Beneath #WritePhoto

Every Christmas, my family holiday in the Lake District. We go a day or two before Christmas Eve and stay until January second. There isn’t much to do other then walking and visiting pubs as it’s out of season. You either love the escape or you don’t.

Arriving, in the pouring rain, at one of holiday homes for eight people we rent, I park up and look at the Christmas lights flashing in the windows. Going by the cars, I was the last to arrive and that made me nervous. If I had been earlier maybe I could have made up something about my ex-husband joining us later, pretending we are still together, though the official divorce had been two months ago.

Hoping my family wouldn’t make a big deal out of it, I got out of the car. Grabbing my things, I dash to the door and let myself in. The hallway is warm and dry, the smell of burning wood, pine cones and oranges welcoming me.

From the staircase to my right comes faint voices, laughed and glasses tinkling. Glancing up, I wait to see if anyone would come down to greet me but no one does. I go towards a bedroom door on my far left, the one we normally stay in. Then I stop. This year, I had agreed, not needing a double bed now, to take a single bed and share a room with my teen aged niece, Beth. That meant I was in the room on the opposite side, the smallest one tucked under the stairs.

Turning, I go to that one and walk in. Beth had clearly taken the bed by the small window. There were clothes and items scattered about, shoes on the floor, hair dryer and curler on the small dressing table, mingled with make up products. It looked like a typical messy girl teenager’s bedroom all ready.

The second bed was neatly made and looked cosy enough to curl up in and go to sleep. I put my stuff down next to it and began unpacking. At least Beth had left me some cupboard space!

I tried to delay going upstairs as long as I could but at last I had to go. Planning for the worse, I go up, my hand sliding along the banister, below which in the railings weave fake green pine needle bushels decorated with fairy lights.

At the top, a T shaped hallway and before me glass doors leading out to a small balcony. To the left, the wooden door to a small, snug room is close. To the right, an archway through to the open plan living room, dinning room, kitchen. Above which, at the back, is a second staircase leading to an attic bedroom.

I step in, get spotted by the four adults standing in the kitchen and I’m welcomed happily into the folds of my family. Someone gives me a glass of red wine, some else offers me food, a few questions are asked then the talk goes back to the conversation before.

The evening passes quickly, as it does in good company, with nice food and wine. I go to bed early, tried by a day’s work, the two hour drive and full of warmth. Beth had gone to the pub with cousins. I don’t know when she got back, I never heard her but she was asleep in her bed with I woke up in the morning.

Being the first to get up, I made coffee and tea. I had cereal and toast for breakfast. The weather had cleared and though the sky looked grey the rain had stopped. I decided to go for a walk.

Dressing warmly, I left and without planning where to go, I just start walking. I knew most of the area well and wasn’t afraid to get lost, that was a part of the fun anyway! I walk away from the holiday homes, following a little track underneath some trees. That opened into fields which a wide river ran through and a yellow path went along beside.

Birds were still singing morning song, a few cars were traveling on the single road above and sheep were dotting the hills. I just walked, taking it all in, letting go of everything that was bothering me. Nature is a good healer.

Arriving at a small lake, I take a break on a cold wooden bench. The wind playing with the bare tree branches and across the water, making waves which lap the rocky shore. I look at the reflection in the lake’s surface; the small hills, the tree, the cloudy sky. For some reason, I’m reminded of the Arthurian legend of The Lady of the Lake. 

A thin, white, female hand with fingers decorated with shinny rings, raising from the still clear water and holding aloft the bejeweled hilt of Excalibur. The sliver blade itself, glowing in the sun, water drops dripping off it, the magic waiting for King Arthur to claim it.

They were stories I loved as a child and I had been hoping to tell them my children. It was never to be now. The miscarriage in the spring had seen to that. In the summer, the divorce had began. We just couldn’t bear each other anymore, our family was gone, our hearts broken and we couldn’t come back from it. Easier to be a part then together, loveless and angry.

I feel tears come to my eyes and I let them fall. I keep saying, I wouldn’t cry anymore, but it’s still hard not too. There’s this imagine stuck in my mind of me standing before a Christmas tree, holding a baby and my husband beside me. It’s just a dream, like everything else now feels like.

It starts to rain, little drops hitting the lake, the bench, my hair. I get up and dig through my pockets for my coin purse. I take out a penny and walk to the edge of the lake. Ripples grow across the surface of the water as the rain comes down faster and bigger.

I rub the penny, make a wish; a wish that everything could go back to before the pregnancy and that it didn’t happen, my husband is still here and we are happy. I throw the penny into the lake and watch it disappear beneath.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/12/13/thursday-photo-prompt-beneath-writephoto/ with thanks).

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Project Santa #FridayFictioneers

Mr Rickton’s project was slowly coming together. He was currently working on a papier-mache globe that would show how Santa traveled around the world in forty-eight hours.

He smiled, knowing the children in his class would find this amazing. He pictured their little faces staring up in awe and the magic of Christmas sparking their imaginations. The children would go home, full of excitement and looking more forward to the special day.

Looking down at his glue and paper covered hands, Mr Rickton started humming Jingle Bells and continued with his task, he still had a long way to go.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/12/12/14-december-2018/ with thanks).

Could It Be? #FFfAW

It was a week and four days till Christmas, I had taken the kids shopping to buy presents for mummy and we were now driving home. The kids were dozing in the back, full of pizza, their excitement finally worn out. The sun had almost set and darkness had settled in.

‘Daddy, what’s that?’ Darla asked.

‘Where?’

‘In the sky. Is it Santa?’

I looked but couldn’t see anything, ‘it’s probably a plane.’

‘Doesn’t look it,’ Adam spoke up.

‘I don’t see it, but it’s too early for Santa.’

‘Maybe, he’s having a practice flight?’ Kim suggested.

I smiled, ‘perhaps he is!’

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/fffaw-challenge-195th/ with thanks).

Tree Portal #TwittingTales

My twin boys were whispering behind the oak tree. Creeping up, I shouted ‘boo!’ they both jumped, ‘What you doing?’

‘We found the way to Christmas land,’ Cody answered.

‘Like in that movie,’ Corey added.

‘But we can’t get in!’

‘We need a little magic,’ I explained.

 

(Inspired b; https://katmyrman.com/2018/12/11/twittering-tale-114-11-december-2018/ with thanks).

Christmas Caroling Cans #PhotoChallenge

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I had this weird dream last night. All these drink cans were alive, they had gather together and formed a choir. They were singing Christmas carols in loud, tin  voices.  People were throwing them money and singing along, like it was totally normal.

I knew it wasn’t real and I tried to tell everyone, but no one would listen! Then I knocked all the cans over in a rage. I got arrest for disturbing the peace and assault. I had to spend Christmas in jail.

When I got out everyone threw cans at me and said I’d ruined Christmas.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/photo-challenge-242/ with thanks.)

Safe #CCC

red brick industrial cp

The abandoned building was a good place to hide from bullies. I could get inside a half broken window but they couldn’t. In the darkness I felt safe again with only my breathing echoing and my feet scuffing the floor.

I didn’t bother with a light, I knew the way to the little room where I could sit and wait for the bullies to get bored. A few times I’d even slept there!

In winter, I got some supplies in; candles, matches, a torch, a sleeping bag, snacks, comics etc. and it became little my own little house.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/crimsons-creative-challenge-4/ with thanks).

Cocoon #3LineTales

three line tales week 149: a close up of a butterfly

The morning battle began, June wasn’t in the mood, she knocked on her teenage son’s bedroom door to get him up for school then opened the door and took in the mess of stuff scattered around in what little light could enter the room, it was a typical young man’s cave and June felt nauseated by a rising smell of sweat.

‘I’m sick, I’m not going into day and you can’t make me, so there!’ he shouted back from underneath the bedding.

‘Fine,’ answered June, ‘stay like a cocooned bug then and only come out when you have grown up.’

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/12/06/three-line-tales-week-149/ with thanks).

The Santa Express #FridayFictioneers

The Dobson family stood on the platform wowing over the red steam engine billowing out clouds of smoke.

