Beyond her comfort zone

Apocalypse by Cliff Davies
Apocalypse by Cliff Davies

Modern art glares at her from the gallery walls. Does it demand her praise or merely crave her understanding? She pauses before a blood-red canvas, a slash of blue and two blobs of green, created by a modern Scottish artist of whom she’s never heard. Should she have done?

She feels the assistant’s snooty gaze rest on her as she crosses the room, her footsteps echoing on the stark white floor. The centre-piece sculpture rears up menacingly; a hooded man, a gaping maw. Does his expression reflect the artist’s angst?

She’s seen enough.

Out on the street she meanders past a few shops but none can tempt her within. She crosses the road. The city’s unfamiliar and she’s just killing time before her train leaves.

Then she sees it.
The display beckons.
She quickens her step.

Soon she’s inside perusing the shelves and bathing in the gladdening glow of beautiful books.


Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #26

The challenge this week was literature.

With apologies to galleries and gallery staff – I used to work in one!

Catch a falling star

what do you see 9 by chris hall lunasonline

‘Okay, kiddo, you might come from a long line of lovable Disney characters but…’

Dumbo Olivier III held the phone away from his large crinkly ear and let his agent drone on. From the hotel bar where he was standing, he could see the pool area where a couple of tasty elegirls were frolicking. One of them caught his eye and beckoned playfully to him.

‘Dumbs!’ his agent’s yell caught his attention, ‘you listening?’

He put the phone back to his ear. ‘Yeah, yeah. Go on.’ He fiddled with the swizzle-stick in his empty cocktail glass.

‘You’re gonna fall off the Disney money train if you carry on like this!’ his agent continued. ‘Just lay off the booze and the chicks for a month or so. Keep your trunk out of the snow… you know what I’m sayin’ kiddo?’

‘Yeah, okay man. I’ll tone it down.’

‘I’ll book you into the Betty Ford Clinic if you don’t behave yourself.’

The young Disney star sighed. ‘All right, already!’

‘Towel yourself off, kiss the girls goodbye and get down to the studio now. I’ve got some cute photo shoots lined up for you.’

‘Cute shoots with girls?

‘Yeah, kiddo. Something like that.’


Written in response to Sadjes What Do You See #9 photo prompt.
Photo credit: Yo

Those Useful Things

Useful Things by Chris Hall lunasonline

Charity Jones was a collector of things. She started small: buttons and bows, needles and pins, those little bits and pieces a person often needs.

She kept them neatly; jars and tins filled her cupboards.

She had books for cooks and pots and pans, mixing bowls and fancy cake stands. Cauldrons for witches and… well, that’s when it got out of hand.

There were reports in the neighbourhood of eyeless newts and earless bats, headless chickens and missing cats.

It was quite a while before they caught her.

So, beware of little old ladies with sharp eyes and overstuffed cupboards.

 


Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #25

The challenge this week was charity.

The Eye of the Beholder

What do you see 8

‘They look so realistic! It’s bronze isn’t it?’ she steps forward reaching out to touch the arm of the nearest figure.

‘You shouldn’t touch…’

She pulls her hand back.

‘…remember in the Tate with the Henry Moore?’

‘But this is outdoors, exposed to the elements.’ She paces around the sculpture of the warrior bearing his fallen comrade in his arms. ‘The detail’s so fine!’ Unable to stop herself, she brushes her fingers across the shoulder of the upright warrior. The metal is cold and hard. She knocks against it gently with a knuckle. ‘I wonder who they are?’

‘Who they were, you mean.’

She rolls her eyes. ‘There must be a plaque or something.’ She crouches down, running her hand over the calf muscle of the warrior’s left leg. ‘What about the leaflet they gave us?’

He fishes in his pocket and hands her the crumpled guide to the castle, before strolling off towards the battlements. Sculpture’s never really been his thing and he finds the pair, posed together as they are, strangely unsettling.

The print on the leaflet is small. She walks over to a nearby bench, fumbling in her bag for her reading glasses and dropping the leaflet as she does so. As she bends to pick it up, she hears a loud yawn. She glances around, but no one’s there.

It hits her like a mallet.

The statues have moved.

She retreats, catching herself as the back of her knees make contact with the bench. She sits abruptly, never taking her eyes off the two statues.

