Glass #WritePhoto

The first frost had fallen that morning. Dill had waited until the sun had melted it before taking his two westies for a walk. There was still some sparkling white patches of grass in the shadows of the hills and in the distance some of the higher tops looked as white as the clouds that seemed to be touching them.

Dill relying heavily on his metal walking sticks, followed the small stone covered pathway towards the lake. He knew this country well, having spent his whole life out here looking after the flock of sheep. Now, that responsibility had moved to his sons and Dill was free of a burden he had never realised he had carried.

Sitting on a bench his grandfather had built, Dill rested his arthritic limbs. The familiar ache in his chest made itself known and reminded him that he was no longer young. Still though he was defiant that old age would not bet him.

He watched the two westies sniffing about and drinking from the edge of the lake. Soon the water would start to freeze over and in the heart of winter, the lake would become a hard glass surface dusted with snow.

The memory of one winter when he was eighteen always haunted him and the sight of the lake always brought it sharply back.

Dill had been driving the sheep towards shelter when one of the sheep had broken away and gone onto the frozen lake. Dill’s then sheep dog, Kip, had refused to go after it. The black and white dog stood on the edge of the ice barking, torn between chasing the sheep and sensing the danger underneath his paws.

Dill hadn’t been able to abandoned the ewe and had decided to go after her himself. He knew the lake had been frozen for two months now and there was a heavy covering of snow across the surface. He could see the sheep in the distance, her dirty huge fleece making her stand out and her dashing hood prints plain in the snow.

Kip had shadowed him in a shy way and when encouraged still refused to fetch the sheep. Dill had given up and carried on walking, using his shepherd’s crook to steady his footsteps.

Far from the shore, Dill felt the snow shift under his feet and came to a stop as a loud cracking sound started up. Covered by thick snow, it was hard to make out the lines of the break. He had felt a little spiral of fear but pushed on. More cracking echoed off the hills and he thought he heard the sound of water bubbling.

Dill could see the ewe and he was so close but within seconds the sheep disappeared. Her desperate cries echoed in Dill’s ears as did the sound of splashing. Quickly, Dill had rushed onward and found the sheep drowning in a watery hole, edged by jagged ice that looked like broken shards of glass. The force of the water and the sheep’s heavy fleece were dragging her down to her doom.

Grabbing fist fulls of the wet fleece, Dill had tried to haul the ewe out. He struggled as the sheep fought him and the icy water tried to claim her. He tugged and tugged, his own feet slipping on the mushing snow and ice. Kip barked and danced around, unable to help.

Finally, Dill had pulled the ewe out and they had lay on the water snow, both exhausted with lake water running off them. Then, Dill had half carried, half dragged the yew back home. Snow had began to fall and he had thought they would never make it but Kip kept bit at his heels and the ewe’s until they did.

Safe inside, they had sat by the kitchen coal fire for the rest of the night. The warmth melting the snow and chasing the frozen lake water from their veins. The ewe had seemed none the worse of almost dying and Dill knew they had both had a lucky escaped.

One of the westies’ licked Dill’s cold fingers, bringing him back to the present. He patted the dog, speaking softly to it. It was time to go back, Dill could feel the coming snow in his shepherd’s bones. Standing wobbly up, Dill made his way slowly home again where a warm fire and steaming mug of tea with whiskey would be waiting.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/11/14/thursday-photo-prompt-glass-writephoto/ with thanks).

In The Boat

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The sun was dipping low and reflecting on the lake’s still surface as if there was a second sun setting on another world under the water.

I didn’t look back as I walked on the planks towards the small blue painted wooden boat that lay in the tall rush reeds. I was calm in mind; empty headed my grandmother would describe it as.

Untying the boat, I pushed it out so the bottom wouldn’t get stuck then got in. I rowed out, noticing the thin mist parting around me and the ripples the oars created. It was all ready freezing out here and a thin frost was settling were it could. I could imagine the morning sun making the frost glitter like candlelight on crystal.

Stopping, I lay down in the boat’s belly and listened to the lapping of the small waves. I shut my eyes and let the cold come to me. Tomorrow, they would find me with frost on my eyelashes and lips. My yellow and gold lace trim ball gown frozen to my body and his last letter against my heart.

 

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).

Catch A Star #3LineTales

three line tales, week 156: stars over the sea

Little Kim looked into the water of the lake and saw the starry night sky reflected on the dark water then turning to the old woman beside her, Kim said, ‘let’s catch the stars, Granny!’

Granny nodded and went back inside the house to collect some jars, then they scooped water up and afterwards Kim stared into the jars looking at the stars, saying ‘I’m going to keep them forever!’

‘But then no one else can enjoy them,’ Granny pointed out, ‘let’s release them and Granny will make you a special soft star that you can keep forever.’

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/01/24/three-line-tales-week-156/ with thanks).

 

 

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).

Won’t Be Coming Back #FFftPP

Shoes

He left his shoes on the dock, laughing that he wasn’t a chicken to jump into the freezing autumn lake.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2018-week-41/ with thanks.)

Float #FridayFictioneers

The flames flickered on the water, their reflections dots of yellow light, almost as if the moon had broken into pieces and spilled across the surface. Waves rippled as more floating candles drifted out. Each carried an unwritten message, whispered from the heart.

Vicky didn’t  know what to wish for. She held her lit candle above the lapping lake and thought. The only thing that kept coming to mind was for world peace, but wasn’t that impossible to wish for? She guessed nothing really was and with a shrugged, she made that wish and set her floating candle towards the others.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/08/22/24-august-2018/ with thanks).

 

Dark #writephoto

The first snowflake fell onto my book’s open page before I could turn it. I paused, tutted and watched the flake melt into a water dot over a word. Turning my head up, I saw the sky had grown dark with heavy unfriendly grey clouds. It was time to go home.

Gathering my things, I knew everyone thought I was strange. Why would a young woman go out to the lake to sit and read in the snow? I liked the peace and the distance from people. I didn’t feel the cold at all, in fact, I didn’t feel anything and hadn’t since the incident.

With everything neatly placed in my army hiking bag, I began walking back. The snow was deep but my footprints from hours ago were still clearer. I traced over them but the opposite way this time. The wind picked up as more snowflakes began to fall. I powered on, enjoying the feeling and sight of raw nature.

I almost slipped into the lane but was able to hold on. There were a few four by four car tire tracks marking their way through the snow. A few meters up, off to the side lay an abandoned blue car, half buried in the snow. I had checked as I’d arrived and no one was inside, thankfully. They’d have frozen out here.

A few minutes later and I’d arrived at the edge of the village. The tops of houses stuck out of the snow like early spring flowers. Nobody was walking the streets or driving down the roads. They were all inside, sat by fires, keeping warm and safe. I should have been so too, but there was only so much of being inside I could handle.

I needed to be out, feeling all kinds of weather against my skin. Doing something physical and being my past self. I wasn’t very good at being a ‘normal person,’ it had been sort of trained out of me. I had liked that life, it give me my place in the world but now on almost permanent leave due to injury and mental health problems, everything had been turned around.

Reaching the front door of my parents’ cottage, I didn’t want to go in. The urge to stay outside lingered. However, the wind was really howling and blowing now heavy snowflakes into me. So unless I wanted to get lost in a blizzard and or possibly die, it was time to go in and find another way to spend my time.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/03/01/thursday-photo-prompt-dark-writephoto/ with thanks).

Ruby #FirstLineFriday

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I hadn’t thought about anything else other then having a nap after getting off the plane. Bundling myself into a taxi and arriving at the hotel, I had go to my room and just crawled into the bed as if it had been my real destination all along.

The loud crying of a baby woke me up. I lay mused across the bed, wondering where I was. Slowly, as the baby’s crying faded I remembered the business trip. Letting out a sigh, I checked my watch without getting up. It was close to half past seven. My plan had landed around three. So…counting in the before nap parts, I had been asleep for three hours and a half or so. Good job, I had nowhere to be this evening!

I got up and took of my black suit jacket then re-arranged my comfy black pants and white blouse. I took my hair down – half of it had fallen anyway and out of habit checked myself in the mirror. Satisfied, I crossed the hotel room to the windows, where I pulled the draping white curtains aside.

A door led onto a small balcony, I stepped out. The warm evening air caressed my face, I breathed in the city and lake smell, finding it strangely sweet and earthy. There was the noise of traffic and people; the hum of the city. I could hear the lapping water, it was almost right below me. It was a breathtaking view.

Looking down, I saw the skyscrapers towered reflective against the ruddy clouds. The imagine was constantly moving in small ripping waves and I half thought the city was actually under that surface. I looked across and saw the glowing sunset lighting up the building as if they were on fire and I wondered, when I was the last time I had seen anything like this?

The sky was dark ruby and amethyst with an underlining of white cloud edges. I could just see the amber of the sun peeking. There was just so much of this colour everywhere, it was magical. The urge to reach out to touch it and know what it felt like, swelled within me. I raised my arms and stretched my fingers, like a vampire gently arising from the grave.

I felt a warm breeze with a hint of coldness from the lake. My hands were surrounded by the colors but I knew they never could become one with them. I lowered my arms and put my hands to the railing. There was an unreal, dream like feeling but I knew I was wide awake.

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/first-line-friday-february-1st-2018/

Blue #writephoto

It was nice to sit by the lake, watching the lapping waves and the cold blue evening sky above. A dusty layer of snow lay on the ground and at some of the lake’s edges thin ice had formed. Winter’s chill was heavy in the air, promising more snow in the night but for the moment it was safe to be outside.

There was hardly any noise, just the distance sound of late dog walkers, joggers and cyclists, like myself. I could hear the soft cracks of the ice as the water moved underneath. Looking at a patch close by, there was a glazed spider web pattern of crazing across the smooth surface. It seemed almost artistic.

Turing my face to the sky, I wondered how badly it would snow tonight. The clouds were slowly coming in, turning everything darker. I felt a drop of wetness then it started to sleet. Balancing on my bicycle, I watched the icy rain fall into the water. Little ripples bobbed on the surface and on the ice the sleet seemed to start sticking.

It was time to go home.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/12/28/thursday-photo-prompt-blue-writephoto with thanks).