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
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
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 were 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 prompt response to this photo from ~ The Dark Room on Our Write Side
THE BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
by John Yeo
Rambling along a pretty lane bordered by tangled shrubs, Megan and I were enjoying an unplanned afternoon walk through the glorious countryside.
The hot Springtime sun shone between fluffy clouds that skittered across a clear blue sky. Hedge sparrows and small finches darted to and fro across the path.
“The birds are building their nests in these thick bushes, to raise their families,” I remarked to Megan.
Nodding she said, “Just look at those pretty yellow primroses growing along the wayside banks.” She picked one and sniffed the soft yellow petals.
“They are not perfumed at all, but they are so soft and velvety.”
Wood pigeons and rooks were feeding, as we skirted a newly ploughed field.
We approached the edge of some thick woods, green and luxurious with dense shrubs and leafy, branchy trees as far as the eye could see. The shady woods looked inviting.
“I wonder if they are private property.”
I mused when suddenly Megan exclaimed…
“Look, just there at the edge of the woods, a tiny deer. It looks like a fawn in distress. Oh! it’s limping; where are the parents? Can we go and have a look, Joe?”
“Of course! Come on let’s go.”
We quickly made our way towards the edge of the woods. The handsome speckled brown and white baby deer seemed totally unaware of our approach. In our haste to get to the casualty, I tripped and fell. I suffered no serious damage, just a few minor grazes.
The startled fawn looked up at this unusual noise and headed into the woods.
Megan and I without thinking followed the limping fawn along a tiny track through the dense woods. Startled woodpeckers and woodland jays flew high into the treetops as we approached.
The track led us to the banks of a wide river and we continued following the path along the banks of the river. The riverbanks were marshy at the edges covered in large yellow flowers. Moorhens and ducks were swimming among the reed beds, ducking their heads beneath the clear water to feed.
Suddenly I realised we were in a fix as we didn’t know these woods at all.
Megan suddenly said. “Joe are we lost? I have never been here before: Do you know where we are?”
“Not exactly Megan, I think if we continue to follow this track along the riverbank we may come across a cottage. We might even meet one of the locals.”
We came across a separate pool alongside the riverbank full of the most beautiful, pink and white water lilies.
“Those coots are having a feast on the small creatures in that impressive little pool,” I remarked.
We continued along the riverside path and before long a wooden bridge on stilts loomed up in front of us.
“Joe, perhaps if we cross the river over that bridge we may find an easier path.”
We breathed a sigh of relief when a canvas structure came into view.
“That looks like a fisherman’s shelter Megan; I hope there is someone inside who can guide us on our way.”
“Hallo! Is anyone in there?” I called loudly.
I opened the flap to the front of the tent to discover a wizened elderly man holding a fishing rod over the water. A rather strange looking elderly man wearing a floppy elfin hat dressed in multicoloured clothes looked up as I opened the flap.
“What do you want? What are you strangers doing in these woods? This is private property.”
“Sorry!” I said, “We were following an injured fawn, and we got lost. We just want to go home now. If you can show us the way back we would be happy to leave your private woods at once.”
The old man just nodded and said, “Which way did you come?”
I gestured to the path along the river.
“We wondered if we crossed that bridge we would come across a direct path back the way we came,” I said.
The strange old man jumped at this. “No! Whatever you do, don’t go over the magical bridge. That is the dividing line, Mad Molly lives in a shack on the other side. You will never be the same again if you come into contact with her. I will personally escort you to the edge of the woods. We will return the way you came on this side of the river. I’m Archie by the way, If we take the shortcut you will be home in no time.”
Archie escorted us to the edge of the woods and waved goodbye. We made our way along the familiar country lanes towards home.
We soon arrived at a pretty little pub set in a well-kept garden full of fruit trees and flowers, with inviting looking tables and chairs.
“Let’s stop here for a drink;” I said.
“Yes please;” answered Megan.
I entered the comfortable bar to order the drinks and as the landlord was pouring them I related our adventures in the woods. Our contact with Archie and the magical bridge and his timely warning about mad Molly.
This resulted in roars of gleeful laughter from the landlord and the patrons in the bar.
“Sorry!” Said the landlord. But you wandered onto the estate of Lord Archibald and Lady Arabella Fortescue-Jones. Lord Archie always referred to his mother-in-law as mad Molly.
Lady Arabella frowned on this and the bridge is the result. To cross the bridge is to enter a world where hunting shooting and fishing is banned. Lord Archie is not allowed to cross the magical bridge and Lady Arabella never visits his side either.”
We finished our drinks and made our way home. We have a wonderful after dinner story to dine out on for the next few years.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
Prompt response to this image supplied by ~ creativewritingink.co.uk
by John Yeo
Dust swirled everywhere, intense scorching heat blasted the sparse vegetation, frizzling the foliage, rapidly turning any suggestion of moisture into nothing. There wasn’t a vehicle to be seen for miles. The only sign of life was death, in the form of dead creatures along the roadside; roadkill by vehicles or a harsh death by thirst or starvation. Buzzards attracted by the chance of a free meal, always circling, quickly landing, squabbling over the carcass.
Death attracting life, as the natural cycle dictated.
Wild Wolf, accelerated, pushing the Harley to the limit the speedo registered 180 mph and his speed was climbing. Mary his girlfriend clung tighter and tighter to him as they powered along the highway.
Wolf was a long-term member of the Hell’s Angels. Mary, his lady went everywhere with him, she was besotted with this tall biker, Wolf had shoulder length matted black hair with a beard and mustache that covered his face. Not much was known about Wolf, he was a drifter who moved from place to place as the whim took him.
Another motorcycle was roaring along in Wolf’s slipstream, his good friend Fearless Fox together with Molly his long-suffering lady, were having little difficulty in keeping up.
Wolf felt a nudge and shouted, “Yeah, whaddya want?” The noise of the Harley roaring along the road made any form of conversation difficult, niceties were impossible.
“I’m bloody hungry and I need the loo! ” Mary yelled in reply.
“What? I can’t hear you! What’s the matter?”
“STOP at the next building or I’ll be wetting myself and you!”
No reply came from Wolf that Mary could hear, she suspected it would have been a stream of curses and unintelligible diatribe.
A building loomed up in the distance and Wolf signaled right to alert Fox who was close behind of his intention to pull in. The bike began to slow as he reduced speed and pulled into the forecourt of a rundown looking business, followed by Fox.
“Hey, man!” Fox called to Wolf,
Mary and Molly rushed straight into the building obviously looking for the relief of the bathroom.
“Hey you Foxy! We’re making a good time, shall we step inside and ask if there is food here for sale. I imagine the lady of the house will soon rustle something up, Mary is starving and I could do with a bite to eat myself,”
“Sure man, but the place looks deserted. There’s no sign of any vehicles around and that seems strange to me, in an out of the way place like this,” said Foxy,
Then with a sudden realization, the two men rushed into the establishment following after Molly and Mary.
Three men were seated at a table playing poker as the two bikers rushed in. They looked up startled as the door burst open and Fox and Wolf barged in.
An overweight man with his shirt hanging out got up from the table in surprise. “What the hell? Who do you think you two are? storming in here without knocking.”
The other two younger men got up looking menacing and stood by the older man. It was at that moment that Wolf realized they were both holding guns that were pointed straight at them.
“Now hold on, there is no need for guns. We are looking for the two ladies that ran in here just a few minutes ago. Where are they?” Asked Wolf angrily. “We are part of a large chapter of the Hells Angels and twenty more bikers will be here within the next few minutes. If they get here before we leave; your establishment will be ransacked and destroyed.”
The older man scratched his head and motioned the two young men, who were obviously his sons to put their guns down.
“They’re in the kitchen out back, rustling up some grub. They asked if we would like to eat, as Ma and the girls have taken the trucks and gone shopping. We offered to give them the food free if they cooked some for us as well. It will be hours before the women get back.”
Fox and Wolf both breathed a joint sigh of relief, they burst out laughing, soon all five men were seated around the table.
“Can we deal you in?” asked one of the younger men, grinning broadly.
After a few hands of cards, Mary and Molly appeared with steaming hot plates of food. The whole group were soon laughing and eating together and swapping yarns.
There followed a screeching of brakes as a dozen farm vehicles appeared and disgorged twenty men and boys looking for trouble.
“Sorry!” said Clem, the older man, “I radioed for some help from the back room after you told me about your Chapter of bikers arriving.
Moments later there was a roaring of motorcycles and a screeching of brakes as the Hells Angels rode in and sat menacingly waiting.
There was a facedown that just needed a spark to ignite a war.
To everyone’s surprise, three pickup trucks loaded with food signaled the arrival of the women.
A portly woman carrying a rolled-up umbrella dashed out of the leading vehicle, yelling; “Clem! What’s going on? Stop this at once or I will beat every man jack of you myself.”
There was a shocked silence at first, then a muffled giggle, smiles became laughs quickly becoming guffaws and soon the whole gathering was in fits of laughter.
Well, they say laughter is a cure for everything and soon there was a hoedown, with the Bikers and the Country boys having one hell of a party.
Peace reigned when later that day the bikers roared off and normality returned to the Service station.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved