Orenda #WritePhoto #AtoZChallenge

Orenda; a mystical force present in all people that empowers them to affect the world or to effect changes in their own lives. 

I drove through the countryside, looking out for signs to the Thistle Horse Riding School. I had a job interview there this afternoon. I was over-excited, having spent a year looking for this kind of job. Openings didn’t come up often and most of the time they were all family run.

The realisation I was lost kicked in. I glanced at the Sat Nav but the screen was blank. Slowly down, I looked around and saw a wooden signpost coming up on my right hand side.

Pulling the car over, close to the sign, I got out and left the engine running. My sensible, flat black shoes crunched over tall grass, that left dew drops on my dark tights and black skirt. The grass boarded a farmer’s field that was green with new wheat and had fresh tractor cuts lining the ground.

I looked up at the sign that only pointed in opposite directions, fully expecting it to point me in the right way but it was blank!

Puzzled, I stared harder, thinking that age had dulled the words but no, someone had actually painted across the place names with black paint. Totally not useful!

Why would someone do that? I turned around, half hoping someone would come along so I could question them, however the single track countryside lane was empty. The only things I could see were green fields and a few trees.

I got back in the car, leaving the door open to let in the gentle spring breeze. The Sat Nav sat dead on the dashboard. It had been playing up for awhile, not keeping any power and turning off randomly. I should have got a new one but I hadn’t got around to it. Now, I deeply regretted my laziness.

The only think left to do was try and get maps on my phone. The signal wasn’t great but at least I got the idea I was still heading in the right direction and if I took a left at the end of the road, I’d almost be there.

Feeling a bit more confident, I carried on driving. The lane weaved like a snake before splitting two ways. Thankfully, this time the sign post was clear marked. To the left was the riding school, to the right a village and back the way I had come another village which I had passed through.

I went left and followed a short road towards a large gate which had a sign announcing Thistle Horse Riding School. I glanced at the dashboard clock and saw I was late by five minutes.

Getting out, I opened the gate, drove in then had to get out again to go and close the gate behind me. I parked in the visitors’ parking then took a moment to calm myself and check my interview suit was clean. I felt over the top and out of place at the stables in my white blouse, black jacket and skirt, but first impressions always count.

I left my car and followed the signs to reception/office which was little more then a shed before a gate leading to a courtyard and the first stable block. There was a brown pony tied up and with a saddle on waiting for the rider to return.

I knocked on the shed’s door. Through the window, I could see an older woman at the desk going through some paperwork. She was wearing tight black riding pants, a green polo t-shirt and had short dark brown hair. The woman got up, answering my knocking and came to the door.

‘Hello?’ she said

‘Hi, I’m Penny Wright. I’m here for the horse riding instructor job interview,’ I stated.

‘Yes. I’m Heidi Thistle, owner. Please come in.’

Butterflies fluttered in my stomach but I stayed relaxed. We shook hands and I took the other chair in the office. It was too cramped inside, but I tried not to think about it. I had to get this job, it was going to change my life, so I called upon everything I could to make it happen.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/04/11/thursday-photo-prompt-decisions-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

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Growlery #WritePhoto #AtoZChallenge

Growlery; a place of refuge or sanctuary for use while one is out sorts or in ill humour. 

Kip, loud music pumping in his headphones, made his way down to the tiny beach, taking care to step correctly on the massive stones which often had hidden slippy parts. Walking across the rough sand stone mix, he ignored the clusters of tourists that were admiring the views in the little cove area.

He went passed the high waterfall that rushed over the jagged cliff face then streamed along to the sea in a surprisingly deep trench. He head to the largest of the caves far to his right and stood just inside.

More tourists were walking the short distance through the cave to the other side which was blocked by large rocks and the sea waves crashing on them. Most of the people were talking photos and talking, making dim echos along the roof.

Kip sat on his favourite rock that was close to the arched cave opening and was shaped as close enough to a low backed chair as a rock could be. He slipped his headphones off, paused the heavy metal German band he had been listening too. He heard the sea, the waves rushing around and the chatter of voices.

He picked up a small smooth stone and rubbed his fingers across it. He looked around, taking in the rough walls and the patches of sunlight. He knew this place so well. It was nicknamed Merlin’s Cave because the great wizard was said to have lived here underneath Tintagel Castle where King Arthur was born.

Kip loved all those legends and myths, he had grown up surrounded by them. All those knights, princesses, dragons, heroes, monsters, castles and sea adventures, they flowed in his blood just like Cornwall did. As a child he had played at being a knight and now almost an adult he still daydreamed of being one.

