Storm

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It was the worse storm anyone had ever seen. Hurricane winds tore up everything. The rain raged down like an angry heavy metal drummer. Flash floods turned the streets into rivers, sweeping away what the wind had been unable to move. The sea swelled and roared as if Poseidon himself was raising upwards towards the sky. The thunder and lightening clapped together making the very clouds shake, perhaps Zeus was fighting to keep Poseidon down. Whatever was happening, People were sure the Apocalypse had just arrived.

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Knock #writephoto

My great-grandfather, Bill, told me this story and tonight I want to tell you it.

In his time, the mines were all over Cornwall and almost all the men worked in one. They did long hard shifts, digging underground in small, dimly light tunnels. The sounds of pickaxes, shovels and carts filled the air so loudly they could hardly hear each other. And the coal dust! It got everywhere and clogged the air right up. They said if you cut a miner up the only thing inside of him would be black coal dust.

Now one day, great-grandfather Bill was down in a new tunnel having a quick walk through to make sure the wooden support beams had been put in place before any real digging started. He had with him an old friend called Tom and as they stood in the middle of the tunnel, they heard a loud sharp knock.

Puzzled they listened harder. They were far from the other miners and the noise couldn’t have travelled that long and clear as it had been. They looked at each other and listened again. There was another knock then no more.

‘It’s the Knockers,’ Tom whispered.

Bill shot Tom a look and replied, ‘it’s just the echos of someone digging. This beam is fine. On to the next.’

The moved on and inspected a few more beams before they heard another knock. The sound travelled through the tunnel and it was much like heavy knuckles rapping at a wooden door. No way could that have been the sound of someone mining coal.

‘Hello!’ Bill shouted.

His voice echoed but there was no reply. He flashed his lantern round and the candle flame flickered then became still. Bill couldn’t make anything out and it didn’t help that the light was only a small pool.

‘Let’s go,’ Tom muttered and started to head back.

‘No. We need to finish this…’

‘I’m going back! When a Knocker starts a knocking you get out!’ Tom stated.

Bill watched him walk away in the glow of the candle light. My great-granddad wasn’t afraid of the little folk who lived underground. He carried on with his work, taking the time to check each beam would hold the tunnel roof up.

A shuffling of footsteps drew his attention and he shone his light down. There was nothing in front or behind him on the solid rock ground he could see. A chuckling noise snapped Bill’s head right up and he spun around, knowing now he wasn’t alone.

‘Tom that you! Come on, show yourself!’ Bill shouted.

A spot of light glowed against the tunnel wall and Bill started to track it. The flames was ahead of him. Thinking that his men were playing a trick on him, Bill decided to ignore it. They weren’t going to get the satisfaction from scaring him.

Bill walked towards the light, but it seemed to fade and move away the closer he got. Growling, he stopped and wiped the sweat from his head. He was tried, hot and wanting to go home to his wife.

He swore and turned around to head back.

The tinkling of metal and the sound of someone hammering with a pickaxe made Bill turn back. He saw there before him, in the gloomy light, a small figure no bigger then a very small child. The figure, appeared to be a male and wearing a miner’s clothes. His face was that of an old man with wrinkles and a long grey beard. He had a lantern in one hand and pickaxe in the other.

‘Are you a Knocker?’ Bill asked in shock.

The figure nodded, ‘aye.’

‘What do you want?’ Bill demanded.

‘You didn’t seem to get our warning about this tunnel. It’s not safe. So I thought I’d come and tell you myself. Since you are alone now,’ the Knocker replied in a gravelly voice.

Now, Bill wasn’t sure what else to say and he was trying hard to remember what people said about Knockers. They were little folk who liked to cause mischief, steal tools and food. Some of the men tossed their pasty crusts to them in the hopes it would keep them away.

‘You should go,’ the Knocker said sharply.

Bill nodded and turned around, he walked a few steps then twisted about again. The tunnel before him was empty. He walked out and a few moments later a giant rumble echoed through the tunnel. Bill turned and saw the entrance clouded in thick smoke. When it cleared, the tunnel had collapsed.

When he came up from the mine that evening, Bill went straight home and didn’t tell anyone what had happened.

It was only when I was a kid and he liked telling tales that one day that story slipped out of him. I asked him many times to tell me about it, but he only told it one other time and that was right before he died.

You see, it was just too unbelievable for him to deal with what he saw and now he’s taken the full story to his grave.

 

(Inspired from a prompt by; https://scvincent.com/2017/06/01/thursday-photo-prompt-knock-writephoto/ with thanks).

Eldritch #atozchallenge

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Eldritch; Eerie, weird, spooky.

As night came to settle in the woods, the trees fell dark and the shadows vanished. The half moon and stars above were the only light for miles. The nocturnal animals came out to hunt, their voices more eerier then their daytime opposites.

From somewhere rose a crying. At first it was hard to tell what could be making it. The more the sound grew and ears listened, the crying became that of a human child.

A lost child, wondering around the nighttime woods, all alone.

The  crying was enough to make the people in the nearest villages at the edges of the woods pay attention. However, they knew better and it wasn’t a real child that was out there. It was a demon.

The stories were different and wide spread, but it was claimed the demon acted like a lost child to led people away and eat them. A few villagers claimed to have seen him, but the descriptions were so wildly different, it was hard to pin down.

They said he was blood red skinned or bright blue or else he was deep black. He had large horns, small horns or none at all. He had a massive tail or a short stubby one. He spoke in a deep gravel voice or else he didn’t say anything at all. He had sharp red teeth and a mouth that was massive which swallowed a person whole.

Whatever the demon looked though, the villagers were sure to stay away from the spooky woods at night.

The Giant’s Pocket Watch #fridayfictoneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

The wooden back of a huge pocket watch had stood in the corner of the town’s park for hundreds of years. The origins of it had long been lost, but the myth was that the pocket watch had once belonged to a giant.

The giant Haldor was running late for the yearly Giants Together meeting. As he trod over a village, ignoring the fleeing of little people far below him, he drew out his pocket watch and checked the time. Seeing, he was going to be very late indeed, he hurriedly put the watch back into his pocket.

However, he missed and the watch hit the floor. Angrily, he bent to pick it up and swiped down two cottages as he did so. Hurrying on, he didn’t notice that his pocket watch had broken in the fall.

Years later, a shepherd lad was searching for a lost lamb when he came across the back of the pocket watch. He stared up in awe at the huge wooden circle then spotting his lamb nearby, he hurried to collect her. When he returned home, he told his father about what he had seen, for the lad was too young to remember the giant Haldor. His father clearly recalled the day though.

And that was how the myth of the giant’s pocket watch began.

 

(Inspired from a prompt from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/03/15/17-march-2017/ with thanks. PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast)

Northern Lights

Person Standing on White and Black Field Under Green and Black Sky during Twilight

Enar looked up at the sky, searching the star dotted blackness for any signs. As of yet he couldn’t see any lights, but he knew it must be soon. His breath misted before him, rising in puffy little clouds. It was bitterly cold, way below freezing, but he barely felt it in his long reindeer fur coat, gloves and boots.

In the background, he could hear the wind gently playing with the loose snow and his team of husky sled dogs barking. They had been on edge since seeing that polar bear and her cub. It had been a tense situation, saved only by him firing his gun. Enar hadn’t wanted to, especially after hearing the story of another man who was attacked by a male polar bear the other week. Still though as the bullet had shattered through all the growling, the mother had taken fright and run off, her cub in tow.

Enar came back to the now and looked more closely. There was green light growing in the distance. From his pocket, he took his camera and begin setting it up to take photos. He was clicking away before he knew it, watching more through the lens then anything else as the lights danced across the sky.

The dogs stopped barking almost as if they knew this mysterious force was now surrounding them. Silence fell, well beside from the snow shifting, Enar’s camera clicking and his deep breathing. His lungs were already burning the cold and he knew he’d have to start moving again soon.

