The Land That’s Not Green #Pegman

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The boat bobbed through icy water, sliding past icebergs that drift on the sea.

Lola took a few photos then turned to look for her sister. Other tourists blocked her view but she spotted Rey at the bow. Going over, Lola joined her.

‘Isn’t Greenland just something else?’ Rey spoke.

‘It is but it’s not very green,’ Lola answered.

The girls smiled at that on going joke.

A blast of sea spray fell like harsh snowflakes on their faces and drew them both to look over the side. Below, large creatures were breaking through the bow waves.

‘Whales!’ Rey cried.

‘Amazing!’ Lola added.

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2019/03/09/greenland/ with thanks).

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Salt

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Doctor Roy Parker stood on the end of the pier, huddled in a huge winter coat and looking around. Everyone thought him mad to take a seaside holiday in February but he embraced it. The quietness at the out of season resort, the emptiness of the beach and town, no worries or cares, created a perfect escape from an intense twenty-four hours- seven days a week hospital job.

Resting his arms on the rotting wooden rail, Roy watched and listened to the gale force winds creating mini sand storms along the beach below. Out at sea, the wave tops were whipped into meringue peaks which then crashed onto the shore and got left behind by the large rasping, rolling salty water.

Rain started falling, fat drops plopping onto the wooden boards, the damp sand and stormy sea. Roy didn’t mind, this was nature at one of it’s wildest moments and he could just become lost in the raging weather. He balanced himself against the elements, letting them sweep everything away for a good while.

The wind became more violent, throwing sand and waves upwards to Roy. A tingle of danger went through him and the Doctor decided he’d had enough for the moment. With rain and sand grains clinging to him and sea salt the only thing he could smell, Roy finally turned away and walked back to the large dome cafe that dominated the middle of the pier.

He opened the door and was greeted by a gentle warm hug of air. Choosing a seat near a  right hand side window, Roy noticed he was the fourth customer in the cafe. Two old ladies in their seventies or eighties, sat a few tables away in the center row, were enjoying a meal. To the far left, next to a rain coated window, a young man in his twenties or thirties, sat with his eyes closed and hands around a white mug. A yellow Labrador guide dog sit at his feet, tongue lolling, face attentive.

The rest of the tables, though set for customers were empty, giving an eerily abandoned impression to the place which the weather made all the more real.

Looking towards the counter and kitchen area, Roy saw a bored teenage girl at the till putting a brownie onto a plate. Listening, he heard a soft brush of musical notes coming from the kitchen along with the smell of mingled hot food and coffee.

Roy picked up the plastic covered menu wedged behind glass salt and pepper shakers and a bottle of vinegar. He scanned the deserts and drinks list then turned the menu over to see the meals. There wasn’t a lot of choice but that wasn’t a surprise.

Meanwhile, the waitress took the brownie to the blind man and spoke to him for a few minutes. She patted the guide dog’s head. Roy got the impression they knew each other which in this small town was easy to believe. Then the girl turned, coming towards him whilst digging out a paper pad and pen from her white apron bag.

‘Hi, what can I get you?’ she asked in a fake bright voice.

‘A pot of tea,’ Roy answered.

The girl noted it down.

‘And fish and chips.’

The girl made to nod then replied, ‘if you order the special it comes with tea, bread and butter.’

‘Is that a pot or just a cup?’ Roy asked, avoiding the temptation to look at the menu again.

The waitress thought for a moment as if she had forgotten or was deciding something, ‘I can make it a pot,’ she stated and wrote on her pad again.

‘Thank you,’ Roy said.

The girl walked off and disappeared into the kitchen. Roy listened for voices but the wind, rain and sea were in storm mode and all other sounds were now blocked out. Turning to the window, Roy watched the rain pounding against the glass and clouding the view which he imagined on a nice summer day was a picturesque beach.

He was lost in his thoughts for awhile, so when the waitress appeared with his tea, Roy was slightly startled.

‘There you go,’ the girl said as she set a tea pot, milk jug, sugar bowl and cup down.

Roy thanked her as she headed back to the kitchen then looked at the mismatched and dented tea set. The poor sliver colored tea pot had seen better days, the rim of the sugar bowl was chipped and the darker sliver milk jug looked like it could fall apart. He gingerly poured the steaming tea and fridge cool milk into his tea cup.

‘Excuse me, Sadie,’ a man’s voice called loudly.

Roy looked about and saw the blind man trying to attracted the waitress attention.

‘I’ll get her for you, dear,’ one of the old ladies spoke.

‘We are leaving now, Mark,’ the second replied.

‘Thank you, Iris and Lilly. I want to leave too,’ the blind man answered, ‘the storm sounds bad, so I’m going to get a taxi.’

They both got up. The first lady, who was wearing a powder pink felt coat and had a hint of pink in her white permed hair, walked slowly to the counter. The other lady dressed in a pale blue felt coat and with blue wisps in her white hair, went over to the blind man.

Roy watched, wondering if they were twins or sisters or friends.

The waitress appeared at the counter, talked to Iris or Lilly then picked up a phone.

The old lady went back to her sister or friend and after saying goodbye to Mark and his dog, headed for the door.

Roy braced himself to feel the bite of the wind as the door opened but he was sat far enough away that he felt just a whisper of the chilly wet air. He picked up his tea and took a few sips, feeling warmth sinking into him.

The girl appeared at his side and placed two plates down, one had two slices of bread and small pot of butter, the other held his fish and chips.

‘There you are. Is there anything else you need?’ she asked.

‘No, thank you,’ Roy answered.

With a single nod, the girl swept away and over to the blind man. She talked to him, no doubt saying she had ordered a taxi.

Roy arranged the plates of food how he wanted them then put salt and vinegar on his fish and chips. He picked up his knife and folk from the white napkin and started eating. It wasn’t the best meal he’d ever had but it tasted great today. The chips had just a crunch to their outside and were soft in the middle. The fish was lightly and crispy battered, soft and tender inside. With the added salt and vinegar the whole thing came together in one celebration in Roy’s mouth.

So distracted was he, Roy didn’t noticed the blind man leaving till he felt a touch of cold. Looking up and towards the door, he saw the man going out and the waitress helping him. She closed the door and hurried through the cafe into the warmth of the kitchen.

Alone, Roy took a moment to glance around then carried on eating. The fish was tasty, though the salt was drying out his lips and he had to keep licking them. He drink some more tea to help. Unable to stop, he ate quickly, forgotten how he’d built his hungry by a morning walk in the town, then along the edge of the beach and around the pier.

He was finished before he knew it. Pouring the last of the tea, Roy hugged the cup and listened to a rumble of thunder in the distance. He looked out of the window and though it was hard to think the weather had gotten worse, it seemed just that.

Roy finished his tea and sat relaxing for a few minutes. Coldness crept over him and he felt stiff in his legs and back from the plastic chair. Perhaps, it was just his imagination but he felt a slight rocking motion.

Getting up, he went to the counter and looked for the girl. A door labeled kitchen was open in the back wall and Roy could hear radio music more clearly now.

‘Hello? he called, his voice sounding loud in the empty cafe.

‘Coming,’ the girl called back.

She appeared, trying to turn a scowl into smile.

‘The bill, please. And if it’s not too much trouble could you phone me a taxi?’

‘Here you go, the girl said and handed him a slip of paper, ‘and yes, I can. Where are you going too?’

‘To the Mermaid Hotel,’ Roy replied as he dug out his wallet.

The girl took his money and made the call. He listened as she said the address of the cafe and the hotel. She hung up the phone and turned back to him, ‘The taxi will be a few minutes and pick you up from the pier enterence.’

‘Thanks,’ Roy answered, he added a ‘goodbye,’ and went to the door.

Preparing to step out into the storm, Roy took a deep breath and opened the door. Rain that felt solid hit him and the strong wind tried to force him back. Roy wrestled with the elements, hurried out and back along the pier.

‘It is swaying!’ he cried.

Daringly, he looked over the safety rail and saw the sea waves arching upwards around the wooden supports. Imagines of the pier collapsing, the buildings crashing down and himself thrown into those violent waves flashed through his mind.

Panicked, Roy ran off the pier, slipping on the wet boards and dodging the small buildings and stalls that were dotted around. He made it safely to the enterence which was an indoor hallway connecting the street to the pier.

Huddling inside there, water dripping everywhere, Roy looked out for his taxi. A rumble of thunder made him jump then laughing loudly, Roy let all his fear go. Of course, the pier was moving! It was built to do so! How else would a wood and iron structure survive the sea? And the storm was only that and nothing to be scared over.

A red car pulled up outside, horn blaring.

Roy opened the door, walked out and got into the taxi.

‘The Mermaid Hotel,’ he said to the reflection of the driver’s face in the rear view mirror.

‘Right O,’ the driver spoke and peeled the car away.

Glamping #FridayFictioneers

Glamorous camping was the latest fashion trend. I wasn’t impressed, for me camping was sleeping under the stars around a fire, getting away from all things and this ‘glamping’ was a hotel room inside a tipi. At least my girlfriend was impressed and there’s no way I’d ever convince her to spend a weekend without electricity; ‘I can’t survive without my hair drier!’

For me, the scenery and the escape from city life had made up for the luxury camping experience. Outside the Tipi of High Life there was a whole barren land to be explored.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/01/30/1-february-2019/ with thanks).

 

Lion #3LineTales

three line tales, week 133: two lion cubs staring at you like you're lunch

The holiday had been dull so far, the wilderness was too hot and dry. They got in the jeep that morning and traveled to their next campsite, along the way they heard the roaring and slowed down. Tumbling across the road came two lion cubs, it was the highlight of the trip.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/08/16/three-line-tales-week-133/ with thanks.)

 

Ferry #FFfAW

They changed the timetable of the ferry for the summer and forgot to update everything. Cars were queuing for miles, people double checking their watches then staring around confused. The complaints were flooding in like storm waves, so the ferry company had no choice but to put the timetable back again.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/08/13/fffaw-challenge-178th/ with thanks).

 

 

Suitcase Bear #FlashFictionChallenge

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Bag handler, Frank slowly opened the abandoned suitcase, preparing for the worse. The soft, fuzzy head of a brown teddy bear popped out. The bear smiled at him then attempted to climb out of the suitcase. Frank stumbled back in shock.

‘Is this America?’ the bear asked.

‘No, it’s Scotland.’ Frank managed to answer.

‘Oh, stuffing!’ the bear cursed, ‘must have put the wrong labels on….Can you help me get there?’

‘What…?’

‘They went on holiday and left me behind by accident!’

‘I’ll see what I can do…’ Frank uttered.

I must be dreaming, Frank thought turning away.

 

(Inspired by; https://carrotranch.com/2018/07/27/july-26-flash-fiction-challenge/ with thanks).

Postcard #47

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Hi Grandma,

Hope you are okay. The weather here is really sunny. Cornwall is a nice place! Mum and Dad took us to a castle and we learnt about King Arthur. We went to the beach and I built a big sandcastle but then Laura knocked it down! Tomorrow we are going horse riding!

Wish you were here, love, Chloe.

Cliff Diving #WeeklyWritingPrompt

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I felt numb as I plunged into the coldness of the sea. The strong waves washed over me, I held my breath and pushed back upwards. For a few seconds, it felt as if something was pulling me back down then I broke through the salt water.

Gasping in deep breaths, aware suddenly of all the sound and touch again. I could hear my four friends on the cliff edge calling down to me, clapping and shouting. I had been the first to take the dive, not because I was the bravest but because I had drawn the shortest dune grass.

The waves echoed in my ears as well as the splashing against me. I could feel of the cold blow of the water against my warm skin, running down my hair and face. My navy blue swimming trunks flushed tight against my upper legs and waist. From above, came the heat off the sun, in a cloudless, crystal blue sky and the distant screeching of seagulls.

Letting the motion of the sea drift me away from the cliff, I bobbed about. Having had my minute of fame, though perhaps it had taken less time to fall, I waited for my friends to join me, it was one of the rules we had agreed on as we had walked up the cliff. We’d then swim back to the shore and meet up with the two girls who had stayed on the beach.

Something brushed my leg and I looked down into the settling water. It was properly just some seaweed but it could be a jellyfish. We had seen some washed up on the beach before as we had explored; clear and purple dotted moon jellyfish, a large flopping lion mane who’s sting would hurt for weeks and a possible barrel jellyfish, alien looking with it’s large domed milky white body and twisted tentacles trailing out of it.

The last thing I wanted on this holiday was to get stung or injured by something. I couldn’t see anything below the waves, just my legs kicking about. There came no tingle of pain, so it was just seaweed after all. A small part of me didn’t feel convinced by that thought, but surely, I argued with myself, I’d be able to see a jellyfish.

Looking up at the cliff, I watched the next person jump. They were wearing black shorts and had tucked their legs and arms in like a more practiced diver. I guessed it was Eric. I hadn’t stayed to watch the others draw, wanting my jump to be over before sense got the better of me.