Merlin’s Cave though, was where he came to calm down. It was his escape to place and he found a peace here, listening to the rasping sea waves, the waterfall and all the echos in the cave. The tourists he would gladly do without and that’s why he timed his trips here to avoid the bulk of them. Two or three hours before Tintagel Castle closed and making sure the tide wasn’t in was the best time to come.

Living in the town of Tintagel, made access easy for Kip. His parents ran a local pub that often bed and breakfast rooms above and the three of them lived in the attached landlord’s cottage at the back. Kip worked in the pub when he wasn’t at school and he would take over the business in the future. He could never leave Cornwall.

Kip took a few deep breaths and watched the flow of tourists, they reminded him of the sea; always coming and going. Luckily, there wasn’t much of a beach here and no one really sat around or played in the sea for long. There were better beaches to visit for that kind of thing further around the coast. They were all here for the castle really, which stood on the edge of the cliffs, high above, the remaining walls sticking up from the long grass, hinting at a history long lost.

The last of the tourists slowly left, making their way over the massive stones and up the wooden staircase along the side of the cliff. Kip watched them, glad he was alone at last. He knew eventually two staff members would come, checking that everyone was off the grounds and then Kip would have to leave but they all knew him well enough not to hurry him away.

Kip took a few deep breaths and let everything out. He shut his eyes and thought about being carried away by the sea. He was drifting and nothing mattered as everything that he was feeling was gone, carried away on the waves.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/04/04/thursday-photo-prompt-threshold-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

Bright #Writephoto

Spring had been getting stronger over the last few days, but today as I walked my foster dogs in the woods, I noticed that it officially had become. The birds were singing as they built their nests, there was green everywhere, broken by bright flowers, the trees looked alive once more and the mud puddles were drying up.

I stopped under a row of trees and looked up at their budding leaves. The sun shone through dappling the ground in small spot lights. I felt a gently, lovely warmth on my face that made me smiled.

Spring was the best season.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/03/28/thursday-photo-prompt-bright-writephoto/ With thanks).

Rift #WritePhoto

I called a coffee break and began sitting up a place to sit. Nat and Kiara helped me to set up the folding stools and table. We dumped everything else but the stuff we needed whilst Damex set and started up the instant campfire.

Ode hadn’t stopped with us but carried on walking through the rocky clearing we had just entered. She seemed lost in her own world, the amazement of being on Earth not worn off for her yet.

Around us the forest was loud with sounds we weren’t use to. There was the calling of different wild birds and animals which roamed around without the need for programming. The wind was real in the trees and not from fans, the sun also real and pleasantly mild on our sensitive skin and the air wasn’t recycled or filtered but fresh and earthy.

It had all taken some getting use to and we still hadn’t adjusted fully even after the four months we had now been here for. Earth had been abandoned a few hundred years ago, humans had found other planets to spawn on and it had been decreed Earth needed time to regenerate and was to be left alone.

That was until the reason we had come here. A small time-space rift had been detective somewhere in this location and we were the team that went around fixing those holes.

‘Fire’s up, Ash,’ Damex announced.

I popped the folding coffee pot out, but in some water formula and coffee grains then set it on the stand above the fake flames.

Kiara appeared at my side and put some cheese toast pockets next to the pot. They only took a few minutes to cook and made good hot snacks.

‘I’ll get Ode,’ Nat spoke and walked over to her.

I sat down in one of the chairs and looked around. It was impossible to grow bored of the Earth’s sites but I found being in the places with buildings much more interested then the wilds.

Damex sat down on a rock and began rubbing his hands along the surface. The moss catching in his fingers and the dirt getting under his nails. It was always hard to tell with the android but he seemed to be enjoying the sensation.

Kiara looked as bored as I was feeling. She took the chair next to me and began messing around with the hand held computer. No doubt, emailing her husband and children then she would play some games and let her frustrations out on those instead of us. Kiara wasn’t one for these long, complicated trips.

I turned my attention to Nat and Ode, ‘the Lil’ scientific genius’. They were stood on the other side of the clearing, a few feet or so away, next to a mass of rocks. They were looking at a large rock piece that appeared to have a huge, gaping split down it, like a giant had tried to cut the rock in half but had given up before the job was done.

Ode, her white hair tossed in the breeze seemed excited about something and was holding a scanner around over the rock.

