I wrote this post for ‘The Quintet’ our church magazine in response to the theme of…Listening.
by John Yeo
Scientists and millions of expectant outer space fans, spend their lives listening for signs of extraterrestrial life. Life that theoretically exists many light years away in the depths of the known and the unknown universes. Nations have invested enormous sums of money and effort to hear a response, so far without success.
There are many types of listening posts all over the world. People gather in churches and places of worship everywhere, seeking solace, searching for signs of the reawakening of a special herald announcing the return of our Saviour. Listening for signs and interpreting ancient texts for guidance, the inner ear is always hungrily searching for answers.
A place of worship of any denomination is a gathering of people congregated to seek the understanding to go forward and prepare for the life to come.
Each and every one of us has an inner ear avidly scrutinising and interpreting every thought that may lead to answers. An inner ear that not only receives information from the outer ear but listens to the incoming waves of empathetic signs and feelings generated by others.
By continuing to listen; having the faith to keep the inner ear concentrated while searching for the message, is surely the true meaning of the words in the spoken message.
Happy New Year!
28th December 2018 ~ © John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
Photo Credit: Anurag Bakhshi
by John Yeo
Old Alexander always took the new recruits to the top of the high hill overlooking the small coastal town. This was part of their initiation and orientation into the elite fighting force that protected the townspeople from sudden attack.
Old Alexander would always begin by relating the story of the vicious war that broke out in the area 30 years previously. The enemy had sited their guns at the top of this hill and continuously blasted the valley until the town below was reduced to rubble; heaps and piles of accumulated concrete everywhere. There was a loss of many lives but by far the greatest number of people escaped by climbing aboard the many fishing boats and assorted vessels moored in the bay.
Our people returned in force and drove the invaders out. Every building you see before you are brand new; some have never been occupied. After the reconstruction was almost complete, our enemies returned and showered the area with devastating lethal chemical weapons. There was an immediate exodus over the sea and most of the townspeople escaped, many leaving everything behind.
The war that followed was devastating. Our people can never re-occupy their homes.
© John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit..
Photo Credit: Anurag Bakhshi
Welcome to Sunday Photo Fiction! Each week I will post a new photograph, taken either by myself or donated by a member of the community. The challenge is to write a story using 200 words or less based, on the prompt. When you are done, post your story and the photo prompt on your blog. Please make sure you give proper credit to the photographer. Use the InLinkz froggy icon below to add your story to the SPF collection. While you are there, take time to read and comment on some of the other stories. I know you will not be disappointed.
Photo Credit Susan Spaulding
by John Yeo
Billy and Mary were lovers. From the moment they met, it was a flash of lightning that lit up the fires of longing.
Billy was at a crossroads when he first met Mary. He’d just left school without any qualifications and without any chance of a job. Dyslexia was the funny word his English teacher had used. Billy hadn’t a clue what that meant. A stocky lad, with a shock of shoulder-length red hair, that hung loosely on his shoulders. Again his English teacher, Mr. Sykes, had a theory that red-haired people were renowned for being short-tempered and irritable, easily distracted without the means to apply themselves to the task in hand. Billy had his own opinions on bitter, bigoted, world-weary, self-opinionated English teachers who were swayed by popular prejudices against anyone who appeared slightly different.
Billy had a business in full swing with his Uncles who were fishermen.
He managed to change the colour of the harbour coast lights by inserting cellophane paper to warn the boats not to approach shore whenever there was danger. Smuggling was helping Billy get the funds to marry Mary and take her away. Billy was a genius.
© John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
I wrote the following piece of flash fiction for our church magazine in response to the theme of Electricity. Sadly there is a lot of truth embedded in this little tale Somewhere there has to be a solution to our need to power new homes for our ever increasing population. At what cost?
ELECTRICITY AT WHAT COST
by John Yeo
The electricity of inter-species tolerance and communication in action.
