Fun With Freewriting – Week 21: A place for all

 

Fun with Freewriting time! I like the idea for this as one central place being used and respected by so many different groups.

Please leave a comment if you have the time, I enjoy and encourage feedback. To check out my previous ramblings click on the link or tab at the top of the page.

 

Standing alone in the middle of the field, the shade tree stretches its branches as far as it can. Each year its reach extends that little bit further, its foliage growing that little bit greener. With nothing to stand in its way, the branches have grown  out equally in all directions, leaving a near perfect circle of shade beneath. The field in which it stands is lush in green grass, never grazed or used for crops, instead the owner keeping the grass short anyway.

        A well worn path leads from the gateway directly to the foot of the tree, and the gate is never locked. Everyone understands the importance of this place, and so it remains free and open to all. Visitors are known to have traveled hundreds of miles to see it, to touch it, and both young and old alike are drawn to the place. Surprisingly, despite the large volume of visitors each month, there had never been a single act of vandalism against the place, no scrap of litter left behind, or any other sign that someone had spent their morning or afternoon there.

        Of course, there were theories abound about the draw of the place, from historical and biblical to supernatural and scientific. In the local towns and villages, debates had been known to last for days over its origins and its purpose, but once there, by the tree together, all the arguments seemed to drift away on the breeze. Whatever their beliefs, everyone would stand side by side, brought together in unity by its beauty and wonder.

        Nobody seemed to know exactly how old it was, despite plenty of digging into it. Its solitary nature made it difficult to determine from photographs, other than the method of the photography itself. Even the oldest available pictures showed it to be a good size, so how far back it became established was anyones guess.

        Over the generations, so many celebrations and festivals had been held in its honour it was equally difficult to keep track of them all. All manner of groups had paid their respects in their own ways, some loud and brash, others more quiet and subtle affairs, but each group had a great respect for the rest and would always leave it exactly as they’d found it, with never a sign that they’d even been there.

        Far away from any hustle and bustle, the shade tree and its surroundings offered a place of sanctuary and tranquility to all that may require it. A place surviving the test of time and bringing joy and hope to as many as it can.

Fun With Freewriting – Week 20: Taking the coast road

 

Fun with Freewriting time! The imagery for this came mostly from the roads along some of the Norfolk coast, but the village and what happened are purely fictional. Could be the beginning of a longer story though …

Please leave a comment if you have the time, I enjoy and encourage feedback. To check out my previous ramblings click on the link or tab at the top of the page.

 

The road ahead is clear as we drive along. To our right the trees pass us by, varying shades of green and undulating in size. Now and then there is a break in them and we can see the fields behind, stretching back across the flat land. A house can be spotted at times in the distance, a lone residence in the middle of the peace. None were built close to the road though, no-one dared anymore after the destruction of the village a half century ago.

        On the other side of the road a wooden fence is all that stands between us and the embankments that lead down to the narrow beach and beyond, the vast ocean. For once I’m actually glad that David isn’t a speedy driver. Although the road is clear of other traffic and the road can be seen clearly ahead for for a fair few miles, it wouldn’t take much to go straight through the fence and down onto the beach. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people had done so over the years and found myself glancing over the edge to try and spot signs of any wreckages.

It was a clear day but breezy with it. The clouds that were present in the sky were moving at a swift pace, intermittently blocking the warming rays from the sun. Further out the sea appeared calm and still, but nearer the shore the building and crashing of the waves gave away how choppy the waters really were.

        These days the beach was far more shale than it was sand, much had changed over the last few decades. There used to be a village stretched out along the coastline of about 60 homes, with a sprawling beach of soft golden sand within a few minutes walking distance. But after one of the most horrendous storms, perhaps even the most, one night the entire village was gone. In its place was a gaping hole carved out of the landscape, with practically no evidence that anything had ever been there in the first place.

        No survivors were ever found, there were no remains or debris from any of the buildings, it was as though something had just come along in the night and scooped them all away. There weren’t even any signs of anything washing back up onto the beach in the weeks and months that followed.

        To this day, it remains one of the biggest mysteries yet to be solved in the area.

