ELECTRICITY AT WHAT COST

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.

 

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THE RELENTLESS SEA

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 


SPORT

I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of SPORT…

Hunter !

SPORT

by John Yeo

  Freedom to do as one likes is a hard-won state of mind.   Freedom to enjoy life with the diversification that is Sport.

  Support the team, follow the trials of athletics. Sportsmen and Sportswomen displaying incredible feats of sporting prowess.

  Many levels of entertainment come under the title of a sport.

 To see and experience the horror of a beautiful creature torn to pieces by a pack of snarling angry dogs.

  Such is the fate of some beautiful Stags.

    ‘All in the name of Sport, you know.’

 Then there are Pheasants, the male bird has a colourful plumage, that can only be described as magnificent. Sadly they are shot in their millions. ‘All in the name of Sport, you know. No harm done, they are bred to be shot.’

Wild Ducks are killed by the sporting hunters. These are killed for food and the pleasure of the exhilarating thrill of the hunt. ‘All in the name of Sport you know, culling is essential sometimes.’

The Fox can be a nuisance, randomly killing for the sake of it. Leaving dead carcasses all over the place.

Traditionally the Hunters wear a smart red outfit, mount splendid Horses and follow the Hounds, revelling in bloodshed as a Fox is torn to pieces. ‘All in the name of Sport, you know. No harm done, their death is all part of the fun. The hunt is an established tradition.’  

   Our hard-won freedom of choice can lead to some strange Sporting scenarios.

Pheasant

SHOOT TO KILL

by John Yeo

Grey November, cloudy skies.

Men in rustic clothing

Carrying guns, primed to kill.

Dogs to chase the falling bag,

Many birds will die today

As part of the annual thrill.

All in the name of sport you know.

~

Crows and Gulls gather

Flock to feed on the slaughter.

Dogs retrieve the balls of feathers,

Beaters create noise to scare the prey,

We will feast on fowl today.

As part of the annual kill.

All in the name of sport you know.

~

Take aim, pull the trigger, fire!

Missed! Nothing slaughtered, nothing falls.

Bang! Bang! The shotgun speaks again,

Blood spurts from gaping wounds,

Invisible blood on the killer’s hands.

‘I say! How many did you bag today?’

All in the name of sport you know.

~

We feed our friendly garden birds,

We have six feeders at home.

Robins, Blackbirds, Finches, and Tits,

Beautiful creatures, almost tame.

We only eat game birds in season

They are just part of the annual kill.

All in the name of sport you know.

~

Chicken on Sunday, roast to taste

Eggs for breakfast, boiled or fried?

Turkey for lunch in sandwiches,

During the season we’ll eat a brace

We are bird lovers after all

We take no part in the annual kill.

~

Copyright © Written by John Yeo. All rights reserved.

INFERIORITY COMPLEX

 

 

J.K.ALLEN Friday prompt
@hijinkswriter

Happy Fiction Friday! Here’s your prompt:
You finally build up the courage to talk to that cute someone you see every day on the bus. Their face turns dark as they respond, “You shouldn’t be able to see me.”
Happy writing!