The sun was shining and although it was quite cold, we decided to go for a stroll around the lake. Sweet chestnuts and empty husks lay in great profusion under the trees. Autumn leaves underfoot scrunched as we strolled along a well-worn path. There was a distinctly autumnal feel to our walk, as we strolled along treading the crunchy leaves underfoot. Many sweet chestnuts and husks were piled under the trees, left behind by the ever-busy grey squirrels as they secreted sweet chestnut kernels in hidden larders as a store of food for the long winter months ahead. Many of these playful squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees as we strolled along. A good number of Moorhens and Mallard Ducks were swimming on the surface of the lake and in tiny inlets under the trees. The ever-present avaricious Gulls were swooping around over the lake and floating on the water squabbling with each other. We passed a pair of Egyptian Geese sleeping on the banks of the lake, who obligingly awoke and posed for a photograph as we walked by. Many Wood Pigeons were pecking around in the grass, it’s a wonder there is food enough here to support this large community of different species of birdlife, together with the Squirrels and the ever increasing number of Rabbits.
Then, nailed to a tree was a notice. We had heard rumours on the communal grapevine about the fate of this beautiful spot, and here it was plain for all to see. The owners of this lovely beauty spot had sold out to big business. This beautiful area was to be destroyed and replaced with two giant wind turbines and a mast for telephone and broadband reception. The bases of these three monstrosities would be concreted over for stability and ease of maintenance. These two turbines would generate enough electricity to power up to 6000 homes.
Sadly, we continued along our way, thoughts were racing through my mind. Ripples in the lake betrayed the presence of many large fish, the lake is situated within a few hundred yards of the coast. Freshwater fish obviously thrive here, kept under control by the attention of the local family of Herons. Another pair of Mallard Ducks swam lazily on the surface of the water and a Moorhen raced for cover as we walked noisily by on the multi-coloured leaves. Suddenly there was a movement at a small pool on the banks of the lake as a large Toad with a distinctive yellow stripe along his back came into view. He didn’t hop along he almost walked out of the reeds alongside the pool.
‘My God!’ I thought, ‘I don’t believe it; that is certainly a Natterjack Toad. A member of a protected species. This development will never go ahead’
Our mood suddenly became euphoric as the implications of this discovery became clear.
I quickly pulled out my iPhone and began taking many photographs of this saviour of the natural environment.
The rest is history, the turbines were relocated, providing the much-needed electricity for the planned new homes and in the following Spring many baby Mallard ducks and Egyptian Geese will be born here and there should be strings of Natterjack Toads eggs in the pools surrounding our beautiful protected lake.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
This is a resurrected and revised piece of work I wrote some years ago. I am submitting it now for publication in our church magazine in answer to the theme of music.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
The Piper’s Legacy
by John Yeo
The two brothers, Donny and Flip were out playing in the fields, wandering around at the bottom of Piper’s Hill. This steep local hill was suffused with local legend and magical tales were told about many mysterious occurrences throughout the ages. The two brothers were as alike as chalk and cheese as the old saying goes. Donny was tall and thin with a shock of black hair and piercing blue eyes; he was the oldest of the two by eighteen months.
Flip was shorter, much to his chagrin, with brown straight hair and brown eyes to match. A daredevil, always game for anything.
The one thing the brothers had in common was their quick wits and friendly demeanor.
Flip was acting as a hunter and racing along ahead of Donny.
‘Slow down Flip, we don’t want to lose track of each other, it’s getting late and we don’t want to get lost.’ shouted Donny.
‘It’s OK, I know exactly where we are. That’s old man Grieves farm over there.’ replied Flip. A startled Blackbird flew up as he continued to run, making the familiar squawking sound that is the Blackbirds cry of alarm.
Then he suddenly shouted, ‘Hey Donny, come quick.’
Donny pushed his way through some bushes at the bottom of the hill and suddenly saw Flip standing in front of the strangest wizened wrinkled old man he had ever seen. This man was wrapped up in an incredible multi-green coat, covered with streaks of brown that looked suspiciously like mud. The old man had a twinkle in his green eyes that were almost dazzling when he looked directly at Flip and Donny.
‘Hello,’ he said, What do I see here? Two young escapees from humdrum, looking for adventure? Sit on this handy log here and I will tell you a story.’
Donny sat down straight away and signaled to Flip to join him. Both of the boys were captivated by this strange old man with his merry grin.
The old man picked up an intricately carved wooden tube that was lying at his feet and waved it in front of the boys.
‘You see this? This is an ancient tube, in the right hands, it makes the sweetest sounds you have ever heard. I inherited this from its mysterious owner many years ago. When I was your age, our town was plagued with vermin. The town council hired the man who owned this magical tube to get rid of them. A price was agreed and the fun began.’
The man then suddenly picked up the tube, put it to his mouth and blew once. Soon every tree and bush in the vicinity was covered with hundreds of birds of all shapes, sizes, and varieties.’
