Image Prompt 048 Response – Broken Down

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I chose the picture of the couch in the snow for my twenty-minute sprint this week.

Broken Down:

Caleb walked along the side of the rode with his arms wrapped around himself.  The snow was still falling slowly down around him as he trudged along.  He was glad for his thick winter boots and his heavy winter coat, but even than wasn’t much help when he’d been out in the swirling snow for more than two hours.  He hadn’t realized how far in the middle of nowhere he was when he decided to walk toward civilization instead of staying with his car.

It had probably been the right decision because he still had a dead battery in his phone and he hadn’t seen a single car on the long stretch of highway he’d walked so far.  He knew his aunt lived in the boonies, but hadn’t expected his car to die half way between town and her place.

He crested a hill and paused at the top.  There were some buildings ahead, that he didn’t actually remember passing on the way down.  Maybe he hadn’t been looking far enough from the highway?  Or maybe he’d stumbled off the highway and was now hopelessly lost.  The buildings still seemed like a good bet.  They might have a land line he could borrow to call his aunt or a tow truck.

Caleb started down the hill, still walking along the road, which was nominally cleared, so that he wasn’t wading through the foot-deep snow.

As he got closer to the little cluster of buildings, he saw a brown leather couch sitting in front of the fence near the road.  It was covered in snow like everything else, but it still looked so inviting.  Caleb shook his head.  He wasn’t that tired.  He didn’t need to sit down on a couch in the snow.  With his luck, he’d fall asleep and end up dying of exposure.

Just past the couch was a wooden gate that stood open at the end of what looked like a gravel driveway.  It wasn’t cleared of snow enough for a vehicle, but he could see furrows that meant a human being had been up to the mailbox and back some time in the last day, so Caleb followed the tracks down the drive toward the buildings.

As he approached, Caleb could see that the closer building was a barn, followed by something else that was probably another barn or a storage shed of some kind.  Past that another hundred yards or so was an old farm house.

The barn was closed up tight, but Caleb could smell animals as he walked past it.  A working farm would have people around.  No family would abandon their livestock even for a storm like this.  Hope made Caleb move a little faster as he trudged through the snow toward the house.

There were three steps up from the drive to the porch of the farm house.  There were two pickup trucks and a little sedan parked off to one side, and Caleb thought he saw light coming around the curtains of one of the front rooms. He knocked his boots together to get the bulk of the snow off them and shook his coat out on the first stair, then climbed up onto the porch.  It was a big wide, wraparound style with a couple rocking chairs on one end and a porch swing on the other.

The mat at the door said welcome, which Caleb hoped was promising.  He raised his hand and knocked.

“Was Manny planning to come by or something?” Caleb heard someone call from inside.

“Not that I know of,” someone called back.  Through the door it was hard to tell anything about the voices.

Caleb smiled when the door opened, pushing his hood back and hoping he didn’t look threatening.

The young woman who opened the door looked utterly confused.  She was a little under five feet tall with her brown hair pulled back in a braid, wearing jeans and a heavy gray sweater.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” Caleb said.  “My car broke down, and I was hoping you had a phone I could use since mine’s dead.”

“Dad,” The girl yelled over her shoulder.

“Who is it, hon?” her father asked as he walked up behind her.  He was definitely her father.  They had the same nose and the same pale blue eyes, but he was over six feet tall with thickly muscled arms shown off by the blue t-shirt he wore with his jeans.

Caleb repeated his apology and request to use a phone.  “I was on my way to see my aunt when the storm caught up with me.  I hadn’t expected the snow until this evening and then my car died.”

“Come on in out of the cold,” the man said.  “We’ll get you sorted out.”

“Thank you, sir,” Caleb said in relief.

The man opened the storm door and Caleb stepped inside, the warm air making his cheeks hurt and his eyes water.  He blinked trying to see, and managed to identify a neat line of shoes beside a bench next to the door as well as his host’s bare feet peeking out below his jeans.

Caleb sat down on the bench and pulled his boots off, not wanting to track snow through the kind man’s house.

“You can leave your coat on the bench and follow me to the kitchen,” the man said.

“Thank you very much, sir,” Caleb replied.  He stood up, careful to avoid the snow already melting off his boots, and shed his jacket.

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Image Prompt 037 Response – Name Confusion

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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. Continue reading

Image Prompt 034 Response – Dancing Blue Light

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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. Continue reading

Image Prompt 033 Response: The Tree

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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. Continue reading

Image Prompt 032 Response: Fairy Wall

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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. Continue reading

Image Prompt 006 Response: Exchange Student to Faery

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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