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.

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Image Prompt 039 Response – Need of You

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I selected the image of the south wall of David’s Tower for my prompt today.  I’m also playing with characters from some previous posts.  You first saw them in my 2017 A to Z challenge story (story starts here), and they appeared again in my response to Image Prompt 028.  I hope you enjoy.

Need of You:

Uriel materialized in the world inside a castle.  It was cool, but far better lit than any castle he’d been in when they were common place.  Michael had told him that it was only a few months since he was last sent into the world.  Avery had need of him again.

There were voices further down the corridor, so Uriel took a moment to observe himself and his surroundings.  He could feel that he looked the same as he had in his two previous encounters with Avery.  He was wearing black pants and a simple dark green shirt.  There were sturdy boots on his feet and a dark jacket folded over his arm. Continue reading

Image Prompt 038 Response – The Magic of Dice

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I chose the image of the spiral staircase for my prompt this week.  Twenty-minutes of furious writing and a quick copy edit later, I was left with the below.  I hope you enjoy.

The Magic of Dice:

Gemma wasn’t sure where they were going.  Alan and Trish had just said it was a friend’s place.  Gemma wasn’t so sure when they opened the door without knocking.

“So whose place is this?” Gemma whispered as she followed them inside.

“Gary’s,” Alan replied.

“The DM guy?” Gemma asked.  Gary ran Dungeon & Dragons campaigns at the local comic and games shop.  Alan had been trying to talk her into one for ages.

“Yeah,” Alan replied.  “He knows we’re coming,” he added.

“And why are we here?” Gemma asked. Continue reading

Image Prompt 025 Response – The Temple’s Magic Tree

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I selected the moss-covered tree at Brookgreen Gardens image for my twenty-minute sprint this week.

The Temple’s Magic Tree:

Kyli crept along the wall slowly, her eyes sweeping the ground in front of her.  She didn’t want to step on a stick and make noise, or worse stumble and fall.  The moon was only a bare sliver in the sky, providing almost no illumination.  Thankfully Kyli could see well enough just by starlight to make her way down the wall toward the ancient trees.

If she made it that far, she’d be fine.  If the trees didn’t reject someone, the priests wouldn’t either.  She was technically doing the same ritual initiation that the temple apprentices did, she’ just didn’t exactly have permission. Continue reading

Image Prompt 023 Response – Magic

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I chose the city across the water image for my 20 minute sprint this week.  I hope you enjoy

Magic:

The light still played across the water as the sun set behind the city across the cove.

Kyran sat in the sand watching the waves slowly roll up and then back out again, taking a little of the beach away with them each time.

It had been six years since he’d been home.  Now that he was so close, he couldn’t seem to make himself finish the drive.  He’d pulled off at the little car park for the beach and wondered down to the shore, taking his shoes off to enjoy the feel of the damp sand against his feet.

When he left, his parents were still furious with him.  He’d rejected everything they were and everything they stood for.  He’d left everyone and everything behind without so much as a word.  How could he go back and face anyone again?

“I had feeling I might find you here,” a deep voice said from behind him. Continue reading