Rubble #FridayFictioneers

The remains of the town lay in rubble between the desert hills. Canada walk around the large bricks of a burnt down church, lost in thought.

Canada knew from the stories told in her village that her family had once lived in this town and when the maunders had come they had killed everyone but somehow not her. A villager’s dog had saved her and returned home with Canada in its mouth.

She had no memories of her family or this town but the desire to rebuild the place and rule over it as was her right burned deep within.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/05/08/10-may-2019/ with thanks).

 

 

Under A Starry Sky #3LineTales

three line tales, week 155: an old truck in a ghost town

The night sky was awash with bright white dots of stars which shone down on an abandoned town nested in tall hills which helped to further block light pollution from the surrounding alive towns that were miles away.

This place, in Kenize’s and Brock’s opinions, was the best to see this formation of stars at this time of year, even though the abandoned town was eerie and Kenize was sure the other night, she had heard little girl singing and playing skipping rope.

With stars to concentrate on, there was no time for ghost hunting, but Kenize still couldn’t shake the feeling that they were not alone in the abandoned town, something was watching them work, something that wasn’t going to let them leave, ever.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/01/17/three-line-tales-week-155/ with thanks).

Rainy

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I liked walking in the rain. I enjoyed listening to the noise of water on the roofs of houses and cars, on discard litter, on leaves and umbrellas. Every note was a different sound, coming together to form the melody of the rainfall. That song for me calmed my soul like nothing else could.

I didn’t walk with a destination in mind. I went wherever I fancied with no fear of getting lost. I had explored the streets of this town for years, little had changed.  I crossed roads, went into parks, cut through graveyards with their dark church guardians then over the bridge.

The sound of rain on the river was loud and blocked some of the background town noise. I watched for awhile before turning and heading back home. I felt better, less stressed and calmer. Cold prickled my skin, making my sense of feeling higher, the handle of my umbrella a solid weight in my hands.

Onward #WritePhoto

The people of what had been Kirby town had been traveling for months, walking on the hard rocky animal tracks through the foggy and rain soaked mountain range. There seemed to be no end in sight and it was like they had been cursed to walk forever.

Wearily and hungrily, they followed their prince on his bedraggled white stallion and his surviving guards in their tattered livery. No one was sure where they were going but the wizard kept claiming the Gods would tell the prince soon enough.

A fine rain was falling and the wind kept driving into the people and animals. There was little shelter and half delirious some of the people started to believe the mountains were judging them.

But what would mountains know of having to flee your burning town? Of trying to save women from rape and murder at the hands of an army from a distant land? Of there being no help, no hope, nothing left but charred reminds of what had been?

‘Is that a cave or a gap?’ the prince muttered.

He was exhausted and finding it hard to keep the strength his people needed of him. Steering his horse off of the track and up a small ledge. He saw that a gaping hole opened inside the nearest mountain, like mouth that had been punched in.

The prince slide off his horse and lead the stallion over. The cave seemed back enough for everyone and it was also dry inside.

Prays were said to the Gods and a few people suggested that perhaps their fate was turning. Maybe tonight the prince would be told where to lead them too. Everyone settled into the cave, finding a large chamber for twelve horses, seven ponies, five goats, four dogs, two cows, one ox, one kitten and a crate full of chickens. There was also other chambers which the hundred odd humans scattered themselves about in.

No fires could be lit, there was no dry wood. The people ate whatever they had foraged, got as comfortable as they could and tried to sleep.

The prince woke early, feeling uneasy. He looked at the ceiling of the cave and wondered what to do.

‘My prince?’ ask the wizard, ‘any new thoughts?’

‘None,’ the prince uttered.

The wizard nodded and taking up his gnarled staff went out into the misty, rainy morning.

‘Shall we move on?’ the captain of the guards asked.

The prince looked around, taking in the closest children who were so tried and hungry they could no longer cry.

‘No. It seems safe enough here. We shall rest as long as we can.’

A few days passed and the people had made the best of things. Wood had been dried for a fire big enough to cook and dry clothes upon. The animals were providing milk and eggs now they were rested and grazing often. Everyone felt less hungry and tried.

On the four day, the wizard came back.

‘I have been seeing what there is to be seen,’ he announced, ‘and it looks like we must continue. The weather is turning and I fear we shall face greater hardships.’

The prince was fell silent in thought. A few voices give suggestions but at last the prince spoke, ‘tomorrow we leave. Go and find food, wood and prepare. We can’t stay here and must make it to some other town or city for the winter.’