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INFERIORITY COMPLEX

by John Yeo

 It’s raining hard this morning with a strong wind that keeps trying hard to blow my umbrella inside out. It’s a good job I don’t have far to go to the bus stop. I turn the collar up on my raincoat, this helps a bit to keep my neck warm and dry. Glancing at the time on my iPhone I see I am right on time the usual crowd of commuters is gathered at the bus stop. Most of them crammed into the bus shelter. I smile and nod at some of the more familiar faces.
   A smartly dressed young man pushes back into the shelter to allow me room to squeeze inside, much to the chagrin of old sourpuss who has to suffer the indignity of actual bodily contact with a couple of other commuters. She rewards the young man with a look of pure hatred, even though I have been traveling on this route for a year, old sourpuss would never deign to acknowledge my existence. The young man, who wears a thin gold earring, then acts in a totally unexpected way and pokes his tongue out at the tall grey-haired elderly lady.
    A look of shock covers the face of old sourpuss as she angrily turns her face away.
I have an added incentive to make sure I get the usual bus. I have been admiring a certain pretty young woman for several months now. She usually gets aboard the bus at the next stop after I board the bus and she always gets off at the stop before mine outside the private hospital.
    I have never seen such an attractive person in my life before, she is so adorably beautiful I get shy and unsure of myself whenever I see her. I have noticed she never speaks to anyone and no one else seems to know her. I wonder how I can ever pluck up enough courage to break the ice and to introduce myself to her.
    I choose a seat near the entrance to the bus where I knew I was sure to catch her eye as she entered the bus. I had a vague plan in my mind that may give me the opportunity to break the ice and have a chat with her. The rain was still pouring down when the bus reached the next stop, where the cute young lady usually gets on board. The bus came to a stop and three passengers boarded together. A young couple got on first and there was a few minutes delay as the young man began fishing for some change from his pocket while his wife and the bus driver patiently waited.
    Finally with a grin followed by a laugh the couple took their seats on the bus.
Then came the moment I had been waiting for when my dream lady got on the bus. She shook the raindrops off her red umbrella and placed her ticket on the automatic digital charging icon. Her long blond hair was tied up in a ponytail hanging behind her. As she walked by my seat I got up with a paperback book in my hand, ‘Is this yours?’ I asked, ‘Only I found it on the seat you sat in after you had got off the bus yesterday.’

   I was taken aback as the young woman’s face darkened with a horrified surprise. ‘You shouldn’t be able to see me, I am an alien from a different world than you. I must exist in your imagination. No one ever takes any notice of me or pays any attention to me. That’s why I attend the hospital for treatment every day. Are you a patient there?’

   I shook my head and backed away in stunned surprise, I smiled at her as she got off the bus at the private Psychiatric hospital. I still think she is a dream on legs, a figment of my imagination or not.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

SKIP

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

RANDOM FLASH FICTION

SKIP

by John Yeo

  The stick was thrown as far as the strength of my human arm would allow. A small bundle of fur would race along the grassy parkland to retrieve it and a well gnawed stick would be returned to my feet, dripping with doggy saliva.
Allow me to introduce Skip, a small, unclassifiable mongrel dog who had somehow managed to attach himself to our family. It must be every young persons dream to have a faithful four-legged friend to take care of. Skip arrived in our house after the family next door decided to emigrate to Australia. Obviously we were chosen by Skip who had seen us coming and going and received many occasional strokes and pats when he was walked by his owners on a daily basis.
Skip was a small light brown velvet coated dog of many variations. The nearest classification one could get for Skip would be a German Shepherd mixed with a Labrador, mingled with a Golden Retriever. The resulting entity was a fearless little bundle of fur intensely loyal and brave.
One memorable day, Skip and I were walking each other in the parkland for our daily exercise. Skip had the habit of disappearing into the undergrowth after chasing birds and any other small creatures that moved.
  Suddenly I was confronted by an unaccompanied Pitbull Terrier who stood in my path growling menacingly. I froze as I had heard many stories of people who had been scarred for life after an attack by these vicious dogs. I wasn’t sure what to do next, I knew it would be fatal to run away so I just stood still, staring the Pitbull Terrier straight in the eyes. The ugly growls became louder and more threatening. I could actually see saliva dribbling from the teeth and jaws of this menacing creature.
  Suddenly there was another fearsome sound as a small bundle of fur leapt from the undergrowth barking loudly and with a frightening growl seized the larger Pitbull Terrier by the throat drawing blood. The two animals went for each other in a cloud of dust and swirling pieces of fur. Skip bravely stood his ground and I could see he was actually beginning to wear the larger dog down. Then after a few minutes that seemed to drag on into hours, the Pitbull Terrier was beginning to get the better of the brave little mongrel.

   With a shout a young man appeared, carrying a dogs lead. ‘Sampson’ here. The Pitbull let go of Skip’s foreleg and answered the call.
I rushed to pick up my poor brave companion and not stopping to talk to the owner of the Pitbull, I quickly made my way to the local Vet.
Sadly Skip lost a leg, but the Vet managed to stem the blood and save my faithful friends life.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

‘I’M TRYING TO FIND MY WAY. CAN YOU HELP ME?’

