Friday Fictioneers : The silvering of clouds

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

There’s a light you get at twilight, when the sun is tucked behind silvery clouds. The sky’s still blue, holding onto day, but the earth is draining of colour, already sliding into night.

It was like that twenty years ago. Day Zero we call it now, but really it was just another summer’s day, a day I have no memory of. Until the broadcast.

I remember Ma’s face as the news came buzzing and tinny over the radio. A sandcastle crumbling under waves. The radio has remained dumb since.

If you could see us all now, Ma, you’d weep.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Come on over, be inspired here, read and comment. It’s a joy.

 

 

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Friday Fictioneers : The weirdest thing

PHOTO PROMPT © Yarnspinnerr

‘How long’s it been derelict?’ said Abbott.

Daniels referred to his notebook. ‘About four years.’

‘Is that all?’

The plaster had sloughed off the walls to show wooden laths, the ribs of the house exposed. He smelled Tom cat. Blankets in one corner, a stub of candle, a twist of tin foil – someone had been there, maybe not for a while.

‘Where is it?’

Daniels nodded towards a doorway. Light spilled through cracks onto warped floorboards.

‘It flows like liquid,’ whispered Abbott. ‘And the colours … Like oil on water.’

‘That’s not the weirdest thing,’ said Daniels, opening the door.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Come share, read and comment here.

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers : Jenny Wren sings

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook


 

She cast a slim shadow on the glassy lock, wrists and ankles fragile as porcelain. Weaving between the sculptures, she tapped each in turn with her forefinger.

‘… tad-cu, modryb, cyfnither …’

It was the eighth time Idwal had caught her on the grounds. The perimeter wall was tall, impregnable, but still she kept getting in. He watched, enthralled.

She’d stopped by the two tallest stones, one lissom arm resting on each. ‘Mam. Tad.’

Wind rippled the water, hushed through the grass. Somewhere a wren sang.

After the song faded, nothing remained of her but footprints in the damp grass.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Write a tale, share, read and comment on others. See here to do all that.

Work stopped me from join the scribbling party last week. I am therefore, painfully late so if I don’t get round to reading your tale do forgive me.

On seeing the photo I was struck by the sculptures in the foreground and how they loosely resembled a group of standing stones. Most standing stones in the UK and elsewhere have legends attached and those legends often centre around fairy folk and the stones being cursed people. See here to read some interesting British legends surrounding standing stones.

Notes

The wren is called ‘the king of birds’ or ‘the little king’ in many languages. She’s also known as a trickster. Take a look here to learn more.

I found the following words on the Omniglot website. Beside them are their English equivalents.

Cymraeg (Welsh Celtic)         English

Tad                                               Father

Mam                                             Mother

Tad-cu                                          Grandfather

Cyfnither                                     Female Cousin

… and finally, the Welsh boy’s name Idwal means Lord of the wall.

Three Line Tales : The Thrift Store Cat Whisperer

three line tales week 103: a sanitation van in front of pink graffiti

photo by Hans Vivek via Unsplash


 

Hey, Danny, look! See that old lady? The one pushing her world in a shopping cart. Thrift store clothes, shoes held together with string – your everyday homeless old bag, right? Keep watching.

Isn’t that the weirdest thing you ever saw? How many are there – five. … ten … sixteen … twenty-four I make it. Twenty-four stray cats all after the same hobo like she’s got fish tacos sewn in the lining of her coat. She talks to ’em too, says some weird garbled crap that sure ain’t English. Sal says she gives ’em all names, that they sit round and listen like they’re in elementary school and she’s the teacher. But Sal says his mom was abducted by aliens, so …

Sure see some weird shit in this job.

 


Written for Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a story. See here to read and share.

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.

Friday Fictioneers : The Long Night falls

PHOTO PROMPT © Danny Bowman


 

The sun was low by the time Alison made it out of the city. The streets had been clogged with traffic since the alarm sounded, every lane blocked by dumped cars. In the end, she’d left the Ford and joined a river of humanity drawn to the desert. Beyond the concrete and steel, things felt calmer, voices hushed over the sound of feet stumbling through sand.

A last emerald flash of sunlight and the Long Night fell.

She thought of all those she’d loved as the frost furred her lashes and the cold grew hard. Finally, her heart slowed, stilled.

 


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

The ’emerald’ sunset refers to a phenomenon called the Green Flash. See here.

 

Never be alone

PHOTO PROMPT © Karuna


 

By the time Diana reached home, night was snapping at her heels, the first fallen leaves of autum swirling in the wind.

What had her mother always said? Never be alone. Always be inside after nightfall. But despite her best efforts and being ‘striking’ in her youth (not beautiful, never that) she’d always lived alone.

Once inside the house, she locked and bolted the door, passed from room to room, closing the shutters on the darkness. Something warm pressed against her calf.

‘Hello, Grim.’

She lifted the cat into her arms, felt the rumble start in his throat as she ruffled the back of his neck. Not quite alone.

 

After dinner she lit the candles, three groups of three – earth, air and sky as mother had taught her – took a bowl of warm water to the dining table and began cleaning the toys she’d found at the allotment.

She didn’t bring objects home often but these had spoken to her. So much love poured into them, so many hopes and whispered promises. The dreams of a young heart had a potency that faded as people aged.

There were countless similar objects around the window and door frames, cluttering the fireplace. China dolls with missing limbs, brooches, rings, letters of love and loss and friendship, a fabric heart, hand-stitched, a token left for an orphan centuries before. Anything loved could work. Could ward them off.

Grim jumped to the window seat, eyes fixed on the shutter latch. Standing, Diana put aside the doll, its eyes rolling closed.

‘You okay, Grim?’

The cat leapt up, hissing, spitting, spinning on his claws, fur standing from his body like pins. The windows rattled, the glass chiming in the frames. Wind howled down the chimney puffed ash into the air. The floor shook beneath her feet, boards bucking, her chair falling.

She checked the candles, still alive in there holders … and watched in horror as they blew out one by one.

A moment of quiet. Ash fell like charred snow, the only sound her own breathing.

Three loud knocks on the shutter.

 


I wrote the first part of this for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers this week and the wonderfully talented Jane Dougherty asked me about the significance of the toys. That got me thinking. So here’s my answer.

The story that raised all the questions – Toy Soldiers – is here. And another tale of Grim the cat is here.