Castle #WritePhoto

The lake waves lapped at the shore of the island, making the stones on the pebble beach wet. Against a stone grey sky, the dark castle rose up, the towers almost disappearing into the clouds.

The children had been looking for a boat or another way to get across the lake to the castle but they hadn’t found anything. Dipping their bare feet into the cold water, they thought about swimming across.

The oldest three would have no problems, even though it would take them almost an hour to make it. The middle two would have struggled but with help they could have done it. The youngest one though – only seven years old, could not have done it and since none of them wanted to stay behind, swimming was ruled out.

As the boys skipped stones, the girls looked at the castle on the island and wondered what could be in there. A sleeping princess? A handsome knight? Perhaps, treasure guarded by a dragon?

‘There’s nothing in there,’ the oldest boy announced, ‘I went in there last summer and it’s empty.’

The imagination bubble popped, the girls stopped daydream and debated what to do next. The youngest was hungry and wanted to go home, her brother didn’t want to as the boys were building a den in the woods. The girls not interested in this, decided to pick wild fruit and nuts.

By the time they all meet on the lake shore again a faint drizzle had started. They looked over at the castle but could barely see it in the dim light and low clouds which had come down like fog. It seemed the castle had become ghost like with just a faint outline left behind.

‘We should go,’ the oldest girl spoke.

‘Fine, take my sister with you. We are going to swim across and spend the night in the castle,’ the oldest boy replied.

‘That’s not a good idea.’

The oldest boy shrugged, ‘I’ve done it before.’

‘And what if….’ the oldest girl trailed off.

‘You are all chickens!’ one of the other boys shouted.

A brief argument started then the girls stormed off and left three boys to swim across the lake.

 

Days later, police entered the castle looking for the missing boys. Inside, just as the oldest boy had claimed, the castle was empty. The police searched the lake and the woods but the boys were never seen again.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/07/11/thursday-photo-prompt-castle-writephoto/ with thanks).

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Boat Hole #CCC

They were all dead now.

I toss pebbles into the sea then at the boat. I make a game of trying to get stones through one of the many holes. The smaller the hole, the higher the points.

Boredom and tiredness kick in. I walk away towards the stream for a cooling drink and a wash. I cut down some coconuts, split them open and gnawed on the white insides.

I don’t want to be rescue. Being here’s the safest I’ve felt in a long time. If anybody did find me they wouldn’t understand.

I’m not myself anymore.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/06/12/crimsons-creative-challenge-31/ with thanks).

Cast Away #FridayFictioneers

Washed up on the island, he had scratched the passage of days into the trunk of a palm tree. Today, there were forty-two lines.

Some of the shipwreck had washed up too and he had used these items to survive. He had hoped someone else might turn up but nobody alive had. The five bodies, he had buried under a marked tree, for recovery later.

The sound of a helicopter broke the air. He grabbed binoculars, a flare gun and climbed into a tree. He searched the sky and when the chopper grew closer, he fired the red signal.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/05/29/31-may-2019/ with thanks).

Build Again #TaleWeaver

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The island was use to all kinds of storms which was why I had decided to move here to study them. Newly waving my degree and happy to be finally striking out on my own, I was naive to adulthood and the overall consequences of surviving storms.

My first one was an evening thunder and lightening storm out at sea. I sat on the roof of my new bungalow house with my binoculars, camera and notebook in hand, watching and recording the fascinating scene of lightening bolts striking large waves.

After that, there were tropical storms which whipped the wind and rain into a frenzy that crashed down trees and damaged houses. A violent sea storm that causes a cliff to fall and low down houses to be flooded. More thunder and lightening, including one that started a fire in a patch of woodland.

I studied them all, publishing reports and making my wages at the weather station. Of course, I felt some of those storms’ effects but I was never threatened. However, six months in and there came a report from the mainland about a possible hurricane hitting us.

I was the one who picked up the message and brought it to my supervisor to read.

‘Chances are it’ll miss us, like the last two,’ he said then took the report to the boss.

So, no need to worry then.

Throughout the month, more and more warnings came in and with a week to go, the hurricane wouldn’t be ignored anymore. We had been putting out the word, recommending that people prepared for the worse and should think about leaving for safer mainland cities.

I excited, my first hurricane! decided not to bother returning home except to collect somethings then moved into the accommodation next door.

Whilst everyone else was protecting their homes by putting up wooden boards or metal sheets, stacking sandbags, then stocking essentials and either leaving their homes or hunkering down in storm shelters and basements, I was in my element watching the  hurricane growing.

When it hit, something finally clicked in my body and the urge to flee grew so much I had no choice but to go and join the other weather station employees in the shelter. The winds were over 100 MPH causing trees, houses and everything else to be tossed around, I could here these constant sounds of the wind roaring and things crashing. The rain pelted down like stones. I could also make out the sound of the sea in the background, which was swelling around the island as if trying to claim it back.

I don’t know why it took till that moment, huddled on a camping bed under a sleeping bag, wide awake, watching the electric lights flicking then finally dying that true knowledge of my situation kicked in. A million thoughts flooded me and the flight instinct screamed but there was nowhere to go. I reasoned with myself, eyes fixed on the metal door, that if I went out there death awaited whilst in here there was a chance of surviving.

I felt terrified, sick and emotional all at once, shakes racked my body, the noise wouldn’t stop in my head. I bolted up, hands over ears, screaming and screaming. It didn’t help though because I could still hear the hurricane.

Everyone tried to calm me down but I was beyond human contact. My supervisor sat with me, repeated talking. I guess tiredness made me stop in the end. Everything was damp with my tears and loud with my panic. Blinded, deaf and numb, I just remembered, my supervisor getting me to drink water and take some pills.

‘Those will calm you and these make you sleep,’ he explained.

Like the electricity, I was out for the rest of the hurricane.

When I came to, I was alone and silence pressed heavily on me. I got up went to the bathroom, had a shower and brushed my teeth. Dressed, I walked out of the shelter and saw that everything had changed.

Trees broken in to bits, lay across everything and things underneath them; houses, cars etc were crushed into almost unrecognisable pulps. The weather station was gone, blown apart as if hit by a bomb. Most of the other buildings looked the same, as if they had been wiped away. Those that still stood were flooded and only fit to be knocked down.

Boats that been in the harbour were now on land, sticking out from the remains of houses and trees or laying in lakes that had once been fields. Roads had given way, creating dead ends and blockades to places. Rubbish and peoples’ belongs were scattered everywhere that it would be impossible to reunite things when the clean up began.

I walked slowly, trying to pick patches of dry and clear-ish to step. My mind was reeling, I had only seen scenes like this in photos and on TV. There was just too much to take in and I could smell the sea so harshly my nose was sore.

I reached a small group of people, picking things out of the remains of the weather station. My supervisor waved me over.

‘How you feeling?’

‘Okay,’ I muttered.

‘Look at all this!’ he said picking up a piece of twisted metal, ‘oh, well. When we rebuild, more hurricane proofing is needed.’

‘Rebuild? How can you?’ I cried, ‘everything is just…gone!’

‘Not everything. We are still here.’

He had a point.

‘Don’t let this put you off,’ he added, ‘it’s not all bad.’

I nodded and with nothing else to do, went and helped where I could.

From that moment, I give storms greater respect and I made my job more about helping people survive them then just studying them.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/tale-weaver-209-rebuild-7th-february/ with thanks).

 

Leaving #FridayFictioneers

Finally, they had got Mrs Willoby out of the old peoples’ home. Supporting her, the careers walked her onto the awaiting boat. The crew were silent, nerves building. They didn’t like being here, an eerie deadness hung about the empty island.

Once the hundred year old lady was seated, Mrs Willoby smiled and peered into her handbag. Nestled in a tissue was a throbbing green stone. Space contamination the government said, but she had never believed them. It was just a pretty stone.

The boat took off at high speed, leaving the condemned land but sealing the fate of another.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/07/25/27-july-2018/ 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.

Smoke Flare

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It was his only hope, his final chance to be saved. He lit the last flare and held it high above his head, praying that someone would spot him on this uninhabited island.

 

(Inspired from; https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/57964385/posts/1452260479 with thanks)

Postcard #29

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My Dearest Darling,

It’s stormy weather again, I’m afraid. Seems every time I decide to come home it happens! Of course, this is the only communication I can find. God damn this island! I hope this note reaches you. I’ve sent my best bird with it. I would suggest waiting until it’s calm to send him back. My research into the new plants isn’t going well. The weather doesn’t help, but it seems the animals here have a liking for the flowers too!

To be honest I’m thinking of cutting this project short and returning to you. I miss you too much to be a part for any longer. Even in the name of Science! As soon as this storm clears up I shall return to you. Perhaps it’s about time I let this hobby go for it’s causing us nothing but trouble!

All the best, Your One And Only.

Autumn Get Away

Sitting on the golden beach, coconut shell cocktail in hand, I relaxed and decided to no longer regret spending the last of my divorce money on this island holiday. I sipped my too sweet, ice chilled drink and listened to the sea waves hitting the shore in the distance. What I wanted more than ever was to pretended I was completely alone right now, but the other tourists were making that impossible.

I sighed as once again I heard an argument coming from the bar area. Turning and nudging down my sunglasses, I looked over and saw a young couple at the dried grass roofed wooden bar. I couldn’t quite make out what had happened, but the fast hand gestures and aggressive body language of the man drew me in.

