A Winter Wonderland

This is a piece of Flash Fiction for our church magazine, in response to the theme of Snow.

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THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT SNOW

by John Yeo

 

I see flurries of silent snowflakes

falling, drifting, settling,

A winter wonderland is created.

~

The snow hangs thickly

on the branches of bushes and trees.

Bending, almost breaking

beneath the weight.

~

Garden birds search hungrily

for hidden food under the icy blanket.

Snow covers and hides all.

~

Water is frozen, solid and hidden,

beneath the thick snowy blanket.

Thirsty birds and animals

lick snowflakes for moisture.

~

A snowflake is a thing of beauty

ice crystals that shine

with geometric splendour.

~

Children wrap warmly in scarves and gloves

to welcome the snow with joy.

Skating and sledging, to and fro

With whoops of sheer delight.

~

A snowman is built by children of all ages,

Mum and Dad and old Uncle Tom.

A carrot for a nose and an old battered hat

with a scarf around the neck.

~

In the snowy wastes, travel

over the glassy smooth surface is fast,

furious and exhilarating.

~

Visibility in a snowstorm is impaired,

the snow falling thickly, too dense to penetrate.

Snow blindness can result from the glare.

~

Housebound by thick snowy drifts

the old folk are trapped indoors,

many look out desperately for help.

Sleigh bells ring jubilantly as horses arrive

with a sledge,

laden with food and warm clothing.

~

Falling flakes add wonder to

the miracle of dazzling white snow.

A thick white carpet brings clean,

fresh magic everywhere.

~

Life is harsh as plants push through

the snowy white blanket.

When the snow stops falling

sunlight begins the thaw.

~

The world becomes a sea of slush

as the snow melts swiftly away.

Leaving behind a muddy, watery, dirty

sea of sludge.

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Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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THE PIPER’S LEGACY

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

A REEDSY PROMPT

‘The urge to dance was overwhelming.’

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’s 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 lads? 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 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.

SNOWBELLS

This is a piece of Flash Fiction for our church magazine, in response to the theme of Bells.

Bluebells

SNOWBELLS

by John Yeo

   The afternoon had been warm and sunny as Peter and Rosie happily wandered through the green fields and lanes that ran around the outside of the village bordering their Father’s farm. Peter dragged his younger sister along by her hand. At eleven years old, Peter was two years older than Rosie and he was expected to look after her whenever they went out together. There was no mistaking they were siblings, both of the children had a shock of black hair and unusual piercing blue eyes.

    ‘Don’t pull me so hard, please Pete, you are almost pulling my arm off.’

   ‘Sorry Rosie, but it’ll be getting dark soon and Mum wants us to be home.’

Suddenly as they got close to the woods, the evening sunlight reflected off a sea of blue and green that stretched deep into the woods.

     ‘Look Pete, beautiful Bluebells. Oh, please let’s pick a bunch to take home to Mum.’

At that moment two Magpies began chasing each other in the low overhanging branches on the nearby trees.

    ‘Two for Joy,’ shouted Rosie happily.

   ‘OK Rosie, good idea! They won’t be angry if we take them some flowers.’ Peter replied, he knew his sister would be upset if he said, No!

They soon began to pick armfuls of Bluebells to take home. Suddenly, there was a rustle at the far end of the glade as a Brown speckled Doe, dashed for cover. This made them both jump, as the sudden noise took them by surprise.

  Peter nervously said, ‘C’mon Rosie, it’s time to go home now.’

   ‘OK, Pete’ replied Rosy.

The children soon reached the ramshackle collection of buildings that surrounded the cosy farmhouse. As they arrived, Trusty the farmhouse guard dog barked loudly, overjoyed to see them both. Their Mother appeared looking quite worried, her expression softened, immediately, when she saw the Bluebells.

   ‘Come in quickly, you two! Your Granddad is here and he has been waiting for you for ages.’

  ‘OK Mum,’ said Peter.

As soon as their Granddad saw the Bluebells he said,

‘Have you two heard the legend about Bluebells?’ he asked with a smile.

‘Well, some years there are White coloured Bluebells among the Blue ones like you have here. This means there is bound to be a White Christmas coming up and if you listen carefully sometimes these special Bluebells actually ring when they are tossed by the wind.’

‘Oh! Come on Grandpa. How can flowers make a noise?’

Granddad smiled as he said, ‘Ah! You have to listen carefully and believe, if you want to hear the music of the Snowbells.’

White Bluebell

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

NEW FANGLED BIRTHDAYS

This is a second piece of Flash Fiction I wrote yesterday for our church magazine, in response to the theme of Birthdays.

