FFfAW: The Ritual

This post if for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s picture was provided by Dawn M. Miller. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. I hope you all like it.

Photo Prompt: © Dawn M. Miller

Photo Prompt: © Dawn M. Miller

Genre: Historical – Neolithic Britain

He led the procession in the pre-dawn haze as a drum sounded a heartbeat. They gathered to appease the gods. Long winters and wet summers produced poor harvests and starvation. The toll had been high. Rites had begun at sunset, potent food and drink consumed beneath the full moon. Conclusion would be reached with the dawn.

As king, his role was vital.

His chant began at the water’s edge, as the sun broached the horizon. The more names spoken before the whole orb appeared, the more gods appeased:

“Dyēus, Sky Father;
Plethwih, Lady of Broad Lands.”

He spread his arms in supplication as offerings were tossed into the water.

“Perkwunos, Lord of Thunder -”

The blade sliding deep into his back caused him to scream, even through the drugged haze – halting his chant. He forced himself to continue.

“Welnos, Protector of Crops…”

The rope settled around his neck and pulled tight. He choked the final words.

“Accept… sacrifice.”

The head-blow toppled him into the water. As the sun lifted fully into view the gods claimed their prize.

Word Count: 175

To check out other entries or to add your own, click on the little blue frog.


I apologise for the darkness of this one but as soon as I saw the pond picture this story came into my head. I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with bog bodies. I imagine my ancient king became one of them.


Tollund man – a bog body discovered in Denmark in 1950. Picture from Wikimedia

The names of the gods are those projected by Proto-Indo-European, a linguistic reconstruction of a period of which little is known. Both the language and the religion are things I’ve researched on and off over the years for my Wildwood stories. I watched a documentary recently (unfortunately I can’t remember which one) that suggested the sacrificed men may well have been ancient kings – the greatest sacrifice they could offer their gods when they truly needed appeasing.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion


I was out taking photos of views and flowers around the village when this colourful lad on a motobike whizzed past me. I few years ago that would have been me, until I traded in for a car.  I don’t miss riding down these lanes in the middle of winter.

This is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion. To have a look at the other entries go here.

MFtS: Memories of Orchids

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

Photo Prompt : © Barbara Beacham

Photo Prompt: © Barbara W Beacham

Memories of Orchids

“Are you laughing at me?”


Connie glared at her brother-in-law. “It isn’t funny, Johnny – you have to help!”

“He’s your husband, Connie. You’ll think of something.”

“Anything he wants, he buys!”

“You could get him a plant – an orchid, maybe.”

Connie shuddered. “Ugh. No. Besides-” She broke off as her phone rang, her sister’s number flashing. “Hey, Lils,” she answered.

“Hello, Connie.” That wasn’t Lily’s voice.


Memories of the life she’d fled six years earlier swamped her: the cramped apartment with the sickly scent of orchids; Avery’s fits of violence; the increasingly illegal moneymaking schemes.

“I want a million pounds by tomorrow or she dies.” The call ended.

“What’s wrong?” Johnny asked.

Her hands shook. She’d never talked about her past before. She didn’t want to now but every shameful detail cascaded out. “William will hate me.”

“Not if he doesn’t know.” Johnny’s eyes narrowed. “Now this I can help with.”

Word Count: 150

The story is a part of the series begun with Blameless and continued in The Pizza delivery. I did say I’d write some more of it when inspiration struck. Chronologically it falls after The Pizza Delivery but before Blameless. Hopefully that’s not too confusing. 🙂 I’m also hoping it stands alone for those of you who don’t feel like reading the other parts, though I’m not entirely sure I succeeded with that one.


To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.


More New Growth

I thought I’d share some pictures I’ve taken around the garden and village over the past week. A lot has been happening, growth-wise. At the beginning of the week the fruit trees in the garden were still in bud. As the days have passed they’ve all come fully into bloom. As you’ll see, I’ve taken lots of pictures of blossom! We have Apple Trees, Pear Trees and an Ornamental Cherry Tree. We also have two Lilacs that just today have begun blossoming, plus lots of other shrubs and flowers that are all looking increasingly impressive.

Some of the pictures were taken on my camera: a Canon EOS 1100D, using the 18-55mm lens; others were taken on my phone: a Samsung Galaxy S4. It depended what I had to hand when I spotted the plant I wanted to capture.

