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.

Beneath #WritePhoto

Every Christmas, my family holiday in the Lake District. We go a day or two before Christmas Eve and stay until January second. There isn’t much to do other then walking and visiting pubs as it’s out of season. You either love the escape or you don’t.

Arriving, in the pouring rain, at one of holiday homes for eight people we rent, I park up and look at the Christmas lights flashing in the windows. Going by the cars, I was the last to arrive and that made me nervous. If I had been earlier maybe I could have made up something about my ex-husband joining us later, pretending we are still together, though the official divorce had been two months ago.

Hoping my family wouldn’t make a big deal out of it, I got out of the car. Grabbing my things, I dash to the door and let myself in. The hallway is warm and dry, the smell of burning wood, pine cones and oranges welcoming me.

From the staircase to my right comes faint voices, laughed and glasses tinkling. Glancing up, I wait to see if anyone would come down to greet me but no one does. I go towards a bedroom door on my far left, the one we normally stay in. Then I stop. This year, I had agreed, not needing a double bed now, to take a single bed and share a room with my teen aged niece, Beth. That meant I was in the room on the opposite side, the smallest one tucked under the stairs.

Turning, I go to that one and walk in. Beth had clearly taken the bed by the small window. There were clothes and items scattered about, shoes on the floor, hair dryer and curler on the small dressing table, mingled with make up products. It looked like a typical messy girl teenager’s bedroom all ready.

The second bed was neatly made and looked cosy enough to curl up in and go to sleep. I put my stuff down next to it and began unpacking. At least Beth had left me some cupboard space!

I tried to delay going upstairs as long as I could but at last I had to go. Planning for the worse, I go up, my hand sliding along the banister, below which in the railings weave fake green pine needle bushels decorated with fairy lights.

At the top, a T shaped hallway and before me glass doors leading out to a small balcony. To the left, the wooden door to a small, snug room is close. To the right, an archway through to the open plan living room, dinning room, kitchen. Above which, at the back, is a second staircase leading to an attic bedroom.

I step in, get spotted by the four adults standing in the kitchen and I’m welcomed happily into the folds of my family. Someone gives me a glass of red wine, some else offers me food, a few questions are asked then the talk goes back to the conversation before.

The evening passes quickly, as it does in good company, with nice food and wine. I go to bed early, tried by a day’s work, the two hour drive and full of warmth. Beth had gone to the pub with cousins. I don’t know when she got back, I never heard her but she was asleep in her bed with I woke up in the morning.

Being the first to get up, I made coffee and tea. I had cereal and toast for breakfast. The weather had cleared and though the sky looked grey the rain had stopped. I decided to go for a walk.

Dressing warmly, I left and without planning where to go, I just start walking. I knew most of the area well and wasn’t afraid to get lost, that was a part of the fun anyway! I walk away from the holiday homes, following a little track underneath some trees. That opened into fields which a wide river ran through and a yellow path went along beside.

Birds were still singing morning song, a few cars were traveling on the single road above and sheep were dotting the hills. I just walked, taking it all in, letting go of everything that was bothering me. Nature is a good healer.

Arriving at a small lake, I take a break on a cold wooden bench. The wind playing with the bare tree branches and across the water, making waves which lap the rocky shore. I look at the reflection in the lake’s surface; the small hills, the tree, the cloudy sky. For some reason, I’m reminded of the Arthurian legend of The Lady of the Lake. 

A thin, white, female hand with fingers decorated with shinny rings, raising from the still clear water and holding aloft the bejeweled hilt of Excalibur. The sliver blade itself, glowing in the sun, water drops dripping off it, the magic waiting for King Arthur to claim it.

They were stories I loved as a child and I had been hoping to tell them my children. It was never to be now. The miscarriage in the spring had seen to that. In the summer, the divorce had began. We just couldn’t bear each other anymore, our family was gone, our hearts broken and we couldn’t come back from it. Easier to be a part then together, loveless and angry.

