Highway to Heaven

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 sound-dream @ tumblr

 

The highway to heaven

Can’t be travelled by car,

Or by yacht or plane

Though the distance is far

 

Many seek a simple journey

Counting on wealth or fame

But it’s one step at a time

By which its destination is gained

 

Padre

Photo Challenge #272

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The Goodnight Moon: A Cousins Tale

 

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The oasis was large and the palms that surrounded it could be seen from quite a distance.  The companions had made good time, and arrived in the late afternoon rather than in the evening, and they found the north side of the lake unoccupied, though there was clear evidence that others had recently been there to water both camels and horses.

 

The shade of the palms was welcomed by the party, and as soon as the animals were cooled and rubbed down they were allowed to drink.   Further along the lake side Andrea and Wayne refilled the barrels and water skins, while Uran poured cool water over her head, and shoulders.

 

After a short rest camp was made among the trees, and a cook fire started.   Arun, soon stripped down to his loincloth and went for a swim.  Wayne, and Omar soon joined him, while Uran began to make a broth over the fire.

 

Meanwhile, Bryana sat alone taking in the beauty of the place, while Andrea and Maya attempted to console the still hurting Gwen.

 

“He’s selfish, Sweetie.  He was in this for treasure, not for you,” Andi said.

 

“But he said, he loved me, and that he was coming to protect me,” Gwen sobbed.

 

“I really understand the love bit, but could you ever see him risking his life for anything other than himself?” Andi asked.

 

Gwen sobbed loudly, then said, “I know you’re right, but it hurts so bad.”

 

Maya put an arm around her, and mumbled some incomprehensible words.  Gwen fell into a deep sleep.  “I will take her watch,” Maya said.

 

The sun had begun to set, and a chill was starting to fall over the oasis.

 

Omar was the first to leave the lake and dry himself.  “You should get out of the water,” he warned.  “The temperature is going to drop off quickly, once night falls.”

 

The others came out of the lake and dressed, followed by the others.

 

“But it was so hot earlier,” Arun said.

 

“It’s the way of the desert,” Omar said.  And it is a clear night, with a new moon.  It is what my mother calls a ‘Goodnight Moon,’ as there is no light to disturb you.”

 

“We should gather more wood before it gets too dark,” Maya said as she covered Gwen with a blanket next to the wagon.  Arun and Wayne complied and the watch rotation was worked out as the rest of the party sat around the fire sipping the broth.

 

All except Bryana and Omar settled for the night under the canopy which had been erected from the sides of the wagon.  Each wrapped tightly against the chill of the “Goodnight Moon” evening.

 

“I am surprised your mum let you come?” Omar said to the girl as they settled into their watch.

 

“Lady Bright isn’t my mother,” Bryana responded. “She is my guardian.”

 

“Aren’t you named after her?” Omar asked a little confused.  “Bryana – Breena?”

 

“No, I’m named after my father, Bryan,” the teenager replied.  “Breena loves me like a daughter though, and she has trained me, and helped me master my talent.”

 

It then struck Omar how little any of the cousins knew about this girl they had always referred to as cousin.  Yes, she was four years younger than the nearest of the kindred, and nearly eight younger than Wayne; and she had spent all of her time at the hospital and didn’t spend time at the Axes or the theatre.  But, he had never realised that Breena, like Thilda had no children of her own.

 

“Do you talk to White Ones like Breena?” he asked.

 

“No, that is your Aunt Breena’s gift.  I heal, and I can do it without potions or spells, though it really hurts me sometimes when I do it, so use herbs when I can,” Bryana said.

 

“How’s it hurt you?” Omar asked.

 

“The injuries or sickness moves into me, and the person is healed.  But I get as weak as they were with the illness.”

 

“That doesn’t sound like much of a gift to me,” he said. “More like a curse.”

 

“It’s all in how you look at it,” she said with a smile.  “Is it time to wake Wayne and Andrea yet?”

 

Padre

 

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Goodnight Moon

Defiant Islands of the Fjord

 

Fjord Defence

Oscarsborg Battery

On small islands on the fjord they stood

In face of an onslaught great

Without their courage Norway’s king and gold would

Have met with Denmark’s monarch’s fate

 

When Blücher sailed into Drøbak Sound

Eriksen’s men held their nerve

Never to surrender Norwegian ground

The nation they proudly served

 

Padre

 

The Battle of Drøbak Sound was fought on 9 April 1940 in Oslofjord.  Colonel Eriksen’s men fired on and sank the German cruiser, Blücher.  This action thwarted the German Commando attack on the capital, and allowed for the escape of the Norwegian king, Haakon VII and the country’s gold reserve.

ISLANDS ~ PIC AND A WORD CHALLENGE #196

The Cotton Field

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DJI-Agras@pixabay.com.

