Friday Fictioneers: Through a Glass Darkly


PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson
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On every window pane in every room we found two horizontal strips of black tape, the lower one always slightly wider than the one above.

After two days of packing up my late Aunt’s house, I had to know. ‘Mum, what do they mean?’

My mother trailed a finger over one dark line, muttering, ‘Eyes.’ She stroked the line below. ‘Mouth.’

The house fell silent, as if listening.

‘Mum?’ I breathed.

She tugged her cardigan around her, suddenly chilled. ‘Perhaps your aunt thought if they were blind and mute, they couldn’t hurt her again. Seems she was wrong.’

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Just sneaked in under the wire for last week’s prompt, but if you’d like to join in there’ll be another picture tomorrow. See here to join the fun.

Note

The title is a twist on both a thriller by Agatha Christie and a collection of Gothic tales by J Sheridan le Fanu.

Friday Fictioneers : The Hollow Girl


PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

‘How long has she been missing?’ Papa pulled on his boots, his braces still hanging loose, bouncing at his thighs.

‘An hour ago.’ But I was reading up in the attic before that, hiding from my sister, avoiding the grief that hung about her like a shadow. I stared up the hill, towards the foot of the glacier. ‘She wouldn’t go up there alone.’

The old Nancy wouldn’t, but this hollow girl that had replaced her, who drifted like mist through the house since the accident … Maybe.

‘If I’m not back by nightfall …’ The door slammed behind Papa’s back.

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Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in, read and comment.

What a happy place to be, back on Friday Fictioneers. And what a cracking, inspiring photo too. Thanks Russell.

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #4 : The old school house

CCC4

It’s quiet now, that clock, that bell that chimed the hours of our young lives away, that ticked the minutes off and struck the hours dead.

Ivy blinkers the windows, clogs the door that swallowed us each morning, that spewed us out just as the best of the day was done.

Here we learned of times tables and the alphabet, of continents and rivers, of brash kings and silent queens. Here too we learned of friendship, of power, of kind words and harsh words, the meaning of betrayal.

The world moves on and the pupils are grown, gone to practice what they learned within school’s rough walls.

***

What a great pleasure it is to join in Crimson Prose’s Creative Challenge #4. A wonderfully inspiring photograph. See here to learn how to join in.

What Pegman Saw : Always so cold …

Image : Google Street View 

‘They can’t be grave markers.’ Dr Stephanie Grayling crouched by the nearest stone.

‘Nonsense,’ said Professor Hill. ‘How many burial sites have you excavated in Ethiopia with the same style of carving, the same themes of weaponry and plant life?’ 

Grayling ran a finger over the grainy stone, felt the grooves mesh with the whorls in her skin. Always so cold, even on the hottest days … 

Hill must have heard the rumours circulating the dig team, but she’d worked with him often enough to know he never listened to chatter, only ever focusing on the facts as they presented themselves.

She stood beside him. ‘There are just too many, Craig.’ Thousands of markers sticking from the scrubby grass, accusing fingers of stone in every direction. She tried to fight off the panic, the feeling some had subtly shifted position since the day before.

‘We should never have come here.’

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as a jumping off point. This week we visit a fascinating archaeological site in Ethiopia. See here to join in, share, read and comment.

What Pegman Saw : Ghost girl

‘Why did we have to meet here?’

The leaves have long fallen, the creek’s fringed with ice. A wind cuts along the path, sneaking beneath my sweater, raising my skin to pimples.

‘You know why,’ snaps Flick, checking her phone signal.

There are still ribbons of police tape further along the track, tangled in the twigs like black and yellow bunting, the only sign remaining that anything happened here.

Madison and Lily are silent, Lily trailing behind as always. Madison’s gained weight since we last met – she always eats when she’s worried. And Lily … she’s a ghost girl. Silent, bony, big eyes staring like she’s seeing things that aren’t there. Maybe she’s sneaking some of her mom’s sleeping pills. I’m old enough to buy my own.

We’re together in this, a bond unbreakable.

Though I wish with all my heart I never had to lay eyes on these bitches again.

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Written for What Pegman Saw, the fantastic prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. Today, we are at Bridal Veil Falls, Utah. See here to join in, share, read and comment on others.

What Pegman Saw : The many in the one

 

I tell Mammy, “The church speaks to me.”

I don’t expect tears of joy, the kisses and blessings. I don’t expect to be trussed in my coat, my hat with the ear flaps, my scarf, my mittens and heavy boots until I’m muffled and leaden, a deep sea diver wading among the coral.

Mammy’s heels clip-clop on the cobbles, the sound echoing between staring houses.

It speaks again as we enter the churchyard. At first it’s like one voice, a wind sighing through narrow gaps. But then I hear the many in the one – crying, whispering, calling for help that never comes.

The rectory door bell rings. I shuffle on the step, aching to run but held by Mammy’s joy, her fierce pride that the Lord has chosen to speak to me.

The door swings wide. There’s the black shirt, the white collar.

One look and it’s clear – he knows.


Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we are in Stockholm, Sweden. See here to join in, to share, read and comment.

What Pegman Saw : Take me to the water

 

 

The faithful lined the banks of the river all year, churning the water to a thick brown soup of mud and prayer leaves.

The winters were the busiest now, as if God was more likely to grant relief from pain and suffering if the pilgrim had to crunch barefoot through frosted grass and stiff fringes of reed.

Prime didn’t want to believe in a god like that, but then he knew the secret. He knew the discarded crutches, the lives reborn, renewed, weren’t due to God at all.

Sometimes the knowledge made him flinch under the grateful tears, the blessings of the cured as he helped them, sodden, from the water.

He would lie awake wondering – did it matter? Was a cure any less a cure, however it happened?

Still, he crept to the water under cover of night to feed Them, to hear Their true voices.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the grand writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we’re in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. See here to join in, to share, read and comment.