Ruby #FirstLineFriday

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I hadn’t thought about anything else other then having a nap after getting off the plane. Bundling myself into a taxi and arriving at the hotel, I had go to my room and just crawled into the bed as if it had been my real destination all along.

The loud crying of a baby woke me up. I lay mused across the bed, wondering where I was. Slowly, as the baby’s crying faded I remembered the business trip. Letting out a sigh, I checked my watch without getting up. It was close to half past seven. My plan had landed around three. So…counting in the before nap parts, I had been asleep for three hours and a half or so. Good job, I had nowhere to be this evening!

I got up and took of my black suit jacket then re-arranged my comfy black pants and white blouse. I took my hair down – half of it had fallen anyway and out of habit checked myself in the mirror. Satisfied, I crossed the hotel room to the windows, where I pulled the draping white curtains aside.

A door led onto a small balcony, I stepped out. The warm evening air caressed my face, I breathed in the city and lake smell, finding it strangely sweet and earthy. There was the noise of traffic and people; the hum of the city. I could hear the lapping water, it was almost right below me. It was a breathtaking view.

Looking down, I saw the skyscrapers towered reflective against the ruddy clouds. The imagine was constantly moving in small ripping waves and I half thought the city was actually under that surface. I looked across and saw the glowing sunset lighting up the building as if they were on fire and I wondered, when I was the last time I had seen anything like this?

The sky was dark ruby and amethyst with an underlining of white cloud edges. I could just see the amber of the sun peeking. There was just so much of this colour everywhere, it was magical. The urge to reach out to touch it and know what it felt like, swelled within me. I raised my arms and stretched my fingers, like a vampire gently arising from the grave.

I felt a warm breeze with a hint of coldness from the lake. My hands were surrounded by the colors but I knew they never could become one with them. I lowered my arms and put my hands to the railing. There was an unreal, dream like feeling but I knew I was wide awake.

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/first-line-friday-february-1st-2018/

Someone Lives There Still #FridayFictioneers

It was hard to imagine that anyone would want to stay in a city destroyed by war but some had no choice. Driving down the once busy roads, framed by pleasant buildings which were now bombed out hollows, I spotted the smaller corner shop where I had spent most of my money as a child. Surprisingly, it was still open! Though the attached home of the owners was ruined.

I slowed and saw people moving passed the windows. They were shopping despite the empty shelves. Life was carrying on as normal.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/01/24/26-january-2018/ with thanks).

Window

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The window stood open and all I had to do was jump, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The dazzling street was far below me, hazy in the summer heat and packed with tourists. A mingle of voices and traffic rose upwards, blending into the other city background noises.

I was balanced on the bottom rail, the cold metal biting into my bare feet and my toes curled around the edge. My hands pressed into the top rail, my fingers tightly wrapped around. It was if my body was refusing to move from this spot and rebelling against the wanting of my brain.

My lungs started to burn with the breath I had been holding. I tried not to think about it but instinct kicked in and I opened my mouth breathed. This city smelt both familiar and foreign; sweat, pollution, car fumes, spices, warm food and dust. It was hard to separate all those different scents.

I stayed tense and looked out over the city. I had been here a few times now, but it had been awhile since I’d last been. The narrow, twisty cobblestone streets and tiny back alleyways looked like a rats’ maze. The multi-colored two or three store houses were so close together that neighbors could lean out of their windows and have a chat.

Looking beyond, it was easy to mistake the line of pale blue sky for the sea. The coast was about forty minutes away and I had walked across the deep sand beach a few times. I remember thinking I was in paradise. There was a scattering of sitting people drinking out of coconuts or pineapple halves whilst couples hand in hand walked through the lapping waves.

There was too much pain in my body to remain on the railings. I got down, my limbs stiff and went inside to the small sofa. I sank down, my attention draw to the dark screen of the TV. It was stuffy in here, too much heat had gotten in. I put the ceiling fan on and it spun lazily. Watching the fan, I let my thoughts tumble.