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Image ~ Courtesy of pixabay.com

NEW FANGLED BIRTHDAYS

by John Yeo

  I will be reaching a milestone age this year and I have been racking my brains about how to celebrate this occasion. I have a loving generous family and some wonderful friends. The main greeting lately has been, “Hi! What would you like for your birthday?”

Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t know what I would like. We are not poor or extremely wealthy. I can’t think of anything I desperately need. I have enough already with the privilege and the good fortune to have such a nice family and some good dependable friends.

Always one to think out of the box and do the unexpected or the unusual. I have come up with a plan to make this a birthday to share with at least 50 other people.

I want to do exactly the opposite to the norm on this extra special birthday.

I propose to take £100.00 into the local branch of any bank in town and ask them for 50, £2.00 coins.

Then I will walk through the streets of Norwich our nearest city.

For many months I have been shocked to see how many destitute people are begging or sleeping rough on our city streets.

I will then place a £2 coin in their hat or another receptacle they use as part of their attempt to stave off hunger.

I will then smile and say, “It’s my birthday today, have a lovely day!”

I know the usual reasons for not encouraging begging. “Oh, they will only spend it on drink or drugs. You are wasting your time and your money doing something stupid like that!”

My reply to that will be. “What about the people who beg because they are desperately in need? It’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want to.”

 Any £2.00 coins left in my possession at the end of the day will be placed in charity boxes that are usually left in the church, or in many other areas where the needs of the hungry homeless are recognized.

I know at the end of this special day I will have a warm feeling of having done my best to share my birthday widely.

Perhaps I will have started a new fashion where the idea would be to give and not receive gifts on a birthday.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

A Special Birthday

This is a piece of Flash Fiction I wrote yesterday for our church magazine, in response to the theme of Birthdays.

 

Seventy

Image courtesy of google.com

 

A Special Birthday

by John Yeo

   It was a special occasion for Em. she would be 70 years of age today. She was quite philosophical about reaching this grand old age, threescore years and ten, a milestone in her life.
    As she woke in the clean comfortable cabin aboard the luxury cruise liner, she mused on the implications and the meaning of this grand age.
      “Who would have thought I would get to be as old as this? When I was a little girl I remember thinking 40 was really quite ancient. Both my parents lived to be well into their nineties. My Mum used to say they were blessed to have lived so long. She would sometimes quote the passage in the bible….
Psalms 90:
‘The days of our years are threescore years and ten
and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,
yet is their strength labor and sorrow;
for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.’

     At this point, there was a knock at the cabin door, “Room service!” The cabin steward had arrived, with their early morning cup of tea.
Jay answered the door and came back with a tray of tea that was conspicuous by the birthday cards that were balanced against the teapot.
    “Happy Birthday Darling! We have a special day ahead. Lunch in a waterside pavement cafe. Then we return to the ship to lounge in the sun on the deck, before we change into our formal evening clothes for dinner on the Captain’s table. We will dance your birthday night away together in the Ballroom.”

    “Wow! I hope I can keep up the pace Jay,” said Em, smiling broadly. “I know exactly which dress I intend to wear for our dinner tonight with the Captain.”

      “Of course you will be the star of the evening my beautiful birthday girl.” Replied her husband grinning broadly.

  The day passed slowly in the sun-drenched French port and the evening found Jay and Em, busily preparing for the night of celebrations ahead.

  Soon there was a transformation.
Em looked stunning in a royal blue dress and Jay wore a white dinner jacket, complete with a blue bow tie and cummerbund to match.

  They attended a pre-dinner cocktail party in the lounge, then met up with Sally, the social hostess, and four other couples.
 Sally introduced everyone and led the party to the Captain’s table.
  A richly decorated round table with an ornate floral arrangement and individual place names of each of the invited guests.
  The Captain arrived with apologies, grinning broadly and took his seat at the table.
A pleasant meal followed as the waiters and the wine stewards, served six courses with wine to taste.
  The conversation flowed freely, and the Captain and Sally managed to converse freely with everyone at the table.
 After the plates from the main course had been cleared away and despatched to the galley. The Head waiter appeared with a guitarist and eight smartly attired waiters. Then followed an amazing performance of Happy Birthday, sung loudly and enthusiastically by the waiters as the surrounding diners clapped along and joined in. The ship’s photographer was present snapping away to record the moment as Em smiled. The Captain offered congratulations and everyone clapped to recognize this special moment.
As everyone was leaving the table after this splendid meal, the Captain said, smiling.
     “If I ever write a book I will call it, ‘Tales from the Captain’s table.” There was a momentary silence before anyone noticed the twinkle in the Captain’s eye as he uttered these words.
  Em and Jay then made their way to the ballroom, where they had a wonderful evening dancing and celebrating.

