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Category: Prompt Response Page 2 of 8


The peal of the village church bells just managed to catch Phoebe’s hearing. She paused on the rough track as she heard them, counting out the rings for five in the afternoon. She had one foot still in the sunlight, one just inside the shadow of the forest. She waited as the pealing faintly permeated throughout the valley — bouncing off the stone walls, echoing off the sheep, before being absorbed whole into the massive oaks that made up the forest. They sucked up the ringing, forced it down into the soil, and gave none of it back. Phoebe looked up at the nearest tree, watching it for the slightest sign that it recognised the calling out of the church below. It stood, guarding the entrance to the forest, impassive to the world. It failed to stir. read more

This Year’s Hellhound

Vilstrax’s wings ruffled slightly as the two soggy tennis balls and half of a well-chewed brick rolled to a stop at her boots. She glared up at Kobal, her eyes glowing red in the pre-dawn mists. read more

The oldest Christmas story

There is too much floor in this room. The shiny linoleum is squeaky clean but depressing in colour. That colour would be called ‘dun’. And there is, literally, room for a pony. I could actually have a pony in here. But I’m not sure the pony would enjoy taking the lift to the second floor. Do ponies do stairs? read more

The everyday hero

‘Shit, this is the worst.’ Gary checked his mirrors, looking for an opportunity to change lanes. The four lane thoroughfare, laughably referred to as a freeway, was clogged with trucks, cars and buses all simultaneously discovering that one of the four lanes was gradually tapering into non-existence, thanks to some gleefully brazen yet emotionally uninvolved fluorescent orange cones. Why these cones were blockading the leftmost lane was anyone’s guess, as there appeared to be no roadworkers, no machinery, no potholes, nor even the slightest hint of loose gravel which might pose a danger to the peak hour traffic that the lane’s closure was exacerbating. read more

Fauré Requiem

My grandfather was a man of sawdust and sweets, skinny legs and cardigans. read more

A Moment of Madness.

“Bye Ma, see you tomorrow. Love You”. We each hugged a tight hug and reluctantly let go. We eventually left turning to look back, at each step and smile with reassurance that we’d be back tomorrow but also, that Mum would still be there. Eventually we found ourselves walking out of the hospital at a slow melancholy pace. read more

The Terrible Threesome

The doorbell chimed. read more

A funny thing happened…

I huffed along the winding path; two plastic dog poo-bag containers clunked together as I held the two leads in one hand. The dogs were in good spirits, panting happily and trotting along at a decent clip. This was not bad, considering one of the dogs was certifiably ancient and the other was of a highly distractible nature. I nodded a greeting to a middle-aged couple going the other way; they wore matching puffer vests and had a self-satisfied look. Maybe they just weren’t being dragged along by one-and-a-half reasonably motivated dogs. read more


“I could never kill someone, just don’t have it in me.” read more

The Challenge

It stood majestically as the owner’s guardian of the soul. This mighty growth, tall and straight in the centre of the western lawn provided the house much needed shade in summer, while its bare, cold, denuded branches gave passage to the light of winter’s sun.
Its leaves, so soft and green, towered over the tiled roofs of the near neighbourhood, a lookout for those who thrilled at the challenge climbing its highest branch.
He stood there at its base, staring ever upward, wondering, dreaming. Today, he would triumph, he would scale the heights and look down upon the surrounds, master and commander of all he surveyed, king of the world.
Never mind past failures, never mind the bruises and cuts sustained in earlier attempts. They were mere dress rehearsals for that great day he knew was coming. It was always going to come. He just needed time; time to learn, time to practice and most of all, time to grow.
And now he had grown. He had been too impatient thus far, too ambitious. Trying to scale its lofty heights last summer had problems. Excessive heat under a burning sun caused exhaustion through dehydration. There was no water fountain installed along the upward journey.
Autumn wasn’t a good choice either. The leaves were changing, falling; a disturbance that he could not afford. It was a long way up and fraught with danger coming down. Too much dead matter was an unwanted distraction.
Winter looked a possibility. Clear vision, enabling wise choices, careful treading, the top always in full view. But winter meant moisture on the branches. It would be slippery, there might be high winds. One might lose one’s grip. Injuries would be serious, perhaps fatal.
Spring, in the late afternoon was the right call, after the sun’s warmth had dried the branches and with the breeze at his back; that ticked all the boxes. The early spring growth not yet hiding possible pitfalls added weight to his conviction that today was ripe and right to conquer this beast.
Today would be the day. It had to be today. His honour and self-respect were on trial. He had telegraphed his intentions too many times only to leave, to walk away, pretending it was of no significance. There had been too many delays. Each time there was a reason, a good one maybe, but possibly also the realisation that the daunting prospect of failure brought not just loss of face but physical injury as well.
So, there he stood, looking up, pondering, calculating the route he would take. He could make it to the broad branch about twelve feet up easily, the one that stretched out to within inches of the upstairs bedroom window he shared with other family members. He could climb up there and calculate the next phase.
He decided it should be done in stages with a break each time, both to celebrate making it this far and then mapping out the next move. The excitement was building. He walked around the base, looked up to the sunny blue sky and felt that welcome gentle breeze brush across his face. A few cars drove past as he readied himself. He must not let them distract him.
Then, with one huge leap his journey began. This was it. Today was a rite of passage. He clung tenaciously to the bark and just as he was about to spring forward once more, he heard the call.
“Ginger, Ginger, where are you?” And then the sweetest sound of all. She always tapped the top of the can with a spoon to let him know dinner was about to be served.
His ears pricked up, he looked toward the front door, saw her standing there with what he knew to be the contents of something hearty, healthy and filling. Suddenly, the tree would have to wait.
He leaped back down onto mother earth, landing on all fours and ran as fast as those legs would carry him.
There would be other Spring days.

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