That Old Chestnut

Chestnut, Autumn, Chestnut Tree, Ripe, Brown, Prickly

Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay

How long had she been there – that old chestnut?  There was the scar from the November storm of 1822, even then she had been mature.  How many children had gathered conkers by her side?  For hers were winners sure, well formed and shiny. Her side had been pierced by heavy staples in 1902, cattle wire affixed to her side.  Even now, broken strands of rusting wire bite deep under her bark.  But this wire is not alone.  There is also the twisted shard of aluminium high in her flank, the only remnant of that Messerschmitt that’s journey ended back in ’41.  But now too, her time had come.  Diseased and frail, she is at the mercy of Council workers who care nothing of her noble past.  The tree was pulled down, and only the birds lamented over its dead body.

Padre

Saturday Mix – Unique Personality, 21 September 2019: The tree was pulled down, and the birds lamented over its dead body.

 

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The Sacrifice

Witch, Fantasy, Magic, Witchcraft, Woman, Scary, Spooky

Pixabay

The three brothers were full of war-fervour.  They had left the farm with high expectations of the heroism that they would display on the battlefield.  How could they, the Breoins, do anything less?  Uncle Diwin never relented of regaling the tales of his own glorious exploits of the last war.  Diwin, so he recalled, stood defiantly before many an onslaught, and though he had slew foes by the dozen – never received a scratch.  “War,” he had said, “is the ultimate adventure.”

The three’s enthusiasm waned soon after joining the Duke’s brigade.  Long hours of drilling, and constant rain coupled with sleeping on stony ground didn’t quite match the glorious picture Uncle had painted.

Then came the first battle.  The right of their lines had collapsed under the weight of a cavalry charge, and panic set in.  Much of the army, including the Breoins hightailed it into the forest and it took days for the remnant to regroup.

The Duke mustered his shattered army and announced that they would attempt to leave the forest and seek sanctuary in his cousin’ castle to the north.  The move was anticipated by the enemy however, and an ambush was set.

As the Duke’s men approached a ford near the forest edge, they were attacked on two sides.  The men fought furiously,  yet almost all were slain.  Andre Breoin, the eldest was pierced in the belly, and Gregor and Dawid were barley able to pull him into the cover of the trees.  The three lay there until the enemy had given up the search, Andre’s life ebbing.

As the sun set, a small bluish light dappled through the branches.  Gregor crawled cautiously towards it to see if any of the Duke’s men were there.  What he found was the most hideous hag he had ever imagined, much less laid eyes on.

“Gregor,” the crone croaked. “Why do you tarry in the bushes?”

Taken aback, the farm boy stood.

“Come closer, my dear,” she almost hissed.

The lad of eighteen took a guarded step forward.

“I fear Andre has not long for this world,” she announced. “Unless he be given a sip of this potion I am preparing.”

“Please Lady, may I have it for him then?” the lad begged.

“Alas,” the crone said, “it lacks one small ingredient.”

“What is it? I will find it!” Gregor said excitedly.

“A kiss,” the hag said matter of factly.

Gregor looked at the opal dullness of the woman’s left eye, and the brown decaying teeth.  He nonetheless stepped closer.

“Whose kiss, and where?” the lad asked.

“Your kiss to my mouth,” she said, sticking out a heavily filmed tongue.

Gregor took another step closer and the reek of her body odour and breath were nauseating.

She gave a uneven smile and then flicked her tongue at him several times.

He took one more step, and closing his eyes, he kissed the witch.

Padre

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Kissing the Witch

 

To Market

 

Saturday Market was becoming a drag.  Okay it was a great place to pick up some fresh local fruit and veg, and that baker from Attleborough always had some nice tarts at his stall; but the antique and bric a brac tables were pretty much the same items week after week.

“You know I have seen that same violin case here for at least ten months,” Dana commented to Lucy.

“Yep, all the good stuff goes on the first day it is put out, so the rest returns like a bad penny,” her friend agreed.

The two sat sipping lattes on a bench and munched Bakewell tarts, watching the slow meanderings of a young university student as she picked through the items on a table.

“I wonder what she is after?” Lucy said nosily.

“Probably cheap stuff for her digs.  It is the beginning of term,” Dana remarked.

The young woman sat on one of the stools and then picked it up to take to the stall holder, when she saw the violin case.  She stopped and opened it.  She stroked the instrument and then picked the case up too.

The headlines the following week announced, “Stradivarius Discovered at Market.”

(200 words)

Padre

 

FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER: #38

APawColypse Now

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Google images

“A mission, any mission, and for my sins they gave me one,” Captain Houndard reflected.  It wasn’t his first tour in that war-torn land, but when it was over he would never want to return.

The old warhound, Colonel Kurtz-rover had gone mad up river, and everyone knows a mad dog needs to be put down.  Houndard’s mission was to take a Navy patrol boat to the last known position of the rabid officer and to eliminate the threat.

It had been a costly journey almost all of his accompanying pack had been killed, but now Houndard was making his way through dark waters to complete his task.

Kurtz-rover awaited his fate.  He did not seek clemency, nor fight the inevitable, he merely repeated an apt summary of the whole affair:

“The horror, the horror.”

Padre

Photo Challenge #281

FOWC with Fandango — Clemency

Martin Sheen Swamp GIF

 

 

 

Garbled Text

CCC #44

Lillian stood shivering in the drizzly field next to the East Coast Main Line.  Her hair had gone limp, and droplets of water dripped from the hem of her jacket.

“Look there goes the Lord Hinton, a Class 37 electric,” Harvey said, with a tone of wonder.

“Great,” Lillian responded with something falling far short of enthusiasm.

How did I get myself into this? she pondered.  It all seemed so strait forward this morning.  Harvey sent her a text asking if she wanted to go for a coffee; or at least that’s how it seemed.  How could she have misread: “How bout day out.  MayB can  spot express.”  A spot of expresso sounded great, but this . . . this was  . . . well. 

Padre

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #44

A Loof

Image result for loofah

image: Amazon

Barbara entered the office to see Alice sitting alone deep in thought rather than joining the others at the coffee urn.

“You seem rather aloof today,” Barbara commented casually.

“And what is that supposed to mean?” Alice snapped. “Do you think I am abrasive or something?  Well I am not on of those stupid beauty products you and Tina are always going on about.”

“Aloof, not a loofah,” Barbara tried to explain.

“I don’t care how you pronounce it.  I can’t be bothered by such frivolous things like the rest of you silly women.”

Padre

FOWC with Fandango — Aloof

Luna and Lupa

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Found on picsart.com

Arat shivered at the sound of the wolf howls in the distance.

“Grandfather,” she queried. “Are we in danger?”

“No Little One,” the old Shaman replied.  “They are howling at the moon.”

“Why do they do that?” the lass asked.

Long ago, the first wolf, Lupa roamed the wilds on his own.  He was lonely and sad, and when the sun set each day he was plunged in darkness, and his loneliness became all the greater in the gloom.   He longed for companionship and in his desperation, he concocted a plan.  He would hide on the edge of the western horizon and await the ending of the day.  Then when the great Sola, the sun,  was at her weakest and also her nearest to the Earth, he would suck in her brightness into his mighty lungs.  Once darkness came he would breath out her light, so he would have a companion in the darkness. Which is exactly what he did.

“What happened,” the girl asked intrigued.

When darkness fell, Lupa ran to the eastern horizon and let out his breath with a mighty howl,  As he did, the diminished light of Sola raced into the sky trying to rejoin the rest of her.  But as Sola had already passed beyond the Sky-boundary to the west, the light captured by Lupa could only chase after the rest of her.  

The lesser light became panicked and frustrated.  It was then that Lupa spoke.

“Why are you rushing away so?  Why not slow down and enjoy my company?” the great wolf asked.

“But I must catch up with my body,” the light responded.

“Why? When you are so beautiful yourself?” the wolf complemented.

 The light slowed, and thought about the comment.

“But I must return,” she finally said, though the flattery had affected her deeply.

“If you must, you must,” Lupa responded. “But I for one would will miss your splendid silver sheen.  Oh, it is so much more pleasant that Sola’s harsh brightness.”

The light paused yet again.  It was torn by both the desire to return to Sola and to have glory of her own.

“I hope we meet again sometime,” the wolf said with feigned sadness and turned to pad into the forest.

“Wait,” said the light.  “I think I might tarry a little while.”

Lupa smiled to himself.  He knew then he had found a companion for the night.  

“I am Lupa,” he at last said. “And how shall I address your beautiful self?”

The light thought for a moment then said, “Luna, my name is Luna.”

“And that Granddaughter, was the beginning of the great friendship.  The wolves to this day howl to welcome Luna upon her return.”

The girl smiled and stretched out on her blanket and looked up at the moon.  In her mind she let out a howl. Welcome back Luna.  She then rolled over and fell fast asleep.

Padre

Photo Challenge #280

The Abduction

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The distraught mother sat huddled on the park bench a foil blanket wrapped around her shoulders.  A paramedic was regulating the oxygen supply to the mask which was pressed to her face.

The police constable quietly approached her, and stood quietly for a moment before interviewing her.

“Sorry Ma’am, but I am going to have to ask you a few questions.”

The woman nodded and then removed the oxygen mask.

“Can you please let me know what you saw?” the officer asked compassionately.

“It all happened so fast,” the mother responded.  “Tommy was on the swings, then out of nowhere an aerial jellyfish descended from a cloud and just snatched him.  One minute he was playing happily and the next he was being dragged screaming into the clouds,” the woman said breaking into tears.

“We will do everything in our power Ma’am.  Even now, my colleague is informing the Air Force.”

What he didn’t tell her was that it was the third such abduction in a week.

(167 Words)

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Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #31

 

The Hope-Giver

 

IMG_5088

Lord, or was it King, Leonas led the remnant of his people down the wilderness road in search of refuge.  It was a giant responsibility for a twenty-three year old.  Yet, leadership was thrust upon him.  The attack had been sudden and unprovoked, but King Hilyan, his uncle had responded quickly and though doomed, he had bought time for the young Lord Leonas to lead away the women, children, and the elderly.

He had and his thirty men-at-arms had formed a blind on a hilltop to allow the column of refugees to gain the long East Road out of the kingdom.  It was from that vantage-point that Leonas had seen his uncle, his older brother, and his cousin Prince Phinis fall.  Now it was up to him; the people’s fates were in his hands.

“Lord Leonas,” an aged widow called. “How long until we find sanctuary?”

Speaking with a regal reserve, the youth responded, “Soon, brave lady, soon.”

She smiled, and took her grandchildren by the hands with a renewed strength.

In his heart he couldn’t be sure he could keep such a promise, but it was his duty to provide hope, and perhaps someday to bring his people home.

(200 Words)

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FOWC with Fandango — Reserve

50 Word Thursday #36

Your Daily Word Prompt – Giant

Your Daily Word Prompt – Remnant

The Transplant

Photo courtesy of LL Jones

Gloria sat listening to a load of technical information. What she wanted was to get on with the practical bit.

“So we have implanted a right optical apparatus from one of our S-73 droids to replace the eye you lost in the accident,” the Cyberoptometrist  concluded.

“What do I do now?” Gloria asked with a little too much impatience.

The man walked to the far side of the room and held up a old style personal communications device.

“Keeping your right eye closed,” he instructed, “I would like to know how many images of yourself you can see.”

“Excuse me?” she challenged.

“Sorry. Look into the device you should see an image of yourself.  In the glasses you should see your reflection.  In the reflected image there should be another reflection visible.  How many images of yourself can you count?”

She struggled at the distance and tried to count the increasingly shrinking images.

“Four, but only three clearly,” she responded.

“Now with the right eye,” he instructed.

Gloria sat quietly for quite some time, then announced, “Seventy-three clearly, and eight more as shrinking dots.”

“Excellent,” the CyberOpt said, impressed with his own work.

Padre

(198 words)

Sunday Photo Fiction – Sep 8 2019