Sipping more of my drink, I kept an eye on them. Until, disgruntled the man give up and stalked off along the beach with the woman shouting at him to come back. Putting my sunglass back up, I used them to hide behind as I check out the rest of the beach. Ten feet to my right were a forty-something couple with a two year old boy. Before they had been building sandcastles and smothering each other in sun cream, but now they were all sleeping in the mid-afternoon heat. Beyond them the beach ran on before turning a graceful sweep and disappeared behind the tall coconut palms.

To my left, a handful more tourists in their too bright and short clothes lay or sat on the sand. A brave few had set off to towards the sea, their footprints trailing behind them. Three people were clustered around the shade of the bar as if it was a life raft and four others, like myself were sat on the beach’s edge in white lounges.

Taking a longer drink through the twin straws, I placed my coconut shell down on the little side table and thought about taking a nap too. However, my mind was much to awake, despite the heat. I pulled the trashy chick-lit novel from my wicker bag and began reading it. A few pages later, my eyes became distracted by a tall man arriving at the bar. I peered over my book at him, finding his dark brown curly hair familiar and drawn by his long arms.

He got a drink in a green coconut shell then went to a lounge close to mine. As he folded his legs and arms over, my memory sparked up. He was my high school history teacher, Mr. Ford. What was he doing here?

I shoved my book back into my face and felt a childlike panic borrowing inside of me. My thoughts reeled; was it really him? How can it be? What’s he doing here? Term has started already. Okay, okay. It’s not him, just some who looks like him. Just get back to reading and chilling.

I coughed then took a few sips of my drink and got back to my book. My noise and movements had drawn his eyes and I knew without even looking that he was staring at me. I waited, expecting any moment he would look away then I could peek at him again. Finally, when I give in and flashed my eyes to him, he was still staring. I concentrated hard on my book, but the words had blurred before me and I’d forgotten why the main male character no longer wanted to be with his girlfriend. I risked another look; our eyes met and held each other’s.

Yes, there was no doubting it. It was Mr Ford. I’d know that slightly curling grin of his and sooth baby face anywhere. He looked a bit older and I recalled working out the age gap between us once, I think it had come to around ten years. He had been fresh out of university and told us that we should always aim higher. Then he’d rambled on about the Second World War or the Cold War and we’d stare blankly at him.

I smiled at him and turned back to my book, but instead of reading, I fantasist meeting him later on and sneaking into his hotel bedroom. Just as I got the courage up to ask him if he wanted a drink, he got up and left. I put my book into my lap and watched him carry his drink back to the bar. He abandoned it on the side with a glare from the bar man, and continued along the beach.

Maybe it really wasn’t him?

I dropped my shoulders and grabbed my coconut. In a few mouthfuls, I had finished it, leaving only the sediment and sticky bits. I gathered my stuff and went back to my hotel room, my thoughts still fantasising that I’d bump into him again and we’d have a holiday romance.

By the time I got on the plane to go home, I still hadn’t seen him again.

The Dream Island

‘Come find me when you wake up,’ she whispered with a smile playing across her lips.

I didn’t have time dwell on her words as my eyes closed and I feel into a deep sleep. Colours swirled before me, dancing to a song I couldn’t hear.  My breathing steadied and felt my fingers releasing their grip on the soft sheets I was laying on.

Waking in the weak predawn light, I couldn’t recall any of the dreams I had had and it was almost like I’d never had a dream in my whole life. A loud rushing echoed in my ears and I eased myself up, I saw the sea stretching out to the horizon in front of me. Confused, I watched the white crested waves hitting the beach, whilst my fingers clutched at the sand grains.

I felt for my pistol and knife, but found nothing other than the rough shirt and black trousers covering me. I glanced down and saw I was wearing my well-worn leather boots. Boots I had taken off the night before as I’d gotten into bed. I pulled the right foot up and inspected the boot just to double check. It looked too much like my own for it not to be. Letting my foot drop back to the sand, I looked closer around.

The beach looked like any beach this far south, with its golden sand and clear blue sea. There was a scattering of palm trees marking the edges of some kind of jungle. I listened, but heard no call of animals or the wind. Turning back, I watched the sun raising and tried to recall what had happened.

The ship had docked and we had been granted some shore leave. It had been evening time when we had arrived and I had tripped through the small town, still feeling the swaying ship under my feet as my boots tapped on the cobblestones. There had been in an inn. My first taste of real food and beer since we had left the last harbour, the blazing fire on my back. Laughter, old tales and songs filling the air. Women. A soft bed under me, a warm body on top of me, whispering voice in my ear, ‘How do you like it, Captain?’ The pleasures of the night, waves of satisfaction, tiredness and guilt. Pulling the blanket over us and falling asleep. Her leaning into me and whispering, ‘Come find me when you wake up.’

I shake my head and push sand covered fingers through my hair and beard. Licking the inside of my dry mouth and then my cracked lips, I glance around and decide I need to find water. Standing up, I’m shaky and sand falls off me as another wave crashes across the beach. Stumbling, I make it into the shadow of a palm tree and keep going.