Tag Archives: short story

Out of Place – Chapter 1

“One, two, three – what do I see?” My words were slurred.  “Four, five, six – stucco instead of bricks.  Seven, eight, nine – to go inside would be fine.  But it is three, four, five and I’ll never return alive.”

I was home for Spring Break.  My college friends were all someplace warm and my townie friends, well, in the two years at University I had outgrown the ones that hadn’t moved on.  They were all like Matt.  All Matt talked about was the “Two H-s”, hunting and hockey.  His eyes blurred if I brought up anything bigger, even local politics. Mention, say, Noam Chomsky, and his face would shut down.

I had been over to Matt’s house, but got bored with his little minded attitude and wandered away.  I soon found myself in front of number 345 Cedar Street saying that little chant I had made up when I was all of 12 years old.  “Two, one, zero – if I do it, I’ll be a hero.” I could see my breath in the cold air.

I had always wondered about old number 345, a wonder that bordered on obsession during my middle school days.

Old number 345, yeah, what a house.

Oddly enough, it sat between 337 and 351, as if an entire block was missing except that one strange, out of place house. Continue reading

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The Yearning #writephoto

yearning

Photo by Sue Vincent

Meg crested the small hill and stopped.  A last fragrant breezed wafted up from the ocean as the sun slipped down for the night, causing the sky and water to flame.

Her heart bounded and for a minute she felt like a little girl, full of the desires of youth and pull of the sea and distant lands, the deep unending yearning, the yearning to be someplace, anyplace, else.

She brought herself back to the present and found An watching that same sunset.  She gave a knowing smile and walked over to her granddaughter.

“He’s out there someplace,” she said to the 24-year-old woman.  An didn’t respond.  “Yes, out there beyond the horizon.”

An gave a slight nod.

Meg drew closer to the young woman and watched the last flashes of light play across the water. Continue reading

Wicker #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

So you are saying that sunlight has magical powers?

Yes, over evil it does.  You see, it is full of purity.  It destroys monsters.

Right.  There is a certain orange monster I’d like to expose to the sunlight…  Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work with human monsters.

Maybe not, but it does other, more supernatural monsters.  Case in point, trolls?

I read The Hobbit.  They turn to stone.

Exactly.  Vampires?

Uhm.  Let’s see, I think they burn up.

Good.  Werewolves?

Hmmmm. Makes them take a nap?

No!  They turn back into their human form not remembering what happened under the full moon.

Right. And I’m sure you are going to tell me that it turns witches into wood.  Like in Monty Python.  Burn them!

Well, now that you mention it…

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Easy enough.

Oh, so you are saying there are some wicker witches out there?

Something like that.  Let’s take a walk, I’ve something to show you….

(If you can’t see the prompt, the image shows three figures that seem to be female and made of branches, with their hands joined. Witches dancing? Perhaps caught mid-step by the sunlight?)

***

Written for Sue Vincent‘s #writephoto challenge.  This weeks challenge, Wicker, is here.

A Whir in My Ears

steampunk-1809590_960_720

Pixabay image by Brigitte Werner

Princess Varas stared out of the window, her face blank.

“Are you OK, your highness?”

“Yes, thank you, Maz.”

Although she didn’t turn, the princess could still feel her maid watching her.  She was sure that Maz had something important to say, but would wait until she was asked.  That was fine to Varas.  She’d make her maid wait a little longer.

“Maz,” she said a few minutes later.

“Yes, your highness?”

“Was it always like this?”

“What, your highness?”

Varas sighed.  She could see only a few hundred yards beyond the castle walls before the fog bank.  She couldn’t ever remember the fog not being there, and yet…

Varas bit her lip.

There were those flashes.  Random memories of what she came to call “the time before”.  But they weren’t her and they weren’t here.  Which was impossible.  She was always here and, of course, she was always herself.

But what did “always” mean?

Part of her thought “years”, perhaps a little over 27 years.  Another part thought “always” meant just that, forever.  And yet, there was the feeling she had only been there for a short time, days, perhaps weeks, maybe a couple of months at the very most.  Days.

* Continue reading

Monochrome #writephoto

timbered-building

Photo by Sue Vincent

And on the sixth day it was decreed that all color, hue and chroma would be banished from the world. 

*

It was raining.  Again.  Not hard, just a little cold drizzle.  Andy drew his jacket a little tighter and frowned.

Why was he here?

The kids had made him come.  They said he’d enjoy it. Steven, his grandson, made the arrangements and was here with him, but he wished he was anywhere but here.

“Hey Pops, look at that.  I’m sure this was standing before any Englishman set foot in America.  It might even be older than that place where you raised Dad.” He smiled broadly at his joke.

