FFfAW: Winter’s Child

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Photo prompt © Ioniangraphics

Winter’s Child

He had to wait for winter to arrive. Or so they told him. The summer, they said, belonged to others. He had to wait for the air to turn chilly and the wind biting; for the frost to form on the trees. Only then would it be his time.

But the summer seemed without end.

He willed the leaves to begin their change – the shift to golden browns would herald the approach of colder days. But disappointment dogged him. No matter how he hoped and wished and prayed, how he yearned for the seasons to shift, the green of summer remained dominant.

All the while, children laughed and played in bright sunshine, while he looked on.

He had to wait for the days when children wore warm coats to play outside, bundled up in hats, scarves and gloves. And when maybe, just maybe, the snow would fall and they’d build snowmen in the park.

First, though, the long summer had to end.

Charlie scowled. It wasn’t fair.

He wanted it to be his birthday now!

Word count: 175

To read the other entries or to submit your own, 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 Ioniangraphics. Thank you for the prompt!

I hadn’t intended to post anything this week – mainly because I haven’t managed to respond to any of the comments on my last post yet (sorry) – but the words came into my head last night and wouldn’t leave me alone until I’d written them down. It seemed a shame not to share it.

I hope you like it. And I’ll try to respond to some comments and visit a few blogs this evening!

FFfAW: Greeting the Four

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Photo prompt © Yarnspinner

Greeting the Four

The seats had been placed with utmost precision: north, south, east and west, each one carefully aligned. Veraen nodded in satisfaction.

“Anything else, Sir?” his assistant – Jaeden? Jened? – said, and he gestured in dismissal, shooing the man out of the sacred space. He’d spent too long in preparation to let the bumbling fool ruin things for him.

He alone would greet the Four.

Veraen recited the invocation with practiced ease, excitement growing as power gathered. Figures began to coalesce, unbounded energy taking humanoid form. He fell to his knees as four sets of eyes turned upon him. Four voices spoke in unison.

“How dare you?”

What? No! That wasn’t right! He tried to speak, but no words emerged. He tried to move, but his limbs were weighted, immovable.

“Greetings, Great Ones,” his assistant – Joren, he now recalled – said. “May I approach?”

As Joren strode past he dropped a page before Veraen’s frozen form. Instructions to avoid insulting the Four filled the sheet. The torn edge and Joren’s smirk told him exactly why he’d never seen the page before…

Word count: 175

To read the other entries or to submit your own, 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 Yarnspinner. Thank you, Yarnspinner!

It seems like forever since I last wrote a piece of flash fiction – though its actually only a little over a month. That month, however, has been insanely busy. I’m now living in a house in Lincoln (UK) with my sister and my teenage nephew, rather than in the village with my parents. Luckily, for a countryside loving girl like me, we’re right on the edge of a green stretch, with fields and woods only a few minutes walk away, so it doesn’t really feel like I’m in the middle if a city. I’ll try to share some pictures soon!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story. Hopefully it doesn’t feel too rushed – it was originally over 300 words long, so a lot had to be cut out of it! I’d love to know what you think.

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.

FFfAW: Unexpected Consequences

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Photo Prompt – Grant-Sud / Flooded Out With Books

Unexpected Consequences

Adrugian gazed wearily over the arid landscape, the insistent beat of the sun sapping energy he could ill afford to lose. He knew the villagers below didn’t understand why he traipsed so often to the heights. He’d seen the looks they exchanged. He’d heard their snide comments. Unfortunately, the truth was something they could never comprehend.

He sighed, tossing a pebble over the edge and listening for its faint spolsh into the distant trickle of water. Sometimes it seemed only yesterday he’d learned to skim stones, standing at that very spot. Back when the river had filled the canyon to brimming. Back when the rains still fell.

They’d been so young, then. So naive. All they’d wanted was to halt the devastation of the spring floods. They hadn’t realised the effect their rituals would have.

Now, only he remained…

Adrugian gasped as sudden pain tore through his chest. He slumped backwards, shadows darkening his gaze. He knew his time had come, but a smile formed as he took in his final sight.

Clouds gathered above.

Word Count: 175


This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by Grant from Flooded out with Books.

To read the other entries click the little blue frog.

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I’d like to both thank and apologise to everyone who has visited my blog recently and left either likes or comments. Whilst I’ve been trying to put together posts, I unfortunately haven’t found the time to respond to comments or to visit anyone’s blogs. Sorry! Hopefully, now the kids are all back at school, work will quieten down somewhat and I’ll finally manage to catch up. I have to admit that all ll I’ve wanted to do with my free time over the Christmas holiday is curl up with a book!

Just to warn everyone, though, I am intending to get stuck into editing the novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo during January, so my blogging might not be as frequent as it has been in the past.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, whatever festival you were celebrating.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

As it’s nearly midnight here, I’m afraid seeing what everyone else has written will have to wait until tomorrow morning…

Night night. 🙂

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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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.

FFfAW: Time to Reconnect

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Photo Prompt – © The Storyteller’s Abode

Time to Reconnect

She hadn’t written to them in far too long.

Back in the early days, Felena had penned letters weekly, though each one had simply been added to the stack in her drawer. Eventually she’d forced herself to stop. She’d needed to move on.

It was now over a decade since anything had actually been delivered to the house.

Felena read through her words for a final time before sliding the page into the envelope, the familiar address setting memories dancing through her mind. She’d been so young back then. So wild. And carefree – until her mistakes had caught up with her.

That final missive to her parents had been tear stained and smudged as she’d explained the reason for her decision, her apologies profuse. She’d known her actions had brought them pain. Plus she’d left them with a heavy burden to bear.

But now it was time to reconnect. Her years within the temple, hiding behind concealing veils, were over. She needed to see her son.

Even if he had no idea who she was.

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. This week’s prompt was provided by me.

The photograph was taken at Warwick Castle, and is of part of a display with waxwork figures showing people from around 1898. At this date a party was held that was attended by the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward (who later became King Edward VII), and a young Winston Churchill. The woman in the picture is, I think, Daisy Grenville, Countess of Warwick, a woman who had affairs with several powerful men of the time, including the prince.

Daisy had become the semi-official mistress of the prince after he became involved in a scandalous affair caused by a vicious letter that she’d sent to another lover, Lord Charles Beresford, on learning that his wife was pregnant. The letter was intercepted by the man’s wife, who, horrified, gave it to her solicitor for safekeeping. The prince tried to persuade her to give it back, but Lady Beresford said she would only return it if Daisy stayed away from London for the season. Daisy refused this, and the prince and Lord Beresford got into a fight over the situation. The whole quarrel only came to an end when the prime minister, Lord Salisbury, stepped in and helped an agreement to be reached.

If you’d like to know more about the scandalous life of Daisy Grenville, you can check out her wikipedia page here.

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FFfAW: Crisis Point

This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a challenge that asks you to write a story of 100-175 words based on the photo prompt below. This week’s picture was provided by TJ Paris. Thank you TJ!

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Photo prompt – © TJ Paris

Crisis Point

The library had always been her sanctuary, her escape from life’s hubbub – until her world had crumbled.

Frances groaned, head in hands. Tears pricked her eyes. It was a sensation she’d become too familiar with over the past year. Grief clung, shroud-like, tainting her emotions. The only things she felt with any vehemence were loss and pain.

And anger.

Every action since the day she’d cradled her son’s broken body had been driven by a need for justice. Determined, she’d sought evidence against the company whose equipment had caused her tragedy – and the man at its head.

Sometimes she wondered why she bothered.

It wasn’t as if anything she did made a difference. Nothing she’d found would prove the case against Willis. He was just too rich. Too powerful. What could a single woman do against his army of lawyers? She rubbed her aching temples.

“You can do it, Ma,” Jamie’s voice whisped. His ephemeral scent haunted her senses. She breathed deep, defeat dissipating as she embraced precious memories.

She would not let Willis win.

Word Count – 175

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

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FFfAW: The Weight of Duty

This post is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a flash fiction challenge hosted by Priceless Joy that asks you to write a piece of flash fiction of 75-175 words based on the photo prompt below. This week’s prompt was provided by momtheobscure. Thank you momtheobscure!

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The Weight of Duty

Ieldu stared at the ruins on the cliff’s edge, once familiar tendrils of guilt twining into his thoughts. The absence of the stone figure caused his heart to clench. He drew a breath, forcing calm.

He’d always known it would someday happen. The elements had wreaked havoc on the giant for centuries unending; the last storm had dealt the final blow – timeworn stone crumbling into the ocean below, destroying the structure it supported. Even miles distant, Ieldu had felt the collapse of the World Bridge. As Guardian his task was clear.

This time his brother wouldn’t be present to take the weight of duty upon his shoulders. The image of Torr’s form expanding and solidifying into rock as he performed the ancient magics, anchoring the World Bridge into material reality, had haunted him for centuries. Last time Ieldu’s stupidity had caused the damage but Torr had paid the price. 

This time the duty was his alone.

“No brother,” a long silent voice said. A hand gripped his shoulder. “This time we do it together.”

Word Count: 175

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

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Hello everyone! 🙂 After having had a month mostly away from my blog for CampNano it’s good to be writing flash fiction again, although I have to admit that after a month of novel writing fitting this into 175 words was even harder than usual. I’d hoped to post it on Wednesday but, as you can probably tell from the fact that it’s now Friday, it just wouldn’t cooperate!

 

I look forward to visiting everyone’s blogs and catching up with you all.

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FFftPP: Faded Calligraphy

This post is for Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. For this challenge we are given a photo prompt and an optional opening line / prompt sentence. This week’s prompt line is There it was. You could see the corner of the folded yellowed parchment sticking out of the torn lining of the battered book.” I’ve not used the exact words this week but I’ve kept the general sense of it. The story should be under 200 words and have a clear beginning, middle and end.

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Photo Prompt – Public Domain Image

Faded Calligraphy

Hettie rubbed weary eyes as the candle sputtered its death throes; the scrawl on the page growing increasingly illegible in the oscillating shadows.

Sleep dragged at her mind.

She’d stopped comprehending the meaning of the words some time ago; had read the current passage three times at least, yet still had no idea what it said. The trail of allusion and conjecture she’d followed to this point didn’t even guarantee success – there was only the faintest chance the author had handled the Treatise. It was possible, probable even, that she was researching another dead end. 

As tired as she was, it hard to tell the difference. It was time to accept defeat – at least for tonight.

She noticed the folded parchment that peaked from inside the torn lining only as she closed the battered text. All thoughts of sleep fled. Possibility danced before her.

Unsteady fingers drew the fragile document free from its hiding place as the candle-flame gave a final guttering flare and vanished. She barely caught a glimpse of the faded calligraphy on the pamphlet’s cover but a glimpse was enough. Excited laughter burbled free. She’d found the Treatise.

She’d found the proof they needed.

Word Count: 199

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