The Way Ahead

There are many ways of proceeding, and a few that almost call to me. They are either beautiful to the point of distraction, or mysterious and challenging. This I think is one of the best descriptions that I can give of the writer’s block I have recently been facing in my present book. There are two paths simultaneously calling to me. I therefore have made a number of false starts and retreats, then made small advances along the other road before abandoning that too.

This is an awkward juncture, as the story has a firm setting and structured beginning. I also has a decisive conclusion. But how will I get there? I have considered the grave sin of “separating the party” and having key characters explore the different paths. But each seems to lead to unfamiliar territory and untold risks.

I have decided to maintain each scribbled ebb and flow, and each advance and retreat. In the end I am sure the characters will know the best way to get to the finish. Once they get there, I am sure they will let me know and I can share it with you.


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Mannequin

“This shop is so creepy,” Tim said.

“You’re just saying that to get out of shopping with me,” Jessica replied accusingly.

“No.  It’s the mannequins.  Why do they go so far as putting nipples on them, but no faces?  There’s something unnatural about it,” he explained.

“Hmm,” his wife said indignantly.  “I’ll tell you what is unnatural.  It’s unnatural that you’re obsessed with plastic statues’ breasts.”

It was then that he realised that those plastic bits were the last he’d be seeing for a while.


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Awakened

People, Talking, Gesturing, Conversation

“I don’t quite get what you are on about.”

“It’s really simple, we have been living in a Matrix-like alternative reality, and it is just now that we are emerging – ‘awakening’ to what is true.”

“So Covid was a good thing, then?”

“Well not ‘good,’ but useful. It has allowed us to question assumptions and rise above 250,000 years of conditioning to get a firm grasp on who we really are?”

“And who is that?”

“Hell if I know.”

The Navigator

Arizona, Hiking, Desert, Scenic, Dry, Outdoors, Scenery

“The map says the stream is right over this next hill,” Charlie announced.

“Shouldn’t we hear it by now?” Tammie replied.

“I’m sure we will soon,” Charlie assured her.

They then crested the hill and looked at the rocky stream bed.

“Still not hearing it,” she said scornfully.

“Look, there is still water there though, lets fill the canteens and then follow the channel to the river. I’m certain there will be plenty of water there.”

Tam knelt beside one of the shallow pools and filled her canteen and a plastic bottle. “This is the last time I am going to let you guide us,” she said coldly.

“I found us water, didn’t I?” he replied.

“Humph,” she muttered, and soon they were making their way down the creek bed to whatever lay ahead, leaving the flowing stream which was just over the NEXT hill behind them.


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Year Past


Bradley Pelish at Unsplash

Danno stood on the boundary and tried to make out what lay ahead. All he could make out was more haze and confusion. He had been in a similar place before; a year ago in fact. He looked behind him, and then forward again. Surely, 2022 couldn’t be any worse than 2021. Then again, he thought that the year before as well. He looked back again and took it all in. “Into the mist,” he said aloud and stepped into ’22.


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Niblet

15th century, 16th century. Doublet, Cape, Capelet, Romeo, revels, faire,  Elizabethan, Tudor, Renaiss… | Medieval clothing, Character inspiration,  Story inspiration

Niblet was excited. Today was his birthday, and he was going to be allowed to go to the town for the first time, and on his own!

It wasn’t that he had never left the forest before. He had on several occasions gone into the farmlands surrounding his home. He had enjoyed those outings, many of them with his brothers, as they rounded up sheep or cattle and taken them back to their woodland home.

This was different, however. Now he was twelve, and able to adventure on his own.

“Remember what you have been taught,” his mother reminded him. “Be careful, and stay away from the castle, the Duke doesn’t like it when we visit the town, so don’t provoke him.”

“Yes Mama,” Niblet replied.

“And don’t forget to say thank you.”

“I will, Mama.”

With that Niblet headed out of the wood and headed through the fields towards the town. He made his way to the main street and to the market. The watchmen stopped and stared as he stood in the midst of the market stalls, and others gave him a wide berth.

There before him was what he had been looking for, a wagon-load of cakes and pies. Niblet picked the wagon up and put it under his left arm and said, “Thank you,” to the petrified vendor.

He then turned and headed home as the church bells rang and people ran in panic shouting, “Giant!”


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Accomplished

Smartphone, To Do List, To Do, Watch
Pixabay

Sammie was incredibly pleased with herself. She looked at the “To Do” list and admired the neat row of tick marks noting the completion of the tasks. It had been a long while since she had managed the feat, if she had indeed ever really done it before at all. But there is was in black and white – Monday’s jobs were finished! Too bad it was Wednesday.

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Invincible

Games, Dice, Play, Gamble, Success

Kal the Invincible was truly remarkable. Standing nearly seven feet in height, his massive muscular frame gave the impression of unyielding power. His armour was the finest money could buy, and was crafted by a guild of Dwarves noted for the efficacy of their rune magic with which the steel was embossed. His shield was the fabled Escutcheon of Hibard, and his sword the flaming angelic blade from the very Gates of Eden.

“You miss, stumble and twist your ankle taking three damage,” Leon said from behind the screen.

“That’s impossible!” Simon “Kal” Weatherspoon protested. “I’m Level 23, and had a plus six bonus.”

“Hey, that was a Nat One, and the dice don’t lie,” Leon retorted with glee.

“I knew I should have used the green set,” Simon muttered under his breath. That would be the last time he would use ones Aunt Mildred gave him for his birthday.


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Daybreak

Nature, Tree, Dawn, Landscape, Panorama
Pixabay

From black to grey and grey to red

Streaks of orange and purple form overhead

The eastern sky comes awake

As I begin my journey at daybreak

As the world’s slumber comes to an end

To our daily labours we must now attend

Time to rise, to stretch and yawn

And welcome yet another dawn


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