Memory #WritePhoto

Who knew what the old standing stones remembered. I ran my hand along their rough cut, damp moss covered surface as I walked around each one. Did they remember where they came from? Who brought them here and what worship they became a part of?

I pressed my hot, tear stained face to the biggest of the stones. It was a much taller and narrower then the others that made up the wide circle. Perhaps it was the oldest too? Only the stones knew that answer. Breathing deep of the earthy scent and I liked the cold against my skin.

I wondered if the stones had seen sacrifice of animals and or humans and if women had travelled up here to give birth? Religious ceremonies must have been held here. I imagined everyone in my church coming here instead to hear the Sunday prayers and give worship. How did people feel about standing in the elements? Well, the church wasn’t much warmer or drier!

Rubbing my face, I turned and put my back to the stone. It was getting late, the sky was a wet dark grey, clouds heavy with snow and the temperature was dropping fast. I should go home but I couldn’t face my parents and older brother just yet. We have been arguing again about why my brother got to do things I couldn’t. He was only three years older, so why was it okay for him to go out at night with his friends and I wasn’t aloud too?

I had come here, having stormed out of my house. I could have gone anywhere; to a friend’s, to the cafe or to the abandoned farm but no, I had tracked out here in just pink ankle boots, thin tights, mini skirt, fancy top and short jacket. Not the clothes for walking or for being out in the almost minus degree evening air.

There was something quiet, calming and mysterious about the standing stones that had always called to me. I wanted to uncover their history because no one knew their true story. There were folklore and myths, some rough science stuff but no real facts about why, how and who.

The stories and secrets they held fascinated me and I felt I could imagine what the stones had witnessed by being this close to them. Would I have liked living in the time when the circle was made? Would the ancient Gods have listened to me and answered my prayers? Maybe, I would have been a virgin sacrifice, my blood spilling out over the stones as the hungry Gods grinned at my pain.

Ah, maybe it was better not to have been born back then. I lent off the stone and small snowflakes started to fall. I held out my hand and caught one, it melt the second it touched my skin. It was time to go home and face my family. Hopefully, they had no plans to sacrifice me.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/27/thursday-photo-prompt-memory-writephoto/ with thanks).

Still #WritePhoto

I just wanted to be alone and still. I didn’t like the voices in my head. I walked around the edge of the village, following old rights of way across farmland. In my hand, I held a long thick stick. I waved it back and forth like a blind man or a child bored at play.

When the stick hit things, nice sounds of thunking and thudding echoed which broke up the birdsong and faint tractor noises. The rest of the countryside village was quiet as if a sleep spell had been cast over the place. I hated the silence, it allowed the voices to come through more loudly.

Walking by the edge of a large pond, I threw the stick as far as I could. It splashed into the water, sending waves and ripples back towards me. The sound was loud and shocked some birds out of a tree. I watched them wheel away in the dull blue, late winter sky which was strangely warm today.

I sat down under a mossy tree. My back against the rough, cold bark. I could smell the coming spring and around me nature was awaking from her months of sleep. There were buds of green leaves on the tree. Shoots of flowers in the grass and hints of purple, white and yellow colours popping up.

In the field across the pond, sheep were grazing. They were fat with their winter wool and also pregnant with their lambs. I had passed cows and horses on my way here but I liked watching sheep better. They looked like fluffy clouds skimming the grass and I could dream alongside them.

The voices in my head were constantly whispering and they weren’t nice. They made me doubt things, give me anxiety and fear, made me think there was no reason to go on. They took the form of the girls who had bullied me when we were teenagers, tapping into weakness from my past.

Doing things to myself sometimes helped. The voices eased when I give them pain or blood. It was even better after the times I had given into them and given up. I had been saved from myself and for a few days, there had been no voices but then they had returned and continued haunting me.

I looked around and saw I was alone. A stillness had settled over things again. I took off my clothes and folded them in between two tree roots. Naked, I stepped to the edge of the pond. I shivered, goosebumps rose on my skin. My toes brushed the water then my feet were underneath.

