Thanks to Jane at Making it Write for nominating me for this challenge.

He’d known it would come when the atmosphere began to crackle, when the hairs on his arms, nape- even those furring the backs of his hands- bristled. The feeling built as one hot, airless day followed the next- the need growing with the heat.

The storm seemed to follow him from his cottage to the church, turning the cobbled street to a riverbed, making the slates shimmer. The water was dazzling, each drop a mirror for the lamplight. At first, he tucked his chin to his chest, wrapping the threadbare coat around him, puny defence against the onslaught.

Darts of rain stabbed his eyes, rivulets channelled to the corners of his mouth. Finally he relented. Opening his coat, spreading wide his arms, he welcomed the elements. The eager wind probed his chest, skimmed the backs of his knees, until every inch of him was wet and shivering.

He searched for his reflection but found none. Only broken, unstill water.


Sitting in the pew, water puddled around his boots. He enjoyed the drip and splash on the stone.

The stained glass rattled with every crash of thunder, colours trembling in slack lead. A bleached instant of lightning showed the altar, the rood screen with its hacked, faceless saints.

He was always comfortable with the dead. Nothingness was fascinating and now it softly surrounded him: in each wall niche, below slabs where the water seeped: deep in the crypt, where the coffins turned to powder. Being near a corpse made his breath run smooth, caused his fingers to uncurl from their habitual fists. The living made his teeth grind.

He knew it wasn’t normal. He’d watched the world sidelong through squint eyes and it disturbed him. Other people kissed- mouths soft and gluey moist. They laced arms and drew comfort from the sensation. He had practised smiles in his looking glass but each turned rictus- he long ago decided smiling was not a skill he owned.

Another roll of thunder. It grew soft, turning to a grumble.

The door latch squeaked open, clicked shut. For a moment he was lost, then his mind returned to him and he smelt stale incense, tasted dust on his tongue.

‘James?’ The voice sounded wary.

‘I’m here,’ he said and rose to his feet.

The Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge rules require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. I have chosen to use photographs from Pixabay as I’m terrible at taking them myself! It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph – it’s entirely up to you.

Then each day, nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge.

Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command. Today, I’m inviting Divya from Another Teenager’s Time Capsule to join the challenge.