The rules: Write a story about the picture you’re given.
Select 3 nominees.
Give them a new picture.
Georgie is a trusting kind of kid; obedient too. Each Saturday morning he dutifully departs to his piano practice with elderly eccentric Zephaniah Zimmerman, even though the open maw of the grand piano, with its great grinning gnashers, smirks at his inability to transverse their scales.
He’s always very smartly turned out, although his mother’s sartorial choices are not to everybody’s taste. Including Georgie’s. But even at the tender age of six, he rises above the taunts and sniggers.
That’s because Georgie has a secret. He leads a double life. Georgie disappears into other worlds.
You see, Georgie reads books.
Despite the rules to nominate three people, I think this time I’ll just throw it open and see what comes back.
What’s the story behind this old photo? I could tell you…
The rules: Write a story about the picture you’re given. Select 3 nominees. Give them a new picture.
Uncle Foss’s Library
Catherine loved books which was just as well as she had very few friends other than the characters in the stories she read. Fortunately she wasn’t short of these, as there were so very many books in her uncle’s library. Uncle Foss had been her guardian ever since she could remember. He had engaged various tutors over the years, as had been stipulated in her wardship agreement, but none had lasted long. Catherine had therefore educated herself, partly under her uncle’s guidance, through the perusal of the wealth of knowledge which was contained between the covers of his extensive library.
No books in Uncle Foss’s library were forbidden or out of bounds, although there were certain high shelves that he’d steered her away from, saying she’d enjoy those books better when she was older. But now, a few days away from her fifteenth birthday, while her uncle had been occupied in Town, she’d climbed the library ladder and removed three interesting-looking volumes which she’d been considering for some weeks now. At almost fifteen she was certain she was ready for the high shelves.
Back in her room after supper and a game of backgammon with her uncle, she chose the smallest book. It was old, bound in finely tooled black leather with silver embossed letters on the front which read: ‘Faerie Folk and Mischievous Creatures – A Guide’. Catherine had loved magic and fantasy stories since she was a little girl. She started to read.
“They are as old as the oldest hills and their presence is clings on even in the most rational minds, deep within our collective memory. Ancient and modern, of both sexes, and neither good nor ill, they live long, long lives, then disappear as ash on the wind.” Catherine started as the window behind her rattled. She looked round, but it was just the oak trees branches brushing against the glass. Storm clouds were gathering, covering the bright face of the new moon.
“Although of the earth, they are otherworldly, living between our world and theirs. Rarely noticed, they appear at the periphery of our vision, hidden in plain sight…”
Out of the corner of her eye, Catherine suddenly noticed a movement behind the nightstand next to her bed; a mouse? But no, it hadn’t moved like a mouse, and she was sure she’d seen a flash of scarlet.
There was a knock at the door. Her uncle entered, smiling. He crossed the room and gently took the little book from her hands. “It’s time, Catherine,” he said. His face lit up with excitement, “time to introduce you to the other members of our household.”
Here are the rules: Write a story about the picture you’re given. Select 3 nominees. Give them a new picture.
So, the story which, although prompted by the photo, is also a homage to my little old rooster who gave his last cock-a-doodle at the weekend.
The little rooster is first to awake, greeting the pre-dawn with his joyful call. Young squirrels start their chatter and mama guinea fowl calls from the fence top like a loud rusty gate.
The little rooster calls again; the hens shift about on their perches. He hops down and struts about, pecking at the floor of the hen-house, waiting for the day to begin.
The side gate opens. The hens hop down and jostle for position, peering through the chicken wire. Food arrives and with it, freedom. Pecking soon done, they all file out across the yard.
The little rooster rounds the corner of the house and sees mama sparrow tugging at the earth. Out pops a fat green caterpillar. She takes off and lands on the edge of her nest, offering it to the first new-born chick to raise its beak.
Then, a flash of yellow as a black-masked bird swoops in. The little rooster watches as he plucks another long strand of bamboo leaf and flies up to the high, high branch which sways over the pond, to weave it deftly into his beautifully-crafted nest.
Then the little rooster sees his favourite little black hen settled in the shade of the myrtle bush. He shuffles in beside her. He’ll take another stroll later; there’s no hurry.