Growlery #WritePhoto #AtoZChallenge

Growlery; a place of refuge or sanctuary for use while one is out sorts or in ill humour. 

Kip, loud music pumping in his headphones, made his way down to the tiny beach, taking care to step correctly on the massive stones which often had hidden slippy parts. Walking across the rough sand stone mix, he ignored the clusters of tourists that were admiring the views in the little cove area.

He went passed the high waterfall that rushed over the jagged cliff face then streamed along to the sea in a surprisingly deep trench. He head to the largest of the caves far to his right and stood just inside.

More tourists were walking the short distance through the cave to the other side which was blocked by large rocks and the sea waves crashing on them. Most of the people were talking photos and talking, making dim echos along the roof.

Kip sat on his favourite rock that was close to the arched cave opening and was shaped as close enough to a low backed chair as a rock could be. He slipped his headphones off, paused the heavy metal German band he had been listening too. He heard the sea, the waves rushing around and the chatter of voices.

He picked up a small smooth stone and rubbed his fingers across it. He looked around, taking in the rough walls and the patches of sunlight. He knew this place so well. It was nicknamed Merlin’s Cave because the great wizard was said to have lived here underneath Tintagel Castle where King Arthur was born.

Kip loved all those legends and myths, he had grown up surrounded by them. All those knights, princesses, dragons, heroes, monsters, castles and sea adventures, they flowed in his blood just like Cornwall did. As a child he had played at being a knight and now almost an adult he still daydreamed of being one.

Merlin’s Cave though, was where he came to calm down. It was his escape to place and he found a peace here, listening to the rasping sea waves, the waterfall and all the echos in the cave. The tourists he would gladly do without and that’s why he timed his trips here to avoid the bulk of them. Two or three hours before Tintagel Castle closed and making sure the tide wasn’t in was the best time to come.

Living in the town of Tintagel, made access easy for Kip. His parents ran a local pub that often bed and breakfast rooms above and the three of them lived in the attached landlord’s cottage at the back. Kip worked in the pub when he wasn’t at school and he would take over the business in the future. He could never leave Cornwall.

Kip took a few deep breaths and watched the flow of tourists, they reminded him of the sea; always coming and going. Luckily, there wasn’t much of a beach here and no one really sat around or played in the sea for long. There were better beaches to visit for that kind of thing further around the coast. They were all here for the castle really, which stood on the edge of the cliffs, high above, the remaining walls sticking up from the long grass, hinting at a history long lost.

The last of the tourists slowly left, making their way over the massive stones and up the wooden staircase along the side of the cliff. Kip watched them, glad he was alone at last. He knew eventually two staff members would come, checking that everyone was off the grounds and then Kip would have to leave but they all knew him well enough not to hurry him away.

Kip took a few deep breaths and let everything out. He shut his eyes and thought about being carried away by the sea. He was drifting and nothing mattered as everything that he was feeling was gone, carried away on the waves.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/04/04/thursday-photo-prompt-threshold-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

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Onward #WritePhoto

The people of what had been Kirby town had been traveling for months, walking on the hard rocky animal tracks through the foggy and rain soaked mountain range. There seemed to be no end in sight and it was like they had been cursed to walk forever.

Wearily and hungrily, they followed their prince on his bedraggled white stallion and his surviving guards in their tattered livery. No one was sure where they were going but the wizard kept claiming the Gods would tell the prince soon enough.

A fine rain was falling and the wind kept driving into the people and animals. There was little shelter and half delirious some of the people started to believe the mountains were judging them.

But what would mountains know of having to flee your burning town? Of trying to save women from rape and murder at the hands of an army from a distant land? Of there being no help, no hope, nothing left but charred reminds of what had been?

‘Is that a cave or a gap?’ the prince muttered.

He was exhausted and finding it hard to keep the strength his people needed of him. Steering his horse off of the track and up a small ledge. He saw that a gaping hole opened inside the nearest mountain, like mouth that had been punched in.

The prince slide off his horse and lead the stallion over. The cave seemed back enough for everyone and it was also dry inside.

Prays were said to the Gods and a few people suggested that perhaps their fate was turning. Maybe tonight the prince would be told where to lead them too. Everyone settled into the cave, finding a large chamber for twelve horses, seven ponies, five goats, four dogs, two cows, one ox, one kitten and a crate full of chickens. There was also other chambers which the hundred odd humans scattered themselves about in.

No fires could be lit, there was no dry wood. The people ate whatever they had foraged, got as comfortable as they could and tried to sleep.

The prince woke early, feeling uneasy. He looked at the ceiling of the cave and wondered what to do.

‘My prince?’ ask the wizard, ‘any new thoughts?’

‘None,’ the prince uttered.

The wizard nodded and taking up his gnarled staff went out into the misty, rainy morning.

‘Shall we move on?’ the captain of the guards asked.

The prince looked around, taking in the closest children who were so tried and hungry they could no longer cry.

‘No. It seems safe enough here. We shall rest as long as we can.’

A few days passed and the people had made the best of things. Wood had been dried for a fire big enough to cook and dry clothes upon. The animals were providing milk and eggs now they were rested and grazing often. Everyone felt less hungry and tried.

On the four day, the wizard came back.

‘I have been seeing what there is to be seen,’ he announced, ‘and it looks like we must continue. The weather is turning and I fear we shall face greater hardships.’

The prince was fell silent in thought. A few voices give suggestions but at last the prince spoke, ‘tomorrow we leave. Go and find food, wood and prepare. We can’t stay here and must make it to some other town or city for the winter.’

Onward, the people of Kirby town traveled though a gap between two mountains where it stopped raining and began snowing. Some regretted leaving the cave but they knew if they had stayed they would have died, at least this way they had a chance.

On and on they pushed as winter bit in and heaped more harshness on them like never before. Some did not make it, but other weeks later, on the eve of the winter festival stood and looked down upon a valley and a town within.

Spirits soared and the people head forward. The prince feared they would be rejected or find the town in ruined but they were welcome in. A great hall lay at the heart of the town, heated by many fires and decorated with evergreen plants. The Lord welcomed them from his high seat and the prince counseled with him.

Dawn arose on the winter festival morning, crisp snow covered everything and a fine mist hung over the mountains. The people of Kirby all slept peacefully for the first time, warmed by the fires of the great hall, knowing they were safe for the time being.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/12/06/thursday-photo-prompt-onward-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

Big Cave #Pegman

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Rusty knew the cave was here, the map told him so. Avoiding the red rocks that littered the landscape, he weaved his way on. Brown-red peaks rose to the blue jean washed sky and the sun beat down like a determined enemy.

He felt the sand shift under him. Rusty tried to go back but the sand movement dragged him down. He landed heavily, drifting in and out, luckily, he was only bruised and in shock when he came fully to.

He looked up and saw the entrance to the cave ahead of him. He had found it after all.

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/06/09/the-big-cave-palo-duro-state-park-texas/ with thanks).

 

Distant #writephoto

There were once three companions, a dwarf, a gnome and a fire sprite, who decided to set off on an adventure to the Ice Capped Mountains to kill the red dragon, Usullen, and take his treasure. They believed together and with their magic weapons, armour and years of experience that they would easily be victorious.

The journey from their home town, took two whole years and was extremely difficult. They faced many monsters, bad weather, fell out with each other often and got lost. They all wanted to turn around and go home but their stubbornness wouldn’t let them give in.

‘I’ve faced worse then this!’ the dwarf said gruffly.

‘Then you can face Usullen by yourself!’ the gnome snapped.

‘Fine by me. All the treasure will be mine!’ the dwarf responded.

‘No! Only half,’ the fire sprite jumped in, ‘I have changed my mind again.’

‘If you are still going…I must too!’ the gnome grumbled.

There was a collective groaning around the campfire then since there was nothing else to say, they tried to get some sleep on the hard, cold ground.

The next morning soon after they started walking again, they got their first look at the Ice Capped mountains far in the distance. The sky above was grey-blue, heavy with clouds containing snow. The bare green landscape was dotted with snow piles and twisted trees. Continuing, they felt in better spirits as they neared their destination.

The trek up the mountains to search for the red dragon’s cave was the hardest thing they had done. The wind howled around them, chilling them and threatening to throw off the mountain side. The snow hit them, blinding them then sticking to anything it could and weighing them down. It lay thickly at their feet making the going hard and hiding rocks that they tripped over.

The fire sprite used his power to light the way and the snow that fell on him melted away. The dwarf and gnome were too frozen and tried to argue about it. They pushed on and soon all their hard work was rewarded when the fire sprite spotted a cave. At first it was hard to tell if the cave was the home of a dragon, it was big enough to be but snow drifts covered the floor and walls.

They went deeper into the cave. The fire sprite flying high above so that the dwarf and gnome could use their dark sight better. They all spotted a sword laying on the floor, the skeleton remains of its owner, close by. Being careful not to disturb the dead, they went deeper still. More bones, weapons and armour littered the floor. There was no doubt now that they were in the right place.

They felt the air getting hot and shadows of light appeared on the walls. They entered a massive cavern and looked down to see a hoard of glittering treasure below. Breath caught in their throats and they couldn’t believe their eyes. But were was the red dragon, Usullen?

Looking around, they couldn’t spot the dragon anywhere. Had they arrived whilst he was out finding food. Going down into the cavern didn’t make the dragon appear. The gnome and fire sprite began filling the empty sacks they had brought with handfuls of treasure. The dwarf, kept guard, holding him might warhammer and searching everywhere.

‘We can’t just take the treasure without killing the dragon. We are not thieves!’ the dwarf rumbled.

‘Maybe, someone else killed the dragon but they didn’t know where his hoard was?’ the gnome suggested.

The dwarf didn’t believe him.

Taking all they could carry, the companions left the cave and went back out. A snowstorm was raging, so they had to wait for it to pass. They found a side passage that had been blocked off at the back. They made a camp and had a small celebration. The dwarf though, could only taste bitterness in his mouth. He had so wanted to kill the dragon!

The gnome and fire sprite fell asleep, finally able to relax now their goal was complete. The dwarf started awake, lost in his own thoughts.

