Shadows #3LineTales

three line tales, week 142: a girl and her puppy at sunset

It plays in my mind still, that afternoon fifty years ago, there was a girl and her dog in the garden playing with a ball under a sunset blood smeared sky.

I wanted to play too but the fence was high and I could only see through a hole, I tried calling out but they ignored me, so I want to the shed, took out a ladder and climb over into her garden.

It was abandoned as was the house, there was no girl, no dog, just the wind in a dead apple tree.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/10/18/three-line-tales-week-142/ with thanks).

 

 

 

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Bone #WritePhoto

The skull was laying in the trodden down wheat field daring me to pick it up. It looked like the remains of a deer or a cow without the horns, I couldn’t really tell because it wasn’t whole and the jaw was missing. The bone was clean, snowy white and looking out of place in this yellow-brown acre.

‘Just walk away,’ I said aloud and turned my back on the skull, ‘but it looks so good and far better then the fake ones you’ve seen. And wouldn’t it make the perfect table center piece for Halloween dinner? No, you don’t know where it’s been, Bryce!’

I walked back the way I had come, brittle stalks crunching under my boots. The wind blew tassels of my flame red hair and rattled the branches of trees. A crow cawed in the distance and the clogging smell of upturned soil blocked the air.

Isn’t that exactly what you’ve been looking for? A voice in the back of mind that was half my own and half not whispered, it’s right there for the taking, a gift from nature. No one else would give it the admiration and respect it deserves. Go back and get it!

I stopped and spoke aloud, ‘No, No! I just can’t!’

Why? the head voice asked, who would know you’d taken it? No one knows its there. If the farmer finds it he’ll crush it with his tractor or just throw it away. Could you bare that? You should rescue it! Keep it safe!

I pressed my lips together, scrunched up my face and turned back around. I wanted the skull to be gone but it was still laying there, a rectangle of stark white in an yellow nest. That’s how I’d seen it to begin with from up on the ridge of the woods. It was hard to be sure what it was from over there but seeing the murder of crows flapping above had made me believe it was a wounded animal. I couldn’t have walked away from that.

A dog barked sharply, jumping me out of my thoughts. I look around, hoping it was in the woods but no, the dog was in the field with me! It was a big, black and brown beast which was bounding towards me! Giving no more thought, I dashed back to the skull, snatched it up, despite the heaviness of it and raced out of the field like an Olympic gold medal runner.

I scrambled over the lowered barbed wire fence, clutching the skull to my chest. I stumbled but got back up and over the ridge into the trees. I ran through the woods, out of them and over a main road before my burning lungs forced me to stop. Looking wildly around, I saw no sign of the dog, only a startled man who looked to be in his fifties, waiting at a bus stop.

‘You all right, love?’ he called.

I nodded, too breathless to speak.

‘What happened? What you got there?’ he asked, pointing towards the skull.

I glanced down at it, my mind racing and said the first thing that came into my mouth, ‘I’m fine. Jogging with weights, new exercise plan.’

Before he could reply, I turned and walked quickly away, my words echoing stupidly round my head.

I made it home with the skull without meeting anyone else. On my doorstep, meowing his head off was one of my black cats. He stopped and watched me as I approached, seemly startled that I was outside and not inside getting ready to open the door for him.

‘Hi, Spooky. Where you been? I just had an adventure!’

He yowled and weaved around my feet. I let us both in and we headed into the kitchen. I placed the skull in the sink, ran the hot tap and washed my hands. Water splashed on the skull, darkening it. I washed it and realised I would to have research how to clean best.

Spooky jumped up on the counter next to the sink and I held the skull towards him. He took a few sniffs, whiskers twitching.

‘What do you think? isn’t this going to be perfect for Halloween?’

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/10/11/thursday-photo-prompt-bone-writephoto/ with thanks).

Red #100WW

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There was a carpet of autumn leaves on the floor of the woods and Jess was loving hiding in them. This was her second autumn and she was fascinated by chasing anything that moved.

I laughed as she raced squirrels to trees and barked at flying birds. I went horse yelling her name repeatedly and she would come bouncing back, splattered with mud.