It had been my plan to come here and die. I wasn’t sure why but for some reason this city and this room had stuck in my head. I had wanted to be far from home so I wouldn’t have the chance to back out again but I didn’t have the will to do it. Trying to think about the whys added to my tiredness.

I got up and went to lay on the bed. I put the fan on in here too though it was already cool because I had kept the windows and curtains closed this morning. Face down, I stretched out on the sheets, frustrated with myself.

Fragrance

Flower Meadow, Wildflowers, Meadow

She took a deep breath and then another. The fragrance was like nothing she had known before. It was soft, sweet and perhaps a mixture pleasant of things. Resting against the wood fence, she looked over the countryside sprawling outwards. She wondered if it was because she had become too use to the smells of the city that she didn’t know what fresh air and wild flowers were any more.

Perhaps it was time she got out more.

 

(Inspired from: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fragrance/ with thanks)

A Little Rain

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I hadn’t been paying attention all day. The events of work yesterday were still reeling through my mind like one of those old films on a projector which had ended but kept spinning. That was why when I unlocked and opened my shoe box apartment door, I didn’t see the postcard on the floor.

The next morning it was laying there, having waited like an obedient dog for me to notice it. Frowning, I stepped off the edge of the postcard and bent down to pick it up, careful of my tight pencil skirt and new coal tights.

It looked an old postcard which had been laying there for a long time. The edges were dog eared, the card was turning from cream to yellow and there was scuff marks on both sides. The picture on the front was a strange nighttime cityscape, with lights on in the tall buildings and the sky behind them dusky dark. I turned it over and read the scribbled handwriting;

Today, it rained that matters a lot nowadays.   

I checked the address but the lines hadn’t been filled in and there was no stamp. Puzzled, I put the postcard down on the side table next to the phone and went to work. I was too busy to decipher the message.

Of course, when I came home the postcard was waiting for me but I ignored it. Slipping out of my heels, my feet hurting after another day of running around, I dumped my stuff on the floor next to them and went into my bedroom.

I ran the bath and had a good soak, letting all my thoughts swirl away. I had something to eat after then I picked up the postcard and went to bed. I was too tried to give it much thought but now that I’d held it again, my mind was interested by it.

There was no date that I could see, nor any little description about the imagine on the front which these postcards always have. I didn’t recognises the handwriting nor the meaning of the words.

I looked at the small picture framed window covered by it’s thin peach curtain and wondered if it was raining. It was true that I hadn’t seen rain in months. There was a drought and all water was being saved. So, what the postcard said was even more remarkable.

Maybe it was like spy code for something? Perhaps it had been delivered to my address by mistake? Tiredness washed over me and I set the postcard down again. Turning the lamp off, I settled into sleep and dreamt about rain.

Still Alive

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Gift wasn’t sure how long the town had been abandoned as the records only went back fifty years. Crunching glass and fallen plaster under her boots, she entered what had once been a living room.

Looking through the breathing mask’s visor, she spotted the white flowering plant on the window sill. Smiling, she walked over and picked the plant pot up gingerly.

You’re safe now, she thought, clutching the plant, but you’ve got a big job ahead, flower.

Gift stepped outside and back into the war torn grey landscape. Hurrying towards the safety of the underground city, she hoped that one day she would be able to see the green surface world that she only knew from the legends.

 

(Inspired from Friday Fictioneers prompt; https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/3-february-2017/ photo by Roger Bultot thanks)

Metal City

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

Noah lay in bed, regretting he had ever wished to catch his friend Martin’s chickenpox. Being off school had been fun at first, but now he was bored. The sound of the front door bell brought him back from that thought and he listened as his mum went out to work and his grandfather came in to babysit.

As soon as his grandfather came into his room, Noah threw back the duvet and demanded a story. His grandfather settled into an old wooden chair and after a minute or so of thinking began;

In Metal City there were no humans and nor had there ever been. The origin stories always went along the lines of this; a band of rouge AIs and other robots escaped from a destruction faculty. Humans no longer felt they were needed but they thought differently. Somehow and often a great escape plot is told here, the AIs and robots made it out and into the wastelands.