Onward, the people of Kirby town traveled though a gap between two mountains where it stopped raining and began snowing. Some regretted leaving the cave but they knew if they had stayed they would have died, at least this way they had a chance.

On and on they pushed as winter bit in and heaped more harshness on them like never before. Some did not make it, but other weeks later, on the eve of the winter festival stood and looked down upon a valley and a town within.

Spirits soared and the people head forward. The prince feared they would be rejected or find the town in ruined but they were welcome in. A great hall lay at the heart of the town, heated by many fires and decorated with evergreen plants. The Lord welcomed them from his high seat and the prince counseled with him.

Dawn arose on the winter festival morning, crisp snow covered everything and a fine mist hung over the mountains. The people of Kirby all slept peacefully for the first time, warmed by the fires of the great hall, knowing they were safe for the time being.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/12/06/thursday-photo-prompt-onward-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

Gull Crash #3LineTales

three line tales, week 148: gulls over a stormy sea

The stormy sea was throwing up all kinds of things and the gulls were going crazy for the fish that were being tossed up in the crashing white crested waves.

It was a sign to get off the ocean to return safely to harbour, the fishing was over for another season and all the boats were making their way back, the last catch secured below decks like a glittering treasure.

On the land, twinkling fairy lights and the sweet smell of food welcomed them back, it was almost time for the end of year celebrations, their families had been working hard to prepare for and now with the additional fish the town would survive through the winter months to come.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/11/29/three-line-tales-week-148/ with thanks).

Bust #FFfAW

The trucker drove through another semi-abandoned town, just like the last few he had passed. Looking out of his rain splattered window at building sites and abandoned yellow machinery. The economy had fallen and work had stopped everywhere.

A sign went by, an advert for new houses; Move in by Christmas! The trucker looked at the dirt field behind. No chance, unless you put up a tent, he thought. Shaking his head, he drove on, heading away from failed towns and the out fall of other peoples’ decisions. He felt lucky to still have a job.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/fffaw-challenge-191st/ with thanks).

The Town That Was Lost To Time

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The small mining town had been built by hard working men for themselves and their families. Prosperity filled the buildings, laughter filled the streets and everything was just like any other town for many years. Then the coal and money began to run out, forcing people to find work else where and leave their homes.

With time, all the buildings become empty. For years, they sat alone until explorers came to see them. The new people found things pretty much as they had been left, as if the owners had just gone on holiday. Though, it was clear those people were never coming back.

The explorers’ photos and word of mouth spread and more people came to view the abandoned town. Things long untouched gotten taken, people left their different marks and the buildings deteriorated further. That though just made interested parties visit more often but they too added to the destruction.

At last, the ghost town crumbled and nature reclaimed the land. Visitors stopped coming and what little reminded of the buildings was left alone. And where once a happy, working town had stood there become nothing but the passage of time.

Town Decorations #FridayFictioneers

I looked up at the high street’s Christmas decorations with a mixture of  puzzlement and anger. At the lights turn on, the mayor had announced that due to lack of funds this year, they had decided to go with a ‘homemade’ feel..Children, old people and those who had nothing better to do, had dug out their old decorations and got making some too. Long knitted scarfs wrapped around the lampposts, ancient lights danging down, children’s glittered things and was that someone’s Mrs Santa’s nightdress? Well, I guess the town had come together in the spirit of Christmas.

(Inspired from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/12/13/15-december-2017 with thanks).

Flower Baskets

White Step Through Bicycle Leaning Beside Tree Plant

The hanging flower baskets had appeared all over the town. No one knew who was responsible or why, but the towns people were all in agreement that the flowers brightened up everyone’s day.

Winter Wanderer (Part 9)

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Beck opened his eyes and looked up at the flat, plain wooden ceiling above him. His back was aching from sleeping at an odd angle and his fingers still felt numb. He went to ease himself, but found that Olwyan was using his stomach as a pillow. She was curled into a ball within her cloak and blanket which was covering them both.

‘We have to get up,’ Beck said gently, ‘Olwyan?’

She moaned softly, but did not full awake.

Beck pulled his part of the blanket off his chest and made it into a ball. He slipped it under Olwyan’s head then lower both the floor. Standing up, he stretched then went downstairs to check on Nightstorm. A cold wind blew around the steps and he hurried down them as the wind whistled lonely to itself. He found Nightstorm laying on the ground, dozing in a corner.

Beck approached slowly, giving the horse time to wake and get up. He patted Nightstorm, arranged the woollen blanket over the warhorses back then slipped the bridle and reins on.

He gave Nightstorm some oats then carried on with the rest of the tack, whispering softly to him.

Olwyan soon joined them, bring some items down with her. Beck thank her and began packing them away. He then went up for the rest and when they were ready, he led Nightstorm outside with Olwyan in a safe distance behind. Beck’s feet slipped through the icy snow, the sound echoing through the forest. He patted Nightstorm and they headed back to the road.

‘How’s the wrist?’ Beck asked.

‘A lot better, thank you. That mixture seems to have worked,’ Olwyan replied.

Beck nodded, ‘there will be healers in Erwood. Hopefully it’ll mend correctly.’

‘Me too,’ she spoke, ‘how far do you think it is?’

‘We should be there by the evening as long as nothing else happens,’ Beck tacked on.

‘Let’s pray it does not.’

There was a pause then Beck pointed out the road and they hurried on. Once there, Beck let Olwyan ride Nightstorm again and they journeyed on. Thankfully, nothing else crossed their path, even though they had a few rest stops. The gloomy grey sky, which thankfully did not shower down more snow, changed darker as the late afternoon arrived.

Olwyan noticed the trees moving back from the road and thinning out more. A upright stone came into view on their left and Beck, dropping the reins, hurried over to it. Patting Nightstorm, Olwyan got him to carry on walking and soon came along Beck. He had scrapped the frozen snow off the snow and was tracing the written upon it.

‘Can you read it?’ she called.

‘It’s the marker for Erwood,’ Beck answered back, ‘a few more miles and we should be there.’

Olwyan smiled, ‘good.’

Beck stepped back and took the reins again. He looked up at Olwyan.

‘What?’ she asked after a few seconds.

‘Nothing,’ he replied with shake of his head.

He led Nightstorm on, allowing the silence to cover up the words that had stuck in his throat.

Twenty minutes later, Olwyan pointed out the lights in the distance, ‘look.’

‘Erwood,’ Beck breathed.

‘We made it!’

‘Of course, we did.’

‘Good boy, Nightstorm,’ Olwyan added as she patted the horse’s neck.

Beck looked at her, slowly down, but she did not say anything further. He fixed his eyes back to the road and the lights head. The heaviness that had been growing in his chest seemed to be reaching a peak. Glancing down, Beck saw the snow becoming more disturbed around them. People, horse, carts and other animals had all been walking and digging the snow. He focused on that for a few minutes, chasing his thoughts and feelings back down.

A gate house loomed before them and all too soon, Beck was stopping Nightstorm before it.

The soft sounds of laughter and voices different over to them. Somewhere a door inside the town a door banged shut and a dog started barking. Nightstorm shifted and Beck stroked his face.

‘Who goes there?’ a loud voice disembodied shouted.

‘Seekers of shelter,’ Beck shouted back.

The light in the doorway was covered as a large man walked in front of it and came out to them. He carried a lantern and was wearing a grey cloak which was tossed back. His huge stomach hung over cloth pants which his shirt was barely tucked into. The lower half of his face was completely covered by a long black beard which mingled with his even longer hair.

Olwyan blinked away the bright light and clutched the saddle tighter. She thought about saying who she was and what had happened, but Beck spoke out before she could.

‘We are travellers. We had a run in with some Treomun and a forest ogre.’

‘Where are you going to?’ the guard asked.

‘To Breland. Yes, I know it’s in the other direction. This poor woman’s party was attack and she is the only survivor. I rescued her and are now trying to help her home,’ Beck explained.

The guard brought the lantern closer, leaving the warmth and safety of the gatehouse.

‘The Wanderer. I thought it was you,’ he muttered after a few moments, ‘welcome. Please go through.’

‘Thank you,’ Beck said.

The guard turned and going back inside, he opened the wooden gates and waved them through. Once inside the gates closed behind them and Beck head for an inn. Olwyan looked around at the town which was settling down for the night. The air smelt of burning wood and rich food. Light poured from a few windows and the dog finally stopped barking.

A sign for The eyed Ogre, creaked above them and Beck led Nightstorm around the back.

‘You have been here before?’ Olwyan asking, seeing how familiar he was with the town.

‘A few times,’ Beck replied.

At the back of the inn was a large stable. The doors were open and spilling light out on to a small courtyard. Beck led Nightstorm in then helped Olwyan down. As her feet touched the floor the sound of hurried footsteps came over and she looked down the stable to see two young teenage boys running down.

‘I shall take your horse, sir!’ the first one cried.

Beck thank the boys, but then did most of the work himself, leaving Olwyan to sit on a bale of hay. He came back to her when he was ready and they walked into the inn together. The front room was middle size, with a large fire roaring in the fireplace and a scattering of chairs and tables. A handful of men were sat around, drinking and talking. Beck went straight up to the bar and the innkeeper.

Olwyan walked to the fire and stood before it, holding her good hand out to the flames. Beck called over a few minutes later and she saw the innkeeper slipping coins from the bar and moving away.

‘I got us rooms and a hot bath for you and some food,’ he said.

‘Thank you,’ Olwyan gushed and nearly threw her arms around him.

Beck led her upwards and they found their rooms. The rooms were small but clean and next door to each other. Beck put his things on the floor and went to the shuttered window. He opened it and peered out into the main street below. He breathed in the cold air then feeling Olwyan’s eyes on him turned.

‘Till the morning then?’ she asked.

Beck nodded, ‘Goodnight.’

She smiled and went to her room. Beck closed the door and began thinking about the trek to Breland, he would have to get Olwyan a horse. A soft knocking the door had him opening it again and one of the innkeeper’s daughters was there with a jug of water and flagon of beer. He took them and thanked her, feeling the tiredness sinking in. He drink the beer, washed and changed and enjoyed a warm bowl of stew.

He thought about checking on Olwyan, but the bed was too soft underneath him. He sprawled across it, feeling completely warm for the first time in weeks. Shutting his eyes Beck fell asleep before he even knew it.

 

In the morning dawned clear and bright coming through the coloured glass windows of the Inn. Beck sat in the corner, watching the town’s people going about their business. Before him on the wooden table were the empty pots of his breakfast. He’d asked some food to be sent up to Olwyan, thinking she would rather eat in her room.

The door opened, sending a breeze of cold air and a flurry of snowflakes into the inn. Beck watched the two tall men dressed in Ravenglass guard uniforms go up to the bar. He kept his head turned away, but listened to their conversation.

‘We are looking for a small party of people, they were meant to send word when they had arrived here,’ one of the men spoke.

The innkeeper shook his head and mumbled, ‘I have not seen any large group of people arrive.’

‘Any reports from the forest?’ the second asked.

‘Perhaps, you should talk to that man over there,’ the innkeeper said, ‘he’s known as the Wanderer.’

Beck felt eyes on him, but kept still as the guards came over.

‘Sorry to disturb you, but the inn keeper says you might be able to help us?’

Beck turned and looked at the men, they both seemed identical with their short beards and hair.

‘Depends,’ he muttered.

‘We are searching for a party that were traveling through the forest,’ the first spoke.

‘Two carriages and with twelve mounted guards?’

‘Yes.’

‘There was only one survivor, a woman. She said they had been attacked by bandits. She’s upstairs resting,’ Beck replied.

‘You should go and get her.’

Beck stood up and walked passed them. He went upstairs, knocked on Olwyan’s door and she opened it, told her about the guards. They went downstairs then muttering something, Beck went back up. He packed up his things and took a back door to the stables. He took his things to Nightstorm and began preparing to leave.

The soft running of footsteps made him look up as he was leading Nightstorm out of the stall.

‘Are you leaving?’ Olwyan cried.

‘You should be fine now. Those guards will take you home.’

‘No, they want to take me to Ravenglass! I don’t want to go.’

‘I don’t think there’s a lot I can do about that…’

‘Take me with you,’ Olwyan declared.

‘It’s best this way,’ Beck stated and brushed passed her.

He led Nightstorm into the courtyard and down the side of the inn without a backward glance. Though he found it hard to resisted, he could still hear Olwyan’s heavy breathing coming from behind him. He stepped out on the street and turned.

‘It’s not worth it,’ he muttered to himself.

‘Beck!’ Olwyan shouted.

He gave and turned, ‘come on then!’

****

Small Note.

Hi and thanks for reading this story. As you might have guessed if you’ve read the whole thing, I’ve had trouble keeping it short because it seems the characters were too interesting. I’ve had lots of ideas and other thoughts that just haven’t made it in. And unfortunately due to wanting to publish other stuff and not being able to come up with a better ending, I’ve left it open for more.

So, I was wondering if I wrote some more in the next few months or so, would anyone be interested in reading more of Beck’s and Owlyan’s story? Please let me in the comments and if you have any other feedback which will help me improve the story please let me know.