The deep

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The small bathesphere was lowered over the side of the science vessel ‘Valour’.

Steph sat at the controls, watching the pressure guages and reporting every 100 meters they dropped into the abyss.

At 1 kilometer there was a brief pause to check all the systems again. Carbon Dioxide was at acceptable levels, the filters were working. Air was being pumped down at the right rate from the ship. Up top in the ship the mission room were happy to give her the go ahead to continue.

A few minutes later, and the pressure had increased massively on the hull. But it was built to withstand them. The bulbous glass windows were curved to take the external forces without buckling.

A shadow passed one of the windows, something gold and glittering… It came back, huge, fish shaped. A gaping mouth opening. The images on the bathesphere’s cameras were flickering with the reflections from the metallic looking fins and scales.

Steph shouted out in surprise ‘what the hell is it?’. But the ship didn’t hear her.

The rescue wasn’t successful. As they wound in the cable the scientists  on the ship could tell that the weight on it was no longer there. Finally the severed ends of it were hauled over the stern. ‘lost at sea’ was the report that was published…..

 

Ivy grows

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As she sat on the ground by the house she felt the warmth of the sun calming her and relaxing her. It had been a long morning gardening. Now she had sat down with a cup of tea and a biscuit.

The ground she was sitting on was laid to lawn. Behind her the bare brick was partly covered with a few strands of ivy.

As she dozed in the sun next doors ginger cat came and sat on her lap. She dreamt of a perfect cottage garden, she would lift up the lawn and plant a bank of crocosmia and ox eye daisies. On the wall behind her she would remove the ivy and plant clematis and wisteria. Maybe a peach with branches strung out along the wall.

She gradually fell into a deeper sleep. The scents of the roses wafted across the garden. Time crept by. If you had watched a time lapse film of the day you would have seen the ivy seem to pulse, and grow….. Tendrils of green stretching. Ariel roots burrowing, not just into mortar but flesh. No way was the ivy going to be removed. Around the body of the woman the branches grew.

Finally all the moisture in it was sucked out, there was just a dried husk left. Tearing through eye sockets. From the mouth. The ivy created tiny berries. Dust fell to the ground, what was left? A mug and a plate. The wall was covered.

Waiting for him…

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Standing under the sculpture of two people holding up pottery was not her idea of fun. But they had agreed to meet there. She didnt think he would turn up. They had met on line, but never spoken. Would he turn up with a rose in his lapel, or a funny hat? Was he tall or short, fat or thin? He wouldn’t send a photo, didn’t like selfies, and would only communicate by email or text. He’d told her he was shy! Shy? In this day and age, where everyone did so much to talk and share, and talk about themselves.

Ten minutes later, she was still alone, he was late, no one had come near her. People were popping in and out of the museum. Couples, singles, adults and children….

A man approached, middle height, middle aged, dark hair, glasses, reddish beard. ‘ Do you know where the bus station is?’ he asked.

I’ll give it five more minutes she thought. It had started to drizzle, and the wind was washing over her, freezing her eyes, her ears, her hands.

No one came, the sun was setting, a young woman with a baby in a buggy walked past, and held out her hand to a young man walking along the pavement. The street lights started to twinkle and she decided she had had enough of this torture. She stood up and started to walk away. Someone rushed up behind her and tapped her shoulder. ‘Hi, I’m Mike’ he said…..

Dragon watch part two.

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The night had passed and Drulk, the grandfather, looked out from the dark Forge. The sun was rising. No sign of his son or grandson. He knew they were captives of the Dragon Lord and his beast Hirst. But somehow he knew in his bones that they would return…

Meanwhile, in the dungeons of the Dragon Lords castle, his son and grandson sat in the dark and damp. They were waiting to hear their fates.

Brerd was the old man’s son, his boy was called Srep. Neither of them had eaten or drunk since their capture.

‘Father will we die here?’ Said Srep.’ No, I don’t think so, son. I think the Dragon Lord wants strong slaves. But wait and see. I will try and free us if I can.’

Hours later and the sun had set. Two guards arrived and unlocked the barred door. Shackling the man and boy, they roughly pulled and dragged them out and up the stone stairs. Up and through tunnels and corridors, into the Great Hall.

Hirst lay stretched out on the rock surface at one side of the hall. Head lolling to one side. Eyes half closed.

