SPF: Childhood Joys

18-eric-wiklund-10-december-2017

Photo prompt © Eric Wiklund

Childhood Joys

Imogen’s hands shook as she brushed the gathered debris away from the miniature village, her reeling emotions slow to calm. She righted a fallen bench and straightened a leaning signpost. Despite her best efforts, a clinging miasma of neglect remained. The place felt… empty.

It was an emptiness with which she was only too familiar.

Sometimes it seemed like only yesterday that Elsie had played amongst the overgrown shrubbery, her imagination transforming the secluded corner into a magical wonderland. Her carefree laughter had never failed to enliven Imogen’s spirits. 

The village had always been Elsie’s work. It had first taken form when she’d still been a toddler – merely a higgledy-piggledy collection of sticks and stones, and pilfered toys that Imogen then had to embarrassedly return to their owners. “But the fairies need them, Mummy,” Elsie had protested. To halt her daughter’s burgeoning kleptomania, Imogen had gathered an array of craft materials, and she’d encouraged experimentation. Elsie’s own creativity had then taken over.

Imogen sighed, remembering those happier times. Everything was different now. Her delightful little girl was gone. In her place was a brooding, door-slamming impostor.

And Imogen wasn’t sure just how many more teenage outbursts she could stand.

Word count: 200 words

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

wpImg

This post is for the Sunday Photo Fiction flash fiction challenge. I haven’t written much flash fiction recently, but how could I resist Eric’s wonderful photo prompt?

I have to admit that, as I was writing this story I thought it would end with Elsie being either dead or stolen by the fairies. I even had a little scene in my head with fairy Elsie appearing by her shoulder and asking “Why are you sad, Mummy?” The ending that I actually wrote caught me somewhat by surprise!

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it.

spf

Advertisements

Six Word Story: Charade

sometimes-stellar-storyteller-six-word-story-challenge

Bruises concealed. Flinches masked. Happiness faked.


This is for the Sometimes Stellar Storyteller’s Six Word Story challenge. I haven’t joined in with any challenges like this in a while, but I spotted this week’s prompt and couldn’t resist.

If you feel like joining in, head over to Nicola’s website and write your entry into the comments. Voting for the best entry now happens on a Thursday, so simply visit again later in the week to vote for your favourite.

A Letter from the Past

Pictures on Table.jpg

A Letter from the Past

Emmaline hummed softly as she lifted the bundle of pages from the shelf, instinctively weaving magic to ensure the fragile sheets remained intact as she transferred them to the desk. Dust puthered in the air. She turned her face into her cowl, avoiding breathing in the muck with practiced ease. The archive had been neglected for far too long. Many of the documents within were threatening disintegration, whilst others had faded beyond legibility. It was a situation that put her talents to good use.

Even before she’d lost Raen, she’d been fascinated by the historical records that mouldered within the dimly-lit rooms. After her husband’s disappearance she’d allowed her work to consume her days – leaving only when her eyes grew too weary to read and her mind too weary for thought.

With deft movements, and a few more woven spells, she opened the bundle and spread the pages before her. Only to stop, confused, by the array of life-like images revealed. She frowned. That couldn’t be right. From the condition of the items, and the appearances of the captured people within them, she’d have said they were hundreds of years old. But as far as she knew, the magical weaving used to create such images had only recently been developed. Her husband’s friend, Hendin, had spent over a decade developing the pattern for such captures. She’d never heard of anything similar existing in the past.

One page, covered in writing, stood out from the others. She lifted it free, curious to discover whether an explanation was contained within the faded text. It was possible, she supposed, that another person might have developed such a weaving, only for it to be lost to history. And if they had, then any pictures they’d captured would be invaluable sources of historical information.

The last thing she expected to see was a letter addressed to herself, written in a familiar, elegant script. Her hands began to shake. She dropped the page back to the desk, staring in breathless shock. She’d long since given up hope of ever seeing that handwriting again.

“Raen,” she breathed. Tears filled her eyes as she ran trembling fingers over the sheet. How could this be…? She bit her lip, blinking away tears, and began to read.

My dearest Emmaline,

I can only pray that this letter is someday reaching you, and that I have not been absent from your life for too long. My circumstances at present are unusual to say the least. My intention is to place this missive, and an accompanying set of captured images, within the city archive, as I know that your recent studies have led you to shelves there that have been untouched for centuries. If fortune smiles upon me, no other hands will touch these papers between them leaving mine and reaching yours.

Fortune, however, has not been smiling upon me of late.

As you know, my own studies have been in the development of weavings through which we might observe the history of our land. My intention was to simply observe reflections of events upon the mirror glass. If only that was all I achieved. Somehow I have managed to transfer myself into the very history that I wished to observe. Unfortunately I am not entirely certain as to the exact time I am in. Nor do I know how to make my way home. I have already tried to recreate in reverse the weaving that led to my current circumstance. I have not yet been successful, though I will endeavour to continue my efforts.

My darling, I can only wonder how long it has taken you to find these pages. For myself, I have been here for a span of mere hours, but I know only too well that days, weeks, months, maybe even years, might have passed since I vanished from your life. If you have ever cared for me as deeply as I care for you, I pray that you take the images I’ve captured to Professor Kalaen, as well as to anyone else you know of who might be able to help. Kalaen’s research has always followed along similar lines to mine. I’m certain he will not have hesitated to make use of my notes in my absence. If anyone can work out how I moved through time, it will be him. I am hopeful that if you can pinpoint the exact date I am in, a way could be found to bring me home.

The images I have captured are views of the people I have seen around me today. Hendin will be pleased to know that his technique works, though I’m not certain as to how the pictures will survive the passage of years. I know that I am at least five, possibly six or seven, centuries prior to our own time. The University has not yet been built. I would guess that the language being spoken is Old Ilraian. There is little influence of the Jakrian tongue, which also places me before the Imperial Conquest. This is not a time period I have studied in any depth. I am currently hoping that you know of at least one person within the University with the knowledge to discover the exact date from the images.

I place my fate within your hands, my love,

Eternally yours,

Raen Ki Masrah

Emmaline dropped the page back to the table, her hand lifting to cover her mouth as shock and hope warred in her. For over nearly seven years she had wondered. Was he dead? Had he left her for another? No trace of him had ever been found. No explanation for his disappearance. Now…

Now the possibility that she could maybe see him again was more than she could stand.

Excitement thrummed through her, setting her pulse racing as she gathered the pages and hurried out if the archive. Raen had suggested she find Professor Kalaen. She didn’t plan to waste another minute before doing so.

TBC

This story was originally intended to be just a short piece of flash, simply an accompaniment to the pictures from the Lincoln Joust that I attended during the summer. Somehow it managed to take on a life of its own!

I’ll try not to take too long before posting the next segment. Unfortunately, I’m not the quickest writer in the world, and I tend to edit multiple times (and that’s an understatement) before I’m happy for anything to be read by anyone else. Part two may be up sometime in the next week, but I’m not promising anything!

I hope you enjoyed the read.

FFfAW: The Touch of his Hand

photo-20170904154630548

The Touch of his Hand

“Are you coming, my dear?”

Millie looked up at the sound of his voice. Tommy stood in the doorway, his hand outstretched, waiting for hers to join it.

She still remembered the first time their hands had touched, all those years ago. She’d shyly slid her fingers into his as they’d walked into the picture house – barely believing the handsome boy had chosen her. He’d squeezed her hand and given a flirtatious wink, setting her heart aflutter. That had been their first date. Many more had soon followed.

The touch of his hand had swiftly become the most important thing in her life: his caress set her senses alight; his support carried her through the hardest days. When his long fingers had slid the ring, the symbol of their devotion, onto her own, she’d known she was complete.

His death had left her adrift.

She’d simply marked time the since his passing, knowing she’d see him again soon.

“Of course,” she said, rising to her feet. Without any hesitation, she slid her fingers into his.

Word count: 175

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

wpImg

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

In remembrance of my grandparents, Millie and Tommy – gone but never forgotten.

FFfAW: A Mother’s Grief

photo-20170828154642779

Photo prompt © Jade M. Wong

A Mother’s Grief

“We didn’t do anything to it, Ma,” Aeliene said, a waiver in her voice that broke Shylie’s heart all over again. “We were just playing. It came out of nowhere and attacked us. Baen tried to stop it, but, he… he fell… and… and…”

Shylie gathered her daughter close.

Grief encased her as she beheld the body of her butchered son, leaving her as fragile as eggshells. The slightest movement could cause her to shatter, spilling her emotions out for everyone to see. But beneath the sorrow, anger began to burn.

“Are we going to continue like this?” she demanded, turning to the rest of the tribe, gathered nearby in silent respect. “How many more children must we lose before we do something about these monsters?”

They might be pacifists by nature, but fire smouldered within each and every one of them. Her people spread their wings and gave a mighty roar.

Those puny humans wouldn’t stand a chance. Not now.

For the dragons were going to war.

Word count: 173

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

wpImg

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

TLT: Visions of Unicorns

tltweek57

Photo prompt © Fleur Treuniet via Unsplash

She loved to watch the unicorns as they took their ease amidst the meadow flowers. They shimmered with an allure that drew her eyes time and again. And if no one else could see them – well, that was their problem, really, not hers.


This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales. This week’s prompt is by Fleur Treuniet, via Unsplash.

 

FFfAW: Time to Leave

photo-20170109154625698.jpg

Photo prompt – The Storyteller’s Abode

Time to Leave

The boats were full, despite the lateness of the day.

Ingrid paused, her foot poised on the gangplank as she looked back at the town. Her throat tightened as tears threatened to fall. How could she leave? The place was central to all of her memories: she’d married Jimmy in the church on the market place; borne her children in the local hospital. She’d walked those streets with steps both weighted with sorrow and made light with joy. Even the thought of leaving chilled her.

“I’m afraid it’s time, dearest,” Jimmy said.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have any choice. The town that had been so bright with life would soon be darkened by death. These would be the final boats to leave. On board, men and women clung to each other, their fear and sorrow almost palpable. Despite the exodus having begun days earlier, many had hoped the situation would change. Now, with ash clouds obscuring the sun, all hope was gone.

Ingrid gripped her husband’s hand and stepped on board.

Word Count: 175

If you’d like to read the other entries, click the little blue frog.

wpImg

This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by me. The picture was taken in York a couple of years ago, when we visited for the Christmas market. It was an incredibly cold day, and we were amazed to see the boat trips still going on – though at least no one was sitting on the open-air top level.

As always seems to be the case when it’s my own prompt, I found it really hard to write a story this week! Luckily, I did manage to come up with something in the end. This was inspired by a programme about Pompeii I was watching.

I hope you like it.