Tag Archives: Short Fiction

Derelict (Re-Post) #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

This was written for Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge on May 25, 2017. As Sue is taking time off of posting new challenges, Willow has had the great idea to re-post old stories created for the challenge.

I crested a small ridge and the countryside became familiar.  It wasn’t anything that could be seen, not any feature or landmark, it had to do with the scent of the air, the feel under my feet and the quality of the sunlight.  I inhaled deeply and knew that I was almost home.

I was but a child when I was ripped from my parents’ arms and given an unbalanced spear and loose fitting leather cap.  I was told to kill or be killed, that king and country depended on me and my fellow farm hands that were rounded up to be shipped to distant lands to fight for noble arguments none of us understood.

Within weeks I was the only person from my village left alive.  Within months there was no other surviving commoner from within day’s walk of my childhood home.  The local lord, who had taken me from my fields, died within the first year.  His lord, a baron, was dead within three.  Ten years of constant battle and we had taken the enemy’s capital.  Another five and I was sent home, dressed in fine silks and fine mail, a bag of gold and silver at my hip and another tied to my saddle.

Continue reading

Stones (repost) #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

(This was originally posted on April 6, 2017 as part of Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge)

“See here,” wise Beandor said to his young pupil, Therry, “This arch, though appearing so weak, is very strong.  Although the walls may crumble, unless the keystone is disturbed, the arch will stand and bear weight.”

Beandor used his staff to tap the keystone of the arch.

“This arch has allowed people into this temple for over a thousand years, protecting our town of Kernsh from every attack.  Look at this ancient place, overlooking the mighty ocean, it appears weak, and yet it is so strong, like our people.  Our fair country, Aladia, seems fragile, and yet it is just these points that keep it whole.”

Therry studied the arch.

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Token #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

Edna sat down at her favorite bench, giving silent thanks that it was open.  She had seen it occupied at other times of the day, but it was always open for her late morning breakfast and had been for years.

How long had it been?

She thought back.  She had started to come down to the park the year after Ed died.  Let’s see, that was in ’98.  And it was two years later that she settled on that one bench.

So there it was, 18 years of sitting there with her lunch every day.

She spread some crusts out, as always, before getting up and doing her the bit of walking she did every day.

There were a few paths that curved around the lovely garden that she loved to take.  Her favorite, though, went through a little hidden grotto.  Not a cave, just a little nook in the wall.

But what a magical place! Continue reading

Capturing the Essence

Melon-clip

Matt jumped.

He had done it again, descended so far into his work that he lost himself.  The little beep, to let him know someone had entered the gallery, had snatched him back to the present.

He pushed away from the easel.  He always fretted that he’d never get back to that spot to continue, to finish, but he always did find his way there, and being a color pencil drawing, he didn’t have to worry about what dried and what didn’t.

Matt turned off the light and moved to the window at the door from the studio to the gallery.  From the gallery side the widow was a mirror.  Matt liked to know who was there before he entered.

The woman was only a few steps inside, doing a slow sweep of the shop as if lost.  Her eyes were wide and her mouth slightly open.  She took a tentative step and stopped again, staring at a painting.

Matt hesitated.  Something about the woman.  Her lines. He grabbed a sketchbook and drew a 10 second gesture.  Not quite it.  The rhythm of her body was off. Continue reading

Fantasy Island

shell

Day 4

At last, a few minutes to sit and write!  What a freaking nightmare it has been.  I guess I need to start at the beginning, just in case I don’t make it, so people know what happened.

I was on a flight from LAX to Seoul to join up with the rest of the cast. I’ll admit that I was excited to be starring in an action film based in Asia.  I mean, when I was a kid, women were the victims in this type of film, and yet, here I was…  Anyway, the flight didn’t go well.

OK, just a few flashes on what occurred on the flight.

We kept diverting south because of a major storm.  And then the turbulence.  I once experienced sever turbulence, the scariest half of an hour in my life.

This was worse.

Yeah. Nightmare.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to say more.  It is too soon.

I came to on a beach.

Every inch of my body hurt, yet, after checking myself, I only had a few minor injuries.

About an hour later I saw something floating towards shore.  OK, I had seen a few other pieces of wreckage wash up, but this was larger and as it got closer, I realized that there was person on it. Continue reading

Cascade #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

“We have come to an impasse.  As you are well aware, the farther we move from the shore and into the mountains, the more often we have come across small falls, rapids or other discontinuities.  We have found a way to overcome all, until now.  A cascade which, though small, is surrounded by sheer cliffs, now stands between us and our goal.  It is impossible to portage our craft and provisions around this wild water and no clear trail can be found.

“We are now setting up a small fort, where we plan to winter. Come Spring, we will either find an alternative route or call off our quest.

“At this time, all forward motion has come to an end.”

Reg read the note from his forward captain, Dwight Pashey, three times over.

This could be a disaster to the mission.

He glanced down at the note again. Continue reading

Together #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

The water was smooth, tranquil, barely a ripple.  It was as if the mighty ocean had turned to glass.

Michael smiled at the quiet irony.

It had been a turbulent few days.  Wave after wave after wave had thrashed at them, ever since the news had broken. Chaos reigned supreme.

Funny that the sea was so still.

He felt the familiar, warm squeeze on his hand and squeezed back. Margret was looking off into the distance, but he knew her thoughts mirrored his, as the still waters mirrored the placid sky.

After all of these years, they almost thought as one. Continue reading

Presence – Of Wind and Wings

stones-old-presence

Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this story fit’s in with my on-line novel, Of Wind and Wings.  I’m not sure where it fits, but it will find a place ;)

*

Ed hesitated at the doorway.  He had been told that he had free reign of the house, yet he still felt a little uncomfortable, as if he were intruding on Liza’s privacy.  No matter how often she had protested that he was welcome to make himself totally at home, he had confined himself mostly to the kitchen and his bedroom.

Elisa was sitting in a comfortable chair with her back to the door.  She hadn’t stirred and Ed wasn’t sure if she were aware that he was standing there.  He fanned himself briefly with the photo in his hand as he watched her in his indecision. He stopped and frowned at the photo.  It was as if that old bit of paper were trying to make its presence known, to remind Ed why he was there.

That did it.

Ed straightened his back and walked into the room and stopped, looking down at his hostess.

Liza put her book to the side and smiled up at him.

“Yes?”

“I was wondering if you knew where this was taken.” He held up the photo.  “It was mixed in with my great-uncle’s papers and I just found it as I was reading through the notes.”

Liza jumped back as soon as she took the photo.  She blanched and her eyes grew wide.

“Ah, so you do know it,” Ed said, trying to make light of her reaction.

Liza took a moment to regain composure, and then handed the faded photograph back to Ed with a smile.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but I can’t help you.”

Ed studied the photo for a moment.  A row of standing stones lined a path through a field full of wild flowers.  It would seem to be a noteworthy location.

He shrugged.

“Oh well, I guess I’ll just take it in and have Mr. Brown look at it.  I’m sure he’d recognize it…”

“What? Who?” Liza seemed to be even more distressed than before.

“You know, the historian…”

“Of course I know who Mr. Brown is, I’m just asking why you mentioned that man, is all.”

“He does know the local geography as well as the history.  Or perhaps The Grubb could help.”

“Yeah, ask the Grubb.”

Liza picked up her book and began to read.  Obviously the conversation was over.

Back in his room Ed continued to study the photo, trying to take in every detail.  There was something there, just at the edge of his perception.  He felt stupid for not being able to see it.

Perhaps not something, but someone.

Ed closed his eyes, still seeing the path and stones, but now in full color and stretching to the edges of his peripheral vision and beyond.

He could feel their presence before he saw them.

The couple had passed this way thousands of years before.

No, it was a different couple, hundreds of years before, ancestors that Ed had read about in his great-uncles papers.

No, that wasn’t right.  He could see them now.  It was his great-uncle and Liza’s mother.  They were walking hand and hand, smiling at each other.

No, no that wasn’t right either.

It was Liza and Mr. Brown, only they were young, perhaps in their teens or early twenties.

But no, it wasn’t them, it was Ed himself.

Who was he with?

The woman was shadowy, yet he could feel her presence, as he had in his dreams and visions.

He opened his eyes.

Was this his imagination running wild on his great-uncle’s words combined with Liza’s reactions, or was he seeing images of the past.  He shivered.  And the future.

He looked down at the photo again.

No.  It was just an old keepsake, something his great-uncle had taken in one of his many trips to England.  As far as Ed knew, it wasn’t even in the area but could be on the other side of the country.

He soon went to bed and fell into a deep sleep. He didn’t dream about the photo or the stones, as far as he could tell, and yet through the entire night he felt the presence of those other people he had imagined.

***

This was written for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge.  The photo prompt is at the top of the post and this week’s key word is “Presence“.

The story this week is based on my on-line novel, Of Wind and Wings

Glow – #writephoto

frosty-dawn--glow

Photo by Sue Vincent

“Ouch! Damn…”

I could feel the warm glow on my cheek where the twig had slapped me.  I rubbed it. Was I going to get a welt?

Wiping away that unbidden tear – I was sure it was from the pain of the slap not something else – I continued on my way.

“Damn” was right. In fact, it felt too weak for the turmoil surging through my brain.

I pushed another leafless branch out of my way, but was careful this time that it didn’t slip and smack me as the last one had.

I was going to my little private spot on the ridge. “Private”, though it was the worst kept secret in the village.

Perhaps even worse than my love for Anita. Continue reading

Final Battle

I enter a corridor. It is a trap. I know it is, and they know that I know.

A quick scan revels nothing. There are no obvious explosives, no beams or triggers, nothing. Innocent.

I move slow, slow and methodical.

There is a book that talks about moving to blend in with nature so your footsteps cannot be detected, to mimic the wind across the sand. What can I mimic as I feel my way down the giant spaceship’s most important corridor? And yet I know my movements stay below that ½ decibel over background that is so important.

A door. Closed. Locked.

I know I can enter, but at what cost?  I would lose time and make a racket.

I scan as well as possible, yet I can’t tell if the room behind is occupied, there isn’t enough data.

I think for a tenth of a nanosecond and move on. I wouldn’t forget that the door was there, a potential enemy, a menace. Continue reading