Chills wrapped around me, warning me away. I went in further, up to my knees, my hips, my stomach. The pond bed was muddy and the hardness of rocks and branches half buried. I felt the drop and slightly panicked. Starting to swim, I went into the centre of the pond, trying to ignore the sensation of an icy layer across my skin.

I took a deep breath and dived down. The water was semi-clear and I could see weeds and rocks. Was that the stick I had thrown in earlier? There were too many down here to be sure and other things beside. I felt the urge to swim back up, the need for air calling in my brain.

The voices told me not to. They told me stay here and drown.

It was hard though, I had tried once in a bath and the instinct to rise up and breath was too strong to be fought. I twisted about, angling downwards and snatched up some of the weeds. I pulled at them, they were strong. I wrapped them around around my legs and hands, letting them anchor me down.

My lungs burned, I needed to go up but instead I gulped down water.

I looked up and saw the surface of the pond. Up there all was still and soon enough I was too.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/20/thursday-photo-prompt-still-writephoto/ with thanks).

Storm #writephoto

The remains of the tower rose in the distance. It was hard actually to call it a tower now because it just looked like a lump of rock on the grassy hillside. It was the place Rhys and Ffion always met at and had been since they were children.

Today, Ffion had arrived first. She entered the tower and sat down on some stones  crafted into a bench. Above, someone had built a roof and blocked off what had been a spiral staircase. It was a freezing but sturdy little shelter.

Ffion listened to the strong gusts of wind blasting around this Welsh hill and the rain spray soaking everything. There was no warmth to be had in the tower but at least she was out of the elements.

She was bundled in a winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves with a heavy thick knitted jumper and thermal long sleeved t-shirt underneath. Also, she wore  woollen leggings, a long grey skirt and ankle boots. Not the normal clothes of a winter hill walker.

Ffion tried to stay warm and not let the guilty thoughts creep in. Her excuse to her husband and children had been an afternoon meeting friends for coffee. Instead of driving into town, she had come out here and parked the car at the bottom of the hills.

Ffion had followed a rough path up to the tower for an hour trying to think only of Rhys. Would he be waiting already? What would he been wearing today? Had his wife finally forced him to shave off his beard which I so love? 

Shifting her numbing body on the bench, she looked at the moss covered stones and distracted herself by counting. She reached forty then heard footsteps outside. Standing up quickly, Ffion saw Rhys enter the tower and she rushed to him.

The hugged tightly, despite their clothes being damp then Rhys pulled Ffion back inside. They sat on the bench, still embracing and breath each other in.

‘A storm’s coming,’ Rhys said softly, ‘how long did you say you would be gone for?’

‘All afternoon,’ Ffion answered.

Rhys nodded. He took off his gloves and pressed a warm hand to Ffion’s flushed cheek, ‘Fy cariad¹,’ he spoke huskily, ‘dwi wedi dy golli di².’

‘Me too, fy annwly³,’ Ffion gushed, ‘and she still hasn’t made you shave your beard!’

Rhys laughed as Ffion ran her fingers over his thick black beard.

‘I won’t do it. No matter what she says,’ Rhys answered, ‘because I know you love it.’

‘Yes, yes I do!’

Ffion took off her gloves and put her hand over Rhys’ on her cheek. She turned slightly into his palm and nuzzled against him before planting a soft kiss. In return, Rhys pressed his forehead to her’s and tightened his other arm around her back. He dropped his head and pressed his lips to her’s.

‘I can’t wait any longer,’ Rhys groaned.

‘Nor me. Let’s do it,’ Ffion said and kissed him back.

They were quick in their passion because it was cold. Only the necessary clothes were removed and there was hardly any need for a warm up as they were both eager to have each the other. The rhythm of their bodies was in tune, their cries of pleasure masked by the howling wind and they shared the release of desire when it arrived.

In the after bliss they cuddled, listening to the rain pouring down and the steady drip of water coming down the stones of the tower.

‘Rwy’n dy garu di,’ Rhys whispered into Ffion’s hair.

