Microfiction #writephoto: Black pearl

This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

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Winter sunset and the old stone glows red. Blue as a bird’s egg, the sky, raked with bare black branches. So much colour in the biting cold. The night would bring frost and grass collect a fur of white. She used to live in the house behind the black branches. She had thought of it as home. But it had turned into a trap.

If she looked hard she could see the flames of the fire in the grate. It would be warm inside. He probably had another woman by now to cook him exactly what he wanted, to plump up the cushions and make sure the place was spotless. Because that’s what counts after all. The shell must be as pristine as the inside of an abalone, licked clean by an obliging cat fish.

Inside, the flames dance and the house looks at her with its glassy eyes. It had never liked her. She had not taken enough care with its rainbow shine. She had wanted more than the shell, and he, the mollusc’s usurper, could give her nothing else.

She hunches her shoulders against the north wind. Her hands are cold and raw, but at least she feels the way the air moves and flows around her like a river. A blackbird flies past in his low, rapid dash from tree to hedge. He crashes into the glossy-leaved thicket with an irritated cluck. She smiles, hoping he’s found something to eat in the hard ground. His shell is the sky and he is the black pearl.

She makes up her mind, suddenly, turning her back on the house of no mirth forever. She will be a pearl too, her shell, the sky, flushed with the setting sun, and filled with the last notes of the blackbird’s song.

Microfiction Three Line Tales: Cryptic

This is for Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

The photo is ©Sandis Helvigs

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The rather portly young man, his eye caught by something interesting in the fallen foliage, bent down with a grunt and picked up the leaf.

He dragged his long, poetic locks out of his eyes and, being rather long-sighted, held the leaf out at arm’s length to read the scribbled message.

The wind veered round to the north and plucked at his hair as he mouthed the words—Winter is coming.