The Grey Causeway To Brierwell Manor (Part 1)

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We were flying across the beach, girl and horse, with the wind rushing through us. The coolness of the spring afternoon air chilled my skin despite the layers of clothes I had brought on. The waves breaking on the sand were nothing but a blur of colour like a melting painting.

The sense of freedom beat into me and the thrill tingled in my blood. My heart was thudding in my chest the rhythm controlled by the pacemaker. This was my escape from all of that pain, treatment and medication. All of my heart problems were gone in the hurricane of wind and the excitement of sitting on the back of a running horse.

I could feel every movement made by King, my massive black stallion I was riding, as he raced on wards. King was all powerful muscle and sped thanks to him being a strange mix of mighty shire horse and fast racehorse. Shires were well known for their calm and gentle nature, but King was the opposite of that and acted untameable.

King was pure black all over, with a long mane and tail which I loved to braid. Today, his hair was flying free and adding to the magnificent sight he made racing along the soft sand. King was well over six feet high. I was five-seven and he seemed to dwarf me.

I sat low on his back, almost bent over so that I was aiding him to gain speed, which was an achievement in the black, bulky, protective body suit I was wearing. On impact with the ground the whole thing would inflate like a car airbag, hopefully save me from more broken bones due to falling off King. My hard riding helmet felt like it was glued to my head and shoulder length, purple dyed stuck out from underneath it. The helmet was another life safer in riding a dangerous horse.

King’s mane tickled my face and in a few snatched moments, it seemed we were one. I breathed in his thick, sweaty horse smell and felt the rocking of his body echoing through my own. I watched sand and sea zooming by then in the distance I spotted something out at sea.

I raised myself up and slowed King down which took a good few minutes because he didn’t want to and I didn’t want to anger him. He stepped first into a canter then into a trot. King clearer didn’t want to stop and it took me a lot to make him get into a walk.

By that time, we were coming upon something that looked like an avalanche of cliff. Lots of rocks and rubble worn smooth by the constant touch of the sea were jumbled over the sand. This maze continued into the distance, raising up out of the waves as it went.

The reinforced rock sides were slowly tumbling away and exposing more of the flattened stones. In some parts there seemed nothing left to support the stones and the sea was happily consuming them. Sand, crushed shells and dead sea creatures lay thick on what, a hundred years or so ago, had been a straight road towards a distant island.

King, unhappy his run had ended nodded his large head forward and snorted. He tried to pick up pace again, his muscles rippling underneath me and his huge hooves kicking up sand. King loved to run and could probably go on forever.

Breathing hard to get my breath back, I held the reins tighter, said gentle words and patted his long neck. King came to a stop but his towering, thick legs jigged about. King had so much pent in energy after the winter months because I had been unwell and winter conditions weren’t good to ride in.

Now, spring was here and the best place to let King run was the beach which stretched for miles. Hardly anyone came here because was this the middle of nowhere and access wasn’t easy because of cliffs and sand dunes. Also, the beaches around here with private, owned by the people who’s lone houses stood like dead giants on the edges of the cliffs.

The Grey Causeway, for that was the name of the remains of the road before me, only became visible at low tide on a calm day. The sea waves swept aside and dropped whilst red crabs scuttled over the exposed rocks. Seaweed and moss started to dry out but were still slimy to the touch. Pools of water lingered in between the stones, trapping fish until the tide rose again.

The afternoon sun was half covered by white and grey clouds growing heavy with rain. A few birds wheeled in the sky searching for fish to take back to their nests on the cliffs. The waves were lapping quietly for a change as it was known to all ways been rough here. There was little breeze and the air was cool with the lingering of winter.

‘Let’s do some exploring,’ I said and directed King to turn onto the remains of the road.

King refused with a stamp of his right hoof and a loud neigh. He tossed his head right up, his black mane almost whipping against me and the reins tugging hard. His shoulders bunched and the rest of his body began to fall back on itself. His tail hit the back of his legs in anger, setting loose sand that had become caught. He was getting ready to rear.

King was stubborn and hated to feel like he wasn’t in control all the time. It was his way or no way at all which made riding him difficult. He was well known for throwing riders off and causing other horse to join him in a stampede. No one trusted King and he would have been moved on from my family’s riding school and breeding stables, if I hadn’t taken a liking to him.

I had lost count of the number of times I had fallen off King. Mostly it had be because he had reared and or bucked. Others, it had been because he had refused to jump a gate or go through a gap. A few times, he had moved whilst I was mounting and thrown me off balance. Once, King had physical pulled me off his back by biting into my leather boot and yanking me down from the saddle.

Still though, I couldn’t give him up. We had a strange bond; both craving a freedom that was hard to get.

