WPC: Anticipation

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Anticipation clings to the air as the engine, wreathed in puthering smoke and steam, pulls steadily closer to the station. The gathered crowd jostles for position, each individual determined to find the best position available. Voices chatter excitedly, a thrum of excitement carrying along the packed platform. You strain your ears to hear the familiar huff and clank of the metallic beast’s approach.

Soon it will arrive. Soon it will disgorge its passengers.

And then the festivities can truly begin.

jostling-crowds

This post is for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is anticipation.

The photos were taken in York two years ago, when we visited their Christmas Market. As my train obsessed nephew was with us, we couldn’t not pop over to see the steam train (the Christmas White Rose) that was just about to arrive in the station.

I wasn’t sure whether or not to include the second picture. I like the blur on the people, I feel it gives a real sense of just how busy it was. Unfortunately the train itself is also a little unclear, and I’d have liked it to be perfectly in focus. Eventually, I just told my inner critic to shut up and included it anyway. It was very hard to take a good handheld picture that day – everyone was pushing and shoving, wanting to get onto the engine’s footplate and talk to the driver. One woman even pushed my nephew out of the way so she could get on before him!

This might be my last post before Christmas, so I hope everyone has a great time, whatever and however they might be celebrating. As today is actually the Winter Solstice, happy Solstice everyone!

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Light and Dark

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Light and Dark

Tammy hummed a tune as she walked, contentment a pleasing weight on her shoulders. Home’s warmth drew her onwards.

Until light shattered the darkness.

She stumbled back, shielding watering eyes. Her throat tightened with sorrow. She’d known the summons would arrive someday – but, so soon? How could she leave everything behind? She wasn’t ready…

But she had to be ready. This was no request, and there was no choice to be made.

With tears running down her cheeks, she stepped into the light.

***

Marcus skulked along the darkened street, dragging his feet as he made his way home. He was in no hurry to arrive. After all, ‘home’, now, was simply an apartment stuffed full of rancid memories and bitter emotions, empty of any joy.

He was tired of living such a meaningless life.

His days were spent watching the world go by, simply waiting for his summons. Misery had been his only companion for too long.

When the gateway finally flared into existence before him, he smiled.

And stepped into the light.

Word Count: 175

To read the other entries, click the little blue frog.

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. I know, it’s very late! This week’s (very nearly last week’s) prompt was provided by Maria @ Doodles and Scribbles. Thank you, Maria!

This piece actually began life as two separate stories that I tried to write for this prompt. I couldn’t really get anything to work. After leaving them for a few days (work and Christmas tasks keep conspiring to keep me away from my blog) I realised that, with a few changes to each, the two actually fit together quite well.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide what exactly ‘the summons’ and ‘the gateway’ are… Have the character’s died? Were they alien spies, now called back by their masters? Were they creatures from a different realm of existence?

I’d be interested to know how you interpreted it. 🙂

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Cee’s B&W: Silent Guardian

arthur-statue

embodied

in resolute metal,

he watches

from the rocky heights,

forever awaiting his call to arms,

a silent guardian

poised

in enigmatic grandeur,

the once and future

mingling

of legend and history

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This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. This week’s theme is things made by human beings. 

The pictures were taken at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, and are of a statue called Gallos, which is the Cornish word for ‘power’. The statue was inspired by the legends of King Arthur – who, it is said, was conceived at Tintagel – but it can also be seen as a representation of the old kings of Dumnonia, a kingdom of the 5th and 6th centuries that stretched across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. It is thought that this dynasty made Tintagel the site of their summer court.

If you’d like to know more about the statue, there’s an interesting article from The Guardian that you can find here.

Rudolph Colouring Picture

I thought I’d reblog some of the colouring pictures I shared last year. This is the first of a set of ten, all of which can be found in the Christmas Colouring Pictures category tab above. Feel free to download this or any of the others to print out on paper. Hopefully it’s perfect for keeping the kids entertained for a while.

I like to use this picture as part of a craft activity, where the kids use small bits of wool for his face, fabric for his antlers, and red foil for his nose.

To make it into a Christmas card you can position the picture on the right hand side of the page (in landscape orientation) before it’s printed out onto a sheet of cardboard. Make sure the picture is entirely on the right – otherwise, when you fold the sheet in half the picture will be partly on the back of the card. And, yes, I’ve seen this happen quite a few times!

Have fun. 🙂

The Storyteller's Abode

Rudolph Colouring Picture

Here’s the first of my Christmas colouring pictures for you to enjoy. I have lots more to come…

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TLT: Picture-Perfect

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Photo Prompt – © Grant McCurdy

He’d wanted a picture-perfect life: a happy family and well paid job with all the perks. Instead, young voices argued yet again while bills piled high. He sighed as gentle hands massaged the stress away, accepting reality – his life might not be picture perfect, but he wouldn’t change a thing.


This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales Challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Grant McCurdy.

FFfAW: Preservation

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Preservation

Loreli scratched at her temples where the threads made contact. After nearly twenty years of treatment she should be used to the sensation by now, but they still made her skin crawl.

After all, while she knew she’d visited the clinic for years, it wasn’t as if she could really remember it…

“How much longer?” she murmured. The doctor would hear, no matter how softly she spoke. Each sound within the room was caught by the sensors, just as every pulse of energy along her synapses was caught by the threads, copying her memories into crystal storage.

“Not long. You’ve been active this week, I see.”

She had. Her sons had visited, their young children in tow. Loreli smiled at the thoughts and feelings dancing through her mind as she lay back.

The session could continue as long as necessary.

The details of her own boys’ early years had been lost to the initial ravages of her illness. Through the crystal and its itchy threads, at least her memories of her grandchildren’s childhood could be saved.

Word Count: 175

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Jade M. Wong.

Changing Seasons 2016: November

During November, despite spending the majority of my time working on my NaNoWriMo novel, I still managed a few walks down the the wooded area, stream and meadow to take some photographs for Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons monthly photo challenge.

Don’t forget to click on the galleries for better views of the pictures.

Come on in.

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Walk through the trees of the little wooded area. Here, fallen leaves crunch underfoot, whilst light filters through branches adorned in gold. Follow the path beside the meadow…

…until you reach the stream. Take care at the water’s edge, where leaves create a false surface, tempting you to step closer.

If you look carefully as you wander beside the stream, you can spot lots of toadstools still growing amidst the leaf litter. Lying on frosty ground in the early hours of the day to take photographs is no fun, but the results are generally worth it. 🙂

Step out from beneath the shelter of the trees and into the open space of the meadow. The ground is speckled with leaves, fallen from the surrounding trees. If you’re early, the ground might still be frosted white, or the view may be hazed by mist. Perhaps take a seat on a bench for a while, and watch the sun warm the chill earth.

As you walk, be mindful of the minutiae of nature’s shift from autumn into winter. Crisp leaves and fallen seeds, some frosted with delicate ice crystals or lit by golden light, can be found wherever you look. The last few berries speckle the hedgerows, their colour fading in mottled patterns, shining as if gilded in celebration of the changing season. Spiderwebs drape over branches, strung with dewdrops that glint like fairy lights.

If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the wildlife that flourishes in the wild spaces. Birds flit from branch to branch, their voices raised in song, the motion of their wings carrying them rapidly out of sight. Squirrels scurry, collecting nuts for their winter stores.

squirrel

Yes, the only one I managed to photograph during my walks was a lone squirrel – and he was too far away for me to get a good shot!

I hope you enjoyed the virtual walk. I’d love to know which sights caught your eye – did you have a favourite view?

You can see the previous month’s galleries here:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October

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