Image Prompt 042 Response – This Is Not Our Basement

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I selected the image of Scotland cityscape for my twenty-minute sprint this month.  I hope you enjoy the beginning of this idea.

This Is Not Our Basement:

Michael made his way down the stairs into the basement to investigate the weird noises.  His roommate must have left one of her weird experiments running, because the combination of bubbling noises and sharp knocking sounds made no sense and wasn’t rhythmic enough to be music.

The light was still on, but she’d put up a red filter so it didn’t do more than make sure he didn’t trip on the stairs.  He didn’t see her as he reached the bottom, but that didn’t always mean anything.

“Claire?” he called out, hoping she was there and would answer him.

No response.

Michael walked further into the room, checking to make sure there wasn’t anything strewn across the floor.  All he saw were faint markings, like she’d been drawing on the floor with chalk.

“Claire?” he called again.  “If you’re down here, let me know.”

Michael kept walking toward the back of the room.  There were two rooms, so she might have been in the other one with the door closed and not hear him.

When he reached the center of the room, right under the red light, his foot hit something less than solid.

“What the…” he started.  Before he could even finish the sentence, he was pulled forward and the light went out as wind rushed up around him.  He couldn’t tell if he was falling, or if a wind was coming up from the floor.

His foot hit solid ground again and he stumbled as the sudden light nearly blinded him.

Michael took two steps and then finished his sentence.

He as standing on a path leading down a hill toward a city.  A European city by the look of it.  He looked behind himself to find more hill, and beyond that more city.

“Claire?” he said softly.

“Michael?” she asked, popping up from the grass beside the path.

“This is not our basement,” Michael said.

“I told you not to come down without asking,” Claire said, hurrying to his side.  “You aren’t hurt are you?”  She actually grabbed his hand so she could take his pulse.

“Confused, but not hurt,” Michael said.  “Where are we?”

“Dundee, Scotland,” Clair said.  “I was testing out a portal.  You at least answered the question of whether it stays open after someone goes through it.”

“How do we get home?” he asked.

“Same way we got here,” Clair said.  “It’s a two-way portal.  You just have to back into it.”

“So I just walk backward?” Michael asked.

“That should do it,” Claire said.  “Let me get clear first,” she added before hurrying off the path.

Michael took two steps backward, then another two.  “You sure about this?” he asked as he took two more steps backward.

“That’s not good,” Claire said.  “It should have worked.  Let me try.”

Michael stepped off the path and Clair started in front of him and walked backward several steps.

“It’s not there,” Claire said.  “That is not good.”

“So you’ve said,” Michael replied dryly.

“It means we have to find another way home,” Claire said.  “It was supposed to be a one use portal, which I thought meant in one way, out the other and it closes until that person goes back the other way.  Apparently that means open, go through once, go back through once, and it closes.  And it doesn’t distinguish direction, so when you came through, it closed.”

“This is what I get for trying to pay the rent on time,” Michael said, sitting down in the grass.

“I thought I gave you the rent,” Claire said.

“You gave me June rent,” Michael said.  “It’s the first of July.  July rent is due in four days.”

“Oh, damn, sorry,” Claire said, biting her lip.  “I’ll figure out how to get us home by then.  Or at least get a check cut.”

“Why are you not freaking out?” Michael asked.

“I specialize in magic, this isn’t that big a deal,” Claire replied.

“And we’re in another country without any papers or permissions,” Michael pointed out.

“At least they speak English,” Claire countered.  “Much easier not to get noticed this way.”

If I realized you were this much of an optimist I might not have let you move in,” Michael groused.  “So what’s the plan, and how can I help?”

“The plan is to find some supplies and open a portal home,” Claire said.  “If you have any cash, or your cell phone on you that would be helpful.  I have my phone but no cash.”

Michael started pulling things out of his pockets.  He had his phone, three receipts from yesterday, eighty-five cents in change, and his wallet which revealed four dollars and one emergency check.

“That is not going to get us home, but we can at least write the check and get that home,” Claire said.  “I can transport it directly into the rent box, so they won’t hit us with late fees.”

“But it will overdraft my account and charge me a ton of money.”

“I swear to pay you back for all of that, plus interest, and an apology gift for you ending up here with me.”

