The Misty Way

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She preferred hiking in the autumn because there where less people around. The empty single road disappeared into the mists ahead whilst the hills and peaks rose on either side. She breathed the damp, earthy air deeply, thinking that there was nothing else like this. Looking into the mists, she wondered what was on the other side. The excitement at being lost filled her and she just had to know. Picking up pace, she smiled and turned the corner. Nothing but the greens and greys of the middle of nowhere stretched before her but that was just how she liked it.

 

(Inspired from; https://allaboutwritingandmore.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/daily-picture-prompt-256 with thanks).

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Watchers #writephoto

Pausing on the footpath before the tall jagged rock faces, I got an odd feeling that I was being watched. Looking around, I couldn’t see anyone. The normal sounds of birds singing, the warm breeze shifting leaves and the water from the stream lapping still surrounded me.

I raised my head, noticing the small trees growing straight out of the rock alongside the grass clumps and moss. It was hard to tell if anyone was up there. I thought about shouting out, but that seemed pointless. Finding a boulder to rest on, I took out my drink bottle and phone. I took a few photos of the fantasy setting likes scenery and sipped my tepid water.

I had originally planned to walk the path between the two rocks and head further into the woods but now I was here, doubts were setting in. There didn’t seem to be much of a path and a lot of fast growing plants made the gap look smaller. Still, though it would take too long to walk around.

Feeling a little like Red Riding Hood, I set off again and past between the rocks. My rucksack scrapped against the sticking out stones and my boots chomped down on the undergrowth. Pressing my hands, against the rough sides for balance, I eased my way through.

The abrupt cries of two crows startled me. Stopping, I looked up and saw one of them -an old scrawny bird, on an rocky outcrop far above me. My breath caught in my throat as I realised the crows was rising an alarm. A gust of wind whipped up around me, pressing cold fingers against my legs. I felt a shiver run up my spine and my fingers began to claw into the passageway as if the rocks were moving into suffocate me.

I started to feel on the edge of a panic attack. I dropped my head and took in deep breaths, willing away the urge to get out and be far away from here. I tried to convince myself this was nothing but my feelings were telling me different. I needed to sit down but I couldn’t. Letting my hands slide, I felt then becoming grazed but I didn’t care.

The crows was screaming above me and I couldn’t hear anything but their shrill cries. I thought some wild tribesmen are going to appear and cart me off or a witch pop up and casting a curse on me. I tried to laugh it away, telling myself how silly I was being. Nothing was going to happen!

I focused on the ground, counting all the stones until they merged into one. There came the sound of something heavy shifting and groaning. I looked up, picturing a giant emerging from the rock face. Instead though, I saw a few small rocks tumbling down. Frowning, I turned my attention to that and saw a chuck of crag cracking away.

Rumbling vibrations came through the ground, shaking through me. Movement re-entered my body like water bursting through a dam. I spun and fled, pain shooting into my right ankle. Branches scrapped at me as if trying to hold me back, but I broke free and stumbled out of the pass. Landing heavily on sharp grass, I twisted and looked back.

A rock slide was happening! Close to where I had been bits of crag were falling and whacking the plants. The sounds were a mixture of rock on rock, crunching and snapping of greenery and groaning. Dust plumed, forming a creamy-yellowy cloud that puffed itself into the sky.

I lent back, breathing deeply and tasting grit in my mouth. When the echoing noises had faded, I eased up and inspected the now blocked passage. It was hard to tell and maybe I was being too dramatic, but that had been a close call.

A ruffing of wings drew me away and I saw two crows land on the boulder and stare at me.

‘Thank you,’ I said aloud, ‘you were trying to warn me, weren’t you?’

The crows eyed me, clicked their beaks and took off again, flying away over the treetops.

With a final glance at the pass which now seemed harmless once more, I turned away and took the longer route into the woods.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/03/thursday-photo-prompt-watchers-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Flying No More

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I was so lucky that my step-cousin part-owned a hot air balloon and was a member of a club. As we drifted upwards, I lend out of the basket and looked down at the field we were leaving. About four other balloons bobbed around us and there was twelve still on the ground waiting to take off.

The thought that always comes to mind at this moment popped into my head; this looks like a giant’s birthday party. I giggled then looked around at the other brightly coloured hot air balloons. They filled the blue sky and white clouds with a patch work of multi-colours, making them noticeable for miles. My step-cousin’s hot air balloon was purple, pink and yellow with lighter shades in between to blend the colours.

I had never been in the area we were travelling over today and my step-cousin had said there was something interesting he wanted me to see. Rising higher, the sound of the hot air balloon’s flame and the wind in my ears, I saw the world as I imagined birds do. The green, yellow and brown fields, patches of trees, the town with it’s mix of buildings and toy like cars and people.

