Image Prompt Response 070 – Silent Snowscape

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I chose the image of the snowy scene in Dundee Scotland for my twenty-minute sprint.  I’m also still having fun with the idea I started two image prompts ago and continued last month.  So this is a continuation of those two scenes.

Silent Snowscape:

Valerie shivered as she stepped out of the tent the next morning.  There was a dusting of snow over everything, giving the world a hushed feeling and a brightness that didn’t seem to belong in their world anymore.

She made her way to the latrine and then the washing tent to prepare for the day.  By the time she was back Dr. Harrison had left the tent, so she went through their packs and put everything they would need into the smallest two.  They had one last device to install today.  She closed the second pack and sat down on her bunk beside it.  This was the last one.  The last step.  She didn’t know what they’d be doing after today.

Valerie shook her head and got to her feet.  She wasn’t going to get maudlin.  Besides, Dr. Harrison had admitted that he requested her as his partner.  She would likely get to continue working with him if he wanted.

She found Dr. Harrison in the mess tent and joined him for a quick breakfast before they returned for their packs.

“As efficient as always,” Dr. Harrison said, laughing as he picked up both packs to gauge their weight.  He always took the heavier pack.  She tried to load them fairly equally when she could, but she couldn’t argue with him over it.  She was a slender 1.6 meters and he was a solidly muscled 1.9 meters.  She wasn’t out of shape but he was definitely equipped to carry more weight than she was.

They gave their names and codes at the gate and let them know they were returning as soon as the device was installed and headed out on foot.  The camp was tucked between buildings in what was once the city center.  They made their way back across the eerily quiet snow-dusted emptiness in silence.

Valerie remembered Dundee as a bustling city.  Normally there would have been plenty of people out, even on a cold snowy day like this one.  But now the city was a shell of what it once was.  The buildings on one side of the central square had been leveled and the rest heavily damaged.  By some miracle the dragon statue in the middle of the square had survived.

It didn’t take them long to make their way across the empty city to the shores of the Tay.  They took a right past a cherry tree that seemed frozen in time.  It was dusted in snow now, but every time Valerie had passed it in the pasted six months, it looked exactly the same.  The pink flowers just starting to bloom like it was early spring, even though it was late January at the moment.

In the lee of the building behind the mysteriously static cherry tree was what looked like a pile of debris.  Valerie took off her pack and handed it to Dr. Harrison before crouching down and making her way under the first board until she could reach the boat that was hidden there.  She pulled the small row boat completely out onto the snow before accepting her pack again.

They made their way down to the water with the boat carried between them.  Valerie climbed in firt and and Dr. Harrison pushed off as he stepped in.  Dr. Harrison did the rowing and Valerie using a third oar to help steer.  They made for the piles of the old Tay Bridge.  It was going to be a tricky installation, but the location was too good not to use.  The devices were meant to both gather data about electromagnetic activity within their range and work as rudimentary communication towers.

The hope was to determine what was interfering with radio communications and hopefully allow a limited number of cellular devices to communicate.  It would solve one of their largest problems, and allow them to better coordinate and share information.  They still didn’t know what actually happened ten months ago aside from the physical devastation it left behind.  They didn’t even know where the attacks came from.

When they reached the pile they wanted, Valerie shifted to kneel in the center of the boat.  She wanted as much stability as possible while they tried to find a way to anchor the boat to the pile.  If the thing had been big enough they’d have brought along a third person to help them.  One who knew more about boats.

Image Prompt 070 – Scheile Museum Historic Mill and Snowy Dundee Scotland

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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 070-001 - Snow05-02-23 003

Image Prompt 070-002 - Scheile Museum Nature Trail 08-07-27 040

Image Prompt 069 – Blue Ridge Parkway and Tay Bridge

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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 069-002 - Dundee05-03-25 005-Tay Bridge

Image Prompt 069-001 - Blue Ridge Parkway08-10-12 053

Image Prompt Response 068 – The Common Sense on the Team

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I chose the image of the statue (which I think it supposed to be either Atlas or Hercules) with the gorgeous tree behind it for my twenty-minute sprint this time.  I took this photo on a backpacker’s tour called the Welsh Dragon, which may have colored my response.  I hope you enjoy it.

The Common Sense on the Team:

Valerie was crouched at the toolbox when the cursing started again.  At least she assumed it was cursing.  Dr. Harrison was letting out a stream of angry words that Valerie assumed where in his native Welsh.  Even living in Cardiff for three years, she wasn’t usually fluent enough to catch one word in ten, and usually those were the numbers or articles anyway.

She stood up and looked back at the statue they’d set up around.  Dr. Harrison had actually climbed up on the pedestal and was using one hand on the head of the figure to balance while positioning the device over the sphere at the top.