The warrior has unburdened himself of his comrade and is stretching magnificently. His back is turned towards her and she can see every muscle and sinew rippling across his back. In one fluid movement his companion rises from the ground and stands facing her.

Living statues, like the ones they’d seen in Barcelona? But she’d just touched one and it was cold and hard.

The eyes of the statue facing her widen; his mouth drops open.

She freezes.

He puts a hand on his companion’s arm; he turns. Eyes lock on hers.

A long moment is frozen in time.

A loud whistle distracts her; she hears him calling her name. She looks up and sees him waving to her from the castle walls. When she returns her gaze to the statues; they have resumed their original pose.

She rises and approaches, raising a hesitant hand. Cold, hard and immovable; but she didn’t imagine it.

Did she?

She starts to walk away, then turns, staring at the two figures. Then she realises what’s changed.

‘You switched places!’ she accuses, raising a finger. ‘I know it!’

The statues remain impassive.

Footsteps approach from behind her. ‘You’re not talking to them are you?’ he says. He puts his arm around her. ‘You’ll be telling me you’ve had a conversation with them next,’ he laughs.

She smiles up at him and turns to leave, casting one last glance at the sculpture.

The upright warrior winks.

 


Written in response to Sadjes ‘What Do You See #8 photo prompt.

Just the two of us

Just the two of us by Chris Hall lunasonline

Let’s go up to the lake today, Frankie!

Come on, it’s such a beautiful day. You can do a spot of fishing.
Maybe you’ll catch something and I can cook it for us later.
Wouldn’t that be nice, Frankie?

You’ll have to help me down those rickety steps, mind.
I can’t quite manage them on my own.
Not like the way I used to.

We’ll walk along the shore, dipping our toes in the water and picking up pretty pebbles. Remember the tiger eye you found that time?
Where is it now, I wonder?

And then we can sit on our bench and watch the pretty boats.

And listen to the sound of the water lapping.

Just the two of us.

*

Frankie?

Where are you, Frankie?

Frankie?

*

Tell her he’s just popped out for a minute. It’s better that way.
Otherwise it’ll be like she’s lost him.
All over again.

 


Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #24

The challenge this week was lake.

The Rubicon

What do you see 7

She clutches the coin,
her mind’s eye not satisfied
with memories alone.

She needs an affirmation,
a token to cling to
when all else is gone.

Now in the shadow-lands
the mystery deepens,
her sight dims, her heartbeat slows.

In that moment, she fights,
desperate to break their pact,
but still onward the ferryman rows.


Written in response to Sadjes ‘What Do You See #7 photo prompt.

Blackout

Dark Lake by Chris Hall lunasonline

The lights have all gone out. Mist closes in, swallowing up the moonlight. Darkness prevails. She throws another log on the fire, flares a match and lights a candle. At least the woodshed is full, the larder too. Her eyes flit about the room: every technological trapping is now defunct. Useless.

She’s more resilient than most, living alone in her little lodge on the lake. She’s just put new batteries in the radio, but no-one’s broadcasting. Empty airwaves.

Cut off. Cut adrift.

She takes up her pen and pulls her notebook towards her. All she can do now is write.


Written in response to a prompt new to me from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #23

The challenge this week was communication.

The Epic Journey

what do you see 4 by chris hall lunasonline

He’d battled over the Melancholic Mountains of Mythndlore,

scythed through thick forests where Dark Shadows lurk

stumbled across Mind Leaching deserts and now

wading through the stagnant Green Marais

at last he’d found what he was seeking.

The light at the end of his personal

Tunnel of Angst

Finally, he types

THE END


Written in response to Sadje’s ‘What Do You See #4′ photo prompt.

The Writer’s Gift

what do you see 3 by chris hall lunasonline

Waves of words wash over her

transporting her through

space and time

to other realms

where dreams come true

and the adventurer knows no bounds.

 

Riding the White Horses of the Camargue

Dancing with Wolves

Searching for The Beach

 

She journeys to the Centre of the Earth

explores King Solomon’s Mines

and witnesses the Return of the King.

 

Laying aside her book

she drifts, dreams,

and the waves of words

still wash over her.


Written in response to Sadje‘s ‘What Do You See #3photo prompt.