#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.

#writephoto — Moss


“Please, please,” Sarah begged her husband, Matt. “ It will be perfect for the water feature in our backyard.”

“How am I supposed to get it?” Matt asked, knowing in the end he would do her bidding.

“Just take off your shoes and socks and wade out there,” she said. “And I guess you should take off your pants, as well.”

Matt looked around to verify that there was no one else within sight and, seeing that they were alone, he removed his shoes, socks, and pants. “Woo hoo!” Sarah yelled. “Nice gams, man.”

Matt shot his wife a dirty look before stepping into the icy cold water. He took two steps before slipping on the slimy rocks just below the swirling surface, landing right on his butt.

A worried Sarah called out,” Matt, honey, are you all right?”

“I think I cracked my ass,” Matt said, grinning back toward Sarah. He stood up and carefully made his way to the large,  moss-covered rocks. Once he got there, he asked Sarah how much moss she wanted him to pull up.

“See if you can cut out about a square yard, but do it carefully.”

Matt was puzzle. “What to you mean by cut out?” He asked.

“Use your knife,” Sarah answered.

“My knife is in my pants pocket and my pants are back there with you.”

Sarah reached down, picked up his pants, and removed the Swiss Army knife from the pocket. “I’ll toss it over,” and before Matt could object, the knife was in the air. Unfortunately it fell way short and splashed down into the swirling waters where it quickly got carried downstream.

“Forget it,” an irritated Matt called out to Sarah, as he started heading back to the shore.

When he got on dry land, he was wet, cold, and miserable. “Sorry,” he said to Sarah.

“No worries,” Sarah said. “I can pick some moss up tomorrow at the garden shop at Lowe’s. They have a really good selection.”

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

#writephoto — Caged


Bart tried to focus his eyes, but he was having trouble seeing. He felt the cold, damp ground beneath his supine body. His head was splitting. He desperately tried to remember where he was and how he got here, but his mind failed him.

As his eyes finally began to see again, he saw that there were bars overhead and on two sides of the small space in which he was confined. The other two walls were made of concrete. He was in some sort of cage, like one you might find at a zoo.

Bart stood up, steadied himself, and called out, “Hello?” Is anybody here?”

A voice came from above. “Bart, you’re awake,” Scott said. “I thought you were dead.”

Bart looked up and saw Scott looking down at him from a platform near the top of the cage. “Scott! What the fuck? Where are we? What’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” Scott answered. “I woke up a few minutes before you did. I think we are in some sort of prison.”

Bart thought about what they were up to the night before, but was still unable to conjure up any memories. “How’d we get here?”

“The last thing I remember was being at that escape game,” Scott answered.

Bart began to recall the two of them participating in one of those escape room adventures. It’s one of those challenges where players are locked in a room and have to solve riddles and use a series of clues in order to break out. Last night it was just the two of them taking the challenge, but the room was not a cage. It was more like a Victorian-era parlor.

“Oh right,” Bart said. “I remember some sort of mist coming into the room and then I must have passed out.”

Scott made his way down the metal stairs to the ground level where Bart was standing. That’s when a booming voice called out to them.

“Good morning gentlemen,” the mysterious voice said. “Welcome to the ultimate escape challenge. You have fifteen minutes to figure out how to get out.”

Scott looked around at the empty cage. “Where are the clues?” he asked.

“Ah,” responded the voice. “There are no clues.”

“So how do we get out of here?” Bart asked.

“That’s a thorny problem boys,” the voice answered. “But now you have only fourteen minutes left.”

“And if we can’t get out in fourteen minutes? Scott asked.

“That’s when I let the tigers back into their cage,” the voice answered.

This is another twofer. This post was written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt and for today’s one-word prompt, “thorny.” Booyah!