Stone story

I’m the last one awake, now. My sister, Emerald, was admiring the snow on the mountains when the sun came  up. Standing on tiptoe. Ha! She never learns. She’ll wake up stiff this evening, and she’ll be complaining all night. Ruby, Beryl and Jasper were curled up nicely, like little piglets, while I told them a bedtime story, and they just drifted off. I could see them petrifying while I watched.

At least the days are short this time of year, and tonight the moon will be full, so they’ll be able to run around. I’ll make some tasty mud pies, and we can play some games. Dad might come home. He’s been gone a week now, and we all miss him. He went to look for mum. I don’t think he’ll find her. I think she was Taken.

Aunty Quartz got Taken last month, and the month before that it was Uncle Granite. Cousin Shale went some time over the summer. He’d moved over to sleep on the other side of the pond, but he’d wave at us regularly, and then one night we noticed he wasn’t there.

Don’t tell the little ones, but I’ve heard it’s humans that Take them. They hoist them up with special slings while everyone’s asleep and stony, and then they carve them up, and turn them into garden walls, lintels, ornaments. It’s disgusting! Emerald says she’s seen them, but she’s a terrible liar.

Dad says it’s not true. He says not to worry, but I do. I don’t want to be made into a wall. I’d love to stay awake and keep an eye on everyone.

I’m so sleepy, though, and my legs are heavy. I can’t move my head any more…yawn…I’m just going to close my eyes…

Rooks

Starlings form one being,

that moves and spins, each bird

part of the whole. Rooks,

on the other hand,

travel as a company

of individuals. I’ve watched them,

loosely linked, peeling off singly

or in pairs, coming together

for food, or fighting.

They are a company of swords,

the mercenaries of the skies,

choosing their companions,

committing fresh each day.

 

For Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt. I have a minor rook obsession. It might show.  

The window

“Did you hear that?”

“Sorry, darling, I was deep in my book. What was it?”

“Oh, I don’t know. It’s so silly. I seem to hear it every night. There’s a rustling noise, and then a gasp. The first time I heard it I thought someone was climbing the trellis. I actually went to the window and looked out, but there was nothing there. Perhaps I’m going a little mad!”

“It’s probably mice”.

“Mmhm”.

 

The spirt of Lady Casabella stood at the casement gazing down. Her lover, Sir Montacute, had been so close. Just as their fingers had touched, he’d slipped and fallen. She reached for him in desperation, but to no avail. He fell silently, mindful of her honour, his eyes fixed on hers.

Casabella watched him fall, and waited to hear her husband’s footsteps behind her. Tonight, as every night, he would rush to the window, and see the broken body far below. He would turn to her, knife in hand, and thrust the blade – once, twice, thrice – into her bosom, and then stand over her as she bled to death.

Night after night she endured this. Night after night, dimly aware that the castle had changed around her, that people came and went, seasons passed. This was the price she paid for her dream of freedom.

For Sue Vincent’s Thursday prompt. 

Spring

There was snow all around, but her houme was a haven for spring. Around the little cottage the grass was green, and the air was scented with primroses and bluebells. Birds flitted here and there, and petals floated down from the cherry trees, echoing the snow falling on the fields and hills all around.

Spring would come in the outside world, and for a few days her garden would be aligned with the land. Summer would leave it behind, and she would watch wistfully as wild roses blossomed in the hedgerows, and fledgelings left nests. Cherries ripened in the orchards, but not in her garden. Autumn brought blackberries, ripe apples, and leaves turning gold and amber, drifting down to form great carpets of colour, but her garden remained green and fresh and young.

She sighed, and turned away from the window. Would she have chosen eternal youth if she had known that it would be this lonely? She ran her fingers through her long, dark hair, and glanced at her reflection in the mirror. Her skin was smooth, her eyes were bright. She smiled.

Yes. She would make this choice again.

 

This is for Sue Vincents #writephoto prompt. 

Bridge for Sue Vincent #writephoto.

beneath-the-bridgeI sat under the bridge because that’s what trolls do. It’s a shade thing. Our skin is sensitive to sunlight. That’s why we often seem grumpy. “Sun-touched”, we call it. We wonder about you guys, striding around in all that light. You cover up your bodies, that’s obvious, but your faces are exposed all the time. It’s no wonder you have so many wars.

I’m talking too much. Most trolls don’t say very much. We’re shy and retiring. We like to curl up in the shade, spend time watchin and listening, rather than endlessly talking. My uncle curled up under a tree one time, and a bird thought he was a big rock, and built a nest in the hollow under his arm. He had to wait three months for the eggs she laid to hatch, and the baby birds to fly away. He told me later it was the best three months of his life. He spent his days watching the sunlight move over the grass, the rain clouds coming in and passing away, even the grass itself growing.

I liked to sit under the bridge, and think. I watched the water change colour as the sun moves overhead. I saw the movement of the wind. I heard the sound of voices and footsteps as people crossed the bridge above me – always chatting, laughing, quarrelling. So quick to move and change. More recently, I heard the rumbling of cars and lorries, shaking the bridge just a little. Sometimes there were fish in the water, or ducks – almost as quick to quarrel as humans.

That day was a little different. I heard two voices, one deep, one light. They sounded angry, and that made me sad. Trolls don’t like anger. I tried to concentrate on the shape of the rocks in the water, and how the water rippled around them, but the voices grew louder. Then there was a splash. Somebody had thrown something off the bridge. I watched it move through the water, settling at the bottom on the fine river sand, reflecting the sunlight as it went down. There was silence after that.

I don’t often move from this spot, but this little thing was so tiny and so sparkling that it intrigued me. Very slowly I got up and waded into the water. It was hard to find – my movements made the water swirl up silt and sand from the river bed, but finally I had it in my hand. A tiny ring of gold, with a sparkling stone set in it. A diamond.

How I howled. Don’t they realise, those flashing, shifting, quarrelsome humans? Each diamond is a baby troll. Once they’re plucked from the earth they can’t grow any more. Poor little diamonds – they’ll never have the joy of watching a daisy open, or a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. They’ll never feel the difference between a wind bringing gentle showers and one bringing rain. They’re just a little stone, chained onto some human’s finger.

And that is why I shook the bridge. I shook and shook, until it shattered into fragments. Down it came, crashing and thudding – cars, too, and a couple of humans – not so quick now, not so fast to move. I still felt sad, though. It didn’t help.

I don’t sit under that bridge any more. I have a little spot up on the hillside, where I sit and watch the clouds form and float away. I keep the little diamond close by me, and tell her what I see. Maybe if she stays close to the earth she will get her chance to grow.

#writephoto

This is for Sue Vincent’s Writephoto prompt. I couldn’t think of any other reason to be under a bridge. 

Low tide – for Sue Vincent

I low-tidepause here, to appreciate the quality of the light. We are connoisseurs of light, after all. How many times has my love sliced me a delicate sliver of moonlight, or licked the last traces of a soft pink sunrise from my fingertips? This light, the last of the day, is as silver as a mirror. I inhale the clean scent of it.

We are creatures of fire, my love and I. Cut me, and angry flames rage forth. Bind me with rope, and I will burn it to ashes. Wrap me in chains, and I will squeeze them as you squeeze a lemon – liquid metal oozing between my fingers. Only trickery could have captured my love, and only cruelty could have cast him into the cold darkness of the ocean. The fire burns white within me when I think of it. I have vowed to find him. I have sworn by the sands of the desert, by the bright molten heart of the volcano, and by the dangerous beauty of our mother, the sun.

You will know when I find him, you pale moist creature moulded out of earth and water, sucking in air like the milk you suckled at your mother’s breast. You will know, because the sky will burn. I will take my vengeance on all the slippery beings of the water, on the darting, swooping children of the air, and the plodding dullards clotted out of earth. My love and I will make a desert of this world.

Pray that I never find him.

This is for Sue Vincent’swritephoto Thursday prompt.

 

#writephoto Gold – for Sue Vincent

The kids were squabbling over something – some filter Jess was using – and Sukey could feel her blood pressure rising. Literally feel it, as if her blood was going to explode out through her skin, coating the inside of the car with sticky red gunk. She resisted the urge to scream at them to shut up – it would only lead to endless “He did”, “She did” whingeing. She took a deep breath and tried to lower her shoulders.

That was when it came – the great flash of light, just over the brow of the hill. Sukey instinctively braked, but kept her hands tight on the wheel. For a moment or two she was dazzled, couldn’t see anything. The car fell silent instantly, both kids stunned. Joe spoke first.

“What was that, mum? Was it a bomb?”

Sukey shook her head. She had no idea.

They reached the brow of the hill and Sukey stopped the car keeping the engine running. The three of them stared out over the valley before them and the thing that now lay at the heart of it.

It was massive. A vast silvery dome, covered in flickering lights, smoke or steam gently rising round it. The trees surrounding it were scorched and flattened.

Jess broke the silence, this time.

“Wow. What is that? Let me out, mum, I need to get that on Snapchat”.