Derelict #writephoto

There was no telling what the small abandoned building had been used for over the years. Still though something drew me towards it every morning as I was running with my four dogs. It was a small sunken old fashioned pile of stones with a red tile and wooden frame roof. It sat at the end of a field which seemed abandoned too.

My dogs; a breeding pair of yellow labs called Peaches and Teddy, a husky mix named Dakota and a lopping great dane who had come with the name Frankenstein – Frankie for short, avoided the place as if there was something nasty inside. If I went too close they’d bark and howl for me to come back to them.

Today, the abandoned building was looking more forbidding. It also looked like some youths had taken to hanging out there. I slowed my pace and came to a stop, catching my breath. I bent over, putting my hands on my knees and dragging in deep warm breathes of summer.

Peaches came over to me, whining a little as she lay down at my feet. This was her first long run in awhile. She had five pups, who were almost twelve weeks old at home. They didn’t really need her any more, but she was a super good mother. I reached down and stroked her soft head.

‘We’ll go back home now,’ I told her.

Behind us, the other three dogs were having a tussle in the long grass. I whistled and they all began racing back to me. I glanced at the abandoned building and with a shrugged decided to check it out.

Walking over, I could see that someone had made a fire. There was a small circle of black ashes on the ground and the grass nearby had been burnt and flattened. There was a little graffiti on the side of the building, but that could have been there for ages. A beer can crunched under me and I stepped back in slight alarm. Nudging the can out of the way I went closer.

An unhappy barking came from Dakota and I turned to look at the husky. He was pacing, low in the grass watching me, his body language showing he was afraid. I looked for the others; Peaches was where I had left her, Teddy now sat at her side and Frankie was sniffing something far to my left.

There was a strange smell in the air as I got closer. The remains of the fire and wood which was understandable, but there was a sour stinging note as if something shouldn’t have been burnt. A feeling inside of me told me to get away, but I pressed on. What was so scary about a small tumbled down building with a funny smell to a fully grown man with protective dogs?

I peered through the doorway and heard a low moan. The wind? A person?

‘Hello?’ I called.

Teddy started barking loudly behind me. I ignored him and stared harder into the gloom. There was a little light coming in from the half open roof but not enough to fully see the inside of. What I could see was a mess of bricks and wood which might have been apart of the roof.

Horror movies began filling my mind out of the blue. I shook them off. There was nothing here and that sound had just been the wind. Stepping away, I went back to my dogs and made sure they were okay.

That’s when I noticed that there was no wind and the abandoned field was silent.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/05/25/thursday-photo-prompt-derelict-writephoto with thanks)

Mellifluous (Part 2) #atozchallenge

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Mellifluous; sweet and smoothly flowing sound.

I nudged the white headphones with the tip of my walking boot and tried to figure out why someone might have left them on the footpath. They looked new, but perhaps they were broken. Not wanting to crush them, I picked them up and inspected them.

My dogs were off playing somewhere and I could hear distant voices. The canal pathway was empty though. The sounds of the water lapping against moored boats and the birds singing made for a pleasant background sound track.

I half wondered if that was why someone had abandoned their headphones. Had they suddenly decided that the song of nature was much more interesting then whatever they had been listening too?

That was a fleeting thought though. Why would anyone do that? Maybe the headphones had been stolen or just dropped?

I looked around, searching the rough ground that edged the canal path and the line of short trees that led off into the woods. There seemed to be nothing more.

I placed the headphones back down. Leaving them for someone else to find. My thoughts lingered though and I couldn’t help but think of someone taking the headphones off, dropping them and embracing the sweet sounds of nature.

Postcard #31

White Petaled Flower on Snow Surface

Dear Lottie,

Just as I thought we’d said goodbye to winter, it snowed heavily! We couldn’t get the car off the driveway, nor go to school and work! We went for a short walk instead and enjoyed seeing the snowdrops popping up from the snow. Most of the streams and waterfalls were frozen too! You should have seen how the dogs and the kids bounded about, they totally loved it.

I know moving to Scotland has been hard on everyone, but it was the right choice. Out here, we can all be freer and live the simple life I’ve always dreamed of.

Missing you!

Sadie and family.

 

Dear Diary #30

composition, cute, design

Dear Diary,

I’m ill again. It’s another cold. How is it possible to get two colds within four weeks? I don’t know! I’m off work for another day and I’m all ready feeling bored. I can’t concentrate on reading my book as I’m coughing and sneezing too much and daytime TV shows are unexciting like a broken roller coaster. There’s nothing else I can do though!

My little furry dogs have taken to keeping my feet warm and nuzzling me after every cough or sneeze attack. So sweet of them but there’s nothing they can do to make me feel better. Just got to get over it again.

I wish I could stay on the sofa all day, dozing and mocking people on TV whilst collecting piles of soggy tissues and empty cup stacks on the table. But I have to attempted to go out later, have a shopping list of things to get and do. That parcel still needs collecting from last week, I’ve got letters to post, light bulbs and birthday cards to buy.

Why are so many people I know born in February? At least I don’t have to go and buy presents, did all that last night, thank God for the internet. Luckily, I’ve not been invited to any parties either. Hate going to them when I’m ill or just getting over things.

Maybe I should go look online and see if there’s any quick cures for colds. It’s doubtful but might be useful.

The December Sea

smoke

I knew it was going to be a disaster from the start. Who goes to the seaside in December? But the girls and wife instead.

‘You do know it’s going to be freezing right? And everything will be shut?’ I stated as we sat around the dinning room table eating breakfast.

‘But we can still build sand castles,’ Sky, the oldest, cut in.

‘And get ice cream? Not all the shops will be shut,’ Charlie added.

‘Can we go crabbing too?’ Ethany, the youngest, piped up.

‘I think the fresh sea air will be great for everyone and Lexie would love the change of scenery,’ my wife, Sue, finished the conversation off with.

From the closed dinning room door came the soft yipping of Lexie, the king charles spaniel puppy. She was banished to the hallway whenever we were eating as she couldn’t be trusted and the kids liked sneaking her titbits.

I grumbled into my toast, ‘this is a bad idea.’

‘Can we take, Bob?’ Charlie asked.

From under the table came the thumping of a heavy tail. My old yellow Labrador let out a soft chuffing sound. He was allowed in because he kept my feet warm and all he did now a days was sleep.

‘Maybe not…’ my wife said, ‘he’s very old and I don’t think he’d like it much.’

‘We could put his coat on and if he get’s tried dad can take him back to the car,’ Charlie suggested.

‘I’d feel bad if we left him behind,’ Ethany added with a pout.

‘Okay,’ Sue said, ‘let’s get ready then.’

So, off to the seaside we went and you know what? I was totally right.

We found a sheltered spot in the entrance to a small cave to set up camp. The girls went running about the empty sand, shouting and playing games. Lexie ran with them and also had a couple of dips in the cold sea. The waves were pretty big as it was quite windy. I, my wife and Bob sat on the picnic blanket, huddled in our coats coming to the realisation that that this was a bad idea.

Soon enough, Ethany came running back to us crying.

‘What’s wrong?’ Sue asked.

‘There’s sand in my eyes! Sky did it!’ Ethany shouted.

‘Come here. I’ve got some wipes.’

Sue pulled Ethany into her lap and cleaned her eyes.

‘Do you want to go home?’ I asked, hoping that the answer would be yes.

‘No,’ Ethany sniffed, ‘I’m okay now.’

She hugged her mum tightly then got up and walked over to her sisters. They were building a sand castle close by and Lexie was eating seaweed.

‘Stop Lexie from eat that,’ I called after her and pointed at the puppy.

Ethany nodded and broke into a run.

I watched Ethany pulling Lexie away and fought down the urge to tell my wife that we should leave for the tenth time.

A few minutes later, a huge wave crashed on to the beach. The girls screamed. Sue and I rushed up and over. The younger girls had managed to escape, but Lexie and Sky hadn’t. I grabbed Sky first and hauled her away by the hood of her coat. My wife was yelling something Lexie, but I had to make sure my daughter was safe first.

‘You okay?’ I asked her.

Sky nodded, breathlessly. She was dripping wet.

‘Lexie!’ Charlie and Ethany were screaming over and over again.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw my wife stood ankle deep in the sea. She was half bent over, her hands in the water, searching.

‘Get back to the cave,’ I said to all the girls.

I turned and made my way towards the sea. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sky struggling across the sand then shepherding her sisters back to our camp.

‘I can’t find her!’ Sue hollered above the wind and the waves.

I quickly scanned around, looking for any flashes of black, white and brown in the grey-green-white topped sea.

‘Lexie! Puppy!’ my wife screamed.

‘There!’ I yelled and pointed at some shape far to the left of of us that seemed not to be a part of the sea.

I wadded into the freezing water. Feeling my thick wool socks and trousers getting soaked. The waves bashed around me as if threatening me to get out. Frantically, I kept looking then dipping my hands and arms under the waves. The cold shot through me and in seconds my fingers felt numb.

A voice at the back of my head was repeatedly saying, she’s gone, she’s gone. How can a little dog survive this?  

I had a flash image of my little girls all crying and sobbing, ‘Daddy, why didn’t you save our puppy?’

Then my numb fingers hit something; wet fur. I clutched hold tightly and like a fisherman wrestling with a big fish, I yanked the king charles puppy from the raging sea. Holding her by her collar and scruff of her neck, I trudged back to the shore.

‘Oh my God! Lexie! Dave!’ my wife gasped.

She rushed over, out of the sea herself and joined me on the wet sand. She took the puppy from me and held it close to her chest like one of her babies. Tears were streaming down her face and her cheeks were flushed a deep red.

I watched her, struggling to steady my breathing and waiting to feel my body again. She checked the puppy over. Lexie was alive, but only just.

‘We must get her warm,’ Sue was saying.

She jogged across the beach and I saw the children rushing to meet her.

I walked back. My feet sinking into the sand, sea water dripping off me. When I reached the cave, my wife had wrapped Lexie in a towel and put the puppy inside her in coat. The girls were crowded around her, demanding to know that Lexie was okay. Bob was standing up, wagging his tail in greeting and wondering what all the fuss was about.

‘We need to go home now!’ my wife declared loudly.

Finally!

‘Yes, of course. Right away!’ I said, ‘girls help pack up.’

Quickly, we packed everything away and gathered things up. My wife stood holding Lexie in her coat and giving a few instructions. I held my tongue still even though the words I told you so and this was a bad idea were on my tongue.

‘Ready? Let’s go,’ I said and went to step outside.

The sky which had always been dull grey had now turned darker and from it was falling snowflakes and sleet.

‘It’s snowing!’ Charlie declared.

‘So it is. Come on,’ Sue cut in and strolled out.

We followed after her, trying to hurry across the sand. Reaching the car, everything and everyone bungled in. I started on the engine and my wife turned up the heater.

‘Everyone okay?’ I called.

A choir of female voices answered, ‘yes.’

Nodding, I drove us home and the snow began to fall more heavily. An hour later, I pulled into the driveway and turned off the engine.

‘How’s Lexie?’ Sky asked for what felt like the millionth time.

‘Better now,’ Sue replied.

‘Do we still have to take her to the vets?’ Charlie questioned.

‘I don’t think so…but we’ll see how she is within a hour,’ Sue replied.

We all got out the car and unpacked. Once in the warmth, dry space of home, everyone got themselves sorted. I got in the shower afterwards, when the girls, wife and dogs were okay. The hot water swept the remaining coldness from me and I felt cleaner too.

Going into the living room afterwards, I saw Lexie and Bob curled up together on the big dog bed in the corner. All my girls were snuggled on the sofa under a blanket and there was a Disney Princess movie on the telly. It all seemed so normal.

‘Let’s think twice before we go to the seaside again,’ I spoke out as I sank into the armchair.

 

(Inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2016/12/08/thursday-photo-prompt-smoke-writephoto/ with thanks. Click to read other people’s stories or to create one yourself.)

Northern Lights

Person Standing on White and Black Field Under Green and Black Sky during Twilight

Enar looked up at the sky, searching the star dotted blackness for any signs. As of yet he couldn’t see any lights, but he knew it must be soon. His breath misted before him, rising in puffy little clouds. It was bitterly cold, way below freezing, but he barely felt it in his long reindeer fur coat, gloves and boots.

In the background, he could hear the wind gently playing with the loose snow and his team of husky sled dogs barking. They had been on edge since seeing that polar bear and her cub. It had been a tense situation, saved only by him firing his gun. Enar hadn’t wanted to, especially after hearing the story of another man who was attacked by a male polar bear the other week. Still though as the bullet had shattered through all the growling, the mother had taken fright and run off, her cub in tow.

Enar came back to the now and looked more closely. There was green light growing in the distance. From his pocket, he took his camera and begin setting it up to take photos. He was clicking away before he knew it, watching more through the lens then anything else as the lights danced across the sky.

The dogs stopped barking almost as if they knew this mysterious force was now surrounding them. Silence fell, well beside from the snow shifting, Enar’s camera clicking and his deep breathing. His lungs were already burning the cold and he knew he’d have to start moving again soon.

He took a last photo, even though the light display was far from over. Rising his head, Enar admired the view above. Even though he knew the scientific reasoning behind it all he couldn’t help but think of the multi-coloured lights as being pure magic. He knew his ancestors had thought the lights to be departed souls and even further back in Norse myth, the lights were believed to be Valkyries and a bridge to Valhalla.

Enar put his camera away, having to fumble with it due to the thickness of his gloves and coat. He turned and walked back down to the dogs. They started barking at him, welcoming him back and seeming eager to be off again. He patted the first dog and made his way to the sled. He hadn’t bothered tying the dogs up. Shouting out, ‘mush,’ he gve the dogs some help then they were cutting their way through the snow once more, the aurora borealis dancing above them.

Fairy Shrine

mystery

Lucy walked briskly through the woods, letting her dogs run free. This early in the morning the paths were almost empty and Lucy thought how wise people were to stay in bed. She longed to be back in the dry warmth instead of out here in the freezing damp.

Winter had arrived over night shaking away the mild glorious autumn. A thick frost covered the ground turning everything white. Small puddles were iced over and tree trunks were splattered with water crystal patterns. A thin fog hung high between the tree tops, hills and clear bright blue sky.

Lucy’s breath misted before her face and no matter how much she tried she couldn’t stay warm. Her boots scuffed over the stone pathway then she turned off and walked up a slope of grass into large group of trees. The frosty grass and fallen leaves crunched under her in nice crispy sounds. Ahead, she heard dogs barking and as she walked passed the first tree, she saw her four dogs fighting over a large branch.

The big husky was yanking one end of the branch whilst the border collie cross and cocker spaniel had the other. The jack russel was stood in the middle barking his head off.

Laughing, Lucy took out her phone and snapped some photos.  Then calling the dogs to her, she carried on walking. The jack russel was the first to come to her heels. Encouraging him on, the others gave chase and they all vanished into the trees once more. Following the path upwards, she walked her normal route.

However, as Lucy reached the top of the hill she decided to go left instead of right and take the shorter way back. Calling the dogs to her, she headed into a more dense part of the woods. The tree branches were bare above her and arching upwards to the sky. There were less leaves covering the floor up here and the ground was hard. Hurrying on and making sure she had all the dogs with her, Lucy noticed something.

Above her was an exposed rocky section of the hill and there was a doorway a meter further down.

‘What is that? I’ve never seen it before,’ Lucy spoke aloud.

Interested, she walked towards it and came to a stop before the doorway. It was made of white stones and seemed to lead into somewhere. It was too dark to see though. Walking on, she wondered if there was a pathway along there. Forgetting about the cold, she headed on and when the path came to lead off in a few directions, she turned left on a path that rose up and matched the one she had been on.

The dogs were barking in the distance and for a moment she wonder what trouble they were causing. Her eyes spotted the white doorway and all other thoughts left her mind. The doorway was low and narrow, but she could fit inside. Digging out her phone again, she turned on the torch and shone it in.

A passageway led further in, the walls, floor and ceiling were white like the doorway. Lucy stood up and glanced around. She thought about calling the dogs back to her. If there was something dangerous in there they could defend her. However, they were bound to get in the way. Shrugging, Lucy walked inside.

A few steps and the passageway opened into a small room. Objects were scattered everywhere; dried and dead flowers, statues of fairies and angels, coins, a small plastic waterfall, burnt out candles, teddy bears, tea cups and note cards.

Puzzled, Lucy shone the light around more then bent to look at one of the note cards. It was in a child’s handwriting and she could hardly read it because of the bad spelling. It seemed to be a wish of some kind. Lucy looked at the next few and they all seemed to be wishes.

Something wet pressed against her hand. Lucy cried and jump twisted around.

‘Benny!’ she cried at the jack russel, ‘don’t do that!’

The little dog wagged his tail and barked.

Lucy patted his head and looked around again.

‘What is this place?’ she asked.

Benny barked and jumped up at her.

Scrubbing his ears, Lucy heard her other dogs scuffling outside. Sighing, she headed back out. Dusting herself off, she walked back along the pathway, wondering about the tiny cave, the offerings and the wishes left inside.

 

(Story inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2016/11/24/thursday-photo-prompt-mystery-writephoto/ with thanks. Click to read stories other writers wrote.)

The Life Of Leaves

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I looked up and saw through the translucent autumn leaves. The pale October sun was giving just enough light to see by even though it was the middle of the afternoon. I stopped and for some reason began wondering about the life of a leaves. How did they know when to start changing color and dying? The tree of course felt the cold and knew it was time to sleep. The tree couldn’t photosynthesis with the weak sunlight and the leaves lost their usefulness.

I felt a jolt back to high school biology class. That was probably where the knowledge came from. Why was it important anyway? Who actually cared about these things and the changing of the seasons? They just happened and we did what we normally did, year after year. I frowned up at the leaves and watched the wind moving them. In that moment, the world slipped away. The barking dogs, the people, everyone and thing in the park, but that one tree and me.

I heard the leaves whispering, but I couldn’t make out their words. They weren’t calling to me though. Perhaps, they were speaking to each other or the tree. What were they saying? That it was growing cold it was time for them to move on? I saw the leaves fall, they came and spiraled around me. They were still whispering, but the words were a secret. Then they were gone, the wind carrying them away.

I came back to and looked around in a daze. Everything looked normal. The kids playing on the swings, the dogs chasing balls, people jogging and yet, I no longer was normal. The leaves had reached out to me, they had whispered their story to me and now I felt a change growing within me.