The Island Getaway (Part 3)

Beach, Island, Palm Trees, Nature, Ocean

Pixabay

The Island Getaway

Teresa Grabs wrote:

As soon as Liam read the advertisement, he knew the place was for him. Three-story newly renovated home on private island in the middle of Hidden Hollow Lake. Owner motivated to sell.

“I will have it!” He scanned the ad for a contact number and phoned it immediately. To his surprise, the agent said the house was his as soon as she answered the phone. “What do you mean the house is mine? I haven’t even made an offer yet.”

She laughed. “Mr. Owens, I have been instructed to sell the home to the first person who called, and today is your lucky day. I can meet you on the pier in an hour with your keys.”

“Oh… okay… yeah! Today really is my lucky day, isn’t it?”

Liam rushed around his tiny apartment, threw a few items into a backpack, and caught the train to the pier. Halfway expecting this to be a scam, he was gobsmacked when a professional-looking woman approached him, smiling.

“Mr. Owens, I presume?”

“Um, yeah, that’s me.”

“Good. Sign here, please, and I can release your keys to you.”

His hand shook with anticipation as he scratched his name on the form.

“And here are your keys. That man will take you to the island,” she said, pointing to a man in a small row boat. “Thank you for your business.”

He watched as she walked toward the parking lot and disappeared into the crowd. “How’d she know my name?”

“You ready?” the boatman called.

“Oh, yeah. Sorry.” He climbed into the row boat and took in the beautiful scenery before him, forgetting all about the sales agent. “This is really pretty, isn’t it?”

The man didn’t respond.

“Ok.” Liam sat in silence until the island came into view. It looked exactly as it had in the advertisement. He rubbed his eyes and pinched himself, convinced it was a dream.

“Get out here,” the boatman said, sternly as they reached the shore.

“Well, thanks, I guess.” Liam stepped out into knee-deep water and shivered as it soaked his pants. “How do I get back?” he asked as the boatman pushed away from the shore.

“There’s a flare in the house should you need it,” he called back, shaking his head.

Liam turned around and saw …

Msjadeli wrote:

…first that a lush forest started directly behind the house and traveled the length of the island. Tropical birds were screeching and flying from branch to branch, their feathers glinting red, yellow, and green in the sun’s ample beams.

That’s funny, this isn’t a tropical location. What happens to the birds in when winter comes?

Liam walked the hundred yards from the water’s edge to the front of the house. He had been impressed with it in the photos and as they approached the island, but up close he saw that the home had the appearance of being vacant for a long time. Mildew had settled into the corners of the windows. There were wet leaves layered on the porch that were disintegrating. There were cobwebs covering the front door. Curiously though, there were what looked like large dog footprints that had worn a path around the front of the house and carried on towards the back of the house.

Liam walked up the leaf-sodden steps to the front door and pulled out the keys. Neither of the keys worked in the lock! He decided to walk around back to see if they’d work on the other door. As he got to the back, he noticed right away that a well-worn path led into the forest/jungle. Like the front, large dog-like prints littered the path.

Liam sighed in relief when the back door opened to one of the keys. He stepped into a stately home that must have cost a fortune to build out here on the island back in its day. Each room spared no expense. The kitchen had marble counters and ceramic floors. The dining room had a heavy oak table with 14 heavy chairs and regressed cupboards. The living room was big enough for large parties, where the centerpiece was a massive stone fireplace.

Over the mantelpiece, high on the stones, was a trophy head of a wolf.

I’m no wildlife expert but that wolf head is three times as large as a normal wolf’s head!

The sun was sitting lower in the sky, throwing shadows inside. Liam tried the light switch, but no power.

That’s right, I need to go turn the generator on in the basement.

Using the substantial oak staircase leading to the basement, he needed his flashlight which he pulled from his knapsack. Within minutes the generator was chugging and he flicked the basement light on. Looking around down there he saw a heavy iron door with a substantial lock on it.

I wonder if that’s what this other key is for?

Liam tried the key in the door, and it clicked. Pulling the heavy door took some strength. Looking in, a shiver ran up Liam’s spine. What he saw with his flashlight looked like the entrance to an underground passage of a cave that had been blasted or carved out of the granite. Liam could hear water echoing in the cave. Then he heard another sound. . . .

My Part:

At first he couldn’t quite make it out, but then as his ear adjusted to the echo of the granite passage it became clear.  It was the melodic singing of a woman.  It was husky, but somehow hypnotically alluring.  Almost involuntarily, he moved towards the voice.

The passage was a bit longer than he had anticipated, and took two unexpected turns making his ability to calculate his position in relation to the island almost impossible.  Was he still even “on” the island or was he under the lake?  The dripping after the first turn suggested the latter, but he was unsure.

Night had fallen before he reached what could only be describe as a subterranean portico.  As he approached the porch-way, his flashlight flitted across what seemed in gloom to be the nude figure of a middle aged woman, but when he focused the beam back on the spot where he had seen the apparition, there was nothing there.  Then there was a definite movement which he caught in his peripheral vision.  Something large, and dark shot into the forest beyond.

“What the f —,” he said aloud, jumping back against the passageway wall.  After steeling himself, he shot his light towards the cave mouth to the trees beyond.  Well, at least I’m still on the island, he mused trying to give himself some consolation.

Once he was sure that nothing was going to come in from the outside he began to systematically examine the porch.  There was a fair amount of tracked-in dirt on the floor, but it was clear that the surface underneath was tiled.  There was a marble bench and a matching marble table – on which there was a framed black and white photo of a young well-to-do looking couple dressed in a style popular just after the Second World War.

His light then fell on a small pile of neatly folded woman’s clothing placed carefully on the corner of the bench.  Under the seat was a pair of elegant shoes, which seemed to placed with similar care.  He stooped to examine the shoes, and as he did his flashlight illuminated not only small human footprints in the layer of dirt, but more of the huge dog prints almost everywhere in the chamber.

He nearly jumped out of his skin when one of the tropical birds called out in the night.  It was then that he saw . . .

Padre

 

Teresa Grabs is the host of Finish The Story.  She tagged msjadeli, who in turn has picked me to write a chapter.

I’m tagging Joanne the Geek to continue/finish the story.   I hope she will take up the challenge, as I love her twists in the tale.

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!

 

Part 1 Teresa Grabs

Part 2 Tao Talk

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.”

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