Sky Shield



The lands had not always been this way…dry and barren. The trail of sand he now followed had once been a swiftly flowing river, the cliffs around it covered with brush and trees. Birds and other animals had nested there. Now nothing did. Most of the animals were gone–there was no way for them to survive. The people were gone, too, forced further and further away from the place that had once been their home. Even the lands that still grew lush and green were shrinking by the year. Something had to be done to stop this slow death, which had all begun with a terrible mistake. The answer was here, where the blight had begun. And he was determined to find it… 

But where was the facility that had developed Sky Shield?  And how did the technology designers allow the system, that was to save the planet, to go so wrong?  Aaron pondered these questions, and consulted the hand drawn map he had been given by “the Engineer.”  How odd that electronics had been so relied on, that no accurate chart had ever been made of the facility’s position.  “GPS is all we will need,” so the stories about it told, but that was before the Sky Shield itself cut off the satellite signals coming to the surface.  But worse still, the Shield trapped in the planet’s warmth and pollution.  Yes, no meteors would bombard the surface, nor did the great asteroid which the system was meant to deflect strike.  Well, not head on.  But how could they not have calculated that the huge object’s energy feedback would fry the Sky Shield’s own mainframes?

Then he saw it, a reflected glint of something metallic on the far side of the wadi.   Was this the entrance he had been looking for?

Aaron approached the spot cautiously, and pulled the manual override key from the pouch which hung around his neck.  It fit the lock perfectly, and there was a dry grinding click when he turned it.  The door opened and he stepped into the gloom of a descending corridor.  He lit a small lantern which was at his side and then proceeded.  Nothing moved, no lights came on, the place was dead.

He came to another doorway, and pulled out the second mechanical key.  This did not fit, so he fumbled for the only remaining object in his pouch.  It did fit.  He turned it and as he did the door opened.  Stepping into the space beyond, there was a sudden hum and the overhead lights flickered.  Happily, he set his lantern aside.

He approached the console labelled “Control,” and pushed aside the skeletal remains siting before it.  He then once again drew out the second key.  This time it fit.  Turning it, a screen dimly came to life.  It bore the words “System shut down.  Do you wish to proceed?”  He reached to the keyboard and typed “Yes.”  Immediately, a countdown sequence appeared on the screen: “59:59,” it read, and Aaron scrambled back into the man-made desert and the hope of a new beginning.


FANTASY ART FRIDAY   Though I prefer to write more classic fantasy, this prompt led me down a more Sci-Fi path.  But in a pinch, wold building is world building.

Garden of Love and the Woman of Faith

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My garden is a special place.  It is a three-fold manifestation of love.  Its development began as a butterfly sanctuary and memorial to our late daughter, Ana.  Lavender and buddleia were planted to draw the little creatures she so loved.  Dianne next, as an act of love to me and being concerned for my heart condition, wanted it further transformed to be low maintenance so I would not be strained.  The idea was then struck upon to make it Moroccan themed and the third act of love that washed over the place was our best friends organising a team to make it a beautiful sanctuary for Dianne in her last days.  A summer house was erected for her to maximise the portion of the year she could spend in it, and it became a place of peace for her.  She spent as much time in it as she could.

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Back in April with her strength ebbing, and symptoms becoming more manifest, she posted:

“Got my most recent blood tests back today, for the first time they are markedly worse. It comes as no real surprise as i have acquired a lot of new symptoms recently, showing i am affected by the liver cancer now.
My liver is now struggling to function, so the initial ‘honeymoon’ is over, and we realise we are counting months.
Still, everything is done which needs to be, so i will just appreciate this lovely weather to come, sitting in my garden.

This quotation sums up my feelings on the situation.

‘We should praise God regardless of good or bad news. If we are His children, it’s always good news because we have eternal life.’ Bill Williams”

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The promise of eternal life, a paradise which Jesus has gone ahead to prepare, is the ultimate garden of peace.  Far greater than Eden from which we fell.  It too like my garden is a place flowing with love.   I rejoice in Dianne’s entry to it.


Garden Enclosed


Accelerator One

Sun, Fireball, Solar Flare, Sunlight

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay 

Missions Specialist Patel and the Operation Commander Wong were going through the final checks.  They had left Europa Station an hour and seventeen minutes before (Earth Equivalent Time) on what would possibly be the “beginning of the end” of humanity’s sub-light speed space travel.   Their mission was to take Accelerator One past the sun, and then slingshot around it before engaging the super-light speed engines.  Twenty years of design and construction had led to this moment.

“All is in order,” Patel said confidently.

“Copy that,” replied Wong, her voice catching in anticipation. “And just in time, here comes the sun.”

Within seconds the vessel shuttered with the star’s gravitational pull, and Accelerator One began its maneuver.  Then with a flash history was made.





Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Here Comes the Sun



Eating Up to the Nines


image: Nine’s own site

My step-daughter and I went to Nines International Buffet in Cambridge for lunch.  We have been eating irregular meals since my wife’s passing, and a good filling hot meal seemed a sensible thing to do.  So off we went to Nines.

The restaurant is on the upper level of the Cambridge Leisure Complex and easily accessible by escalator, and I believe there is a lift, though I did not spot it.

On arrival, payment is made at a desk at reception. There are also some soft chairs in a small waiting area for those expecting more members of their party. Once the buffet is paid for, you find a table in the main dining area. Shortly after sitting, a member of staff will come and offer drinks which are paid for separately from the buffet itself. There is an option for unlimited refill on Pepsi products.

The layout is a series of steam-tray stations along one wall and a long counter running to form a L shape which has “fresher” options, such a skewers and pizza. As we were there for lunch the sushi, skewers, and seafood were not operating, but the pizza, Chinese, and general buffet were.

The firm advertises Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Seafood as main stations, and even on the general buffet there were some of each. I had crab claws which were a little more potato blend than I find at most places and they tasted more of general fishcake than of crab but they were still enjoyable. My daughter started with duck/pork pancake rolls which were self-serve. The starter area had many standard UK bits such as chips, onion rings, samosas, and the aforementioned crab claws. Sweet potato fries and cocktail sausages also were in this area. There were four pizzas laid out: pepperoni, chicken, Veggie, and a plain tomato cheese combo. The quality of the cheese was surprisingly good. Several of the Chinese and Thai dishes were very spiced, and a fish stew option left my lips tingling for quite some time. Desserts were a small assortment of rather basic quality cake, tinned fruit, and a soft serve ice cream machine.

There was an abundance of clean plates, and dirty plates were quickly bused from tables to give a pleasant eating atmosphere.

The food as a whole was tasty, and abundant. Quality was average to good, quantity outstanding, thus making the price a good value for money. As an eatery this is a four star (out of TripAdvisor five – not to be confused with Michelin [cue cheeky grin]) affair, but in like for like buffet places nearly a five.

There is a second Nines in Swansea, Wales as well.



Nines International Buffet site

The Widower: A Single Tear

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The Widower

I have loved

And I have lost

Past now: the passion of breath inhaling breath

Of lips on lips’ gentle caress

The fleeting dart tongue on tongue, I shall know no more

Gone the exquisite ecstasy of our bodies conjoined.

Shed a lone tear for me – no more and no less

For I am now but singular,  parted from the piece of me that was best.



This poem is not a statement of a lack of faith, but an expression of physical loss.  I remain convinced that we shall be reunited in the heavenly realms.  For now, however, I must continue my life’s journey alone.   While the flavour of this poem is far more suggestive than my usual writing, please see it as a celebration of married love (much as in the Song of Solomon) and of that love lost.


British Delays – Its More than Just Brexit

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

The Summer of 2019 was marked by record breaking temperatures across the United Kingdom.  As the mercury climbed into the 80s and edged towards 90 in old money, huge queues formed at the public pools and swimming baths across the nation.  There were even incidents where crowds fed up with the heat and the lines rushed the gates of the aquatic sanctuaries.  The good news is, that as of today, the twenty-sixth of September, those at the end of the queue were able to make their final approach to the turnstile.  Better late than never, so they say.

(96 words)


Friday Fictioneers

The Space In Between

Image result for rich merchant

image: Pinterest

Orlio looked back on his childhood and shivered.  It had been a life of squalor and pain.  Orphaned at three he could barely remember his harlot mother, and he never had known a father.  Happiness, he reflected, a crust of bread perhaps, nothing more – nothing less.  No the “joys of childhood” was a myth as far as he was concerned.

But he had been a canny lad, and soon found relative safety in the company of an older boy.  It was a relationship of convenience though, the older boy cashing in on Orlio’s sad eyes to draw the pity of the wives of merchants.  By the time Orlio was eight however this no longer held sway, and he was forced to fend for himself.

He became a brawler and by eighteen competed in the pit to earn a crust.  He still bore the scars and mal-healed cheekbone as a reminder of those painful times.

Then came the invasion from the Sea-Men.  The Count had mustered all able bodied men for the defense, and Orlio found himself armed in his street clothes and a crude spear facing seasoned raiders.  The battle was bloody and Orlio couldn’t even begin to brag that he had distinguished himself.  In fact, he held his position only because he feared his sergeant more than the Sea-Men.  He had survived though and the invasion was thwarted.  He was given a silver penny for his part in the effort.  A penny he squandered on drink.

It was while sleeping off his penny’s worth that his fortunes changed.  He was woken by the sound of a disturbance at the mouth of the alley he had collapsed in.  A pair of ruffians had pinned a well dressed man against a wall and were relieving him of his purse.  Orlio more from annoyance at his slumber being interrupted than any altruistic thought, intervened and soundly thumped the culprits.

The merchant in a show of thanksgiving took Orlio to his house where he was fed well, bathed, and given a change of clothing.  While there, he was attended by a cute, short blonde maid, who spoke to him shyly and showed neither the distaste most people showed him or the pompous condescension of the merchant and his daughter.

Orlio returned briefly to his old ways, though he did find the occasional excuse to visit the blonde maid.  But within the year, the merchant fell ill and died.  His will was explicit, however, Orlio was to not only be his heir, but was to wed his daughter.

When the bailiffs found Orlio, he was prepared to put up a fight not at first knowing their purpose.  Reluctantly however he followed them to the merchant’s home.  There he found Agnes, his future wife still shooting him looks of disdain. Eliza the maid, however, on seeing him burst into tears and left the house never to return.

Orlio’s was now a life of luxury and excess.  His vapid existence marked by a series of affairs by both he and his wife.  Banquets though frequent lacked savor, and with such abundant wealth nothing seemed of value.

Then he remembered that brief interlude in the space between his wealth and poverty.  The stolen moments with Eliza, a shared meat pie at the corner of the market place, the freely given kiss beneath the eaves of the storehouse.  That had been happiness.  How had it gone so wrong?



FOWC with Fandango — Vapid

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: The Space Between

Tale Weaver – #242 – Happiness – 26th September

Stillness in the House, Stillness of Heart

Dianne as teen

Young Dianne

My wife, Dianne was a talented musician.  She was a classical pianist, played for worship at several churches, and scored and accompanied amateur singing and dramatics groups.  During her illness she continued to practice, but as her energy levels waned, she dedicated herself to making recordings of her work so that I would not be without her “pretty noises,” as I called them once she was gone.

The recordings are precious to me, but as of yet, I have not begun to play them.  But I shall.  For now there is stillness in my house.

Having come from a religious tradition of A Capella music, it took me some time to truly come to appreciate the praise that musicians can shower on the Lord.  Dianne taught me that making harmony in one’s heart is just as much harmony with the glorifying of God as it is with that of other worshipers.

Music is indeed an aspect of our human experience.  It can move us, lift us, humble us, and encourage us.  There is a theological concept called numinous, “having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.”    I have felt this presence of God on several occasions in my life.  The earliest memory was a vespers service at a Benedictine house when I was a teenager.  The Spirit of God sent shivers through my body, and the devotions of the monks were life changing for me.  Later, I had a similar experience during a particularly powerful acapella worship in Tennessee.  Most recently, not long before Dianne’s passing, I again felt it during a Pentecostal service of praise and worship.  Dianne used to sit quietly during such periods of worship, not singing, but mediating upon the Spirit’s washing over her, and through the congregation.   Her praise (despite being a musician) was at those times was meditative, and personal between her and God.

I have come to truly value the act of praise, and I hope that my heart’s reaching out to God is more complete than just what I can offer with my voice.  But I can also, as Dianne taught me through her example, just “be still in the Lord.”



Night Of Flames

Fire, Field, Smoke, Flame, Nature, Environment, Heat


Hamlin scanned the devastation laid out before him.  The blackened fields were hazy with the swirls of blowing ash.  How had it come to this that the once green pastures could be thus transformed?

The cause lay in the history of the region.  Ninety years before, the Riders of the East had staged a mass incursion into the Duchy.  Villages were sacked, men slain, and women abducted into slavery upon the steppe.

In its aftermath the Duke ordered the construction of the Horde-Line, a series of stone blockhouses and towers such as the one upon which Hamlin now stood.   The Duchy would never again be caught unready, as a perpetual watch was set against the threat.

In addition to the fortifications and their garrisons of watchers, relay stations were set in which riders were every ready to speed new of invasion from the frontier to the cities of the interior.  Measures were also taken to insure that any attack would be slowed enough for these riders to complete their missions, and for reinforcements to arrive, huge cisterns of tar and oil were strategically constructed along the frontier.  The Eastern Riders would be greeted not only by a shower of arrows from the towers, but with a wall of fire as well.

Then last Tuesday it happened.  A young sentry walking the walls of Tower Seven felt a rumbling beneath his feet, and heard the unmistakable sound of hooves in the night.  He alerted his captain, and the threat confirmed.  Three flare arrows were loosed into the night, but a heavy fog lay upon the surrounding fields.  The captain, fearing for not only his Duchy, but for his very life, gave the order for the cisterns to be ignited.

When “Seven’s” tar pits flared, the officers of surrounding fortifications followed suit.  Soon the entire border was in flame.

But no arrows responded to the fierce attack of the defenders.  No agonizing cries of burning Riders were heard.  No, when the flames finally abated, all that was found was the charred remains of a herd of bison, perhaps a thousand strong.

The great attack of The Tuesday of Flames was a mistake.  An error in judgement which would change the Duchy’s defense plans forever.


FOWC with Fandango — Threat 

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Ash

RDP Tuesday: error

Your Daily Word Prompt – Perpetual

Miscellaneous Prompted Micro Poems 15


Dark pressure building
Weighing down upon the soul
Feeling low – Sadness

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, September 11th 2019, sadness

Conclusion Of The Contract, Handshake, Trade, Business

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

To exchange,

To barter, to trade,

Tis how fortunes are made

Weekend Writing Prompt #124 – Barter


start of autumn

Day and Night Even
Balancing Time Yearly Twice
Autumn’s Turn Has Come

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, September 25th 2019, autumn equinox