A REEDSY PROMPT

“I’m trying to find my way. Can you help me?”

Carriage

‘I’M TRYING TO FIND MY WAY. CAN YOU HELP ME?’

by John Yeo

……….This remark was addressed to a figure who was just visible lying prone amid the debris under the arches close to the riverbank.
 A tall man was struggling to keep his balance against the strong wind that had whipped up within the last few minutes. He pulled his smart tailored cloak around his shoulders and turned up the brim on his stovepipe hat. A hat and cloak that was rarely ever seen on the streets anywhere this century. A fashion that had long since disappeared into the realms of history.
     ‘That stupid coach driver obviously had no idea of where he was going,’ he thought.   ‘Here I am stuck in the middle of nowhere.’
 Charles Dackens was a gentleman farmer, his business had gone well today and he was heading for the Eagle Star, his favourite coach house. Somehow a thick mist had descended from nowhere and the driver had taken a wrong turning. Sadly the lead horse had lost a shoe and the horse-drawn carriage could go no further. The coachman had given him some garbled directions and he was completely lost.

   The day had started roughly for Bengy, he had pains all down his shoulders and in his bones. Harshly, all his days seem to begin this way lately. It hadn’t improved in the hours he had spent on the streets all day. This latest sleeping spot was not up to his usual requirements, here under the arches there were at least ten rough sleepers on any one night. ‘Still, at least there is safety in numbers, unlike my last situation,’ Bengy mused. ‘Those devils were merciless in their drunken taunts, the painful kicks and blows are still ingrained in my memory. I am almost afraid to go to sleep now in case they come around here.’
Bengy jumped at the sound of this voice that seemed to emanate from somewhere in the swirling mists on the street.
‘Eh? What’s that? Who’s there? I have no money, nothing of any value. Please don’t hurt me.’

   Charles Dackens stepped forward and doffed his hat to the prone figure.
   ‘Please don’t be frightened. I said I’m trying to find my way. Can you help me? I find it such a struggle to keep my balance in this high wind, please can you direct me to the Eagle Star coach house. It can’t be far away, I think I took a wrong turning somewhere. I will make it worth your while, I promise you.’

  Bengy regarded this strangely dressed figure sleepily, he had had no sleep so far this wild windy night. The mist was now quite thick and he could barely see the man who was asking the question, but the voice sounded friendly enough. Bengy didn’t feel threatened.
   ‘Sorry Sir, I can’t help you. I don’t get far these days now I’m out of work. Since my dear wife passed away and I started gambling, I’ve lost everything. I could probably lead you to the nearest coach station where you would certainly get directions.’
The stranger said. ‘Thanks my friend, I would gladly make it worth your while. I better introduce myself, I’m Charles, what’s your name?
     ‘Bengy’s my name, I’m sorry if I seemed suspicious, I took a wrong turning sometime ago and I’ve been struggling to keep my balance ever since. I’m the one who desperately needs some help to find my way.’

 At that point, to Bengy’s utter surprise a coach drawn by two magnificent grey horses drew up.

    ‘Ah, there you are Sir! I’ve been searching everywhere for you. I managed to find a blacksmith and I got the horseshoe fixed.’

  Charles Dackens turned to Bengy and said, ‘Jump in Bengy! I’m sure we’ll soon find our way together.’

   Bengy didn’t hesitate, and the coach and horses disappeared into the swirling ever-thickening mist.

Copyright ©️ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

OSWALD ISLAND

A REEDSY PROMPT

You are an explorer who’s just discovered a new island.’

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OSWALD ISLAND

by John Yeo

   The press conference was well attended, with representatives from several of the national newspapers and a few reporters from regional papers.
There was a presentation of sketches and photographs on display of a substantial rocky landmass located in a sunlit sapphire sea. There was a large indentation in the centre that was a natural lake with a channel leading to a bay that formed a natural harbour.

