Avenue #writephoto

It was too late to go back, Saly realised. She had meandering around the park without thinking. Now, she was at the far side where park met meadows and farming fields. Casting around, she spotting a bench and slipping the headphones off, she went and sat down.

Curling her fingers over the bench lip, Saly looked at the canopy walk away created by the two rows of closely planted trees who’s branches arched and touched high above. When she had been younger, she had believed such structures were tunnels into other lands filled with magic and wonder.

Taking in a very deep breaths, Saly smelt the ting of smoke over the fresh air and earthy scents. There were no signs of flames though, so the gently breeze must be carrying it. She sniffed, thinking maybe it was her partly blocked nose that was causing her to think she was smelling the smoke. Saly had been over the last few days, sensing things that weren’t really there.

Looking down at her knees, she wondered if things would ever be the same again. Of course, they wouldn’t be, not now that he had gone and she was alone again. But that had been one love and surely there’d be another? There’d always been before. It was hard though, Saly told herself, the death of a relationship seemed the end of everything.

Noticing that she was very much alone, Saly let the silent tears she had been holding in all day finally fall. Her auntie had always told her it was stupid to cry over men and a sure sign of weakness. Saly had agreed but how could she stop all these emotions when they were constantly consuming her like an over flowing bathtub?

There’s someone better out there for you, she chatted in her head, this is just another trial run for the real thing. 

Wiping away hot tears, Saly sat up straight and become determined not to cry over him anymore. Staring at the canopy walk of trees, she got up and went over to the entrance. Shadows were playing across the ground and there was feeling of protection within the sheltered area.

‘When you walk out the other side,’ Saly said aloud, ‘you’ll have left your past behind you and take your first steps into your future.’

Slowly, she walked underneath the trees, trying to stay true to her words. For the last few steps she held her breath then taking the first step out, let everything go. She smelt flowers and the coming hot summers. The endless possibilities of her future stretched before her. Saly walked away, her heart lighter.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/17/thursday-photo-prompt-avenue-writephoto with thanks).

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First Sunrise #TwittingTales

I embraced the dark, cold theater. Feeling secure despite many people nearby. Tampering down excitement, the pictures came to life, real but yet not real; moving and talking in full colour. Then, I saw the sun rise in all her glory for the first time in a hundred and twenty years.

(Inspired by https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/15/twittering-tales-84-15-may-2018 with thanks).

Fallen #Writephoto

Alice knew she looked a mess but in that moment she didn’t care. Pressing her back into the rock she was resting against, Alice cried harder into her hands. The ferns and trees muffled her sobbing and protected her from curious eyes. Letting it all out, she wondered how things had gotten this bad.

Taking deep, shaky breaths, she wiped her face then rubbed her hands dry. She sniffed loudly and dug around her little blue handbag for a tissue. Blowing her nose a few times, she crumpled the tissue up and dumped it back into her bag.

Looking around, she admired the view of forest, letting nature distract from her depressive thoughts. The dark green ferns were growing in wild clumps, reminding her of dinosaur movies and the large trees were letting dappled spring sunlight in. The rock she was resting on felt cold and rough. She reached out and touched the rock’s companion who was just as cold. Millions of years old rocks seemed beyond belief but here they were and so was Alice.

The sharp barking of a dog drew her attention. She looked quickly around but the forest was too dense. Something broke through the trees and Alice saw a massive grey dog coming towards her. She tried to move but her back hit the rock hard and she cried out. Alice stumbled away, hand trying to rub her back and at the same time trying to keep her balance. She failed and fell sideways into the ferns.

Crying out even more, Alice struggled to get back to her feet. The giant of a dog appeared above the waving ferns and peered down at her. Alice stopped moving and held her breath. The dog was sniffing with a big black nose and paws the size of tea sauces were stomping down the ferns in attempted to get to her.

A scream ripped out of her before she even meant it. The dog stopped, stared in panic and backed off quickly. Alice gasped for breath and pressed a hand to her chest. Pushing herself up, she saw the dog standing some distant away but still watching her.

‘Duke! Duke!’ a man’s voice shouted from the other side of the trees.

The dog turned towards the voice, tail swaying.

‘Go away,’ Alice hissed through clenched teeth.

The dog give a single bark and sat down, sad looking eyes studying Alice.

Staying still and hoping the ferns hid her from sight, Alice watched a man dressed for hiking enter the clearing. He approached the dog, fussing over him. Alice saw the dog was so tall that he came to the height of the man’s hips and the man just had to reach his hand out to pat the dog’s large head.

A fern branch snapped and Alice’s eyes shot to the man’s.

‘Oh my god,’ he half shouted as he rushed over to her, ‘are you okay? What happened? Did Duke scare you? Was that your scream I heard? I’m so sorry,’ he gushed, his words tumbling together so that Alice struggled to understand them.

The man pulled her up and out of the ferns before she could reply. Alice felt her cheeks getting hot and avoiding his eyes, she dusted herself off. She knew how odd she must look to him. He was dressed to be out here in boots, water proof pants, t-shirt, fleece jacket and rucksack. In stark contrast, she was dressed in a business suit; black blazer, white blouse, black pencil skirt, black tights and black flat shoes.

‘He wouldn’t have hurt you, honest,’ the man was babbling, ‘He’s a big baby. Scared of his own shadow. Typical, great dane. I’m so sorry. Are you hurt?’

‘No,’ Alice forced out.

She looked up at the man and had to fight down even more shock. He was ruggedly handsome with longish sandy colored hair, a matching stubble beard, a nicely angled jaw and cheeks, he had shimming blue eyes and soft kissable lips. Was he a fallen angel? Alice had forgotten how to breath.

‘Then…then is there anything I can do?’ the man asked.

Alice had the impression he was taking her in for the first time and wondering why she was out in office clothes with a tear stained face and her mud colored hair tumbling about like she’d been hit by a hurricane.

‘Would you like some tea?’ he asked.

Alice puzzled, ‘tea?’

The man took his rucksack off, dug around and came out with a thermos. He unscrewing the lids before pouring hot tea into the cup and giving it to Alice. She accepted it gratefully and warmed her hands on the hot metal whilst watching the steam floating upwards.

The great dane yawed loudly as if with bored of this whole ‘saving the damsel in distress’ scene. He laid down, sprawling in the grass and shade of the ferns, looking as harmless as the rocks next to them.

‘Thanks,’ Alice began, ‘I’m not too keen on dogs and he’s so big, he startled me. I’m Alice by the way.’

The man nodded, I’m Kipp. He’s Duke,’ he said pointing at the dog who give a single wag of his tail.

Alice smiled into the tea and took a sip. It tasted sweet and milky, just the way she liked it.

‘So, how did you get out here, if you don’t mind me asking?’ Kipp questioned.

‘I had to get away,’ Alice sighed, ‘my job interview went disastrously wrong. I was so upset and embarrassed, I decided to have a walk.’

‘Surely, it couldn’t have been that bad?’ Kipp asked.

Alice sipped more tea and shook her head, ‘I was so nervous that I tripped through the front door then I couldn’t remember the interviewer’s name. I got all my answers mixed up and I knocked over a glass of water and she got covered in it. When I tried to help her clean up, I hit my head on the desk and fainted.’

‘That’s not good,’ Kipp said, there was a hint of laughter in his voice.

Alice looked up, she had been staring at Duke whilst she spoke, scared of what Kipp’s reaction to her story might be. She saw though that he was trying very hard not to laugh and keep fixed a serious expression his face. He looked so cute and funny that Alice couldn’t help but giggle.

Kipp relaxed, a large grin spreading across his face, ‘I guessing you didn’t get the job then?’

‘I don’t know…she said she’s call me but I’m guessing not,’ Alice replied.

‘Well, you know what to do next time now.’

Nodding, Alice drank the tea. It was making her feel better and so was talking to Kipp. Though, she would have preferred him not to have seen her in this state. He probably has a girlfriend, she thought then scowled herself, this was not the time to be thinking of romance.

Kipp rubbed the back of his neck, cast a long look at Duke then turned to her.

‘Getting a job is hard,’ he said, ‘but you’ll get there.’

‘It sure doesn’t feel like it. I’m no good at interviews, I get so nervous!’ Alice replied.

‘It’s all about practice,’ Kipp explained.

Alice finished the tea and handed back the cup, ‘thanks, I really needed that,’ she said.

Kipp took it from her with a heartbreaking smile, ‘it sure looked like you did. Happy to help.’

He fixed the cup back on the thermos and placed it in his rucksack. Swinging his bag back on, he looked around casually, giving the impression he wanted to leave. Duke on the other hand, seemed to have fallen asleep.

‘How old is he?’ Alice asked.

She knew she was clutching at anything she could just to stop Kipp leaving.

‘About five years old,’ Kipp responded with a slight shrug, ‘he’s super lazy. A trait of the breed. He’d sleep all day if you left him be.’

Alice hurried to think of another question but her mind had gone blank.

‘Anyway,’ Kipp said, pulling the straps of his bag up, ‘it was nice to meet you. Good luck with the job hunt.’

‘Thanks,’ Alice mumbled.

Kipp whistled then called for Duke.

The great dane raised just his head and looked grumpily over. Then slowly he got up on his long legs and ambled over.

Kipp patted Duke’s head and they turned to go.

Say something! Alice screamed at herself.

‘I should repay you,’ Alice gushed.

Kipp looked over his shoulder, ‘it’s fine.’

‘No wait,’ Alice cried, fumbling for her phone in her handbag, ‘let me give you my number and I’ll buy you dinner,’ she added without even thinking about it.

A confused expression clouded Kipp’s face, ‘no,’ he said and came back over to her.

‘But…I….I…’ Alice trailed, words failing her.

‘I should buy you dinner,’ Kipp stated.

Alice opened her mouth then closed it. What had he just said? Words tumbled around her head, she tried to make them say something but it was too hard.

‘If you want that is,’ Kipp added, ‘I’m liking the wild forest woman look you’re rocking there.’

Alice reached up to her hair, where his finger was pointing and pulled out a piece of fern.

‘Oh…I…’ she mumbled and tossing the fern away, began tugging at her hair in search of more.

‘It sounds like you’ve had a bad day,’ Kipp went on, ‘and I wouldn’t be much of a gentleman if I didn’t try to make it better. So?’

Alice stopped panicking and dropped her hands from her hair.

‘Yes,’ she breathed, ‘that would be nice.’

Kipped held out his hand and shyly, Alice took it.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/10/thursday-photo-prompt-fallen-writephoto/ with thanks).

Rainbow Rocks #3linetales

tltweek119

It was properly just some bored artist seeking attention but the painted rocks on the beach were attracting a lot of the public to the area.

For weeks now, people had been swarming around the towering sculptures, marveling at all the colors then spending their money in Molly’s cafe which was handy for her, as Molly’s business hadn’t been doing that great.

When anybody asked her about the rainbow rocks, Molly would smile brightly and say, ‘I know nothing about them but aren’t they great?’ Secretly, she thought them a terrible mark on the nice beach, but if it brought the customers in she couldn’t complain that much.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/05/10/three-line-tales-week-119/ with thanks).

Blur #FridayFictioneers

Everything was blurred and Holly couldn’t focus on anything. The party had spilled on to the street, the music drifting away into the night. She felt dizzy and sick, so sat on the curb and shut her eyes. She wanted to go home but she wasn’t sure how to.

Someone pulled Holly up and bundled her into a taxi before she could fight. She slummed into the seat, feeling like she was at sea. Then she was falling into bed and overcome by the deepest of sleeps.

In the morning, she had no idea what had happened.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/05/09/11-may-2018-2/ with thanks).

To The Clock #FFfAW

He’d always been on time before so where was he today? I checked my watch and looked out of the window again. The street was empty but he was normally walking past heading to work right now.

He looked so handsome in his black business suit with the wind ruffing his blond hair and his still sleepy face.

Perhaps, he had finally noticed me watching him and decided to take a different route? I should’ve tried to talk to him sooner but it’s hard to tell a stranger you’ve fallen in love with them.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/fffaw-challenge-166th with thanks).

Working #TwitteringTale

IMG_1581

Were they digging to the center of the earth? I didn’t know but I just wanted to sleep. The sounds of the drilling vibrated everything, so there was no way to block the noise out. I looked up hotels and moved out for the weekend. Peace at last!

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/08/twittering-tales-83-8-may-2018/ with thanks).

Not There #writephoto

There was someone on the stairs. I pointed at the strange dark shape and said one of the few words I could, ‘ogog!’ Look!

Nanny didn’t pause but carried on taking me upstairs in her arms.

I pointed again, waving my hand more and wiggling against her. I had a bad feeling about the dark figure that was coming out before us. I cried  and tried saying whatever I could but Nanny hushed me and held my waving hand.

We passed the ‘shadow man’ and I felt a cold wave like a winter wind brushing against me. I think I saw a smile on the face, but it was hard to make out. Then the coldness and the man was gone. I twisted and looked over Nanny’s shoulder but there was nothing on the stairs.

And that was how it all began.

It was strange for a child to avoid their nursery but I always tried too. I hated going up the stone staircase to the attic at the top where my toys were because I knew on the tenth step lived the shadow man. It always felt icy cold on that step, day or night, summer or winter.

Nobody believed me about him. Nanny said it was my imagination. My maid, Martha, told me it was just shadows. The housekeeper, Mrs Williams, claimed it was a drift coming from the window. My father declared it was a trick of the light. My mother scoffed then ignored me again as she always did.

So, I stopped talking about him and tried to ignore him too. It was hard because he always seemed to be there. I would have to climb the staircase at some point during each day; after lunch or after my lessons or when my mother had a party and she didn’t want me to be seen.

Pausing at the bottom, I gather the long puffy skirt of my dress and the white underskirt up to reveal the matching colour satin or silk slippers before climbing. Sometimes someone else would be with me; Nanny, Martha or Mrs Williams but as I got older they would send me alone.

On the ninth step, I would stop and look at the tenth. There was nothing making it different from all the other twenty-one steps but in the shadows next to the banister a darker shape lingered there. If I stayed long enough, I’d be able to make out the figure of a man. He was taller then father, dressed in a suit and had long hair tied back with a ribbon. His other features were harder to make out; his face was blurred by black mist but he had eyes, a nose and a mouth that always smiled at me.

I plunged through the coldness, holding my breath then raced up the rest of the stairs. At the top, I would peer down but there was never anything there. I would go into the nursery, close the door and try to play with my dolls, rocking horse, tea-set and jigsaw puzzles. When I grew bored or tried, I would climb into the window box and read one of my many books. Until Nanny or Martha would come up to either lit the lamps or take me to bed.

He would be there, awaiting on the tenth step. Stronger outlined in the night but still blurred and blending with the shadows. He would watch me and smile. I tried not to look but I knew what he was doing all the same. He never did anything else but I think that’s what made me most afraid of him. I hoped he was just stuck there with no power, but who was to really know?

Long after I left my parents house, got married, moved into a new house and had children of my own, the shadow man still haunted me. Who was he? What did he want? When I could not sleep or was bored, I would try to find out but I never got any answers.

Then one day my daughter pointed something out on the stairs leading to the nursery. I looked and saw the shadow man standing on the tenth step, awaiting us.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/03/thursday-photo-prompt-ascent-writephoto with thanks).

Mud #FridayFictioneers

I stopped and looked across the muddy stream up at the embankment rising above us. There were wooden steps placed into the slope but the bottom few and the little bridge that had once got you there had gone.

‘Are you sure this is the right way, daddy?’ my little girl asked.

‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘I’ll carry you across. Pick up Fluffy.’

She scooped up her little dog then I picked her up and carefully walked through the stream and up to the remaining steps. Setting them down, we carried on, though I was slowly regretting this afternoon walk.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/05/02/4-may-2018/ with thanks).

Doors #twitteringtales

Seven doors; six things that would kill me, only one that would free me. I had reached the final part in this biased life or death ‘game show’ which was a reality in my country. I choice the middle one. Grabbing the handle, I opened the door and faced my destiny.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/01/twittering-tales-82-1-may-2018/ with thanks).