I chose the picture of the Caerphilly Castle in Wales for my prompt this time around. I hope you enjoy this snippet.
Encounter on the Welsh Dragon Tour
Kelly followed everyone else as they all piled off their bright yellow tour bus. She was so glad her friend recommended she check out the Haggis Tours while she was doing her study abroad in the UK. It was a super affordable way to see a lot more of the country and learn about the histories behind the places.
As soon as she was back at the university, Kelly knew she’d be up to her eyeballs in books wanting to verify all the things she’d been learning on the tour.
Today they were in Caerphilly. There was a gorgeous old castle. It even enclosed part of the river with a huge metal grate over the water access. Kelly wondered how far down it went. All the way into the riverbed?
Kelly snapped pictures like all the other tourists. She also took notes as their guides—an amazingly animated Welsh woman who actually spoke Welsh and a taller more subdued English woman who looked like the most stereotypical backpacker ever—talked about the history of the castle and the city that grew up around it.
After the brief history lesson, they were at loose ends for a while to explore the castle grounds and the nearby city streets.
“You’re always taking notes,” one of the guys from her tour said, coming to stop beside Kelly as she jotted down something from a little sign posted about the castle.
“I’m studying history,” she replied. It was easier to say it like that. All the non-Americans knew what she meant that way. They didn’t “major” in things in most other countries apparently. They “read” their topic or where “taking a course” in it.
“This must all be fascinating for you then,” he said, smiling.
“Very much,” Kelly said. She loved history as well as researching, reading, and writing. What better thing to be than a historian?
“I’ve been making notes at the end of the day,” the guy confessed, his brown hair falling into his eyes as he leaned in conspiratorially.
“Do you like history too?” Kelly asked.
“I like a well written history,” he replied. “But it’s more about loving stories for me. I want to be a writer.”
“Neat. What kinds of things do you write?” Anyone who wanted to be a writer usually at least dabbled in writing already. At least the ones she knew.
“Any genre of fiction that strikes my fancy,” he answered. “I’ve dabbled in short stories and have a few dreadful novel drafts. Mostly I’ve been writing contemporary fantasy or historical fiction lately.”
“What kind of historical?” Kelly asked. You had to research for those kinds of books. Maybe they had more in common than she did with the average writer.
“Some early US Western, and I love doing anything from the pre- to post-Roman eras in Britain.”
“Britain’s one of my major interests,” Kelly said, smiling broadly at her companion. “Those eras are so fascinating because there are so few records and you have to guess at so many more things.”
“It makes it great for me because I can work my fictional narrative around the actual facts,” he said, laughing.
“That must be fun,” Kelly said. “I’d love to read some of it if you ever share it.” She had a friend once who wrote all the time and never shared a single word. It seemed safer to give him an out.
“That would be awesome,” he said. “You could point out places I get it wrong if you’re familiar with the era or events I’m working with.”
“I’d be happy to give you that kind of feedback. I’m probably not the best person to give you advice on the actual writing,” Kelly replied. “We could swap email addresses.”
“You’d be surprised how helpful the average person can be with the writing part,” he replied with a laugh. “Why don’t you put you contact info in my phone, and I can do that or put it in your notebook,” he offered.
“Notebook,” Kelly said, handing it over. She wasn’t sure the phone she was using would go back to the states with her so she didn’t want to lose his information.
He took her notebook and handed over his phone. It was already open to the new contact screen.
Kelly tapped out her name and her email and her local UK cell number. She then put “from the Welsh Dragon Tour” on the company line she he wouldn’t forget who she was.
They traded back and Kelly glanced down to see what he’d written. Greg was a nice name. She wondered if it was short for Gregory or not. She laughed when she read his email address.
“I’ve had it forever,” Greg said, smiling.
“You couldn’t change it?” Kelly asked, still snickering. Who left their email as “TheSuperGregMan” once they were out of middle school?