Fun With Freewriting – Week 19: Preparation

 

Fun with Freewriting is here once again. I quite enjoyed writing this one, although as it went along I was very aware of influence from a particular trilogy of novels. I wonder if it’s obvious to anyone else …

Please leave a comment if you have the time, I enjoy and encourage feedback. To check out my previous ramblings click on the link or tab at the top of the page.

It would soon be time, but Rachel really wasn’t sure if she was ready. She’d been building up to this moment for months now, and as it finally approached, the last few hours ticking away, all those doubts from the first few days came flooding back.

How could she be good enough? She was a nobody, born into an unknown family and abandoned in the first days of her precious life. She had no sense of who she was, where she came from, and no way to find out either. Standing at the top of the stairs, waiting to be called, waiting for her turn, she could see Brayden in the doorway at the bottom.

She couldn’t let him down now, he’d given her so much just to be here. He glanced up at her and held her gaze. His clear blue eyes were full of hope, knowing how much this day could change their lives. The corners of his mouth twitched, offering the subtlest of smiles, his excitement yearning to burst out from within.

Rachel lowered her gaze as the dread began to build inside her. She could feel it deep within, bubbling away with rising intensity, threatening to consume her and prevent her from succeeding. Her palms were sweating, she had to resist wiping them on her gown. It may only be for show until she changed into her battle dress, but she’d had few things in her life anywhere near as beautiful and she wanted to keep it sparkling.

From out of nowhere a guard came into view and stood at the bottom of the stairs. He raised his hand up to her and held it there, waiting for her to join him. His head and face were covered by his helm, and all she could see were a pair of unfriendly eyes transfixed on her as she descended.

She concentrated on the stairs before her as she began to descend, her efforts focusing on taking one step at a time in her uncomfortable footwear. If she fell now, she hoped it would be hard enough to smash a hole in the ground large enough to swallow her whole. Successfully reaching the bottom, she held out her own gloved hand to meet the guards at the bottom. Her gloves were well lined but she could still feel the coldness of his touch through them.

He led her through the open doors to the waiting night where she would finally meet her opponent. She looked straight ahead as she passed by Brayden, willing herself to be strong if only for his sake. Her resolve fluttered though as she saw for the first time who she would be facing. It was all she could do to stop her knees from buckling as she came face to face with him, the stranger from her dreams.

Just who was he, and how did she end up meeting him like this?

Fun With Freewriting – Week 18: Decisions

 

Time again for some Fun with Freewriting. Please leave a comment if you have the time, I enjoy and encourage feedback. To check out my previous ramblings click on the link or tab at the top of the page.

 

The wind is blowing outside, keeping you from sleep. It whips around the guy-ropes, pulling tight against the tent and you pray that the pegs were hammered in hard enough. The outer sheet blows against the inner, threatening to collapse the whole tent around you. You have to resist the urge to brace your hands against either side, trying to keep everything in place through sheer will.

Where was John? He should have been back hours ago. The longer time goes on without his return only heightens the inner turmoil you’re going through. He told you to stay put no matter how long it took him to get back, but as the night draws on and the wind howls around you it’s getting harder to stick to his advice.

The rain has started now, gently to begin with but it doesn’t take long until it’s beating down hard, joining with the cacophony already surrounding your little bubble. It’s almost impossible to hear the sounds of anything else now, no way to hear the noises from anything that may approach, be it friend or foe.

What if John can’t make it back, and one of the others has to come in his place? You have no way of knowing if they are on your side or theirs. They’re hardly likely to declare themselves loudly as they get nearer, putting your mind at ease. And even if they did, what reason do you have to believe them? They would probably declare that anyway, even if they were the enemy, gaining your trust before they pounced.

If only John had left you with some sort of clue, some strategy of knowing who to trust and who to fear. Instead you have to sit here and ponder, scaring yourself more and more as you can only think about the worst case scenarios.

But eventually you will have to make a decision. Do you stay, paralysed in your own fear, until someone comes and finds you, all the time knowing it could mean life or death?

Or do you make a move? To either go out and find John for yourself, or simply to remove yourself  from being such an easy target?

Which would you do?

