Cave

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As Jay’s hand scrapped against the hard stone wall of the cave, he wondered if he had made a mistake coming in here. It had been fun at first showing off to the girls and proving he was braver then the other teenage boys but he hadn’t expected the cave to be so long.

The light of his phone lit only a patch of the floor and base of the other wall. Minerals shone under the glow and dripping water echoed making Jay feel disoriented at where the sound was coming from.

I should get out of here, Jay thought.

Something though made him carry on. Deeper and deeper, passing through narrow and wide sections, the dripping water calling to him like a Siren.

Jay’s feet splashed into water. His phone light danced along the surface of a dark pool. Ripples lapped against distant walls and small waterfalls made their way down the sides and into the pool.

I should stop, Jay thought but he couldn’t.

Water rose over his shoes, soaking his socks and ankles. Strangely the water was pleasantly warm even though Jay knew it should be icy cold. He tried to stop and turn but he couldn’t. It was like his feet were stuck on the track of a ride.

Right before the panic hit him, Jay heard the loveliest singing he had every heard. Soft female voices song words he couldn’t make out or were in another language. Calmness came over him and Jay felt himself drifting, lulled by the singing.

His legs splashed through the water then he was up to his stomach and he could no longer touch the floor. Jay began swimming, knowing only that he had to find the singing women and nothing else mattered anymore.

 

Juramentrum #AtoZChallenge (Part 2)

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Juramentrum – oath

Siegfried breathed deeply and smelt the nature drifting his way. It was mid spring and everything was waking up after the long dark winter. He could smell something sweet, maybe flowers hidden from sight in the grass that covered the rocks. There was a damp earthy smell from soil that had found its way into the cracks of the rocks.

The river smelt of nothing but has he dipped his fingers into the water, Siegfried felt the coldness and smoothness of the flow. Removing his hand, he took a few sips of water from the waterskin.

He didn’t have to worry about steering the boat, it was making its own course as if being pulled along by unseen hands. The boat was also small enough to pass by and over any threatening rocks. It was a good boat. His brother, Hrothgar, had done an excellent job.

One of the old dogs yawed and Siegfried twisted to look at them. They were settling down again. Grey heads resting on the edge of the boat and their bodies curled together for warm. They looked peaceful and not worried.

Siegfried grabbed one of the furs and threw it over them. He could trust his dogs sense of things and if they weren’t worried about any danger then nor should he. It was growing colder though.

Grabbing a fur for himself, Siegfried drew it around his shoulder and noticed how dark it was getting. The height of the gorge was blocking out the warm sun and casting everything into darkness the further you entered in. Soon, he wouldn’t be able to see.

Searching in the boat’s hull, Siegfried found a lamp and lit it. Carefully and slowly, he crawled to the front of the boat and placed the lamp into its place. Going back to his seat, he found another lamp, lit it and placed it beside himself. Clutching the oar in one hand and his sword in the other, Siegfried was swallowed by darkness.

An icy wind swept down and Siegfried smelt snow in the air. It was normal of winter to hold on has long as he could and he found hiding places where the sun couldn’t find him. Siegfried hoped the river was frozen and that it didn’t start snowing. Just in case though, he threw another fur over the dogs and pulled a large one onto his head.

Siegfried might be a mighty Viking but he was old now and felt the cold stiffen his bones more and more.

Perhaps, I should have waited till the summer? he thought.

Shaking his head, Siegfried got the oar back out and began paddling again. He’d rather meet the ice sooner rather than later. A few small flakes of snow landed in his beard and boat. The darkness pressed deeper down, everything had been blocked out above him as if the gorge had a roof.

Not stopping, he rowed faster, not liking the darkness and the gathering cold.

‘This can’t go on for much longer,’ Siegfried muttered, ‘how you doing back there dogs?’

There was a muffled moan and Siegfried glanced over his shoulder but he couldn’t see the back of the boat. The light from the lamps was hardly anything but he was grateful to not be in total darkness.

He turned his face up, looking for glints of blue sky. His oar hit something hard, probably just a rock, he felt the vibrations going through his arm. Nothing to worry about. He padded faster, not liking this at all and feeling uneasy in his gut. Telling himself there had to be an end to this soon spurred him on.

