Image Prompt Response 073 – Winter Holidays

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I chose the image of the snow-covered tree for my twenty-minute sprint this time.

Winter Holidays:

Carl shivered as he slid out of bed, pushing his feet into his slippers and making his way to the window.  It had only just begun to snow when they were turning in last night, but now there was a couple feet of the stuff.  The big pine out back was so weighed down with snow that some of the branches were partially buried in the drifts.

It was beautiful, the pristine sparkling whiteness in the early morning light.

It was also a royal pain because he’d have to shovel enough to get the truck out of the driveway and pray that the plows came through sometime before noon so they’d be able to get out of the neighborhood.  He knew they should have left yesterday.

Sighing, Carl headed for the kitchen to get the coffee brewing and breakfast started.  That almost always woke everyone else up, luring them with the scent of caffeine and bacon.

Sam was the first one down, their hair sticking up every which way as they rubbed their eyes and sat down at the table.

Carl had already set out the sugar and cream along with four mugs, so when the coffee was done brewing he brought the pot to the table.  Sam could be trusted to pour coffee without being fully awake, but not to carry it across a room.  They had an agreement about it.  Two broken carafes, two cuts that needed stitches, and one third degree burn had been more than enough.

By the time Sam had finished fixing a mug of coffee for themself as well as Carl, Valerie was wandering in.  Her hair was brushed and gleaming and her pajamas were cute and coordinated.  She was a bit of a fashion diva and Carl still didn’t quite understand why she wanted to live in the middle of nowhere on the top of a mountain, but she was a good roommate, so he wasn’t about to suggest she leave.

Carl was done putting breakfast on plates by the time Kelly came down, scratching the stubble on his head and yawning.

“It looks like getting out might be an issue,” Valerie said as they all sat down at the table together.

“I didn’t look outside,” Kelly said as he fixed his coffee.

“We got two, maybe three feet,” Carl replied.  “I haven’t checked yet.”

“Weather ap said thirty-four inches,” Valerie said.  “But we sometimes get more than where they measure.”

“I’ll check after breakfast,” Carl replied.  They didn’t have a very scientific methodology, since drifting could happen, but they had a pole near the front porch that was marked every inch so they could know how much snow they’d gotten.  Carl had put it in two years ago and just never pulled it back out.  It was in one of the mulched areas, so it wasn’t even in the way when they had to mow the lawn.

“To be perfectly honest, I’m planning to use the snow as an excuse not to go,” Sam said.

“Have they been that bad?” Carl asked.  Sam’s family wasn’t supportive of the non-binary thing, or Sam’s career as an artist, so Carl understood why Sam might not want to go home for the holidays.

“My brother has been in one of his evangelical moods this month,” Sam replied.

“Ouch,” Valerie said, reaching over to pat Sam’s hand.

Sam’s brother was a preacher at a non-denominational church a few hours south near where Sam’s family lived.  It was a huge place and very hellfire and brimstone from what Sam had said.

“It is what it is,” Sam said with a shrug.  “If anyone in the family asks I’ll tell them you left earlier and that’s why only I got trapped.  I know my brother stalks you guys on social media.”

“If we got more than three feet, I’m not sure any of us are going anywhere,” Carl replied.

“My parents are actively encouraging me to stay home,” Valerie said.  “They don’t even want me on a train in this apparently.  It’s been even worse west of us and I haven’t even checked to see if there are train delays.”

Carl nodded.  The original plan had been for Carl to get everyone off the mountain in his truck.  Valerie was taking the train home, Sam had left his car in the Walmart parking lot earlier in the week, and Kelly was catching a ride with a friend in town.

They were quiet during the rest of breakfast, and Kelly was actually the first one to get up, taking his coffee with him as he went into the front room.  They could all hear the door opening.

Carl shivered just thinking about how cold it must have been standing in the doorway with just the storm door for insulation.

“Well, I think we’re staying home,” Kelly said before shutting the door.  “The pole’s actually in a bit of a dip and it reads forty-two inches.”

“Damn,” Carl said.  That was a lot of snow to get in a single night.

“I like you lot better than my family anyway,” Sam said, toasting them with his coffee mug.

“I can do a video chat with my parents on Yule,” Valerie said.  “It’ll be fine.”

“No worries,” Kelly said, patting Carl on the shoulder.  “You did tell us we should have made arrangements to get off the mountain yesterday.”