 

Fun With Freewriting – Week 17: No rest

 

Here is my latest offering for Fun with Freewriting. Please leave a comment if you have the time, I enjoy and encourage feedback. To check out my previous ramblings click on the link or tab at the top of the page.

 

Time is taken for granted in too many ways. We look at the clock constantly throughout the day, too many times to count, always checking that we’re in the right place for that particular point in time.

It’s almost a given that tomorrow will always come for us, and the next day and the day after that. But for many of us that certainty is not always there, and although as individuals we never really know it, there is always one who does. He knows the fate of all of us, from the moment we enter into this world in a daze and full of confusion, he knows just how many days we have been given to walk this land. He has no hand in this decision you understand, that decision comes from somewhere, something far greater than himself, he is simply supplied with the knowledge.

And, understandably, he does not work alone. There are far too many of us trundling across this planet for hi to cope with such a burden alone, he couldn’t possibly be on opposite sides of this globe at precisely the same time should the need arise. So he has his minions to assist him, a legion that is thousands strong and spread out as evenly as they can be.

His selection process for this task is a tough one too, only the best will do. It is not an easy job recovering the souls of the dead, especially if in life they had excelled at being evil. And if the soul had their wits about them and fled, they could be devilishly hard to catch. They’d lost no end of souls that were running around causing mayhem because a collector had taken their eye off the ball. And that usually meant he had to step in himself, meaning a massive detour in his plans in most cases.

He felt it a shame that he had to delegate his work in this way, he was convinced that the rest of them didn’t bring such care and attention to the job as he did. They only saw it as a job, no matter how much they protested the fact.

He would much prefer to attend each and every one of them himself, to give them the level of respect that they’d earned in their life. If only there was a way to replicate himself for the task, he’d have no need for the rest of them.

Fun With Freewriting – Week 16: Reflections

 

Here is the latest installment of  Fun with Freewriting. Please leave a comment if you have the time, I enjoy and encourage feedback. It’s all a learning process after all!

 

Looking at her reflection in the mirror, Jackie could hardly believe that the person gazing back was herself. She didn’t look anything like the woman she thought she was, or even felt she was. Gone were her long red curls that used to cascade over her shoulders and down her back, replaced now with grey hair cropped short for convenience and pushed back absently behind her ears.

        Her face looked thinner than it used to be, not in an unhealthy way but her cheeks weren’t as plump as she’d like and her cheekbones and eyes had a little too much emphasis. Her clothes didn’t appear to cling to her body either as they once did, instead just hanging from her shoulders and loosely covering her frame. Without lifting her blouse to check, she didn’t believe she had any hips or breasts to even speak of.

        What has happened to her? Had so much time passed her by that she barely even noticed what it had done to her?

        She looked again at the clothes she’d brought into the changing room to try on. They didn’t look any different to the ones she was already wearing. They had the same dull straight lines and were the same drab colours with no life in them at all. Looking again at herself in the mirror she sighed. She always used to make much more of an effort, thinking carefully about her outfit, her hair, her makeup.

        She realised she was retired now but that really was no excuse, surely she should have more time to think about and plan these things. She could understand it when the children were little and she spent all of her time running around and looking after them. But they were all grown now and had set up their own lives a long time ago. She had the grandchildren every now and again but that was far more of a pleasure than a chore.

        Something definitely had to be done, before she gave up on herself completely. Grabbing the new clothes, still on their hangers, she hoisted her bag over her shoulder and stepped out of the changing room. She left the shop assistant bewildered  as she handed the clothes back, explaining that they were just too old for her. She strode from the shop and headed over to her husband who’d been waiting for her.

        ‘Didn’t you fancy anything from there, love?’ he asked.

        ‘No,’ she replied, ‘it’s all just too old. Let’s find somewhere else.’

        She put her arm through his and set of with purpose. She needed a better clothes shop and a cosmetics department. And after that, she thought to herself, maybe they’d go and see what the travel agents had to offer.

 

 

Fun With Freewriting – Week 15: Suspicious

 

Time for week 15’s entry for Fun with Freewriting. Please feel free to leave a comment, I enjoy and encourage feedback, and if you have any favourites from any on them let me know! You can check them out on my Fun with Freewriting page.