There, was that a hint of blue above? Did the path ahead look lighter? Siegfried concentrated on that patch of blue and slowly came out into the light once more. Sighing, he stopped rowing and blew the lamps out. He took a few deep breaths and let the furs slip off him.

Blue sky angled it’s way into the gorge, filling the gap above the rocks. Sun cast light on green things and grey surfaces. Warm slowly tricked down to the river and soon the way widened. The river burbled along as if happy to be out of the darkness just as Siegfried was.

Pulling the oar in, he let the boat drift again. The river lapped against the wood and the shore in a calming way and carried the boat along its course. Siegfried settled back, watching more and more of the sky open above him. He could tell the gorge was coming into an end.

Shutting his eyes, he rested, feeling the cold leaving him and warmth filling him up. He dozed then when the boat slowed and began bobbing against something, Siegfried opened his eyes and saw he had arrived at the gates of Valhalla.

 

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Juramentrum #AtoZChallenge (Part 1)

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Juramentrum – oath

Siegfried stopped paddling the wooden long, narrow boat and looked up at the rising landscape around him. It was quiet. Too quiet he thought. He could hear the far cry of birds, the wind playing through trees and long grass, the flow and lapping of the river but that was all.

He pulled the oar half in and watched water dripping off the neatly shaped paddle. There was nothing smoothing about the steady sound, just reminded that he was alone out here.

I hate this, he thought and lowered the oar again.

There was nothing for it but to get through the gorge and hope nothing attacked him.

‘I’m tried of fighting and that’s saying something coming from an old Viking!’ Siegfried spoke then chuckled.

He paddled swiftly, with years of experience, his eyes watching his surrounds and not his oar or the front of the boat. He could trusted the craftsmanship of the vessel his brother had built it and there was no finer ship building then Hrothgar.

Siegfried wished his brother was here with him now, instead his traveling companions were two old hunting dogs who never left his side. Still though, this journey was Siegfried’s alone to take.

The gorge rose up on either side, blocking out some of the afternoon sun. Solid multi-coloured rock with bits of green plant life sticking out seemed to stretch endlessly to meet the blue sky. Rocks jutted out of the river, covered with moss and worn smooth. Boats still had to be careful though as there was no telling if some of those rock edges could still break through wood or not.

Entering the gorge would mean no going back. It was a long way to the other side. Most people tried to avoid going through, preferring the other, longer route the river divided into further back up. This way was favored by bigger boats because in some places the gorge forced the river to narrow far too much.

Siegfried stopped rowing and let the boat drift as he went inside the gorge. He knew being quiet as much as possible would help if anyone or thing was listening above. He picked up his shield which he had rested in the bottom of the boat and lifted it over his head.

Only arrows or rocks or other things could be rained down on him from the gorge’s high cliffs because nothing would be stupid enough to jump down and try to get him. No, if a wild animal or monster wanted him they would track him to a more suitable place.

I’m being over cautious, Siegfried thought, this too dangerous journey is getting to me.

He lowered the shield and studied the view above. Nothing was moving up the clouds and he could hear the river singing along. He looked at the two dogs, both now awake and looking around as if they sensed there could be danger.

Siegfried looked down into the hull of the boat once more and gripped his long sharp edged sword. The weapon comforted him even though it was no use currently. In the boat was also some daggers, a bow and arrows which he hardly used anyway, some food, water and other useful items. He had packed well for this journey, not sure what he might need.

Siegfried shook his head then ran his hand through his long plaited grey beard. He felt uneasy and wished things were different. But he had made an oath to his brothers, wife and children that he would do this. He would go first….

To Be Continued…

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Forbidden (Part 2)

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It wasn’t until I got home after emptying my car and leaving it at the garage, that I finally looked at what I’d brought from the antique shop. Sitting on the sofa in the living room, the blinds down, I opened the paper bag and took out a pink tissue wrapped thing.