I eased my grip on the reins and lowered them against his broad shoulders. I took my feet out of the stirrups and relaxed myself as much as possible. I shut my eyes and breathed in the sea salt and sandy air. I counted to ten and tried not to let myself tense up as I felt King’s back doing so underneath me.

It was an unusual tacit but letting King know he had control was the best way to deal with his anger. To try and push him now and be hard on him would result in him rebelling. His mighty body would rear and buck, he would throw me and race off, gaining the freedom he was all ways craving.

‘Hey there, King,’ I whispered, ‘it’s okay. Good boy, King. You’re all right.’

I touched him gently and give him a small pat. King nodded his head, the reins shaking as he did so. He give a grumbling sound that I felt vibrating into me.

‘I know you want to run and we shall. But the tide is low today and I want to go on The Grey Causeway and see what’s left on the island.’

King grinded his teeth against the metal bit and turned his head towards the causeway.

I took my chance, pulling the reins to the right side and giving King a small kick with my left foot, I told him, ‘walk on’ and clicked my tongue.

King obeyed and walked on to the remains of the road. I let the reins and my legs relax again. It had to seem like King had made the choice, not me. It wasn’t safe for him to run along the tumbled, slippy rocks, so I let him pick his own way.

The Grey Causeway was about a mile long and led to an island. Once, it might have been taller and bigger but now it was medium size rocky outcrop and at high tide the sea flooded the lowest parts. Greenery crowded the island and as we got closer the structure of a manor house could be made out clearly against the sky.

To Be Continued….

 

 

(Please note; this story was originally inspired by https://scvincent.com/2020/05/07/thursday-photo-prompt-causeway-writephoto. I made the choice to not use this story for my submission to this prompt because I wanted to further explore where this story was going and spend time creating a more polished narrative.

I decided not to use the imagine that came with the prompt but to find my own from a free to use photo site; https://pixabay.com/photos/st-michael-s-mount-cornwall-causeway-4394648.

I have actually visited St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall on holiday and have on past holidays gone horse riding on beaches and coastal tracks which further inspired this setting of this story. 

The photographs below are some I took of my visit to St. Michael’s Mount in 2012. All these photos are copyright to me. To find out more about the history go to https://www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk/).

 

 

April Announcement; A To Z Challenge 2019

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Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I’m taking part in the A-Z Challenge again this year. Sorry, my for the late notice but I’m currently ill and struggling with lots of things, including mental health problems.

As of yet, I’ve not put anything together for the challenge but my plan will be like that of the last few years of taking part. I’ll search out words of different kinds that I’ve never heard of before and use them to base a story around. Some stories might also include inspiration from other imagine or writing prompts which I shall note.

The link to the challenge is here; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ there’s still time to sign up and get involved.

Thank you for all the support and inspiration I receive from all you comments and likes. They do help to keep me going when I’m struggling to write. Here’s to many more short stories!

Explore More #Pegman

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Niobe took a deep breath and looked around, Turkey was not as she had imagined it to be. Then again, none of the other countries she had visited had been.

Tourists and the media only showed you a friction of a place. To really understand a country, you had to walk the poorest streets, look deep into the history and visit the lesser well known places.

Niobe would do all that then post it on the internet for all to see. Then perhaps, she could change the misconceptions about places and inspire others to explore more.

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2018/06/16/what-pegman-saw-turkey/ with thanks).

Postcard #44 Elysian #atozchallenge

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Elysian; beautiful or creative, divinely inspired, peaceful perfect.

Dear Violet,

The world is quiet here. Well, it would be because I’m alone on an island! This morning, I found the most beautiful seashell yet. I drew it for you, but I don’t think it does justice. Recently, I’ve felt so inspired as if something greater, beyond us, has influenced me. I’ve been drawing, writing and reading a lot more. It’s so peaceful here, it’s almost too perfect! And yet when I think back to how things were before….I realise I would take all of this over that any day.

Yours in hiding,

L.

Dear Diary #36

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Dear Diary,

I’ve lost the inspiration and motivation again. It’s like there’s a light bulb above my head that burns bright for a few days then dims and dims till it goes out. Turning it back on is so hard. And I swear each time it takes longer and gets more difficult.

I know what people say; ‘you shouldn’t wait for inspiration,’ ‘find your own motivation,’ ‘just keep going and working through no matter what you feel that day.’

But they are not me.

Someone of them are more successful and they use that to conquer the bad days. Others, have to do it because otherwise they won’t survive so they can’t give up. The rest are chasing their dream, the knowledge of one day getting there seeing them through.

I’m in between all of that; successful but not, surviving just, wanting the dream but also boarder line living it.

Everyday I see people moving on with their lives; getting married, having kids, getting a house, getting a better job, a new car, holidays and celebrations. Getting divorced, losing everything, maybe living on the streets for awhile but then rising back up like a phoenix and going through it all again.