Andy continued to frown.  He knew Steven was trying, but it was useless.  Even the old jokes about the house on Cleveland street rang dull, colorless in Andy’s mind.  The myths and legends of the 1950s, seen almost as black and white reruns of the Donna Reed show or Leave it to Beaver had help to shape Steven’s childhood, but they had moved out long before he was even born. Continue reading

Bright – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this is a story based on the Seasons of Imagination cycle of stories plus the several later stories in the series.

I was awakened by a bright, blinding light.  A strange, off-key hum filled the air.  Was my spaceship damaged?

I sat up.

Queen Shimá, humming up a storm, turned from the window.  She had just opened the curtains, allowing my archenemy, the starry Sol, to send his death beams into my room!

“Good morning, sleepyhead.  You finally awake?”

“What time is it?” I asked.  I yawned.

“It’s pretty late, Sweetie, almost 8.”

8?  8AM?  That was early! Was I going to be sent to the uranium mines on Pluto, aka, the John Adams Elementary School, JAES, pronounced “Jazz”, after all?  But it was Saturday!

“I’ve done two loads of your laundry while you slept in,” Queen Shimá said. She pointed to a laundry basket. “You need to put them away.  And please fold them this time, and don’t just shove them in your drawers, OK?”

“Sure, Mom,” I said.  I’d say anything to appease the evil Queen, but I was not going to do her nefarious bidding!  Fold the clothes indeed, as if I were servant.  I mean, it was just Wednesday night that she made me take the trash out! Continue reading

Sign – #writephoto

Photo prompt provided by Sue Vincent

The house was pitch black when I entered.  I assumed the power must have been out, but the rest of the neighborhood was well lit.  Was there a problem that tripped off our entire house? Perhaps Aunt Lucy had done something. An image of her, frizzy grey hair standing on end, eyes bugged out, flashed through my mind.  She was an oddball and may have done something, well, not too bright…

“Aunt Lucy?” I said, though it was little more than a whisper.

I walked carefully through the house, not turning on any switches.  If my great aunt was touching a wire, I didn’t want to be the one to throw even more juice through what I imagined must be her smoldering remains.

“Aunt Lucy?” Continue reading

The Painting

“Where did you say we were going?” Ellie asked.

Justin shot her a quick glance and mischievous grin before putting his eyes back on the road.

“I didn’t.” he said.

He drove on, still grinning, He could see Ellie out of the corner of his eye and could tell she was grinning too.

“We’ve just been on the road so long, I’m getting a bit tight.”

She stretched in a way that Justin felt was to accentuate her curves more than to relieve any muscular tension. In fact, in ways it increased his tension.

He risked taking his attention off of the narrow back road to take in that nice form of hers.

Elisabeth was quite a bit older, but he wasn’t sure how old.  His guess was in her mid-40s, but it might have been up or down by as much as a decade.  He had heard that women that age liked guys in their mid-20s, particularly guys like him who spent a lot of time at the gym: fit muscular men in their physical prime.  Actually, she could be mid-60s for all he cared, because she was pretty hot.  He had been itching to undress her from the moment he first saw her. Continue reading

Blade #writephoto

blade

Photo by Sue Vincent

Givere’s footfalls echoed down the corridor despite his careful steps and the soft leather of his boots. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. He clung to the walls as he tried to tiptoe, occasionally glancing over his shoulder. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. The walls were an ancient, rough-hewn rock fitted together with no mortar.  The stones glisten red in the torchlight with sweat from the moist air, giving the illusion that the walls were oozing blood. Even without the sweat, he would know by the chill that he was far underground.

Gevere was nearing the end of his quest.  If all indications were correct, the Sword of Nature was down in the deepest dungeon, a place that hadn’t been seen by human eye in millennia. The 14-year-old had braved many trials to make it this far and so was cautious – the rough-rock-hallway seemed too easy! Continue reading

Snowfall – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

The day dawned empty and grey, the air moist with a spine-tingling chill that spoke of snow to come. Not a twig in the bare tree stirred in the stillness that encapsulated the morning, nor was there even the usual chatter of birds.  If the puffs of the girls’ breath didn’t slowly drift away, it could have been a picture, though the field’s image was still alive and etched into their minds.

“It’s peaceful, isn’t it?” Marge looked up at her older sister. Sable nodded, eyes not leaving the tree, the sole interruption of the flat field, the only thing that had any detail in the light fog.

The day before wasn’t so peaceful.  The field was full of people, people talking, people shoving, and people with angry voices.  Marge hadn’t seen such a crowd since the Days Before. Continue reading