FFfAW: Time to Leave

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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.

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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.

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TLT: The Runner

This post is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales.

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Photo prompt – © Martins Zemlickis

The Runner

He ran to escape the anger and fear that had dominated his life for so long, each stride distancing him from the demons of his past. He ran towards dreams of a bright future full of love and hope. He ran because he could – because he was free, unfettered,  and no one could stop him.

FFfAW: A Place of Safety

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

Photo Prompt: © Sonya O

Photo Prompt: © Sonya O

A Place of Safety

They huddled together in the shadows, waiting for the brief time when they could board unobserved. The guards’ line of sight would be obscured for minutes only as the cargo swung into place. They’d have to be quick and careful. His daughters trembled at his side, their eyes wide and scared. He pulled them close, unwilling to ever let go.

“You know what to do?” he asked.

He knew they did. His girls might be young but they had their mother’s indomitable spirit. They’d run, climb and hide as ordered and soon be sailing to a life free of fear. They wouldn’t worry about riots and starvation; wouldn’t huddle in terror as armed men stalked through their home. They’d be able to laugh and play. It hurt to send them, but it was for the best.

“Look after each other. Remember I love you.” Tears filled his eyes as he watched them go.

Only he would stay. He’d fight to make their land a place of safety once more. Someday his family would come home.

Word Count: 174


Just out of curiosity, of what nationality did you picture the characters in this story and where and when did you imagine it set?

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FFfAW: What Lies Beyond

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

Photo Prompt: © Dawn M Miller

Photo Prompt: © Dawn M Miller

What Lies Beyond

“For centuries we’ve lived in tyranny!” The voice had been bell-like, an awakening chime over the rally. “We’ve huddled behind city walls, believing their lies, for too long. Are we children to believe in monsters lurking in the wilderness?”

With the passionate words of the protest leader echoing through his mind, Marcus stared excitedly through the broken panel at the forbidden land beyond. The covered walkways that connected the city and outlying compounds had been growing increasingly dilapidated lately but he’d never expected to find a hole large to climb through.

“The ruling council wants to keep us living in fear but it is in the wilderness that we can find our freedom!”

Barely hesitating, he scrambled through and dropped to the ground below.

He didn’t see his attacker – merely felt the impact as it forced him to the ground. Sharp claws tore through flesh. Pain ricocheted, an agonised cry wrenching from his throat.

The smug face of the high-councillor swam into view. “Maybe they’ll believe in monsters now.”

His world faded to black.

Word Count: 175


This story was very hard to write in only 175 words! I’ve written and re-written it five or six times, not to mention edited this final version down from nearly 250 words. It was supposed  to have been posted yesterday but, well – that didn’t happen. I hope you all like it. I also hope it makes sense…

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The Crossing – Part Five

Here’s part five of The Crossing. For those of you who haven’t already read them, or for anyone who wants to refresh their memory of what happened, here are the links to Part OnePart TwoPart Three and Part Four. Enjoy!

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The Crossing: Part Five
Genre: historical: early C13th England

Part Five

Dair was barely conscious, mumbling unintelligibly as the forester carried him. Lanky as the youth was, he’d not yet gained the bulk of adulthood. His weight was easy to bear. Soon they reached the free-holding, Randel shouting Aislin’s name as they approached.

“Randel? What…?” Her eyes widened as she saw his burden, relief and hope displacing the shadows of grief. “Oh, my boy…” She held the door wide.

“Pull a pallet to the fire,” he instructed, striding towards the central hearth. “We need to warm him. Then he’ll need a drink. Not too hot. Milk with honey would be good.”

“What happened? Where did you find him?”

Randel shook his head as he deposited his charge, piling every fur and blanket available atop the boy before answering. “Found him in the forest and he weren’t exactly talking. He was drenched so I’d say he’s been in the river. Other than that, I’ve no idea.”

Coaxing Dair to full consciousness Aislin encouraged him to drink. Randel watched with a satisfied smile as bruised eyes fluttered open and the realisation that he was home settled over the exhausted youth.

“Ma…?”

“You’re home, my boy. You’re safe.”

“And that’s my cue to leave,” Randel informed the pair. “I’ll get Old Hilda to visit to make sure he’s healing.”

“You’re leaving?”

“I’ve a job to do, Aislin. Your husband’s killers won’t catch themselves.”

“The bandits…” Dair jolted up. “They… they…”

“We’ll catch them.”

“No. I… I can help. I know where they make camp.”

Word Count: 250

The Crossing – Part Four

Here’s part four of The Crossing. For those of you who haven’t already read them, or for anyone who wants to refresh their memory of what happened, here are the links to Part OnePart Two and Part Three. Enjoy!

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The Crossing: Part Four
Genre: historical: early C13th England

Move!

Dair’s eyes flashed open and he surged forward in a stumble that sent him to his knees, broken branches scratching numb skin. He shook his head, struggling to order his thoughts.

Running. He’d been running. Why had he been running?

Memories of blows falling, of burning fear, of dead eyes staring… He had to get home!

He forced himself to his feet as a figure loomed into sight.

xXxXx

Despite being lost in thought, Randel’s senses were too finely tuned after years as a forester to be unaware of his surroundings. The sound of breaking branches immediately pulled his attention from the road. Readying his bow he eased through the trees.

The features of the bedraggled boy who scrambled dazedly backwards were instantly recognisable: dark hair and sharp cheekbones so like his mother’s, fair skin worryingly blue with cold.

“Dair,” he called, approaching the lad with cautious steps, his bow slung over his shoulder. “You’re safe. I’m a forester – Randel. Do you remember me?”

“Randel?” Dair slumped and the forester knelt at his side. “So cold…” His eyes drooped, slipping out of focus.

His clothes were sodden, ice forming in the wintry air. Randel had seen too many men die of exposure to hesitate. He quickly removed the wet fabric and wrapped the increasingly unresponsive boy in his cloak, cataloging injuries as he went. A seething anger gained in strength.

First he would get Dair to safety. Then he would find the bastards who did this to him.

Word Count: 250


I think I probably spent more time working on the picture for this part of ‘The Crossing’ than I did on the story! I knew that I couldn’t keep on using Ermelia’s picture prompt forever.

The shot I used began life as a picture of a pleasant spring day in what we call ‘the little wooded area’ in the village. I would have liked to used one that showed more trees but trying to edit them in didn’t work. I did, however, manage to make it look nice and wintry.

Friday Fictioneers: Sanctuary – Raen

This is a companion piece for this week’s Friday Fictioneers entry. If you haven’t already read Sanctuary please follow the link to do so.

Photo prompt: Rachel Bjerke

Photo prompt: Rachel Bjerke

Sanctuary: Raen
Genre: Fantasy

Raen ran, each breath harsh against his burning throat, his limbs leaden. Only fear gave him strength to continue. The baying hounds were growing closer, his pursuers’ shouts echoing through the forest.

Safety was close. He could sense the beacon guiding him.

He constructed the Weaving as he ran, twining threads of energy into an intricate network despite a shaky focus. It was complete barely in time.

He skirted the fountain, trailing his hand through the stagnant water, barely slowing as he approached the wall. With wet fingers he traced the activation sigil upon the stone.

And the world shifted.

Word Count: 100

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

This piece was actually written before yesterday’s but was then abandoned as I’ve written a few stories recently from the viewpoint of a character being chased/running. Because of this I thought I’d flip it around and show the chase from the viewpoint of the chaser, Gaert. After several requests for continuation and/or an explanation of how Raen vanished I thought I may as well share this one with you all as well.

I hope you all like it and would love to know what you think. Which one did you like best?

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