Giving and taking

A butterfly cinquain for Colleen’s photo prompt.

Photo ©2019 Willow Willers

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Displayed,

her promises,

her story offered in

open hands, bared, indelibly

printed.

His hands are an unwritten page,

secret. He smiles, reads, takes—

her story is

now his.

Tactics

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales prompt.

photo by Michal Vrba via Unsplash

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There is something about the sight of children absorbed in a tactical game of skill, wits and intelligence that gives me the creeps.

I imagine them later, older, sitting together again, but this time around a conference table in a boardroom.

Older, the tactics refined and put to other uses, children who never acted the maggot at school plot with cold, dispassionate moves the fate of millions.

#writephoto: Ocean

I’m not this far on yet, but it’s helpful to sketch out a scene when inspiration strikes. Thanks Sue again 🙂 This snippet of WIP was suggested by Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt.

 

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Jon raced beneath the dark trees that towered above him, creating a tunnel where no light reached the leafy floor. He was almost out of breath before the tunnel ended in a pale circle, not bright daylight, but more shadow, the shadow of the mountain that leaned away from the forest. Not a glade, but a mountain pasture, high and cold, swept up to a coll between two jagged pillars of rock. The sky was clear. Tide’s out, he thought with relief. He refused to believe in the fairy stories of ghost birds and flying water demons, but he was quite prepared for something nasty to roll in with the tide.

The sky was clear and icy blue, and the short grass was green, true grass green. His heart swelled and he discovered he was still capable of running. He remembered with a jolt that Halli had spent at least one night alone up here without even Hrolf for company. Even? The swelling of his heart became a pang, and he wondered if Hrolf was the final tribute, and would his loss be enough to allow both of them to pass.

He slowed as he reached the col. There was no path, not even a goat track. The grass was sparse, and loose stones slid beneath his feet. The breeze gusted through the col bringing with it the overwhelming scent of the ocean. He hesitated between the stone pillars on either hand, his breath stopped by the sight of the golden water stretching as far as he could see. The blue of the sky was suffused with gold too, a veil that drifted and shifted as it rolled closer.

The tide was turning. He’d soon see what truth there was in the stories. But even more than at the sight of the open sea and the potential terror of the approaching mists, his heart pounded with the fear that Halli might not be there. From the rocks above, a pair of puffins squabbled, a gull swooped in a gale of laughter, and a voice called out.

“Jónsi! What kept you?”

He almost imitated the gull and laughed aloud. She had waited for him! Then came the question he didn’t know how he would answer.

“Where’s Hrolf?”

#writephoto: Tidelands

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt.

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Rags of mist scattered, and a crow bird landed in a heap of ragged feathers at the edge of the clearing. Jon picked up a stone and aimed at the bird. Hrolf growled and Halli looked bemused.

“What’s the maggot pie done to you? It’s half-blind and ancient.”

“They’re bad luck when they’re on their own,” he replied sheepishly but he lowered his hand all the same.

Wise. Bird knows.

“Does it know how to get out of here? Oh, I forgot. Birds can fly, can’t they?”

The magpie tilted its head on one side and opened its beak. It clacked its tongue in a series of hoarse calls, the familiar unmusical utterings of all magpies, but the images that fluttered behind Jon’s eyes made him blink at their brightness. How long was it since he had seen colours, real colours dense enough to draw a finger through and paint with? Blues shading from blue-black through turquoise to the palest of china blues streaked across his vision, pink-purple-violet cupped in tender green, haloed in gold and nasturtium orange. The bird tilted its head the other way. A milky eye peered at him.

Jónsi be listening.

Hrolf was watching him, his ears slightly raised. The bird’s tongue clacked again and he saw waves, a rolling green swell. His vision skimmed the wavetips, and a shoreline grew on the horizon, a forest fringe, hills, but before them rose a line of black cliffs, where the vision broke like impotent waves. The bird sight fluttered again and again, each time repulsed. Jon’s heart sank.

“It’s there. Just over the horizon. But I can’t reach it. It won’t let me in.”

In a rage, he threw the stone across the clearing and into the barely seen trees that huddled about its edge. In the silence that followed the rustle of its flight through the dripping leaves, they all heard the plop of a stone hitting distant water, the slap of a wave against rock.

Halli got to her feet and looked down at Jon with the expression she wore when he had done something particularly stupid.

“If we’re looking for the ocean, we could try that way.”

The magpie gathered its ragged feathers together, leapt into flight and beat its way into the mist. Hrolf barked. Jon knew he was laughing.

#photopromptpoetry: S.O.S.

I had the honour to be chosen poet of the week for Colleen Chesebro’s photo prompt last month. The prize was to be able to choose this month’s image. This one is by Susan Cipriano from Pixabay

trees

Trees link

ocean sky and

blue water, branching wide,

rooting deep where bird-fish skim-swim

skywards

or rootwards delve. Leaves wave, kelp-green

flags, pleading. Can you see

their reflections

calling?

Three Line Tales: The mystic

For Sonya’s three line tales prompt.

photo by Rikki Austin via Unsplash

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Miranda had taken up her place in the centre of the henge on a campstool to keep her robes off the damp grass, facing the east and the rising sun, when dawn was still only a paling of the darkness along the horizon.

The air was in movement with the faint presence of ancient lives that still vibrated in the holy place, and she was certain that this sunrise would reveal the arcane mysteries of the stone circle.

She held her breath as the first cold rays shot across the hillside and probed the entrance stones to touch her dew-damp feet then her knees, only letting it out in a gasp of disappointment when thick cloud smothered the sun and a light rain began to fall.