 

In April, the fields were ploughed, and the lime and organic matter checked.  In May, the seeds were sown and in high summer the cotton flowered.  There was little droning of bees amid the crop, the sticky pollen being of little use to the honey makers.  But the nectar drew some on the sunny says.  As harvest neared all changed.  Droning was indeed heard, but from a source unknown when the crop was king.  What would Rhett Butler have to say?

Padre

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #22

Musings of The Little Prince: A Cousins Tale

Inside, Architecture, Indoors

image: Pixabay

Yaqub despised being called “The Little Prince.”  His older brother was the one still called by the child’s name, Razi.  It was Yaqub who was taller.  It was Yaqub that was more athletic.  Yaqub was cunning, and a leader of men, but Razuli had been the heir.

But for how long?  It would take some doing, but it would be done.  It had to be done.

The Little Prince was inpatient.  But first things first.  There needed to be a fall guy.  The Chamberlain seemed the obvious candidate.  The head of the Guard was too much a sycophant to be accused of assassinating the monarch, but the wily Ali Mamode with his clear political ambitions, he was a believable patsy.

Now that that was settled, how to carry out the deed and yet be far enough away to avoid being suspected himself?   A fall?  No that wouldn’t do.  It was too similar to how he had assassinated his father.  Poison?  Yes, that seemed a good approach.  It would need to be a rare one, however, hard to trace and harder to cure.  Something natural.  Yes, that was it.  Snake venom?  No, how would a snake be found in the new Sultan’s chambers?  What would be believable?  A spider?  Yes, perfect.

Now how to get a spider into his rooms.  One a dinner tray?  No, the servant might spot it.  Among his laundry?  No, there is no way to assure the creature would bite Razi and not someone else – or even bite at all.

No, a jab would do. Place it on his fork, or maybe . . .?  That won’t do.  The food tasters might succumb first.

His pens!  His imbecile of a brother always licked his pen nibs.  All Yaqub needed to do was place the poison on the nibs when his brother was preoccupied, and then leave.  Then hide the poison in the Chamberlain’s chambers, and be sure to be seen at some official event outside the palace when the Sultan fell ill.

Oh, the simple plans were always the best.  He smiled and stretched before ringing the little bell beside his cushioned chair.  A servant quickly responded.

“Wine,” The Little Prince commanded. “One from the Sultan’s cellars!”

 

Padre

(369 words, 29 minutes)

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: The Little Prince

Directions

Photo by Blair Fraser on Unsplash

 

The Navy fighter had crash landed somewhere over the desert.  The crew however had successfully bailed out.

“Do you know where we are?” the RIO asked.

“No idea, and the SAT locator’s bust,” the pilot said as the two headed north based on the sun.

“Are you sure the coast is this way?”

“It has to be, it’s the Sahara,” the pilots responded.

After several hours, they came to the wreckage of a WW2 aircraft.

“Looks like they didn’t any better luck than we did,” the pilot said.  “Let’s go see if there’s anything we can use, and at least we will have some shade.”

They climbed up into the sun bleached remains of the classic flying machine.

There was no evidence of any fatalities, and the surfaces were covered with fine sand.

The RIO climbed up into the co-pilot’s seat and wiped away the layer of sand to reveal a handwritten note.

If you are reading this, you’re lost.  I hope that helps.

 

Padre

Sunday Photo Fiction: July 14 2019

Like Fish Out Of Water: A Cousins Tale

Landscape, Desert, Clear, Viewsand, Yellow, Dry, Hot

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

 

As the party left the pass behind them they entered into a vast landscape of rolling sands.  The golden granules seemed familiar to Uran and Arun.

“It’s like a large beach,” Uran said to her brother. “It’s almost like home.”

“Yes, but’s too big for my liking,” Arun replied.

Soon even Uran’s initial comforting thought about the place evaporated as did the perspiration from her face.

The Sea-elf was not ‘at home,’ but it a harsh alien environment that quickly filled her with dread.

She nudged her horse forwards and came along side Wayne.

“Wai Yen,” how long does the dessert go on for?” she asked scanning the sands stretching to the horizon.

“The map says that the desert is about a thousand miles across here,” he said.

A look of despair fell on her.

“Don’t worry Cousin, we have barrels of water, and there is an oasis with a small lake that we should reach by sunset.  We will camp there for the night,” Wayne said encouragingly.

Uran slowed her mount and waited for Arun to catch up with her.

“Wai Yen says the desert goes on for a thousand miles,” she said to her twin.

“I’d rather have a thousand leagues at sea, than a day of this,” Arun said glancing up at the brilliance of the desert sun.

“There is a lake,” Uran said in an attempt to ease her brother’s obvious apprehension.

“When will we reach it?” he asked, a little too eagerly.

“Before nightfall,” she said.

“I knew we would need to come to this place,” Arun said. “But I never imagined it would be like this.”

“Neither did I, but it seemed important to Thilda, and she has crossed it,” Uran remarked.

“But she is not a Sea-elf,” Arun said ruefully.

“You’re right, she isn’t as strong as us,” Uran said with a smile.

“I still hate it here,” Arun said quietly.

About then Omar rode up to the pair.

“What are you guys talking about, in the ‘High Tongue,’ he asked.

“Nothing – Just that we don’t like the desert,” Uran said.

“My mum grew up here, and I don’t like it much either,” Omar said.  “I can’t wait till we get to the oasis.”

The three rode along in silence scanning the endless sands.

 

Padre

Sunday Writing Prompt “A Fish Out of Water”

 

Golden Mile

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“But it isn’t,” eleven-year-old David said, shoving the brochure back into the display case at the Sea Life Centre.

“Isn’t what?” his grandmother asked.

“A Golden Mile,” David said matter-of-factly.

“But Great Yarmouth is the Golden Mile,” she said.

“First of all,” David began, “Google says the beach here is over a mile long.  Secondly, it is hardly golden.  It’s just sand.”

“So at least a mile is gold coloured,” Grandmum suggested.

“Then they should say come to Great Yarmouth with its approximately one mile of yellowish sand,” he said defiantly.

Seeing she wasn’t going to win this, she said, “Why don’t we get an ice cream and go over to the beach at Gorleston?

 

Padre

115 Words

What Pegman Saw: Great Yarmouth, UK

The Seamstress: A Cousins Tale

Gwen Strong sat at her work counter in the wardrobe store of the Temple Theatre stitching a black pointy hat for a witch costume.  She was a short woman just over five feet in height, making her a hair taller than her mother.  She was busty and had curvy hips, both traits she seemed to have gotten from her father’s side of the family.

 

Her dad, Buster Strong was a circus strongman.  He had signed as one of the original acts at The Amazing Wil Small’s Temple Theatre.  It didn’t take long for the unlikely couple, the “four foot something” acrobat Wilberta, and the six and a half foot Buster to fall in love.  They were happy together and within two years, Gwen was born.

 

As a child she had some skill as a gymnast, though nothing to compare to her mother’s abilities.  She was also strong for her size, but being diminutive even this wasn’t earth shaking.  She was tenacious, and she was fiercely loyal, and a lioness in defence of her family and friends.   Her greatest talent, however, was in fact with a needle.  She, therefore, found her place as seamstress and as the theatre’s wardrobe mistress.

 

She was just biting off the thread, when she heard the voice of her cousin, Wayne talking to The Amazing Draygon, the fire-eater.

 

“Is Gwen in?” her cousin inquired.

 

“I think she’s in the sewing room,” the performer responded.

 

“Thanks, Janet,” Wayne said, as his voice got louder as he approached the wardrobe store.

 

Gwen placed the pointy hat onto a matching cape and looked up to see Wayne already in the room.

 

“If it isn’t Wai Yen, Mystical Warrior of Xi,” she said teasingly.

 

He flicked one of the roasted nuts he was eating towards her forehead in response.

 

She adeptly shot her hand up and plucked it from the air.

 

“You are fast,” Wayne complemented.

 

“Yea, yea,” she said dismissively.

 

“Anyway, I have something I need to talk to you about,” Wai Yen said.

 

“What’s that?” she replied curiously.

 

“I found Aunt Gwendolyn’s map,” he said, the excitement returning to his voice.

 

“And . . . ?” she said pausing for him to continue.

 

“And – Gwendolyn says I can use it, if the rest of you guys say it’s alright.”

 

“Which ‘guys’?” Gwen asked.

 

“The cousins.  Gwendolyn says it belongs to all of us, and we all need to decide how to use it.  And, I guess to see if any of you want to go on an adventure with me.”

 

“Me – on an adventure?  Dream on, I’m not good at anything.  You have your ninja thing, and Omar is like super strong – me – I sew,” Gwen said.

 

“Yeah, but we already said you are fast, and you can juggle, and you do that pickpocket trick on audience members during the shows sometimes,” Wayne said trying to be encouraging.

 

“I see it now,” Gwen said, “I will dazzle the Goblins with my juggling, then steal their swords off them when they are distracted.”

 

“No seriously, Gwen, you are more talented than you think,” Wayne said.  “Will you at least think about going with me?”

 

“I’ll think about it,” she said in a tone that said, “And not another word about it for now.”

 

“Good,” said Wayne. “We’ll have fun.”

 

Padre

(551 Words, 31 Minutes)

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe