Posted in Challenge Entries

FAITH: My Entry for Sadje’s WDYS Challenge #101

Image credit: Maksym Harbar @ Unsplash

For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a street scene of an old town in Europe.

https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2021/09/27/what-do-you-see-101-september-27-2021/

HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

  • You can write a post on your blog and create a pingback to link to the original post.
  • Write an original story, poem or a caption.
  • There is no limit to words or format but keep it family-friendly.
  • If you post a response before next Sunday, it will be added to Sadje’s next roundup post.
  • It is always helpful if you can give your post/story/poem a title.
  • Paste a link of your post in the comments section of the original post so that no one’s entry is missed in the roundup post.

Please tag your responses with #Whatdoyousee Or #WDYS.

………

Louise timed her steps to the clock’s chiming as she turned the corner onto its street. She unplugged her earphones and and stuffed her phone along with it into her handbag.

Quickly glancing upwards at the clock face, she figured she could still make it in time for her afternoon shift if she tried jogging the rest of the way. However, that was something she’d learned to avoid since these streets were endlessly bustling—over-enthusiastic and loud vendors, lazy bystanders hanging around the cafés, rogue youngsters zipping by on their bicycles…

But now, the only place she could experience these sights and sounds were in her head. Things had changed quite a lot in the past year-and-a-half after all.

Standing in her scrubs in the middle of the empty street, Louise truly felt the heaviness of the silence, the absence of the people she once considered a nuisance and the cause for her delayed journeys through this place. The only ‘groups’ of people she saw these days were at the hospital where she worked and her family back at home.

The thirty-year-old sighed, her breath momentarily clouding her glasses. It was hard to even see others’ encouraging smiles anymore, considering it was important to wear a mask at all times.

But there is always hope, she said to herself with determination. I have faith we can get through this together. Yes, I believe.

With a renewed sense of vigour, Lousie headed on towards her call of duty.

Posted in Challenge Entries

PRESENT FROM THE PAST: My Entry for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt

Here’s my (somewhat lengthy) response for Eugi’s challenge this time!

Image source – lovethicpic.com

This Week’s Prompt (Sept 16) – BOUQUET.

https://amanpan.com/2021/09/16/eugis-weekly-prompt-bouquet-sept-16-2021/

HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS: Go where the prompt leads you and publish a post on your blog that responds to the prompt. It can be any variation of the prompt and/or image. Remember to keep it family friendly; this needs to be a safe and fun space for all.

Link your blog to Eugi’s Causerie with a pingback. You may also place a copy of the URL of your post in the comments of the current week’s prompt. Responses posted prior to the next Thursday prompt release can be included in the Roundup.

………

Ella admired the shelves upon shelves of antiques with wonder. She inhaled deeply, taking in the musty smell of the store, a hint of lavender lingering in the air.

“Planning to get anything today?”

The twenty-year-old jumped slightly at the voice that came from the end of the aisle. “Didn’t see you there, Mrs Flynn,” she said, giggling softly, tucking a strand of brown hair behind her ear.

“Your head’s always in the clouds, young lady,” remarked Mrs Flynn, a woman with sleek silver hair, also the owner of the antique store. “Don’t know if I should call you a regular customer—you come everyday yet leave empty-handed! Sometimes I wonder if you’ll ever find what you’re looking for.”

“Well, I do enjoy discovering new bits of history here…it’s fascinating how each one must have played a part in someone’s life long ago, no matter how small. And as for why I don’t buy anything off your shelves”—she stroked her chin, pretending to be in deep thought—“maybe they’re all a bit too pricy.”

“Wow, you offend me.” Mrs Flynn feigned a look of hurt. Her store was especially popular for selling authentic antique as well as vintage items at very reasonable rates.

Ella laughed. Mrs Flynn sure looked fifty-something but was an absolute youngster at heart.

“I was joking. Honestly, I prefer not to take away something that doesn’t belong to me just because it’d look pretty on my mantelpiece.”

Before Mrs Flynn could say anything in reply, the bell above the store’s door tinkled, announcing the arrival of a new customer. “I’ll be back, hon.”

The young woman nodded and headed further into the maze of things left forgotten, just waiting to be found by the right hands. At one point, she reached a part of the store that was much quieter, where the conversation between Mrs Flynn and her customers was reduced to a murmur. She’d never visited this section before.

All articles here were covered in a thick layer of dust and looked as though they hadn’t been arranged or rearranged in a long time. Eager to explore, Ella carefully dodged an old toy train set displayed on the floor and made her way over to the aisle beyond.

The centrepiece on display was a fine wooden table, sturdy and skilfully made, upon which figurines of various sizes stood. Through the table’s legs, she noticed a pair of cool-looking cowboy boots on the other side. Heart beating with excitement, she walked around to it and saw the most unusual sight: right in the middle of these boots was a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

So stunning was its beauty that she held her breath for a good few seconds, forgetting about the boots entirely. Unlike the rest of its surroundings, it was brand new.

“Ella? Where are you?” Mrs Flynn’s voice surprised her once again. It seemed to be coming from the place she’d last seen her.

“Here, Mrs Flynn, at the very back!” she called.

In about thirty seconds, the store owner located her. “I see we’ve got some work to do here,” she said, wiping some dust off a clock with her finger. “So, what’s caught your interest?”

“Um,” Ella said, pointing at the bouquet propped up against the table. “Did somebody leave these flowers here?”

“These?” Mrs Flynn squatted for a closer look. “Oh, it’s this one.”

“Hmm?” What did that mean?

“This one’s a curious—if not mysterious—case,” the older lady said, getting up. “You see this date here? On the tag? It says May 28, 1942. I found this lying on the counter two years ago, when I got back from lunch. No note, don’t know who brought it. From the day it arrived up to this moment, it’s looked exactly the same.”

“The flowers’ve never wilted?” asked Ella nervously. “Are they even real?”

“Oh yes, 100 percent. Smell ‘em if you want.”

She picked up the bouquet and let her nose touch the roses. Mrs Flynn was right—they smelt as fresh as morning dew and the stems were so cool to touch, as though they’d been picked and bound together just a few minutes back. Even the petals were as soft as a baby’s cheek. Certainly nothing fake about it.

“It’s a riddle you’ll have to figure out yourself! Now, excuse me as I go rummage the front desk drawer for a feather duster.”

With Mrs Flynn gone again, Ella turned the bouquet slowly in her hands. She held the tag between her index finger and thumb, re-reading the date inked on it. She flipped it over and was shocked by what it said.

For Ella.

She flipped it back to check the date. Still the same. She flipped it again—the shock only grew, for there were different words now.

It’s been worth the wait, dear.

Ella ran her thumb over the crisp paper, then lifted her head.

She was now standing in a completely different place—by the ocean, seagulls squawking in the background—wearing a pretty blue dress and facing a handsome young man in khakis. She realised the bouquet wasn’t in her hands anymore. It was in his.

“Ella, I’ll soon be heading to the airbase, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to see you again.”

“Wh-who—?” she croaked, stepping back in alarm.

“Wait, don’t go!” He chuckled, reaching for her hand when he noticed her draw away. “I brought you these flowers since I’ll be missing your birthday on Tuesday.”

Ella inhaled sharply as she accepted it from him. How did he know? she thought, absolutely puzzled. Nevertheless, she replied: “Thank you,”—she glanced at the badge on his shirt—“John.” Somehow, the name rang a bell in her head, although a very distant and faint one.

“Oh, and one more thing.” John dug into his bag and retrieved a dainty pocket watch, depositing it into her palm. “I want you to keep my watch. That way, you can always feel I’m close to you.” He smiled earnestly.

Ella found herself nodding and smiling in return. “OK.”

“I love you, Ella.”

But before he could take her into his embrace, a deafening explosion pushed them apart with a force no one could overcome. Ella screwed her eyes shut as she saw shrapnel attack her from all sides. However, when she felt nothing strike her skin for several moments, she opened them wide and once again beheld the familiar surroundings of Mrs Flynn’s store.

She gulped, breathless from the impact of whatever she’d just experienced. Her knuckles were white as they clutched John’s pocket watch and bouquet. She shakily clicked the former open; the needles weren’t moving.

“Ella?” a deep voice called softly from behind.

The watch started ticking again.

Posted in Challenge Entries

THE FOLLY: My Entry for KL Caley’s #WritePhoto Prompt

The Folly – Image by KL Caley

A folly is a building usually constructed strictly for aesthetic pleasure.

For visually challenged writers, the image shows an almost symmetrical brick folly with gothic style arched doorways at either side.

https://new2writing.wordpress.com/2021/09/16/writephoto-folly/

HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

  • Each Thursday at Noon GMT the #writephoto prompt will be posted on New2Writing.
  • Use the image and prompt as inspiration to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, whatever you choose, as long as it is fairly family-friendly.
  • Please have your entries linked back to the original prompt post by the following Tuesday at Noon GMT.
  • Link back to this post with a pingback and/or leave a link in the comments below, to be included in the round-up.
  • Please click their links to visit the blogs of other contributors and take time to read and comment on their work.
  • Use the #writephoto hashtag in your title so your posts can be found.
  • There is no word limit and no style requirements, except that your post must take inspiration from the image and/or the prompt word given in the title of this post.
  • Feel free to use #writephoto logo or include the prompt photo in your post if you wish, or you may replace it with one of your own to illustrate your work.
  • By participating in the #writephoto challenge, please be aware that your post may be featured as a reblog on this blog and I will link to your post for the round-up each week.

………

“Hurry up, Josh!”

“Alright, alright! I’m coming,” grumbled fifteen-year-old Josh from behind Ingrid, his twin sister.

She twirled around as he slowly caught up, trudging up the steep hillside. “Isn’t it beautiful?” she breathed, taking in the colours and sounds of this secluded area far away from the cobbled streets and noisy carriages of their busy town.

Josh grunted in reply as he collapsed on the grass, trying to catch his breath. Ingrid had said they were skipping today’s French lesson for a ‘lovely break’, not for this torturous hike!

“Can we just sleep here for a while?” he suggested.

“What a bore, Josh. We’ve come here to have a jolly time! Just look at this place—it’s got so many exciting things to offer!”

“Like what?”

“Like trees! You’d promised you’d teach me to climb them. There’s also plenty of space to run around and play catch! Or…”

Ingrid’s voice trailed away as she suddenly noticed a stone structure not very far from where she was standing. She stepped sideways to get a better view of it. Her whole face lit up instantly. “Or we could head there!” She pointed at the gothic-style, somewhat dilapidated building.

Josh sat up, craning his neck in the direction of her finger. “What is that?” he asked.

“I don’t know, but seems fun! How about a game of hide-and-seek?”

Her brother guffawed. “Hide-and-seek? You couldn’t possibly find a place to hide there—it’s got archways that lead nowhere and the walls look like they’ve fallen in!”

“Well then,” Ingrid skipped over to the stone platform between the two arches, “why don’t we use this as a stage? Imagine we’ve got an audience in front of us and we’re putting on a show for them…I say, it’d feel exactly like performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the theatre Mummy had taken us to last month!”

“Hmm,” wondered Josh. He’d always been a fan of literature (so much so, he’d even memorised some of Shakespeare’s plays word for word!) but too shy to actually try his luck at dramatics—especially in front of his buddies. No harm in practicing here, using this silly time with his sister as pretext. “Alright, let’s do that.”

The duo frolicked and laughed as they churned out their own version of the play they’d watched before, all the while unaware of the presence of a stranger in the woods. The maiden watched them with a smile from behind a tree, muttering an incantation into the breeze before disappearing amidst the wilderness.

They spent an hour running from arch to arch, playing multiple characters, sometimes taking the spotlight at the centre, and finished their performance with a gracious bow to their invisible audience. Flushed, the siblings got off the stone structure through the archway on the right and plopped down on the soft ground.

“Now that’s what I call a well-deserved break!” exclaimed Josh, admiring the view from the top of the hill. “It’s getting late though—”

“Josh?”

“—and Mummy might already be suspecting our whereabouts…”

“Josh!”

“What?”

“Look at your clothes,” said Ingrid, very pale.

Confused, he looked down at his shirt, only to see himself decked up as the fairy king from the play. He was shocked to see his twin dressed similarly.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” he whispered.

Ingrid nodded.

This was no ordinary forest; what pure folly it was to believe that this folly would be no different either.