Whilst, I feel trapped. I’m living through the characters I write about, seeing the world and problems through them, feeling their emotions. Some say that’s living better then anyone else, for why would you actually want to go through that?

You know what I call it? Fake living.

I can go to the park and watch the children playing and the parents talking and instead of thinking about my own life, I’m thinking about theirs’. What would happen if a child went suddenly missing? Or if that mum told that mum that she had slept with her husband? Why is that dad alone this afternoon? Is the man with the cap covering his face and trying to look normal really up to something bad?

Those thoughts can’t be helped. I try to stop the flow, to think of things I believe normal people think about; have a left the stove on? When are my library books due back? What happened to that girl I swapped numbers with at the bar last weekend? My life would be easier if that was the only stuff in my head.

I don’t know what to do about this lack of motivation again. I should maybe take a holiday, go some place new. Meet some new people too. Have a life again. It’s all well and good to live in your own fantasy world all the time, but sooner or later, you realise that it’s just not the real world no matter how hard you try.

 

Unstoppable

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Ethan wanted to be a superhero. Laying in bed and despite coughing loudly, he imaged himself grown up and being the hero. He would save women in distress, kill the bad guys and save the day. Everyone would know his name and he would be world famous.

Smiling as he watched the patterns of light and shadow on his ceiling, he let his dream play out. Ethan would be better then any other superhero before; faster, stronger, more powerful. He would be unstoppable! Though that would not make a good superhero name…

The pain in his chest forced him to roll over. Ethan hung his head over the edge of the bed and coughed for what felt like forever. He reached a trembling hand out and searched on his bedside table. His hand knocked his glasses and a comic book before connected with the object he was looking for. Picking up the glass, Ethan sipped the cool water and felt a little better. Placing the glass back, he wondered where his inhaler had gone too.

He sat up, turned on the lamp and his superhero dreams faded with the shadows. He found and used his inhaler. Hating the taste at the back of his throat from it. He took some deep breaths and felt for a few minutes his cough and chest easing. Then though he heard the familiar wheezing in his breathing once more.

Groaning, he fell back onto his bed.

‘Superheros don’t get sick,’ he muttered.

Ethan put a hand on his chest and rubbed the returning ache. He scrunched up his face and inside his head loudly told himself that he was not going to let his illness ever stop him from doing anything.

 

This story was inspired by https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unstoppable/

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unstoppable/”>Unstoppable</a&gt;

Air Rush

Paragliding, Blue Sky, Parachute, Sport, Fly, Sky

The wind was rushing around Martin like a tornado and no matter how many times he closed his eyes, counted then opened them again, he was still here. Gritting his teeth, he looked towards the open door of the plane and the handful of people waiting to jump out. Martin was sit in his seat, trying to stop his knees knocking together with the fear.

‘This is great team building!’ someone screamed.

Martin shook his head, he could think of far better and safer things.

‘Go! Go! Go!’ Came the call and people started jumping.

‘I can’t, can’t,’ Martin mumbled.

Someone grabbed and yanked him upwards, shouting his name at the same time. He fought against them and the forceful wind helped and made him stumble backwards.

‘I can’t!’ he yelled.

‘Of course you can! It’s easy!’ A female voice shouted back.

‘I’m going to die, Amy!’ Martin responded.

‘No you’re not!’ Amy answered.

‘Go! Come on!’ a louder voice cut in.

Martin shook his head and tried to pin himself against the stomach of the plane, but the large bag strapped to his back would not let him. Amy’s iron grip did not let his wrist go and Martin was dragged behind.

‘You have to go separate.’

‘Him first then,’ Amy said and pushed Martin.

He screamed, wind hit his face and tore his words away. He windmilled his arms and squeezed his eyes shut. He felt himself spinning and just tumbling out of the sky. Someone grab him, helping him to stop the spin, but not the huge free fall. He opened his eyes, saw the world growing below him and freaked out.

Amy opened his parachute for him then somehow flung herself away enough to open her own chute.

Martin felt himself being tugged backwards and starting to slow down. He opened his eyes and looked up. The parachute hung above him a large red and white stripy bug against the true blue sky. Then he looked down and saw the beauty of the patch work countryside below.

The fear lifted and he left it behind as he embraced the sense of being alive.

Little Crocodile

It was surreal, but there they were drifting under a night sky filled with the most wondrous activity from the stars and planets. The water lapped at the side of their boat and in the silence that was all they could hear. Mother lent on the bent wooden pole and tried not to weep. Her children transfixed by the light display above them had dried tears still on their faces. Gently, Mother steered them down the river that had once been the Nile, but was now known as the Nilegy Sea.

‘Father would have loved this!’ the youngest called out.

‘Yes, yes he would,’ Mother replied sadly and looked down at her husband’s hollowed out back.

(Inspired by; painting by Leonora Carrington entitled How Doth the Little Crocodile 1998)