The Daily Post : The Legend of the Dark Lady

 


 

The fields were barren, the plough ridges hard with frost and the land plucked bare of hips and berries. Winter had been long, harder than memory. Now grain was so sparse in the barns and barrels even the rats starved – those that had not already been roasted over meagre fires.

Death took the sick and old first. Then the children followed on, tiny bodies lying stiff as spades in the churchyard. They piled them under the old yew, the earth too hard to welcome them home.

Then the Dark Lady came in her cloak of storms, her hair of swirling rain, the raven Hok still and watchful on her arm. The people begged for pity, but the Lady’s heart is black as her bird, black as her eyes of ink.

It was then the true suffering began.


 

Written for the Daily Post’s prompt – BLACK. See here to join in.

Hok is Cornish Celtic for falcon.

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What Pegman Saw : They’ll come


 

Shona drifts past another blank-eyed goddess.

She checks her watch. An hour until the coach collects them from the museum. Only mid-morning and her stomach’s rumbling.

Another gallery. The walls Pompeian red. In the centre of the room, a horse statue, on its back a child. The room is deserted, the air thick, steamy. Her pulse beats loud in her ears, breath coming fast –

Muscle moving beneath her, a jolt as the ground leaps up, falls away, rises again. Her arms scream, fingers white on the reins. She steals a look behind – no one. Tempted to slow, to ease the pain and the gasping, retching, but they’ll come, they’ll come, they’ll never stop and there’s only the horse between her and them and as long as she rides she’s safe. As long –

‘Miss?’

A concerned face swims into view, but she’s already running. She’ll always be running.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, a writing prompt using Google Streetview. See here to read the other stories and share one of your own.

Strangely, considering a location chock-a-block with history, I found inspiration hard to come by today. Until I ventured into the the Archaelogical Museum and discovered this amazing statue. The Jockey of Artemision is so dynamic, so different from those stiff, cool-eyed goddesses – so modern in a way – I was captivated.

Friday Fictioneers : The Invisible Girl

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Ann Hall


 

Frances nestled into her favourite spot behind the jardiniere, in the shade of the dining room curtains.

She liked it there. When she stood up, the fern fronds spilling from the pot tickled her cheeks, smelling of woodland. When she sat, legs tucked, she pulled the heavy velvet curtain to her, becoming invisible. Then she could listen to the parlour maids talk of Mother in sharp, hushed tones, watch Polly wipe her grubby hands on the table cloth.

Today, scuffing feet told her someone was coming. High and low whispers, a man and a woman.

Her mother.

Not her father.

 


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : A wise form of madness*


 

They grew up in neighbouring blocks, in the stone-built houses left when the rich folk deserted the Old Town for the New, exchanged crumbling laurel swags and ballustrades for reinforced concrete and steel.

They went to the same school, though never met. She was bright enough, not brilliant but hardworking, while he spent the school day picking pockets, shoplifting, in juvenile court.

As she whispered with her friends over boy band singers, he was getting his first gang tattoo – a dagger on his right cheekbone, a symbol of belonging.

Then one day, she was walking along Rose Street, he coming the other way, trousers hanging low, body hunched as if the world had climbed on his narrow shoulders. His face was slim, brows in a tight frown. The kind of boy the nervous cross the street to avoid.

On impulse, she smiled

And his world opened.


 

Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Streetview as its starting point. See here to join the fun and to read the other stories.

The title comes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Act One, Scene One.

What Pegman Saw : A storm at Slaughter Bay

 

‘Hello? I don’t know if anyone can hear this broadcast – the signal’s terrible, a stormhead’s gathering, causing interference. I know you’re out there, Stephen, that you might be monitoring this wavelength –

‘I heard something … hold on.

‘I had to look, I thought I heard … The sun’s setting. I don’t have much time.

‘Stephen – anyone – if you’re listening, this is Rodney Statham, Professor Rodney Statham of the Imperial College research team. We were recording the flora and fauna of Slaughter Bay. We arrived seven days ago, a group of five research scientists, two local guides – Burnum and Daku … They were brothers, Stephen. Their poor mother –

‘There! I’m certain this time. Something outside the hut –

‘Stephen, if you hear this, if a rescue party is coming from the mainland – you must stop them!

‘God, that awful smell! Hawthorn and corpses. One’s coming under the door! Another! They’re on me, they -‘

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, a prompt using Google Streetview. To join in and to read the other stories, visit here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Line Tales : A murder of crows

three line tales week 91: a raven at Stonehenge for Halloween

photo by Julien Laurent via Unsplash


 

Feathers flutter in the wind – a parade of crow’s wings, a pair nailed to each fence post, blue black dancing over the churned earth.

Daw knows the farmer who owns the land, who shoots the crows. Grover his name is. The man never could bear to see anything beautiful fly, his instinct always to capture, to cage, to kill.

Grover had a wife didn’t he? Nancy. Not seen her for a long while.

 


Written for Three Line Tales. See the prompt pic and write a tale.

 

Friday Fictioneers : Why Poppa made them run

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot


 

The pall of woodsmoke that had turned day to night was finally lifting. The fires must have burned themselves out.

‘Where’s Poppa?’ His sister Nance was sitting on a fallen log, feet kicking the crumbling wood to splinters.

The sky was vermillion, the sunset turned vibrant by the filthy air.

‘Where, Danny?’

They would need shelter, somewhere out of the cutting wind. Somewhere safe.

Danny looked at his little sister, at those large eyes reflecting the fiery sky. One day he’d have to tell her why Poppa had made them run, but not today.

He held out his hand.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and to read some glorious fiction.