Image Prompt 037 Response – Name Confusion


I selected the image of the statue near the Firth of Tay in Dundee, Scotland for my prompt this week.  I’ve done a twenty-minute sprint and a quick edit.  I hope you enjoy.


Name Confusion:

Bailey sat on the little step at the base of the sculpture by William Longair that looked out over the Tay.  He faced the water, taking comfort in the noise of people walking behind him.  It was a beautiful day, so there were plenty of people out walking beside the firth.  That’s why he’d picked the place.  It was outside and usually had a small crowd within shouting distance at the furthest.  He knew meeting someone he met online was a risky thing under any circumstances, but he was at least doing it in public where he should be safe and in reach of help if needed.

Not that he thought he’s need it.  He hoped Ashley was everything she claimed to be online.  They’d met on a sewing forum and bonded over cosplay they’d both done.  Ashley hadn’t sent any pictures of herself in any of the costumes, but then, Bailey had only sent one and hadn’t told her it was him.  In between talking about sewing tips, maker skills for props, and what not to try to wear to an American Convention, they’d talked about books, movies, and music.  It was amazing how much they had in common.

Bailey glanced around, seeing if anyone was approaching.  Then he glanced at his watch.  Still early.  He’d picked two in the afternoon on a Saturday because he knew the crowd would be here.  He also got off work at one, and he wanted to be early.  He liked to have the lay of the land before meeting people, strangers or not.  Bailey was always early.

At two, Bailey got up and stretched, walking the short distance to the low wall along the water and back to the statue.  He wanted to be close enough to be obvious, so he stuck close to the statue.  He was looking out at the crowd now, just people-watching as he waited.

There was a slender man with ebony skin walking across the space toward the statue.  Bailey smiled to himself as he looked down at his hands.  He’d always wondered what it would be like to see his pale, freckled, white skin against the skin of someone with such a different complexion.  The few boyfriends he’d had where all Scots like himself, so there wasn’t much contrast involved.

When the slender man stopped beside the statue, Bailey looked up again.  He glanced back out at the crowd wondering what was taking Ashley so long.  He didn’t even see any women walking alone.  He glanced at his watch again, then glanced sideways at the slim man on the other side of the statue.  He was looking down at his phone, scrolling through something.  He had great bone structure, his cheek bones looking sharp in the bright afternoon light, and his hands looked strong with long fingers.

Bailey looked down again.  If he found someone’s looks alluring, he tended to stare as he mentally tried costumes out on them.  There were a lot of good ones for that man, but he didn’t want to be caught staring at a stranger.

“Excuse me,” the man said, walking closer to Bailey.  He had a light tenor with a hint of an accent that wasn’t British.

“Yes?” Bailey asked.

“If I’m mistaken, please forgive me, but are you Bailey?”

“Yes,” Bailey said slowly, frowning.  How did this random guy know his name?

“I’m Ashley,” the man said, holding out his hand.  “I wasn’t sure you were who I was meeting.  I was expecting a woman actually.”

Bailey burst out laughing.

“So was I,” he said, taking Ashley’s hand.  His skin looked nice against the rich darkness of Ashley’s.

“I get that a lot,” Ashley said, his hand sliding away from Bailey’s.

“We never really talked about anything that could give us away, I guess,” Bailey said.  “And you don’t run across that many guys who sew.”

“It does seem to be a bit rare here,” Ashley said, slipping his phone into a back pocket.  “It’s nice meeting another man who enjoys the hobby as much as I do.”

“Likewise,” Bailey said with a grin.  He’d come here to meet an online friend so they could maybe be real life friends or work on a project together.  It didn’t matter that Ashley was actually a guy.  Except that Ashley was kind of hot, but Bailey could ignore that.

“We didn’t really discuss what we’d do after we met up,” Ashley said.

“I didn’t really have a plan,” Bailey said.

“Would you mind finding somewhere I can get lunch?” Ashley asked.  “My morning got a little out of hand and I didn’t have time to eat without being later than I was.”

“Sure,” Bailey said.  “Have something in mind?”

“It’s so nice out, why don’t we just swing through the Tesco and then we can find somewhere to sit and talk?”

“Sounds great,” Bailey said.  Part of him wondered if Ashley was as nervous about meeting a stranger from the internet as he was.  The town’s only major grocery store and the outdoors were some of the safest places to be if you were a little unsure of your company.


Image Prompt 034 Response – Dancing Blue Light


So I’m a week late getting this posted.  NaNoWriMo does tend to eat the rest of my life in November.  I chose to do the image of the arch and gate from St. Paul’s in Dundee, Scotland as my image prompt for this twenty-minute sprint.  I hope you enjoy it.

Dancing Blue Light

Amber walked past the Episcopal church every day on her way home.  She liked the architecture.  The spires, the arches, and the stonework.  There was an arched entryway in the wall off to one side with a gate.  There were stairs leading up on the other side of the gate and Amber always wondered where they led.  In the dim light of autumn evenings, it all looked mysterious and intriguing.  On cold winter nights when it was already dark as she walked home, she could barely make out the stairs on the other side of the gate.  There were no lights on that side of the church, and the wall the arch was set into blocked the light from the street lamps.

It was early December when she first saw the light on the stairs.  It was a blue-tinged light that seemed to flicker and shift as she gazed through the arch, trying to get a better view around the bars in the gate.  She couldn’t figure out where the light was or what was making it.  When her fingers started to get stiff from the cold, she headed home.

Every day for the rest of the week, she stopped to try to see what the light was.  It never seemed to be in the same place twice, but she could never quite figure out where it was coming from.  It wasn’t stable enough to be a lightbulb.  It was too blue to be a flame.  It fascinated her.

On Friday night, when she stopped to see where the blue light was, she noticed that the gate wasn’t latched.  Amber chewed on her lip as she tried to decide whether she should go in.  It was a church, so she figured as long as she wasn’t hurting anything, they weren’t likely to press charges for trespassing.

Amber carefully slipped through the gate, making sure it didn’t latch behind her in case that would lock her in.  She walked carefully up the stairs by the strange blue light.  The stairs took a circuitous path, going up, then right, then left, then left again.  The light’s source still wasn’t visible, but now seemed to be coming from everywhere.  Her shadow was cast in several different directions and she still couldn’t find a source for the light.

The stairs continued up along the edge of the building and became narrower and steeper the further she climbed.  When she reached the corner of the church building, the stairs leveled off and as she rounded the bend to find a straight path along the side of the building.  It wasn’t at the same level as any of the floors and seemed to bisect some of the windows.  She’d never seen it before when she was approaching the church from the back.

The blue light was still there, but when Amber looked back, the stairs behind her were hidden in darkness.  She almost couldn’t make them out.  Was the light moving?

Amber turned back to the path in front of her and kept walking.  She had to know what the light was and where it came from.

Three steps down the back of the building, Amber’s foot slipped.  The path before her tilted, and she grabbed for the stone wall on her left, but missed and fell on her butt.  The path continued to tilt and Amber began to slide.  She tried to grab at the wall on her left or the side of the building on her right, but she couldn’t get a grip on anything.

Ambers stomach lurched when the path leveled out.  She only slid a few more feet.  She gasped for breath, her heart racing as she carefully stood up, clinging to the wall on her left to make sure she wouldn’t go anywhere.

What she saw over the wall didn’t look like Dundee.  In Dundee there were other buildings behind St. Paul’s.  Amber was looking at rolling hills with the occasional tree.  There were little bobbing blue lights scattered around the area.  They flickered and moved like the light she’d been seeing each night.

Amber looked back the way she’d slid and found nothing there.  She was at the corner of the path.  There were stairs leading down.  But there was no building on her right.  No St. Paul’s.  She was standing on a stone pathway with a waist-high stonewall on either side that appeared to be floating in midair.

There were more rolling hills, more densely covered in trees, on that side of her.

“This can’t be good,” Amber murmured to herself.

“Good, good,” a voice whispered behind her.

Amber turned, but there was no one there.

“Hello?” Amber called.

“Hello, hello,” came the reply.

“Is there anyone here?” Amber asked, her voice quivering slightly.

“Here, here,” the voice called.

Image Prompt 033 Response: The Tree


I picked the tree in the Florida state park for my twenty-minute sprint this time.  I went in a little bit different direction than my usual.  I’d love to hear what you think.

The Tree:

The tree was alone now.

Before there had been others.  A forest of them together at the edge where the land met the water.

Time took away the sand and rock they clung to first, and then one by one, the other trees succumbed.  They were carried off by well-meaning creatures, or they drifted out on the waves.

The tree was alone now.

The boulder it clung to was ancient.  The tree grew its roots down around it, hoping to shield it in some small way from the ravages of time and waves.  The tree knew this was a futile effort, but it had to try.  Perhaps its efforts would extend the boulders life by a few seasons.

Creatures came and went on the sands nearby, but the tree paid them no mind.  It paid attention to the bright sun, the rhythm of the waves, and the shifting of the sands beneath its boulder.  The creatures would come and they would go and everything else would remain.

The tree was alone now.

It thought fondly of the days when it was surrounded by its brothers and sisters.  When they had been a whole.  Now the tree was just a single piece of a whole that no longer existed.  The tree would never be whole on its own.  That was simply not the way of things.

The tree tried to grow sideways.  It tried to expand so that there would be more of it and maybe, if it was very lucky, there would be daughter and son trees and it could be part of a forest again.  There had only been one tree before, and it always seemed to build its own forest community.

The tree was alone now.

The tree stood over its rock and watched the sea.  There were always ships coming in and going out.  The tree had seen this happen before.  There were always ships.  For as long as the tree had stood, there had been ships.  It had been a tiny sapling when the first floated across the water.

The tree thought that when its time came, it would rather drift away into the ocean.  It didn’t particularly want the creatures to drag it away and it did not want to find out what any of their strange contraptions did or felt like.  The tree did not have a thirst for knowledge.

The tree was aloe now

The light was fading and the tree continued to watch the waves as they came in again.  The tree watched the stars come out and the sky fade to inky blackness.

The tree wondered what the stars where and what would really happen when he no longer had the boulder to cling to and the soil any longer.

The tree was alone now.

Image Prompt 032 Response: Fairy Wall


I chose the North Carolina photo for my prompt this week.  I know I took this picture on a trip up to Chimney Rock, but I can’t tell you for sure where it is.

Fairy Wall:

Cary poked his head around the side of the building to see what was in the back.  The little half-shed that probably sheltered the water pump made sense.  The story-and-a-half high wall with the upside down arch made him stop and stare.

“Cary, don’t go too far,” his sister called.  She was supposed to be keeping up with him this week.  They were on a road trip through North Carolina with their aunt and two older cousins.  Cary, the youngest by three years, wasn’t as thrilled about this as everyone else.  He had to sit in the very back of the minivan with no leg room and not much air conditioning.

“I’m just going to look at the backyard,” Cary called back.  If she knew he was just behind the building she shouldn’t come looking for him.

Cary walked carefully around all the spare lumber that was littering the yard.  The building was a tiny little general store type thing.  His oldest cousin had seen the sign and asked to stop.  They’d used the rest rooms and loaded up on drinks and snacks for the rest of the day.  His aunt had wanted to stretch a bit, so she told them to be back at the car in fifteen minutes.

Once he was past what looked like an abandoned barn door, Cary was able to walk normally again.  He was past all the dangerous rusty nails in the old wood and could hurry over to the tiny cinderblock shed and the wall.

The wall was made of natural stones.  Each one a different size and shape.  It didn’t even look like there was any grout.  They just fit together so well that they stayed exactly where they needed to be.

Cary ran is fingers over one of the stones.  It was rough and cool and felt exactly as he’d expected.  It wasn’t covered by moss or damp or anything.  It was just a stone, but Cary wondered how long it had been there.  Who had set it there.  Who had decided that the wall needed to be built?

He looked up and as far as he could tell, it wasn’t part of a wall.  It had always been this height.  The top was smooth and capped by flat stones.  It wasn’t a ruin exactly; it just didn’t make a lot of sense.

Cary edged closer to the well-house, trying to see through the gap made by the upside down arch.  There was a tree growing just on the other side.  Its branches reached out through the arch, but they didn’t go any further left or right than the width of the arch.

A glance at his watch let him know he still have ten minutes before he had to be back at the car.  He pressed on the roof of the well-house to make sure it was sturdy, and then hefted his foot up there so he could push himself up onto the wall where the bottom of the arch was.

Cary clambered up onto the wall, kneeling carefully on the slightly uneven stones.  They’d been worn away a bit and weren’t as smooth and flat as he guessed they were when the wall was first made.

When Cary looked up, his mouth fell open.  His eyes were so wide he could feel them stretching at the corners as he let his eyes rove over the scene before him.

It was like a tiny metropolis out of some fantasy novel.  There were little stone buildings and tiny cobbled streets.  There were tiny parks and something that looked a little like a clock tower that had no clock.  There was something sort of like a church, but there was a symbol he couldn’t quick make out instead of a cross at the top of the steeple tower.

At first, all he saw were the buildings, the streets, and the layout of the place.  It was just so much.  It would have taken ages and ages for someone to build something like this.  Just one of the little stone buildings would have been so complicated and taken so much work and attention to details.

It wasn’t until he’d already slipped off the wall, stepped past the tree, and knelt down beside the nearest building that he realized there were things moving in the tiny city.  And not just animals or bugs or something either.  There were people.  Tiny, perfectly-sized, scaled-to-the-buildings people.

Cary pinched the back of his hand.  This couldn’t be real.  He couldn’t actually be seeing this.

For a second, he thought he heard his sister calling his name, but then one of the little people looked up.

Cary held very still as she gazed up at him.

When she started yelling, he sat back on his heels, startled by the noise.  It sounded like words, but not in a language he knew.

He watched as more and more of the tiny people flooded through the streets toward him.

Image Prompt 006 Response: Exchange Student to Faery


I selected the image of the butterfly sculpture for my prompt this week. This is a slightly polished up version of my 20 minute sprint inspired by the image. I hope you enjoy it.


Exchange Student to Faery


I knew I was going somewhere like no place else ever.

It didn’t stop me from being completely floored when we stepped through the door and found ourselves not inside another room, but outside on a pathway paved with smooth stones walking toward a short, squat wooden building.

There was a butterfly perched on the edge of the roof.

I thought my eyes were playing tricks, or it was some weird perspective thing, but the closer we got, the more I realized that the butterfly was taller than I was. Bright blue translucent wings flapped slowly as it sat there on the edge of the roof. Its body was a full six feet long, the wings even longer.

“Don’t be alarmed,” my fae guide said as we continued toward the building. “The Winged Ones are completely harmless to humans.” Continue reading