It was a typical day in the medieval re-enactment village. We were standing in line waiting to be dressed up and assume one of various characters. The man in front of me was given a chain mail shirt, a sword and a shield emblazoned with a lion rampant.
When It was my turn, I stood before a buxom lady dressed as a tavern wench, I couldn’t help but make a comment about her heaving bosomthat brought a bloom of colour to her cheeks. I made reference to a nice pear, which is my favourite kind of innuendo. Apart from her blush, she didn’t react to my joke but treated it like plain blather. I suppose she’d heard it many times before.
‘So which one am I supposed to be?’ I said. ‘The shooter, the maniac or the idiot who hid the body?’ Asking about what character I was to be assigned.
The lady looked me up and down and tapped her lip with an impatient finger.
“Well, the role of the village idiot is still available, I think you’re more than qualified,” she said and handed me a cap with bells on and an inflated bladder on a stick.
He’d been wandering through the woods for hours now and was beginning to feel the full heft of the backpack on his shoulders. His stomach grumbled and called out for sustenance, the acidchurning as he recalled the meagre breakfast he’d had such a long time ago. The campsite should have been around here somewhere but he’d passed up the opportunity to ask the few people that he’d encountered. Now he had to admit that he was lost.
The fog had descended before nightfall, initially, gossamer threads illuminate by the light of the setting sun had become a dense mist that had made the isolation of being lost in the woods feel even more foreboding.
Why did he decide to take that shortcut through the woods? If he’d kept to the road he would have probably been there by now, warm and cosy in his tent.
Just then, he saw a light in the distance, a beacon of hope. He scrambled through the trees and found a path heading straight to this golden beam.
Stumbling over the last few steps, he saw the wooden house nestled in a clearing, it looked derelict and empty but the light from the upper window shone brightly like the morning sun.
Desperation took hold and he didn’t even stop to think what type of person would choose to live in such a secluded location.
As he opened the door, the sight of row upon row of empty backpacks lining the hallway made him realise he’d made the biggest mistake of his life.
The door behind him swung shut and he heard a click of the lock.
The shining light from upstairs suddenly extinguished and he was alone, the sound of his quickening breaths echoed through the silent blackness.
This was not the kind of place Inspector Tanner usually frequented. In a city renowned for it’s high level of crime, this district was particularly notorious. It was funny how things had changed so dramatically in just over two decades. This area was once a prestigious university but now, crime gangs roamed the campus and the university building itself had long since been burned to the ground. Arson was a common here as thievery. In the centre of the old university grounds was the Black Jack tavern. It was said that you could find out anything there, who murdered who, who had stolen what, for the right price.
Inspector Tanner was dressed as inconspicuously as possible. Rather than his usual smart trench coat and trilby, he now wore a rather shabby afghan coat over a pair of denim jeans. He was here to meet an informant, but not someone he had ever met in person before.
As the inspector pushed open the black painted door, the fumes of smoke emerged in fine tendrils into the clear night air. Not tobacco smoke, the smell was far too pungent for that, not even pipe smoke was that foul. The tavern was not particularly well lit. Electric lights buzzed and flickered from various points around the room, making pools of light that the many bodies standing around seemed to avoid, preferring to linger in the dark recesses and corners instead.
Through the haze, he could see the bar and the barman. The man was tall and thin, with lank dark hair that fell to his shoulders, yet the crown of his head was bare. He wore no shirt, but a black leather vest, unbuttoned showing a hairy chest with more grey in it than it’s original black. His bare arms were covered in tattoos, mainly flaming skulls. He knew of the barman by reputation, they had a file three inches thick on him back at the station. Jack Peel had a record of petty larceny and aggravated assault with intent to cause harm. He used to like collecting ears too, an unpleasant habit that had sent him to prison for twelve years. On his release he had opened this establishment, which had hardly given much assurance that he had decided to go straight, but they had not been able to catch him at anything lately.
He was told to buy a drink and then walk over to the pool table. Grasping the bottle of beer, he wandered over to find two people sitting by the pool table. In one corner, a small, smartly dressed man, in a striped suit and blue tie, with mousy blond hair neatly trimmed. He had black round rimmed spectacles. As he looked in his direction, the man smiled slightly, his eyes remained devoid of emotion. In the other corner sat a large ugly man. His face was covered in small scars, a nose that looked like it had been broken several times sat above a grimacing mouth filled with gold fillings. This man was dressed in denim, head to toe, but his left sleeve appeared to have been ripped away, displaying an arm that was decorated with a snake tattoo that wound around it from his shoulder, with the snakes head, complete with fangs, tattooed on the back of his hand.
The Inspector turned back to the suited man and sat next to him.
The man smiled again and leaned towards him. “Can I help you?” he whispered.
This had to be who he was sent to speak to. “I understand you can tell me about the recent murders in Market Street. Was it the Armstrong gang?”
The man jumped up and practically ran out of the bar.
Suddenly, he felt a tap on his shoulder. The ugly brute of a man was sitting close enough for him to smell his after shave and his foul breath.
“Why did you speak to him for? He’s the man I was going to tell you about. He’s probably gone to tell his boss you’re here now. You had better follow me, if you value your life, quick, out the back way.”
It was blustery as Nancy walked along the seafront, the smell of sea salt wafting over her.
The University was in the distance and so was St Hilda’s church where she was supposed to be, at that moment.
A gust blew the lace veil from her head and she saw it float away out of reach.
A pink blob was running towards her from the church. It was her Bridesmaid, Carol, wearing the dress that her Mother-in-Law had chosen. That Woman had completely taken over. It was her choice of Bridesmaid dresses, her choice of venue, and instead of Barbados, Margaret had insisted they go to their country house in Scotland as it was a family tradition. What made her really mad was that her fiancé sided against her. The two would convergeon her and before she knew it she’d given in.
Carol called out “Nance, what’s wrong? They’re waiting, you know?”
“I can’t go through with it. It’s not my wedding, it’s Margaret’s.”
“But what about Gav? You can’t just leave him there. You don’t want to go through life a nomad, all empty?”
“Oh dear, a marriage specialist,” says Nancy, to herself.
Carol was carrying the rucksack she’d given her with her comfy shoes in it.
“let me have those shoes.”
Taking off the white stiletto’s she rubbed her feet and put the other shoes on.
“But you can’t just walk off” Carol whined.
Hurling the stiletto’s into the sea, she turned and shouted: “Just Watch me!”
“I took a deep breath, put my hand on the doorknob and unlocked the door.” – Christiana Miller – Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead
The lighthouse had been a beacon of hope for many years for those adrifton the rough seas. It had guided vessels to safe harbour and prevented many a sailor from ending up in an obituary.
People had become dependenton the light and for that reason, I have sacrificed my life for the greater good. I have remained in the lighthouse ensuring the beacon remained lit, for ten years I have toiled and seen no one. I have lived a life of solitude and now my tenure has ended and I can leave, my place was taken by a new victim.
I found myself feeling scared, vulnerable and delicate. My heart raced and my breath turned shallow and fast as panic threatened to overwhelm me like a tidal wave.
Then, I took a deep breath, put my hand on the doorknob and unlocked the door and ran towards freedom.
This story was written for the 50 Word Thursday Challenge, This week hosted by Deb Whittam, click on the link below to see her post:
‘ “Take me with you,” She whispers at the window.’ – Kate Racculia – Bellweather Rhapsody
Sitting in her parlour, in the same cottage she’d grown up in over half a century ago, in another age, another time, Angela feels rather forlorn. The house reminds her of her Mother and Father, both long dead. Her brother, David, killed in a car accident when he was Nineteen, the marks on the wall to show how fast he was growing were still there in the hall. Her life was rather placid, no wild adventures, no crisis from which she could emerge a stronger person.