He took a last photo, even though the light display was far from over. Rising his head, Enar admired the view above. Even though he knew the scientific reasoning behind it all he couldn’t help but think of the multi-coloured lights as being pure magic. He knew his ancestors had thought the lights to be departed souls and even further back in Norse myth, the lights were believed to be Valkyries and a bridge to Valhalla.

Enar put his camera away, having to fumble with it due to the thickness of his gloves and coat. He turned and walked back down to the dogs. They started barking at him, welcoming him back and seeming eager to be off again. He patted the first dog and made his way to the sled. He hadn’t bothered tying the dogs up. Shouting out, ‘mush,’ he gve the dogs some help then they were cutting their way through the snow once more, the aurora borealis dancing above them.

The Lost Temple

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When he discovered the temple he didn’t know what to think. His mind raced with the usual thoughts; it can’t be, someone already knows about this place, it’s not new. But then as he looked more and more, shinning his torch along the walls, his head cleared of such thoughts and he began to realise what he had uncovered.

He swim deeper, forgetting the weight of the scuba diving equipment and the crushing sea water. He studied the drawings on the wall and his heart leaped. There was no doubt what he had found now. The urge to go on grew and he had to know what was the other side of the temple, but his watch was beeping and he had to leave.

He turned around and swim as fast as he could back to the surface. Breaking through the waves, he searched for the ship and found he had come up way short. He paddled over, the air tank feeling like it was trying to hold him back. Reaching the ship, he waited till he was aboard till he announced his news.

‘It is Atlantis!’ he gasped, ‘we’ve found it!’

Water Man Part 8

They waited for nightfall then set out for the river’s end source. The sea and beach were miles from the woods, but with a God’s power they arrived in mere minutes. Hali and Zale quickly kicked off their shoes and rushed into the sea. Poseidon, with a belly laugh followed after them. Poseidon stamped his trident into the sea and a daze of golden light spun out of it and lit the waters and the beach up as if the sun had suddenly returned.

The twins hit the cold water at the same time and the sea greeted them like old friends. Waves broke at their legs and the sand moved under their feet. They laughed loudly like excited children and began throwing sea water at one another.

Poseidon stood on the edge, the sea lapping at his big toes and saddles, watching them. He felt the pull of the ocean calling him to step in, but the matter at hand stopped him. He looked around the beach and saw it empty. It was too difficult for humans to get down to this spot due to the towering jagged cliff faces. It was also too remote for any houses, but that of farmers and sea rescue crews.

The twins’ laughter and game faded as they paddled back to their grandfather. Both seemed breathless and had faces full of joy, it was a long time since they had last stepped into the sea. Hali stopped before Poseidon, but Zale carried on walking to collect their shoes.

‘I have decided,’ Poseidon boomed, ‘to grate you the last of my power.’

Hali moved his hair out his eyes and stared in puzzlement at the God.

‘I have realised you are able to do far more than me, the pair of you,’ he added as Zale appeared at his side. ‘I think it should become your duty and I shall retire.’

‘But grandfather, you can’t do that!’ Hali broken in, ‘what will become of you?’

‘The same as any other almost forgotten about God, I’ll still be there, but lingering. But I shall be happier though as in you two my power will become stronger. I can see that now. Here,’ Poseidon stated and handed Hali the trident.

With steady fingers, Hali reached out to touch it. He heard Zale dropping their shoes and coming around and their fingers wrapped around the trident at the same time. Almighty power shot up their fingers, hands and arms. Pain burst into their heads and they both felt sick and dizzy. For a few moments something screamed at them to let go, what they had touched was not for them. Then it subsided as it found Poseidon’s blood inside of them and realised that it had been handed over to another generation.

‘Boys? Are you alright?’ Poseidon’s voice echoed alongside the sea in their ears.

Hali and Zale opened their eyes and looked up at their grandfather.

‘I think so,’ Zale said and let go of the trident.

Hali just nodded and kept his fingers still. He could feel the power flowing within him and knew he now had complete command over any body of water.

‘Then I’ll leave you to sort things out,’ Poseidon stated, ‘you know where to find me and good luck.’

‘But wait! What do we do now?’ Hali called out.

‘What you’ve always wanted to do of course. Fix the waters.’

Hali looked down at the small waves lapping around them. He could feel the sea urging him to come further in. It was an odd sense.

‘I must go. Goodbye my children,’ Poseidon said and he walked into the ocean, which readily welcomed him.

Hali turned to Zale and held the trident out. Zale touched it once more, but this time felt a warmth radiating off the God’s instrument. He also felt the power that Hali could feel and he knew deep down that they were now destined to carry out their dreams.

The End.

Water Man Part 7

When they found him, Hali had his feet in the river. Zale approached him carefully, licking his lips as he did so and still not sure how he had pulled off this move. The person with him hung back respectively, but that didn’t make Zale feel any better. He reached out a hand and put it on his twin’s shoulder.

Hali turned to look at him, the cold water running over his feet, then saw who he had come with. Hali scrambled up and give his great great grandfather a small bow. Poseidon nodded his mighty head before continuing to look around. Hali felt his brother pat his shoulder and they walked over to stand before the God.

‘Nice place,’ Poseidon spoke in a deep voice.

‘Yes, it is,’ Zale responded, ‘are you sure you don’t want to go to the cabin?’

‘No. here is good enough. I see that river has been enjoying your company.’

The twins glanced over and nodded as one.

‘It is a fine river,’ Poseidon rumbled and he stroked his beard.

‘That it is, but not as might as some you have known, grandfather,’ Zale put in.

Poseidon nodded thoughtfully and curled his fingers around his trident. His light blue robe flowed around him, covering from neck to flow and seeming to have a life of its own. Leather saddles adored his huge feet with his big toes sticking out almost into the grass. A small orange crab appeared in his beard and scuttled across his hand.

‘What are you doing here, granddad?’ Hali finally asked.

‘Zale talked me into it,’ Poseidon boomed as he neatly tucked the crab back into his beard.

‘I told him, we wanted to talk about things…the sea and rivers and such,’ Zale chipped in, ‘and how sorry you were about your last visit…’

Hali half-raised his fist to punch him then thought better of it and let all the tension go.

‘Of course, you already know my position boys. There’s not much I can do,’ Poseidon picked up, having straightened out his beard.

‘We know that. But even if you can only do a little, it would make us more happy. Come lets’ go up to the cabin, I got some beer,’ Zale added.

‘Okay fine, you twisted my leg. Go on, go on.’

Nodding and patting his brother on the chest, Zale turned and began walking. Hali and Poseidon followed him, trying to make pleasant but awkward small talk. The sunny afternoon was well under way with light giving everything a sparkle and the birds happily singing. They followed a human footpath then a deer path, though it was a much short route then Hali had first taken. When they arrived the cabin looked just out of a fairy tale. Zale led the way in and whilst he hurried to get the beer, Hali gave their grandfather a chair at the table and wedged the door open to let out some of the sea salt air that clung heavily to Poseidon.

‘I don’t want to get your hopes up.’

Hali, having just sat down, looked up at him and waited for him to go on.

‘My magic wasn’t as strong as it once was,’ Poseidon explained, ‘and we always agreed not to get involved in man’s problems. I’m tired of trying to clean up the oceans after them.’

‘I know that grandfather, but there are better ways we can help them,’ Hali said, ‘some of the humans do want to put things right and they are trying. We just need to convince more of them and show them what to do.’

‘I can’t appear before them,’ Poseidon sighed, ‘no one really believes in us these days. Even back then it took a lot and that person had to be special.’

‘I know the old stories…’

‘Here we go!’ Zale called from a hidden cubby as he brought three large pints of beer over to them. He placed them on the table and foam slid down the glasses. He took a chair and settled in, ‘cheers.’