I feel tears come to my eyes and I let them fall. I keep saying, I wouldn’t cry anymore, but it’s still hard not too. There’s this imagine stuck in my mind of me standing before a Christmas tree, holding a baby and my husband beside me. It’s just a dream, like everything else now feels like.

It starts to rain, little drops hitting the lake, the bench, my hair. I get up and dig through my pockets for my coin purse. I take out a penny and walk to the edge of the lake. Ripples grow across the surface of the water as the rain comes down faster and bigger.

I rub the penny, make a wish; a wish that everything could go back to before the pregnancy and that it didn’t happen, my husband is still here and we are happy. I throw the penny into the lake and watch it disappear beneath.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/12/13/thursday-photo-prompt-beneath-writephoto/ with thanks).

Path #SundayPhotoFiction

25 Mike Vore February 25th 2018

Pausing at the crossroads, I looked at the new pathway stretching around the trees. With a glance at my yellow Labrador, we set off down it, unsure where it would take us. Following the twisting path, birds sang overhead, it was a sunny but cold day and we met no one else. Then my dog saw a squirrel and bounced off into the under bushes.

Something didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t know where we were and I knew these woods well. I expected to round a corner and find myself back on a familiar route, but that never happened.

Finally, I decided to turn back. I whistled for my dog and she came straight to my side. We back tracked as the sky turned a washed out grey. I looked at my watch and realised I had been walking this path for over an hour.

Picking up pace, I broke into a mildly panicked jog. My lab lolled beside me, sensing something was wrong. The birds had gone quiet, my breathing was loud and the urge to just get out was growing.

I started running, fearing it was too late.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/sunday-photo-fiction-february-25th-2018/ with thanks).

Craked #writephoto

The egg lay broken open on the ground. It was a dirty white, almost light grey color, with just one side missing.  It was a strange thing to find in the middle of the footpath but I was walking through a patch of trees which might explain it. I didn’t know anything about eggs though, but it didn’t look like any hen egg I’d eaten or used in cooking. It was probably a bird’s egg that had fallen out of the nest.

I frowned as an urge to pick it up grew. The egg shell looked normal enough to me and there was no sign of the baby that might have been inside. Why would I want to touch it though? I guess because I liked to collect unusual items I find on my walks. As far as I knew I didn’t have any egg shell in my box.

Picking it up gingerly, because I just knew it was going to further crack, I held the reminds loosely. The egg shell felt light, like I was holding nothing in my palms. Cradling the shell, so I didn’t look silly holding it out before me, I began to walk back home.

By the time I arrived which was about an hour later, my arms were aching. I looked around for a place to put the empty egg down; there was no way I could juggle it and my keys at the same time. Resting the delicate thing in the plant pot of one of the miniature cone tree that flanked the door, I was able to dig my keys out.

Then it was a simple case of gently picking the egg shell back up and taking it up to the attic to my study. Long had my wife and children complained about the hours I spent up here, but now I was all alone it still didn’t matter to me. I shuffled the egg on to my desk and dug out the large filing box which lived at the bottom of one of the many bookcases.

Opening the lid, I saw all the random objects I had collected. There were things like pressed flowers and leaves, small twisty twigs, beach shells, snail shells.  Scraps of newspaper, handwritten notes, leaflets. Pine comes, acorns, bird feathers, weirdly shaped stones. From a river had come; a shard of blue glass and a quarter of a broken porcelain sugar bowl. I had a rusted key, a dog’s name tag, a plastic key ring heart and the skull of a mouse.

Most of the items were in small plastic or glass jars and containers, or wrapped in tissue. I decided to put the egg shell in bubble wrap. That seemed the best way to protect it as well as putting it in a clear tub. Placing the egg safely in the box, I closed the lid.

(Inspire from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/24/thursday-photo-prompt-cracked-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Green

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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

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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

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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.