When Gods awaken

He loved it.

The textures and striations of the rocky outlet glistened in the sun. The little cottage at the peak overlooked a kaleidoscopic green blue sea. That it was available so cheap was the clincher. If local superstitions of the land being possessed by a sea god worked to his advantage, then he wasn’t complaining.

It was the day of the neap tide that he felt the ground rock. Earthquake was his first reaction, as he rushed out of his cottage towards mainland, only to freeze in his tracks. All around was only the great blue sea.

He, it appeared, was atop the giant turtle sea god.

In response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Words Wednesday: Week 24 challenge based on photo by Geran de Klerk

Stakeout

This wasn’t what he had imagined when he joined the academy. In his crime fighting daydreams stakeouts were thrilling like the movies. His partner and he would be slouched behind the wheels of a nondescript black sedan sipping hot coffee and before they were done the perpetrators would appear.

Instead here he sat on a cold street bench dressed like a vagrant staring at the dying lights of Pearl’s Di-er, lips too chapped to even smile at the ironic sign.

Just as he shifted hoping to feel his legs again, he saw it. The distinct red dot of a sniper rifle aimed at his chest.

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Written in response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday 23rd challenge with photo prompt by Jesse Williams

Day one

I stared at the huge structure with its looming stone walls and wondering once again what I was doing there. Everything screamed money, and heritage, and every arch appeared to questioning my right to tread these hallowed grounds. Staring at the ground I quickly walked in, half expecting someone to shut the gates on me at any moment.

As I walk through the hallways I notice the furtive stares directed my way. Everyone noticed the strange boy, yet no one seemed to care that I looked lost and uncomfortable. If only I could turn invisible, at least until I found the others like me. The school had a 15% reservation for economically challenged meritorious students, so I couldn’t possibly be the only misfit here.

Suddenly someone tapped my shoulder. “You look new. Would you like me to show you around?” she asked, and with that sweet voice my day immediately got a thousand times better.

In response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers’ 119th challenge based on a photo provided by The Magicsticgoldenrose

Fly

There are boys who join the army for honour and country, there are others who join in search of a new home, and then there is Jason who enlisted because Tommy bet him 5 shillings that he would not qualify the physical exam.

Jason would do anything for a dare, and for an adrenaline junkie, the army was perfect.
If there was a dangerous place to go, if there was an important message to be carried, or if someone had to dash in and out of the line of fire, Jason was that man. Jason on his trusty bike!

“You can ride her, but can you make her fly,” someone once taunted, and Jason decided to take on the challenge.

A date was fixed, a ramp set up, and to add to the thrill, it was decided that he would jump over his mates.
The bets were not far behind.

Five brave men sat shoulder to shoulder. Ten feet away the bike started revving up. Louder and louder, closer and closer, until she sped up the ramp and shot off like a rocket amid raunchy claps and hollers, and landed perfectly and well clear.

‘More…More…” egged on the crowd.

Five more lads volunteered to join. The bike started its run up fifteen feet away, faster and faster, until she sped up the ramp and shot off like a rocket. Another perfect landing.

‘More…More…” egged on the crowd. The bets rose higher and higher.

Fifteen young men sat shoulder to shoulder. Once again Jason started his race up the ramp amidst thunderous clapping and cheering. The bike shot off the ramp. But the speed was too much. The ramp wavered. The crowd froze. The lads lost their smile.
Was the bike was going to land short?

Only Jason smiled.

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Written in response to Michelle’s Photo Challenge #91.
Writing style adopted in response to Neil’s Scrivener’s Forge Exercise 6 – Character in action.

The siren’s song

I stand at the edge of the forest watching the leaves shimmy as soft sunlight dances over tree tops.

Sammy and I played here once, imagining as kids often do, of a land of mystery and enchantment. To Sammy the forest played an irresistible siren’s song.

It’s magical. Only streaks of sunlight enter, like dancing strobe lights shining over a thick carpet of fallen leaves and loam. The air is be-spelled with misty dampness and the aroma of wild flowers. The mighty trees stand like warriors protecting all the little forest people, from the tiny beetle to the colourful birds. That’s where I go to play,” he explained, “but I’m always careful to stay away from the ogre.
Then one day he never returned.

I see no beauty in Sammy’s mystical land now, for now I know where the people went when they didn’t come back… and it was entirely its fault… the thing that killed my brother…

Written in response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers’ 118th challenge based on a photo prompt by Pamela S. Canepa

The break

The thing with small towns – everybody knows everybody’s business.

I had ridden to the next town just to buy a pregnancy test kit. For seven stressful days and seven sleepless nights, I had kept the results to myself, almost as if I were an unwed mother. Eventually I made myself a promise. This was my decision, my responsibility. My baby would always have a family. There was no going back.

