A Novel Ending

The king was dead, and yet the revolution had failed.  The monarchy would live on, but the kingdom now needed to be rebuilt, and hurts healed.  Would young Princess – no, Queen Ayana be up to the grave tasks ahead?  Only time, and perhaps the Witch-woman Harlaya could tell.

Padre

Flash Fiction Challenge#7: The End  Joanne’s challenge is “to write the last paragraph of a novel you will probably never write. You can make it funny, silly, or even dead serious if you want to. There is no word limit, so make it as long (or short) as you require.”

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Finish The Story — The Mystery of the Stone Circle: Part Four

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Teresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith, started a story, “The Mystery of the Stone Circle,” and tagged Fandango to pick it up where she left off and to write part two.

Here’s Teresa’s part one:

Sammy finished stuffing the leftover food and makeshift kitchen into his pack, which Geri strapped the tent onto the side of his pack. As the pair started back on the trail, the morning sun cast them in a golden glow. The weather that week had been everything a hiker could ever hope for — cool evenings, warm mornings, and just enough mist in the afternoon to keep the hot summer sun at bay.

“I think it’s just over that crest,” Geri said, stuffing the map and compass back into the pocket in his cargo pants.

Sammy nodded. “Good, I’m tired of all these switchbacks. Throw a rope down and let us hike straight up.”

Geri laughed and slapped Sammy on the arm as he passed him. “Race you to the top.”

Sammy groaned but chuckled and shook his head at his friend. Ever since third year’s sports parade and carnival, Geri was always on the go. That’s one of the things that attracted Sammy to him, although he knew they would never be anything more than friends. Until four months ago when he served as Geri’s best man, he had always held out a little hope.

“Told ya!” Geri shouted from the top of the trail, pointing into the valley below.

“Man,” Sammy said, panting, “that’s amazing.”

They stood on the crest of the hill and looked at the concentric circles etched in the ground and the various stones that jutted out of the ground as if something from deep within was trying to speak.

“You know,” Geri said as they headed down toward the ancient ruin, “they say that this was built by …


Fandango at This, That, and the Other wrote part two:

…aliens who landed here eons ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the planet. These extraterrestrial beings attempted to colonize Earth, but the same giant asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, also put an end to the aliens’ attempt to make a home here on Earth.”

Sammy looked at Geri and shook his head. “Oh my God,” he said. “Did you take a hit on some of that potent ganja I have in my backpack? Seriously, Geri, you can’t really believe that.”

“Look at it, Sammy,” Geri said, somewhat defensively. “Clearly what we’re looking at is not man-made. Those are perfect circles within perfect circles and they cover several square miles along the valley floor. And that pile of huge boulders in the center. How do you think they got there? I’ll tell you. They are what’s left of a giant temple the aliens built in honor of their god.”

“I never realized what a nut job you are, dude,” Sammy said. “You’re either suffering from altitude sickness and exhaustion, or you’re just plumb loco.”

“Okay, Sammy,” Geri said. “If you’re so damn smart, what’s your explanation for what we’re looking at?”

Sammy took a deep breath and said, “It’s really very simple, Geri. You see…

=====================================================================

Msjadeli’s part three:

…according to my religious beliefs, it wasn’t extraterrestrials who came and arranged the stones, it was our very own Earth deities who did it. At least we agree that it wasn’t humans who made it.”

Geri’s jaw dropped open and he was speechless for a second, trying to absorb what Sammy had just said. “Sammy, can you tell me just how your theory isn’t any more outlandish than mine? There’s only one God, and he had nothing to do with this! OK OK enough, let’s just agree it wasn’t humans and go find some sticks and logs for the fire tonight.”

Although Geri was under the impression that they were there for a hiking adventure and photo shoot, Sammy was there for other reasons. If Geri knew what those reasons were he might have refused to come along.

According to the solar and lunar charts as they aligned with Mars’, tomorrow was the night the hieroglyphs on the center stones would glow and shoot out lights to the holiest of holy rocks in the configuration. Sammy had been practicing his ancient religion since childhood. Although he didn’t believe that the Gods and Goddesses were alive anymore, he did know that his ancestors had hollowed out the holiest of holy stones in the configuration and filled them with pure Andes gold and many gems that were found in the mountain river banks, gifts from the highlands in Spring. Sammy’s plan was to observe the glowing stones, mark them with a dot of glow-in-the-dark spray paint while they glowed, then afterwords dig them up to plunder the gold and gems.

In order keep Geri from finding out what was going on, Sammy had brought along a roofi to slip into Geri’s drink tomorrow night as they sat near the campfire. It was harmless, no side effects, and Geri would be no worse for wear afterwards.

