I did sort of half-promise Michael (of Morpeth Road) that I’d post another oddity to inspire some more weird and wonderful stories. This one, by Frederick Leighton isn’t as exotic as last week’s giant rodent, but it’s a painting that I find lovely in its strangeness. See what you think. Can you get a story out of this painting entitled Greek girls picking up pebbles?
Another illustration from Virginia Frances Sterret this week. It’s another old French fairy tale (are there new ones?) but don’t let your imagination be limited by the idea of the fairy tale. The story can be anything at all, whatever the image suggests. My eye is drawn to the window behind. Is it stained glass, looking into a cathedral? And the draperies on the left have a distinctly Japanese look to them. Then there are the questions of: who is the girl, is she protecting the deer or is it the other way round, and what’s with the inscrutable cat? See what you come up with and post the link to your short (whatever) story in the comments before next Thursday. Sod the Christmas shopping; just have fun 🙂
Back to one of my favourite illustrators for this week’s challenge—John Bauer. It carries on the fairy/folk tale theme that opens up so many possibilities for letting out our inner child. Who are the children on the white horse? Who is leading them and why? Are they searching for something or escaping? Tell me a story to fit John Bauer’s magical illustration and post the link in the comments before next Thursday. As I mentioned before, internet access is a bit iffy at the moment so expect glitches.
This is for Sonya’s three line photo prompt
Photo ©Grant McCurdy via Unsplash
The alien observer picked up the strange box-like object that sat alone on the edge of the melted asphalt, steaming in the crazy winds that blew from the unchained ocean, wondering if it could be some primitive explosive device, but a quick reading revealed complete inertia, so she shook it.
Peering through the glass window, she saw bright images of smiling faces and leaping playful animals that chased and danced as laughter and happiness poured into her hands.
Recognizing them as memories, she replaced them reverently in the little box and cast it adrift on the last tide of the dead world.
The image for this week’s challenge is by illustrator Virginia Frances Sterret and comes from a book of French fairy tales. I don’t know which one, and I haven’t tried to find out so as not to get cultural interference in the prompt. Whatever the story, it looks to be a strange one. But then, aren’t all fairy tales on the odd side? What is the leafless red tree with the different kinds of fruit, and who is the girl peering at it? Where are they—garden, castle tower, observatory? And is the girl just peering in idle curiosity or yelling invective? The outspread hand implies some kind of excitement.
I’ll leave you to decide. Please post the link to your story in the comments section before next Thursday. Enjoy yourselves!
This was one of her favourite places. It had been their trysting place years before, when she was just a silly girl and he a callow youth. Her father would have remembered that when her husband’s ‘colleagues’ set out to look for her. She listened, but the only sound was the lapping of lake water and the gentle panting of her dog.
She had been married to the man her father chose for her. Her objections were waved aside. After all, she could never tell him she had already given her heart. As far as her father was concerned, her heart was not hers to give. They had continued to meet, she and her lover, even after her marriage. Especially after her marriage. She would have thrown herself into the lake if he had not been there to take her in his arms and tell her lies about how one day they would be together. They had grown wiser with the years and more prudent in their loving, but not prudent enough.
Her husband might have been different if the times had been kinder, but as a party official, he put aside any feelings of humanity he may have had in order to follow orders without question. When her lover was arrested, someone, hoping for betterment, or simply out of a vicious desire to hurt, told her husband about the liaison. The party machine ground into action. The insult to the party official was to be wiped away in blood. There was nowhere to hide, no one to turn to. And without her lover, there was nothing to hope in any more.
She waited. The dog whined. The whining turned to a low growl. They were coming. She hoped they would be kinder to the dog.
Time to get back to serious subjects after last week’s comedy interlude.
I found this painting, another one by Iliya Repin while I was looking for something else and found it captivating. We can’t see the woman’s face but she appears deep in thought, facing the river but possibly not seeing it. Her dog is watching something, someone arriving the dog doesn’t particularly like? The sparkle of the moonlight on the water, the muted night time colours, the dog lying at the woman’s feet create a beautiful peaceful image, but there’s something waiting just out of sight that is slightly disturbing.
What do you think? Put the answer in a short story and post the link in the comments box before next Thursday. Have fun 🙂