Valerie saw immediately why he was cursing.  He’d gotten the device positioned properly, but couldn’t let go of it or the head of the statue without sending the device and likely himself, crashing back to the ground.

Valerie bent down again to grab the screwdriver she’d come for and hurried over to the statue, actually using the ladder they’d put up on the tree-side so they could reach the top of the sphere.

With quick, deft motions, she tightened down the screws that would stabilize the device and keep it in place on her side.

“I’ve got the device,” she said, making sure she had a solid grip on it with her free hand.  “Here’s the screwdriver,” she added, holding it out over where his hand was braced on the statue’s head.

“You’re a lifesaver as always,” Dr. Harrison said, laughing as he reached over to take the screwdriver with the hand not braced on the statue’s head.

“That’s because I’m just down to earth enough to plan my next move properly,” she replied, grinning.

He laughed so hard he almost fell off, but he still managed to finish with the screws and secure the device in place.  He leapt down as soon as he was done, whipping tears from his eyes.

“It’s not that funny,” she said primly as she came down the ladder.

“That’s the thing,” Dr. Harrison said, smiling over at her.  “It’s not funny at all, it’s true.  The other researchers and I have our heads so focused on the problem and the solution we’re trying to test, that we get a bit lost.  You’ve been our saving grace this entire project because you actually take a moment to look before we all leap and remind us to use safety measures and practical things like ladders.”

“I’m learning a lot,” she said, “so I don’t mind being the voice of common sense while I’m here.”  She was a few months of dissertation work away from being Dr. Valerie Tavish, but she kept putting it off because of the project.

“I think that’s everything for this site, isn’t it?” he asked as he returned the screwdriver to the toolbox in its proper place.  He was Valerie’s favorite of all the researchers on the project because he was willing to take the five seconds needed to read the labels and return tools to their proper homes.  It was so much easier to work when you could find all your tools without even looking.

“We should do a test start,” she suggested.

“Of course, of course,” Dr. Harrison replied, moving over to the Diviner Source Crystalline Matrix (or DSCM) that was positioned at the bottom of the statue and bolted to the sidewalk.

He flipped a few switches and there was a soft hum from the DSCM and then a sharp whine from the devise on top of the statue.  It glowed a soft green before Dr. Harrison flipped another switch and the color faded.

“That’s a success then,” he said.  “Where’s out next stop?”  He started packing away his books and returning the remaining tools to Valerie’s toolbox.

“Next is up in Scotland,” Valerie replied as she started carefully folding the ladder.  They would be back in her home turf, near where she’d completed her undergraduate degree and not far from where she’d grown up.  Not that there was much left of either place.

“It’ll be a few days’ journey then,” he replied, lifting the bags he usually took charge of during their trips.

“We can probably make it in two if we plan the route right and leave at first light each day,” Valerie replied.  She knew the paths, and all the shortcuts between England and Scotland, and she was fairly sure Dr. Harrison knew the same between Wales and England.  The could combine their knowledge and cut out a considerable amount of travel time.  Especially if they could avoid getting too close to London.  You have to travel much slower around the remains of the capital to remain unnoticed.

“I see you have some shortcuts in mind,” he replied with a laugh.  “I can get us to the border in about half a day of riding if we take the shortest route.  We won’t be able to stop at the primary University base for resupply if we got that way.”

“There’s a supply depot near the ruins of Edinburgh,” Valerie offered.  “I think our supplies will last a good four days, which gives us a buffer.

“Let’s get back to camp then and collect the bikes and the rest of our gear,” Dr. Harrison said.  “We’ve got a good four hours of daylight left, and there’s a good camping spot about three hours ride down our route, might as well get a head start.”

“Let’s go,” Valerie replied, following Dr. Harrison.

Image Prompt 068 – Heroic Statue and Brookgreen Gardens

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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 068-002 - Brookgreen Gardens 2013-03-08 (294)

Image Prompt 068-001 - Welsh Dragon05-05-07 097

Image Prompt Response 067 – Giving Thanks

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I chose the image of the pumpkin pies and recyclable cans for my twenty-minute sprint today.  We’re a little ahead of season for fall squash pies, but oh well.

Giving Thanks:

Cary finished washing the last of the dishes from making the pies and set everything on the towel on the counter to dry.  They’d already filled the drying rack and Cary hadn’t had time to dry anything yet.

“Pies in the oven?” Kelly asked, peeking in through the window in the over door.

“The pumpkin ones anyway,” Cary replied.  “I promised Mom I’d make a pecan too.”

“Ooh,” Kelly said, her eyes bright and wide as she looked over at Cary.  “The normal or the chocolate one?”

“Probably both since I know you like the chocolate better,” Cary replied, laughing.  His little sister loved sweets of all kinds, but especially anything chocolate.

“You love me,” she said, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing his cheek.  “I’ll help if you want,” she added as she let go.  “I can be a dish troll or help measure things or whatever will allow me to be supportive and not throw off your flow.”

“Let’s start with drying dishes,” Cary said.  “I’m running out of room and I’ll need some of this for the other pies.”

“Yes, sir, ma’am, sir,” Kelly said, actually snapping her heels together and saluting him before grabbing the dish towel from its hook over the sink.  “You’ll have to help me remember where you put all this stuff, but I can at least get it all dry for you.”

“Just stack it all on that counter,” Cary said, waving to the one furthest from the stove.  “I’ll need some of it left out anyway.”

“So when is David getting home?” Kelly asked.

“Hopefully in time for dinner,” Cary replied.

“Is it a deadline again?” Kelly asked softly.  “Or something else?”

Cary’s husband David worked for their local newspaper.  It was the kind of small town paper that still put out editions on holidays and on the day after, so David very rarely got an entire holiday off.

“He volunteered this year,” Cary said.  “So his counterpart could drive up to see her parents.  It’s a fourteen-hour trip, and she only asks every other year.”

“Aren’t there other people that can be acting editors during holidays?” Kelly asked.

“There are,” Cary replied.  “But they’re all more senior than David, and not as nice.”  Secretly, Cary thought the Editor in Chief always asked David first knowing that David would volunteer and then he could take advantage.  He didn’t think it was because David was gay, just that David had family that was local and didn’t appear to mind missing big chunks of the holiday time.

“Does he mind?” Kelly asked.  “I mean really?  I know he doesn’t let his boss know if he does.”

“I don’t think he does,” Cary replied.  “He liked being helpful, and letting others have the time and space to visit with family.  It probably doesn’t hurt that he doesn’t see his family, so this gives me some alone time with you all, and keeps him out of the way while I’m cooking.”

Kelly laughed.  “Yeah, one person invading your kitchen is plenty, right?”

“You aren’t invading,” he said, giving her a one armed hug as he passed her on his way to the pantry to start gathering ingredients for the next set of pies.

“It helps that we can come down for the whole week too, huh?” Kelly asked.  “So we still get to see a lot of him even if he’s working half days most of the week.”

“I’m glad you can take so much time,” he said.  There had been a few years when she hadn’t been able to get any time off at the holidays, but now she was a senior designer at the firm and she could take time whenever she wanted as long as her projects stayed on time.  She was amazing and efficient, so it gave her a lot more flexibility.

“I’m glad you’re in a job that lets you now too,” she said.  “I was worried you were going to stay in retail forever.”

“Yeah, no,” Cary replied.  He’d started working at the local bookstore when he was in high school, and kept with it through college and after.  He’d been the store manager, second in authority only to the owner by the time he’d finally found something he liked better.  He’d loved the owner, and he still loved the bookstore, but the stress and rush at the holidays was excruciating.

Now he was the executive assistant to the vice president of human resources at a staffing firm.  He worked from home 75% of the time, because when she wasn’t in the office, she didn’t need him to be.  She took at least a week off for each holiday, and as long as he kept her schedule up to date for the week after and had all her expenses turned in on time, she encouraged him to take extra time at the holidays too.

“Look who I found?” their mom said as she breezed into the kitchen.

She had their cat Oliver in her arms and David trailing behind her.

“You got out early,” Cary said with a smile.

“Three of the staff writers insisted on staying late to help finish the layout and editing so I could,” David said.

“You’ll have to take them goodies in thanks,” Cary replied, stepping over to give his mom and the cat a quick hug and then kiss his husband.  “You’re all welcome to stay as long as you park yourselves at the bar and stay out of my cooking space,” he said with a broad smile.

David laughed, and slid onto his favorite barstool.  He rested his chin in his hand with a smile.  He’s spent half of their dates the first year watching Cary cook dinner.

Image Prompt 067 – Pumpkin Pie and Edinburgh Skyline

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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 067-001 - Thanksgiving Break 2003 03

Image Prompt 067-002 - City Scenes 034

Image Prompt 066 – Outerbanks Winged Horse Statue and Tyndyrn Abbey

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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 066-001 - Welsh Dragon05-05-06 001 Tyndyrn Abbey

Image Prompt 066-002 - Winged Horses05-07-29_30 001

Image Prompt 065 – Ducks & Geese and a Snowy Back Deck

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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 065-001 - Snow10-12-26 003

Image Prompt 065-002 - Day Three05-05-11 022 Sheppy's Cider Farm

Image Prompt 064 – Welsh Hill Stairway and Renaissance Festival Shop

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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 064-001 - Welsh Dragon05-05-07 091

Image Prompt 064-002 - RenFest10-10-24 085