Green

pebbles-1090536_1920

I had never seen a stone like it before on the beach. With the waves and wind whipping around me and Betty, my cocker spaniel whining, I bent and picked it up. The coat of my hood and loose hair strands got in my face, I blinked them away then looked in my hand. The stone was there. Sparkling wet, but perfectly round and a clear lime green colour.

I turned it over and it was the same on the back. Slipping it into my pocket, I straightened and began battling the storm back to my house. When I arrived, cold and dripping wet. I took my coat off and forgot about the strange stone. I had Betty to dry, myself to dry and though it was the height of summer, a fire to make up.

So it wasn’t until I put my coat on days later, to protect me from a miserable drizzly morning, that I rediscovered the stone. Taking it out of my pocket, I looked and felt it’s smooth edges. Betty was bouncing at my feet, eager to go out and wondering what was keeping her master from getting a move on.

I looked more closely at the stone and realised it wasn’t a stone at all. It was a piece of glass which the ocean had worn smooth and softened the edges of. It wasn’t unusually to find glass fragments on the beach, it was the fact the piece was so green that got to me. Wondering were it came from, I placed it safely on the little sill next to the front window. I took Betty out and once again forgot all about the green glass.

Watchers #writephoto

Pausing on the footpath before the tall jagged rock faces, I got an odd feeling that I was being watched. Looking around, I couldn’t see anyone. The normal sounds of birds singing, the warm breeze shifting leaves and the water from the stream lapping still surrounded me.

I raised my head, noticing the small trees growing straight out of the rock alongside the grass clumps and moss. It was hard to tell if anyone was up there. I thought about shouting out, but that seemed pointless. Finding a boulder to rest on, I took out my drink bottle and phone. I took a few photos of the fantasy setting likes scenery and sipped my tepid water.

I had originally planned to walk the path between the two rocks and head further into the woods but now I was here, doubts were setting in. There didn’t seem to be much of a path and a lot of fast growing plants made the gap look smaller. Still, though it would take too long to walk around.

Feeling a little like Red Riding Hood, I set off again and past between the rocks. My rucksack scrapped against the sticking out stones and my boots chomped down on the undergrowth. Pressing my hands, against the rough sides for balance, I eased my way through.

The abrupt cries of two crows startled me. Stopping, I looked up and saw one of them -an old scrawny bird, on an rocky outcrop far above me. My breath caught in my throat as I realised the crows was rising an alarm. A gust of wind whipped up around me, pressing cold fingers against my legs. I felt a shiver run up my spine and my fingers began to claw into the passageway as if the rocks were moving into suffocate me.

I started to feel on the edge of a panic attack. I dropped my head and took in deep breaths, willing away the urge to get out and be far away from here. I tried to convince myself this was nothing but my feelings were telling me different. I needed to sit down but I couldn’t. Letting my hands slide, I felt then becoming grazed but I didn’t care.

The crows was screaming above me and I couldn’t hear anything but their shrill cries. I thought some wild tribesmen are going to appear and cart me off or a witch pop up and casting a curse on me. I tried to laugh it away, telling myself how silly I was being. Nothing was going to happen!

I focused on the ground, counting all the stones until they merged into one. There came the sound of something heavy shifting and groaning. I looked up, picturing a giant emerging from the rock face. Instead though, I saw a few small rocks tumbling down. Frowning, I turned my attention to that and saw a chuck of crag cracking away.

Rumbling vibrations came through the ground, shaking through me. Movement re-entered my body like water bursting through a dam. I spun and fled, pain shooting into my right ankle. Branches scrapped at me as if trying to hold me back, but I broke free and stumbled out of the pass. Landing heavily on sharp grass, I twisted and looked back.

A rock slide was happening! Close to where I had been bits of crag were falling and whacking the plants. The sounds were a mixture of rock on rock, crunching and snapping of greenery and groaning. Dust plumed, forming a creamy-yellowy cloud that puffed itself into the sky.

I lent back, breathing deeply and tasting grit in my mouth. When the echoing noises had faded, I eased up and inspected the now blocked passage. It was hard to tell and maybe I was being too dramatic, but that had been a close call.

A ruffing of wings drew me away and I saw two crows land on the boulder and stare at me.

‘Thank you,’ I said aloud, ‘you were trying to warn me, weren’t you?’

The crows eyed me, clicked their beaks and took off again, flying away over the treetops.

With a final glance at the pass which now seemed harmless once more, I turned away and took the longer route into the woods.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/03/thursday-photo-prompt-watchers-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Walkies

dog-1867604_1920.jpg

It’s too cold to walk any further, Hollie decided. She stopped and looked around, taking in the wonderful view of the peaks and countryside covered in snow. At her side, her dog, Boxer yawed then turned to sniff the air.

‘Let’s go home now,’ Hollie uttered and tugged his lead a little.

Boxer wagged his tail, looked up at her and seeming to agree.

Turning back, Hollie crunched though the snow as the sky darkened behind them.

Autumn Arrives

tree-779827_1920.jpg

As Hanna walked through the woods, she noticed that autumn was settling in and the last of summer was fading away. The air was still warm, but the breezy felt cool and the sky looked more grey-blue then the bright Azure it had been. Nature was on the change for sure, what with the tree leaves all ready looking paler and a few having turned color.

