I know his tricks… #fivewords

Weekly Writing Prompt #155

Notre Dame Blick nach Westen - Wasserspeier

 

I know his tricks, and I can recognise the face, his, or of one of his “staff“, as he likes to call his minions. I have seen him a few times, in the old city, never in the same guise, even as an attractive person, disappearing at will in the crowd. Always, I heed his moves, his looks, for, sometime, he betrays his goal, his intentions, and reveals who will be his next prey.

Photo: Noter-Dame de Paris, collection privée, Paris in the 30’s.

Summer #writephoto

Summer

summer

 

“It looks like cotton…” she said in a calm voice, “Only, there is no-one working here.”

The landscape was quiet, the never disturbed peace of late summer.

“And there is no shadow…” She added, with a sigh. Did she mean “shade”?

He looked up, toward the darker patches of green, beyond the meadow. Small white clouds leisurely walked the sky. He then looked down at his feet. It is then he realised what she had meant: they no longer had shadows…

They must have crossed the border, in this silence, from the land of the living, to the land of memories.

Time had stopped.

 

Remains #writephoto

Remains

remains-3

 

He had come to the city, perhaps even unaware, only to write the story. It was about love, of course, or rather loves, lost, found again, unreconciled. That was two years back. The story, like a forgotten symphonie, was now left, unfinished, unpolished, and even, dare we say, unloved.

Something, someone, was missing, he feared he may know what. Somewhere in the unfathomable memories that submerged him, was a woman, the woman. And she, the sombre beauty of his dream, the one he had wanted to write for, was unwilling to belong, to fit in, to submit to his will.

Without her, what remains was a ghost, an empty shell, the faint shadow of what could have been, of what he so wanted to be.

So it was that he had to reignite the fire, and seduce her, again.

The Road #fivewords

Weekly Writing Challenge #143

DSC_0358

 

His gaze followed the road, as its silvery line slowly disappeared through the woods. As the sky was getting darker, he thought he would have to walk faster to avoid the storm.

This world was different, the landscape diffused, as if on the brink of disappearance. Was this reality, or only a dream?

Picture: Church in Lübars, Berlin © 2017 HonoréDupuis 

Avenue #writephoto

Avenue

avenue

 

Under the bright green canopy we do not feel the heat of the day, nor do we venture in the full light. You and I merely enjoy the peace, the remoteness from the living. Far away, we hear children playing, perhaps even the notes of a violin, invisible, beyond the orchard.

We have lived nearby, in a house full of memories, ours and many others’, who may have forgotten us. For we have escaped time, as we replay those cherished moments in silence, our puzzled, ethereal ghosts haunting this land forever.

Ascent #writephoto

Ascent

spiral

 

Inside was a blissful, cool darkness. As we stepped in, and the heavy door closed behind us without a sound, we admired the immaculate spiral staircase, and wondered. How long would we have to wait, and, perhaps, how far would we have to climb, before meeting the master of the house?

It was so quiet we dared not speak a word. Sun rays filtered through the curtained windows. The sparse furniture was polished to the extreme, the mirrors on the walls seemed to be veiled – or was it our imagination?

There was only one way to go, and this was upstairs. We looked at each other, and smiled: we hadn’t got thus far to abandon our visit. After all we were invited. We were invited, even though we did not know where the invite came from…

We were young, and beautiful, what did we have to fear?

We took the first step, and you took my hand. It seemed that the house had gone a little darker. You went first, I, as ever, following, it was not the first time we’d ignored a warning…

In the Land of Ago

A reading of 11.22.63 by Stephen King

3-front-quater-top-up-sunliner

 

How often do we think: “If only I could change this”, or, in whatever form, “if only I could have a second chance, go back, and do something different”? Going back, erasing, and changing the past is an old dream, the subject of countless tales and fiction works. Of course there is a second law of thermodynamics, to keep things simple, that says “no-can-do” – but still…

But imagine one could go back, reverse entropy, and travel back in time, would it be possible to change anything? Or, is the past resistant to change, obturate enough to stop, or at least oppose, a time-traveller interfering with what was, and, maybe, should be? And, even if the time traveller could change the past, what would be the cost? Perhaps more ominously: what would be the consequences?

Changing history is a special case. History, they say, is written by “the victors”, whoever they may be. It can also be rewritten, and this without, perhaps because of (not), going back to the past. There is the “official” version, and the “conspiracies”. A long-lasting, and still sinister, such story is that of the assassination of President Kennedy.

Jake Epping, not a crying man, is an English teacher at a high school in a small town in Maine. The year is 2011, and this is the end of term. Jake is, unique among his school colleagues, the customer of Al Templeton, the proud owner of the fat burgers diner. More than just a customer. He’s soon someone with whom Al is about to share a deadly secret. At the back of Al’s diner trailer is an anomaly: a fissure in time. Al has a mission, one he cannot complete, for he is dying of lung cancer. He wants Jake to take over, as he has identified Jake as someone who could, who will, bite at the bait. So Al teaches Jake, explains how this could work, and Jake listens. There is a first trial, then another. On the other side of the fissure it is Spring 1958, and America is young. Jake likes what he sees. He enjoys the fresh taste of root beer, the sweet air. Jake also has a personal objective: to prevent a domestic tragedy and help his friend Harry Dunning. The first leg of the story is there: the killing of Frank Dunning. Jake, armed with Al’s mission and notes, as well as dollars of the time, embarks on the journey.

Saving the Dunning family will take two attempts to get it “right”, or so Jake thinks. Then his personal odyssey will start , on the road to Dallas. For Al’s, now Jake’s, aim is to prevent the assassination of President John Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, nothing less. Jake has five years to adapt, plan, live, and, finally, execute Al’s mission.

Jake follows a route of nostalgia: an all-American Ford Sunliner, overnight stoppages in motels, drive-in cinemas, finally a small town, and an equally small school, in Texas. Later, much later, there will be Dallas and the horror. For a while it is (almost) paradise, his class, football, friends, a girl he falls in love with, America’s early 60’s: (almost) perfection.

Jake decides to stay, he won’t go back to 2011. But, in the end, he does. For fulfilling the mission has unpredictable consequences. When, on the threshold of his desperate return, Jake faces a dystopian 2011, he finally understand what Al had missed: that interfering with the strings of time has a price, and this is proportional to the change.

The novel concludes on a note of hope, an ending for which Stephen King credits his son, Joe Hill, at the end of the book.

11.22.63 is a great novel, to read, reread, and cherish. It is also a book to meditate on, seriously, listening carefully to the voice of its author.

Photo: Ford Sunliner 1958, via eclassicautos.com

 

The triangle #fivewords

Weekly Writing Prompt #132

Monastery_Garments-Cistercian

 

Francis wanted to capture the dream: for the third night, he had read the name of a place he had known, and, now, wanted to build into the story. There were three, at equal distance from each other, the monk had said. The last day, his stare fixed on some old manuscript he had dug out from the loot of a raid, years back, he’d looked for clues. In the morning, like today, he could not recall the names. Long ago, he had travelled, feverish, and briefly lived there, at the vortices of the triangle, carried away by the rage to discover the truth.

Where he was now, near the small park, in the city he loved, was one of those places, he was certain of it. He tried to lift his arm, and discovered he was almost unable to move: he would have to go back to his therapist. He had to work, look again at the archives.

In the park, he had met the shadow of an old monk, one night. That was before the first dream. The monk had spoken in an old, forgotten, language, and Francis had only understood a few words. Where were the other two places?

Picture source: Monastery Garments

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