The strange old man continued.
‘This musical man dressed in a strange multi-coloured costume was leading the thousands of assorted troublesome vermin from the town. My Mother and Father watched with glee, as the Piper worked his magic. Just as he had predicted, his music was hypnotic to the ears of the vermin and his assignment to clear the town was an instant success. I was 7 years old at the time, and the sight of these vermin leaving the town produced loud cheers and much happiness from the townspeople.’
The old man continued, laughing loudly. ‘What do you think happened next?’
Both boys were dumbstruck and simply shrugged their shoulders.
Flip piped up and said, ‘Can I have a blow on that whistle?’
Donny kicked him in the shins and said,
‘Shut up Flip! Please carry on with the story.’
The old man smiled. ‘Well, the mayor decided not to pay the agreed fee and tried to cheat the piper.
The piper was angry at this and blew a strange tune on his whistle. A tune that got into the ears of every child in the town. I remember beginning to dance along with hundreds of my friends. The urge to dance was overwhelming. We followed the piper, dancing to the merriest tune you have ever heard. We danced to this very hill and suddenly two huge cave doors appeared and we all danced inside, to find a Wonderland. A place where dreams come true in the blink of an eye.’
The boys were overwhelmed with curiosity.
‘Why have you come back?’ Asked Donny.
Then Flip interjected. ‘Can we come with you to see this place?’
With a shake of his head and a wave of his hand, the ancient traveler suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Then Flip bent down and picked something up, something long, tubular, intricately carved, with holes in. ‘Look, Donny, he’s left the pipe behind.’
Donny grabbed the pipe and put it to his lips but nothing happened. Flip tried to get a sound from the flute without success.
Both boys then returned home with their treasure. They tried many times over the years to get a sound from this pipe, without any success.
The boys didn’t let on to anyone about their magical meeting with the little old man on Pipers Hill.
However magic certainly came from the meeting as Donny became a talented well paid Flautist and Flip made a name for himself by playing the Saxophone in a famous orchestra.
The brothers later became renowned as a duo that rocked the jazz world.
Written by John Yeo, (With apologies to ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin.’)
© ~ All rights reserved.
A prompt response for Inspiration Monday: Quiet Light
by John Yeo
I always relish the night shift at the hospital. The administration has all gone home, that leaves the professionals to fully take over and we can do our jobs without too much interference from the budget boys. Too many fingers in the pie if you ask me!
I remember once when a patient was in pain and there was some argument over whether we should use the latest methods to ease the pain. The poor patient was pumped full of morphine, while three admin men discussed whether the hospital could afford the very latest miracle light rays that have just been introduced.
This is a brilliant, bright new starlight, that mimics the rays of starlight that have streamed unused and ignored by scientists until a very powerful computer picked up the almost silent sound of the starlight rays bouncing off the Earth’s surface. Professor Modesty then hooked the starlight to a machine that generates a beam of fantastic intensity, that has proved to be the most powerful painkiller ever known. One gentle bathe in the purifying quiet starlight and pain is instantly a memory that allows time for medical specialists to identify and cure the causes.
This wonderful new technique is very expensive to use as it is difficult to generate starlight in the daylight hours.
Now on the night-shift, we are able to freely use this painkiller, without any interference or repercussions from these admin ignoramuses. The quiet light eases the pain of the patients and ensures a drug-free, pain-free night.
What these budget conscious, penny-pinching idiots don’t seem to realize is that the stars come out at night and the quiet starlight is free to use without the necessity of expensive machines.
I do love the night shift.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of WATER..
The Relentless Sea
by John Yeo
Driftwood, bobbing and bouncing on the top of the waves, was the first clue that Old Tom had claimed another unwary, unsuspecting victim.
Our hearts sank whenever large spars of wood came drifting in on the foamy, relentless, rough waves in exceptionally stormy weather.
Old Tom was the name given by the locals over many centuries to a line of cliffs that were hidden at the entrance to the harbour. Obscured from the sight of incoming vessels by the high waters. There was a large rock, shaped like a giant, hence the name and the well deserved ugly reputation.
Several battered suitcases and wooden barrels arrived bobbing into the waiting arms of the people lining the shore. These wrecks always drew a crowd of locals searching for the remains.
This wreckage seemed to be different than the usual detritus that floated into shore.
“I wonder if there were many lives lost out there this time. Last time Old Tom claimed twenty-nine. I hear we must be thankful for small mercies, the rocky arms of Old Tom have embraced many of our enemies in the past and saved us from invaders.” Billy Martindale said to his wife Josie.
Josie looked pale and drawn, dragged from her customary hard routine of caring for their home, she had always accompanied her husband to lend assistance if there was a shipwreck.
“I sincerely hope not!” she replied.
Billy and Josie had lived on the cliffs of this perilous coastline for thirty-five years, a harsh way of life, that both of them had learned to accept the hard way, as they knew no other. They had two sons Bert and Jack, who had long since left the safety of their home and gone to sea.
The first of the dead floated in.
Josie gasped, “It’s a baby! Oh no! Look, Billy.”
Then another group of bodies was washed up on the shore. These were families, and the horror set in as the extent of this tragedy began to slowly unfold.
The Coastguards and the Lifeboats returned to shore after a fruitless search for survivors.
The newspapers reported another boatload of refugee asylum seekers had been drowned that day off the rugged, rocky coast.
At the final tally, Old Ben had claimed another forty-nine lives.
Sadly the horrors that drove these people to seek sanctuary, seem so ongoing and insoluble that we can only pray for future peace and goodwill in this world.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
A return to copious Flash Fiction
Saturday 28th July 2018
You are invited to write a piece in any genre using the picture featured in the post as your inspiration.
Double Image Dilemma
By John Yeo
Anastasia was not succumbing to the nasty remarks her alter-ego insisted on bombarding her with. The obnoxious, evil-tongue ghostly apparition somehow always seemed to take her unawares, wherever she happened to be.
She had always been an intelligent girl. During her first years in school, she had finished at the top of the class in all the subjects she had studied. A brilliant passage through University led her to gain first-class degrees in Psychology and Social Science. Following these honors,
she went on to take further honours in her chosen field of Psychiatry.
One earth-shattering day her world had been turned upside down by the sudden death of both her parents in a car crash. Anastasia was devastated, she had been extremely close to her Father, who was an eminent Professor. Her sadness at the deaths of both her parents was almost unendurable. She had always had an uneasy relationship with her Mother who had sought to dominate her in many ways.
Shortly after the funeral while she was enduring the terrible effects of the grieving process the onslaught began. The vicious out of character remarks and innuendos slowly built up to an unmerciful crescendo. She was always alone when the tirade began. At times Anastasia would glimpse, a shadowy figure of herself standing alongside wildly mouthing unbelievable nonsense. Never a solid figure, just a hazy representation that flashed quickly away revealing a figure she knew intimately.
Anastasia didn’t feel threatened by this outpouring of filth and before long she began to analyse some of the statements. When she cut away the obvious rubbishy descriptive remarks, she realised this was a monologue of her thoughts and feelings over the years she had directed towards her bullying, domineering Mother.
As part of her training, Anastasia was in therapy with a Dr. Jean Waters. A close friend she had known for years who had come through University with her.
Dr. Jean was a short, overweight, bubbly; auburn-haired person. A senior lecturer, somewhat unconventional who relished in solving mysterious unexplained occurrences.
As soon as Anastasia had outlined the situation, Dr. Jean came up with her opinion; this alter-ego needed to be disposed of as quickly as possible. Anastasia agreed and both women put their heads together to find a way of disintegrating the foul-mouthed apparition.
‘I think we need to consider the relationship between you and your Mum, I have a feeling if we can work through her influences on you in your early life we will get close to an answer.’ Dr. Jean remarked.
‘Oh! Do you think she is haunting me?’ Anastasia laughed.
“No, I think you are haunting yourself with your unspoken thoughts and feelings towards her while you were growing up.’ replied Dr. Jean.
“What! That can’t be right! I would never use the foul language and disgusting words she uses. Sometimes I could scream at her to shut up.’
‘Ah!’ replied Dr. Jean reflectively. ‘Your unconscious picks up many things from around you during your lifetime and although you would never express them; they are still there filed away.’
‘What can I do about it?’ asked Anastasia.
‘We’ll work through it together and somehow we will have to clear your mind and bury your Mother once and for all. It will be hard and may take a long time, but I’m sure we will be successful as you are quite level-headed and logical. Make an appointment with my secretary and we can begin to explore it further’
‘Thanks, See you next week, Dr. Jean;’
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved