Burns Supper

Burns Night by Chris Hall lunasonline

People thronged around the marquee which had been erected on the tennis courts. Nobody knew why their little Lancashire village had been picked, but who’d question the Office of the US President?

The Women’s Institute had been tasked with preparing the celebratory supper. Mrs. Doubtworthy had suggested that they pop down to Asda for a brace of Hall’s haggises, but the other members of the WI were resolute. The haggis would be made from scratch.

Mr. Greenwood was ready with the requisite musical accompaniment. Everyone was familiar with his bagpiperly skills which he regularly practiced of a Saturday morning, when most civilized people were still abed.

At precisely 7pm, the motorcade swept into the village. Besuited security men shepherded their charge into the marquee, where the Mrs. Duckinworth, chair-lady of the Parish Council, bid him sit at the head of the table.

Mr. Greenwood’s pipes heralded the haggis which was laid before the President. Miss Lynch, the former language teacher, began the address.

The President prodded his haggis with a fork. ‘You Scottish people eat this stuff?’

Mrs. Duckinworth frowned. ‘Sir, we’re not Scottish. This is Lancashire.’

The President’s advisers muttered amongst themselves.

Mr Davies, the Geography teacher intervened. ‘Perhaps you’d intended to visit Lanarkshire?’

‘Whatever,’ growled the President. ‘I’m here now and I’m hungry.’ He stabbed a piece of haggis and thrust it into his mouth.

The room fell silent as he chewed.

‘Ugh! What is this?’ the President spluttered. ‘Forget my Scottish roots. Go get me a burger.’


Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #30

The challenge this week was tennis.

Author’s note: I strayed far from the word prompt, not wanting to pass up the opportunity of writing about something so topical and so appropriate to Susan’s proud Scottish heritage. Burns Night, 25th January.

I give you the ‘Address to a Haggis’ by Robert Burns:

The recipe for Haggis the WI ladies used

Hall’s haggis from British Supermarket, Asdano relation, by the way!

Sadly for you US and Canadian folks, haggis has been illegal in your countries since 1971.
I shall be popping into our local Spar for mine tomorrow.

The Test

what do you see 13 by chris hall lunasonline

Alys balled her fists, digging her nails into the palms of her hands. She stepped into the stone circle. Moonlight shone on the cromlechs and lit up the faces of the members of the coven who stood in eager silence. This was the final test. Unless she could prove her mastery of the fourth element, she’d be banished from the sisterhood forever.

She raised her head and closed her eyes, centering herself. Palms back to back, she laced her fingers and took a deep breath. Muttering an incantation she opened her hands. A tongue of fire issued forth. She held her open palm aloft for all to see.

She had conjured fire.

Another word, and the fire was extinguished. Alys slowly folded her hands and clasped them gently to her chest before descending from the stone circle. ‘Thanks Sparky,’ she whispered, as the miniature dragon scurried back up her sleeve.


Written in response to SadjeWhat Do You See #13 photo prompt.
Photo credit: Pixabay

The Flight of the Eagle

flight of the eagle by chris hall san man lunasonline
Source

/… previously

Never before has he experienced such freedom!

The curve of his beak parts the dawn sky as he spirals upwards from where his man-body lies inert on the koppie. A wisp of fragrant smoke from the flickering embers of the camp fire floats upwards in his wake. Then the last remaining log splits asunder and explodes in a shower of pin-prick scarlet sparks.

He soars on the thermals; the warm air fills his wings and transports him over the purple veld. He flies east, as the new day’s pink-gold sun emerges and spills over the purple mountains. Below him, he watches his own shadow running beside a long ribbon of eland as they follow-my-leader across the parched earth.

His keen eye discerns the path his companions have taken and he smells their scent which lingers in the breeze.

The song of the San Man reaches out to him across the sapphire sky.

Soon he alights on a branch of the solitary thorn tree. His companions are resting in the still-silence; neither awake nor asleep, drifting in the half-light of the awakening veld. Now, with his arrival, they let go and he watches over them as they sleep.

The San Man picks up his spear-stick and walks silently off into the veld.

Back on the koppie a slender figure emerges from the cave. She kneels down by the man who lies by the dying fire. He stirs, staring up at her with unseeing eyes. She shakes her head. He sleeps on.

/… to be continued

For the Greater Good

For the Greater Good by Chris Hall lunasonline
Source

Great Being Five gazed up at the three Superior Beings in Interview Chamber 4. She didn’t have to be told why she was here.

She had contravened the non-interference protocol¹, deleted one of her planets² and banished a fellow Being to the furthest corner of the universe³.