They set up their tents and built a fire. Geri snapped a bunch of pictures as the sun set. After a few beers fireside they each went to their separate tents and fell asleep within moments, as they’d hiked for several hours that day. During the night each had very vivid dreams…


 

Padre’s Part Four:

Geri’s dream took him to a time when the hillsides beyond the circles were still covered with lush forest.  He could see the sun rising through the mouth of the valley which faced all too perfectly eastwards.  The red glow of the rising orb sent out finger-like beams into the valley.

Then just as the day brightened, seven tall figures emerged from the treeline.  One of these wore a shining headdress, and an immense feathered cape fell from across her shoulders.  She walked carefully to the spot where the centre of the rings now stood, and using her staff made a mark in the soil.  She then gave instructions to her companions in an incomprehensible language.  They each bowed to her and disappeared in separate directions into the surrounding woods.

As they ate trail mix for breakfast the following morning, Geri commented that he had had the strangest dream.

“What was it like?” Sammy asked with sincere interest.

Geri related the details to his friend, but then said, “They were just like normal people.  Except they were really tall.”

“Like basketball player tall?” Sammy inquired.

“No.  More like giraffe tall.”

“How do you know?” Sammy pressed.

“They were over half as tall as the trees.”

Geri pondered this, and tried to recall the elements of his own dream.  He too could remember a tall somewhat feminine figure.  But that wasn’t quite right.  The figure was more “sexless” than female, and in his dream it wasn’t a feathered robe, but actual wings upon its back.

“How could we both have the same dream?” Sammy asked in bewilderment.

Then Geri let out a cry of astonishment.  He held up his camera and pointed to one of the snaps he had taken the evening before.  “Look at this . . . .”


 

I’m passing this on to another great writer, Crispina Kemp of Crimsonprose.  I hope she will help us finish the story.

Update: Crispina’s writing schedule is such that she would need a long deplay for this, so I have now passed the option to Dark Netizen.  I truly hope that this talented and experienced “Story Finisher” will lend a hand.

 

Rules:

  1. post the story as you receive it
  2. add to the story (or finish it, up to the writer)
  3. tag another person to continue the story (unless you finished it)
  4. Have fun!

 

Padre

An Invitation/An Opening

 

Not all welcoming gates are bright and pearly –

Some can seem quite harsh or dreary –

But we should not judge by the outward view –

For the welcome inside may be sincere and true

 

We oft view books by proverbial covers –

Prejudging the words and intentions of others –

Just remember an invitation can truly be –

As frightening for them as it is to thee

 

When someone invites you to their place –

Whether their doors and gates are grand or base –

A mere crack of opening may be all you need –

To create a friendship that’s true indeed

 

Padre

Sue Vincent’s Photo Prompt

Blighted By Tourism

Mount Everest base camp, Nepal | mkslalove Google Maps

“It’s not like it was before that Hillary guy came up here,” Norbu said, looking down on all of the tents.

“You’re absolutely right,” Temba agreed.  “We locals don’t get a moment’s peace anymore.”

“I think our privacy is a thing of the past, now,” Norbu lamented.

“What’s a Yeti to do?” Temba mused.

“Yea, I think I will just have join my cousins in Saskatchewan,” Norbu said, scratching his furry chest.

 

Padre

 

Pegman: Mount Everest, Nepal

 

 

The Stowe

“Why don’t the trees grow here, Grandad?”

“It’s because of the soil,” the old man responded.  “It has bad things in it.”

“Bad things?” the youngster questioned.

“Yes, this was a ‘stowe’ place in olden times,” her grandfather explained.  “The people used to gather near that big stone, there in the middle.”

“So why is the soil ‘bad?'” she prompted.

“When the invaders came, they didn’t like the people meeting, so they sowed salts, lead, and other horrible things into the ground, to make the ‘special place’ a bad one,” he said.

“That’s awful,” she said, looking down at the scrubby grass, and retreated tree-line.”

“Yes it was,” he agreed. “The people would get sick if they went to the stone.”

The little girl looked concerned and glanced at the standing stone.  “Is it dangerous for us to be here?” she asked.

“Not anymore, Darling,” he assured her.  “As you see, the grass has returned, and one day the trees will too.”

“What about the people?” she asked.

“Well Sweetie, that what we are, aren’t we?”

“I guess so,” she said.

“What happened the infadders?” she asked.

“The invaders,” he corrected.  “We drove them out centuries ago, and now we are free to meet wherever we like again.”

She squeezed his hand and smiled as if encouraged.  “And I am going to bring people here to meet, when I get big,” she said.

“You do that, Darling.  See things are growing here already.”

