Gone Fishin’

Days later his boat was found. His supplies and rods all there and even one rod set up and hung over the side of the boat.

No one knew what happened.

Only the lake could tell them but those dark waters don’t talk.

Insomnia Sunrise

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Sleep was a stranger to me, she was an elusive muse, a reflection out of reach. I did all I could to dance with her; exercise, diet, no screens or reading, no coffee or tea, mediation and just laying there waiting. Nothing worked.

I decided not to waste this time with trying and waiting. I turned to quiet actives; reading, writing, jigsaw puzzles and box set watching. Sometimes I would doze off and other times I would be awake to hear the breakfast time news.

The idea of seeing the sunrise came to me one morning when, watching from the curtain covered window, I saw how the first sunlight changed the colour of the room. I thought, how many people actually see the sunrise?

The next night, I looked when the sunrise was timed for and an hour or so before then, I went out to a local beauty spot which was a large lake.

There I saw a glorious sunrise. so many colours touched the calm water as the sky melted from black to blue. My breath was stuck in my throat and my eyes couldn’t behold the raw wonder before me. I felt the first brush of warmth on my skin like a lover’s arms wrapped around me in a gentle embrace.

I took photo after photo trying to capture what I saw but the imagines couldn’t compare to the real thing. I didn’t want it to end but of course it did. All the blurs of colours settled and became what everyone saw during each day. The lake’s magic vanished and the water became a normal blue again like the sky above all the colours had gone.

I stayed for a long time then left but that first warmth came with me and every time I closed my eyes I saw all those colours dancing again.

That night I slept.

Sink

Morning Mist 2

I hadn’t know what to expect, that summer had felt like a life time ago. As I came to the bank of the lake, I saw a small boat half sunk in the reeds. The breathe caught in my throat. It couldn’t be the same boat from last year.

I made my way over. Nature had grown back but the pathway was still there. Something waved at me in the overgrown grass and I looked down and saw some rubbish. Moving closer though, I saw it was faded police tape.

Forgetting to breath, tears pricked my eyes and a mix of emotions rained down. Memories swamped my mind but I forced them back. It was still to surreal to think about them.

Going on, I made it to the boat and though I’d hoped it wasn’t the same, it was. The boat was a single seater, for two people but more like two children. The oars had gone and water lay dirty in the bottom.

She would sink if I took her out, though it might be a struggle to move her as she looked stuck fast to the mud bottom of the lake.

We had moved her once though. One too hot, bright summer’s day when the sun reflected on the glowing water and nature called for us to enjoy her beauty. The two girls had got in wearing bikinis and we, three boys, in our swimming trunks, had shoved the boat off then tried to scramble in too.

The girls had pushed us away, laughing that there was no room. We had splashed water at each other. The sun had shone through and sparkled the falling spray.

I had swam away, loving the coolness on my warm skin. I left them playing, their voices growing distant. I floated, thinking like all teenagers that this summer would last forever. Each day would be golden and never ending.

Loud splashing and screaming broke through my drifting. I looked back and saw the boat had tipped over.

I swam back, laughing alongside them and helped them to right the boat again.

‘Where’s Levi?’ Louise asked, her brown hair turned dark by the water.

‘Properly getting ready too -,’ Jake began then jumped on her and began tickling her.

‘Really though,’ Betty spoke, she had climbed back into the boat and was twisting her red hair dry.

I trod water and looked around for him. I didn’t see him. Diving under the water, I looked and saw little in the disturbed mud view.

‘Where is he?’ Betty asked me as I came up.

Shaking my head, we looked around. Betty called over to Lou and Jay to stop and they did so. The lake settled around us and we looked around for Levi.

‘Dive down again, John,’ Betty said to me.

I did so and this time felt around more then looked. I spotted Jay doing the same though the cloud of discolour and floating things. Levi didn’t seem to be there.

We rose to the surface again, dragging deep breaths in. We reached for the boat and clung to it. Betty had helped Lou climb back in and they had been looking on the bank to see if Levi had got out.

‘I don’t think he would have done without us noticing him,’ I said.

‘Then go back down again!’ Lou cried.

Jay and I did, going deeper and further then before. My fingers brushed something and I grabbed it and pulled. It didn’t move. I came up and tried to keep my feet on it’s place but I couldn’t.

I waved my arms and got the girls to row over. When Jay popped up he joined me and together we dived down and pulled Levi up.

We all dragged him onto the boat and then hurried to the shore.

Someone called for help whilst we tried to wake Levi. One of the girls did CPR and Jay ran for help. Then nothing began to make sense. It was like I had left and wasn’t taking things in anymore.

People asked me to do things or to answer things and I did so.

They took Levi away under a white sheet and we were all driven home in towels, holding our bundled clothes.

At his funeral, I thought it was dream, how could my best friend be gone?

He had though and that summer turned to black, the lake washed all the gold out of my life.

Lake

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Water stretched for miles and the sun warmed the surface to a nice feeling temperature. It was the perfect day for a paddle and to try and claim back some of the summer time.

In The Light Of The Moon

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I couldn’t sleep, my insomnia was paining me again. I took a lantern and went out to the shore of the lake. Despite the lateness of the hour, a freezing fog was hanging in the air. I let the lapping of the water guide me and felt the wooden planks of the jetty under my boots.

The wood creaked and the water splashed against the poles. There should have been the addition of a rocking boat but last month it had been overcome by heavy rain and sank. I could picture the bones of the boat resting on the bottom of the lake.

The moon was full and low in a cloudless sky. I marvelled at her, not being able to recall seeing another moon see big. Something drew my eyes downwards and at the end of the jetty I saw a figure standing out against the fog.

I frowned, there should have been no one out here. The servants had their own house further back and we were miles from the nearest village.

Before I could address the figure, she turned to me and I saw it was a young woman. She was tall with red flaming hair and wearing a sky blue dress that floated around her. She smiled sadly then turned back to the lake.

I rushed forward, the sense that something was wrong vibrating through me. I reached the end of the jetty and held my lantern high.

There was no one there!

I turned and twisted, looking everywhere. The fog couldn’t have been playing with me for I swear the woman was as real as myself and yet, there was only the lapping of the lake breaking through the night.

Shimmer #WritePhoto

The church bells were ringing the start of a clear winter morning. Roger had taken to wandering outside as soon as he got up, sometimes he found his way home again and other times he had to stop and work the way back.

Today, he was by the lake and the sun was shinning from behind fluffy clouds. The light was reflecting across the water making it shimmer like glitter. Roger watched the small waves lapping the grassy shore. There wasn’t much out here, it wasn’t a place people often came.

There was an island in the middle of the lake, crowed with trees and Roger had been over there and built dens in the summer as a child. He wonder if there was anything left of those makeshift shelters that had become Knights’ castles, caves full of bears and Native American forts.

Above the island rose peaks, cast black by the sun. Had he been over there? Roger couldn’t remember, his head was getting mixed up with old age. He listened to the church bells last echoing ring and walked on. Some birds were singing but everything else was at ease.

He could have walked for days before but now just these hours in the morning tried him out. When the weather was worse, short walks were in order and afterwards, he slipped a little whisky in his tea.

Winter was’t the best season for walking in, so he lit the fire when he arrived home. He sipped his tea and sit in his chair looking out of a front window. The sun was blocked by the roof tops of houses and more clouds were moving in. It would rain soon or snow, it felt cold enough too. Maybe, that was just him?

Roger dozed after finishing his tea and the fire spreading its warm also helped. It was raining when he woke. It had gotten darker too though it was only 2 O’clock. Roger got up on stiff and creaking bones. He stocked up the fire then made half a tin of tomato soup for lunch.

He read afterwards, picking up one of the tattered books on the shelf. He lit a candle to help see by and wrapped woollen blankets around himself. For years, the heating and electricity hadn’t work. The water still ran coming from a underground spring he didn’t have to pay for. He survived by a camping lifestyle in his own home.

It wasn’t the life he had grown up in nor the one he had lived as a younger man. No, it was another sin of being old. The money stopped, yet living had to carry on somehow. This was the best he could do for now.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/12/05/thursday-photo-prompt-shimmer-writephoto/ with thanks).

Ice Skating

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All autumn my little sister had been begging me to take her ice skating. Winter arrived early and stayed late this far north but still we had to wait for the lake to freeze over deeply enough to be safe.

‘Can we go out to check today, Alex?’ she asked me as we ate porridge before the roaring kitchen fire.

‘It won’t have frozen enough yet, Beka,’ I replied, ‘it only snowed a little last night.’

‘Still I want to see!’ Beka cried.

I rolled my eyes and finished my porridge.

‘Take her out Alex,’ mother said from the huge table, ‘today, we are getting the  sweet puddings ready for the Winter Feast day. You two will only get under our feet.’

Both grandmothers, cook and maid agreed.

‘I want to help father hunting,’ I spoke.

‘He left all ready. Now, be a good son and look after your little sister.’

Grumpily, I got ready and the maid helped Beka with her fluffy elk boats, long red coat, gloves, scarf and matching red hat. We meet by the kitchen door, all ready to go out in the freezing morning.

‘You won’t need your ice skates, Beka,’ I said.

Beka pulled a face and shifted the white leather ice skates on her left shoulder, ‘it’s just in case.’

I shook my head, decided not to argue with her and opened the door. An icy wind blasted in and the fire began to gutter. Quickly, we went out and saw a thick frost and light dusting of snow on the ground. The sky above was a steel blue colour and the sun was a weak yellow in the sky.

We walked to the end of the garden, through the gate and around the edge of the woods. Gun shots echoed and a few birds flew up from the trees.

‘It’s father,’ Beka spoke.

I nodded and we walked on to the lake. Ice cold, clear water lapped at a frozen mud shore. A few ducks were swimming in the distant and the little wooden rowing boat was rocking against it’s wooden walk way.

‘See,’ I pointed out.

Beka sighed and looked downcast, ‘it’s no where near frozen!’

‘In a few more weeks it might be. Let’s go out in the boat instead. It might be the last time we can.’

She nodded, we climbed into the boat and I rowed us around the lake.

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).