Three Line Tales: Anonymous

For Sonya’s prompt.

photo by Sunyu via Unsplash

tltweek242

 

I can’t write your story, but it’s written in your eyes, the days of tracking, the fear, the fatigue and in the end, the men with spades.

They dig until they reach the heart and drag it out, still beating.

I have seen them, the cubs still blind, tossed in the waste from the cowshed, and whenever in the cool spring night, I hear a vixen call, I think of them, and all the others.

Sleep-hiding

For the dverse prompt, a prose piece of 140 words including the line from Mary Oliver’s Death at Wind River:

In their dreams,
they sleep with the moon.

All night they rustle, the night folk, creeping stealthily through dry leaves, keeping out of the pools of moonlight, stalking though the thickets, nibbling around the edges of the meadow, racing beneath garden bushes. They have their tracks and their highways, more and more of them, as the daylight grows too noisy, too dangerous, too populous. They take to the night paths while men and dogs sleep, twitching legs and trigger fingers in their dreams.
They sleep with the moon, the night folk, though some once ran beneath the sun, curled beneath brambles and in the dense thickets of elm and hawthorn. They sleep while the day grows bright, the dogs sniff and whine, and fear creeps beneath the leaves, driving them out of sleep and secrecy, driving them, on and on, into stark winter and its treacherous naked light.

Prose in Visual Verse

The images proposed by Visual Verse are usually the kind that make me tiptoe around the edges before I have a clue what if anything, the image inspires. This one though, by Helen Marten, seemed to shout at me. I knew his story as soon as I looked into his goggly middle-aged eyes and his outsize jam-jar.

VV-September-Helen-Marten

You can read my interpretation of this painting here.

And you can read the story so far here.

The Great Escape

Mike Powell has just proved that he is not only a talented photographer and knows his stuff about birds and insects (go and look, here). He is also a technical detective/wizard/ferret. Alone, single handed and with only his patience and curiosity and the tenacity of a terrier, he has discovered the way, in a single click, to circumvent the blocks.

For those of us who use Mac and Word, it has been impossible to get the new editor to accept a post formatted in the way we see it in Word. It strips it of spacing where we do want it and adds double spaces between the lines of poetry where we don’t.

To avoid this mess, and to avoid having anything to do with the blocks at all, simply write your post/poem in Word, copy, open a WP new post, don’t bother choosing a block, just paste using shift+command+V. The usual way of pasting, command+V lets WP mess it up. Add shift and the combination overrides whatever is going on in its mechanical head.  

Thank you again, Mike. You deserve a medal.

#Writephoto: Last journey

For Sue Vincent’s writing challenge.

Screenshot 2020-08-21 at 15.23.00

Odin’s moon rocked drunkenly over the pines; Asgard slept drunkenly or stumbled tipsily off to bed. Freyja turned her back on Odin’s hall and his moon and watched the stars. Soon she would leave, taking only her cats and she would search all the paths beneath the sky for Odr. If he was not to be found, wandering the tracks that led among lakes and mountains, along seashores and wide grassy river plains, she would search among the stars.

The end was coming. She felt it in the air, angry and greasy, belligerent as a hall-full of gods, and it would be bloody. She would not wait for it to arrive, but would sweep Odr into her chariot and go to meet it if necessary. If she had Odr by her side, she would not mind the end.

A cat nudged her hand with his head, and she scratched his ears. “Soon, we will leave this sad place and go hunting together.”

Fressi made a rasping noise in his throat, and Freyja smiled. “Bats perhaps and not mice, I promise, but certainly not owls.”

A second cat stalked over the faintly starlit grass, sleek, red and ring-tailed. They were the only friends she had in the whole of Asgard now that Idunn had gone, following the eyes that shone in the night sky, now green, now blue. Freyja hoped she would find what she looked for. A sharp noise broke the night silence and Fressi hissed. More fighting. Not that they ever hurt one another. Posturing, that was all they were good for.

Fress spoke then, quickly, urgently and Freyja listened. There was no sound apart from the bickering outside Odin’s hall, but the pale ghosts of barn owls circled overhead before taking the path to Bifröst. Fressi howled and Freyja made her decision.

