Haven – Picture It & Write

grocery-store-aisle

The automatic doors slid apart, as if drawn by ghostly fingers. She paused, heart thumping, sniffing the air. Scents assaulted her nostrils – the sweet, heavy, unctiousness of lands far from here. A distant memory trickled into her mind, of laughter, warmth, worn-smooth chairs, a battered dining table, dented pots and pans with bases scorched black by blue gas flames. A home, not just a house. A safe haven.

Here, the scents were clean, new, knife-sharp. There, they had been soft and mellow and lazy. Here, the floor shone with the brilliance of constant attention and bleach. There, carefree foot-fall had worn the flagstones smooth and crumbs had nestled in the cracks in-between.

“Hey! Get out of here! Go on!”

She froze, stared at the man wielding a broom like a weapon – then ran. Ran as if the wind had caught her in its icy grip, ran as if she had somewhere else far better to turn to.

“That bloody old dog!” grumbled the man to himself. “Time somebody put it out of its misery.”

—–

Once more, I have taken part in Picture It & Write this week. It’s strange how even the most seemingly mundane photo can inspire a story! Please take a look at Ermilia’s blog and why not take part in Picture It & Write yourself? She posts a new image for inspiration every Sunday, and this week, I am posting my entry on the very first day!

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Unmasked – Sunday Photo Fiction

Here is my offering for Sunday Photo Fiction this week, inspired by the photo below.  Why not take part? And why not visit Alastair’s photography and writing blog to take a look at his other photos…?

Copyright - Kattermonran

Copyright – Kattermonran

– Unmasked –

I should be ecstatic. Earlier, as I draped myself in liquid silk, I had imagined myself gazing down at the old me, a rat-child from the slums, and smiled. If only I had known.

If only.

It was only yesterday. I had trawled through the crooked streets behind the shopping district, searching for the perfect foil to my emerald gown.

The shopkeeper’s eyes had lit up at my request. He disappeared into the depths of his ramshackle shop, finally hobbling towards me with an impossibly glamorous box, triumphant.

He pushed it into my outstretched hands, let me open it and grinned at the gasp I had no time to hide. “For you, my lady, this mask is free. A gift for your first night at the palace.”

I protested, but not too hard. He bounced on his feet, ushered me out of the door, slapped the ‘Closed’ sign against the glass and turned off the lights behind me.

I had the perfect mask.

Perfect for clearing my vision. Perfect for revealing the dirty, twisted, conniving, bitter, preening souls of the sycophants thronging the ballroom, desperate for royalty’s favour.

And I was one of them.

 

What Lies Beneath – Alastair’s Photo Fiction

Here is my offering for Alastair’s Photo Fiction this week, inspired by the photo below.  Why not take part? And why not visit his photography and writing blog to take a look at his other photos…?

Copyright - Kattermonran

Copyright – Kattermonran

– What Lies Beneath –

The four seasons are a distant memory – those days are long gone. Now we have The Dry and The Wet. I miss the crunch of autumn leaves underfoot, the mists hanging in the valleys at sunrise.

The onslaught of rain is tough at first. One day, the sun is high and fierce enough to leave us all parched at each ragged breath, the next the air is heavy, clouds low and pregnant with water. After a few weeks, the downpour ceases for a while, puddles lie still. It is this time that will find me, toes touching the very edge of one of these glistening pools, watching, waiting, staring.

“Alison? Alison! I’m here.”

The voice is faint, as if my imagination is playing cruel tricks. But this is real, agonisingly so.

The Washed Away, they call them. Most believe that they were drowned in the Flood Times, when the heavens opened for four long years. But I know the truth. Yes, they were washed away, but not drowned. Just taken down; down to The Below.

“Mother! It’s so good to see you!”

We smile, making do. It’s all we have.