Hers was a life no one would ever have written about in a story.
The sun gradually descended towards the horizon, the sunshine gently diminishing.
“Take me with you”, she whispers at the window.
Ignoring her plaintive request, the sun passes nonchalantly on and the street lamps outside light up, signally the start of the evening. Another evening alone with her thoughts and regrets.
This story was written for the 50 word Thursday challenge this week hosted by Deb Whittam, click on the link to see her post:
And the words: “Have now been 24 hours on this ghastly boat if it isn’t a dream”. – Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.
Hearing the sound of the waves slosh against the side of the ship turned his stomach over again for the hundredth time. Picking up a pen he wrote in his diary “Have now been 24 hours on this ghastly boat if it isn’t a dream”.
Throwing the pen down, he picked up his hat, straightened his tie and went up on deck.
The Captain was pacing up and down at the stern, glaring at the shipmen as though they were bilge rats. He probably had a higher regard for the rats than the men under him.
This was not going to be a good voyage and they were barely out of port.
The Captain stopped pacing when his first mate joined him on the raised stern castle and flashed a smile as transientas the winter sun. Things were cordial between them for now, but he could feel the tension building with every nautical mile they sailed. The Captain may have been dressed in the uniform of an officer of the Royal Navy but underneath he was as cutthroat as a Pirate raider, but even a pirate looked after his men.
Things were not going to end well aboard The Bounty.
This story was written for the 50 Word Thursday Challenge, Click on the link below if you want to take part in this challenge, the results won’t be posted until Wednesday afternoon so you have until then to enter. 🙂
“It wasn’t fair that Dorry couldn’t get her hopes up.” – Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts – Kate Racculia
It was an old family legend that her great-grandfather had once been a smuggler. She had no memory of him, he’d died when she was a year old but her mother said he’d been a rogue and the best storyteller she’d ever known. She said that he would waffle on about his past deeds, how he’d been a man full of adventure and intrigue who had crossed the sea and had found the Island of Atlantis. He was full of stories and the greatest myth was that he had returned from Atlantis with treasure but that his vessel had sunk off the coast and he’d been washed ashore. It was then that he’d met his wife who had nursed him back to health. They had never found the ship.
Dorry grew up with the determination and resilience to find that ship. She studied marine engineering and had spent years scanning the sea bed off the coast trying to find a glimpse of the vessel. One day the computer scans revealed the remains of the ship and filled with excitement Dorry arranged for it to be raised from the sea bed. However, the scans had also revealed that the vessel was empty, there was no treasure from lost Atlantis inside it. It wasn’t fair that Dorry couldn’t get her hopes up.
When the ship had been dredged up, Dorry and her team searched the rusty remains but found no gold or gems inside. They found the skeleton of a woman instead.
This story was written for the 50 Word Thursday Challenge, this week hosted by Deb Whittam, click on the link to see her post and to take part in this challenge that finishes on Wednesday:
And the words: “At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him.” – Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist.
His social anxiety and fear of public speaking had seriously held him back in his studies but now he had psyched himself up and he was ready to go. His heart beat fast inside his chest, as though he had just finished an endurance test. He could track the roots of his phobia back to his childhood but now after an intense course of cognitive behavioural therapy and some hypnosis, he was ready to deliver his dissertation speech to the whole class. At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him
The light from the projector shone in his eyes, making the room seem just a dark blur. He heard someone cough at the back of the room, but otherwise, he could have been alone.
One last deep breath and he launched into his speech, punctuated by graphs and diagrams projected onto the screen.
When he finished, he switched off the projector and turned the lights on.
Apart from three workmen at the back of the room, eating their lunch, the room was deserted.
Then from the corridor outside, he heard applause as his lecturer and classmates cheered him.
This story was written for the 50 word thursday challenge, click on the link below to see the original challenge: