#writephoto — The Tower

img_2733Clyde stood at the bottom of the winding steps that led to the tower that was once a monastery before the monks had been driven from the land. He wondered how many others like him, loyal to the crown, had been forced to march up these same steps, hands bound tightly behind their backs, and walk into the tower. He knew that shortly he’d be taking his last breath after being suspended, hanging in agony, his arms tied to the uppermost wooden rafters high above the tower’s cold stone floor, until death finally overcame his incredible pain and his suffering ceased.

He had fought the hard fight for freedom and independence. The country he once loved had fallen into chaos after the invading hordes of barbarians from the north assassinated his beloved king. The once beautiful, tranquil countryside, with its rolling hills and fields of green, had been turned into killing fields, the blood and bodies of the dead, both defenders and invaders, were strewn across the landscape. It broke Clyde’s heart as he tried to remember what life was like before the invasion.

But nothing was as it once was, and Clyde’s capture by the barbarians was, for them, something to be celebrated, for he was a great warrior and the barbarians were sure to make a spectacle of his death.

Yet to Clyde’s surprise, there was no spectacle, no great celebration. Upon entering the tower, he was led to a table and, with his hands still bound, he was told to take a seat. There were only a few men inside the tower with him. After a moment, the leader of the invading army sat down on the other side of the table, directly across from Clyde.

“Clyde,” said the man sitting across the table, “I am Therrin, the leader of the….”

“I know who you are,” Clyde interrupted. “Where are all of your subjects? What of the music and the celebration for having captured me?”

“Ah,” said Therrin. “You wish to be a martyr, a symbol for your people to rally around.” Therrin paused. “You must think me a fool. I will not let that happen. Only a few know of your capture and none but this small group assembled within this tower shall witness your demise.”

“So be it,” Clyde said. “Be done with me as you will. I am not afraid to die.”

And that is when they heard the irresistible song of the siren, calling out to the two of them from a distance.

“Clyde! Timmy! Come on home, boys, supper is ready.”

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.


#writephoto — The Glade


John and Matty removed their backpacks and sat down on the rocks next to the creek bed. Matty took a deep drink from her bottle of water and opened up an energy bar. She looked up toward the crest of the hill, the sun sending beams of light through the trees, illuminating the ferns near where they sat.

John looked over at his wife and followed her gaze. “Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s so lush, so bucolic.”

“Yes, it is,” Matty readily agreed. “And it’s more than that, John,. It’s tranquil, idyllic.”

“So incredibly serene,” John added. “It’s totally unspoiled. It’s nature undisturbed by humanity.”

Matty looked at her watch. “I hate to say it, John, but we’d better be heading back.”

“Right,” said John. They each tossed their empty water bottles and energy bar wrappers into the pristine creek and left.

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — Snow Day

E46FDEF0-53D9-480E-A3CE-D15234A2DBDFSam and his young brother, Tom, were thrilled that it had snowed enough the night before to have covered the ground with a few inches of fresh, soft, fluffy snow. And more important, the snowfall was enough for schools to be closed for the day.

After getting the blessing from their mother, who had to begrudgingly stay home from work because of the school closings, they headed out to the woods a few blocks from their home.

The boys were running around, trying to make snowballs to throw at each other. But the snow was too dry and fluffy to make good snowballs, so they decided to go exploring deeper into the woods. That’s when they saw something strange in a small clearing in the forest.

They both ran toward the object that attracted their attention. “That’s weird,” said Tom.

Sam looked around. “Hey, there are no footprints in the snow around this thing, but there’s no snow on it,” he said.

“So what does that mean?” Tom asked.

“It means that it was put here after the snow stopped,” Sam answered. “But how did it get here? Who put it here and didn’t leave footprints in the fresh snow?”

Tom looked at the object on the snow. It had three animal skulls, antlers intact, on something shaped like a yield sign. “I don’t like this,” he said to Sam. “I think it’s a warning. Let’s go home.”

“Don’t be such a wuss, Tom,” Sam said. “I want to find out what it means and who put it here. Are you with me or not?”

Tom could feel the stream of urine trickling running down his leg. He was as scared as he’d ever been in his young life. “No I’m not with you. I’m going home. Are you with me?”

Sam looked at his little brother. “Fine,” he said, “but one of these days you’ll have to develop a sense of adventure.”

When the boys walked into their home, their mother was sitting at the kitchen table sipping some coffee and listening to a news bulletin on the radio. The announcer’s voice conveyed a sense of urgency.

Authorities are urging people to stay away from the woods just east of Carroll Township, where police found three deer carcasses in what appears to be some sort of ritualistic ceremony. The animals were apparently decapitated and their heads are yet to be found.

Sam and Tom looked at one another. This time it was Sam who felt the trickle of urine running down his leg.

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

Whatever Floats Your Boat


“It sort of reminds me of a sphinx,” Dora said looking up at the cloud partially blocking the setting sun.

“To me it looks like a merry-go-round horse,” Alicia replied.

“Yeah, I can see that,” Dora said. Then wistfully, she said, “I don’t see how anyone can’t believe in God when they see something like this.”

“I don’t,” Alicia said in a matter of fact way.

Dora looked at Alicia with an expression of disbelief. “How can you look at that sky and tell me you don’t see God’s hand? The evidence of God is all around us.”

“I hear that all the time from people who believe in God,” Alicia said. “Evidence that God exists is everywhere you look, they tell me. Well, if that’s the case, why can’t I see it?

“Your walling yourself off from seeing such evidence,” Dora said. “It makes you blind to ‘The Truth’ of God’s existence.”

“I’m not walling myself off,” Alicia said. “If any definitive evidence were presented to me, I would be thrilled to change my mind about the existence of God.”

“But if God does not exist,” Dora said, “life is ultimately meaningless. If life ends in death, then it does not matter how you live.”

“You really believe that?” asked Alicia.

“I do,” said Dora. “If God does not exist, what is the point? Without God there is ultimately no hope for deliverance from the shortcomings of our finite existence.”

Alicia sighed. She looked back toward the slowly setting sun and the ever shifting shapes of the clouds. “Whatever floats your boat, Dora.”

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt


The Big Picture


“Sorry, I don’t see it,” Hank said.

“Oh come on,” Marilyn said. “Look again. Look harder.”

“I’m looking as hard as I can,” Hank responded, his eyes squinting as he stared at the rocky mountainside dark against the setting sun. “I just don’t see it.”

Marilyn was exasperated. “What do you see?” She asked.

“I can’t tell,” Hank answered. “It’s too far away. It’s either a pile of rocks or a tree growing out of a crack. Or maybe it’s someone standing on the summit.”

Marilyn looked toward the huge rocky cliff. “What exactly are you looking at?”

Hank looked at Marilyn. He was confused. “I’m looking at what you asked me to look at,” he responded. He pointed to the outcropping at the top of the mountain. “That thing that is sticking up from the top. You said it looks like a young girl, but I just don’t see it.”

“No!” Marilyn said. “I said that it looks like the silhouette of a young girl’s face has been carved into the side of the mountain.  Look harder. Don’t you see it?”

“Oh yeah!” Hank exclaimed. “She’s sitting down at the top of the mountain and her long hair is blowing in the wind.”

“You know what you’re problem is, Hank?” Marilyn said, shaking her head back and forth. “You can never see the big picture.”

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.