It was an exciting but silly thing to do. The others though, had reassured me it was fine. They had jumped from that cliff often enough and there were no rocks as long as you jumped out a short distance away. If you jumped straight down, which was a stupid thing to do, you’d likely smash into the cliff side or the rocks that formed a wall at the base.

Eric hit the waves hard, sending up great splashes which washed over and caused me to struggle to remain a float. He reappeared some distance away to my right and we had to swim towards each other.

‘What a rush!’ he yelled, shaking his dripping dyed lime green hair back.

I paused, feeling something touch the bottom of my left foot then climb to my ankle. I trod water and looked down but there was too much disturbance to see.

‘Something’s got my foot!’ I shouted.

‘You what?’ Eric hollered back, ‘look, here comes Hoggy and Brad, the chicken!’

I glanced up in time to see the giant form of Hugh Hogson hurtling towards the crashing waves. I heard the slap of his over weight body hit the surf then I felt a harder tug on my leg. Twisting and kicking, I tried to release myself but the force of the waves bashed into me and I floundered for a few seconds.

My head couldn’t stay above water and all I could hear were the waves. The something tightened on my ankle, crawling up my leg and dragging me down.

‘Help!’ I screamed.

Sea water rushed into my mouth, the salt stung my eyes and I went under. The waves rocked around me, tossing me like a ball between children. I tried to look at what had got my leg, but everything was so churned up. I thrust my arms out and began sweeping them upwards like a bird trying to get off the ground.

Can’t breath! Have to get up!

Kicking and pushing, I fought against whatever was holding me and the current. My head popped up, I sucked in air, once, twice then was under again. I was aware of nothing but the tight pain across my ankle and sea in my ears, nose and mouth.

Stop panicking, hold your breath and look.

I stopped moving, breath held and chest tightening. Looking down, I saw a thin rope wrapped around my leg. I couldn’t see where it lead to; a rock, the sea floor? It ran away, back towards the cliff.

Reaching down, I gripped the rope in both hands and tugged. I couldn’t tell if it came loose or not. The sea seemed determined to stop my efforts though and it was as if it wanted me, was holding me captive. That was a strange thought. I needed to breath again.

Struggling upwards, feeling tried, I broke the surf again. I bobbed and looked around. Eric had been close enough before but now I saw no one just the white topped waves hurrying towards me.

‘Help! Help! I shouted.

I splashed in the waves and felt the rope tighten around my foot again. I knew this time I was going under so stopped speaking and downed lots of air. A sharper tug and the waves were back crashing over my head as I spiraled downwards. Blindly, I reached down to my foot, trying to curl my body to make the distant shorter. I felt the rope and panic soared though me.

Something grabbed my arm. A hand? Fingers? I felt myself being pulled up but at the same time the rope was tugging me back down. I was aware of someone else beside me and we both broke the surface together.

‘There’s a rope around my foot!’ I shouted, not even bothering to see who had saved me.

A large wave drove into me and I was washed away and down again. I’d only taken one breath and it was knocked out of me. I spun, kicking and trying to escape. I thought I felt someone or someones touching me and the rope was a constant pain and tugging.

Strong arms, yanked me up and I was able to breath again. I couldn’t see, there was too much salt water in my eyes.

‘Stay still!’ Hog’s voice shouted.

I thought about laughing, maybe I even did little bit. Didn’t Hog know that was impossible? The sea had decided to take me prisoner and it wasn’t going to let me go. I felt myself floating, the waves carrying me away. If I just let them it would all be okay. Maybe, the sea would be happy with just me and wouldn’t take them?

Water spluttered out of my mouth and my eyes eased open. My vision was blurred and I felt pain all over but it was worse in my left ankle. I wanted to roll to my side then try to sit up but two men in red t-shirts were holding me down.

‘Just breath and take it easy. You’re safe now,’ one of the men said.

Safe at the bottom of the sea with merpeople?

No, I was on the beach, I could feel the sharp shelly sand underneath me. Slowly, my vision and the sound of my ragged breathing cleared away. I saw my friends looking down at me; the boys dripping wet and the girls in their bikinis.

‘The ambulance is here,’ someone said.

I tried to say I was okay and didn’t need it but I just coughed up more water instead. The two coast guards and man from the ambulance got me on a stretcher and carried me up to the road and the awaiting yellow van.

Eric came with me, bring our bags from the beach. I was grateful but too tried to tell him. I dozed on and off during the ride and thought the sea was still trying to claim me. I spent the rest of the afternoon in hospital and was well enough to go back to the hotel in the evening.

My nightmares that night were filled with drowning and the rope. Sometimes I was surrounded by angry looking fish, other times it was merpeople, the rest I can’t remember.

Even since, I have stayed away from large bodies of water. Not even wanting to dip my toes in. The lingering idea that the sea was trying to keep me prisoner sticks with me, even though I know it’s not true, I can’t shake the feeling that there was more then just the rope holding me beneath the waves that day.

 

(Inspired from; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/06/25/weekly-writing-prompt-147/ with thanks).

Dear Diary #46

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Dear Diary,

It’s been really sunny and warm these last four days and today it looks depressing. The sky is all grey and rainy, it still feels warm but more of a lurk bath water feel then the fresh hot water yesterday felt like. It’s hard to tell if it’s raining or not right now because the window is water marked and it’s more like fine drizzle when it does fall.

I did think about going out and doing some stuff, though I don’t have anything actual to do. So, I tided the house and missed the kids. I hope the weather in Skegness is better then it is here. School holidays really throw me off! I should have gone with them, taking up my parents offer and had a week enjoying myself.

But I wanted the space and time away from them all. I wanted to go on a few dates, hang out with some old friends, do ‘me’ time and just think back to being younger and not having any worries. Somehow though, I’ve done it all in four days and though it’s been nice, it’s not made me think any differently about my life. Expect, for the fact I never thought I was going to be a twenty-five year old, widowed mum with twins boys.

There’s still time isn’t there? It’s still not to late to drive to Skegness, it’s only an hour and a half away. And then I can have a few days away, perhaps the sea air will do me some good. It’ll be a nice surprise for the twins.

I’m going to get packing!

Spoondrift #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Spoondrift; a showery sprinkling of sea-water or fine spray swept from the tops of the waves. 

The ice cream went down well and afterwards, Raven let Cody and Kadie go back to playing in the sea. This time though, she watched them closely. The beach was getting busier as more people came out to enjoy the sunshine. The tide was also on it’s way out and some of the waves looked fairly big.

Raven’s thoughts turned inwards and she began to think of her ex-husband. She had been doing well not dwelling on him. The seaside had seemed to wash all those thoughts and issues away but her out burst before had brought it all back. She hugged her knees and just for a moment pictured how things had been four years ago. She had been happy, busy and enjoying family life.

Then her world had come crashing down. She still didn’t have the full picture of what happened, just like a jigsaw puzzle missing pieces. She could hardly remember what Dave had said, just that he was leaving her over and over again. She begged him not to go, told him they could fix whatever it was but all along he was sharing his bed with another woman.

And she had only found out two years later after the divorce when the kids had told her about daddy’s girlfriend. Then the story had come out; how they had met on a business trip and tried not to fall in love but then had given in. How Dave had tried just to say it was a fling, how they had broken up but Dave hadn’t been able to let her go. How Dave decided he needed to be with her and not even his responsibilities family could stop him.

Raven dropped her head and shut her eyes. She took a few deep breaths and just listened to the sea. The sound of the waves rushing back and forth along the shore. The children laughing, dogs barking, music playing.

I want to move here, Raven thought, I need to start over.

She opened her eyes, she felt more determined that she had in awhile. Grabbing her handbag and making sure, she had all her personal items, she took off her sandals. Raven got up and walked on the cool sand. Avoiding a sand castle, she reached the edge of the water and let a small wave tickle her toes.

Kadie pointed her out to Cody and Raven watched as her daughter and son splashed their way over to them.

‘I don’t want to leave!’ Kadie moaned.

‘Just a few more minutes!’ Cody put in, ‘we just saw a fish!’

‘It’s okay,’ Raven said with a small laugh, ‘we can stay as long as you like. I just wanted to see what it was like.’

‘It’s cold but you get use to it,’ Kadie pointed out with glee and held out her hand.

Raven took Kadie’s hand and let her daughter led into the sea. The waves lapped stronger around her and the spray flew up, dappling her shorts and t-shirt. Raven took Cody’s other hand and they jumped a few of the waves, laughing loudly.

Raven forgot her heartbreak and nightmare again, letting the sea take it away on the waves. It was just her and her children and that was all that mattered right now.