In the morning, the storm had stopped and the companions began their journey down the mountains. It was harder then before as now they were weighted down by all their treasure and they were all wondering where the dragon was. Though no one wanted to voice that for fear of cursing their good luck.

Finally, they got to the base of the mountains and began to walk across the snow covered ground. A loud flapping and a shower of snow had them all turning to the right. There before them stood a might dragon! He’s bright red, gold tinted scales shone, his gold claws dug deep into the snow and his huge head with bright golden eyes turn towards the companions.

‘Ah,’ said the dragon in deep, tree shaking voice, ‘thieves!’

‘No! Dragon slayers!’ said the dwarf, waving his warhammer.

The dragon looked at the dwarf, the gnome and the fire sprite in turn, ‘You are not worthy of my time,’ he replied.

With a big intake of breath, the dragon breathed out and before the companions could prepare themselves, the dragon turned the thieves to stone and left them there as a reminder to all future adventurers who planned to steal from him.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/01/18/thursday-photo-prompt-distant-writephoto/ with thanks).

Deep #writephoto

The cave hadn’t seemed a welcoming place to spend the night, but he’d no choice. Entering slowly and flashing his torch around, Brad made his way along. The cave seemed naturally made in the side of the mountain range and not well traveled.

He paused and looked over his shoulder at the mouth of the cave. Rain was hammering down and large puddles spread across the floor whilst the wild wind blew a tune across the rocks. Night was also coming fast and with being unable to put up his tent safely, he was lucky to have find this shelter.

Brad didn’t feel grateful though. This cave wasn’t marked on the map he had been following and it was by pure change he had noticed the curving of the rock face. Walking on again, he looked for a good place to stop, but the ground looked too wet. Sighing, he carried on, thinking about how much he’d really had enough of this hiking trip.

Heading further into the cave, Brad passed by amazing features; stalactite and stalagmites growing to meet each other, pools of clear water, shining quartz and green oxidation patches along the walls. He was deep in thought when he stumbled over something.

Swearing loudly, Brad bent to rub his leg and catch his breath. Shinning his torch on the floor, he saw it wasn’t actually a rock he had tripped on but a large metal box. Puzzled, he knelt down, shrugging off his hiking bag. He felt along the lid of the box then easily opened it.

The shine of cans met his eyes. Brad frowned and rummaged through the box. Labels showed that all the tins were food and there must have been over a hundred of them. Mumbling the strangeness of this, Brad stood up and shone his torch further down. The ends of metal shelves placed against both walls of the cave flashed up.

Walking on, he began to inspect the items on the shelves and open more metal boxes on the floor. It wasn’t until he found a book about nuclear war that he realised what he had discovered.

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/03/16/thursday-photo-prompt-deep-writephoto/ with thanks).

Creature

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Jack knew he shouldn’t go further into the cave, but he was angry and didn’t care. Sand and shells crunched under his hiking boots and water dripped steadily. The light beam from the torch showed him how narrow the walls were getting. He hitched up his rucksack and heard it scrapping the wall.

He stopped and saw his breath misting before him. It was colder then he thought then. He shone the torch around, but there was nothing unusual about the cave. It looked just looked like the back of any cave on any beach. Jack turned back the way he had come. He couldn’t see the cave entrance, but he knew it was there.

They’re all outside having a good laugh at me now, he thought, whatever. Sod them.

He slipped his rucksack off and sat down on it. He tapped the torch about in his hands then turned it off. Darkness settled around him and he breathed in deeply. He shut his eyes and just listened to the distant sound of the sea. He also thought he heard the crackle of the fire and gusty blow of the wind.

The sound of soft footsteps moving towards him grew within the background of dripping water.

Great. I can’t even get a bit of space!

Jack thought about turning the torch on, but then decided against it. Let whoever it was find him in the dark. They liked playing games anyway didn’t they? His so called friends…

The footsteps came into focus and Jack knew something was wrong with them. It didn’t sound like boots or bare feet coming towards him. It sounded more like paws…

‘Hello?’ he shouted and flicked on the torch.

The light chased the shadows away and showed Jack nothing but the damp walls.

‘Quit messin’ and leave me alone! Jerks!’ he yelled.

He turned off the torch again and sat breathing heavily in the darkness.

The sound of paws picked up again and were followed by a low growl. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and Jack turned the torch slowly. Carefully, he guided the beam around.

Something moved against the wall to his left. He flashed the torch over and the light reflected two large grey glowing orbs.

He swore and scrambled to his feet. He tried to hold the torch steady to see more, but he couldn’t.

The growling came again. Fur brushed against the wall. The paws picked up speed.

He dodged to the side and ran. The light beam bouncing everywhere. He burst from the cave, kicking up sand as he arrived. He spun around and shone the light back into the entrance. Was it still following him?

His friends were scrambling around, he could see that out of the corner of his version. They were asking him what was wrong. But he couldn’t reply. He had no words to describe the creature he had just seen.

 

Story prompt from: https://scvincent.com/2016/10/27/thursday-photo-prompt-creature-writephoto/ with thanks.