Messenger #writephoto

corvid in flight - Sue Vincent

Picking up the football which Micheal had kicked across the road, I looked up and saw a huge black bird in an nearby tree. I wasn’t sure what the bird was so I thought about the arrow diagram poster at school. Black and yellow and smallish; blackbird. All black with a grey beak; rook. Sooty black and cries loudly; crow.

‘It’s a raven that is,’ Michael said over my shoulder.

I jumped because I didn’t know he was there. I turned and pulled a face at him.

‘How do you know?’ I pouted.

‘Because I’ve seen them at the Tower of London,’ he replied.

I stuck my tongue out at him. He didn’t seem to notice and carried on talking.

‘They say if all the ravens leave the tower then England falls.’

‘What does this mean?’ I asked.

‘Don’t know,’ Michael shrugged.

We both watched the raven then with a large caw sound, it flapped its large wings and took off.

‘My granny says ravens are the messengers of witches,’ Michael added.

‘Messengers of witches?’ I repeated to myself.

He looked at me as if he knew I didn’t believe what his granny said.

‘It’s true,’ he snapped, ‘a witch tells a raven to bring her ingredients for potions and to communicate with other witches.’

‘I thought they had cats,’ I answered slowly.

‘They do, but ravens are better. They are ancient and know old magic,’ Micheal added.

I wanted to ask him if he really believed in all of this. We were too old for fairy tales but still young enough to think that supernatural people were real.

‘Maybe he’s come to take you away,’ Michael spoke in a ghoulish voice.

I shivered. hating how he stretchered the words and made his voice drip with creepiness.

‘Ravens can’t kidnap people!’ I snapped.

‘No, but they can find people who have the potential to become witches and led the head witch to them.’ Michael explained.

I pushed the ball into his chest, shoving him backwards. He was bigger and older then me but he wasn’t expecting it so stumbled back.

‘That’s so not true! A bird is just a bird And there are no witches!’ I shouted and stormed off.

I ran home which was only a few streets away. I didn’t know why I suddenly felt upset about what he had said until I saw the raven again. He was sitting on the left gate post of my house fence.

‘Hi,’ I said shyly.

He was a huge bird up close and his beak looked sharp. He put his head to one side, cawed more softly then before and jumped into my front garden. I opened the gate and watched him hopping up the path to the front door.

And that was the day my life changed…

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/07/13/thursday-photo-prompt-messenger-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Peace #writephoto

I had been wandering around for a few weeks looking for a quiet spot where I’d be undisturbed to finish editing my latest novel. All my normal places; my study, my bedroom, the library, the park, the coffee shops and pubs I haunted, hadn’t allowed me to complete my work.

It wasn’t lack of motivation, determination or inspiration that was stopping me, it was more the background distractions. So, I had come out here to the middle of the woods to find the peace I needed. It was a bright hot day, unusual English summer time weather but also a week day so most people were trapped in work and school.

It had been awhile since I had last strolled or ran through the woods, so I was surprised to come across the wooden sculpture of a bed. It was made out of thick, but smoothed down tree trunk cut in half with a smaller part of the trunk shaped into a pillow.

I sat down, thinking it would be too hard to sit for long, but actually it was quite comfy. Settling back against the pillow, I set up myself to work and some good hours later I had finished editing my novel and was napping in the dappled shade.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/07/06/thursday-photo-prompt-peace-writephoto/ with thanks)

Flight #writephoto

Standing up slowly, Cindy felt the aching all along her back. Gritting her teeth as the pain grow worse, she stretched as much as she could. Pausing for a few moments she then wiped her damp and wrinkled hands on her dirty apron. Feeling tried, she looked around at all her hard work. The last corridor in the castle shone with cleanness, the only thing out of place was the wooden bucket and scrubbing brushes.

Letting down her long skirts which were damp from catching wet floors all day, Cindy stumbled over to a window and opened it. Warm, late evening air floated into her face and she breathed in summer deeply. The courtyard below her, hummed with other servants hurrying to finish their tasks before the sunset. Ignoring them, Cindy looked up, over the roofs of the stables and storage huts, the top of the battlements and beyond at the green fields there.

