photo by Sharon McCutcheon via Skillshare
The royal apartments lay heavy under the stench of a hundred fires. He’d opened the shutters the evening before, sat shivering at the window seat as the sharp stink of burning wood, the tang of hot metal – even the sweat of the founders – fouled the air.
How was his love? Fretful, sleepless, on her knees in prayer? He closed his eyes at the thought of her wasted frame chafed by a rough flax shift, just as he closed his eyes to the note she had passed the jailer. That wavering handwriting – so changed from the sinuous curves of her early love letters – crawled through his nights, scratched at his tranquility like a fleshing knife.
The judgement had been unanimous, it was out of his hands. And the punishment for treason had remained the same since his great grandfather’s time. But he was still the king – one word to the executioner had been enough. Molten gold would replace lead.
Written for Three Line Tales. See the pic and send a link here.
I know this is a horrible end, but it is not without historical precedent. According to Smithsonian.com both the Ancient Romans and South American tribes used molten gold as a method of execution. Though perhaps not KIng Midas himself.
Freya’s cottage was easy to find – black and squat as a toad with a beetling turf roof and runes painted in spidery white around the door.
As we drew near, the clean smells of lake water and freshly caught herring were swallowed by others – burnt bone; rotten meat; urine strong enough to make me squint.
Fell dropped back a step, clamping a hand to his nose. He was too young to remember that same stench in our own village, but still fear clouded his eyes.
His brother Kari – older by five years, taller by a foot – twitched but kept pace with me. He remembered.
At the door Kari nodded – as the eldest to bear a loss this was my privilege, my burden. The wood shuddered under my fist.
‘Come out, witch,’ I called. ‘It’s time.’
Soon there would be chains and rising lake water and an end to the Evil.
Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its source. This week we are in the Faroe Islands.
On a little wander I found this cottage and couldn’t help but be reminded of a fairy tale – a witch’s cottage, perhaps . A quick internet search and I discovered Norse witches – the vǫlur – who might travel from village to village wherever they were called upon and could control a man’s movements in battle. The vǫlur were not always beneficial and after Christianisation, practitioners could be executed.
Image : Pixabay
Afterwards, it was as if all noise had been sucked from the world.
The rumble-hum of traffic she could live without, the infant wail of car alarms and waspish hedge cutters.
But the trees no longer hushed in the wind, the grasses stopped whispering beneath them. The blackbirds no longer chattered, the sparrows ceased their bickering.
The playground was the worst – no laughter, no tears, even the swings stopped creaking.
The only sound came from her own body – groans of hunger, a cough, a rattle of phlegm in tired lungs.
Perhaps it was time to complete the silence.
Written for Stephanie Colpron’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Take the word – this week it’s SILENCE – and write some words. See here to join in.
The title is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the eponymous hero’s dying words.
And here, just for fun is my favourite Depeche Mode song.
PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
‘Trouble,’ judged Mum, eyeing Mickey’s leather jacket, the guitar slung across his back.
Still she let him come in as long as he took off his boots, left his bike helmet in the porch.
So the three of us gathered round the teapot, its bobble hat cosy, a plate of custard creams. The electric heater ticked into life – three bars as we had company – and Mum took Nana Cally’s cups from the dresser, a sure sign she wanted to impress.
She nodded to the guitar recumbent on the settee. ‘Can you play Danny Boy?’
I knew then we’d be okay.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers, the hot ticket of writing prompts. Write, share, read and comment here.
And for those of you who fancy a sentimental wallow, here’s Eva Cassidy’s version of Danny Boy.
‘Ever feel you’re being watched?’ said Rudy.
The path ahead was quiet except for the papery rustle of leaves, the creak and batter of crows in the dark canopy.
Dom leaned his rifle on a mossy wall, reached for his tobacco pouch. ‘Who’d you think’s watching?’ A spark, a pop of gas, a pool of light cupped in his palms.
Rudy shrugged, staring at the ground.
The kid had been quiet since illness struck the town, since the night of the pyre and the burying of what remained. Little wonder – the stink had caught in their clothes, formed a greasy coating on their skin. He’d feared it might never wash off.
‘There’s no one watching,’ he flicked the spent butt over the wall into the lake, ‘cos there ain’t no one left ‘cept you and me.’
Dom took up his rifle, cradling it close on the trudge home.
Written for What Pegman Saw, the cracking writing prompt using Google Street View as its jumping off point. Today we are at Coniston Water in the Lake District. See here to join in, to read and comment.
PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria
‘Always something to see,’ sighed Signora Bianchi, sweeping open the muslin drapes. Her pillowy bust pressed against my arm. She smelled of garlic and bread dough and crushed lavender. ‘City of a Thousand Scandals,’ she said with a sly wink and sashayed from the room, slingbacks slapping her heels.
She was right, of course.
That summer the city unfurled beneath my window – the bargemen rising with the sun, setting with the midday heat, the thieves and shysters and gigolos slinking out with the midges as the sun wallowed.
And then there was you, the biggest scandal of all.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Indubitably the best prompt on Word Press. See here to join in, to read and comment on others.
This week’s entry reads more like an opening to a 1940s/50s novel, a young man caught in a foreign city, alone, naive … in danger?
Who do you suppose he’s taking to and why is this person so scandalous?
PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot
If I could cast a magic spell I would not wish for doubloons nor gems large as apples, heavy as the ice that seals our well these bitter mornings past.
Ermine and mink, rivers of silk and satin hold no glamour in my heart. I seek no fortune or renown or any home outside our shuttered cottage, its mossy thatch, the scent of tallow and our lowing beasts.
The only spell I crave is to be made as stone, a sculpted woman with no flesh heart beating in its bony cage.
Perhaps then I should miss you less.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a tale. See here to share and read the other stories.
I struggled a bit with this one. Then I saw the back of that impressive sculpture in the foreground and thought of being turned to stone.
Apologies in advance. Due to work commitments I’m very late to the party and doubt I’ll Be able to read many other posts before FF comes round again. Sorry if I miss reading your story and many thanks if you take the time to read mine.