#writephoto — The Great Outdoors

c4f26af9-3fc6-4e23-a7e4-7c6c8f2a3a65“What a stunning sunset, Josh. Isn’t it beautiful?” Sara asked. “Look at how much dimension there is to the sky with that layer of clouds. It’s so dramatic.”

“This is pure madness, Sara,” Josh said. “It’s cold and damp and it’s nothing short of crazy to go tent camping in the beginning of January.”

“Oh come on, Josh,” Sara said. “Let’s think of this as an adventure.”

“Spring, summer, or fall would be a good time for a camping adventure,” Josh said. “Look at those bare, spiky tree branches. That, and the freezing temperature, doesn’t exactly inspire spending a night in the great outdoors.”

“Grab some of the tree branches that are on the ground and let’s build a fire,” Sara said. “Once we light it up, we can cuddle together in front of the fire and it will keep us nice and toasty.”

“Nothing like igniting a fire in front of a tent on a cold, wintry night to generate a little warmth,” Josh said, smiling for the first time that evening.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. I know Sue described this picture as having been taken at dawn, but it fit better into my story as being taken at dusk.

Also written for these one-word prompts: Nova’s Daily Random Word (dimension), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (madness), Daily Addictions (damp), Ragtag Daily Prompt (spiky), and Word of the Day Challenge (ignite).

FTS — After the Long, Hard Winter – Part 4

293BC900-0478-4317-B12B-299180BE9F52 This is another Finish The Story prompt from Teresa (aka, The Haunted Wordsmith). Teresa started the story. Then she passed it to Michael, who tagged Di, who tagged me. So let’s start at the beginning.

Teresa wrote:

Winter had been hard. Harder than anyone in Goosedown had expected. It was six weeks into spring and Emily never felt better. She was finally able to get out into her garden. The spring flowers had fully said hello and color was everywhere, but the one thing she was most happy about was the Goosedown Spring Festival that was taking place today.

With one last check in the mirror, she adjusted her bright pink hat and set out for the park. While walking there she met up with …

Michael wrote:

Mary from the Dairy trudging along carrying two pails of fresh milk. The milk was for Miss Turnout’s café and scone emporium.

It was clear Mary was not happy, as everyone in Goosedown knew of the animosity between the two women. Mary had been in love with the handsome Sir Michael, and it was Miss Turnout who spread vile and vicious rumours about Mary such that Sir Michael turned his back on Mary and went off and married the less than gorgeous Phillipa the Needle maiden.

Mary had long held the grudge against Mis Turnout and every now and then she would clear her throat and deposit the said clearance into one of the buckets. Emily, being the sweet and innocent young lady she was and at that moment filled with the expectation of the coming spring, smiled serenely at Mary as she went by.

“There’d be nothing to smile about young Emily,” said the sour Mary as she passed and deposited another into the left bucket, “the rotten old cow destroyed my life, I’m gonna make her rue the day she spread rumors about me, no matter how true they might be. Sorry I should not have said that.”

Emily had no answer to Mary’s statement and was not a girl given easily to gossip so she …

Di wrote:

nodded and continued to smile sweetly as she watched Mary trudge away.

With every step, Mary moaned and bitched about Miss Turnout under her breath. Her deposits in the milk seemed to do little to improve her mood and now she had a nagging toothache.

Maybe a filling had fallen out and was ratting around in the bottom of the bucket. Better still, maybe the old trout would swallow it and choke. That made her laugh, which in turn made her cough and there followed another satisfying splash in the bucket.

More bitching and moaning in rhythm to her footfalls, gradually fading into the distance and out of Emily’s earshot.

Emily was enjoying her walk to the park, taking in the riot of color on the way, the lovely sunshine, and the anticipation of the Spring Festival, especially as it meant passing through …

And I wrote:

62A502F2-092A-40E1-8EE2-011ED2B6A49A… the field red with poppies. Every time Emily walked through the beautiful poppy field, she would feel a strange sense of euphoria. Everything she was feeling became more intense, the colors of spring brighter, and her mood even happier. She put Mary and her feud with Miss Turnout out of her mind and concentrated on what she would do when she got to the festival grounds.

But Emily was feeling herself growing very, very tired. She was struggling to keep walking through the lovely field of red flowers, which seemed to be glowing and vibrating. Suddenly Emily had to stop. She yawned, stretched out her arms, and slowly fell to her knees. “Why am I so tired?” she wondered. “I have to lie down,” she said aloud.

It was already dark when Emily finally woke up. Had she missed the Spring Festival that she was so looking forward to? She wondered what had happened to her. But then she saw …


Okay. Now it’s my turn to tag someone and the blogger I’ve picked is storyteller extraordinaire, Iain, at Iain Kelly Writing.

Here are the rules:

  1. Copy the story as it appears when you receive it (and the rules please).
  2. Add to the story in whichever style and length you choose.
  3. Tag only 1 person to continue the story.
  4. Have fun!

WPC — Orchid Awakening

For this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge, we’ve been task with showing, in the spirit of rebirth in the spring season, an image of an awakening.

Where I live (San Francisco, CA), we don’t really have a old, snowy, freezing winters, so many plants (and other living things) continue to grow and bloom year round.

My wife loves orchids and we have a bunch growing in our garden and five or six potted orchids inside our home. During most of the year, some of them are in bloom. Right now, though, there’s only one that seems to be “awakening.” And so I decided to take this picture (with my iPhone 8 Plus) of the new buds that my wife assures me will be opening up over the coming few days.

The End of Days

0D065186-57E6-4961-9F15-52DBDE48D4A0The cloaked figure stood absolutely still. She looked across the bleak, barren landscape. The last of autumn’s leaves were falling from the trees and winter’s cold grip would soon be upon her. She knew that she would not last the season.

The only signs of life were the blackbirds circling in front of the large white orb suspended in the mostly white sky. Was she the only land creature remaining? How could what had once been so beautiful and so hospitable have become so unwelcoming, so desolate?

She was hungry and tired. She couldn’t remember the last time she ate or slept. She was lonely and alone. She was unable to recall when she last saw or spoke to another survivor. She couldn’t face another day.

She removed her cloak, and laid it upon the hard soil beneath where she stood. Her frail, weakened body was barely able to hold her up anymore, so she carefully kneeled down, her knees on the cloak. She bowed her head, and said one last prayer, a prayer that she knew would go unheard by a god she was now sure never existed.

She laid herself flat on her back on her cloak, taking one last look at the sky that before the beginning of the end used to be blue. Then she closed her eyes and almost eagerly awaited the release that death would bring.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “cloaked.” Sorry for the bleak theme. Image credit: mary1826 on Pixabay