Circle #WritePhoto

The music from the ball floated along beside us as we ran through the back garden. Lights of all colours glowed and twinkled as they decorated the house and gardens. The musical tinkles of the fountains and the voices of the masked guests faded into the background as we reached the final hedges.

I stopped to get my breath and his hand slipped from mine. The shadows were long and dark this far away and there was hardly any noise from the party now. I pressed my hands to my stomach, the pain of my corset digging into my ribs.

I surprised that I had been able to run in the huge gold and sliver ball gown with the large gold wings on the back, but then love makes us do things we wouldn’t normally be able to do.

He was looking to find a way through the hedge, his blue and green male fairy costume no longer sparkling. He held the candle in it’s coloured glass cage up, the only flicker of light here. He turned his masked face to mine, took my hand again and led me through a gap where once there might have been a doorway.

Then we were free of the staring eyes and accusing whispers. The Lord’s daughter and famous poet’s son. We were alone at last and could do what we wanted. I laughed, overwhelmed. He laughed too then came closer to me. I felt the heat from him, the brush of his skin against mine. The touch of his lips.

We walked. The candle light showing that everything was darker and wilder on this side, the plants left to their own devices. Branches scraped against us, slowing us down, almost as if they we warning us to go back. We didn’t listen but wandered on to a place we had visited repeatedly over the last year; the small stone circle at the heart of the woods.

It took a few minutes then we almost stumbled on the stones. The trees hadn’t kept away, their roots spreading and saplings growing. There was a patch of tall grass around the stones but nothing more.

He placed the lantern down on the flattest topped stone and we sat down on the widest one which had possibly fallen on it’s side long ago.

‘Help me take off this mask and wings,’ I said quietly.

‘No,’ he replied, his fingers curling around my chin, ‘I like you like this. I can pretend you are a fairy queen and I’ve just snatched you away from the fairy court.’

I giggled as we kissed and we soon became lost in each other.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/08/16/thursday-photo-prompt-circle-writephoto/ with thanks.)

 

 

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Fairy Hotel #FridayFictioneers

The child pointed at the strange structure against the fence and asked, ‘Grandma, what’s that?’

Grandma looked at the stack of bricks and wood with clay pots and other things stuck in between before replying, ‘it was a fairy hotel.’

‘Was?’

‘It’s fallen apart now,’ Grandma pointed out.

The child pulled at the weeds thoughtfully and said, ‘can we fix it? If it’s pretty again the fairies might come back.’

Grandma smiled, ‘Yes, if we believe they will.’

The child smiled back and together they began working on repairing the hotel.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/08/01/3-august-2018/ with thanks).

Runnel #atozchallenge

girl-1144739_1920.jpg

Runnel; a small stream. 

The largepainting had always hung in the guest bedroom of my adopted grandparents house. The girl in the frilly red dress was their ten year old daughter, who had died a two years later. She was playing in a runnel which ran through an spring dappled woods.

‘She’s catching fairies,’ gran said, ‘she always loved doing that.’

That use to fascinate me as a child and when I couldn’t sleep, I would study the painting for the fairies. I never saw any though. As an adult the painting still interested me and I guess that’s why my grandparents left it to me when they passed.

Between #Writephoto

I don’t remember much about the Between, but mum said I spent a lot of my childhood there. I was an only child and Mum was a single parent on the run from her abuse ex-husband, a father I never knew. We moved around so much, not having much contact with anyone. Years later, I asked her why that was, couldn’t she have gone to the police or someone for help? She said, things back then were just different. It was normal for a husband to hit is wife.

I didn’t go to school and was only let out sometimes, so the Between was my imaginary world. Mum said it started when we stayed in a semi-abandoned farmhouse when I was around six. She let me out to play in a wild meadow and I came back talking about fairies and unicorns.

From then, I would often talk aloud and play with the things from the Between. I drew pictures too, to show mum what the animals and people were like. She kept some of them that I had drawn in a small sketch book. There was a fairy princess and queen, a unicorn, strange dragonflies and butterflies, gremlins, goblins, imps, pixies and other fantasy creatures.

‘You must have told me about them and I just imagined it all!’ I laughed to my mum.

‘No. I never said anything about any make believe things,’ mum explained, ‘not even Father Christmas or God.’

‘Oh…Then I must have read about it somewhere,’ I wondered.

‘Perhaps. I don’t remember,’ she replied, ‘I was sad when you grew out of it though.’

I hummed as I thought back. It was hard to remember clearly, but I started high school in one of the towns we were hiding out in. Something about being forced to go…But it meant that town became our permanent home. I had something of a normal life then and the Between was lost to me.

‘I guess it was a childhood thing,’ I added with a shrug, ‘but why were you sad?’

‘Because it meant you were grown up.’

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/02/15/thursday-photo-prompt-between-writephoto/ with thanks).

The Last Present

18 Eric Wiklund 10 December 2017

It was hard to open the Christmas present granddad had gotten for me. I sat with the heavy box on my lap whilst around me my family carried on opening their gifts. Christmas music was playing the background and there was a warm smell of food. It should have been a happy day but granddad had died a week ago and we’d had to rush the funeral or he wouldn’t have been buried till after the new year.

I didn’t want to open the last present I’d ever receive from him but it would be a waste not too. Slowly, un-sticking the badly wrapped package then opening the cardboard box, I peered inside. There was lots of tissue wrapped packets in there. I pulled one out, curiously unwrapping it. It was a tiny wooden table.

Frowning, I got all the other items and laid them out together. Granddad had built the fairy village I’d asked for as a child. Tears misted my eyes and I sit there and cried.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/sunday-photo-fiction-december-10th-2017/ with thanks).

Sight #writephoto

I peered through the viewing hole in the rock and the damp moors transformed before me. The pale grass became bright and lush, the washed out sky turned blazing blue and the other rocks in the distance shimmered. I held my breath and waited.

‘There’s one!’ I cried out.

A fairy with blonde hair, wearing a green filly dress and carrying a small wicker basket fluttered by, her wings a purple irradiant colour. Her toes skimmed the short grass then she flew away.

I gasped and took my face away from the rock. I rushed around it and looked for a flash of green or purple. There was nothing but a late summer butterfly, lazily hovering above the grass.

I scampered back to the rock and looked through the hole again. Behind me, I heard my grandfather chuckling.

‘You can only see the Fae folk through that portal, Harmony,’ he spoke, ‘they use it to get in between worlds, like I told you in the stories.’

‘And I believed you, grandpa!’ I spoke, my voice slightly muffled by the rock.

‘What can you see now?’ he asked, his voice full of laughter.

I looked harder, the vibrate colours of the moor and sky stinging my eyes. I saw two small figures walking through the grass. They were male, wearing brown clothes and brown caps. They were carrying cleaning tools and looked like they were on their way to work.

‘Brownies?’ I muttered, trying to recall what they looked like in Grandpa’s big book.

‘What was that?’ he asked quietly.

‘I think those two are brownies,’ I said, coming away from the rock, ‘you look grandpa.’

‘Alas, child, I can’t. These eyes aren’t what they use to be. I lost the sight gift a few years back,’ Grandpa spoke sadly.

I nodded thoughtfully, remembering one of the stories he had told me about seeing the king and queen of the fairies. That was the last time he had seen the Fae folk. I glanced back at the rock then asked, ‘do I have the sight gift, grandpa?’

‘Probably, Harmony. It has been passed on to all the Turner children but only some of them have embraced it. Your mother was only interested up until her late twenties. Then she got married and had you. She said she didn’t have the time anymore,’ grandpa explained.

‘She never talks about them,’ I pointed out.

Grandpa nodded, ‘she’s lost her belief. That’s the key to seeing the Fae peoples and everything else too. Having a hard belief in something will always make it real even if some times you can’t actually see it.’

‘Then I’m going to hold on to my belief forever, Grandpa!’

I smiled brightly and he smiled back then I turned back to the hole in the rock. Looking through again, I could see that other world taking shape around me and the Fae people going about their lives.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/31/thursday-photo-prompt-sight-writephoto with thanks).

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.)

Labyrinth

The gate rose up unexpectedly from in-between the trees. Rose stopped and frowned up at the barrier before her. The trail she had been on lead straight down towards it and though it was not well tread, the dirt path was clear enough of overgrown plants. Birds sing over heard, tweeting merrily and the waters of the brook sounded like fairy laughter.

Rose walked closely, wondering why she had only just discovered this section of the woods. For years, she had walked amongst the trees and paddle in the brooks. She knew all the pathways like the bloodlines showing in her hands. Yet, here was a place she had never been before.

Stopping before the gates, she saw that they were made of tree branches and had been designed to look like a bare tree reaching upwards. A sign arching above stated ‘Labyrinth’. Rose reached out and touched the gate, the wood felt a little cold and damp, but was natural. The gate swung open.

She snatched her hand back, knowing she hadn’t but that much pressure on the gate to open it. Looking though, she saw the path continued as did the trees and undergrowth. She glanced back the way she had come and realised she couldn’t tell the different between the two views.

Shrugging, Rose walked through the gate then closed it behind her.

The path felt no different under her thin hiking booted feet. She reached out and touched the trunk of a beech tree. A small piece of a white bark came off in her hand, but there was nothing unusual about it. Walking on, she followed the path around a corner and entered a shadier area. Tall trees formed an arch over her head, their branches and leaves brushing together.

Rose stopped, glad for a chance to escape the hot summer’s day. She watched a white butterfly flapping around a clump of purple foxgloves and listened to the chittering of a pair of birds. Just as she was about to move off, she heard a low child-like laugh. Glancing around she saw nothing and deciding it was properly some children playing nearby, she walked on.

Coming out from under the arched trees, Rose found herself at a cross roads. The dirt path forked off three ways and they all looked the same to her. She frowned and studied each path.

I really have no memory of this, Rose thought, but how hard can this labyrinth be? I bet it was made of kids. That’s probably, why I’ve never come here because it’s next to the play area.

Rose half turned and thought about going back. Then, decided that because she was here she might as well go on. She choice the left way and walked down a little dirt yellow path. The bushes grew thickly on either side, threating to overtake the path. Rose squeezed through, feeling the tips of branches scratching against her bare arms. She walked down a dip and found the path split. One snaked to the right heading up hill and the other carried on downwards.

She picked the left again and carried on. The path widened and she found herself walking alongside a lazy river. A small slope was all that separated her and the clear water. White spit like foam floated on top and Rose felt drawn to stop. She sat down on the path edge, resting her legs on the slop and wiggled off her backpack.

She dug out a bottle of water and drank a few gulps. Light laughter and notes of music tickled her ears. Puzzled, she looked around, but couldn’t see anything but trees and scrubland. Rose listened harder, but couldn’t hear anything else. The river bubbled and rumbled around rocks as a breeze rubbed branches together. The birds were still singing and she felt oddly glad about that.

I wonder if I’ll meet David Bowie, Rose thought then giggled aloud. Images from the movie blossomed in her mind and she shook them away. A traditional Labyrinth should be circular with only one way to the centre as well as one entrance/exit, she told herself. Frowning, she wondered how she knew that, then decided she must have read it somewhere.

Getting up she walked on and found that the path she was following did seem to curve in. When she reached another cross roads, she took the furthest pathway and walked uphill. From then on whenever the path divided, Rose took the right one believing it would take her to the centre. Slowly, she found herself going around large sweeping curves and the path seemed more open.

She stopped once to try and see over some tall bushes, but couldn’t see anything other than the blue sky above. Starting to get fed-up, she picked up her pace and at the next path divided, decided to go off it and walk through the trees.

The ground under her feet changed to dry soil and she snapped over fallen twigs. She walked in a straight line and in a few moments entered a large circle were a small fountain sat. Water trickled out from the mouths of four jumping frogs and splashed back into the shallow pool they appeared to be jumping out of.

Rose signed and went to sit on one of four benches that had been placed at the edges of the circle. She drank some more water and had a chocolate bar. She thought about the best way to get out of here and finally decided that she’d just walk in a straight line ahead. Packing up her things, she set off doing just that.

She crossed over a number of paths, but stuck with her plan. She walked around trees and bushes feeling only a little frustrated. The idea that if she had been a child lost in this labyrinth came to her. She imagined that it could be a lot scary. She thought she heard a soft crying and paused.

The noise faded, replaced with birds and the breeze. Rose shook her head and carried on walking. A few minutes later, she stepped down onto a path and saw across from her a wired fence. Smiling, she joined the path and let it lead her back to the gate. Strangely, she felt disappointed that nothing magical or scary had happened.

Opening the gate, she stepped out and cast a look behind her. Everything still looked the same. Closing the gate, she walked back up and into the play area, expecting to see the children who she had heard laughing and crying. The playground was empty and a single swing was moving by itself.

Shrugging, Rose went and sat on a bench, catching her breath back. She dug a thin blue jacket from her bag and used it to wipe away the sweat from her face and neck. Dropping the jacket over her lap, she pulled out the bottle of water and finished it off. She felt glad she had brought it and other bottle with her.

She felt a light tugging on the edge of her jacket and looked down thinking she had simply caught it. There was nothing there, just the edge of the jacket floating in the breeze. Rose frowned and thought she must have imagined it. Balling the jacket up, she shoved it back in her bag and did the zip up.

She checked the time on her phone. The numbers blurred into what looked like; 2:05pm.

‘How’d it get so late?’ Rose gushed, ‘I must have been in that labyrinth for almost an hour!’

Putting her phone away, she stood up and went to put on her backpack. One of the straps snagged on the bench and she bent to free it, she saw something out of the corner of her eye.

Pausing, she watched the lower leaves of a bush shaking. It had been green and pink, she reflected, or at least it seem that way. Maye it was just a squirrel?

High pitched laughter suddenly came to her. The backpack slipped from her fingers and clunked down on the bench. No child could’ve made that sound her common sense told her, nor an adult.

‘I’m just dehydrated, my mind’s playing tricks on me,’ Rose declared.

She unzipped her bag and dug around for the other water bottle.

The leaves rustled to her right and she looked over. There on the ground was a tiny green felt hat with feathers and leaves sticking out of a yellow ribbon band. Abandoning her water and bag, she went over and picked it up.

It must have coming off a kid’s toy, she mused.

Placing it back, she went and had a drink of water and sit down on the bench again. She shut her eyes and thought about how hot it was and how she was glad the birds were still singing. The second you can no longer hear the birds is the moment things start to happen, she reminded herself, at least that’s how it always goes in movies. She laughed to herself and opened her eyes.

Scolding herself for being silly, she collected her things again and made to leave. Standing up, she walked over to the swing set and stopped the single swing that had still been moving all this time. Feeling less creeped out, she got back on the path and walked away.