An empty picture hook

Empty pictrue frame, brick wall

Image : Pixabay

‘Goodbye’ was the word that jumped out from the scrawl.

Some of the phrases were lost forever, rinsed away by the rain or crushed into muddy pulp by my footprint.

I cursed myself for being so careless. But if it hadn’t slid beneath my boot, I wouldn’t have seen the words or cradled it in my hands as brown water dripped between my fingers. I wouldn’t have carefully dried the fragile paper by the fire.

The letter held together, but what remained was fragmentary, shards of emotion nailed to the page.

It rested in my hands, light as a leaf, yet heavy. I looked around the room. My books leaned drunkenly on the shelf where yours were missing. A dusty rectangle was all that remained of the television set. I remembered the conversation: you’d paid for it, you said, and I was too tired to argue.

I put the letter in a cheap frame, hung it on a vacant picture hook.

It continues to rain.

 

 

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Mauritius

I love this unusual writing prompt. The wonderfully talented Josh and Karen take it in turns to host and every week it inspires. Do pop along and have a go yourself and read the other tales too.

WHAT PEGMAN SAW

Since last week’s prompt was in a devastated part of West Virginia, we deserve a vacation. Today Pegman takes us the the lovely island of Mauritius, a gorgeous island in the Indian Ocean. As always, feel free to use the location to inspire you in any way you wish. You can use the street view or archival photography (or no photo at all).  We do ask you keep it to 150 words as a gesture of respect for your readers and the rules. It’s safe to say that every writer needs practice leaving things out anyway ;-).

Have fun and do your best.  If you have any suggestions for where to send Pegman next, feel free to drop us a line.

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What Pegman Saw : A bitter offering

Today Pegman takes us the the lovely island of Mauritius


 

‘What about this one?’

Atia surveyed the stone in her brother’s hand. She shook her head. ‘It must have a flat edge and a sharp point opposite.’ She looked up to the mountain. ‘You see? Like that.’

Felix looked, but the peak was wreathed in smoke, a lazy coronet often there on still days. He thought of his friend Cato who’d caught a beetle the day before, big as his palm, black as a thunder cloud with branched horns on its head like a stag.

‘I want to see the beetle, Atia.’ The sun was making him hot and whiney.

‘We must leave a stone for Venus -‘

The ground shifted under him, throwing him down. His knees hurt like bee stings. ‘Atia?’

She grabbed his hand, dragged him to his feet. ‘Run! Run to tata!’

The air stung, tasted bitter, dust filled his eyes, his mouth.

‘Lares help us!’

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, a prompt based on Google Streetview.

Of course, having a history degree that touched on the Classics, once I saw the smoky mountain top all I could think of was Vesuvius and what might have happened, had a brother and sister been out making offerings to the Gods on that day in AD 79.

Notes

Lares were household gods, small and personal ones, possibly guardian ancestors.

Venus was patroness of Pompeii, hence the children leaving a token for her.

It seems Roman children called their fathers tata as often as they did papa.

One last thing …

It’s thought Pompeii was engulfed by pyroclastic flow, a volcanic eruption where rock behaves more like water. To see what the Pompeiians might have seen before the end, see here.

 

And for the dormant Goth inside me still …

Friday Fictioneers : Down the muddied gullies of the Thames

PHOTO POMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy


 

They called her Polly-Mynah on acount of her own given name and the bird that needled her shoulder.

Down the muddied gullies of the Thames, neath crumbled eaves and untrusting eyes, one body needs another to keep watch or a body won’t last too long. That’s what Polly-Mynah had. Yes, the body in question had an oily black head, a beak gold as a sovereign and eyes sharp as frost, but he watched for Polly, keen as any madhouse copper.

Even when the creature died she kept his name, like a pining widow twines to her marriage vows.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers, the best prompt in town. See here to read the other tales and to share one of your own.

On seeing today’s pic, I was minded of a novel idea I haven’t yet found the time to write, about a young girl and her pet bird and their adventures along the fetid, treacherous streets of the capital and the unconventional friend they make their.

 

What Pegman Saw : The value of nonsense

Gran had two china swans on the rail of her porch, heads dipped as if staring at the  bleached grass in front of her house.

There was a bench on the porch with a patchwork cushion, the fabric soft as felt from years of washing. I would sit on that cushion and squint until the swans softened and shimmered, until they seemed to drift on the hill opposite, swimming amid the treetops.

I once told Gran about the swans, how they swam in the sky, how the leaves parted before them, swirled in eddies behind.

The peas she was shelling plopped glossy green into an enamel bowl. ‘If nonsense was worth money, you’d be the richest of us all,’ she said, shaking her head.

She willed me that old wooden house and I left it to hollow out and flake to splinters.

I kept the swans.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Streetview as its starting point. See here to join in and to read the other stories. This week Pegman returns to the Western Hemisphere to take us on a tour of Littleton, West Virginia.

Friday Fictioneers : Where the pines stand dark sentry

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz


 

Pines stood dark sentry to the rear of the house, the lake to the front.

Sook’s bedroom was in the roof, chill in the winter, hot in the summer when light rippled across the ceiling, an echo of the broad grey of Loch Giutha.

Joshie’s room was bigger but faced the black pines that groaned in the winds or shivered with unseen creatures.

He could keep his big room. The loft was her turret, the house her castle and if the pines harboured unquiet spirits, the water sheltered merrows, kelpies with manes of weed.

And at night the loch whispered.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers, the acme of writing prompts. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

Notes

Loch Giutha does not exist, but giutha is Gaelic for fir tree.

A merrow – like the more familiar selkie – is a Gaelic word for mermaid, while a kelpie is a mythical sea horse.

Three Line Tales : A hush after the storm

three line tales week 87: a hand reaching up from a meadow under a pink sky

photo by Bryan Minear via Unsplash


 

It was the freedom of movement Reem valued the most. She would walk to the top of the hill overlooking Burnley, the grass hushing her steps, the breeze hushing the grass.

Raising first one hand then the other, she wriggled her fingers, allowed the breeze to wrap around her, pass over her, bringing the smells of the city – petrol fumes, the local chip shop, crushed vegetation.

Adnan laughed at her ritual. ‘Why up there of all places?’

She just smiled, pulling him close. ‘Because I can.’

 


Written for Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a post. See here to join in.