What Pegman Saw : In the arms of Crooked Woman

We left Papa under the tree the old people call Crooked Woman – wrapped in palm leaves, bound with strips of knotted cloth.

The night before I’d shifted rocks from beneath the tree, made space enough for his slight form to lie. I sang as I hefted boulders, old songs Papa taught me when we set nets in the river, as we climbed fig trees, gripping bark with knotted toes, stowing plump fruit in our bags.

I set a basket of best black figs and a comb of honey at his feet. The honey dripped into the dull water as the river rose, as waves licked the rocks and kissed the sands. His body held tight to Crooked Woman for a while, a child reluctant to take his first step.

The river took him at sunset, as the water turned gold as honey, as we sang a last goodbye.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Streetview. See here to share, to read and comment.

 

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What Pegman Saw : They come

‘They come at night.’

It is the last clear thing Hutter says. Afterwards there is only the hint of words amid the sweats and anguished mumbles.

As Frau Weber gives over her second best bed sheet for the binding, the party is solemn but nothing more – death is an unwelcome but assumed companion on such an arduous journey.

Then Oma Jansen passes, slumped over her washing stone like a bundle of her own laundry. I sense true fear after Uwe dies. A big man – strong as a bull – falling like a rotten larch. No one speaks of it but later prayers echo loud in the darkness.

It is only after my Margarethe goes that I remember Hutter’s words … at night.

The sun sinks behind the mountain for the last time. Something shifts through the fir trees, sending crows laughing skyward. Cold metal presses against my throat.

Margarethe, I come.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Streetview. This week we are in Yellowstone National Park and what a place. See here to join in, to read and comment.

 

 

 

 

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.

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers : The loss of Folly

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Fandango. Thank you Fandango!


 

‘Stay down. Stay hidden.’ A last flash of Poppa’s eyes in the darkness and he was gone.

Folly did as she was told. She knew the forest well, the creak of the trunks in the wind, the sound of twigs falling to leaf litter, the scurry of creatures smaller and more terrified than herself.

But she searched for other sounds – the soft rustle and pause of a lean wolf, the hiss of breath through his snout; the grunt of boar.

Most of all she listened for the Others, the clumsy thrash of their limbs, the hushed, garbled words, the scrape of metal just before …

Come the grey paling of the dawn, the Others had not come. Nor had Poppa.

She crawled from the hollowed out tree, brushed dead leaves from her skirts, evicted a beetle from her shoe.

A voice cried out, lifting the crows from their roosts. Crashing footsteps,  garbled words – sharp, ringing as a sword hitting stone.

She closed her eyes and wished …

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s FFfAW. See the pic and write a tale. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

 

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : Ghost Smiles

 

‘… here we go round the mulberry bush on a cold and frosty morning …’

Francis watched his cousins: Ivy’s primrose hair tumbled from its ribbon; Johnny’s  socks were wrinkled, scuffed white from the gravel path. As the oldest, Francis would be in trouble for the grass stains, for the smudges of dirt on rosy cheeks.

‘It’s a box hedge,’ he muttered. ‘And it’s June. No frost in June.’ They didn’t hear, just kept on laughing and skipping.

He could write his name in perfect copperplate scrolls by the time he was four; had known his times tables by six. At each fresh achievement his parents had shown ghost smiles, eyes soon drawn back to the morning paper. No ghost smiles for the twins. Everyone adored them.

Almost everyone.

‘Let’s go into the maze,’ called Francis.

His pocket felt heavy and he smiled.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, a writing prompt using Google Street View. This week, we visit the Palace of Versailles. Pop along here to join in and to read the other stories.

Three Line Tales : Waiting for morning

three line tales week 97: a blue wooden door with a face

photo by Bogdan Dada via Unsplash


 

I lean against the door, feel the rough wood under my hands, against my ear – I listen.

Breathing – deep and soft – a muttering that says the sleep is not peaceful.

I sigh – My Monster, my Devil. Soon I’ll return, break the chains that bind you and then … I will feed them all to you.

 


Written for Only 100 Word’s Three Line Tales. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

What Pegman Saw : At night in the theatre

The valley sides are sharp as a sword blow, snow blowing like smoke in the cutting wind. The hills are stripped to black, the trees dark ribs cresting a spine of rock.

Hideo locks the door, clicks one light switch, then the next, the theatre sinking to darkness, leaving only the stage lit.

Their flesh is heavy with frost, strings of sinew holding together slack joints. They yearn for heat to melt the armour from their backs, the swords from their hands. 

Footsteps behind the curtain. ‘Who’s there?’ Hideo’s own voice sounds brittle in his ears.

Something touches his hand, like old meat kept frozen too long. His palm tingles from the cold.

‘We’re closed. Next performance tomorrow.’

The sound of metal hushing against metal. The smell of blood.

The pool of heat expands across the floor as they gather around.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, a prompt using Google Streetview. Pop along and join in, do.

Don’t ask where this little piece of horror came from. I found the destroyed theatre, looked at sites about Noh theatre, where I not only found some very disturbing demon masks but this line ‘Japanese religion fears the spirits of those who died violently or in the grip of rage’ and of course, my brain mixed this idea with the theatre, with dead Samurai warriors lost in the snowcapped hills …