“It will be tonight then,” she said. “The chariot is ready. It has been for months now.”

The two cats bounded off to take up their places between the shafts, and Freyja raised her eyes defiantly to the rocking moon. “You can keep your rotting world, Odin, your magic apples and eternal youth that you have no notion how to use. Your fate is on his way, bringing with him the bloodletting that will unleash the end. Enjoy your junketing while it lasts.”

Somewhere, among the stars that hung low on the northern horizon, the green eyes of Idunn’s Jötunn winked.

#Three line tales: Retribution

tltweek238

photo by Nimesh Basu via Unsplash

For Sonya’s Three line tales photo prompt

She hadn’t wanted to; he had seen the look of terror on her face and known that fear of the bike had been merely an extension of her fear of him.

“Lean with the bike, not against it,” he had roared when he felt her struggling, but she hadn’t wanted to lean anywhere, just for it to stop, and it had, but not the way either of them would have chosen.

When he saw the black figure rise up among the meadow flowers of the field, he had not been surprised; he had always known what death would look like when it came for him.

Getting it wrong

The prosery challenge for dverse was such a hard one I had to try to crack it. It doesn’t work, in the sense that I would not usually use words in this way, but the phrase is all there, unbroken, intact, and the story came out at exactly 144 words.

“when it is over said and done

it was a time

                  and there was never enough of it.”

 –Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, “A Time”

 

You only appreciate love when it is over, said and done it. Was a time, and there was never enough of it, when love seemed as though it would last forever, when the words we said weren’t platitudes, when what we did and planned seemed utterly exceptional.

Life teaches us different. It isn’t lines pinched from romantic films or silly presents, flowers that wilt and smell rank that guarantee a life of happiness, it’s the things that never need to be spoken, asked or told. It’s the presents of presence, of doing what needs to be done unbidden, not expecting thanks or praise.

We learned that the hard way, by taking the wrong route, gathering flowers and useless presents that ended up in the bin with the unpaid bills and left our faces with the sour lines about the mouth that never go away.

#writephoto: Battle

For Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Evocative of the scenery of my latest WIP.

low-cloud

Röskva stood on the rath wall and gazed to where the dark northern hills met the dark sky, and the storm that embraced both hills and sky. For three days they had heard the rolling of thunder and watched spears of lightning tearing the grey billows, but the storm had come no closer.

Cian came to join her, his jaw clenched, apprehensive and angry, but not fearful. His father had brought this upon them, and although he could find no justification for it, Cian was yet his son.

“Are they come yet?”

The question was short, terse. He asked Röskva because she had the sight and might know, but he would rather have asked anyone else.

“The air is full of agitation, and I have seen lightning running along sword blades. The sea is high and I can hear waves crashing on cliffs. Whatever has come out of them is hiding from me.”

“It must be them,” he murmured. “And you can see no army? No swarm of fishmen?”

“If I could, I would have told you,” she replied coolly. “Your father has his invincible warriors, what have you to worry about?”

“How he got them is what worries me. No good can come of such a deed.”

Röskva looked at him with a hint of disdain. These people would commit the most heinous crimes and wring their hands afterwards because it offended someone’s sense of propriety.

“No good came to your sister, that is certain. But if he feels no twinge of conscience, why should you?”

Cian turned to her and his expression was so full of pain that Röskva felt ashamed of herself.

“What Delbáeth did to his own daughter was unnatural, and it has produced only monsters. If these are the weapons he and Morc are using against one another, the fishman will have done the same to Ceara, and that is a thought I cannot live with.”

The lightning continued to flicker on the hills, lighting the galloping horse and the rider flogging it up the cliff track to the gates.

“This is when we learn the worst,” Cian said, a wild light almost of pleasure in his eyes, as he leapt down the wooden stair, shouting to the watch to open up the gates

Short story published

Starting off the week with a pat on the back for me. I have a short story published in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, a magazine that pays its contributors real money for their work! The editors are also very relaxed about what constitutes heroic, as my story is an interpretation of a not very heroic episode from Norse myth.

I have to thank editor James Rowe for his encouragement, and Adrian Simmons for his perseverance with dodgy email connections.

You can read my story Apples of the Gods and the other contributions here.