Harbinger #Writephoto

It was the last day of September and a Monday which meant that Sadie had been super hectic at work. Finally, she was free to go home and though she was tried, she had a busy evening ahead.

As the bus engine vibrated underneath her, Sadie listed off her plans; home to eat and shower, then off to the coven meeting. There the practising witches would welcoming the coming of October at midnight. Afterwards she could go home to sleep.

Getting off the bus, she hurried down the road to her small house. The sky above was almost dark and Sadie hoped it wouldn’t rain. She opened the gate to her house and went up the path. On either side, Sadie’s front garden grew wild with a mix of things she used in cooking and magic.

Something rustled close by the front door. Sadie paused and looked down. There was something black and white sticking out of a clump of rosemary. Sadie peered further and saw a magpie trying to hide.

‘What are you doing down there?’ Sadie asked.

The magpie let out a soft, distressed cry. One of his wings was sticking out strangely and there was dried blood.

‘You are hurt!’ Sadie spoke, ‘wait a minute.’

She dug out her keys, let herself in and rushed into the kitchen. Getting a clean towel, Sadie went outside again and scooped up the magpie.

The weak bird allowed himself to be wrapped up and taken in without a fight.

Sadie placed him inside an old wicker basket then wondered what to do.

‘I’ll take you to the coven,’ she said aloud, ‘someone there will know what to do with you. A few of the witches have bird familiars.’

Sadie kept the magpie warm, give him little bit of cooked chicken and some water. When he seemed settled, Sadie got something to eat herself. After, she showered and changed in her black dress and purple hooded cloak.

Tucking the magpie carefully into the basket, she carried him to the basement of the abandoned factory where the coven meet.

Candles light all the walls and corners of the room. Chairs and tables were dotted around, some with witches sitting on them. Other figures moved across the centre, making markings on the floor.

Sadie found a male witch, Alex, who had a raven familiar, to help the magpie.

‘Looks like he’s been hit by a car,’ Alex told her, ‘this wing is broken and he’s in shock. You did the right thing. I’ll look after him.’

‘Thank you,’ Sadie replied, ‘I knew I couldn’t leave him to die.’

The welcoming of October began and they joined the others in the nighttime celebrations.

Hours later, the witches closed things and said their farewells. Sadie was too tried to give the magpie anymore thought and went home to bed.

 

Days later, there was a knock at Sadie’s door. She opened it, thinking it was the postman or a neighbour but it was Alex.

‘Oh, my basket!’ Sadie cried, ‘I’d forgot all about it!’

Alex smiled and added, ‘and your new familiar too!’

‘Familiar?’

Said looked into the basket and saw the magpie. He was looking healthy, his broken wing fixed and he had been well fed.

‘Yes,’ Alex replied, ‘I asked him if he wanted to be released or stay with you. He decided to thank you for saving his life by becoming your familiar. His name is Harbinger.’

Puzzlement crossed Sadie’s face and she looked from the magpie to Alex, ‘I don’t know anything about birds or having a familiar…’

Alex laughed and replied, ‘Harbinger and I will teach you all you need to know.’

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/09/26/thursday-photo-prompt-harbinger-writephoto/ with thanks).

Any Distraction #FridayFictioneers

Jenna was meant to be writing but she couldn’t do it. Every time she tried to sit at her computer nothing happened. She tidied the house and did the chores she had been putting off. She watched TV, telling herself she was looking for inspiration.

Finally back at the desk, Jenna tried to get her into the story. A loud squawk distracted her and she looked out of the window to see a large bird staring in at her. Wondering what it was doing, Jenna got up and went into the back garden, story officially abandoned.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/06/13/15-june-2018/ with thanks).

Glitter #fridayfictoneers

 

Placing the large, sliver glittery jar on the window sill, Ola stood back to admire it. She had loved how in the shop the jar had glowed in the sunlight as if fireflies where inside it. Now as the sun hit it again, light danced across her walls like a disco ball.

Slightly moving the gold candlestick that had been her great-grandma’s, till it was in a better position to catch the light bouncing off the jar, Ola’s couldn’t help but think what the candlestick represented. Originally, one of a pair, it had survived the Second World War and the long journey out of Germany to Sweden. It was hope and freedom in one as well as a piece of her family’s history.

Finally happy, Ola moved away and went off to unpack the rest of her shopping. Afterwards, she got a late lunch and settled in the living room to watch TV. A loud tapping on a window caused her to pause. Glass of water and plate of food still in hand, she looked around. The tapping came again.

Maybe, it was someone at the door? Placing things down, she walked over and opened the cottage’s small door. There was no one there. Confused, she closed the door and went to the back one but there was no one their either. Wondering what was going on, she went from window to window and peered out.

The lane and rolling countryside looked like it always did at the height of summer; trees in full green leave, flowers in their bright colours, the fields in patchworks of greens and yellows against the bright blue sky. The other cottages were covered in climbing flowers and plants underneath their whitewash walls and thatched roofs added to that picture perfect look.

There didn’t seem to be anyone around. Ola went back to her lunch but as soon as she’d sat down the tapping started up again. Frowning, she arose and went quickly to both doors. Peering out of the windows, she saw there was no one there. Perhaps, it was children playing about? Going back, she began her lunch, ignoring the tapping when it started up again.

Finally though, she’d had enough. Getting up and heading in the direction of the tapping which seemed to be coming from the landing window where she had placed the glittering jar, Ola stood for a few moments. Then she saw it. A huge black and white magpie was flying at the window and tapping on the glass.

Ola laughed. The bird was attracted to the jar! The sunlight sparkling off the surface must have caught it’s attention. She watched for a few more moments as the magpie kept trying to get at the jar, then not sure what else to do, Ola rolled the blind down. The jar and window sill fell dark. Ola felt a wave of unhappiness but as she listened the magpie’s tapping slowed then stopped.

Ola pulled the blind halfway up. Thinking that if there wasn’t so much light on the jar then the magpie might stay away. It was a shame not to let the jar glow as it should. Stepping back, she stood by the window for a few minutes. Admiring the movement of the light on the jar, candlestick and walls. The magpie didn’t come back.

(Inspired from: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/07/12/14-july-2017/ with thanks)

Walking Away

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She walked away from him and it was as simple as that to leave it all behind. She felt better, like a wild bird that been trapped in a cage but was now free. The control was all her own again and she could live as she wanted, not as he had made her believe she should. She told her friends it was better to be alone then in a relationship where you couldn’t be yourself and you fell into being a lie.

So what if her road was now lonely? Wasn’t it better to be like that then to find that you had no life at all? Her purpose shouldn’t have to be to please others or to be the perfect girlfriend. The purpose should be what she wanted and why should she care if other people judged her? She was living how she wanted to now and was a lot more happier.

Here We Stand (Part 1)

Religious Statue in Greyscale Photo

The church seemed too quiet. I paused in the doorway and peered in. A lot of broken wood, plaster and stone covered the floor, making it look highly dangerous. A quick look up and ceiling was holding strong, even though there where a few holes. The place smelt bad; damp, mouldy and animal like. There was no telling what had or was living here.

‘Hello?’ I shouted.

My voice echoed slightly then fade. I didn’t recognise it as it reached my ears. I sounded like some other twenty year old man who was rough and tried from illness and lack of sleep. Well, that was sort of true. The world was now too dangerous to sleep soundly anymore.

I stepped in. Something crunched under my boots. The sounded echoed softer then my voice had. I looked down and saw a pile of yellow bones. They looked too small to be human, but until I’d seen the skull I wouldn’t know for sure. Nudging them with my foot, I couldn’t detect anything further, other then it wasn’t a complete skeleton.

I looked up and around again. Most of the stain glass windows were gone. In their place were loose boards made up wood and metal, however that was only for the lucky few. Weak sunlight was pouring through the rest, causing there to be rectangles topped with arches across the floor. The largest amount of light was coming from the three biggest windows that looked down upon the altar space.

‘Hello? Is anyone here? I come in peace!’ I yelled and held up my empty hands out.

I shuffled into the first patch of light, with my arms up. My shoulders and back ached with the weight of my hiking bag. Some wisps of my too long black hair fell into my eyes and I blew them away with a hot breath. Sweat dampened my dirty t-shirt, not that any more staining would matter. I listened, holding my breath so I could hear more. The church stayed quiet as if it was holding it’s breath too.

I dropped my arms, deciding it was okay for now. Walking slowly towards the altar where I knew there might be some doors leading to backrooms or a basement, my alertness didn’t drop. It was hard walking over the ever shifting rubble, especially because I didn’t want to keep my eyes down all the time.

I reached the first step of the altar which was just visible. There was a dead bird next to my left foot. It looked like a fresh skeleton as it was fully laid out with feathers circling it like a halo. Leaving it, I walked up the rest of the steps and tried to make sense of the space before me.

