Calling #writephoto #Writerswednesday

Thursday photo prompt

p1060149

 

Through the snow, through the pixelated mist of our lives, I see him. Writing about him – only the antlers prevent me to say “her” – is another story: precisely.

Inspiration is like this vision, looking back at us, shrouded in doubt, shying away from the obvious, a myth. The stag will soon disappear, absorbed by the shadows, by the blank page. Alone, the white flakes of memory will, briefly, lit our darkness.

 

Stillness #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

 

weymouth-028

 

“… No, we can’t detect any sign of human or humanoid life anywhere… There is plenty of life in the water, on land too, mammals and birds… plenty of beautiful insects…”

“What about buildings, traces of recent organised activities?”

“There are ruins, covered with vegetation, some remnants of railroads… We have scanned what looks like bombed-out urban complexes, mostly under water, on what might have been the coast line, before the floods…”

“Can you confirm the telemetry: any trace of emissions, radioactivity?”

“All confirmed. Radioactivity is stronger around the old nuke power stations, mostly flooded, but weakening. As our satellites showed, there is no radio emission. Some structures look like ancient observatories, on remote mountains. All dead.”

“Okay, it looks as if there is nothing for us to do here. Just complete the scans, and then come back when you are done. The orders are to continue to explore the remaining planets in the system. Just in case some of them have escaped there…”

 

Fallen leaves

photography of trees near river during fall

Photo by Alexandra Shchelkunova on Pexels.com

This year it may have arrived late, but now, it is here. The time of the year when shadows play tricks, shallow shapes appear, as if conjured up by a malicious genie, and then disappear, erased. This lovely vision may not be real, those blond hair, flying in the light wind, are not what they seem: as I got nearer, anxious to see the face, it’s nowhere, it’s just me, and some hidden gnome, invisible, yet present, and I think, laughing silently. The light is low, diffused, under the trees one does not recognise anything, cannot see through the light mist: I see you, but is it you? Or an ancient witch pretending to be you?

The waters of the canal reflect a deep green that doesn’t not come from the sky, but from an elsewhere, a deep, unfathomable to us, humans. We lost the skill to see this light, but was it ever a skill, or rather, a right? Gold and brown, grey and a colour which is undefined, a wavelength our eyes don’t capture. Dark knights ride in the clouds, bearing runes that may signal our end, our dismissal from what is, still, paradise. I feel small, in a world that, for now, and the next few months, no longer smiles at me. Those ghosts are not my friends, they merely remind me that life is short.

And Winter is coming.

Copper #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

copper

 

It is not so far, where we met for the first time, when we were incredibly young, and so ignorant.

Not so far in distance from here, but in time, we dare not say. We know, much have changed around us, everywhere.

Except us.

Wiser we are, and so much stronger.

We’ve lost tracks of all those years, for we live for the present: ghosts we might be, but the happy sort,

as we have each other, for evermore.

 

Is there still such a thing as a good (Vampire) story?

IMG_0755

I wrote this post as a quick flash response to #writephoto, and then thought I could build a bit more on the story. But this genre, pace Interview, has been flogged so many times that I have my doubts. Nonetheless the follow-up is here, but one word of warning: some adult content! At this point I am not sure how far I can go with this. Part of the inspiration is indeed in the streets of Berlin, and in the forests of Brandenburg, not so far from this city. As for the characters, let’s say that any resemblance to living persons etc…

Picture: Seestraße at dusk (©2019 Honoré Dupuis)

 

Harbinger #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

different-magpie-1

I was in my last university year, preparing for a master in German Literature and History. Beside my academic work I enjoyed exploring the country, once called eastern Germany – Ostdeutschland sounded so much better – on my bike. At weekends I used to cover long distances, on the wonderful cycling tracks, or, sometimes off those well marked routes. My home was in the oldest, slightly wild, part of the city, in a beautiful pre war building that had miraculously escaped from the “Sanierung”, the destructive renovation craze that swept the city for decades. There, I inhabited a spacious fourth floor apartment that was ideal for a romantic, yet busy, student and sports addict. At that time, there was no woman in my life, part from my sister and a distant aunt who both lived far away. I was reading intensely, and had started publishing short stories in local literary journals.

That weekend I had done a long loop to the North and East of Brandenburg. It was late autumn, still warm during the day, and luminous. But I had left the beaten track, and followed an ancient path, evidently not much used, that snaked through a thick forest. The trees were old and magnificent. I was in love with the woods, and enjoyed listening to the many birds and small animals who lived there. It was getting late, at the time of year when the sunset suddenly explodes, and darkness comes quickly. I stopped for a little water and to rest my legs, in a small clearing. Soon I heard an owl. It was unmissable, but the owl was not hunting nor flying, she sounded like she was talking to someone, in a low voice, very closed to where I stood. I located her voice coming from a large oak tree nearby. The light was beginning to fade, but I managed to see the owl, sitting still on a high branch and looking down at the foot of the tree. There it was dark, but I finally located, in the grass, pretending not to be there, an old magpie who looked somewhat annoyed at my presence. But there was another shape, bigger, in the shadow: it looked as if the owl had been talking to two creatures.

It was a woman, a small woman, dark haired and wearing a sort of cape, also sitting cross-legged and looking up at the owl, or so I guessed. As I approached slowly, she must have heard my steps, and turned her head towards me. Her face was amazing, a young face, yet looking much wise, with pale green eyes that fixed me with intensity, and lips of bright carmine. Her hair was dark and flowed in waves around her shoulders. She was no tramp, but a well dressed young lady who wore old-fashioned but elegant boots, and was displaying very shapely legs above them. I was surprised, but managed to smile. The owl was silent. The magpie had disappeared. Then I heard her voice, a melodious low voice, speaking the local dialect, which I understood well enough:

“It is late for a city dweller to haunt these woods, stranger. Are you lost?”

I was not sure what to say. I came nearer, my mind a mixture of curiosity and amazement. “This is very kind. Yes, I got a bit off the track. But I heard the owl, and saw the magpie. Were you three talking? In which case I must apologise for the disruption.” She laughed, evidently amused at my speech. “Not at all. My friend up there, and I, are always interested in meeting new people…” I came closer and sat next to her. “But, she continued, don’t wait too long, I will show you how to get back to the main road, for soon it will get very dark.” Her voice was enticing. She was looking straight at me, turned toward me. Her penetrating eyes were catching the dying light. I knew this was a special instant. Who was she? Did she live in the woods? Was she really talking with the owl? We stayed silent, and I cannot tell now for how long. The night was soon all around us. I heard a rustle of small feet, then I must have fallen asleep for some time. When I came back to reality, it was pitch dark. I felt I had been bitten by some insect on the side of my neck. The young woman was no longer there, but there was a note pinned to my shirt, a carefully drawn small diagram showing which way I should go from where I was. I stood up, my bike was where I had left it, my rucksack still hanging from it. I looked at my watch: I must have been in the clearing for not longer than one hour. I had good lights and followed the diagram. It was very precise, and half an  hour later I was back on the path I had to take to get home. 

I felt hungry. I cooked myself some eggs and mixed a salad. I had a glass of wine. I was pondering my experience in the woods. The face of the young woman in the woods was still in my mind. I went to the bathroom for a shower, and I used Teatree oil on the skin of my neck. It wasn’t hurting. There was a mark, as if small but very sharp teeth had bitten the surface of my skin. That night I slept soundly, without dreaming. The following morning the mark had disappeared. 

 

 

Murmur #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

murmuration

 

“They are swarming, soon they will fly away toward those trees…” I said, “And disappear beyond those clouds…” you replied. It was the end of the long day, we would soon pack for the night, fold the tent, get ready for the hunt. Soon we would need to feed, even if soberly. Your green eyes turned to me. I could see the signs on your skin. I drew the sharp blade, it glittered in the dying light.

We heard an owl. The starlings had disappeared, as you predicted. “I am thirsty.” You said.  A small cut would suffice. As you enlaced me, your arms around my neck,  I saw the red of your beloved lips, felt the despair in your embrace. I held you tight, and as you drank, became as one with the monster in you.

Nothing like a five-year old manuscript

sea-mist

 

I am working on this “draft” (of drafts) again. It says I last worked on it in 2016, the first words go back to 2011, which I find both curious, and almost desperate. The plot is vague, the characters unbelievable, well, not so deep anyway. Yet I find this important, even vital: retracing these steps, pausing on the good bits, not yet editing but planning to.

This project was, at the time, very time consuming. I looked for every opportunity to work on it, despite… a rather busy life. And, now, I really want to turn it into something worth reading, not just by me, but even by others too. There is something in the story I find, again, puzzling. I think it is the geography of the thing, its way to send the characters… maybe where they want to go. Not so random.

Shitty first drafts

“Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.”

Peedeel's Blog

Shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. People tend to look at successful writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits…

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Reaching #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

twilight

 

“So we are back”, you said in a tone of voice void of emotions. But I knew better: “back” meant we had failed, together, to adapt to a different life, to create the new, to be reborn. Yet this was our home, the naked ground where we belonged. Even the barren trees were part of us, a befitting reminder of the winter of our souls.

“We’ll find a ruin somewhere, do it up, settle down…” I added, hopeful.

“I love those clouds, and then I am here, still, with you!” You replied with a smile, “I thought we should never regret a failure, the important thing, was to have tried.”

“I knew you would understand,” I said, fixing you, as you were reaching for my hand, “Together we are strong, as strong as ever.”