To enlarge the pictures and to find out what plants are shown, click on the gallery. I hope you like them.

WOW: Manifestation

This post is in response to Heena Rathore P.’s Word of the Week (WOW). This weekly challenge is a great way of improving your vocabulary. If you wish to participate, simply create a post with your word and leave a link in a comment on Heena’s WOW post.


Here’s my WOW for this week:



man-i-fes-ta-tion (măn′ə-fĕ-stā′shən)

Part of Speech

Related nouns: nonmanifestation, premanifestation, remanifestation, self-manifestation, manifestness
Derivative adjectives: manifestational, manifestative
Related verbs: manifests, manifested, manifesting
Related adjectives: manifest, manifestable,
Related adverb: manifestly,

1 a. The act of manifesting
b. the state of being manifested

2. outward or perceptible indication; materialisation (as of a disease)

3 a. the form in which someone or something (a person, a divine being, an idea) is revealed.
b. the materialised form of a spirit

4. a public demonstration, often for political effect

appearance, demonstration, disclosure, display, explanation, exposure, expression, indication, instance, mark, materialisation, meaning, phenomenon, revelation, show, sign, symptom, token,

concealment, hiding, reality, secret, cover, obscurity, vagueness

Word Origin
early 15c.: “action of manifesting; exhibition, demonstration,” from Late Latin manifestationem (nominative manifestatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin manifestare.
The meaning “an object, action, or presence by which something is made manifest” is from 1785.
The spiritualism sense is attested from 1853.

Use in a Sentence

1. The house on the hill was a manifestation of all their dreams of a life together.

copyright: Alan Heardman

copyright: Alan Heardman

2. Anthony worried that his headache might be the first manifestation of some dreaded disease.

Image from pixabay.com

Image from pixabay.com

3. They had an excuse for crashing the car into the ditch, even if no one believed them: Mark instinctively swerved when the woman’s spirit manifested in the middle of the road.


Image from pixabay.com

4. They gathered on the streets of London with placards held aloft in demonstration, a manifestation of the unrest spreading across the nation.


image from pixabay.com

FFfAW: Complete

This post if for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s picture was provided by Vanessa Rodriguez. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. I hope you all like it.


Photo prompt: © Vanessa Rodriguez


Smiling in satisfaction, Samuel positioned the last figure on the platform. It had taken months of work but his model railway was finally finished.

The day’s last light streamed in through the attic window, lighting the scene with a gentle touch. The sounds of the house drifted to his ears: Freddie and Alex squabbled over toys; Lily warbled nursery rhymes to her dolls; his beloved Jennifer clattered pots in the kitchen. They were sounds he loved to hear.

Flicking a switch, he set the trains in motion.

“Have you boys been in the attic again?” Jennifer’s shouted. Silence briefly fell.


“Not me!”

“Then why can I hear your father’s trains?”

A moment later Jennifer stormed into the room, Freddie and Alex trailing behind.


“Still weren’t us, Mum.”

Absently flicking off the trains, Jennifer brushed her fingers over the newly completed station.

It had still been incomplete when he died.

Samuel smiled as Lily toddled into the room. “Daddy!” she chirped happily, looking right at him.

He set the trains back in motion.

Word Count: 175

To check out other entries or to add your own, click on the little blue frog.


Friday Fictioneers: Occupational Hazards

This is my entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s picture prompt was provided by Douglas M. MacIlroy. The challenge is to write a story within 100 words.


PHOTO PROMPT – © Douglas M. MacIlroy

Occupational Hazards

“Situation report, SR1.”

“Data collected, Sir,” Lena responded. “Returning to base.”

“Affirmative. Beware storm from northeast.”

Lena quickly calculated her best course. It wasn’t a long trip, especially along the ridge-top path but, although her flit was designed for the icy planet, it would be unable to make headway against the driving winds. The southern path would be a safer choice.

The avalanche took her completely by surprise.

“Damn it!” Lena cursed as the simulation ended. Three times now she’d died. Maybe she should face facts. She’d never be good enough to join the expedition.

But, perhaps one more try…

Word Count: 100

Click the little blue frog to see other entries or to add your own.