Jess was having a great time, it seemed a shame to end it. I would have to put her lead on and drag her home, but I didn’t feel like I could when she was so happy.

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2018/09/26/100-word-wednesday-week-90 with thanks).

 

 

Swim #FFfTPP

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Butch could swim for hours just like he chased balls, so combined he was in heaven. I enjoyed watching him; his yellow coat flowing across the water, his black eyes and nose pointed towards the ball. When he grabbed the ball, he would turn and come back with no encouragement, knowing his reward would be the ball thrown again.

That was how I would always remember him. Even when the cancer meant he couldn’t walk anymore and everything was a struggle. Saying goodbye to him was the worse day of my life. I didn’t just lose my best friend that morning, I lost myself too.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2018-week-38/ with thanks).

Bakery Dog #FFfAW

The little dog popping out of a pink doughnut had been the cake topper on her first birthday. Her mother had kept it as a token, all these years. Betty smiled and placed the dog on top of a glazed pink sponge cake.

Lighting the single candle, she carried the cake into the dinning room and the awaiting crowd of family gathered there. She placed the cake before her first grandchild, who was sat in the arms of her daughter.

Betty still couldn’t believe and she knew her parents would be proud of her now.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/fffaw-challenge-180th/ with thanks.)

 

Who? #1LinerWeds

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It was me, I did it and I’m sorry, shame I can’t tell you what happened.

 

(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2018/08/01/one-liner-wednesday-who-who-who-who-who/ with thanks).

Unexpected Friends #OneLinerWednesday

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Turns out Jack had nothing to worry about at all because his dog and mouse really got on.

(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2018/06/20/one-liner-wednesday-a-game-of-dog-and-mouse/ with thanks).

Fallen #Writephoto

Alice knew she looked a mess but in that moment she didn’t care. Pressing her back into the rock she was resting against, Alice cried harder into her hands. The ferns and trees muffled her sobbing and protected her from curious eyes. Letting it all out, she wondered how things had gotten this bad.

Taking deep, shaky breaths, she wiped her face then rubbed her hands dry. She sniffed loudly and dug around her little blue handbag for a tissue. Blowing her nose a few times, she crumpled the tissue up and dumped it back into her bag.

Looking around, she admired the view of forest, letting nature distract from her depressive thoughts. The dark green ferns were growing in wild clumps, reminding her of dinosaur movies and the large trees were letting dappled spring sunlight in. The rock she was resting on felt cold and rough. She reached out and touched the rock’s companion who was just as cold. Millions of years old rocks seemed beyond belief but here they were and so was Alice.

The sharp barking of a dog drew her attention. She looked quickly around but the forest was too dense. Something broke through the trees and Alice saw a massive grey dog coming towards her. She tried to move but her back hit the rock hard and she cried out. Alice stumbled away, hand trying to rub her back and at the same time trying to keep her balance. She failed and fell sideways into the ferns.

Crying out even more, Alice struggled to get back to her feet. The giant of a dog appeared above the waving ferns and peered down at her. Alice stopped moving and held her breath. The dog was sniffing with a big black nose and paws the size of tea sauces were stomping down the ferns in attempted to get to her.

A scream ripped out of her before she even meant it. The dog stopped, stared in panic and backed off quickly. Alice gasped for breath and pressed a hand to her chest. Pushing herself up, she saw the dog standing some distant away but still watching her.

‘Duke! Duke!’ a man’s voice shouted from the other side of the trees.

The dog turned towards the voice, tail swaying.

‘Go away,’ Alice hissed through clenched teeth.

The dog give a single bark and sat down, sad looking eyes studying Alice.

Staying still and hoping the ferns hid her from sight, Alice watched a man dressed for hiking enter the clearing. He approached the dog, fussing over him. Alice saw the dog was so tall that he came to the height of the man’s hips and the man just had to reach his hand out to pat the dog’s large head.

A fern branch snapped and Alice’s eyes shot to the man’s.

‘Oh my god,’ he half shouted as he rushed over to her, ‘are you okay? What happened? Did Duke scare you? Was that your scream I heard? I’m so sorry,’ he gushed, his words tumbling together so that Alice struggled to understand them.