The trees and the houses whizzed past on either side, and I tried to keep my gaze trained on them. I held on to the rail tight with one hand, the other clasped to the strap of my backpack. Standing with my feet apart, I braced myself against the bumps and turns as we negotiated each corner. I swayed in unison with the other passengers sitting in their seats, everyone trying their hardest to look at anything but their fellow travelers.

        I couldn’t help myself though, I had to keep checking on them, to see if I had caught anyone’s attention. Keeping my head towards the window I stole a glance, first one side and then the other. Everyone seemed to be in their own little world, caught up in their own bubble of existence and whatever problems they were dealing with. I still didn’t trust them though. Any one of them could have been sent to watch me, to monitor my movements. How far would they let me go with my plans before pouncing?

        I looked around at them all in turn, sizing them up as potential threats, but the truth was it could be absolutely any of them. They were thorough in their deception, and it was a tough job for me to detect the impostor, never-mind a layman spotting them. And there were all the people sitting upstairs too, it could be any one of them and they were out of my sight line to check them out.

        The bus finally slowed and everyone began shuffling with their belongings ready to depart. As they all rose from their seats I pushed myself back against the window, willing myself to become as small as possible. One by one they filed past me towards the door, and with my head lowered I cast my glance up to look each of them in the eye. Their reaction to my presence was mixed, some smiling politely, to which I tried to reply, others scowling at me full of suspicion. And of course I couldn’t blame them, I really should have been the first to step off, but I needed to check my back first.

        As the last of my fellow passengers passed by, I joined the queue not knowing whether I felt relieved or frustrated. Surely they weren’t going to make this easy for me? Or maybe I was losing my touch a little. Either way I had no choice but to keep going with it, and keep my eyes open all the way. They had to reveal themselves at some point, and when they did I had to make sure I was ready.

 

Fun With Freewriting – Week 14: Discovery

 

Here is the week 14 installment of  my freewriting activities. If you’ve missed any of the others you can check out my Fun with Freewriting page. Please feel free to leave a comment, I enjoy and encourage feedback, and if you have any favourites let me know!

 

There must be so many secrets hidden along this street. Every day I walk past all of the houses, in the morning on my way to work and in the evening on the way back again. And every day going back and forth most of the curtains remain closed, or at least the horrible net curtains do. It’s as though the occupants within are making a determined effort to keep the whole world out, where they can sit in their privacy and comfort and keep their own eye on everyone else.

        Not that I’m one to pry of course, but the very presence of such barriers is enough to pique my curiosity. It’s such an obvious statement that they want to hide themselves away, even if there isn’t really much of interest to keep hidden.

        My house stands right at the end of the street, with nothing but the woods beyond, a stark contrast to the rest of my neighbours. One of the first things I did when I moved in was to take down all the net curtains, front and back, and dump them rather unceremoniously in the skip at the front.This in itself was enough to unsettle everyone else along the street, I imagine that’s where the rumours of my strangeness began.

        The whole house had been foisty, my aunt hadn’t been one for the fresh air, and I had all the windows flung wide open for most of the weekend. The scent of the cut grass wafted into the house, making the entire place smell like spring itself.

        If I thought that being at the end of the street would offer any amount of privacy I was wrong. It seemed the entrance to the woods was right next to me and was a popular route for dog walkers, of which there were many. I couldn’t help but notice how much interest they all showed in what I was doing to the place either.

        There wasn’t much interest in me as a person, however, all I seemed to get were scowls of disapproval. The house was already beginning to stand apart from all the rest and I wasn’t even half way through with my plans yet. It didn’t bother me much though, how little interaction these people were willing to have with me. Getting to know them was all part of the next phase, and there was plenty of time to get there.

        For now, everything was about getting the house prepared and getting myself settled in. It wasn’t a small job to get the entire house decluttered, at 93 years old my aunt had accumulated a lot of stuff. Some of it was precious, worth keeping, but the majority was junk and filled skip after skip.

       I didn’t come across anything interesting until it came time to do the loft space. There wasn’t much up there except a battered trunk, the contents of which went along way in explaining the behaviour of my new neighbours …

 

Fun With Freewriting – Week 13: Watching

I’m a bit late with the latest Fun With Freewriting post, but it’s finally here. And the upshot is that you’ll have two during this week! At least I hope you will …

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it now it’s here.

 

Here is my safe place, where I am the most comfortable and content. After days of dodging gangs, avoiding the fires and being chased by thieves and muggers I can finally rest at last. I’d stay here indefinitely if I could, alone with the quiet and tranquility that only the forest can provide. Nothing but the sun shining from above and the birds songs resonating in my ears. If only it could sustain me with food and water too, my life would then feel complete.

And so the peace would always be broken after a few days, and the lower my food reserves became, the more agitated I felt myself getting at the thought and anticipation of returning to that hole. I was left with little choice if I wished to remain in this small piece of surviving wilderness, the next closest town was just too far to travel back and forth. At least with this one I only had to spend one night in a hovel, cowering for my life, hoping and praying for the daylight once again, and I could carry enough provisions for nearly a whole week, I’d take that balance any day.

But the distance and my safe place are not the sole reasons for me sticking around here. This city may be the dirtiest and most dangerous place that I’ve ever had to depend on for my survival, but it’s also home to one of the most beautiful things in the world.

I can’t really remember the first time I caught sight of Serena, she seems now to be such a constant in my life. Her long, wavy, blue hair and silver skin stood out like a beacon amongst the black rubble and burning buildings. Everything was in chaos around her, yet she seemed logical and methodical as she made her way down the street, helping those that had a chance for survival and easing the transition for those that were on their way to the next world.

She wasn’t daunted by any situation, no matter how hideous or horrendous, simply assessing, tending and leaving comfortable while she made her way to the next. As I watched it felt as though the rest of the world simply faded into nothingness. At the centre of my focus, the rest of the city emanated from her and revolved around her presence.

One day I hoped to have enough courage to meet her, talk to her, learn more about her. But not today, today I could only watch,

Fun With Freewriting – Week 12: Biding Time

Wow, we’re on week 12 already, almost three months of free writing fun! So here it is, a little scenario to whet your appetite. I quite like this one and have made a note to develop it a bit more. Might have potential …

The naked flames flicker around the room as we huddle together for warmth. We’ve been trapped in this place now for three days without heating or electric. We’ve been taking it steady with our rations, and should have enough to see us through the rest of the week, we just need to keep our heads.

Poor Shane couldn’t handle it beyond the first two nights, and its been over twenty four hours now since he left us. Rattling around in the same rooms without power or even any idea of when we’re able to leave. It had sent him beyond help quicker than either of us had expected.

Part of me is glad that he left, wondering what he’d have done to himself, or us, if we’d tried to keep him contained. But I can’t help thinking of him now as the wind rattles away all around us, out there on his own without food, without water, or even decent clothes to keep him warm and dry.

The heat from our meagre fire barely reaches us as we sit in a pile of blankets in front of it. The wind whistling down the short chimney is keeping at bay any chance of coaxing the flames further. The shutters banging against the window have become a regular, pounding drone on the edge of my consciousness, along with the wind itself.

Although we sit in the middle of the forest here, the trees aren’t quite close enough to hear the rustling of leaves or the creaking of branches. We have long since given up staring out of the windows, constantly searching for signs of a rescue. There were too many shadows and glimpses of eyes for this activity to promise any kind of comfort.

I felt certain that there was something out there, knowing that we were in here and biding its time. Just watching and waiting, seeing if an opportunity would present itself. I try to push these ideas and images to the back of my mind, burying them under a forced optimism, but still they creep back in, deliberately making themselves known.

I don’t share these worries with my sister, not bearing to voice them aloud for fear of the very act bringing to life these demons in my mind. The only thing she fears is running out of food before help arrives, but I’ve made provisions for that.

I just hope that rescue comes soon before it too sends me mad. I’d have no other choice but to follow Shane’s example and abandon my sister in this place. I could not be responsible for anything happening to her, that kind of burden is not one that I would carry well.

All I can hope for is to cling on to my mind, keeping one ear open for the approach of help, or of something else …