A longing to be out there filled her and despite her tried mind, Cindy remembered once when she was very young riding with her father across those fields. The mighty horse pounding the ground, the brush of her father’s soft clothes against her back and the delight of the rushing wind in her face. The imagine went as fast as it had come, leaving a bitterness for her to dwell on.

Cindy’s thoughts turned away onto tidying up, eating and sleeping. Easing herself away from the window, a movement caught her eye and she saw two pigeons land on a nearby roof. They hopped about for a few moments then took to the dusky sky once more. Signing deeply, Cindy wished she was a bird then she could fly away too.

 

(Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2017/06/29/thursday-photo-prompt-writephoto-flight/ with thanks)

The Tunnel #writephoto

Man caught in the light at the end of the tunnel

The caves people knew where the tunnel lead too and they left it well alone apart from when they came to bury their dead.

(Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2017/06/22/thursday-photo-prompt-the-tunnel-writephoto/ with thanks)

Twilight #writephoto

 

Twilight was the most dangerous part of the day. As the sun set and the moon rose the portal between worlds became unstable. Evil leaked through like oil into a river, covering everything it could. People hide, frightened by stories travellers told of the things that ruled the night.

 

(Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2017/06/15/thursday-photo-prompt-twilight-writephoto/ with thanks)

Wings #writephoto

They circled as one giant black mass. Blocking the sky and the sun out, causing darkness to fall. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked up in wonder. Then the birds began dropping like stones. Their lifeless bodies hitting roofs, cars, pavements and people.

Panic raged across the country. Everyone hurried to find shelter, whilst grabbing phones to take photos, footage and to call others. Cats and dogs went crazy trying to catch the dead birds but soon even other animals realised that something was very wrong.

Hours later, the bodies of all the world’s birds lay piled up on the ground. All countries had declared an emergence and everyone was either being told to stay home or if they were needed to come in right away.

No one could work out what had happened but one thing was for sure Earth was now in great peril.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/06/08/thursday-photo-prompt-wings-writephoto/ with thanks)

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).

Derelict #writephoto

There was no telling what the small abandoned building had been used for over the years. Still though something drew me towards it every morning as I was running with my four dogs. It was a small sunken old fashioned pile of stones with a red tile and wooden frame roof. It sat at the end of a field which seemed abandoned too.

My dogs; a breeding pair of yellow labs called Peaches and Teddy, a husky mix named Dakota and a lopping great dane who had come with the name Frankenstein – Frankie for short, avoided the place as if there was something nasty inside. If I went too close they’d bark and howl for me to come back to them.

Today, the abandoned building was looking more forbidding. It also looked like some youths had taken to hanging out there. I slowed my pace and came to a stop, catching my breath. I bent over, putting my hands on my knees and dragging in deep warm breathes of summer.

Peaches came over to me, whining a little as she lay down at my feet. This was her first long run in awhile. She had five pups, who were almost twelve weeks old at home. They didn’t really need her any more, but she was a super good mother. I reached down and stroked her soft head.

‘We’ll go back home now,’ I told her.

Behind us, the other three dogs were having a tussle in the long grass. I whistled and they all began racing back to me. I glanced at the abandoned building and with a shrugged decided to check it out.

Walking over, I could see that someone had made a fire. There was a small circle of black ashes on the ground and the grass nearby had been burnt and flattened. There was a little graffiti on the side of the building, but that could have been there for ages. A beer can crunched under me and I stepped back in slight alarm. Nudging the can out of the way I went closer.

An unhappy barking came from Dakota and I turned to look at the husky. He was pacing, low in the grass watching me, his body language showing he was afraid. I looked for the others; Peaches was where I had left her, Teddy now sat at her side and Frankie was sniffing something far to my left.

There was a strange smell in the air as I got closer. The remains of the fire and wood which was understandable, but there was a sour stinging note as if something shouldn’t have been burnt. A feeling inside of me told me to get away, but I pressed on. What was so scary about a small tumbled down building with a funny smell to a fully grown man with protective dogs?

I peered through the doorway and heard a low moan. The wind? A person?