They raised they raised their glasses together before taking big drinks.

Zale banged his beer down on the table first and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He let a big ahh sound and lent back in the chair. He looked across at Hali and watched him placing his glass more lightly on to the table.

‘We need to find the others too and get them to help,’ Hali came back in.

Poseidon swallowed and placed his glass down, ‘good beer that. I couldn’t tell you where everyone was right now. My children are scattered to the seven seas.’

‘But you know where some of them are and they’ll know the locations of others,’ Zale suggested.

‘Suppose so. What are you going to do about the others though?’

‘Huh?’

‘Well, what’s the point in just saving all the water? What you going to do about the land and the plants and everything else?’

‘I hadn’t thought about it,’ Hali shrugged, ‘the water is my concern. Maybe, the ones in control of those should be doing something about it. It’s not mine- our- domain.’

‘Of course not, but we should all work together to make it better,’ Poseidon explained.

‘Point taken, but first the water. Here’s too it!’ Zale cried out and raised his pint glass.

The others did the same and clinked the glasses together before taking another big drink.

To Be Continued…

Water Man Part 6

When Zale found him, Hali was standing naked under the waterfall he had created. Zale called out to his twin, but as the name left his mouth he knew Hali wouldn’t hear him. Mumbling a string of swear words, Zale took off his boots and almost all of his clothes. He put his big toe in the water and commanded the river to hold him.

Slowly, he walked on the water’s surface and when he got within the waterfall’s spray, he told the water to stay away from him. He reached out a hand and the curtain of water parted. Hali snapped open his eyes and stared out at him.

‘What are you doing?’ Zale asked.

‘Enjoying a shower,’ Hali replied.

‘I’m sorry things didn’t work out with grandad. Maybe, next time I should go with you.’

‘I’m never going back there,’ Hali cut in with a shake of his head, sending water drops flying, ‘He won’t listen to me, he doesn’t care.’

‘That’s not true!’

‘He can’t do anything, just like we can’t,’ Hali stated and stepped forward.

He came out of the waterfall and stood opposite Zale on a large rock. Water dripped off him and returned back to the river. The sound of the waterfall masked their conversation and air bubbles popped around them. Hali stared at Zale, who reflected him perfectly. It seemed to be only their expressions which were different as Hali looked anger and Zale calm.

‘Then we’ll go and talk to the others,’ Zale suggested, ‘someone else will listen. Maybe we could band together and make him see.’

‘What’s the point?’ Hali dropped his shoulders and turned away.

Zale frowned, ‘you can’t suddenly be done with this! You’ve been trying for years.’

Hali got out of the river and not carrying about his clothes, set off into the trees. Zale clenching and unclenching his fists decided to let his brother go. Turning away, he put his clothes back on and went to the cabin. There were chores to be done and Hali clearly need to cool off.

Hali enjoyed the feeling of dry soil under his feet, but not the undergrowth that clawed at his skin. He pushed passed it all and found himself going uphill on an old deer track. He followed the track along, not caring where it led too. He just wanted to get away from his twin, his thoughts and himself. The track joined an actual footpath two miles later and Hali followed it around and down back to the river.

Human voices echoed in his ears and he slowed his steps. Keeping hidden in the dense bushes, he peered down at the river and saw a family below him. The mother was sat on the river bank on a blanket and next to a wicker basket. The father was in the river with the three children- one girl and two boys- they were paddling and building a stick structure. A yellow dog appeared from behind a tree, a large stick in its mouth. Hali watched the dog rush into the river, drop the stick and began to bark loudly. Hali cringed away from the noise, but couldn’t take his eyes off the family. The father threw the stick and the dog chased after it, dashing into the undergrown and trees. The man turned back and began helping his children make a dam.

Hali was drawn to turn away, but he ended up watching the family complete the dam and leave. He gave them a good few minutes, before he moved and walked down to where they had been. His body felt stiff from the hour or so of standing still, but he ignored that and came to a stop next to the dam. The barricade of branches let a trickle of water through in places and really it was doing nothing to hold the river back.

He knelt down and began tugging the dam apart. The branches easily give way to his strong hands and he let the river carry them away. The water seemed grateful to have been released and sung merrily to him. Hali finished off breaking the dam and sat back on the grass. The water surged and tumbled on its way.

    To Be Continued…

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Quick Note.

It’s The Story Files first birthday today! A year ago today I started this blog and published my first story. I’m mega happy that it’s still going strong and I’m still gaining readers/followers. Hopefully I’ll be able to kept it up for another year! I write all of my stories for free and don’t gain any money from doing so nor this blog. All I ask in return is that people like and comment on my pieces and help spreed the word about my blog. You can also do this by following me on twitter and Facebook, linked below. A big thanks to all my followers, let’s keep going!

If you fancy submitting a story to this blog please feel free to do so, the guide lines are here;  https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/submission-guidelines/

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Water Man Part 5

When Hali woke up everything had come back to him. He stayed in the bed, looking up at the ceiling and listening to Zale snoring. Oddly, he also remembered the whole of yesterday and wondered how he could have gotten through it so blindly. Casting his thoughts further back, he saw himself standing beside his great great grandfather, Poseidon, their pleasant conversation falling into a heat debate.

Hali sigh and turned his head into the pillow as he recalled Poseidon’s harsh words, ‘why should I save the sea if the humans are hell bent on destroying it and the rest of the world?’

‘Because, it’s important Grandfather and some of the humans do care,’ Hali had counted back.

‘This world isn’t ours any longer,’ Poseidon had answered thoughtfully, with his free hand running through his long blue-green beard.

‘So, what does it matter that no one believes in you or the other Gods anymore? You still have the right to do something!’

Poseidon shook his great head and clutched his golden trident tighter, ‘it matters.’

Hali groaned into his pillow, not wishing to remember the argument. He got up and went to the bathroom. Splashing water on his face made him feel better. He got dressed and went downstairs without waking Zale. He unlatched the front door and went outside.

The sun was shining in a too blue sky and dappling the tree leaves on the ground. Hali sat on the porch and listened to a breeze rustling the leaves and the distant tumbling of the river. He put his head in his hands and wondered how his grandfather could be so blind to all of this.

If I had it in myself I’d change everything, Hali thought.

He got up and walked towards the river. Birds sung in warning of his approach and darted from the trees as he walked. Far in the distance, he thought he heard the delight cries of humans and a dog barking. Forests were no longer the perfect hiding place. Throwing that thought away, Hali reached the edge of the river and sat down before it.

With his right hand, he reached out across the surface and watched the water eagerly coming towards him. He syphoned more water from the natural course of the river then turned it into a bubbling fountain. The water, happy to do as asked, cascaded down from a single jet and back into the river. Hali dropped his hand and stared into the bubbling depths.

He couldn’t command the sea like Poseidon could, he was only one third God and thus could only bend willing rivers and streams. Hali hung his head and knew he should be grateful for his gift, but it seemed all but useless in the twenty-first century. He thought about how in the past he had wowed crowds with his power to control water. He had given visibility to the water sprites, made huge waterfalls, redirected might rivers away or closer to towns. Now people could do most of that themselves and they now longer believed in the ancient magic.

Hali had watched the humans longer enough to see their fears changing and the old worlds slipping away. Ancient Greece was little more than a few broken statues and buildings, with the imaginations of tourists or children studying history giving but a glimpse of what it once was. He was kidding himself if actually knew that world though. Ancient Greece had already fallen by the time he and his brother were born, they had merely been brought up in the shadows of it.

Hali raised his hand, dismissed the fountain and watched the river get on its way again. He should go wake up Zale and discus what to do. Instead he turned away from that idea and plunged his hand into the river. He pictured a towering waterfall, with the water roaring over the edge and white waves below.

The river was happy to oblige the command.

To Be Continued….