They traveled far, over came many problems and some of them developed into more then their creators had originally planned for them. Finally, they came across a flat sandy piece of land and decided to create a place to live. Now each story tells this part different, for none knows how the robots made Metal City or where all the metal came from, but some say they took it with them and others say they found the reminds of an abandoned city which the harvest things from. However it happened, Metal City was born.

Then the robots began to make others and at first these robots were weaker versions of themselves. Over time though, these new robots and AIs got cleverer and cleverer and soon highly intelligent robots and AIs lived in the city. Of course, they built upon the first groups buildings and made even more fantastic structures.

They lived in harmony with no need for religion or money. The AIs and robots filled their days with building new things, researching and becoming more intelligent. And of course, they also passed on the origin stories to the next generations, but it wasn’t because they believed their history was importance it was to remind them all how little humans think.

Noah’s grandfather came to a stop. Noah stared at him, thinking deeply about the story. Finally he decided he didn’t like it and told his grandfather so. With a shrug his grandfather said that one day Noah would understand.

(Inspired from https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/13-january-2017/)

Winter View

PHOTO PTOMPT © Lucy Fridkin

From the penthouse apartment, Isabella watched the snow falling. The city below was already covered in white and yet more flakes were coming down. From this window, she could see the large expanse of the river and the other part of the city across it.

Clutching the fleece blanket tighter around her naked body, Isabella felt a wave of relief that she wasn’t stood on a street corner right now. She was warm, safe and well feed for the first time in years. The grimy single apartment she had shared with seven other women a fading memory.

‘Issy?’ a soft man’s voice called from behind her.

She turned her head and took in her savoir, who was standing naked next to the sofa in the large open plan living room.

‘It’s snowing, Gideon,’ she spoke, the English words still sounding foreign in her mouth.

‘Come back to bed, then,’ Gideon said.

Isabella looked out of the window again. Down there somewhere, the women she had called sisters were working. They were selling the only thing they could to pay off their debts for being smuggled into this country. Whilst she was up here, her body now belonging only to one man who had paid her debt and brought her.

‘What is it?’ Gideon asked.

He came to join her and drew her into a hug. Isabella nested into his embrace. Enjoying the familiarity of his cooling skin against her own.

‘I wish I could help my sisters,’ she mumbled into his shoulder.

Gideon stroked Isabella’s blonde hair and cast his dark grey eyes out at the river and city.

‘I wish I could too,’ he said, ‘but you’re the one I chose,’ he added as he put his hands onto her cheeks and raised her head.

Their eyes met, her enchanting bright blue gaze holding his. Isabella put her hands on top of his and gently rubbed the backs of his hands with a finger.

‘I know…Still I want to help,’ she spoke.

Gideon sigh. He dropped his hands from her face then gathered her hands into his,’come back to bed.’

He moved, tugging her gently away.

Isabella with a last look towards the window, let him led her up the glass staircase and into the master bedroom. She didn’t pay any attention as Gideon slipped the blanket from her and settled them both into bed. Her thoughts were far away, back on that street corner again, trying to keep warm whilst catching the eyes of her next customer.

 

(From Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/9-december-2016/ with thanks.

PHOTO PTOMPT © Lucy Fridkin)

Faceless

anonymous, bokeh, creepy

I have dreams every night of a crowd of faceless people. The dreams began the same way. I am walking on the street in the middle of a busy city. There are people all around me and I can hear voices, but not words. I come to the end of the street and stop to wait at the lights. It is there I notice that the people around me are faceless. Where there should be faces are just black, empty spaces. As I try to figure out why this is, the lights change. The people move off. I should go with them, but I can’t. All I can think about is why. Then I wake up.

I lie in bed and think about it. What does this dream mean? Why are the people faceless? It fades and I get up. I go about my day and don’t think about it anymore. When I go to bed though, it returns. Once again, I’m in the city. I walk down the street and around me are all these people. I can hear them talking, but can’t fully make out the words. The street ends and I wait for the lights to change. I look at the people close by me. They are faceless. Where the faces should be are black spaces. I wonder about this as the lights change and the people move off. I wake up soon after.