The dirt path she walked on was empty still, but she guessed by the end of next week, leaves would start to blanket the ground. She stopped, spotting something moving ahead. A grey squirrel, digging in the soil of a tree trunk. The animal stopped, tail twitching as if listening to something. In a flash, the squirrel was up the tree as a large black shape hurtled over.

Hanna didn’t even bother to yell at her black Labrador, Max, but she couldn’t help the smile that came to her face. He was jumping up the base of the tree, barking and clearly enjoying himself. The squirrel appeared for a few seconds along a branch before vanishing. Max give up and after turning his head about looking for Hanna, began to sniff around the tree roots.

Quietness drifted back into the woods allowing distant bird song, the breezy and her footsteps all she could hear. Hanna took in a deep breath and where once she could smell fragrant flowers, there was now only damp earth and the woody scent of bark. Walking on, she admired the ever changing scenery and felt grateful she could truly appreciate it.

Volts

Pasture Fence, Electric Fence

Without touching the fence they couldn’t tell if it was on, but two thousand volts was just too much to risk.

Mud

Mud, Earth, Red, Nature, Rain, Winter

Watching Teddy, the chocolate Labrador, lying down in the large puddle, Amy recalled something her granddad had always said during their muddy walks together.

‘Mud, mud, glorious mud. There’s nothing like mud for cooling the blood of a vampire!’ Amy said loudly.

Teddy stopped covering himself in brown water and looked at her. He cocked his head, decided she wasn’t speaking to him and began lapping the water up.

‘Do you really have to drink that?’ Amy cried.

Teddy ignored her, but gave a wag of his tail to indicate he’d heard her. He splashed about in the puddle then got out and headed to the next one.

Amy shook her head and trailed after him. As he entered the next puddle, she didn’t stop but carried on walking along the pathway. Tall trees, just getting their new leaves back, seemed to crowd both sides and blocked the surrounding views of the woodland. Birds darted from branch to branch, singing to each other whilst grey squirrels scampered about.

The sound of rain caused Amy to stop and open her umbrella. Teddy bashed into her right leg then trotted proudly on. Tutting, Amy wipe at the small splattering of mud on her jeans then followed him again. Teddy spotted something and gave chase, nosily charging through the undergrowth.

Amy left him to it and let her mind drift back to her granddad. He had brought her up after her parents split and got with different people. She would have gone into care without him. Amy slowed her pace and walked along the edges of a wide puddle. She glanced back, wondering where Teddy was but at same time grateful he wasn’t rushing past her.

Moving on, she spotted the small farm attached to what had once been the estate manger’s house, back when the woods had been privately owned. Holding her umbrella against the now pouring rain, she decided to turn around and go home.

‘Teddy!’ she called.

Listening she heard a distant bark. Rolling her eyes, Amy retraced her footsteps and went back to where the dog had disappeared from. Teddy came bounding though the bushes and mud, tongue rolling out and looking like he was having a whale of a time.

‘It’s home time,’ Amy said.

Teddy ignored her and dived into the nearest puddle. He scooped the water up with his tongue then flung himself down. Some of the dirt washed off him, but as he stood up, Amy could see he was still covered in dripping mud.

‘Bath time for you,’ she added.

Musical Notes

Piano, Musician, Music, Instrument

Alfred stopped on his normal morning walk to get his newspaper when he heard the piano notes. He looked about, wondering where the music was coming from. The house windows all around him either had curtains or blinds blocking his view and through the rest he could see flowers and ornaments on the window sills. He lent on his walking stick, catching his breath and wondering if he had imagined it.

Lately, smells, sounds and ghosts from his past had been appearing without reason. His dreams too had been inflicted by memories he either had forgotten or really wished he had forgotten. So, far nothing had worked to lay his past back where it belonged.

Listening longer, Alfred decided that the music was real and someone, somewhere close by was playing a piano. The notes made up a merry tune, though it wasn’t one he knew. Studying the houses again, he realised he was close to the new building estate at the end of the next street from his home. Lots of new people had recently moved in and he betted that it was one of them the music was coming from. He saw no windows open or doors, so the sound must be drifting.

Getting back to walking, he recalled the piano lessons he had at school as a boy. He had not taken to it or any other instrument; instead he had enjoyed sport and other physical activities. Thinking those thoughts led to sadder thoughts. Bring himself back, he followed the path that would led him to a short cut across the fields to the shops. The music followed him as if trying to pull him back, but a few steps later it faded and he could no longer hear it.

Brave For A Day

Board, Slate, Blackboard, Font, Courageous, Brave

 

‘Are you ready, Nora?’ the doctor’s voice in my headset asks.

I nod even though I’m so nervous I could pass out. I bit my lip, taste blood and lick it away. I hear the machine whirling into life around me and flashing white lights across my visor. I hold my breath till I can’t anymore and my lungs have started burning. A panicked scream almost forces its’ way out of my mouth, but I swallow it back down and shake my head.

