Cross Grid #100WW

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He was close. He stood on the small around about, car horns beeping at him as the drivers zoomed over the stone cobble roads. He held up the phone and watched as on the screen came the image of everything around him. Then a hit; The Arc de Triomphe.

He smiled, of course it would make sense that the Geocache would be there! He waited till, he could cross the road enough then hurried over. A few moments later, he found the plastic box tugged into a corner.

It was another off his list.

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2018/11/14/100-word-wednesday-week-97/ with thanks).

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Bust #FFfAW

The trucker drove through another semi-abandoned town, just like the last few he had passed. Looking out of his rain splattered window at building sites and abandoned yellow machinery. The economy had fallen and work had stopped everywhere.

A sign went by, an advert for new houses; Move in by Christmas! The trucker looked at the dirt field behind. No chance, unless you put up a tent, he thought. Shaking his head, he drove on, heading away from failed towns and the out fall of other peoples’ decisions. He felt lucky to still have a job.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/fffaw-challenge-191st/ with thanks).

Road #1LinerWeds

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All roads led to somewhere, but what if they don’t? What if there is just nothing and everyone is lost?

(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2018/11/14/one-liner-wednesday-share-the-road/ with thanks).

The Tolling Bell #WeeklyWritingChallenge

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Ivan didn’t want to go into the abbey bell tower, he had a bad feeling about it tonight. Looking up at the slowly tumbling down walls, the shadows seemed thicker then normal. Ivan tugged on the edge of his father’s red Captain of the guards cloak and tried to explain with hand gestures and tongue clicking that he was afraid and didn’t want to do the night’s signalling.

His father, who held a deep disappointment that his only son was a mute, ignored the young teenage and began climbing the steps that lead into the abbey. His heavy boot steps rang out on worn stones, breaking a doomed silence that had long settled here.

Ivan trailed afterwards, knowing that even if father would listen, there was no choice. Clutching the flicking metal lantern in one hand and a heavy wicker basket in the other, Ivan fixed his eyes on the floor and ignored everything else around him as dust clouds stirred. They reached the bell tower’s spiral staircase and started the long climb upwards.

Years ago, the abbey had been home to monks, who one winter had all gone on a pilgrimage and never returned without a clue to their whereabouts. The village that had been constructed around the abbey  died of the abandonment. Now, it was a tiny out post for a handful of the King’s guards, tasked with signalling incoming threats to the close by farming villages which served the King’s castle.

Ivan had never wanted to be in the King’s service. He had liked looking after the animals and the crops his mother had owned, which now belonged to his sisters’ families. His father though had decided to find Ivan a place within the guards and thus the boy had become the night time bell signal ringer.

‘Here we are,’ father’s voice declared as they reached the small room under the bell, ‘I’ll get you a fire going.’

Ivan nodded and placed the basket and lantern on a little wobbly table. He then lit two more lanterns which were placed on stone window sills across from one another. Now, everyone could see someone was up here. Ivan peered down and saw flickers of light below; guards on watch.

‘Have a goodnight,’ father said and turned away.

Ivan glanced at the fire which was starting to grow around two logs in the small fire place then watched his father leaving. He listened as the boot steps faded and the night settle once more. Ivan still felt uneasy, something tonight felt different but he didn’t know how to explain it. Perhaps, it was just the pressing hand of Winter? There had been no threats for months, so why would there be any now? Especially, with the harvest over.

Going to the long twist of rough rope in the centre of the room, Ivan checked it over and give it a few gentle tugs. He felt the bell swing above, making soft sounds. It had taken him ages to practise how to make the bell sound without getting hurt by the rope because it was heavy and the movement powerful. It was second nature now.

Collecting the lantern, Ivan slipped through a small door and climbed another spiral staircase into the actual bell tower. The chill of wind slapped his face and he realised how cold it was becoming. Wrapping his cloak tighter, he hurriedly checked the bell, making sure the rope was tight and nothing was in the way to stop the swinging movement. Then he headed back down again to wait out the night.

At the table, he went through the basket that the elderly cook, had put together for him. There was half a loaf of hard bread, a lump of cheese, two apples, salted dried deer strips, a small sweet bun and two bottles of weak beer. Ivan smiled, the women in the camp took pity on him, even though he didn’t like it, he enjoyed the benefits.

Ivan kept the fire going, careful to use only the wood he needed. He also made the food and beer last through the night. He kept himself awake by telling himself stories, thinking about the different lives he could have had and watching the dots of lights below moving as the guards walked the abbey’s edges.

There was a shouting from below and Ivan hurried to the nearest window. Far below was a gathering of lights and movement but he could hardly make anything out. Listening hard, he heard a horn blowing and he realised his gut feelings had been right. Scrambling over, he yanked the bell rope and let the clanking chime of metal on metal ring out repeatedly.

The noise of the bell meant he could hear anything else but it wasn’t Ivan’s job to figure out who or what was attack where, only that they were and people had to know. Ivan felt the bell rope going up and down in his hands, the slight sting of burns starting but he carried on ringing as fast and hard as he could. Panic seized him, the idea that he should be fleeing came and went. The bell rang out and out still for what seemed like forever.

Ivan collapsed. His hands bloodied, his body shaking, his ears deafened. He watched the rope moving by itself until it stopped, the bell notes fading. He felt the floor vibrating underneath him but he wasn’t sure of the cause. He curled up, letting sleep take him away.

He awoke in his own straw bed, rough wool blankets draped across him. Someone had bandaged his hands but they did not feel like his own, they were numb and crippled. Ivan rolled over and tried to recall what had happened. When nothing came to him, he got up and went to the window, a few black cloak guards and women walked by about their business.

Ivan wondered around the camp then out and around the abbey. There he spotted his father and most of the guards, they were inspecting small, green bodies on the ground and as Ivan got closer he saw they were goblins.

‘Ah, there you are boy!’ his father called, then patted Ivan on the back before spreading his arms out to indicate the scene before them, ‘this is thanks to you. The attack was stopped and the rest scared off.’

Ivan nodded and nudged a small bow in the grass. He touched his head, it hurt just as badly as his hands did and when he looked he saw red dots coming through the grey cloth strips. He wanted to have a drink and lay down again. There were things to do though and his father decided if he was up then he was well enough to help out.

They worked until it grew dark then returned to the run down house where they had stew and wine by the fire. Finally, Ivan crawled back into bed and dozed there, hoping his father wouldn’t awake him to send him back into the bell tower. He slept fitfully, thoughts filled with bells and goblins.

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/11/12/weekly-writing-challenge-167/ with thanks).

 

 

 

Counting #TwitteringTales

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The new pills were causing sleepless nights. Kim tried the traditional counting method; a wooden gate and sheep jumping over. Then a wolf, huge and grey, mouth red. Kim’s eyes snapped open, she heard a loud growling within her bedroom. She turned on the light and knew she wasn’t alone.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/11/13/twittering-tales-110-13-november-2018/ with thanks).

Calm #WritePhoto

The trees had lost all of their leaves and winter was growing in the air. I walked beside the bending river, listening to the water moving and the hidden birds singing. It was too cold to stop today as I would normally have done, to admire the landscape and the sounds of nature. My heart badly wanted to though.

At a rough wooden bench, huddling in my long coat, I sit down. It was mid-afternoon, too late for lunchtime dog walkers and schools would be out soon, so there wasn’t anyone walking this corner of the countryside. That’s the way I like it, nobody asking if I’m okay, saying it would pass and get better. It was just me and the river with it’s calming flow.

It felt like I could fall asleep and dream safely here. The insomnia and the nightmares couldn’t get me, I could be at peace. I sighed and looked up at the sky. The clouds were drifting lazy, I wish I was up there with them, no worries.

It was getting too cold, I had to go. I got up and walked slowly, trying to delay my return home. Back there all the anxiety and depression was waiting for me. Out here though, I was free.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/11/08/thursday-photo-prompt-calm-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toy Train #3LineTales

three line tales, week 145: a steam train crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Brian had time to kill before his job interview, so he went into the toy shop next door, thinking he’d get some ideas for his kids Christmas presents.

The shelves were packed with classic toys and games, the latest must haves and reproductions of vintage toys, some of which pre-dated him but nothing drew his interested.

A whistle come from above his head, Brian looked up and saw a miniature steam train, puffing real smoke, click clacking on a metal track, that’s it, he thought, I’m going to buy them that this year.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/11/08/three-line-tales-week-145/ with thanks).

Trunk Art #FridayFictioneers

Jim had always known that retirement wasn’t for him, ‘become like a vegetable in front of the TV? No!’ he repeatedly said.

He set out to do some travelling whilst turning his hand to a number of things, ‘a man can have many hobbies. Keeps him busy and away from the wife!’ Jim spoke.

One afternoon, he was looking at new places to visit and saw that some artists had created wood carvings from cut down trees, ‘and I thought to myself, you could have a go at that and so I did!’ Jim explained.

Thus, a new man was born.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/11/07/9-november-2018/ with thanks).

Wet Leaves #1LinerWeds

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Puddles covered the ground like ink blots, brown leaves floated, nature’s art display.

(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2018/11/07/one-liner-wednesday-an-autumn-goodbye/ with thanks).

November Day

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The conservatory was cold, so Maddie turned up the heating. Then created a nest for herself out of large cushions and soft fluffy blankets, on the large over stuffed leather chair. Snuggling down and hugging the warm mug of tea, Maddie took a few deep breaths.

Minutes before, Maddie had been in the middle of an anxiety attack. All her senses had been overwhelmed, every little sound made her nervous and her mind a hurricane of worrying thoughts. She hadn’t been able to slow down and the pain in her stomach had crippled her. Maddie had felt like the whole world was crushing her.

She had shut her eyes, rubbed her stomach in circles and thought about the sound of the rain on the windows and the wind rattling outside. That had helped ease things, Maddie had got up, made a hot drink and gone into the almost glass room at the back of the house.

Now, she could hear the rain and wind surrounding her, washing over and helping to make her feel much better. Safe in the nest, she sipped the peppermint tea and thought only of all the warmth. She was safe from everything here.