(243 words)

Padre

Sue Vincent’s Prompt

An Interview With Mr. Claus

XSPF 12-30-18 Spaulding

Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Andre Claus has long lived in the shadow of his more famous brother.  He really doesn’t mind however, as he makes a comfortable living as a woodworker in the south of Lapland.  He sees several advantages to this situation.  The first is that he has relative privacy to get on with his work as most Claus-watchers go further north to seek out his red-coated sibling.  The second is that it is warmer where he lives, and he gets the joy of greenery and fresh lumber, both of which his brother must import.  He also likes that his forte is the making of practical woodwork.  Okay, he can carve a toy train or doll as well as “S” ever could, but Andre prefers to make things that are still appreciated after February the First.  Finally, he relishes that his work is his own.  He hasn’t felt the necessity of outsourcing to Elves.   So there you have it, a clear profile of a humble man.  I do really appreciate his cooperation in allowing me to interview him, and long may he continue to make quality cabins, furniture, and canoes.

(187 Words)

Padre

Sunday Photo Fiction – February 17, 2019

 

 

The Spoon: A Life

Image result for heart-shaped spoon handle

It was summer’s day in 1740, and a beautiful day for a wedding. Anna Skłodowska scanned the array of presents which had been brought to start her off in married life.  One piece stood out to her, a pewter spoon which shone a brilliant silver.  It was a little smaller than a soup spoon, and while it matched none of the others that would serve in her kitchen, it would take pride of place both as one made especially for her wedding day, and also because of the beautiful handle which ended in a stylised heart.

 

It was crisp autumn’s day in 1790, Katrina Kowalczyk with sorrow, but some measure of joy opened the small parcel sent as her inheritance on the death of her “Babciu.”  It contained a small hand written recipe book, and a heart-handled pewter spoon, which many of the culinary formulas were measured in.  It would make for many happy meal, and even happier memories.

 

It was a harsh winter in 1812.  Napoleon’s armies had ravaged the lands, and food was short.  Many had barely enough to live on.  Katrina opened her door to a feeble knock, and found a young man collapsed in the snow before her threshold.  She dragged him into the house and placed him before the fire.  He was far too weak to lift his head, much less a cup.  She did her best to prop him up and devotedly lifted sips of warm broth to her grandson’s lips from a heart-pommeled spoon.

 

It was in May of 1870 that eight-year-old Jan Piotrowski made a discovery while playing with his toy soldiers at the roots of the old apple tree.  He was digging a small trench for his men when he found that he was not the first to have done so at the place.  There, only a few centimetres down, were five lead soldiers in Russian uniform.  They must have been forty or fifty years old, and along with them was a tarnished grey spoon with a heart on its end, which must have been used as a kind of shovel.

 

It was May 1940 and the family was told to pack their belongings quickly, as they were to be relocated to the East.  Precious family photos, a few personal mementos, and the silver-ware, including an odd little pewter spoon, were place in a case which marked with the family name.  They then placed the case in the row with the others, and clambered up into the waiting truck.

 

It was November 1943, and Novak Staszek, number 23xxx, a carpenter in the camp was given a gift by his friends in the metal-workers hut.  It was a small ring baring the initials N. S. made from a piece of spoon handle.  “The stylised heart motif between the letters”, they said, “meant life.”  And it was to him life, he was no number, he was a man.  He was alive, and would remain so long after the Nazi terror had passed.

Padre

Sunday Writing Prompt “Everyday Objects”

Inspired by the true story of Czesław Ludwiczak’s ring from Auschwitz see “I’m not a number”

Souq Song

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Souq Song

Step right up and pick one,

Be it red, or pink or blue,

Grab onto your favourite,

The choice is up to you.

 

Try on our many fashions,

In yellow, plum, or white,

Take a spin before mirror,

Be delighted by the sight.

 

If  I don’t have what you’re after,

I have a cousin who surely will,

We’ll provide your exact colour,

Be it chartreuse, beige, or teal.

 

We offer every shade and hue,

From amethyst to gold,

Just pick your favourite colour,

We’re never under sold.

 

Padre

I liked this prompt as it allowed me to link it with my travels and some fond memories of shopping in the Middle East and North Africa.

2019 Photography Challenge: Pick a Colour

The Mead Case: A Roseman Tale

rosemen cover

 

Sergeant “Lifter” Lifson stood pensively as the “citizen” continued his tirade.

“. . .  and that’s not the half of it,” the man continued. “You Rosies took your sweet time in getting here.  Don’t you realise that I have a business to run here.  It’s not as if I don’t pay my fair share of taxes, not the mention the “donations” I make to the Watch Benevolence Fund. You just ask your Inspector Cruikshank about that one . . . .”

Lifson, an “original” member of the New Watch or what were more commonly known as the “Rosemen,” finally interrupted the man.

“Sir, I understand you distress.  I do need to know more about the actual case, though.”

The man, a wine and spirits merchant, took a breath.