Nat laughed, tried to calm her down and pointed back to us. Ode shook her head, determined to stay and it took a few minutes for Nat to convince her to leave whatever it was and come back to the group.

The coffee pot whistled, I took it off and poured it into the four mugs lined up on the table. I set the pot off to one side and grabbed the snacks which Kiara had forgotten about and opened one to let it cool slightly before I ate it.

‘Ash! Ash!’ Ode shout as she ran over.

‘Yeah, Ode, I’m not going to eat all the cheese toast,’ I answered.

‘No….I mean, it’s not that,’ she said coming to a skidding halt, ‘I think I’ve found the rift!’

‘That rock over there?’

Ode nodded, a huge smile on her flushed faced, ‘sensors indicate it could be! Can I please close it? You know it’s the first one I’ve ever found! Expect for the training and exam ones, but those don’t really count. Please, Ash can I do it?’

‘Calm down,’ I responded with a shake of my head but I couldn’t help smiling. Ode was infectious when she got like this, ‘have something to eat and drink first. You’ll need the energy.’

‘But-‘

‘No, buts,’ Nat said playfully, ‘Ash is right, you need to be at your top if you are going to close it. Sit down, here’s a mug.’

With a loud groan, Ode did as she was told and began sipping the coffee.

Nat took the other chair next to her and began nibbling on the cheese toast.

Damex looked up, coming back from wherever his android mind had been and announced, ‘I shall go and complete the scans and confirm it whilst you rest.’

‘But I want to do everything!’ Ode cried like a over-excited child on her birthday.

‘And you shall,’ I cut in, ‘but a second opinion and results is always needed.’ I turned to Damex, ‘please go and do that. We’ll join you soon.’

Damex nodded, collected what he needed and walked over to the huge rock piles. We watched him began the scanning and data collecting. Androids were so useful for those kinds of tasks.

Ode, impatient had downed her coffee, swallowed the cheese toast in a few bites and hurried back to the possible rift. Nat and I took our time, drinking and eating the snacks in silence.

After, as I thought about putting another coffee pot on, Kiara finally stopped being distracted and spoke to us in the first time in about two hours, ‘can I tell my family we might be on our way back then?’ she asked.

‘Better leave it till tomorrow,’ I said, ‘we need to see what Damex and Ode find, then confirm it’s the right rift and then that there are no more around.’

‘Right,’ Kiara snarled.

She shoved the computer into her bag then sat with her arms crossed looking super enraged.

‘I’m sorry. I know we all want to go home. Let’s try and speed things up. You and Nat pack up here. I’ll go and see what those two have found.’

I stood up, leaving them to sort things out and made my way over. I would be sad to leave Earth but this was just another job to be done.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/03/21/thursday-photo-prompt-rift-writephoto/ with thanks).

A Sign Of Magic #WritePhoto

The full moon hung in a strange dark blue, smoke cloudy sky. The silvery light fell on a  metal sign in the shape of a large grey, wizard hat, which rose high above a huge hotel.

The sign shimmered letting out a pulse of magical energy which rippled through the air. Everyone who knew even a bit of magic, felt the pulse no matter where they were and they all took off towards the hotel.

Soon, witches on broomsticks with their animal familiars landed in the car park. Wizards arrived in clouds of sparkling dust. Mages, sorcerer/ess, warlocks, enchanters, alchemists, seers, druids and loads of other magical sensing people arrived across the hours in all kinds of ways including; magic carpets, red flames, blue flames, snowstorms and miniature hurricanes.

Everyone gathered in the gigantic underground hall, lit be flickering candles and awaited for the Magic Council to assemble and announce why they had all been summoned.

Finally, one of the High Wizards rose and addressed the gathered, ‘there is a crises,’ he croaked, ‘magic is dying and we must do everything we can to save it.’

A murmur went around the room then a young witch’s voice rose, ‘then let us all work together to fix it.’

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/03/14/thursday-photo-prompt-sign-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

 

 

Tranquil #WritePhoto

Lily sat down on the grass next to the river bank and began mediating. She was new to  to the activity but had so far found it useful for calming down everything. Normally, Lily would sit on her bedroom floor in the morning and the evening, shut her eyes and try not to think about anything other then her breathing in and out.

Today though, with the weather being so nice and herself feeling restless and depressed, Lily had decided to walk around her local park just for something to do and to get away from the house.

With no real direction, Lily had let herself drift, avoiding the busy playground areas, football field and popular dog exercise spots. That’s how she had ended up in this quiet, hidden area close to the river. It seemed like a good place to take a break.

Lily breathed, trying not to think of anything. All around, nature was singing her song this afternoon for anybody who cared to listen. Lily want with it, letting the sound of the river and birds carry her away.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/03/07/thursday-photo-prompt-tranquil-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

Invitation #WritePhoto

It was a last stab at things. Pulling up outside the gates, I looked at my Sat Nav telling me I had reached my destination. The scene around me looked like something out of The Secret Garden. There were trees and bushes growing wild, moss covering everything, a sense of abandonment and wild beauty.

I got out the car and smelt the air, it was fresh this afternoon and flowers were just being to open. I went to the wooden gate, there were no signs or locks, it opened easily enough. The stone pillars ether side were badly weathered and moss covered, but some of the carved designs could still be seen.

I turned the stone, felt coldness and grit under my fingers. I questioned if I was in the right place. Maybe this was just a decorative gate that led nowhere? Just like the single track lane I was now standing on. I wouldn’t know if I didn’t walk on.

I stepped through the gates and with difficult walk down a half hidden path which was really over grown. Once through, I came out at the bottom of a field? I looked and realised it was actually a huge lawn which rolled down a hill on top of which sat a large looking manor house.

There was no path now, so I trekked up the lawn and arrived breathless and sweating at the side of the house. Catching my breath, I really hoped there was a better way up to this place. Scaling all of that in my wedding dress wasn’t going to be good!

I walked around and came to the front of the house. There were large, flat white steps leading up to a double wooden door in a archway and other side were massive vases of flowers. It was a perfect place for wedding party photos.

The driveway was huge, a half circle with lots of parking and there were a few cars all ready here. There were open iron gates at the end, leading to a wide road which seemed to fade under the trees.

I heard the door opening behind me and I turned feeling guilty and nervous as if I had been caught doing something. I tried to stay calm as a woman in her mid-to late forties, wearing a very fitted business suit and greying hair tight in a bun, came out of the house.

‘Miss Sadie Laker?’ she asked.

I nodded.

‘Mrs Rose Crompton,’ she announced and came down the steps to meet me.

We shook hands and I felt more at ease. We had spoken on the phone yesterday, Rose was the manager of the house and a descendent of the current owners who’s family had lived here for three hundred odd years.

‘Did you find the place okay?’ Rose asked.

‘Yes. It looks so perfect,’ I spoke, ‘thank you for this. You’ve saved my wedding day.’

‘It’s all fine,’ Rose said, waving my words away like dust, ‘it was lucky we had a cancellation! Unlike you though and your venue being double booked, the couple decided not to go through with things.’

‘Shame.’

There was a pause and I knew she was staying at me but I didn’t know what else to say.

‘Where is your car?’ Rose asked me, ‘you didn’t walk all the way up here from the road did you?’

‘Erm, no. I think I missed the turning and came through a side entrance,’ I explained.

‘Ah. I think there’s something in your hair….’

I touched my hair, embarrassment flaring and pulled out a few leaves.

Rose smiled and turned back to the house.

I crumpled the leaves, let them fall and joined her going up the steps.

The rooms for the wedding where lovely, actually lots better then the venue I had chosen originally. By the time I left, I know my dream wedding was going to happen two weeks today. Trekking back to my car, there was only one thing left to do now; resend the wedding invitations with the new venue address on them.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/02/28/thursday-photo-prompt-invitation-writephoto/ with thanks).

Timeless #WritePhoto

It was a silly idea but it stuck in my head and what did I have to lose anyway? An afternoon getting lost, back tracking lots then finally finding the correct field. Though, it’s hard to say those hours were wasted because I actually enjoyed getting out of town and into the countryside for awhile.

I’m NOT going to start at the beginning, I’m sick of doing that with the doctors, nurses, support workers etc. I sound like a broken record in my head, stuck repeating the same lyrics over and over. Sorry for the use of cliche, but as I’ve found out things put plainly get more understood then some hyped up analogy.

To all those people and everyone else – family, friends, colleagues- they need to hear it to understand it, no matter how many times it takes. Also, they like to hear me being positive; ‘I’m okay,’ ‘I’m doing fine,’ ‘No, I don’t need help,’ ‘Thanks for your concern, I appreciation it.’

And all the while I’m just screaming in my head; ‘Can everyone just F off and leave me alone!!’

It’s strange how we are sort of programmed to hold everything in, to stay ‘normal’ when everything is anything but and just carry on.

I thought about this the other day, when I saw a boy having a tantrum in the shop because his mum wouldn’t buy him a toy. He was full on getting all his emotions out for everyone to see and though people didn’t like it, we all understood what was going on.

That’s what I want to do! Just scream to the world that I’m not happy and I didn’t get what I wanted in life and now I’ve been told not much can be done about it. As an adult, I can’t seem to do that. It’s not the to do action when you are mid-thirties.

The action is to accept and move on.

Or else you go out and try silly things like this!

Now, I’m walking across short, wet grass, heading to the almost center of the field. Ahead the massive standing stone looms, it’s a strange twisting shape and a total blot in the flat landscape. It’s a mystery how it got here but legend says it’s an ancient healing stone and has cured millions.

I come to a stop beside the stone. It’s covered in dark moss and bits have been chipped away which is why it has an odd shape. I guess people were so desperate for healing they removed bits. I wonder if that worked for them or if the bits lost power? Does it actually matter?

I touch the stone like I’m meant too. It’s freezing and wet, not a surprise there. I feel foolish. I breath and hope no one is seeing this right now!

Do I believe the stone will heal me? I’m not sure. Common sense says no but common sense also says drugs are meant to but when the drugs stop working what then?

When you lose belief in one thing how can you find it in another?

Tears roll down my cheeks, hot and salty, I don’t wipe them away. I’m too tried.

I move closer to the stone and hug it. My arms don’t reach all away around and there’s a large gap my fingers try to bridge but don’t. Dampness and coldness sink into me like the starting up of a shower before it gets hot. The stone is smooth, worn over the years. I press my cheek to it and just let everything go.

I cry, scream, shout, punch, kick, I bash my head against the stone.

Dizziness sweeps me. Sobbing, I slip down to the ground, press my back against the stone and turn my face skyward. Shutting my eyes, I listen to my hammer heart, my ragged breaths and a headache building.

It starts raining softly.

The stone feels warm.

And for the first time in a long time, I feel little bit of peace.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/02/21/thursday-photo-prompt-timeless-writephoto/ with thanks).

New #WritePhoto

Sunlight started to undarkened the sky as Teagan and Mason stood on the hill side. It was a strange moment to be caught in both natural dark and light watching the sunrise. A quietness, which felt like held breathe, created a paused between the changing times.

Teagan wanted to say something about how it felt like they were waiting for a great mystery to be reveled to them but she couldn’t frame the words right. Instead, she held Mason’s hand tighter and watched the melted yellow sun breaking through the clouds.

They had come up here from their hotel room, driving first then walking the hill, to celebrate their first day of marriage life. It seemed fitting to watch the sunrise, even though the celebrations were still ringing in their ears.

A bird choir broke the silence with their welcome day song as the sky turned a wash of colours and night officially slipped away.

Teagan lent into Mason and put her head on his shoulder. He slipped his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. Nothing needed to be said, no words could describe the experience, it was all about feelings.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/02/14/thursday-photo-prompt-new-writephoto/ with thanks).

Fragrant #WritePhoto

When all her tasks were done and the Big house was busy with other things, Nanny liked to take the children for a long walk. In the winter and autumn months the time spent outside depended on the weather and the fussiness of the six children. In spring and summer, whole days could be spent in the vast gardens.

Elizabeth the oldest at fourteen did not like her hair and dresses getting wet and muddy. Often, she would take shelter in one of the many alcoves and read romantic fiction. In contrast her twin brothers; Henry and George aged ten, loved getting as dirty as possible. They would scamper through gardens left wild, splash in the brook and hunt for bugs. Getting those two back inside was a trying time for Nanny.

Mary, seven, and Anne, five, liked picking flowers to make necklaces, crowns and give as bunches to people. This was highly frowned upon by the gardeners! Whilst the youngest, two year old, James, would sit in his pram or on a blanket and try to join in with his siblings play.

Nanny would find nice comfortable seats to rest on and she would knit, sew, read, join in with games and sometimes nap in the hazy heat of the afternoon. Nanny liked the fragrant scents of jasmine and roses, her favorite though was lavender because it was so calming.

The children liked to bring Nanny handfuls of lavender whenever she was cross at them. Nanny in return would use dried lavender in bedding and clothes to keep things fresh.

As the children grew up and left the Big house to led their own lives, the smell of lavender always reminded them of time spent in the garden with their Nanny.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/01/31/thursday-photo-prompt-fragrant-writephoto/ with thanks).