Churches were apart of the old world now. Though the generation before me had desperately tried to hang on to them and religion, they had been unsuccessful. My generation didn’t care and these ‘holy places’ were just empty meaningless shells now, just liked all the other places.

I craned my neck upwards. Maybe statues had once stood in the hallows above me. Their stony eyes staring blindly down at me in silent judgement. And what would they see? A scruffy, exhausted kid just trying to survive from one moment to the next in a world now gone to hell. Perhaps, their faces would plead with me to save humanity? And I would turn my back on that request, knowing it was an impossible task.

Turning from the wall, knowing I didn’t have to worry about that today, I checked left and right. There was a small blocked up wooden door to my left, possibly an emergency escape. To my right was an open passageway and what looked to be a stone spiral staircase.

 

To Be Continued….

Bird

She held the dead baby bird in her hands. The breeze ruffled the grey feathers and showed the whiteness underneath. She looked up into the tree, trying to see a nest, but there was just a tangle of branches. She listened and heard some birds singing, but couldn’t hear any distressing cries. She didn’t know what else to do, so she placed the body back where she had found it.

Bird

Writing Prompt: What lies beyond the fog?

Walking out of the thick grey fog, Ivo saw the tower’s blurred point ahead. A sense of relief washed over him and he sighed deeply into the full face gas mask. Heavily trudging over soft ground, which had once been green with grass, he heard the sharp calling of a large bird. He slowed his steps and slipped his gloved hand inside the right side pocket of his floor sweeping leather coat.

Glancing carefully about and wishing the fog wasn’t so thick, he looked out for the bird. He withdrew the small camera and brought it to chest height. Trying not to look down, Ivo let his fingers fumble over the rough surface and take place over the shutter button. Growing more determined and tense he pressed forward.

A flicker of black caused his rubber booted feet to pause. Ivo tried to slow his breathing, which had become loud in his ears and licked his dry cracked lips. He inched forward, the knowledge that this could mean so much for his Faction pressed down on his shoulders. He felt a twinge in his lower back and wondered about slipping his rucksack off. Thoughts that the bird could get scared or someone could dart out of the fog and take it, made him change his mind.

He took another few steps forward and saw what he had always longed to see; an alive and normal looking black bird. Ivo’s fingers clicked the camera’s button and without looking down, he brought the device up to him and looked at the cracked screen. The image of the bird was there. Quickly, he took another few photos and watched as each time the black bird, which was perched on a rusting wheeled trolley, appeared on the screen.

‘It’s unbelievable,’ he uttered as he marvelled over it.

The bird stretched its wings as if to take off and Ivo’s breathe caught in his throat. For a moment the idea of trying to capture the bird screamed in his mind, but he didn’t move. He bite his tongue and tasted the tang of blood. Swallowing, he watched the bird settle back down and began preening the jet black wing feathers. Excited at such natural behaviour, Ivo took two more photos. Looking at the screen, he decided that the bird was probably a raven as it looked very similar to the Encyclopaedia images he had long pondered over.

With its wings clean, the raven ruffled them and did a little jump up. Flapping loudly, it took off and vanished into the fog. Ivo stumbled after it, desperately clicking the camera’s button, but only catching the closing in fog and the tower point in the distant. Stilling his finger, he looked around whilst turning in a circle, but could see anything else. At least he had finally got some prove to show to the others.

If the raven could survive out here, Ivo thought as he looked back through the photos, then there must be clean oxygen back in the air. Feeling happier, he pocketed the camera and walked on towards the tower. The twisting metal frame rose up before him and Ivo that he could make out the reddish, orange colour of the structure. The ground reminded the same beneath his feet, despite the whispered warnings the old surveyor had given Ivo before he had set off on this mission.

Slowly, his steps has he got closer to the tower, he pulled out his camera and took a few photos. There was a barricade between himself and the tower, made by a tall fence and large square shaped rocks. Taking a few deep breaths and feeling the heaviness of the gas mask on his face, Ivo stepped forward and touched the closest rock. He couldn’t feel anything because of the gloves, but as he removed his fingers he stopped tiny white flecks coming away from the rock.

He sat down and starred right up to the top of the tower. It’s hideous, he thought, probably one of the most hideous things I’ve seen from The Before. He recalled his walk though Notre-Dame yesterday and how he had been amazed by the still intact structure. The Before Peoples had tried hard to protect their monuments and scared places, he mused. He took a photo, liking the way the tower loomed out of the fog. A beeping drew his attention and he pulled out a timing device. His mission was over. Standing and putting everything into his pocket, he headed back for home before his air ran out.