Unwrapped, a black plastic circle sat in my hand. There was a small dint to slide a nail in and open it by. The lid flipped up and I realised it was a woman’s compact. The bottom disc was empty and wiped clean of the powered it had once held. The top part was a mirror.

I slapped the compact shut. Mirrors were banned! A generation ago they were all smashed because it was claimed they had started to show peoples’ true characters. The New Age Government had passed a law declaring it so. Of course, there had been people denying that and claiming it was another front to suppress us.

I don’t really remember it. Though in one of the memories I have of my grandma there’s a big mirror. She use to sit and brush her hair before it. From time to time, I’ve seen people with small ones and on the screen when old TV shows and movies that weren’t banned were being shown. I had never owed a mirror.

Thinking was beyond me, so I re-wrapped and put it back in the paper bag then I went to my wardrobe. Moving clothes aside, I unlocked the small safe and placed the forbidden item in there. I closed the safe door and sat there for a few minutes. I would have to get rid of it tomorrow. Find some place to smash and dump it. The longer the mirror stayed in my house the more chance it would get discovered during a random police search gang.

A shiver ran through me at that thought. It had been awhile since the banging had come at my door in the early hours of the morning. I hadn’t reached it in time and the police had broken the door down. They had searched my whole apartment, moving furniture, breaking things, making holes in the walls. They had left empty handed and gone to join the other policemen who’d been through my neighbours’ places.

The search gangs were a fact of life but you never got use to them. If they found anything banned you were arrested and taken to jail. So, if they came tonight….

‘No!’ I cried and lunged for the safe.

I scrambled with the lock and put the numbers wrong in twice. Pulling away, I took a few deep breaths then tried again. The safe clicked and I grabbed the paper bag from inside. Clutching it to my chest, I felt a sensation of fire. I had to get rid of this now. Closing the safe and the wardrobe. I went into the kitchen and found a rolling pin. Placing the compact mirror on the floor, I repeatedly hit it.

I didn’t hear any breaking but I was too scared to check. Putting the rolling pin back, I stuffed the now ripped paper bag in my handbag and left. I wasn’t sure where I was going and the weather was so bad. I went to get into my car then remembered it was at the garage being fixed.

I looked back at the apartment building, the wind whipping around me and the rain soaking through my skirt. I couldn’t go back. Walking on, I thought about a location I could take the mirror too. There were some alleyways, a small children’s park, a few bushes pushing out of people’s front gardens….A sign rose above me directing cars on the one way road.

Ahead, the town centre and business distract and to the left the cemetery. That’s where I could bury the compact! I hurried on, huddling in my coat and hoping no one stopped me. The pavement weaved around and around, small house lining either side, many had lights on in their windows. I felt numb with the cold and weighed down with the rain. Turning a corner the houses started to drop away and the further I walked the less there were.

A sign, rattling in the wind, pointed onward and also declared this was a dead end. A few moments later, I could see the open gates of the cemetery. I broke into a slow run, desperate to complete my task. I went through the gates and almost stopped at the first row of headstones. It would have been too simple though. I headed in deeper. The rain dripping of the weeping willows and bending the tall grass. I passed statues of angels and saints who seemed to be crying.

Somehow, in my fogged mind, I remembered a curved wall of names that might have been from a war or from a religious group. It was at the bottom of this pathway and fenced off from the other graves. There was an arc doorway in the centre that might once had opened and led into a tomb. Reaching the fence, I saw a large gap and just squeezed in.

At the side of the stairs leading up, I dug up the grass and soil with my bare hands. I dug as deep as I could then pressed the compact into the earth. I refilled the hole and hoped the rain and wind would cover my tracks. Back through the fence, I located a tap and washed my hands.

Home felt a long way off but I made it back. I didn’t think anyone had seen but it was so hard to tell. There were secret cameras and spies everywhere. I showered, got warm and then dry. I couldn’t eat so I went to bed and just lay there in the dim light, thinking.

I knew the feeling of being found out would never go away. I’d always be looking and wondering for the rest of my life. One other thing was clear to me now though and that was that I couldn’t report the antique shop. If I did, they’d investigate me and I wouldn’t be able to lie.

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.

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!’