‘It’s the Harry Potter train!’ Cat cried.

Her parents laughed, ‘no, it’s Santa’s train!’

They boarded an empty compartment and sat on rough red plush, lumpy spring box seats.

The train whistled, pulled off jerkily then gained speed and soon was chugging through the Yorkshire Moors.

Sometime later, Santa appeared and handed out presents.

Cat received a soft toy pony and Harley a set of toy cars. They played whilst their parents sipped warm mulled wine and watched the countryside go by.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/12/05/7-december-2018/ with thanks).

Oil Can Man #FridayFictioneers

Everyone has a hobby, for my uncle Earl that was collecting old oil cans. He claimed he had over a thousand and he wasn’t far wrong because we did find something like that when we emptied his house.

My family were for throwing them all in the skip but there was something that made me set them aside to auction off. That turned out to be a wise choice as they raised more money that anyone could have ever thought, thus leaving me a grand inheritance and  a well learnt lesson that to the right person it’s not rubbish.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/11/28/30-november-2018/ with thanks).

Untrodden #WritePhoto

The snow lay thick across everything. Hilda stepped outside her house, admiring the view and taking a photo with her phone. This early in the morning, nothing but birds had touched the snow and it looked as pure as it been in the clouds.

Hilda felt like laughing, she wasn’t sure why, maybe due to the overwhelming joy in her chest? She loved winter, there was just something so magical and special about the season compared to all the others. Maybe, it was also because her family came from Russia, the home of winter.

It was too cold to laugh, her breath was misting badly in front of her because she had been stood too long. Instead, she smiled and carried on walking down the country lane. There was no wind but some loose snow was drifting from tree branches. Hilda wished it would snow again, there was nothing like the feeling of snowflakes on warm skin.

Following the path around, she came to a breathtaking sight. Snow covered hills rose in the distance, the tops of which were covered by fog. Naked trees spiked the fields, frost bitten and snow draped. A wobbly wood and wire fence ran to the left of her, frozen snow domed the posts.

She scooped a handful of snow up in her gloved hands, patted it down and threw it at a near by tree. It fell short with a soft plop. Hilda laughed, feeling such like a child again that she could no longer contain herself. As her voice faded, she heard something, a faint cry?

Holding her breath, she listened and heard what sounded like a baby crying. The spell of magical winter gone, Hilda grew concerned and tried to follow the sound. It seemed to be coming from the tree she had thrown the snowball at.

How was it possible that a baby was out here alone? she wondered.

Hilda searched around the tree trunk, the crying had grown louder. She moved some snow away and found a little hollow. What was that inside? She reached in, thinking it just more snow but instead her hands withdrew something else. Holding it up to her face, Hilda saw the tiniest kitten she had every seen. It was snow white, with blue eyes and a touch of a pink mouth.

‘Oh! You poor thing!’ Hilda cried, ‘What are you doing out here?’

The kitten give a small whimper.

Quickly unzipping her coat, Hilda tugged the kitten inside to keep it warm. Zipping up again, she inspected the trunk and roots of the tree carefully but she found nothing else. Still worried that there might be more kittens or a mother cat out here, Hilda wandered from tree to tree, bush to bush, anywhere an animal could hide from freezing.

Sometime later and far down the lane, Hilda had to give up which really wasn’t what she wanted to do. There had been no other signs of cats though and Hilda’s worry had moved on to the kitten in her coat. She could feel it’s warm and gentle breathing against her chest.

Heading back home, Hilda decided she would have to find out how to take care of the kitten. She had never had a pet before. Maybe, someone had just lost the little thing and she could find the owner in the village or at one of the farms?

As soon as I know the kitten is okay, I’ll do that, Hilda decided.

Days later and after a lot of asking around, no one had come to claim the kitten. Hilda had decided to name her Snowy and she was doing great. Her time outside had’t seemed to have effected her that much. Snowy was growing stronger all the time and Hilda had fallen in love with her.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/11/29/thursday-photo-prompt-untrodden-writephoto/ with thanks).