Dwi’ dy garu di hefy,’ Ffion breathed back.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/13/thursday-photo-prompt-storm-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

Welsh Words Translations 

¹Fy cariad – my love

³Fy annwly –  my dear

²dwi wedi dy golli di – I have missed you

Rwy’n dy garu di – I love you

Dwi’ dy garu di hefy – I love you too

White Woods

snow-21979_1920

Winter was my favourite season. There was something so satisfying about crunching over snow and leaving footprints behind. I spent as much time outside as possible, I loved visiting woods and the countryside. I liked to photograph the snow draped scenery and the cobweb lines of frost on rocks.

Robin #TaleWeaver

winter-843578_1920

It was early morning and still mostly dark. The grass was crisp with frost and the road sparkling. Most people were still in bed but I was making my way to the church. It was the eve before Christmas Eve and many things still needed to be done.

I was dressed not in my normal vicar robes but a heavy coat underneath was a handmade wool cardigan, black shirt with my white colour, grey trousers and soft shoes. Even so, I still felt winter’s chill and I knew once inside it would be even colder.

My house wasn’t that far away but I had to walk up a narrow pathway then enter the back of the graveyard and go across there to the small side door. It was treacherous  when icy or snowy but last night hadn’t been cold enough to make it so.

I opened the gate to the graveyard, which I kept well oiled as I hated the loud screeching squeak. The headstones looked strange in the half light, some looked like fallen rocks and others like hunched figures. There were a few pathways that led through and I took the main one up. The grass was kept short, as I liked it and the gravestones well tended even if there was no family member left to do so.

I got the door, unlocked it with a too larger key and stepped inside. The smells of wax and damp stone met me. I stomped my boots and hurried to turn on the lights and the old 1960’s heaters. They should have been replaced long ago but money was needed else were and I don’t think it would matter anyway. Nothing could keep the church warm – too many gaps in the windows, doors and brickwork now.

I got on with my tasks; placing candles about, fixing the wings of an angel that a child had snapped off the other day. Make sure the winter food giving table was’t over full and removing a few things into the boxes underneath. I checked the stacks of prayer books, bibles, song sheets and other papers make sure no mice had gotten to them and they weren’t left too close to the leaking windows.

There were loads of other things but I didn’t made doing them. It give me time to think and enjoy the silence of the church. I sometimes hummed hymens, played a tune on the organ or went though some of the CD music to easily remember their numbers without having to look it up.

My final task before leaving the church was to check to the mice traps. Any little furries in there, I would collect and take the traps outside with me when I left. I didn’t believe like the last vicar and groundskeeper that they should be killed. I caught them alive and set them free in the fields I past by on the way home.

Today, as I did that and watched their little white and brown bodies disappearing into the frosty grass, I saw a robin on the fence post. He seemed to be watching me.

‘Good day,’ I whispered.

He put his head to one side as if wondering why I was speaking to him.

‘Cold out isn’t it? The church might be a bit warmer but don’t get frozen on the window sills!’

He chirped a little and dropped down into the grass.

‘Robins always remind me of Christmas. It’s said one relight a fire in the stable and an ember burnt his chest. Of course, there are lots of other stories,’ I spoke.

The robin fluttered about, looking for food and I wished I’d brought something with me.

‘Next time, little fellow,’ I said and walked back to my warm house and breakfast.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2019/12/19/tale-weaver-254-christmas-tales-19-12/ with thanks).

Reaching #WritePhoto

The five adventurers had been walking towards their quest for weeks now. They had across woodland, swamps and moorland, through sun, rain, snow and darkness, fighting goblin night raids, giant raven attacks and other monsters.

Stepping through a clump of wild brush that had been sneakily trying to ensnare them, the group saw they were at the base of sweeping hills as far as the eye could see. Weak sunlight fell through the cloud cover, causing beams of light to touch the hills.

In the dim light and under a dead tree, they gathered and talked quietly.

The elf ranger was certain this was the right way. The two men- one an aged wizard and the other a hardened solider- agreed with him for the elf had yet to lead them wrong. The dwarf cleric and the halfling thief weren’t so sure.

Nobody really knew what was beyond The Reaching Hills, those that went there didn’t often come back and when they did their minds were lost. It was said that evil ghosts and outcast Gods walked the hills, snatching souls and murdering. The hills were always cast in gloom and no normal light could break though the darkness that lay in patches providing perfect cover for enemies.

‘We must go on and see,’ the wizard spoke, ‘I can give us the magical light we need to see by and stop anything sneaking upon us.’

‘We don’t need to go through The Reaching Hills!’ the halfling cried, ‘we can go around them. To the west they only go as far as the Red River. We can cross the Long bridge there and go around!’

The elf shook his head, white hair spilling around his shoulders, ‘it would take too long.’

‘We could die!’

‘We could have died back there!’ the dwarf shouted, ‘we barely got out of that poisonous man-eating plant patch!’

‘We go forward then,’ the solider said and he started walking up the first of the hills.

The rest of the party followed, wondering if the tales of The Reaching Hills were true and what they would encounter there.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/09/12/thursday-photo-prompt-reaching-writephoto/ with thanks).

Twig Trail #CCC

The twigs appeared like a trail down the middle of the road. It could have been caused by the storm yesterday but Carrie thought not.

Pulling her horse, Sasha, more to the side to avoid any sharp bits of wood, Carrie cursed the council clearing team. They were always leaving a mess behind them after being out here and it wasn’t good enough.

After returning home and stabling Sasha, Carrie went onto her laptop and wrote a complaints email. She doubted nothing would come to it but if she threaten to sue if Sasha got injured maybe they would listen this time.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/crimsons-creative-challenge-42/ with thanks).

Goosey Gander #CCC

Kelly froze and couldn’t get out of the car. The goose had surround her and were squawking loudly. The noise sent chills through her, like finger nails on a black board. Her hand began to shake on the door handle, she want to let go but couldn’t.

One of the goose flapped it’s huge white wings and rose up threateningly. Hissing ruptured and loose feathers dotted the ground.

There was a tapping on the window. Kely screamed, started the car again and tore away.

The farmer lifted his cap and scratched his head in puzzlement. Townies today!

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/crimsons-creative-challenge-41/ with thanks).

Ritual #FirstLineFridays

588410

They congregated up in the hills, far away from judging eyes. The ground was soft and wet under their bare feet. A warm breeze blew their simple robes about their ankles and wrists. The sky was blocked by a low hanging fog that hugged the hills in a chilly embrace.

They gathered around the huge standing stone who’s jagged edges pierced the sky. Strange symbols and patterns covered the stones surface, darkened by dried blood and faded blue paint.

Around that hill top, smaller standing stones raising up out of the long grass formed a circle Each had a symbol on that had once been painted green. Perhaps they were a warning? Or protection for those inside?

The people took off their robes, felt the chill of the air and fog on their skin. Tattoos covered their bodies, matching the symbols on the standing stones. Everyone joined hands and began singing in a language that was hardly heard today.

Before their voices died away, a wizened old man, bent almost double and leaning on a gnarled old walking stick came forward. He touched the stone and began chanting. Other voices rose and fell around him.

The ritual had begun.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/first-line-friday-july-19th-2019/ with thanks).

 

Wicker #WritePhoto

I stopped the car too desperate to find a proper place and ducked into a field. I checked there was no one around then fumbled with my clothes. Squatting down, I happened to look across and the breathe caught in my throat.

Three figures were standing in the middle of the field watching me. I felt heat creeping across my skin, my knuckles turned white clutching hard on my bunched pants. There was nothing I could do and nowhere to hard.

Finishing, I redressed and thought about going over to apologise and explain I had a water works infection and couldn’t help it.

I half turned away before swallowing my embarrassment and striding across the field. I could feel my heart racing, my pulse beating loudly in my ears and my face must have been beetroot red with heat.

As I got closer, puzzlement crossed my mind, these figures didn’t look right. They were too still but perhaps they were in shock about seeing my accidentally exposure?

Closer still and the realisation hit me. I laughed loudly and went right up to them.

‘Wicker statues! Not real people at all!’ I cried out.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/05/16/thursday-photo-prompt-wicker-writephoto/ with thanks).