The man pulled her up and out of the ferns before she could reply. Alice felt her cheeks getting hot and avoiding his eyes, she dusted herself off. She knew how odd she must look to him. He was dressed to be out here in boots, water proof pants, t-shirt, fleece jacket and rucksack. In stark contrast, she was dressed in a business suit; black blazer, white blouse, black pencil skirt, black tights and black flat shoes.

‘He wouldn’t have hurt you, honest,’ the man was babbling, ‘He’s a big baby. Scared of his own shadow. Typical, great dane. I’m so sorry. Are you hurt?’

‘No,’ Alice forced out.

She looked up at the man and had to fight down even more shock. He was ruggedly handsome with longish sandy colored hair, a matching stubble beard, a nicely angled jaw and cheeks, he had shimming blue eyes and soft kissable lips. Was he a fallen angel? Alice had forgotten how to breath.

‘Then…then is there anything I can do?’ the man asked.

Alice had the impression he was taking her in for the first time and wondering why she was out in office clothes with a tear stained face and her mud colored hair tumbling about like she’d been hit by a hurricane.

‘Would you like some tea?’ he asked.

Alice puzzled, ‘tea?’

The man took his rucksack off, dug around and came out with a thermos. He unscrewing the lids before pouring hot tea into the cup and giving it to Alice. She accepted it gratefully and warmed her hands on the hot metal whilst watching the steam floating upwards.

The great dane yawed loudly as if with bored of this whole ‘saving the damsel in distress’ scene. He laid down, sprawling in the grass and shade of the ferns, looking as harmless as the rocks next to them.

‘Thanks,’ Alice began, ‘I’m not too keen on dogs and he’s so big, he startled me. I’m Alice by the way.’

The man nodded, I’m Kipp. He’s Duke,’ he said pointing at the dog who give a single wag of his tail.

Alice smiled into the tea and took a sip. It tasted sweet and milky, just the way she liked it.

‘So, how did you get out here, if you don’t mind me asking?’ Kipp questioned.

‘I had to get away,’ Alice sighed, ‘my job interview went disastrously wrong. I was so upset and embarrassed, I decided to have a walk.’

‘Surely, it couldn’t have been that bad?’ Kipp asked.

Alice sipped more tea and shook her head, ‘I was so nervous that I tripped through the front door then I couldn’t remember the interviewer’s name. I got all my answers mixed up and I knocked over a glass of water and she got covered in it. When I tried to help her clean up, I hit my head on the desk and fainted.’

‘That’s not good,’ Kipp said, there was a hint of laughter in his voice.

Alice looked up, she had been staring at Duke whilst she spoke, scared of what Kipp’s reaction to her story might be. She saw though that he was trying very hard not to laugh and keep fixed a serious expression his face. He looked so cute and funny that Alice couldn’t help but giggle.

Kipp relaxed, a large grin spreading across his face, ‘I guessing you didn’t get the job then?’

‘I don’t know…she said she’s call me but I’m guessing not,’ Alice replied.

‘Well, you know what to do next time now.’

Nodding, Alice drank the tea. It was making her feel better and so was talking to Kipp. Though, she would have preferred him not to have seen her in this state. He probably has a girlfriend, she thought then scowled herself, this was not the time to be thinking of romance.

Kipp rubbed the back of his neck, cast a long look at Duke then turned to her.

‘Getting a job is hard,’ he said, ‘but you’ll get there.’

‘It sure doesn’t feel like it. I’m no good at interviews, I get so nervous!’ Alice replied.

‘It’s all about practice,’ Kipp explained.

Alice finished the tea and handed back the cup, ‘thanks, I really needed that,’ she said.

Kipp took it from her with a heartbreaking smile, ‘it sure looked like you did. Happy to help.’

He fixed the cup back on the thermos and placed it in his rucksack. Swinging his bag back on, he looked around casually, giving the impression he wanted to leave. Duke on the other hand, seemed to have fallen asleep.

‘How old is he?’ Alice asked.

She knew she was clutching at anything she could just to stop Kipp leaving.

‘About five years old,’ Kipp responded with a slight shrug, ‘he’s super lazy. A trait of the breed. He’d sleep all day if you left him be.’

Alice hurried to think of another question but her mind had gone blank.

‘Anyway,’ Kipp said, pulling the straps of his bag up, ‘it was nice to meet you. Good luck with the job hunt.’

‘Thanks,’ Alice mumbled.

Kipp whistled then called for Duke.

The great dane raised just his head and looked grumpily over. Then slowly he got up on his long legs and ambled over.

Kipp patted Duke’s head and they turned to go.

Say something! Alice screamed at herself.

‘I should repay you,’ Alice gushed.

Kipp looked over his shoulder, ‘it’s fine.’

‘No wait,’ Alice cried, fumbling for her phone in her handbag, ‘let me give you my number and I’ll buy you dinner,’ she added without even thinking about it.

A confused expression clouded Kipp’s face, ‘no,’ he said and came back over to her.

‘But…I….I…’ Alice trailed, words failing her.

‘I should buy you dinner,’ Kipp stated.

Alice opened her mouth then closed it. What had he just said? Words tumbled around her head, she tried to make them say something but it was too hard.

‘If you want that is,’ Kipp added, ‘I’m liking the wild forest woman look you’re rocking there.’

Alice reached up to her hair, where his finger was pointing and pulled out a piece of fern.

‘Oh…I…’ she mumbled and tossing the fern away, began tugging at her hair in search of more.

‘It sounds like you’ve had a bad day,’ Kipp went on, ‘and I wouldn’t be much of a gentleman if I didn’t try to make it better. So?’

Alice stopped panicking and dropped her hands from her hair.

‘Yes,’ she breathed, ‘that would be nice.’

Kipped held out his hand and shyly, Alice took it.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/10/thursday-photo-prompt-fallen-writephoto/ with thanks).

Mud #FridayFictioneers

I stopped and looked across the muddy stream up at the embankment rising above us. There were wooden steps placed into the slope but the bottom few and the little bridge that had once got you there had gone.

‘Are you sure this is the right way, daddy?’ my little girl asked.

‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘I’ll carry you across. Pick up Fluffy.’

She scooped up her little dog then I picked her up and carefully walked through the stream and up to the remaining steps. Setting them down, we carried on, though I was slowly regretting this afternoon walk.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/05/02/4-may-2018/ with thanks).

Dear Diary #45

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Dear Diary,

It’s the start of a new month but you wouldn’t believe it was almost summer with this weather! Last month we really had it all; snow, rain, wind and sun and May seems set to be the same! The weatherman said there was a chance of snow on high ground tonight and for ever where else heavy rain.

I’ve had to turn the heating back on, put extra blankets on the beds and make sure the children have jumpers again. Hopefully, this is the last we’ll see of winter though and we can move on to some decent sunny days. Though, this is England and we don’t get many of those as it is!

Today itself has been a quiet, overcast and a normal Tuesday. I packed the husband and kids off to work, then did some tidying up, the dishwasher and the clothes washing. I took the dog out for a walk close to lunchtime and talked to some of the neighbours; That new family at number seventy-two seem nice, Mrs Black has finally gotten her autistic son in a special school and the Summers have a new puppy. It’s a little red spaniel!

Then I made tuna pasta for lunch and watched the news. That poor baby with the brain trauma has died and there’s been more issues with immigrants trying to get into a America. Afterwards, I got my laptop out and did some more job hunting. There didn’t seem anything new up since Friday morning. There was one job that was an after school club but it was only two days a week and not much money.

Three o’clock came and it was time to go and pick up the children. Thankfully, they had both had a good day and we got back in time for the afternoon game shows to start. It started raining too.

Later, I made fish fingers for tea and hubby came home, tried and complaining about his boss. I did my caring wife bit then put the kids to bed early. We had a quiet evening of TV before going to bed ourselves.

Tomorrow, I’m meeting some old friends from the church’s new mum’s group for lunch. I’m so grateful as it’ll break up the repeating circle of weekdays that I seem to be stuck in. Perhaps, one of them can suggest some ideas for helping me out. Heaven knows I need a change of pace!