Crimson’s Creative Challenge #86 – The Stable Door

Crisp, my aged companion and I were running late.

We stopped for a moment to gather our breath when we spied the old stable door.

“Reminds me of my Uncle Barry,” said Crisp. “Enduring, strong and thick as a plank. He was a stupid man, everyone thought so. He was my dad’s uncle and through no fault of mine, my uncle too. They say you can’t choose your family, and at times I was ashamed to say I was related to Barry. He was ignorant of the world, as my dad used to say, ‘Barry thinks a football coach has four wheels’ so we were always taught to be forgiving of him.

I thought it a godsend that Barry never married. I couldn’t imagine any woman wanting to be married to him, the poor woman would be worked off her feet.”

Crisp regaled me with other hair-raising Barry stories before we moved on.

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Tale Weaver – #282 – New Start – 2nd July – Out of the War Zone.

 In the beginning it had nothing to do with a new start.
It was about escape, and getting away unscathed.
Around him the bullets flew, there were mines everywhere, it came at him from all sides.
Self-preservation is a powerful motivation when there’s not much else on offer and the future is looking dire in every direction.
Keep your head down, don’t attract attention and remember why you need to do this.
There had been a time when life had been idyllic. Who’d every have thought it would come to this.
He found shelter down the hill; an old house became his refuge. The occupant, an old man, was happy to have company and when he heard the story of flight he was sympathetic and offered him a room.
The war wasn’t going to end, it kept on, he was subject to continued attack, but he stuck to his guns, he wasn’t giving up, he needed to do this.
There came a time of respite. He began to formulate plans for his future. There was the possibility of a new start and he began to believe firstly in himself and then in a plan whereby the next day was always going to be a possibility.
Nothing was going to happen until be dragged himself out from under the yolk of a day-by-day existence.
The new start would mean his coming to terms with his situation, of seeing a path forward, of realising there was no going back.
A new start meant precisely that, letting go of the past, building a new life but one that came from within himself and was not reliant on others. This he knew would not be easy but he also knew there was no other way to manage such a thing.
A new start, with a slightly modified version of himself.
It was simply a matter of sticking his nose out of the foxhole he was in and bravely stepping forward.
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Eugi’s Weekly Prompt “Mighty”, June 29, 2020

 From the ground looking up
The world appeared huge
His insular view minuscule
And it occurred to him
The mighty had fallen.
He should pick himself up
At least make an effort
But from where he saw himself
All human and broken
It was clear; the mighty had fallen.
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What do you see # 36 – 29 June 2020 – Cleaning the Old Shed.

Image: Pixabay- Ariadne-a-mazed
 She had harped on about cleaning the old shed and when he finally did it she was amazed by what she saw.
The clutter of so many years had been cleaned away, the dump visited four times and now there was a floor to see. He also spent time cleaning the walls of the graffiti of many earlier years when his brothers had used the shed walls as a place to express their disgust and their ideas as to how the world should be.
So once the job was nearing completion he invited her in to see what he had discovered. He recorded the whole revelation, her look of amazement caught forever.
“I told you you’d be amazed by what you could do inside the old shed,” she exclaimed looking around, “It’s far bigger than I imagined, we could do lots with this space.”
“Look here,” he called to her, “look at the tools I found. I opened an old toolbox and all of dad’s old tools were in there. I think I’d like to make a little memorial to him with them as he spent a lot of time in this shed.”
“That’s a great idea, he’d get a real buzz out of that knowing his old tools were not just gathering dust in here.”
“There’s a lot of family history in this shed,” he said looking around. “On the wall over there was written, ‘Phil was here, July 1947’, I bet he never knew that would last the test of time.”
She wandered around the now cleared space and asked him if he knew who Lauren was, the name written several times in one corner of the shed, and had long been covered by cobwebs.
“Who knows,” he replied,” there’s so much I don’t know about dad and the shed and unfortunately he’s not here to ask anymore.”
They made plans to upgrade the shed, make it serve a more useful purpose other than a storage place for all their junk.
“I’d like to use it as a studio,” she suggested and they both stopped a moment and standing back imagined the space as just that.
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Tale Weaver – #281 – Artwork – June 25th – A Morning with The Pixie.

 My granddaughter, The Pixie, aged six, suggested we draw to fill in the time between now and when she’d have to go o school.
It was 7am and her mother had a breakfast meeting to attend and I had been called in to watch over her kids before school.
So between sucking on a breakfast box, a small box of some substance they told me was the same as a bowl of cereal, The Pixie produced paper and pencils and informed me of the ‘rules’ for this project.
I had to reach into her pencil box and without looking take a handful of pencils and with what I had in my hand use them to draw.
So with a sheet of paper each we set to work all the while The Pixie chatted away as she did under most circumstances.
Art was never a strong point with me but The Pixie was very persuasive and who was I to question the merits of this activity.
So it was heads down, pencils at the ready and creation took place. I recalled my days at school so many years ago when we had the occasional art lesson. I dreaded them, I have no spacial awareness and despite Brother Ralph’s best efforts to have me draw a vase I could never get the cylindrical top looking anything like he could do it.
The Pixie is non-judgemental; thankfully, she’d look across at what I was doing and comment favourably as I tormented the sheet with a number of crude images vaguely resembling trees and flowers.
It occurred to me that my artistic ability reached its peak when I was about six and it had stagnated ever since. The Pixie on the other hand was enthusiastically applying colours like there was no tomorrow and in her head a perfect image of what she was imagining was on the sheet in front of her.
Thankfully the time for school soon arrived, it’s amazing how time flies when you are having fun.
We dutifully signed our respective work and placed them on the fridge, as one does with works of art.
The Pixie was gracious in her criticism of my artwork and I was grateful for that.
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Crimson’s Creative Challenge #85 – Crisp’s Birthday.

Crisp, my aged companion, stopped at the gatepost.

“I had a birthday party once,” she said, “it was for my twelfth birthday, and my mother went to a lot of trouble to organise it. We lived out of town in those days, and she organised a bus to bring my town friends out to the farm.

She tied balloons around the gatepost at the top of our drive, and we waited for the bus to arrive.

It arrived with only three of the ten kids we’d invited on the bus.

They said the others had decided not to come.

My mother was devastated. She went up to the gatepost and tore off the balloons.

I was left with a lot of party stuff and three friends.

We certainly didn’t go hungry, as mum did her best to appear keen, but underneath I knew she was seething.”

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Photo Challenge #321 – A Leaf Stuck on a Boot.

 It didn’t seem a big deal at first.

Wet day. Wet leaf stuck to boot.

Happens all the time, doesn’t it?

I was oblivious to it happening at the time.

I splashed through a few puddles not thinking about anything sticking to my boot, more about my socks getting wet. I dislike wearing wet socks.

I noticed the leaf when I retired for the night and took my boot off.

It was stuck on the tread, just stuck like a wet leaf would be stuck, if you could imagine such a thing.

The next morning I observed it had grown.

Impossible I thought.

But there it was.


By lunch it was beginning to cover my uppers.

It was well and truly attached to the leather.

I noticed a scratching on my foot and found a root protruding through the upper leather and into the boot.

The leaf was taking over.

I told myself I was clearly stuck in the midst of a nightmare.

I tried pruning the growth.

I read up on bonsai.

By dinner time it had taking over al by boot, there was nowhere for my foot to go.

As it was my good boots were being taken over I began thinking of the expenditure of buying a new pair.

It had been a tough month, now an expense I had not anticipated.

By the next morning my boot had all but disappeared into the foliage leaving my other boot looking somewhat forlorn, to say the least.

I sat the two boots together, one looking as a boot should look, the other more a miniature rain forest by the next morning.

Eventually, what was once a boot and was now emerging, as it’s own forest, was moved to the garden where it continued to thrive, and only last week produced the most exquisite fruit. Sweet and tasty with just the slightest hint of leather.

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What do you see # 35- 22 June 2020 – A Visit to Katazan.

The problem with arriving late at night was you never really got a good feel for the place you were in.

Take for example the village of Katazan in the remote country of Terranova just a little north of the Tropic of Cancer.

We arrived late into the night to be greeted by a hotel with spires under a full moon with strange noises coming from within it.

The doorman had what appeared to be a hump on one shoulder but by morning he appeared to have grown a second matching one on his other shoulder.

He had the creepy habit of appearing at your shoulder just as you thought to ask for assistance and his voice left you with chills down your spine.

The owner of the hotel, Count Flata, though he soon became known as Count Flatulence, for obvious reasons, was a jovial host in an odd and uncomfortable way. There was an air of complete insincerity about him. At any moment you suspected he might turn on you and have you carried off to the dungeons we felt sure filled the spaces below us.

But despite the look and feel of the place we told ourselves enjoyed our visit.

If you took away the ever-present feeling of dread, it was bearable in an almost unbearable way.

I asked the doorman if his humps made life difficult and he looked at me in amazement before uttering in his deep, deep voice that buying suitable coats was a problem. He was also surprised I had noticed. People didn’t normally draw attention to his affliction. After that exchange he treated me with an air of distain and on one occasion spilled Cabbage and Cream soup into my lap.

We left the next day excitedly looking forward to our next stop, Craggy Castle, home of Igor the Werewolf.

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100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge #23 – Victory

It came at a most opportune time. This time he didn’t add to his rejection drawer but rather placed the acceptance letter on the fridge to remind himself that success was possible.

He didn’t think his story was all that good, but his opinion of his writing had often been just that, his opinion.

This time his work would appear in an anthology of local writers and he was thrilled to have been chosen.

He ordered ten copies, in advance, knowing his mum would share in his excitement. He slept soundly that night, his mind at last at peace.

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Sunday Writing Prompt “Dark Night of the Soul”

It came after a period of profound disturbance.

For days he had been in a stupor in which he felt himself moving closer and closer to the abyss.

To him it appeared to be the only alternative.

The question was how to get there.

The train had rushed by before he had the strength to jump.

The rope he couldn’t get fixed and strong enough.

The pills had made him sick and he spent the night throwing up.

The voices inside his head kept on telling him to grow a pair and get on with it because until he acted he would continue to wallow in self-doubt.

Cleansing was the word they used. Cleanse your inner self, your soul is tainted with the stain of living, you’d be doing everyone a favour if you sunk into oblivion.

Over the years he’d heard the expression, ‘greater good’, a ‘higher good’. He wasn’t sure what it actually meant, he questioned how death would in any way result in any sort of good for him as he imagined his actions were not going to achieve entry into some glorious after life.

Was there even an after life or would everything just go black?

The voices never made any reference to an after life. They wanted action. They hated the indecisiveness of his dithering. “Its not hard he heard them say.”

But dilly-dallying was what he did. His life had been one indecisive moment after another.

Did his life matter? Would anyone miss him?

How many times had he been told he was a waste of space?

He resolved to give it another go. Living was about mental torment but it was also not such a bad place to be, there was the red haired girl on the corner who ignored him most of the time but who did smile at him once and recognition was hard to come by he told himself. Plus there was the lake and the bush, the birds and the cacophony of sound associated with nature. He didn’t understand any of it but he knew his environment was important.

This wasn’t his first time to resolve to let go of the things he thought were preventing him living. Somewhere inside of him there was a person capable of existing without the pain and anguish he felt so much of the time.

Just get out of bed, have breakfast, and see what happens!

It can’t be as bad as yesterday!

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