Microfiction #writephoto: Watcher

This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday #writephoto prompt




An underground river flowing into the light, they call it. After a sinuous journey through rock strata and hollow caverns, it finally rises and pours into a shallow bed, tranquil and green, shaded by lush, broad leaves. Two low arches, mossy with damp and alive with rampant vegetation straddle the placid water.

Who built them, nobody knows, nor why. No preservation order protects the dark twin tunnels, no protest group has tried to prevent the local farmers building a dam that will stop the river, flood the site and provide water for their maize crop.

The river flows, calm and peaceful. Stars look down on its ever-moving surface where moonlight ripples among the stones of its bed. Moonlight glints hard and bright on the shiny bulldozers lined up to begin clearing the trees and the old stones.

Is it moonlight reflected in the depths of each tunnel, growing stronger as the night advances, filling the arches with a light as old as the stars? The ground shakes and the river flows quicker, tumbling angrily as the earth surges upwards, higher, into the star-flecked night.

Two dark eye sockets beneath a helm of stone, above a warrior’s frame, stony and ancient as the earth, turn towards the little town that dared steal the waters of life. The dark eyes let their tears of anger pour away, and feet dragged from sleep deep within the earth, wade through the roaring river, crushing the engines of destruction, following the watery path to the town.

In the morning, the waters will pour red, and they will still flow to the sea.


200 word story: Forest eyes

The tree watches. In its branches perch a world of birds. Insects trundle and burrow beneath the ridges of its bark. Nuthatches, tits, finches creep and dig, tiny claws clinging, beaks pecking. In the forest silence, the small sounds ring out bell-clear. Sunlight filtered through its dwindling leaves falls softly golden on my face, but I am not fooled. There is no acceptance here, only dull, eternal hostility. Yet I stay because the eyes of the tree compel me.

I shrink beneath the towering silver-grey trunk, hold out my hands to show the watching eyes that they are empty. The implacable stare is unflinching. The pecking stops. Birds flutter and are lost among the dapples of sunlight and shade. Eyes, lidless, dark wounds where limbs once grew, stare at me, the intruder.

No more, the breeze murmurs. No more.

I won’t, I say. I never have done, never would.

But the breeze has flowed on and on and doesn’t listen.

Times change, whisper the last golden leaves. Trees change.

Dusk falls slowly here, dimming light, the setting sun reflected from the clouds along the horizon. Roosting birds shuffle. Yellow eyes blink. Around me, the rustling of dead things grows louder.