Xyst #atozchallenge

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Xyst; a garden walk planted with trees. 

Escaping from the tea party, I made my way to the tree walk away. It was a place right at the back of the gardens that had been left naturally wild, once my great-great grandfather had finished having the trees planted. His original plan had been to make a wooded area for hunting in but the horses had struggled with the undergrowth and trees.

There had been so many plans over the years to clear the area and make it something else; another ordered garden, a vegetable patch for the servants, a summer house. The tree walk though was too far out to be much use for any of that, plus there’d always been the matter of the cost of it. I, though was grateful that the tree walk had been left alone and was still wild.

Leaving the neatly racked path, I stepped onto a single dirt track and disappeared into the shadows of the trees. Breathing deeply, I left the constraints of the tea party behind me. I was never very good at remembering my manners, sipping my tea and only nibbling at a sliver of cake. It was especially bad today as we had male guests and I didn’t do well when there were handsome men around!

It was best to stay away and let my mother and sisters deal with such things. Mother was determined to marry us all off before the eldest- Elizabeth now twenty three- turned twenty five. At which point, mother believed the possibility of marriage was low. I did not share that view. Perhaps it was my romantic fifteen year old nature but I wanted to believe there was going to be more to my life then marriage and children.

I let my fingers brush against the rough tree trunks and over grown grass. There was no need to be lady-like in this garden. Overhead, the birds sing of spring in a deep blue sky and the warm breeze promised summer. The scent of flowers and earth hugged the air, making me happy. Following the path, I reached the little wooden bridge over the shallow river that created a boarder to our land.

I lent over, watching the water flowing below. I liked the gentle rushing and bubbling noises. Also, it reminded me that when we had been children, we would throw sticks off the bridge and see who’s came through the other side first. This had been our secret garden; six girls just being children and escaping the pressure of adulthood.

How I wanted things to go back to those days! Being carefree and happy with only the distance shadows of a future out of our control. I sighed and wondered how much longer I could stay away. I should have pretended to have a headache or feel faint but then I would have had to go indoors. I wish I could just hide in here for the rest of my life but one can not escape one’s destiny.

I gathered the pale blue skirts of my afternoon dress and checked them for mud. Mother would not be happy if I returned unclean. Thankfully, it had been dry for a good few days now. Brushing the soft fabric off, I walked back to whatever was awaiting me.

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Willowwacks #atozchallenge

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Willowwack; a wooded, uninhabited area. 

The small river weaved it’s way around the banks and trees just as it always did. The soft, tinkling sounds the water made as it traveled over rocks and fallen branches was the constant background music to the woods.

The wind made itself know; shaking the newly flourishing branches, roughing up the young flowers and grass. The noises echoing, falling and raising again in an almost pattern like way. The wind blew across the surface of the river but it knew better then to mess with the water, for water is more powerful.

Shy animals scampered or fluttered about; birds in bushes, squirrels in trees, butterflies on flowers and rabbits nibbling grass outside their burrows. All could just be glimpsed if in the right place at the right time. They were heard far more then they were seen though.

I, the ancient but still mighty oak which all this around me, adding it to my fountain of knowledge. I towered over all the other trees; giving shelter to the saplings, home to many animals and a king to this patch of woodland. We were protected because man said I was over two hundred years old and must not be cut down.

With man doing their job, I was left alone to do mine.

Winter Escape #FridayFictioneers

It wasn’t what the holiday brochure advertised but I wasn’t one to be picky. Everything worked, it was clean, the view was nice and the hotel staff friendly. It didn’t seem a bad place for a single traveller to stay in during a sunny holiday. Though the building looked really ramshackled and about to fall down. It creaked something awful which the sounds of the river and boats couldn’t counter. The feelings of danger never left and I just couldn’t relax. Sad to say, but I went home early and back to my country gripped in the blast of winter.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/02/07/9-february-2018/ with thanks).

Flow #writephoto

Life is like the flow of a river, I realised looking up at the waterfall from the canvas I had been painting on. You start off like a spring then become a stream, turning this way and that as you take different paths. Then you join a river and carry on going through things; some good and some bad, changing and growing older. Finally, you join the sea ending your life.