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Image Prompt 042 – Scotland Cityscape and Stonehenge

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 042-001 2018-07-13 City Scenes 020

Image Prompt 042-002 2018-07-13 Day One05-05-09 008

Image Prompt 041 Response – Light in the Storm

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I’m going to be playing with character’s we’ve seen before this time.  I developed them for one of my April A to Z challenges and have written a couple of image response scenes with them as well.  I used the winter stairs for my twenty-minute sprint, and after a quick copy edit this is the result.  I hope you enjoy.

Light in the Storm:

Avery woke up feeling cold.  That wasn’t usually a problem these days, but Ry wasn’t on the other side of the bed like usual.  Avery sat up to find Avery standing at the window with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders.  He glanced at the clock.

“Why are we awake at dawn?” Avery asked.

Ry shrugged, his eyes never leaving the window.  He’d opened the curtains and the blinds, which explained what woke Avery up.  Any amount of light signaled to his body that it was time to be awake.

Avery slipped out of their bed and padded across the room to stand with Ry.

Ry opened the blanket without a word and Avery snuggled in against Ry’s side.  The blanket carried Ry’s warmth as Ry wrapped it around Avery’s shoulders.

“It’s beautiful,” Avery said as he gazed out the window.

It had snowed the day before and the stairs going up the hill behind their apartment building were barely visible under all the fluffy white.  The sun was rising between the trees, tinting everything with a soft golden glow.  It was peaceful and Avery could understand why Ry was just staring.

“Every time I see snow I think of him now,” Ry said.

“Him?” Avery asked.  Ry had a habit of forgetting that Avery couldn’t read his mind to know which person he was thinking about.

“Uriel,” Ry said.  “It was always snowing when I saw him that first visit.”

“I’m glad he was there when we needed him.”

“When you needed him,” Ry corrected.

“It’s really the same thing now,” Avery replied.  They’d been together for five years.  Ry had followed him back to America.

“That last time it definitely was,” Ry said with a soft breath of laughter.

“Yeah, Rosario needed to hear what he had to say,” Avery agreed.  He’d always known that Rosario was protective.  He just hadn’t realized just how protective until he met Ry.  It showed how much Rosario cared, and how much he wanted Avery to be well and happy, but it had rankled a bit in the moment when Rosario had accused Ry of taking advantage.  Avery knew it was much more the other way around.

“I still don’t understand what Uriel meant.”

“You’re the light I need in a storm,” Avery said softly.  Uriel had spoken the words softly, almost going unheard by anyone as Avery and Rosario argued.  Avery almost cried in relief when Rosario stopped and looked at Uriel.

“I’m not good with metaphors,” Ry said.

Avery cuddled in closer, wrapping his arms firmly around Ry’s waist.  Ry really wasn’t any good with metaphors.  He could be so very literal.

“You’ve never asked before,” Avery said.

“It didn’t seem important,” Ry replied.  “It made Rosario back down and accept that you loved me.  That’s all that mattered in that moment.”

“And now?” Avery asked.

“All the snow is making me think of Uriel, of everything he did to help us when I first met him, and how little he really knows me.”

“He knows you better than you think,” Avery replied.  “He has access to a lot more information than the average person.”

“I’m still not sure I believe that part,” Ry admitted.

“Whether you believe it or not, Uriel is what he is.  He can see the faith in you, even if it isn’t a religious kind of faith.”

“So what did he mean about me being your light?” Ry asked.

“It could mean a lot of different things, or all of them at once,” Avery replied.  “I think about it like this.  You’re my touchstone, what I always come back to, and what helps guide me every day to be the man I should be.  Whenever there’s trouble, you’ll always be what I’m fighting for or fighting to get back to, so in any trouble that comes up (that would be the storm) you’re like a lighthouse in the dark, warning me away from rocks, and also the light of the sun shining outside the storm.”

“Metaphors are complicated,” Ry mumbled.

Avery glanced up to find Ry blushing.

“I love you,” Avery said.  It was adorable how bashful Ry could get when Avery said how important he was.

“I love you too,” Ry replied kissing Avery’s hair.  “And I always will.”

Image Prompt 041 – Stairs

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

This week, I wanted to share a little bit about how I select these images.  I have two large folders of images that are all either completely without humans and identifiable information, or where things like license plates and distantly visible faces have been blurred.  I use a random number generator to pick the images for each month.  So the fact that both pictures this week are of the same outdoor staircases is rather interesting.

Image Prompt 041-001 2018-06-08 Behind Apartment March 2009 025

Image Prompt 041-002 2018-06-08 Snow Day09-01 001

Image Prompt 040 Response – Celestial Academy

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I selected the image from Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland for my image prompt this week.  A twenty-minute sprint and a quick copy edit produced the below.  I hope you enjoy it.

Celestial Academy:

Ryan walked slowly up the steep grassy hill.  When he’d agreed to meet Xander at his school, he’d expected a university or a secondary school.  The address he’d found for Celestial Academy in Edinburgh had been at the top of the hill at one end of the city.  According to the website, the place had been some kind of memorial back in the twentieth century, but had since been repurposed for private use.  The web didn’t say what the school taught or how old the students were, just that it was highly selective and students were invited to apply.

The building was made of large gray blocks of stone, as was the wall and solid gated entrance.  Ryan could see the columns, classical pediment, and rotunda in the dim evening light.  The place was built to look like some kind of ancient Greek or Roman temple.

Ryan stopped at the gate, looking for a call box or any way to signal the inhabitants inside.  He didn’t even see any evidence of a camera or security system.  He tried pushing the door open, and found it unlocked.  It took a bit of effort to push the heavy stone door all the way open, but he managed it, and stepped through into the courtyard beyond.  There were paths paved with smooth tan rocks worn smooth with use.  The Celestial Academy was founded in 2110, over a century ago, so there’d been plenty of time for foot traffic.

As soon as Ryan let go of the door, it swung shut again with a dull thump.

“Thank you for agreeing to meet here,” Xander said from the path to the right.

Ryan hadn’t seen or heard him approach.  Xander was wearing dark blue skinny jeans and an oversized black hoodie.  Ryan felt overdressed in the gray slacks and white button down he’d worn to work that morning.

“It would only have been an issue if I needed to park a car somewhere,” Ryan replied.  He didn’t drive and Edinburgh had a great trnsit system.

“Still, I made you come all the way here,” Xander said.  “Why don’t you come inside, and I can find us a drink and a snack.”

“A drink would be nice,” Ryan replied with a smile.  “I at dinner before I came since I wasn’t sure what options there would be.”

“I didn’t even think about the timing being a problem for meals,” Xander said, turning half way to indicate they would be going back the way he came.

“If it had been a problem I wouldn’t have agreed to meet at six,” Ryan said, moving to join Xander.  “My meal schedules tend to be a bit off kilter anyway.”  His work hours were all over the place, which meant his meal breaks were too.

Xander smiled.  It lit up his whole face and made his light gray eyes sparkle.  And that was why Ryan was here.  He just couldn’t say no to a smile like that.

“Did you bring it?” Xander asked as they walked past the imposing columned porch toward the side of the building.

“Of course I did,” Ryan said, pulling his messenger bag around so he could get into the side pocket.  He pulled out the metal flask he’d filled with water from a spring near his house outside town.  Xander had been fascinated by his stories about the spring and all the legends that surrounded it.

Xander took the flask gently, his face reverent.

“I still don’t understand why it’s so important you have water from it gathered at dawn,” Ryan added.  It was the dawn part that was so baffling.  Fresh spring water was a rare commodity and Ryan knew he was lucky to live in a neighborhood that has access to one.

“I’ll show you,” Xander said, catching Ryan’s hand and pulling as he hurried around the side of the building.

Ryan’s skin tingled where Xander was touching him, and the hairs on his arms stood up as goosebumps rose along his arm.  The shiver ran all the way across his shoulders.  It was distracting enough that Ryan almost didn’t notice the weirdness as they turned the corner around the building.

Almost.

Ryan stopped, his outstretched arm pulling Xander to a halt as well.

The building was still the same, pale tan in the fading sunlight.  But everything else had changed.  There should have been more hill and grass and the rolling hills beyond.  All Ryan could see was a dazzling field of stars laid out before him like a thousand flickering candles in the dark.

Image Prompt 040 – Maggie Valley & Calton Hill

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 040-001 2018-05-11 Maggie Valley 2013-08-02 (26)

Image Prompt 040-002 2018-05-11 Calton Hill 006

Image Prompt 039 – Cats & Dogs & Towers

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 039-002 2018-04-13 King David's Tower 009

Image Prompt 039-001 2018-04-13 Locke 09-12 005