“It’ll be nice to spend the holidays at home,” Carl said.  He loved his family, but they were a lot.  He was only going to have made the last few days of Hanukkah anyway.  Now he could share traditions with his roommates.  Valerie and her parents were pagan and celebrated Yule, Carl still wasn’t sure how devout Kelly was but he did celebrate Christmas, Carl was Jewish, and Sam gave everyone gifts that they called Winter Wishes, since they wanted to celebrate and share the joy of holidays with everyone but didn’t actually have a winter holiday to celebrate.  It would be neat to have so many different traditions all happening in the same house.

Image Prompt 073 – Snowy Tree and Parliament

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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 073-01 Carl's Tree03-01

Image Prompt 073-02 Parliament House05-04-14 004

Image Prompt Response 065 – Children in Snow

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I chose the image of the snow-covered patio furniture for my twenty-minute sprint this week.  This incorporates characters (all my originals) from my fanfic, so if anyone found me by way of that, you may recognize some of them.  Also, the inspiration to write with them again was all Manda’s fault 8-P.  (But I love her for it, so it’s fine.)

Children in Snow:

Síneag pushed the curtains back from the sliding glass door and was greeted by the brightness that came after a snow storm.  The world had turned white, and their patio furniture was covered in fluffy snow.  It looked like they’d only gotten four or five inches in the end.

The children would have fun playing in the snow later, she was sure.  Jenn had said they were all going to come by late morning to see Síneag and let everyone visit.  She’d been looking forward to it for weeks.

Leaving the curtains open to allow the light in, Síneag went about cleaning everything up and making sure anything that wasn’t child safe was carefully put away or out of reach.  She double checked that the basement door was locked as well.  As much as Ira loved the children, she knew he wouldn’t want them to see him during the day.  They might be very familiar with vampires, but that didn’t mean they needed to see one that appeared dead.

By the time she had everything cleaned up and child-safe, it was already after ten.  They would be there soon.

Síneag could hear them before they even made it to the door, which just made her laugh as she headed in that direction, opening the front door and watching Jenn, Jess, and Kim struggle to keep the children headed toward the door rather than out into the snow in Síneag’s yard.

“Don’t you want breakfast first?” Síneag called.  “I’m making French toast,” she added, knowing the children loved it.

There was a chorus of cheers as the three barreled toward the front porch.

“Snow stays outside!” Jess called after them.

The three tumbled to a stop on the porch, the twins stomping their feet to get the snow off them and encouraging their tiny sister to do the same.

“Close enough,” Síneag said to the three when they’d knocked most of the snow from their boots.  “You can leave your books here by the door,” she added as she stepped back to let them in.  It was such a delight to see the twins quickly deal with their own boots, and then help their sister before their mother and aunts even made it up the steps.  They shed their coats as well and headed for the kitchen.

“Thank you for inviting us,” Jess said as they walked in.  “They’re going to have such fun sledding in the back yard.”

“It’s always wonderful to see you and the children,” Síneag said.  “The twins are growing up so fast I feel that if I blink I’ll miss it.”

“You and me both,” Jess replied.  “It’s been surreal.”

Síneag nodded.  The three had rather unique heritage, and that led to some very interesting talents and growth even as young as they were.

Síneag made everyone breakfast and it was a bright, lively time.  Her kitchen was full of laughter and she loved it.  Things could be so quiet during the day while Ira wasn’t with her.  She was getting spoiled since they moved here.  She had far more friends and more chances to interact with others than she had while they were still living in hiding.

Once everyone had eaten their fill, the kids ran back to the entryway to pull their snow gear back on.

“Mom, do you think we could shift after sledding?” Jess’s little boy asked.

“If Auntie Síneag thinks it’s safe, you could shift in the house and then go out to play in the snow,” Jess replied.

“They’re still small aren’t they?” Síneag asked.  “As long as they’d be easily mistaken for dogs, no one in the neighborhood will think anything of it.”

“They’re still small enough,” Jenn said.  “But probably not for much longer.”

The twins cheered at that pronouncement.

“But only after you’ve had your fill of sledding and your sister is done too,” Jess said.

“We know,” the twins chorused.  They loved their little sister, so Síneag had no doubt they’d make sure she was completely exhausted from too much fun.

Síneag bundled up as well and lead them all out through the garage so they could gather the sleds and go out the side door that was inside the fence that surrounded the back.  They had a good bit of property, but they’d fenced in enough of the yard to make it safe for the children to play and for the occasional shifter to take their animal form where they would be safe.

Kim ended up on the hill with the children, helping them get settled on their sleds and pushing them off down the kill.  Jenn and Jess stayed on the deck with Síneag, brushing the snow off a few of the chairs so they could sit.

“You’re sure the neighbors won’t think anything is amiss?” Jess asked softly.

“They look like black German shepherds,” Síneag replied.  “Besides, with us here with them, no one is going to think of anything before they think dog.”

“Relax,” Jenn said, reaching over to rub her sister’s back.  “The kids are safe here.  And if anything major were going to happen, Kim would be sure to tell us.”

Jess nodded.  She had such faith in her sister.  So did Síneag when it came down to it.  That’s part of why they’d bought the house.  Kim had seen them happy here.

Winter Travels

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I don’t usually do much traveling between the Christmas holidays and spring, but this year my parents needed some help moving my grandmother from her apartment to a room in the main building of her continuing care retirement community.  She’s still in pretty good health for a woman in her 90s, but she doesn’t move around as well as she used to and needs the support of being in the main building and regularly checked on by the nursing staff.

So the husband and I set out from North Carolina to Pennsylvania last Friday and returned home on Monday.  We helped sort through things in my grandmother’s old apartment that wouldn’t fit in her new room, saw my great uncle and his wife, and did what we could to keep Gramma occupied and less morose about the move.  She was disappointed to lose the apartment and the space, but what hit hardest was having to give away her cat.  The pretty ginger tabby was previously owned by one of her friends who passed away, and she’s passed him along to another friend in the community, so at least she’ll be able to go visit him. Continue reading

Image Prompt 052 Response – Lunch Tray Sledding

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I chose the image of a college students sledding on a lunch tray for my twenty-minute sprint this week.  I have fond memories of that evening, so I wrote about something similar for my scene today.

Lunch Tray Sledding:

“Come on, go for it,” Miles urged, handing the lunch tray to Emily.  They’d smuggled four of them out of the dining hall their first winter on campus.

“I’m not falling off,” Emily declared as she took the tray.  The snow had stopped falling finally, but there was plenty on the ground, and she didn’t want to end up with it soaking through her clothes like Randy and Hana.  Emily positioned the tray at the top of the hill and then stepped carefully onto it, crouching down and using one hand to push off.  She had waterproof gloves, so she left her hand down to act as a sort of rudder and keep her facing forward as she started down the hill.

Miles let out a yell behind her and Emily let out a whoop of her own as she picked up speed, barreling toward Randy and Hana at the bottom.  The two looked up, saw her, and scrambled out of the way, laughing the entire time. Continue reading

Image Prompt 052 – Snow Day & UK

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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.

2019-05-10 Image Prompt 052-01 sledding03-02-37

2019-05-10 Image Prompt 052-02 Day Two 05-05-10 075

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Image Prompt 029 Response – Snow

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I selected the Boone, NC photo of a wind chime for my image prompt this week.  Below is the result of a 20-minute sprint and quick editing pass for grammar and spelling.

Snow:

The wind chimes still made their soft tinkling noises as the wind blew through the little grass alleyway behind the apartment.  Snow was piled on top of the thing, but it didn’t affect the sound of the copper pipes that hung down.  It had been here when she moved in, probably forgotten by some past renter of the tiny little place with the barely functioning base-board heaters.

Angel turned away from the window, pulling the towel she used as a curtain back into place.  She needed all the insulation she could get.  She spent most of the winter curled up under fleece blankets or sipping hot chocolate.  She’d taken to making a single cookie just as an excuse to use her oven, which was a far more effective heater than anything else in the apartment.

It was starting to get dark, which made her worry.  Her little brother, Brian was supposed to have arrived an hour ago.  She’d been looking forward to a weekend with him for months. Continue reading

Let It Snow

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No matter what holiday you celebrate in December (or even if you don’t celebrate one at all) I hope you’ve all had a wonderful month and are enjoying yourselves.

I grew up looking forward to having a white Christmas, green gifts in my stocking, a fuzzy red Santa hat, and ending the day with ribbons and bows festooning my hat, hair, and clothes. Continue reading