I looked down at the canvas balanced on the small easel, the painting I had done was a likeness of the waterfall and mossy rocks below, but I didn’t like it. Some of the strokes looked childlike and I really hadn’t captured the true beautiful force of the waterfall. I signed and began to pack up. It was always the same when I paused and valuated my art; I couldn’t go on when I became negative about it.

When I was done, I stood and watched the river carrying on tumbling down. The sound was so calming and mixed in with the soft singing of the birds and the rustle of the trees this place was a peaceful spot. The river then bubbled past me and away into a cluster of trees towards the next waterfall. It began raining.

I looked up at the sky frowning then ducked into the cover of some trees. A thought popped into my head; this is the full circle of water. I watched the raindrops falling in the ground and realised that we too became a part of the earth, only we didn’t raise up again. It was a morbid thought but at the same time reassuring.

The river couldn’t stop it’s flow and nor could we stop the flow of life.

 

(Inspired by https://scvincent.com/2017/09/21/thursday-photo-prompt-flow-writephoto/ with thanks).

In The Woods

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In the woods you can just be yourself. You don’t have to answer to anyone. The trees and animals accept you for being you. Peace will come upon you in the woods as you shut your eyes and take deep breaths. The river plays a soft song for you, helping to relax your body. The breeze moves the trees carefully, carring the scent of flowers and grass to you on warm carcasses. The birds chime happily in the trees, even though they don’t play for you, they can’t resist an early evening at the height of summer. And you can let go of everything that has been holding you back. Release the stress and worries into nature. Now breath.

The Eating River

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The river consumed everything in it’s path.

Not caring if it was natural  or man-made, it swept all it away.

Washing the earth clean of everything that once was.

 

 

Green #writephoto

The river was good at keeping secrets. Though sometimes it decided to give them up; a broken arrow from a hunt, a lost ring from a lovers’ quarrel, a human body. A few secrets though, it would never give up.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/05/11/thursday-photo-prompt-green-writephoto/ with thanks)

The Bookworm

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I don’t know what was going through Kim’s mind that day. Only that she wanted to be left alone. My old gran would’ve said that girl was away with the clouds and why couldn’t I find someone normal to have as a girlfriend?

I didn’t want normal though. I wanted the unexpected and unusual. I wanted more excitement then a cheerleader – who were way out of my zone anyway and more beautiful then the geeks and nerd girls. Saying that though, Kim was a bit of a geek. Though she always denied it.

We were meant to have a date that evening. But as we left school, Kim told me it was off then left without another word. I pondered as I walked home if that meant we had broken up, but Kim would have said that. She was a girl of few words and when she spoke it was only to say what she meant.

The late afternoon was pleasant enough, for the end of March. There’d been a lot of rain recently, but it was a mostly dry and sunny day. I didn’t much feel like going home. But I was feeling stuffy in my uniform. So, I headed there to get changed.

There was plenty of things I could do, like homework or playing on my Xbox, maybe seeing if anyone else was up for hanging out. I wasn’t in the mood though. Kim had put me off and my thoughts were fixed on her.

What was her reason? She’d never cancelled on me before and we’d been dating for five months or so now. Yes, I wanted to sleep with her, but I was willing to wait. If she’d been ill or busy with something else, why didn’t she just say? It had been simply, ‘I can’t meet tonight. Sorry.’

I could text or call her, but Kim wasn’t one for phones. Instead, I decided to go and see if I could just find her by wondering about. A crazy, long shot of an idea, but it had worked before.

Grabbing a jacket, I left and walked around our small town. I checked Kim’s house, but there was no one home. I checked the school, but it was now locked for the night. I searched shops, the library, the little parks. Finally, I walked out to the woods.

There were a handful of dog walkers, a jogger and some school kids from the other high school dotted around. I was about to give up, maybe she’d gone out of town? Some emergency she couldn’t tell me about? Other ideas popped into my head and my feet came to a stop.

I was facing the river. The water was flowing gently, causing the grass and tree branches which dipped in to move also. It was a pretty spot. I looked further to my right watching the river moving past me. Something caught my eyes. There was a large branch stretching over the river and laying on it was Kim!

She still had her uniform on, but she had let down her long black hair. There was a book covering her face and her school bag was hanging up close by. She seemed to be asleep.

I walked over and lent around the tree. It was easy enough to climb up and walk over, but I didn’t want to. Instead, I said Kim’s name gently and tried to wake her. It took a few attempts.

‘Go away, Dustin,’ Kim said.

‘Why? What are you doing?’ I asked.

‘Communicating with this book,’ she replied.

I frowned, ‘why?’

‘Because it’s hard and I’m trying to understand it. Now go away!’

‘Is that why you cancelled our date?’ I asked.

‘No,’ Kim answered.

I waited, but she didn’t say any more. I rubbed my fingers over the bark of the tree and felt how rough and dry it was. Kim just lay there, book still over her face.

‘Then, why?’ I pressed.

‘Because I wasn’t in the mood,’

‘Oh.’

I put cheek to the tree trunk and stared at her. Kim had really nice legs. She wasn’t wearing tights or leggings today, a sure sign the weather was getting warmer. Her skirt was knee length though and give her the cover she needed. Her blouse was still tucked in and I could see it swelling around her chest when she breathed in. Even though I hadn’t seen them yet, Kim had small boobs.

I couldn’t decided what to do. From her demeanour it was clear I should go, but I didn’t want to. There was enough room on the branch for me if I wanted to sit close to her feet. Or, I could sit at the foot of the tree. What was the point in waiting for her when she’d made it clear she didn’t want me though?

‘I guess, I should go,’ I said, a little too loudly.

Kim finally took the book off her face and looked at me.

I lent off the tree and got ready to make a move.

‘You don’t have,’ Kim said, ‘I’m bored anyway.’

She sat up and shuffled along the branch. She put the book in her bag, tugged it down and put the strap over her head. The she clung on to the tree trunk and slowly climbed down. I helped her over the last bit then give her a hug.

‘What’s the book about?’ I asked.

‘Seventeen century witches’ plays,’ she added.

‘Witch plays?’

Kim held my hand and we began walking.

‘Yeah, because people in the sixteen hundreds loved witches.’

I nodded, noticing the sarcasm in her voice. Kim swung our hands and we headed down a quiet little path.

‘Maybe, you can help me figure it out later?’ she said.

‘Sure. Does this mean we get to have our date after all?’ I asked.

‘I guess…You’re going to pay for dinner, right?’

I shook my head, unbelieving that and Kim laughed at me.

Bridge

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The troll had lived under the bridge for a long time, however he had finally decided it was time to move. The river was too polluted and the smell was making him sick. Every morning, the troll would sit at the edge of the river and watch rubbish floating by. Sometimes he would pull things out; a bent bike, a rusting shopping trolley, a dead dog. He would add all these things to his collections and in the afternoon he would make art.

The troll enjoyed bending metal, snapping wood and breaking other things up to constructed his sculptures. Then he would leave his art in random places so that passersby would see them. His favorite pieces were; the owl made out of wire netting and car parts. The horse made out of shopping trolleys, bikes and wood. The armless mannequin who’s dress was made out of plastic bags and coat hangers.

That morning, instead of sitting by the river and collecting things, the troll began packing. He dug out two huge suitcases he had dragged from the water and ponder what he would take with him. He emptied the broken wardrobe of his clothes, – he enjoyed being fashionable- the cupboards of his kitchen equipment, – he liked cooking tasty meals- his shelves of books, – the troll was a great reader- his chest of drawers full of trinkets, – he liked shinny things- and finally he took his paintings from the wall, – the troll enjoyed experimenting with different mediums.

Putting on his huge coat and large hat, the troll picked up the suitcases and left home. Waves of sadness washed over him as he left the bridge and sculptures behind. Of course, he hadn’t been able to take any of them with him for they were all far too big. Trying not to think any more about it, the troll walked and walked.

Hours later, he arrived at the seaside. He took in deep lungfuls of fresh salty air and decided he liked it here.

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/02/23/thursday-photo-prompt-bridge-writephoto with thanks)

The Bear

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Deep inside the cave the bear slept winter away. He dreamed of spring when the snow would melt, the grass would be green and the air warm. He splashed through the great river chasing salmon and searching for fruits. He meet other bears, fought them and found a mate. He had father cubs, but he’d never met any of them. He roamed the forest, searching for more food and avoiding the humans. Then he felt the season’s change and knew it was time to get ready for the long sleep. The dream slipped away and the bear dreamt of other things deep within his cave.