#writephoto —Tudor Fixer-Upper

121AFF2B-15EF-4063-BD8A-E6588A0C9F14“You said you were interested in a large Tudor-style home and that you didn’t mind a bit of a fixer-upper,” the broker explained to her client as the two of them stood on the street looking at the house she wanted him to see. “And it’s within your budget, too.”

Douglas stared at the house. “First of all,” he said, “Whoever built this place went a little overboard in trying to achieve the Tudor look, don’t you think? The whole facade is just garish and overdone.”

“Yes, well, the home was built nearly 200 years ago and for some rich people back then, an ornate, over-the-top style was thought to be a tribute to their great wealth. Besides, that’s an easy fix,” the broker said. “It’s just cosmetic.”

“Maybe so,” Douglas said, “but the house looks uneven, like parts of it are sinking into the ground. That generally means there are foundation issues, which are far from cosmetic.”

“True, but not insurmountable,” the broker insisted. “You should really let me show you inside the house. I promise you’ll be impressed.  And,” she added, “the owner is very eager to sell.”

“Yeah, I bet he is eager to sell,” Douglas said, “before the whole structure collapses in on itself. I’ll pass on this one. What else can you show me?”

Written for the Thursday Photo Prompt challenge from Sue Vincent.

#writephoto — The Trough in the Forest

C50AAC45-C2CE-4C35-81CB-4F5CA58E3452“Hey guys, get over here. You gotta see what I’ve stumbled upon,” Leo yelled.

“Keep your pants on, Leo,” Dwight yelled back as he and two other schoolmates headed over to where Leo was standing.

Donny was the first one to reach Leo. “Jesus, what is that thing?” he asked.

“It looks like a trough of some sort,” Jeff said when he caught up to Dwight and Donny.

“Or a grave or tomb,” Leo said, affecting a spooky tone.

“It’s not a grave,” Jeff said. “If this was an old cemetery, there would be other graves, but there aren’t any others.”

“So what is it then?” Leo asked. “It’s about the dimensions of a grave.”

Donny picked up long, narrow tree branch he found on the ground, stood over the opening, and started poking at the ground in the hole. “What the hell are you doing, Donny?” Dwight asked.

“I want to see how deep it is and if I hit anything solid, like a casket,” Donny said.

Just as he said that, a cold, smoky mist started coming up from the hole. The four boys stepped back and watched in horror as the mist thickened and took on an almost human-like shape. The boys would have run, but they were unable to move, as if frozen in place.

“Who dares disturb my slumber?” a deep, haunting voice that seemed to be coming from the mist asked.

“We didn’t mean to, sir,” Leo said. “We didn’t know this was your resting place.”

“Silence!” bellowed the voice. “You have awakened me after more than a century of the restless sleep of the undead! You shall pay with your lives!” Then the smoke took on a blood red hue.

Dwight grabbed Leo, Leo grabbed Jeff, and Jeff grabbed Donny. “Run!” Dwight shouted as the boys took off running.

What they couldn’t hear as they ran for their lives was the laughter of their schoolmate, Billy, who was hiding behind a tree. “It’s amazing what you can do with a smoke machine, a microphone wirelessly linked to a speaker by bluetooth, a light bar, and a remote control device,” he chuckled.

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

#writephoto — The New Clear Winter

1198C816-52F2-422B-BF6E-38A73A541C38The village elders had talked about the prophecies, but most people thought it was just more incoherent mumbo-jumbo. The elders spoke of how, several centuries earlier, the Lord, in His wisdom, had unleashed a torrent of destruction because His children had lost their way. That global devastation brought on what the elders called “The New Clear Winter.”

The stories talked about how the thick, dark clouds of The New Clear Winter blotted out the light and warmth of the Lord, causing famine, illness, and widespread death due to what the elders named “The Torrent of the Lord.” Only the hardiest people survived the freezing temperatures and darkness that enveloped their home planet.

“There will come a time of Light, Warmth, and Salvation, which the Lord will bestow upon His faithful flock,” the High Priest proclaimed. “The prophecies say that He, praise our Lord, will part the clouds and let shine His warmth and white light that will bring about the end of The New Clear Winter and will restore His blessing upon our home.”

The people in the small village looked up in awe. When they saw the blinding white light shining down from between the bare branches of the trees as the dark clouds began to dissipate, they fell down to their knees and prayed thanks to their Lord, feeling blessed that the prophecies were right.

What they couldn’t possibly know at that time was that the return of the sun, without the benefit of a thick atmosphere to diffuse the star’s intense heat, would soon fry the planet and cause it to be no longer able to sustain life and become totally uninhabitable.

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

#writephoto — The Paths Not Followed

33C00427-6911-4430-888F-CD3E06EEBC41Benny set his heavy backpack down on the ground in front of the signpost and looked at the direction indicators. Whatever words had been either carved into or painted onto the wood pointers had long since worn away. Benny scratched his head and said aloud, “Here we go again.”

How many times in his life had Benny come to a crossroads and found himself having to choose which road to take? He always had the feeling that, no matter which way he chose to go, the paths not followed would have been the better choices. Benny remembered thinking how nice it would be if he had the ability to see where the other choices would have ended up taking him in advance of having to choose, but he knew that that was simply not possible. We make our choices and then, for better or worse, we live with them.

He figured that he still had a few hours of daylight before he’d have to find a place to pitch his small tent for the night. He looked at the signpost once again, still unsure of which way to go. Benny moved next to the signpost, pointed toward the direction pointers with the index finger on his right hand and said, “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe….”

F84B23BA-0A15-484B-B04F-4E2898BA63E9Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

#writephoto — Adrift

30581418-2CE8-46CA-9CE0-C2074B5AD2E8Cal liked to think of himself as an adventurous soul, but he never ever considered himself to be any kind of daredevil. And yet here he was, living in a cave on an isolated island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Feeling rather pensive, Cal sat down on the makeshift seat he’d constructed out of driftwood. He thought about what possessed him to embark on this ill-conceived journey. He clearly wasn’t prescient enough to have anticipated the unusual weather and rough seas that he encountered. As he thought about it, perhaps he should have given more credence to those who warned about climate change.

Cal tried to recall how long it had been since his small dinghy had crashed onto the rocky coastline of this island. But he couldn’t remember. Had it been weeks? A month? Longer?

He had managed to survived on fresh fruit and berries, as well as on fish and small rodents that he was able to catch. He gathered enough wood and brought it into his cave to dry out and would use his old, reliable Zippo lighter to ignite small fires so he didn’t have to eat his caught fish and meat raw. But the lighter fluid was gone and the flint worn to the point that it could no longer create even a tiny spark.

Using more driftwood and some vines he had pulled down from the trees, Cal crafted together a raft. The time was quickly approaching for him to cast-off from his cave home on the strange little island. He had no way of knowing if he would survive his attempt to return to the life he knew. But if he did, there was no doubt in his mind that his adventurous days were behind him.

F93D132E-2B97-47F4-8EF8-8301CCB85650Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. And for the Tale Weaver prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, leveraging the word “pensive.” And also for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (daredevil), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (prescient), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (cast-off).