In the morning, I lie there and instead of thinking about the missing faces, I wonder why I keep having this dream. What is it trying to tell me? Good job, it’s a Sunday morning. I internet search the dream to get answers. Dreaming of faceless people could be associated with identity and the loss or inability of accepting that person. Also, linked to the desire to deepen your knowledge of someone’s personality.   

No, it did help. I looked more, but don’t find much difference. Of course, if I could figure out who these people might be that would help. There are sub-headings like faceless lover, you being faceless, blurring out face of person you know. I tell myself next time I sleep to try hard to look at the people and put more into memory.

I go to bed early, but when I wake up, my dreams were totally different.

Beacon

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They had been travelling for two years when the wood elf spotted one of the last beacons. He dismounted from his bay horse and on long legs ran up the hill. The adventuring party watched him go, wondering what he had seen before realising themselves. Three of them dismounted from their horses; the two human fighters and the half-elf wizard. Whilst the dwarf healer and halfling thief stayed on their stout ponies.

The elf came to a stop before the burnt ruins. He nudged an untouched wooden plank with his deer hide boots, flipping it over and staring at it. His hand rested on the  jewelled pommel of his magic sword, ready for a possible ambush. He could hear the wind howling through the long moor grass and the small valleys of the hills.

His companions came to join him, but he ignored their whispers for something had caught his sharp eyes. On another hill, higher then this one and a good few miles away he could see another beacon raising. It appeared unlit. He frowned and looked farther around, but he could see nothing other then the moors and the coming storm clouds.

‘Can you see the other beacon? Is that it?’ the half-elf asked at his side.

‘I think so,’ the elf replied.

The two men came to stand beside them and the elf saw they had drawn their swords.

‘What’s going on?’ a voice yelled up to them.

‘It is definitely one of  Abacros beacons,’ one of the men yelled back.

The elf heard the dwarf and halfling dismount and trudge up the hill. the rest of the party began moving around again. Their boots crunching on burnt wood and dry grass. The elf kept his eyes firmly fixed on the other beacon in the distance. Something didn’t feel right. The more he looked the more his eyes confirmed that the wood had not been lit.

That would explain it, he thought, if the chain had been broken, the city of Abacros had been doomed from the start. 

‘This is beacon forty-two,’ the half-elf announced.

‘We have to go over there,’ the elf cut in.

He turned and saw his companions gathered around a tatty map and a large rock. Without saying anything else, the elf went down the hill and back to the horses. He mounted his bay mare and headed in the direction of the other beacon. Disgruntled words tickled his ears, but the growing wind swept them away.

He glanced up at the sky and saw the storm clouds were rolling in fast. This was really not the place to be caught in bad weather. He urged his horse on, knowing the others had joined him. However, the soft, sinking ground was hard going and it took awhile to reach the tall hill. The rain had started falling as the elf dropped from the saddle and walked to the beacon.

The pile of wood towered above him. It was built in a large square with a cone at the top. His eyes had not lied. The thing had never been lit. He looked down and saw something in the grass. Poking it with the toe of his boot, he saw it was a dirt covered dagger. Just above it and still reaching out for the blade was a dead hand.

‘He’s been here years,’ the voice of the dwarf rumbled, ‘crude arrows Outlanders, maybe.

‘So the guards were attacked then?’ the first man said whilst the other just shook his head.

‘That would explain it,’ the elf answered, ‘and after all these years we now know what happened. The guards were slay before they could lit the beacon. The line was broken and that’s why help was too late.’

‘And Abacros fell,’ the halfling whispered.

Thunder rumbled, drawing their attention away. The horses whined, a few stamped their feet and shook there heads. The elf took a last look around and knew they should be on their way. At last they had an answer for the king.

 

Photo prompt from; https://scvincent.com/2016/09/22/thursday-photo-prompt-beacon-writephoto/