In front of them, sitting on a throne, the Dragon Lord looked down on them.

Abruptley he said ‘what have you done to Hirst?’ ‘he is ill’. Brerd shook his head ‘he is poisoned, if you free my son, I will tell you how to save the dragon.’ At this the Lord shouted, ‘You poisoned him? How? Your son will die for this, not be freed. How dare you try to negotiate with me!’ Brerd shouted back, ‘then fight me. If you win you can make us slaves and gain the antedote. If I win we go free!’

He didn’t expect the Lord to agree to this so was shocked when a sword landed at his feet. ‘unshackle me, so I can fight’, ‘No’ came the harsh reply.

That is how Brerd the Iron master and blacksmith came to fight for his life against the Dragon Lord.

Heaving the heavy sword up he tried to parry the hefty blows from Lord. They rained down on him hard and fast. By luck more than judgement he remained upright. But like a tree trunk being practiced on, he remained mostly static, feeling the harsh crashes of sword against sword. He was being beaten down. His hands were slick with moisture and salty sweat dropped into his eyes. Still he fought on. Then a glancing blow caught his forehead and he toppled forward. The Lord stepped forward to take a final stabbing thrust at Brerd, but instead felt Brerds sword penetrate his chest. He sank to his knees and whispered ‘Hirst, kill them’. But his voice fell on dead ears. The Dragon had succumbed to the poison. It had been the ‘strong iron’ that the grandfather talked about. It was a mixture of iron filings and saltpetre. Something in that mix was death to dragons. Knowing this old knowledge, Brerd had taken a pouch of it with him when they went hunting. As he was snatched by the dragon he had thrown the pouch and contents into its mouth, where strong acid there dissolved it almost instantly. No antedote would save Hirst after that dose, it was just a matter of time.

Using the sword to cut through his sons bonds, Brerd freed Srep., ‘Come’ , he said, ‘ we must go back to see your grandfather and tell him the news. We will release the slaves as we go.’

Later that day, Drulk looked out of the door of the Forge again. Instead of seeing no-one, he caught sight of his son and grandson. ‘Thank the gods’ he shouted, as he walked to meet them.

Red moon, blood moon…

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Before dawn someone in will die. The wolves are howling, it is not safe to go out…

So said the old man as he sat in the shack in the woods. He was with his best friend, a man twenty years younger, who had decided to visit for the weekend. I have my gun loaded, said the old man, I will protect us.

But no one has been killed by wolves in a hundred years, said his companion. Why do you think it will happen? Because of the blood moon came the stern answer.

As they settled down for the night clouds drifted over the moon, soon the storm hit. Snow fell deep, piling onto the shacks roof. One foot, two, four, finally eight. The snow was suffocating them, the fire had been allowed to burn low and suddenly snow fell down the chimney. The roof started to collapse, snow sifted in like sugar, through the cracks…..

The younger man woke with snow covering his face, cold, wet and smothering. It was pitch black, then the feeble rays of the blood moon penetrated the dark. With its help he struggled free. He had to locate his friend, the man was breathing, but unconscious. He dug him out with his hands and the help of the rifle.

Outside his truck was covered, it would take him ages to dig it out. Until then there was no chance of shelter. The shack was a jumbled mess.

All he could do was keep digging, hoping to get to a door, though whether his key would open the lock he doubted. It might be frozen shut.

A howl drifted through the night. The sound startled the digger who fought harder to shift the snow. The howl was closer, creeping towards them. He checked his friend, still breathing, but deathly pale and cold. If the wolves didn’t get them the freezing wind and snow would.

But slowly he was tiring, he had barely moved a few feet of snow. The sweat he was generating was freezing on his body. He started to shiver and his teeth chattered.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw the glowing eyes. First two, then four, then more. He closed his eyes, waited for the bite….. It didn’t come. Instead he felt the warmth of one of the wolves leaning against him, then another on the other side. Wolves are large creatures and the weight of them pulled him down to the ground. The warmth after the cold was making him drowsy.

In the morning the search party found both of them, fast asleep. There were indentations in the snow showing where the wolves had lain down. A rough count showed that twenty or so wolves had slept around the two men, helping warm them.

Later the old man admitted he didn’t believe it, but it must be true. The gun would never be used again…

( don’t try this at home folks, it’s just a story,).

Dragon watch part one

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Dark was falling, the clouds lowering, fearful people cowered in their homes. The Dragon Lord was coming, he would take slaves this month and they knew it. Only in the morning would they go out into the world again.

Aging grandfather Drulk hesitated as he closed the shutters to the cottage. He had been lucky and his son and grandson had stayed safe. He was a blacksmith and so was his son. He kwew how to keep them hidden, using strong iron to stop the Dragon Lord sensing their presence. But his son had been on a hunting trip and this was the first time his grandson has gone along. They were overdue. No sound entered the cottage, but if Hirst, the Dragon, came to it they would hear its beating wings many seconds before it arrived.

A knock at the door, Drulk opened it carefully. His grandson stood there, shaking, his clothes torn. They have father, was all he could say.

Drulk held his grandsons shoulders, what happened, he pleaded. We were at the edge of the forest, I tripped over a root and my head hit the ground. Father was trying to help when the Dragon grabbed him in his claws. He is gone….

In Flar Castle, their son and father stood before the Dragon Lord. You are now my slave, you will serve me. Never, said Drulk’s son. I will not serve or help you…..

I’m not sure where to go with this story I don’t write fiction very often… Maybe I should say ‘to be continued?’ I’m not sure about naming characters, it’s hard to decide what to call them…

Blood red lamp

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Over the front door, the lamp caught the blood red light of the sunset. Strings of ivy trailing around it. Outside a gate heavily covered in it. Swathes of creeping vines hiding the steps.

Only one man came through the gate. The count, the noble man, Dracula.

It was time for his nightly wandering, the lust for blood strengthened his old bones.

New years eve, 2019. Time for sustenance, time for the deep red drink, and the thrill of the chase. Soon he would have his fill.

The leaves of the ivy rustled as he passed through the gate. The churchyard beyond was quiet except for a late dogwalker. The dog would arrive home later. Alone.

What is a blog for?

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Blogging seems to be all sorts of things. I follow poetry, science, history, art and all sorts of other subjects. I post pretty much anything I’m interested in. I try and write things that are interesting, sometimes short stories or poems, other times about my art.

I started out thinking it would purely be about painting and drawing. But I suddenly realised that I wanted to include more than that. My writing and grammar skills are not honed. I used to write essays in English or History classes, but that was on the subjects on the syllabus. When I got to Art school I had to write essays and a thesis, so blogging came slowly. I hope what I write is enjoyable or interesting.

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And so it grows dark again.

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It’s getting dark again, and all around the house figures are appearing from the trees. Looking in through the windows, clamouring to enter.

Semi transparent, glimmering in the setting sunlight. They have been there since winter began. I think they are spirits. They hold me in. I’m trapped at night until the sun rises again. Fifteen hours, unless the day is overcast and then they arrive earlier and leave later.

If I run out of milk I drink water, if I run out of fresh food I have saved rice and beans. I will not risk going out. The car is parked far away and I’m too nervous to run to it.

Lately as the dark has deepened the creatures have been more determined. I’m hoping as the sun comes back, as it sets later and rises earlier, I will be freed. But now, drat it, the change creeps across the sky. The creatures must know it. Only seconds difference.

Last night they rattled the back door. This morning I found the cat flap open and the key on the floor. It was too far away to be reached where it had fallen. Today I’m hiding the key and putting things behind the door to reinforce it. But that means walking through the kitchen, and sometimes, sometimes, I see them watching me.

Rushing tide

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Up the channel between the islands, rushed the tide, waves pushed along the coast, great groynes had been built to stop the long shore drift washing sand along it. Seagulls swooped overhead, floating on the updrafts, silently drifting over the heads of people walking up the salty sands, scoping out victims who had ice creams or bags of chips.

The storm came out of the West, flying clouds darkening, scudding across the sky. The wind rose and fell, rose again, howling. Churning up the sea into foam, like whipped cream, the tops of the waves  were being torn off by the winds, waves curled up and over, crashing onto the beach.

A memory of Mount Fuji, the picture of it with crashing waves. That was what it was like. The lighthouse along the coast was flashing, two short flashes, then a gap as the light rotated. Seaweed was torn from its beds, wood and ripped nets were cast up on the shore. The tide rose and swamped the town. Streets were flooded. Life takes note of the raging waves.

This is all in the future. Now there is rushing water, soon there will be storm force winds.