Cloud, Orange, Sky, Landscape, Scenery


There were mists over the valley, and Ampar knew this was would be a bleak day in more ways than one.  He had begun his novitiate a full year before, and he was quite sure that a life in the Order was not for him.  

As he approached the great gate of the central sanctuary, he paused to catch his breath.  It was then that he saw it through overcast sky.  There was something sparkling on the hillside on the opposite side of the valley.  The light seemed to have a pattern: flash-pause-flash-flash-pause. This was repeated several times before ceasing.  But what could it be?  There was no sunlight to speak of, what might cause such a sight?  Surely it couldn’t be a reflection.

Ampar went about the rest of his day, and though he was diligent in his duties, he could not get the rhythmic pulses out of his mind.  The next morning he purposely dallied at the same spot, but the day being brighter, he couldn’t see any sign of the flashing.

The young novice repeated this for several days, but soon other matters began to fill his mind.  Then several weeks later, there was a drizzly grey day.  There it was, the flashes were again on the hillside.  I must know what that it, he mused as he hurried off to prayers.

That night he made a decision.  He would leave the temple complex and seek to find the answer to the mystery of the flashes.

For several days he squirreled away tidbits of food and sought out items he might need.  He was able to easily find a length of old rope which had recently been replaced as a handrail on the bridge over the river.  Surely it would be long enough for his purpose.  He also found a hammer with a broken handle.  It would do well enough.  He also cut several length of bamboo, all of which he stored under his mattress.

On the fifth night, he gathered his equipment and sneaked from the novices’ dormitory.  He knew their would be watchmen on the bridge so he made his was down stream, and using his hammerhead to drive bamboo stakes, which he used to anchor the rope end.  Tying the rope to his waste he waded, and then swam to the other side. Untying himself, he fastened the rope to two more stakes and headed to the hillside.

As he neared the spot, he saw the familiar flashed in the morning light.  He rushed to the beacon, to find the Grand Master with a lamp and a mirror. “Well done. You are now an Adept,” the Master said.


4×4 Challenge by Chris Fielden

  • Take the 4th book from your bookshelf.
  • Open it on page 4.
  • Find the 4th sentence on the page and start a story using its first 4 words.
  • Word limit: 444 words

From Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms – “There were mists over the river
and clouds on the mountain and the trucks splashed
mud on the road . . . .”

A Dark Time for Rhyme

Rattus norvegicus 1.jpg

Public Domain

The feral cat slowly stalked the unwary rat at the edge of the vacant lot.  Without a sound the matted feline burst from its cover and clamped its jaws down upon the rodent’s head. It was a meal.  It was sinewy and as flea-ridden as the stalker itself, but a meal nonetheless.  The cat sat, licking the mat, washing away the last traces of rat.


A Cat, A Rat, and A Mat (A Writing Challenge): Write a rhyming (or not) story for adults using a cata rat, and a mat.



The Artist

Self Portrait holding Portrait of Wife – Jean Jacques de Boissieu (CC0)

To Sketch,

To Etch,

To draw my wife,

The “two as one flesh,”

As I share my life,

Depictions, and Images,

Of us both you shall see,

Recording our visages,

For all history.




Daily Writing Prompt Feb #3: Self Portrait holding Portrait of Wife – Jean Jacques de Boissieu



Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Oklahoma Brown was pushing the herd on wards.  Dust clouds rose high into the air despite the lush grass and wild flower cover.  Two thousand head had a way of doing that.  Brown had been with the Ridgemont Company for about a year, and he found the work satisfying.

As the dust cleared, Oklahoma caught a glimpse of a stray calf hanging back from the drive.  He swung his horse about, and went to hurry the little animal along.  There was something about the little orphan that touched his soul, however.   Despite his better judgement, Brown dismounted and bundled the calf into his arms, then placed it in front of his saddle.  He then mounted and rode on to catch the herd.

“Hey there little dogie,” Brown said soothingly to the animal which now rode straddled across his lap.  “You know you and me got a lot in common.  No momma, or place of our own.”

Yes, Oklahoma Brown did have a lot in common with the little calf, and there was something comforting to the cowboy about that.  For the first time since coming West, Oklahoma felt a connection to someone, or at least something.

“Come West?” I hear you say.  Yes, Oklahoma was born Lester Brown in Newark, New Jersey.  He was orphaned at fourteen and made his way to cattle country by way of Cincinnati and then St Louis.  “Oklahoma” – he thought – just made for a better name for a cowpoke than Lester.


Daily Writing Prompt #19: Cattle Drive


New Beginning

Monochrome Photo of Woman Leaning in Front of Vanity Mirror

Photo by Vinicius Altava from Pexels

Standing in the mirror Katherine faced the middle-aged woman staring back at her.  Her once mahogany hair had become streaked with gray where the red highlights once had been, and more recently become chocolate brown with the help of a bottle from Super Drug. She looked into what she thought were sad brown eyes, edged with fledgling crow’s feet, and wondered how life had turned out this way.

She briefly smiled when she caught a glimpse of the little tattoo above her left breast. Her friends back in college had thought it was a sign of rebellion, or an attempt at non-conformity. But Kath (that is what everyone called her) didn’t know the meaning of rebellion. She was a people-pleaser, and had been as far back as she could remember. No, the little bird tattoo was a wren, which she had got in a moment of self-indulgence. It was a reminder of the dad she had loved so much, and who had always called her Kather-wren, or just Wren, a special pet name shared only by the two. But he had gone to the South Atlantic in ’82, when she was just 15, and never returned.

School and then college had gone by all to quickly.  Then came the hasty marriage and an even hastier divorce.  Several other equally bad relationships had followed.  Her people-pleasing seemed to always land her with unsuitable partners, if not outright users.  But now she had made a decision, – she was going to live for her.  Today was going to be a new beginning!




Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge:  Use the phrase “standing in the mirror, she….” in a piece of prose or poetry

Let the Balefires Burn

Remember, remember the fifth of November

Of fireworks, bonfires, and Guys

While no one much cares what it all means

Its an excuse to light up the skies


For some its sparklers ’round barbecue grills

For others huge piles of pallets to light

The result is the same – full of pyromania thrill

As neighbourhood dogs* cower in fright


Remember, remember the fifth of November

Or some weekend there round about

A party’s a party, an opportunity to enjoy

A drink, a firework, a shout



Thursday photo prompt: Balefire #writephoto

Guy Fawkes Night/Bonfire Night (an explanation for non-Brits).

*Many people in England begin to set off fireworks a week or so before the actual night, and may continue to do so for a week or so afterwards.  Many dogs hate the noise, and it is a time of distress for them and their owners.


Desperado: Sunday Song Lyrics

This week Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday calles for us to offer song lyrics that are about loners.  The Eagles’ “Desperado” 1973 song does just that.   It was released on  the album of the same name.  It was never released as a single, but was ranked 494 on Rolling Stones 2004 list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”


Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
You been out ridin’ fences for so long now
Oh, you’re a hard one
But I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin’ you
Can hurt you somehow

Don’t you draw the Queen of Diamonds, boy
She’ll beat you if she’s able
You know the Queen of Hearts is always your best bet

Now, it seems to me some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can’t get

Desperado, oh, you ain’t gettin’ no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin’ you home

And freedom, oh freedom, well that’s just some people talkin’
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
It’s hard to tell the night time from the day
You’re losin’ all your highs and lows
Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you (let somebody love you)
You better let somebody love you
Before it’s too late.

Writer/s: Glenn Lewis Frey, Don Hugh Henley
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind


The Smoldering Lotis


Han Lo had never been much of a monk.  He had been lax in his martial arts exercises, and he could never meditate without his mind wandering.  It was no great surprise then, that he was the least adept of those who finished the training.  He did, however, pass and earned his grey robes.

The problem was that the Abbot couldn’t find a single job for Han Lo to do within the monastery.  He was and abysmal cook, and was so poor a gardener that his fellow monks said, “he could make a waterlily die of thirst.”    They played on that idea and many called him “The Smoldering Lotus.”

In time Han Lo was offered the opportunity to become a travelling monk, bringing comfort to the people of isolated mountain communities.  The position was in reality just a last ditch attempt by the Abbot to find a way to employ the inept monk.

The problem was that Han Lo wasn’t particularly good with people either.  So when he came into the mountains, he hid the nature of his assignment.  Rather than visiting the ill or grieving he told the mountain elders he had been sent to do a remarkable thing.  He was to be their protector from dragons.

Han Lo was satisfied with the ruse.  After all no dragon had been seen in those parts for a thousand years.  He just set back and accepted the daily offerings from the community, and occasionally made dramatic shows of poorly executed Karate, explaining they were special moves designed for battling the fire breathing beasts.

Then one afternoon word arrived that the village of Win had been burned to the ground, and the few surviving refugees described the huge lizard like beast that had meted out the destruction.

The elders all gathered at Han Lo’s door demanding he do something.  It being his “calling.”

Reluctantly the young monk agreed, and said he would first need to gather some things.  Looking around his cottage all he could see that looked impressive was a small wooden box from the table next to his bowl and chopsticks.  He picked this up and tucked it purposefully into his robe.

The entire population of three villages gathered to see the “Dragon Fighter” head into the hills.

Han Lo quickly learned that there was something else he was not good with – heights.  As he travelled the narrow pathways upwards he noted the sheer drops flanking his passage.  With one eye closed to try to minimise the view, he continually repeated the words: “You do not need wings to fly,” in an attempt to calm himself.

At last Han Lo crested a peak to come face to face with the dragon.  The man had absolutely no idea what to do next. He then remembered the box he had picked up from his table.  Though he was sure he was about to die, he gambled all.  Opening the wooden box he grabbed a handful of its contents and threw it into the face of the beast.

As the pepper hit the creature it reared, and then gasping let out a huge sneeze, blasting a massive flame skywards.  Han Lo then rushed forward and dumped the remaining pepper into the dragon’s nostrils.  It again sneezed, though its flame was greatly diminished.  As it prepared to sneeze again, the monk dodged out of its path, but a small stream of ragged fire singed his robes.  The dragon continued to sneeze uncontrollably and the continued convulsions extinguished the last of the beast’s flame.

Gaining its composure, the dragon tried to squash Han Lo, but the monk jumped on the creatures back to avoid the fall of its foot.  Much to Han Lo’s distress the dragon began to fly. “You do not need wings to fly,” the young man repeated to himself.  The dragon tried to shake him off, but in the end settled to the earth exhausted – right in the centre of the village square.  Panicked villagers scrambled, until they saw the charred form of Han Lo sliding off the creatures back.  The men ran forwards and collectively bound the beast.

Han Lo was a hero, and renouncing his vows established his own dragon fighting business – Smoldering Lotus Enterprises.



Sunday Writing Prompt “5 by 5”


Choose an Opponent:

Mythical Being 

Choose a Business Name:

The Smoldering Lotus 

Choose a Container:

Wooden Box 

Choose a Personal Mantra:

You do not need wings to fly

Choose a “Weakness”:

A skill that is lacked but necessary for the task at hand 





Encounter at the Whispering Shallows: A Cousins Tale

imageedit_18_5660115700 (1)

St Ives Beach

The place was known in the tongue of men as the Whispering Shallows, a mist covered inlet in which it seemed that quiet voices drifted across the waters.  Most of the merchant seamen and fishermen of Harbourhead avoided the cove, in fear of the strange phenomenon, or the rumour that the place was inhabited by ghosts or evil spirits.


In the language of the Sea-elves the small bay was called Merhaven, the haven of the Mer-folk.  The Elves too, seldom visited the place, not because of superstition but because of an ancient treaty which stated that this cove was to be recognised as a holy site of the Mer.


Seventeen-year-old Arun, however, was an inquisitive Elf, and he wanted to have a chance to once again to see and maybe even to talk with a Mer.  His Sea Clan had amiable relations with the Mer-folk, but most of their meetings were fleeting.  He on one voyage as a child seen three Mermen swim to the side of his father’s vessel and conduct the trade of pearls in exchange for bronze.   He was therefore determined to visit Merhaven on a solstice day.


As the dawn broke, Arun scrambled down the dunes to the cove.  As he did the mist started to melt away, and singing wafted over the morning tide.  Dozens of Mer were raising their voices to meet the sun.

Arun lay still among the grasses of the dunes until the ceremony ended.  The whole thing was a wonder to behold.  As the Mer dived and swam out to sea, Arun approached to examine the trinkets which were left in the surf – offerings to the gods of land, sun, and sea.


To many the artefacts might have looked just like flotsam and jetsam, but Arun knew better.  He had watched the Mer reverently holding each piece up to the sky, then towards the land, and then laying them into the sea.


As he was gazing at the pieces her heard a voice challenging him.


“What are you doing here Elf?”   ******


Arun started, then looked into the surf to see a Mer of a similar age to himself.  He has broad shouldered, and handsome and he bore a trident spear.


“I came to watch your ceremony,” he lied. “And to maybe meet one of you,” he added truthfully.


“And the steal our offerings?”  the Mer challenged.


“No, to add to them,” he said, and he look off the shell pendant he wore around his neck and dropped it into the water’s edge.  “My name is Arun,” he added.


“I am Tuqueel,” the young Merman replied. “What did you want to talk about?”


“Life below the waves, and above,” Arun said.


“Fair enough,” Tuqueel responded.


The two sat in the surf for several hours discussing things.  Tuqueel was as curious about the land-dwellers as Arun was about the Mer.


In time there meetings became more regular, and the two came to consider one another as a friend.


On Arun’s eighteenth birthday, Tuqueel even presented the Elf with a Mer-spear.  This was reciprocated on Tuqueel’s nineteenth, he being a year older than Arun, with the presentation of a curved bronze dagger fashioned in the style of the Elves.

(535 words, 15 minutes to the ******, 26 minutes overall)



Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Wonder