When he heard he was becoming a father, he was proud enough to buy the entire pub a round and pleased enough to permit me to work. The baby had to be provided for, and honestly, I was more than willing.

Smart, friendly, helpful, my princess was perfect. When she looked at me, like I was the most important person in the world, I determined that she was not going to waste her life like me. It didn’t matter if my back ached or my eyes burnt, her hug could cure everything.

Time passed like the bling of an eye and soon it was time for her to go to college. Tuition was expensive, but I had been saving up ever since she won first prize in middle school.

It was when I logged in to pay that I discovered I was down to minimum balance. It had to be a mistake. Definitely a mistake! I rushed to the bank. I had signed no cheque. I had withdrawn no money. And that’s when I realised the rumors had been true. He had debts, great big gambling debts.

Nothing moved him, not her tears, not my pleas. He just left for the pub like it was just another day.

I meant to follow him to continue pleading. I never realised that I had accelerated until I rammed into the tree.

The coroner came for him. The cops came for me. No questions were asked.

That’s the thing with small towns – everybody knows everybody’s business.

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Written for Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #90 challenge

Stolen choices

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I look at his pictures rapturously. “It’s beautiful,” I exhale, “spectacular but tranquil, a perfect slice of heaven. And you have captured it perfectly. I mean, really, you should exhibit these.”

“You should have been there,” he replies softly.

I should have known that my best friend would not miss the longing in my eyes. That’s the thing I hated and loved about him. He always saw through me.

“You could have been there.” He is almost inaudible now but I hear him.

I run my hand over my distended belly feeling the life within. No. That was never an option.


Written for Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday, Week 21 challenge, based on photo prompt by Ales Krivec

Collateral

Memory is a deadly disease; it is my cancer of the soul. It gnaws away at my heart, a constant pain that kills me every day just a little bit more, replacing living with a darkness that overshadows each moment. In this darkness I can’t get the sense that anything is important at all, neither life, nor death, nor pain. I yearn for the restful embrace of slumber, to be able to sleep just one night without the sound of pitiful voice drenching me in cold chills.

I look outside the window waiting for dawn to come and bring the world alive again, to remind my desolate heart that there is hope yet, that out there is a whole planet of sentient beings that live and love and laugh and grow. I wait for dawn to shed my world of its mourning black and dress it in the colours of sunshine again.

But for now all I have is this starless sky. Even the moon is not shining tonight, as if she too lay frightened, quivering, taking refuge behind unseen clouds. The vice on my heart keeps squeezing, unrelenting, and all that my heart can do is beat warm blood around my veins in a hope that the storm will eventually end.

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The intelligence had been solid, the coordinates correct, our planning and execution meticulous, yet everything went so very wrong. The bastards had thrust guns in the hands of boys and left them as sitting ducks. I knew the moment the firing started. Those were not the screams of men. But there was nothing to be done. The target had moved on. We had to move on. That’s what I kept telling myself. We had to move on. There is always collateral.

And now the screams just won’t stop.


Written for Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #88

Through frosty path

Frosted leaves with their delicate ice buds sparkle in the brilliant wintry light, for there is no weather today, no wind, no clouds. The slippery path glistens like white quartz, and I wonder at the irony of all this beauty over everything dead. Spotting his headstone I pause, my breath rising in rapid puffs, and I have to remind myself that he is gone. “You will always be mine,” he had said, right before the day of the fatal car crash. Sadly the break wires had snapped.

I close the gap between us and then I see the rails put up beside him, around the freshly dug open grave. “O honey, you’re getting company,” I say.
The idea suddenly strikes. I step across the rails, taking out the greasy gloves I needed to dispose. Down they go.

“I told you. You will always be mine,” I hear Frank hiss behind me. Startled, my foot slips and I’m falling. My head hits something and then…


In response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, 115th Challenge
Photo prompt by loniangraphics

Fontana di disperazione

Observing these statues is almost like beholding my own reflection. Beautiful objects on display that evokes awe in others but are themselves cold and dead.

There was once a young girl with beauty in her visage, dreams in her eyes and hope in her heart. A handsome prince arrived on his ivory steed, saw the exquisite girl flanked by her generous parents and immediately fell in love with her. “You are so beautiful,” he confessed, “that I cannot bear another looking upon you!” and with these words of love he locked her away in his castle. She spent her days waiting for him to return from his many tasks of great importance and her nights taking care of his many needs. When there were parties or when the generous parents visited, he dressed the girl in finery so all who saw her could marvel. How fortunate to have beauty, riches and a doting husband who takes her on exotic holidays around the world!

I wonder perhaps if someday my heart will grow so hard that I too would turn to stone. They could place me in some corner where naïve young girls will toss a coin in my direction while wishing for beauty or a good husband; and my cold unfeeling heart might whisper, “take my beauty; give me your hope.”

In Response to The Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of 14 May 2017
Photo Prompt credited to Sally-An Hodgekiss