priestess murmured, ‘please see to his needs,’ she said to the servant.

The servant give a nod and led the man away. The traveler began to mutter under his breath, but he followed the servant and the steady lantern light.

The High Priestess went to the door and opened it. She peered out then stepped aside.

A strong winter wind blew harsh snowflakes into the temple and set the candles flicking violently. Coldness seeped in and snatched what little warmth there was within the stone walls away. The sound of the river gargling and the rattling of bare tree branches echoed through the temple.

The crying stopped. A large white and light brown cat padded inside followed by a pure white young female deer. Snow dusted their coats, but they seemed unharmed.

‘Do you seek shelter here?’ asked the High Priestess.

‘Yes,’ the cat spoke in a clear voice that was not male or female.

The two Sisters gasped and backed away. They reached for each other, holding hands tightly. Fear passed across their faces, but they did not run away.

The High Priestess shut the door. Snowflakes were melting in her long loose blonde hair and the wind was tugging at the edges of her dress like a naughty child.

‘You are both welcome here,’ the High Priestess continued.

‘Thank you,’ the cat replied.

‘What are your names and how can we help you?’

‘I am known as Horven, the druid,’ the cat spoke, ‘and she is the Princess Graceuvial.’

The white deer nodded and seemed to give a little bow with her long neck.

‘A Princess?’ The High Priestess breathed.

‘We have become lost in the snowstorm,’ Horven added.

‘Yes. It is quite a bad one,’ the High Priestess responded, ‘please let me take you to some warm rooms. There you can rest and I shall see to it you have everything you need.

‘Thank you,’ the cat said.

The High Priestess held out her hand then led the way into the Temple.

 

(https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/microfiction-challenge-27-rescue/)

Winter Field

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Alicia looked out of the window and across to the field. Four horses and two ponies were tucking into a bale of hay whilst the snow fell around them.

They need their rugs on, she thought.

Picking up her phone, she called the stables. It ring for a few seconds then an old man’s voice answered.

‘The snow’s not stopping. Please, put their coats on,’ Alicia spoke.

‘Right away,’ Tom answered and hung up.

Alicia ended the call too and put the phone back into her lap. A few minutes later, she saw Tom weighted down by coats going over to the horses. When he had put them all on and she was satisfied. She turned her chair from the window and wheeled herself back to her desk.

 

(From photo prompt by https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/tag/friday-fictioneers/ With thanks. Copyright of photo with her).

The Bear

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Deep inside the cave the bear slept winter away. He dreamed of spring when the snow would melt, the grass would be green and the air warm. He splashed through the great river chasing salmon and searching for fruits. He meet other bears, fought them and found a mate. He had father cubs, but he’d never met any of them. He roamed the forest, searching for more food and avoiding the humans. Then he felt the season’s change and knew it was time to get ready for the long sleep. The dream slipped away and the bear dreamt of other things deep within his cave.

Postcard #28

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Greetings from the middle of snowy nowhere!

Of course, I can’t tell you were I am because that has to stay a secret! Let’s just say I’ve been made to feel at home by a married elderly couple who love the color red and children. They also employ a lot of ‘short people’ in the making of toys and gifts.

The couple have their own farm with the normal animals, but also a few special ones. I was out there the other day helping to feed the deer and brush their coats. The wife breeds animals, mostly puppies and kittens because of the high demand for them, but she has a soft spot for bunnies.

I’m still not sure how long my stay here will last, but the old man has said he’d give me a lift home on the 24th, if I still need it. I’m keen to take him up on that. Lord knows the trek out here nearly killed me! But it’s such a wonderful and beautiful place. I can really understand why they choose to live out here.

I’m out of space now, so give my love to everyone and I’ll see you all soon!

Hector.

Postcard #27

Time Lapse Photography of Falls Surrounded by Trees

Babe,

Today, I found the most wonderful, magic place in the whole of this forest. It made me feel better about not getting any bear photos! I think I’m going to give up there and just carry on taking whatever else I find. I know what my editor really wants, but who actually wants to see someone getting mauled by a bear?

This place is just, wow. The river has been drawing me for ages now and today I followed it and found some awesome waterfalls and large pools. The fall is just making it feel more magical. The colorful leaves that everywhere just add this brightness and like clothes to the forest. That sounds kinda silly, but you get it right?

I wish you could be here with me. You’d love seeing all the little critters getting ready to sleep and having birds wake you every morning. I know the nights seem scary, but they’re not really. Once, I shut the door of the cabin, I sit by the window and just look outside for ages. Last night, it felt like I was the only man left on earth and I so wanted you there so we could experience that together.

I’ve only a week left now. And yeah I know my editor’s not going to get his photos, but he’s going to get something at lest! And we’ll be back together and I can tell you more about my adventures.

Love, Tate. x