‘First things first Ladies and Gentlemen of the press. My name is Captain Oswald, I own that luxury yacht moored in the harbour. We have just returned from the Indian Ocean, where my island is located.’

Mike Molloy, an ebullient Irish reporter employed by the Daily Torment, a national tabloid newspaper. ‘You are referring to this discovery as your island
Captain? How can you lay claim to an island for yourself. Surely you should be claiming it for the nation?’

‘My friend I have discovered this paradisiacal island, exactly 101 miles off the coast of Tango, located in the South Pacific Ocean. Even now as we speak several members of my crew are in residence guarding my property. I have laid claim to this new land and I propose to sell shares to anyone interested in the future development of my land.’

There was a sudden loud general hubbub as questions were fired at Captain Oswald, a short, stocky man with a shock of sandy coloured hair.
A large familiar-looking man raised his hand and shouted.
‘Peter Swinburne, from the Daily Scare. Supposing you are overruled by the government of Tango and the island is confiscated. How do your investors know they will be able to get their money back?’

‘Mr Swinburne, my word is my bond and I guarantee to refund all monies that will have been invested in my property. I have the financial backing of a leading worldwide firm in the futures investment industry. This will be a first class investment with the minimum of risk. I have been assured by a member of the Tangoan government that this new island is just outside their territorial boundaries and is open for development. I have agreed to allow the Tangoan government a full half share of any future profits.’

Another voice shouted a question, this time it was a lady reporter. ‘Geraldine South, from the Seaview Independent local paper. I would like to know how much of these future profits will be invested locally in these Isles.’

Captain Oswald smiled and replied. ‘There is no question that this government will receive substantial funds in exchange for protection from marauding pirates and gangsters. I have been assured this is possible and a feasibility study is underway as we speak. Of course the bulk of our trade will be with tourists and businesses from here. Holidaymakers will flock there, the ultra-wealthy will build their homes there.’

A tall distinguished looking man then stepped up and said,
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to bring this press conference to a close now. I am a lawyer representing Captain Oswald. I would appreciate it, if all further questions could be directed to my office. I propose to leave a pile of my address cards at the back of this hall.

The next few weeks were exciting as far as Captain Oswald was concerned. Money was flooding in from interested investors as speculators queued to get a piece of the action. The funds were quickly channeled into building projects and advertising.

Captain Oswald had returned to his island and made the trip back several times. He now worked from a plush office in the centre of the financial hub of a city on the mainland.
When the first warnings started to come through, Captain Oswald was attending a plethora of meetings with his new partners and the banks.
The first newsflash was seemingly insignificant, just a suggestion that there was a hurricane due to touch the coastline of his private island.
The news came through as Captain Oswald had a meeting scheduled with the press to announce a public naming ceremony of his new island. Unsurprisingly the island was to be named Oswald island and would be officially recognised by all concerned.

The reports of the power and devastation caused by the hurricane in the South Pacific Ocean became more and more alarming. The weather forecasters had named this powerful storm, Hurricane Esmeralda, a name that would forever be indelibly imprinted on the mind of Captain Oswald.

Within days the Captain and his crew were travelling at full speed towards the Tango islands in the South Pacific following a spate of reports of the devastation and the loss of life caused by Hurricane Esmeralda. There was a lack of news after a while due to the power lines that had been severely damaged by the storm.
Several days later they were approaching the point where Oswald Island was located but to the horror and surprise of the Captain there wasn’t any sign of his island.

Captain Oswald screamed to his first mate, ‘Barnicle, where’s the island?’

‘I dunno Captain, it should be right in front of us.’

‘Have you got the right coordinates man?’

‘Yessir! Positively Sir.’

It took a few seconds for the dreadful realisation that Oswald Island was gone and would never be seen again. Washed away and destroyed by Hurricane Esmeralda, the island was now at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The Captain took this discovery surprisingly philosophically.

‘Well life’s a gamble, they say things come and go, Nature provides and Nature takes away. C’mon Barnacle, head for Tango, I need to cash in my chips.’

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved