Pillars #WritePhoto

It started out as a game of hide and seek which turned into a nightmare none of them could ever escape from.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/09/20/thursday-photo-prompt-pillars-writephoto/ with thanks).

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Left #FirstLineFriday

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Spider silk clung at the doors, over the windows, across everything she had left behind. Sasha stepped up to the door, hand trembling as she put the key into the padlock that barred the way. It took a few tries to unlock then she slipped the padlock off.

Sasha set it aside and shaking even more, she reached out, her fingers clutched the handle. She opened the door, the hinges creaked in warning and all the nightmares came flooding back.

Sasha wanted to close the door and run away from it all again. Instead, she steadied herself, taking in deep breaths before walking inside. There was thick layer of dust covering everything, showing that no one had been here in years.

She walked into a spiderweb, the almost invisible strands hard to brush off. Sasha wiped it from her face, her anxiety almost flooding over. Shutting her eyes, she went to her calm place and told herself she wasn’t going to live in the past anymore. She had come here to end that.

Opening her eyes again, Sasha ignored the ground floor rooms, though the faded sounds came to her. The noise of a loud TV, glass smashing, thudding on wood, shouting. Sasha was a child again, hiding behind the sofa with her younger brother, Sonny. Fear was causing them both to shake and cry. Sonny had wet himself as their mother had screamed in pain and their father’s shouting had echoed through the house.

Sasha stopped on the stairs, the memory freezing her. She glanced to the closed living room door. She could see the room clearly; the sofa and the arm chair, facing a small cracked TV on a plastic stand, a broken coffee table and the old gas fireplace.

She reached a hand out of the staircase railing. Goosebumps raising on her arms. Sasha went upwards, children’s crying in her ears. There was a half opened door at the top then around a bend two more door frames and across the carpet were shards of wooden doors.

Forcing down everything, Sasha went into the first bedroom. Wood crunched under her feet, she peered into the gloom and felt a low gust of air rush past her legs. She glanced down, there was nothing but she was reminded of all the times she and her brother had run to their room. They had hidden wherever they could; under the bed, in the wardrobe. It had made no difference where they hid when father was in a blind rage.

Sasha flicked the light switch, her fingers finding it out of habit. No light came on above. She took her phone out and used it as a torch, the bright beam showed her that nothing had changed since they had left.

The small beds on either side of the room were unmade, things scattered on top of them. The doors to the wardrobe were open, children’s clothes tumbling out. On the floor a few broken toys lay twisted. Sasha slowly searched the room, not sure what she was looking for nor if she would take anything.

She found her brother’s teddy bear, hidden under his pillow as Sonny had liked to hide it. She took that, the worn fur feeling stiff against her hands. Sasha picked through the clothes, seeing some that she remembered her or Sonny wearing; a school uniform, a nightdress, a stained jumper…

She looked through the stuff on the bed; some books, school things, a baby doll and  metal cars. She looked underneath and for a moment was convinced she would see Sonny’s bruised and tear stained face staring back at her. There was nothing but a dead mouse and more spiderwebs.

Standing up, Sasha left, the teddy loose in her hand. She went to her parents’ bedroom which looked like someone had smashed everything up. She guessed her father had done that, perhaps after her and mum had run away. That memory stung sharply it was like a snow storm and she couldn’t see it clearly.

Sasha looked through what she could but there was nothing worth taking here. She poke her head into the bathroom, decided against going in and went downstairs again. She walked through the living room, dinning room and kitchen. She had half been hoping to find photographs but there seemed to be none.

Arriving at the front door again, she didn’t look back as she left again. Sasha closed the door behind her, re-locking the padlock. She put the key and her phone into her pocket then looked down at the teddy bear. It was smaller and dirtier then she reminded. Why had she picked it up?

She turned back to the front door, thinking she would return the teddy to the bedroom. Sonny would cry if it was lost and he would never sleep with it.

‘Sasha? Are you okay?’ a voice called out.

She jumped and turned, feeling like a child once more and someone was going to notice her injuries.

It was only her husband though, standing in between the open car door and the empty gate posts.

Sasha calmed herself and walked over to him. She hugged him without saying anything.

‘You are covered in dust and…webs?’ he questioned as he tried brushing her down.

Sasha stepped back, looking at herself and seeing it was true.

‘What’s that?’ her husband asked, pointing at the bear.

‘It’s Sonny’s. I should take it back, he’ll miss it,’ Sasha said quickly.

‘All right, but let me come with you,’ her husband said.

Sasha bite her lip, wanting to tell him, like she had done when they had arrived that she wanted to go in by herself. This time though, she didn’t think she’d have the strength. Nodding, she took his hand and they went to the front door.

Once upstairs again, Sasha placed the teddy back underneath the pillow.

‘There Sonny,’ she whispered, ‘go back to sleep now.’

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/09/14/first-line-friday-september-14th-2018/ with thanks).

Misty Veil #FFfAW

The mists were down heavy, covering everything with a white cloud blanket that wasn’t as pretty as snow’s. It was too dangers to go jogging, though I had attempted it but after being almost hit by a car, I had retreated home.

Running on my treadmill inside my attic instead, I saw something merge from the mist; the ghostly outline of a manor house on the hill. I stopped and stared, knowing full well there was nothing there.

It was just my eyes and brain playing tricks on me, or was it?

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/09/03/fffaw-challenge-181st/ with thanks).

 

Black Balloon #PhotoChallenge

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The woman was holding a black balloon. I walk slowly towards her across, the harvested cornfield. There was no wind or sound, everything had frozen.

White and grey puffy clouds lined a pale blue-grey sky. In the distance, more harvested fields stretched, the earth brown or pale yellow. There no trees or houses, nothing else but her with the balloon.

‘Hello!’ I tried to call out, but I didn’t hear my own voice speaking.

I came closer and saw the woman had no head. Stopping, I wondered what was going on. She wasn’t invisible, for I could see her arms, hands and legs. She was wearing a stripy top and a black skirt with black ballerina slippers. In her hands was the white string of the black balloon which was floating just about where her face should have been.

‘Who are you?’ I spoke, once again my words came out silent.

A few more steps and I was before her, though I left a wide gap in between. She didn’t move and at first it seemed like she wasn’t aware of me, but then I guess without a head how could she have been? Then her hand reached out and she offered me the string.

I looked up at the balloon and it was one of those party kinds, like kids have at birthdays, only it was as black as midnight.

‘I don’t want it, thanks,’ I said, shaking and waving my arms no, so she got the message.

The woman’s arm reached out further, offering me the balloon strongly.

‘No!’ I yelled.

She pressed the string into my hand and though I didn’t grasp it, the string wrapped around my palm and laced over my fingers. I gasped and looked up, the balloon was now just above my head.

I shot out my hand to give it back to the headless woman but she had gone!

Something tugged on me, I glanced at the string then the balloon before I was pulled upwards and away, my feet swinging off the ground. I tried to let go of the string, but my hand was glued to it. The balloon rose up with me attached and we flew across the bare fields.

Up and up the balloon took me, right through the clouds. With my other hand, I grasped the wrist holding the string and tried to release my fingers. I struggled against the unknown force that was holding my hand shut, twisting in the air like a mad puppet.

The balloon came to a stop, my hand came free and the string slipped away. I plummeted. My mouth wide open in a scream which was silenced, my arms and legs flapped in the air, my fingers trying to grip anything and finding nothing.

There was no time to try and reach for the string of the black balloon, it was gone in seconds.

I twisted, tumbled, fell through clouds, felt the wind against my skin like an angry slap. I clawed at the sky, I screamed after the balloon and the headless woman. I saw the yellow and brown earth racing up to meet me. I knew I was going to hit it and there was nothing I could do!

And then, I slammed into my car’s steering wheel, felt the hard leather pressing against my forehead. My seat belt tightly constricting my chest and stomach. I heard the windscreen wipes whooshing, the rain hammering down and the growling of an unhappy car engine.

I look up and there is blood everywhere.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/08/21/photo-challenge-227/ with thanks).

Drain #TwitteringTales

There was something down below calling his name. Nate stopped over the half open drain cover and looked. A ball of white light was rising up, taking the shape of a goldfish.

‘Why?’ echoed an eerie voice.

Nate stumbled backwards, past memories flooding him.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/08/21/twittering-tale-98-21-august-2018/ with thanks).

Hunter #FridayFictioneers

The sun rose on another day, the light touching the roofs of the nearby houses and I prayed thanks to God. In the distance, I could hear the hissing and shuffling as the monsters retreated into any solid darkness they could find. Sunlight burnt them as well as fire, sending them back to Hell where they had originally came from.

I checked my weapons, strapped them to myself and prepared to go out. The best time to hunt monsters was between now and three PM. I was determined to send them all back and restore the world right again.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/07/18/20-july-2018/ with thanks).

The Set #FridayFictioneers

Will had learnt not to question things on the odd jobs he picked up during summer but this time was a little different. Helping the set producer prepare the background, Will wondered what this movie was about. It’s a horror for sure he decided, placing paper pumpkin lights in a too fake creepy tree.

Another assistant wheeled on a rectangular cage trolley then helped an actor who was heavy bandaged and wearing a blood stained white doctor coat inside.

‘What is this about?’ Will asked.

‘It’s a love story between two burn victims,’ the set producer answered with a shrug.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/07/11/13-july-2018/ with thanks).

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).

Ancient Circles #WeeklyWritingPrompt

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Not much can stop a werewolf. Sliver bullets traditional can but that’s about all. Werewolves don’t fear religion or other supernatural creatures. Perhaps, a daemon could stop a werewolf but why would they want to as they are often on the same side? Maybe, an angel could help then? But I’ve never meet a full one which is saying a lot for me.

Placing the moldering book back on the library desk, I wonder what to do. The sounds around me had long become background noises; people walking, coughing, whispering, the flickering of paper, the sliding of books, the harpy librarians flying at anyone whom they disliked. I put my head down into my arms and tried to collected myself.

‘Neona?’

I looked up and turned at the person who had said my name. Ransom, my boyfriend was standing there, looking ruggedly handsome as ever. His black hair was long down his back, his dark brown eyes deep set and his proud jaw strained with tension. He was dressed in dark blue jeans, a black Iron Maiden t-shirt and a studded leather biker jacket.

‘Any luck?’ he asked.

I turned back to the three hundred year old book that was laying open at a page showing drawings of over lapping circles with squiggly symbols depicted around and in them.

‘This Ancient Circles of Holding and Constricting could work,’ I responded, pointing it out to him.

Ransom lent over to look and I breathed deeply, he smelt of leather and his motorbike’s oil but underneath that was the scent of summer nights and nature; earth, trees, water. I could feel the wild, pure power surrounding him. It was what had first attracted me to him at the Academy and I had known he was a werewolf. It had taken a whole year after we started dating, for him to tell me and now he wanted my help controlling the change.

‘Can you make this?’ Ransom asked.

I glanced down at the drawing and shrugged, ‘it doesn’t look too hard but it’s powerful old magic. I’m not sure I could get it totally right. Some of the symbols look hard to draw.’

Ransom took in a deep breath, ‘I trust you, Neona, we are bonded together,’ he said quietly.

I nodded and closed the book. I checked it out, though the harpy at the desk was reluctant to let me have it, then we went to Ransom’s house.

We made space in the basement for me to draw big enough Circles. I avoided looking at the remains of a twisted iron cage in the far corner. Last full moon, Ransom had escaped from it. The rampage had been bad and taken awhile for the Academy to clean up.

I took some chalk from a new box, opened the old book to the right page and began drawing on the floor. I had together my black witch’s dress about me to make sure I didn’t smear the three overlapping circles as I went. Then, almost pressing the book to my face, I began to draw each squiggly symbol, chatting as I did so to awake the magic.

Finally it was done. I sat back on my legs and looked down at the now shimmering three circles before me. I could feel the ancient magic in the air just waiting to be used. From my bag, I took out a few things and placed them at different points; crystals for more energy, candles for the fire element, silver coins for more power over the curse, holy water to keep evil beings away, sage for purity and my wand, in case I had to use my magic to defend myself.

I stepped away and looked at the time, the night of the full moon would be here soon.

‘It’s done. Get in,’ I told Ransom.

With a nod, he did so and I noticed how hard he was trying to control himself. He was shaking and balling his fists, his shoulders were heaving and his body seemed racked with pain already.

‘Leave,’ Ransom forced out of his chattering mouth.

‘I have to close it around you now,’ I said with a quick look at the book.

‘After get out. I don’t want to risk you,’ he explained.

I nodded and using my wand to help channel my magic through, I closed the Ancient Circles of Holding and Constricting around him. A three cylinder barrier now surround him, glowing faintly red. The runes on the floor glowed either blue or green and I sensed the old magic taking hold and gathering to the height of it’s power.