“Very good Sir,” Lifson began. What exactly is missing?”

“Why, nothing,” replied the man, still rather red faced from his shouting.

“Nothing?”

“That’s just it,” said the man.  They didn’t take anything, they just broke in and left a barrel of Golden Mead.  Same damned thing happened last year.”

“Last year?” Lifter queried.

“Yes, same thing happened a year ago. In fact it’s the anniversary.”

“So it’s trespass you’re concerned about?” Lifson asked.

“Well that and feeling of not being safe in one’s own business,” the merchant said.

“Do you need us to dispose of the bar . . . ?” Lifson began.

“No, in fact it’s good stuff, I had it tested,” the man interrupted.

“Okay, Sir. I have taken some notes and I will get back with you after I have made some inquiries.”

Sergeant Lifson left the shop and took a quick look around the door and windows.  Cases like this one really made him despair.  “I this why I joined the watch?” he thought to himself.  Things were so different back in the old “Crestman” days, policing was real back then,” he mused.

Then he saw it, the glass hadn’t been smashed as he would have expected.  No, it was melted.  The pane had a hole straight through it, and the glass was blistered around the edges.

He made his way back to the watch house, and went to the case archive.  Sure enough the same shop had indeed been broken into the year before.  Though he noted that no mention of the mead was made in the report.

He read a couple of more pages and saw that a similar “burglary” had occurred at the Weasel Tavern, sometime after midnight the following day.

That was it, he would get Watchmen Binman and Fuller and they would stake out the pub after closing.

The proprietor, a man who bore a striking resemblance to the image on the shingle above the door, was not very supportive of having three Rosemen in his establishment after hours.  His objections centered around them helping themselves to drink, though his real concern was the inability to open out of hours.  The possibility of a barrel of free “Golden” wouldn’t be unwelcome either.

In the end, an appeal to the man’s civic duty, and a mention of a visit from some Trading Standards men, seemed to win him over.

The lights were doused and the tavern doors locked just after midnight.  The three Rosies settled in for what could be a longs night.

About one in the morning, a hissing sound could be heard from the ground floor.  Lifson crept down and positioned himself behind the bar, while the two other watchmen readied themselves at the top of the stairs.

A strange glow came from a window pane, as a wizard of sorts placed the end of his staff against the glass.  The pane began to heat and bubble and the shaft pressed through creating an opening. After a minute or so for it to cool, the wizened man put his arm through the hole and opened the latch.  He then climbed through the window and went to open the front door.

From the corner of his eye Lifson saw four similarly dressed men enter the public bar. A grinding noise accompanied their entry, as they slid a barrel of mead into the centre of the room.

Lifson shrank back into the shadows as two of the codgers went to the upper shelf and helped themselves to some costly shots. Then the taller of the two whispered something and the bottles seemed to refill themselves.

At that moment, Lifson blew his whistle and all three watchmen sprung from their hiding places.

“Stop in the name of the King,” Binman bellowed.

Four wrinkled faces turned to him in puzzlement, then the men slowly raised their hands into the air.

“What do we have going on here?” Fuller demanded.

“Well, um, we  . . . ” one of them began.

He was interrupted by the tall figure, who clearing his throat said, “We were trying to get a little refreshment, Constable,” he said.  “You see we drink the same blasted mead for 51 weeks a year. It gets so, so damned monotonous.”

“And?” Lifman interjected.

“We make the stuff ourselves, bees you know, but you can only take so much of it,” the conjurer continued. “So when the head of the order goes on his annual holiday, we make some trades.”

“Usually when people trade, they discuss it with the other party first,” the sergeant said in an earnest tone.

“Really,” said the tall man with a true look of astonishment on his face. He turned to the short plump wizard and said, “You didn’t tell me that part.”

The short man just shrugged, as if he hadn’t known either.

“How are we going to deal with this one, Sarg?” Fuller asked.

“No one’s going to believe it, no matter how we write it up,” Lifman reflected.  “You guys get out of here, and never “trade” again. For now, your superior and our inspector don’t need to know about this.”

“Are we still going to get overtime, Sarg?” Binman asked.

“Yes, just put in your notebook that it was ‘youths’ that were involved, and that we warned them off.”

“Youths, Sarg?” Binman said quizzically.

“Well they looked young for wizards to me,” Lifman said.

“That’s good enough for me,” Fuller said nodding.

“Just when you think you’ve seen everything . . . .”  Lifman trailed off.

 

Padre

 


The Rosemen first developed as minor characters in The Sisters Tales, but some story lines began to emerge in their own right.  Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s prompt this week gave me some great ideas to work with.

Sunday Writing Prompt “5 by 5”

Anniversary, Blistered, Despair, Grinding, Something Seen in the Periphery