‘Are you in pain, Nora? Do you need us to stop?’ the doctor’s calming though rushed voice echoes in my ears.

‘No, no,’ I gasp.

‘It’s just the claustrophobia,’ another doctor whispers, ‘carry on.’

I squeeze my eyes shut and took a few deep breaths. I picture my happy place and find myself in a green field full of multi-coloured flowers. I breathe the heavily scented air and touch which I image is warm grass.

A buzzing shatters the illusion and my body jerks awake. I snatch a deep breath and don’t draw anything in. I try again and again as my eyes spiral around the ribbed roof of the machine above me. Voices are shouting in the headset but I can’t hear them over the bleeping in my ears.

I claw at the roof and scream. Dimly, I’m aware of my legs banging around and my heels hitting the foam surface. Bright lights blind me and I feel hands holding me down. Someone takes off the headset and visor. Needles prickle my arm then I’m falling.

‘Nora? Can you hear me? Everything’s alright.’

I moan and turn my head towards the voice.

‘Did it work? Is she…is she going to walk again?’ The familiar voice of my mother comes to me.

I open my eyes, blinking away tears and look upwards. The room is a whitewash of cleanness and standing over me is my doctor and mother. Both are wearing white coats, masks and hats. I part my lips and try to call out for her, but only another low moan escapes me. I hold out my limb hand and feel my mother’s warm skin against mine.

‘Nora?’

‘Yes?’ I croak.

‘How do you feel?’

I press my head back and think. I wiggle my toes. ‘I can feel my feet and I’m not in any pain,’ I respond.

Mother lets out a joyous cry and throws her arms around me. I pull a face and turn away from her kisses.

‘How about sitting up? Do you want to try that?’

‘Okay.’

With help, I easy myself up and swing my legs down from the machine’s bed. I pause and look down. Did my legs just move by themselves?

‘Oh! Nora, you did!’

‘The chip seems to functioning normally,’ the voice of the second doctor coming from the doorway causes us all to look up, ‘the program is just fine and so are all her vitals.’

‘Do you want to try and stand up?’ my mother presses.

I look down at the floor which feels so far away.

‘Take your time, Nora. There’s no need to rush. Remember we don’t know if this is actually going to work or not,’ my doctor cuts in.

Nodding, I grip the edge of the table and slide myself off. My bare feet hit the cold floor and I feel it going right through me. I wiggle my toes then take my first ever step. I wobble, but hold. I take another, then another. My heavy breathing and my mother’s cries mingle in my ears along with my slapping feet.

‘Do you feel anything?’ the doctors ask together.

‘The floor!’ I shout out.

‘Pain? Problems? We need to know, Nora.’

‘There’s no pain,’ I answer happily.

‘We must take you to observations now. Wheelchair please,’ the second doctor calls into his ear piece.

I go back to the machine which looks like the belly of a whale and lean against. My doctor comes to my side and whispers, ‘it’s just for twenty-fours. We couldn’t give you any more time. I’m sorry.’

A deep shaky breath leaves me and my fingers dig into soft plastic.

‘It’s okay. Thank you. For the first time in my life I’m walking and free from pain.’

He nods and pats my arm.

‘And I’m helping others too,’ I utter.

‘Yes, of course. Now, the experiment has been a complete success, we can give this gift to others. You’ve been so brave, Nora. You should be proud of yourself.’

‘Here’s the chair, let me help you get in,’ the other doctor cuts in.

I turn, a bubble in my throat, ‘afterwards,’ cracks in my throat, I swallow and try again, ‘afterwards, can I please go outside?’

‘Sure, Nora, whatever you want.’

I nodded and lower myself into the chair.

Wondering Writer

Writing, Writer, Notes, Pen, Notebook, Book, Girl

She had all these ideas in her head, but every time she tried to write them down they fled like small birds. Pressing her head against the trunk of the tree, she looked up at the chilly February sky. She had hoped that being outside and freezing her bottom off would have removed all the distractions, but the notebook resting on her knees was still empty.

Rubbing her numb fingers, she gripped the pen and wrote a to do list for tomorrow. It’s still writing, she thought, even if it’s not a story. Finishing, she then turned the page and looked around. The park was windswept and no one in their right mind was hanging around this evening.

She spotted an old bent over man walking a small dog. She watched him rounding a bench then heading away. Her mind turned and she wondered about him. What was his life like? What did his past hold? She tapped the page then taking a deep breath just began writing.

The old man could feel the wind biting at his bones. He huddled in his coat and tried to urge the small dog trailing behind him on. Shuffling to the bench, the old man looked with half blind eyes at the plaque nailed to the wood. He couldn’t read it, but he knew by heart the name and date etched into the metal. He let out a deep puff, but secretly inside he uttered a prayer. Tugging the dog on, he headed for the park’s exist and to the memories of what once had been.   

Christmas Tree

He went into the pine forest with a large axe over his shoulder. His breath clouded before him in the early winter evening. His boots crunched over freshly fallen snow, leaving behind prints that would be covered by the morning. He took his time in the dying light to select the right young tree. Shaking snow off the one he’d picked, he then swept the fallen snow aside as much as possible. He took a few practice swings with the axe before the first true blow hit.