There was silence in the Chamber.

Five reflected on her transgressions. She must justify her actions.

She flung out a mind-picture of how she’d saved her lovely blue Planet Earth. One US president accidentally falling from the top of his own building had prevented the outbreak a third world war. It had only been a tiny tweak.

She visualized the moment when, years later, she’d reluctantly activated the total destruction of Planet Earth. It had been for the Greater Good. Those wicked little humans were about to infect another planet.

As for the fate of the odious Great Being Nineteen: who’d missed him with his destructive ways? Probably someone he owed money to. If anyone had contravened…

ENOUGH!

The thought-wave almost knocked her out of her chair.

The room vibrated as the Supreme Beings mind-melded.

Five gripped the arms of her chair.

Great Being Five, we are filing a guilty verdict.

Five braced herself.

However, your justifications are accepted.

You are assigned to the Academy for Wisdom.

* * * * * * *

Five sat expectantly in the big red chair in her shiny new office. Her screen flashed.
Assignment:
Great Being Nineteen – Re-education. Take all the time you need.

Five smiled. This was going to be fun!


 

Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #29

The challenge this week was interview.

——————————
¹ Accident on Earth
² And Finally She’d Pulled the Plug
³ A New Dawn

 

Casting Woes

what do you see 12 by chris hall lunasonline

‘You’ve got me an audition for what?’ Freya stared at her agent in disbelief. ‘You are joking aren’t you?’ A neat curlicue of steam issued from her purple nostrils.

Jez Talent hurried across the room and flung open the office window. ‘Unikitty is big time, Freya.’

‘I’m a serious actress,’ Freya huffed. ‘I will not work in some Lego toy spin off.’ She raked a purple-painted talon across the arm of the capacious couch on which she was perched.

‘Sometimes we have to take what we can get, sweetie.’ Jez returned to his leather-upholstered armchair. ‘After your disastrous audition for G.O.T…’

Freya pouted. Her spiky tail began to twitch; the glass-topped coffee table in front of her rattled ominously.

‘Okay, okay.’ Jez held up his hands in surrender. ‘Not Unikitty.’

‘Well?’ Freya’s eyes smoldered. ‘What else have you for me?’

Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty?’

‘What’s with the unicorns, Jez? I’m a dragon!’ Freya snorted, issuing a shower of sparks from her nostrils.

Jez eyed the resulting scorch mark on his thick shag pile carpet.

‘You want me to dress up in drag?’

‘Unicorns are where the big-time is at, sweetie.’ Jez ran his fingers through his thinning hair.

‘If that’s the best you can do, I’m finding myself a new agent!’ Freya stood up and swept from the room, her tail overturning the coffee table as she went.

Jez sighed as he watched Freya fly off from his office window, her dazzling blue wings framed against the giant Hollywood letters.


Written in response to SadjeWhat Do You See #12 photo prompt.
Photo credit: Flickr

Read more about Freya’s story in The Audition

Don’t look back

Don't Look Back by Chris Hall lunasonline

Look away, my love. Remember it as it was. Listen to the birdsong swelling in a clear blue sky, hear the insects hum, feel the joy of the new lambs dancing in our fresh green fields.

Fix it in your mind. Our little farmhouse with its pretty garden. Smell the lavender you planted by the door, feel the cool breeze on your skin as it flutters the flower-sprigged curtains which you made last summer.

Let us go now, my love. Don’t look back. Let us leave this black and broken land and find a place where we can start anew.

 


Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #28

The challenge this week was damage.

Game on, Sinead!

what do you see 11 by chris hall lunasonline

Sinead had fought and won. Finally, the Sword of Elshain, the second of the four Sacred Artifacts, was hers. The first, the Crystal of Nor, was safely tucked in her unicorn’s saddle bag, and he, Moonsprite, had gone on ahead over the dark mountain, while she followed the sunset path into its heart to find the fabled Blue Orb.

She pressed on into the gathering darkness, a halo of bats swooping and calling her onwards. The Sword began to glow, lighting her way. All she had to do was hold her nerve and follow the words of The Prophesy.

Without warning, Sinead was plunged into darkness. The silence pressed in on her.

No sight, no sound.

*    *    *

‘Arrrgh!’ Sinead screamed out in frustration. ‘Damn these power cuts. That was the furthest I’ve ever got: Level 9.’ She sighed and groped around for her head torch. Its beam cast a hollow light over the dark and silent computer screen.

She picked up her book and ran her fingers over the embossed lettering on the cover: The Prophesy.


Written in response to SadjeWhat Do You See #11 photo prompt.
Photo credit: Pixabay