‘We should be high enough now, Hanna!’ my step-cousin shouted.

I turned to look at him. He was an average looking thirty-odd year old, with a mane of light brown hair, a thin face and body. He wore glasses, a plain t-shirt and old jeans and boots. He wasn’t married, didn’t have any kids, bu he and his girlfriend were pretty steady. She had a fear of heights though which was why I was here and not her.

‘Where is this thing you wanted me to see, Alex?’ I called back.

He cut the large flame and most of the noise faded away.

‘Few miles west,’ he replied, ‘luckily it’s on the flight path today. Do you want to have a go?’

‘Sure!’

I had practised a few times now at flying the balloon. Alex made it look so easy and you’d think that would be the case, but sometimes it was hard to fight against the wind or to get the right balance when landing. I was happy enough to learn and carry on improving. Though I did get distracted by the wonderful landscape below.

You lose track of time when you were flying, so I wasn’t sure how long it had been when Alex told me we’d soon be passing over what he wanted me to see. He told me which side would be best and so I went over to look.

At first there was just pale green fields but then I saw something and even though it was far away, I could see it was a large part of a plane. I lend over to get a closer view, my hands gripping the worn leather edge of the wicker basket. It was clear the plane had crashed long ago and just been left there.

‘It’s a plane, Alex!’ I yelled then asked quieter, ‘what happened?’

‘No idea, Hanna,’ Alex called back.

I looked down again, keeping my eyes fixed on the plane as we flew over. It was a strange sight. Here we were in the sky where the plane should have been and yet it was forever grounded. My mind began racing, what had happened to that husk of metal? How can people just leave it there?

We drifted by and a strange silence sat on me. I tried to get my mind to turn away from the abandoned plane but I couldn’t. I had to know the truth of what happened.

 

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)

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)

Xylography #atozchallenge

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Xylography; the art of engraving on wood.

He liked to make things out of wood. People said he was talented, but it had never brought him money or fame. He lived a humble life on the edge of the woods in the countryside. He looked after an abandoned farm and was a handyman for the town which brought in extra money. His garden was covered by his wooden sculptures which was mostly hidden from the public. So, it wasn’t until his death that he actually became famous, like it seems with every creative person.

Imbroglio #atozchallenge

 

pexels-photo-89820.jpegImbroglio: an extremely confusing and embarrassing situation.

I wanted to hide my shame, but I couldn’t, the best I could do was get up and leave. Even though that didn’t feel right. I had always been one to stand my ground just like my mother had told me. She had been too headstrong and modern for this tiny Irish village in the middle of nowhere. She had never been accepted by the locals and many were happy that she was now dead.

Wrapping my shawl tighter around me, I walked across hilly ground. Not really going anywhere because sometimes you just had to walk away. The wind twisted my loose hair about and though I felt the chill, I was warm enough. My hands dropped to my rounded stomach that was no longer concealable.

Behind me, I could still hear the villagers’ voices and laughter, even though the pub was miles away now. I blamed my mind and the fact that their harsh words would always linger with me. I wanted it not to be true, but it was hard not to believe them when I myself didn’t know.

I came to a sheltered nook and gratefully sat down. The thin grass was dry and so was the soil below. I curled up as best I could, wanting to feel safe. I tried switching my mind to other things, but I couldn’t let it go.

Sighing, I wondered why love had to be so confusing. Even the most simple love could be, but in my case it was far from simple. My hand rubbed my stomach in circles as I fell into more deeper thinking.

Was the man I had fallen in love with and grown to know for two years really lying to me?

The locals said he wasn’t American like he claimed to be, but a born and bred Irish man. He’d gone to America to be an actor, but that hadn’t lasted long. Now, he was working where he could and he was married with a family too.

I just couldn’t picture my dashing boyfriend being like that. For a start, when I’d announced my news he’d been delighted. Surely if I was his mistress he’d have recoiled? And he’s away so much because he’s an actor and he has to travel to filming locations.

Rattling my mind, I tried to think if I had ever noticed anything that might have suggested other wise. Had their been papers about? A call or text on his phone? Reminders on his fridge?

There seemed to be nothing. I had to know though! I got up, struggling to do so then under a darkening sky, I walked back to the village.

I needed to hear the truth, not just for my piece of mind but for the baby’s too.

Gold

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It was some stupid time in the morning. That moment between night and day. We were parked on the roadside in the middle of nowhere where we had been all night. Some strange noise broke through my sleep and I had to get up. Navigating though the new motor home, I made it to the bathroom.

Coming out, I heard my wife moving in the bed, sighing and muttering. That was not the sound that had disturbed me though. I went to a side window because I had put the cover across the front window screen. Peering out into the predawn moments, I saw winter frost on the grass and shinning on the countryside road.

The noise sounded like an engine and my thoughts went straight to a car, a lorry or a tractor. However, as the sound grew it didn’t seem to be the engine of any of those, more it was an aircraft.

I put on my coat and boots before unlocking the door and going outside. It was weirdly still outside; no wind or sound. Then though a hole in the tall evergreen trees ahead I saw a glowing golden light.

The rising sun?

The noise of an engine filled the air and without really knowing it, I pressed myself to the side of the motor home. The light grew brighter, more stronger then the sun. I turned my head away, my mind flashing though everything I knew that could possibly be this machine coming towards me.

The gold light swept over me, the engine roaring deafening above. I blinked and looked up. There was something huge moving just above the tree tops. It was an aircraft, but like nothing I’d ever seen. It had no wings or tail and seemed to be round in shape. Light was pouring off it causing the forest to look like it was on fire.

Then it was gone.

I looked around, moving away from the motor home and searching the skies. There was just nothing. I was alone in the darkness.

To my left, through the hole in the trees once more, a weaker yellow light began. I knew this time it was the sun rising. The sky changed becoming soft pink and pale blue colours   above me.

I got back in the motor home. A part of me wanted to wake my wife to tell her what I’d seen, but then what had I really just seen?

 

(Inspired by https://scvincent.com/2017/01/05/thursday-photo-prompt-gold-writephoto/ with thanks)

A Winter’s Dream

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The snow was falling thickly outside, burying the moor further under a white blanket. Lisbeth watched the flakes from the library windows which were the biggest in the small manor house and gave the best views. After a few moments of peering out of each of the three windows, Lisbeth climbed into the window box which was in the second window.

The window box had a soft red cushion covered seat and hand stitched square cushions at both corners. It was cosy and always made Lisbeth feel safe in the large cold library. Bending her knees up and tucking her long dark green dress underneath her, Lisbeth wrapped her arms around her legs and stared out of the window.

She could see the small dirt circled driveway, with the fountain turned off for winter. The red brick wall and black iron gates with their covering of ivy. Beyond, was the moor, which seemed to stretched out forever like the sea. Being covered in snow, the landscape looked bleak and boring, but Lisbeth knew come spring and summer, the moors would be brightly colored with flowers and alive with baby animals.

A loud knocking on the door drew her attention away and Lisbeth turned her head to see her maid walking into the library. The young woman was wearing a black dress and a white pinafore. When she got closer, having come around the big oak table that sat in the middle of the room, Lisbeth saw she had something in her hand.

‘This has arrived for you, Miss. A gift from your father,’ the maid spoke.

Lisbeth reached out a hand and took the brown paper and string wrapped packet. It was a rectangle shape and heavy. Slowly, Lisbeth unwrapped it and and found a book inside. The cover was a light brown and golden letters which she couldn’t read, spelled out a title and an author.

‘I’ll lit the fire in here for you, Miss,’ the maid said.

Lisbeth didn’t say anything as her fingers touched the golden lettering. She knew it was French, but she only knew a handful of words. Opening the book, she flipped through the pages and noticed that some of them had drawings on. In the background, she heard a fire being started then the closing of the door.

Turning the pages slower, Lisbeth come across an image that made her stop. There was a man with black curly hair and blue trousers carrying a girl in one hand and leading a white horse in the other. The horse was carrying four or six other girls through what seemed to be countryside. Lisbeth tried to read the pages on either side of the picture, looking for any words she might know. However, the few she did know give her no clue as to what the drawing was about.

Looking harder at the picture, Lisbeth tried to figure out what was going on. Clearly, this man was taking the girls somewhere. Maybe, he was rescuing them? Was he a Prince? A Lord? A poor farmer? And who were the girls and why were there so many of them? Lisbeth counted again and decided there was six of them riding the horse and the girl in his arm made seven. Were they sisters then?

Feeling frustrated, Lisbeth closed the book and set it at her feet. Resting her head on her knees, she looked out the window again. The glass was misting up and the snow was falling faster making the view of the moor even more distant. From behind her came the first curls of warmth from the fire. She heard the flames cracking around the logs, the noise was too loud in the silence of the library.

Lisbeth shut her eyes and though she didn’t want to think about the drawing anymore, she couldn’t help it. Desperately, she wanted to know who the man and the girls were.

Father will know, she thought, when he gets back from his business trip, he can read it to me.

Sighing and feeling the chill leaving her, Lisbeth went to open her eyes again, but found they were too heavy. With the fire lulling her to sleep, she let herself slip away.

When Lisbeth finally opened her eyes again, she found herself not at home in the library watching the snow falling on the moor, but outside in the countryside. The sun was blazing in a too blue sky, tall green trees were dotted around and the grass under her was long. Birds were singing, insects buzzing and the smell of flowers filled the air.

As she was wondering what had happened, Lisbeth heard the sound of horses hoofs. Getting up, she looked around and saw a road close by. Walking over, she soon saw a large white horse being led by a young man with black curly hair. He was wearing medieval clothes like she had seen in paintings. In his other hand, he was carrying a child wrapped in white strips of cloth who had very long blonde hair. Upon the horse, six other girls rode and they were also wrapped in cloth with tangled long blonde hair.

Lisbeth stepped onto the road before them all.

‘Excuse me,’ Lisbeth called, ‘Hello. Could you please tell me where I am?’

The man brought his horse to a stop and looked at her. The seven girls also fixed their eyes to her and Lisbeth could now see that the girls all looked the same, but they were different ages. They all looked weary as if they had been walking for awhile.

‘You are far from anywhere,’ the man replied.

Lisbeth frowned.

‘This is the middle of the French countryside,’ the man explained, ‘there is nothing but farmers and wine makers out here. We are days from the nearest village and a month from the nearest town.’

‘And who are you all?’ Lisbeth asked.

‘You are clearly a stranger here,’ the man spoke.

Lisbeth nodded.

‘I’m Prince Louis and these are my sisters. Our kingdom was burnt down and we could not stay there. We are traveling to the next kingdom where my oldest sister is betrothed to the Prince there.’

‘I see,’ Lisbeth answered.

‘And you?’ the Prince asked.

‘I do not know. I woke up over there.’

Lisbeth looked at the spot and fell into wondering how she got here.

‘What’s your name?’ the oldest and first Princess on the horse asked.

‘Lisbeth. That I am sure of!’

‘Do you want to come with us?’

‘I do not think I can. I am waiting for my father. He should be home soon,’ Lisbeth replied thoughtfully.

‘Then we must leave you now,’ the Prince spoke out, ‘the road is still long ahead of us.’

‘It was nice meeting you all,’ Lisbeth said.

With nods of goodbye, Lisbeth stepped off the road and watched the Prince leading the white horse away. When she could not seen them anymore, Lisbeth walked back to the spot she had woken up in and sat down.

‘How do I get out of here?’ she spoke aloud.

Resting back, she looked up at the cloudless sky and felt the heat on her skin. She felt tried and hot. Shutting her eyes, she told herself that after a little doze she would figure this all out further.

Someone was calling her name. She could hear them in the distance. Fighting away sleep, Lisbeth opened her eyes. She blinked a few times then sat up. She was back in the library. Rubbing her face, she looked out of the window, but darkness had now settled outside. Turning away, she saw her maid standing before her and the fire still burning brightly further back.

‘I fell asleep…’ Lisbeth said, ‘and it was all a dream.’

‘A pleasant one I hope, Miss?’ the maid asked.

Lisbeth nodded.

‘Would you like some supper now, Miss?’

‘No, thanks. I think I shall go to my room,’ Lisbeth said.

She slipped out of the window box and picked up the book. Even though she was tempted to open the pages and see the drawing again, she kept the book closed and walked out of the library.

Outside the snow continued to fall.

 

(From a prompt by https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/microfiction-challenge-26-a-journey/ with thanks)

Somewhere In A Farmer’s Field

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Tony walked through the pumpkin field, looking for the perfect one to turn into a prize winning Jack O’ Lantern. However, he couldn’t seem to spot one. All the pumpkins seemed too small and dis-formed. In fact, only a handful were orange colored and the rest were yellow, green, white, brown and black.

He stopped in the middle of the field and looked around. Deep down he knew the perfect pumpkin was out here. He put his hands in his pockets and began walking again. Rain began to fall, softly at first then harder, but he ignored it and fixed his eyes on the pumpkins passing his feet.

In the distance, he could hear a tractor and the sound of cows. For a few madding moments he thought Farmer Jones had taken the perfect pumpkin for himself. Of course everyone wanted to win the Harvest County Fair. Surely, the farmer had better things to put in then a Jack O’Lantern though and hadn’t they always had a good deal with buying products over the years of being neighbors?

Tony shook his head and carried on walking. Out here, somewhere, he knew the perfect pumpkin was just waiting for him to pick it up and carve out his final master piece.