‘Hello?’ I called.

Teddy started barking loudly behind me. I ignored him and stared harder into the gloom. There was a little light coming in from the half open roof but not enough to fully see the inside of. What I could see was a mess of bricks and wood which might have been apart of the roof.

Horror movies began filling my mind out of the blue. I shook them off. There was nothing here and that sound had just been the wind. Stepping away, I went back to my dogs and made sure they were okay.

That’s when I noticed that there was no wind and the abandoned field was silent.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/05/25/thursday-photo-prompt-derelict-writephoto with thanks)

Outside #writephoto

He was lost and scared as he walked through the darkness in the rain. There were lights ahead, but he couldn’t be sure what they were. He thought he felt rough stone under his fingers. He carried on walking till there was enough light to see by.

Now, he knew were he was; the back area of his home. He could see the south tower, though it was wrapped heavily in shadows. Running over, he tried not to think about how much trouble he’d be in. Maybe, he hoped, no one had missed him yet.

How many times had he been told not to play on the roof? Yet, still tonight he had gone out there and he wasn’t even sure why. Trying only to think of getting back inside and to bed, he began trying to reach the third window of the tower. It was the only way back in from this side.

He climbed up, finding it easy to hold on to the worn stones. He pressed against the window. Thankfully, it hadn’t be latched back fully. Climbing through and wiggling over the ledge he entered the staircase, leaving behind him small puddles of water on the window sill.

(https://scvincent.com/2017/05/18/thursday-photo-prompt-inside-out-writephoto/)

Inside #writephoto

The maid frowned in her cleaning of the grand staircase as her sharp eyes spotted the water on the stone window sill opposite. Shuffling over, she looked and tried to figure out where the water had come from.

The window couldn’t be opened for it was just a single panel of glass fitted into a thick stone wall so the rain from last night couldn’t have got in. Plus, this section of the castle was currently closed and she was the first person to come in for a few weeks now.

Deciding there must be a leak somewhere above, the maid mopped up the water and give the window a quick clean. Then getting back to her main tasks, her mind forgot all about reporting the problem.

A month later, the maid came back to that section again to keep on top of things. Once again she noticed the small puddles of water on the window sill. This time she checked to make sure there was no holes in the glass and that the other window sills were dry.

Satisfied, she made a note in her little notebook and went back to work. It had to be a little leak somewhere. The castle was late thirteen century so it was to be expected that some of the old lead lining was fading.

At the end of the shift, the maid reported the leak and detailed where it was; south tower, third window on staircase.  

However, every time she went into that section the water puddles were still on the window still. She mopped them up and tried to find a source for them which even on rainy days seemed a mystery. Then she would report the problem.

Finally, one afternoon the maid complained to her manager.

‘The leak I keep reporting isn’t getting fixed,’ she said, ‘it was there again this morning.’

‘The third window in the south tower?’ her manager said straight away.

The maid looked at her from over the top of a very cluttered desk. The manager’s office was a big space that had once been a part of the servant’s ground floor rooms. It had been converted ages ago and was filled with office furniture.

‘It’s been looked at every time you have reported it and no leaks have been found,’ the manager replied with a serious look on her face.

‘But there must be something….’ the maid uttered.

‘It’s the ghost,’ the manager responded with a shrug.

‘Ghost?’

‘The story goes that a young boy fell from the tower. It was raining and he slipped. The servants believed that the boy’s ghost keeps trying to get back inside because he’s trapped on the outside. The third window use to be the only one you could open…’

The maid pulled a face and answered, ‘I don’t believe in ghosts…’

‘Nor do I or anyone else who works here, but for the groundskeeper and the two old gardeners. They use to work here when this place was a stately home, before it got handed over to the Trust. They’d tell you the story better then I can,’ the manager added.

‘No, thanks,’ the maid replied and saying goodbye left to get on with her other tasks.

The water puddles remind still and once a month when the maid was there cleaning, she would wipe them away. She really didn’t believe in ghosts and thought that it must still be a leak somewhere.

 

(https://scvincent.com/2017/05/18/thursday-photo-prompt-inside-out-writephoto/)