Ransom let out a painful scream and I stumbled away, thinking I had hurt him. I saw though, his body began to twist and shift into the beast that lay underneath.

A part of me wanted to stay but another part knew there was nothing I could do. I hurried out, closing and magically sealing the new steel door behind me. Hoping that the Ancient Circles held, I raced back to the Academy which was the only safe place to be on full moon nights.

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/06/04/weekly-writing-prompt-144/ with thanks).

Conflagration #WritePhoto

The sky was the colour of fire; red and orange flames with grey smoke which blocked out what should have been a pretty blue afternoon. Below was the dark green mix of nature that made up the countryside raising around me.

I had stopped on the little road in the seemingly middle of nowhere, at first believing the sun was setting. Then I had double checked the time and saw it was a little after four PM. The wind carried the scent of smoke to me and my brain connected the dots.

I got back in my unmarked car, knowing it was too late all ready but continuing to drive all the same. Soft classical music whispered from the radio but it did little to calm down the spikes of tension I was now feeling. I thought about trying to trick my mind into thinking it wasn’t a fire, maybe the summer sun that normally set around eight or nine had decided to have a very early night today? I couldn’t live with that denial.

The road weaved like all country tracks did, following the flow of the land like a river would do. A few miles later, I passed a sign; Lachandra Manor, private house, no entry. Tall trees blocked my view for awhile then a towering black gates with stone pillars emerged. The same sign hung below one of the pillar tops on which sat a stone lion with a single paw resting on a ball, facing it’s companion on the other pillar.

The gates were open and I drove through. Had they been open on my previous visits? I couldn’t remember expect for the first two times when they had been closed. I had had to get out of my car and open them myself. Thinking about that give me something to do as I drove along the long straight driveway.

Towering trees lined up either side of me like giant guards silently judging me. I knew that behind them were farming fields and woodland. They also blocked the view to the house but I knew it was actually the road that caused the manor to appear and disappear. The road dipped unknowingly and at first you didn’t feel it but then you saw the road rising ahead of you and you realised the slope.

My car handled it well enough and after the climb of the hill, another set of gates and the stone monster archway came into view. Behind that, the fake castle gatehouse stood looming and beyond it Lachandra Manor was heavily a blaze with fire.

A chill went up my back and there was no point in trying to focus on anything else. I carried on driving and saw the second gates where closed. I flung open my car door, yanked the hand brake on and got out. The gate wasn’t locked and I easily swung them open. The smell of smoke was thicker here and I thought I head the distant screams of sirens.

Getting back in my car, I drove through and up to the fake gatehouse. I stopped and parked a meter or so away from the looming stone archway. Opening the door this time, I could smell the smoke right under my nose and also hear distance voices and the roaring of the fire.

I hurried through the gatehouse and found chaos on the other side. A huge black horse was rearing up and a small boy on the ground was trying to control the beast by loose reins. Two teenage maids were off to the other side, standing and screaming, their clothes soot stained and faces flushed. Male servants were dashing about with water and sand buckets, shouting at each other. Thick smoke billowed all around, the sounds of crackling and snapping echoing loudly. And the heat….it was as hot as I imagined the surface of the sun to be.

I grabbed the maids, they resisted at first but when they saw who I was, they let me shove them under the gatehouse. Next, I grabbed the boy who refused to let go of the horse but his hands were sweaty, so I was able to tug the reins out easily enough and take them. I half carried the boy and led the horse to the gatehouse. Once there, the black beast shot off down the driveway and the boy give chase after it.

‘The Lady is still inside!’ one of the maids shouted and pointed upwards, behind me.

I turned and saw through one of the broken windows, a woman dressed in blue. Some of the men were trying to save her. I knew it was too late and their efforts in vein, just as it was to put out the raging fire. The woman disappeared and flames licked at the window. Wood popped and hissed, blackening under the heat and crumbling away.

‘Do something, Detective!’ the same maid cried.

But what could I do? It was all my fault anyway. I had solved the case and been on my way to arrest her for the murder of her husband and son. She would have been found guilty and hanged. Lady Ellis had known it last time we had met. She didn’t want to die like that so had chosen this instead.

I looked up at Lachandra Manor engulfed in fire and knew that nothing would be saved.   

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/31/thursday-photo-prompt-conflagration-writephoto with thanks).