   Em turned to her husband Jay and said, “I’m tired now. I will never forget my special 70th birthday celebrations. Thanks, darling.”
  Jay smiled and said, “You wait until you see what I have planned for when you are 71 next year. Life begins at threescore years and ten.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

GLASS STARSHIP

A prompt response for Inspiration Monday ~

GLASS STARSHIP

http://bekindrewrite.com

 

A prism-ball-

IMAGE COURTESY OF pixabay.com

 

Glass Starship

by John Yeo

  The world was on full alert. The media had broadcast warning after warning of an unidentifiable asteroid-like object rapidly approaching the Earth.
Panic had set in among the leaders of the various countries and superpowers. In spite of many warnings and prophetic utterances of approaching doom. The strange object just got closer and closer and seemed to be on a collision course. The richest nations proposed to strike the object with strategically aimed missiles and blow it to smithereens.
The plan was to save as many lives as possible by limiting the collision damage to small pieces.
   The most powerful telescope lens on Earth was trained on the unidentified object. To the scientist’s great surprise it was a transparent rock with gaseous clouds visible inside. Clouds that seemed to have shifting forms, with some moving independently and some conjoined.
  This new information arrived too late for any deviation from the damage limitation decision.
The leaders had already decided and a barrage of missiles was already on the way.
Incredibly the massed nuclear rockets were deflected and bounced off the surface of the asteroid. Then cracks appeared in the glasslike surface and suddenly the whole asteroid was black and invisible to the human eye.

     “That’s not an asteroid! That’s a spaceship under alien control. We must try to contact the occupants.!” Yelled Professor Stevens to the team in NASA control. “Somebody should inform President Donal, our armaments are useless!”

  At that moment an elderly couple were having an early breakfast, in a cottage in a remote cliff top location.

    ” How did you sleep last night Meg? asked Jack with a note of concern in his voice.
“I heard you moving around in the bedroom and mumbling away to yourself in the middle of the night.”

    “I had a strange dream Jack, I woke up with cramp and I had to walk around to shake it off.”

   “You had a strange dream darling! Tell me more please.”

     “Well Jack, I don’t know how to tell you this. I was communicating with some strange beings in a glass spaceship. They informed me you would have a heart attack and you would have a stent inserted soon. I am sure this is a warning!”

   Jack laughed at this. “Me, I’m far too fit for that, nothing ever goes wrong with me.”

   Meg switched the television on and they just caught the news of the unsuccessful attempt to blow the asteroid out of the sky.
A scientist was expounding on the prospect of an invasion by intelligent life.
The TV phone lines were going crazy with people telephoning with stories of strange prophetic dreams concerning beings in the glass spaceship.
Many had come true already.
Meg looked at Jack and they both jumped into their car and quickly made a trip to visit their doctor.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

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THROUGH THE PRISM

Prompt…Outside the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

 

PRISM

Image ~ Courtesy of pixabay.com

Through the Prism

by John Yeo

   “Quickly Sister Mary: What’s it like? I fancy the ultraviolet light from the sunshine will make me feel so good. Draw the curtains, I can almost taste the wind on my lips. Does the rain really wash away people’s troubles? Sister Clementine was reading to me the other day and the book said water can be holy and miracles have been known to have happened if you bathe in cool clear crystal water.”

  Sally had been bedridden for the past two years of her young life following a strange reaction to an accident. A paraplegic in the days of early Anglo Saxon Britain didn’t have an easy life, even the only child of an important tribal chieftain. The Monastery was charged with her care and she had been brought up in the total care of the Nuns and had never been allowed to leave her room.

   Sister Mary sighed as she quickly drew the curtains.

  “Yes of course Sally. You sound cheery today. Are you feeling better?”

  “I can feel colours and sense beautiful sounds that seem to filter through a window made from diamond glass. The power of this prism reflects the sunshine into a healing rainbow. Please Sister Mary, can I be carried outside to lie in the healing rays of the sun?”

  “I don’t know darling; we will have to ask the Mother Superior and the Healer. If it was my decision I would have to agree and we could make the arrangements immediately.”

  “Please ask them for me! I had a dream of a beautiful storm. A storm that filled the sky with fire and awful crashes of thunder. Cleansing water and eternal fire that burns away pain and drenches the soul in healing power.”

  Sally shouted these words which seemed to bounce off the cruel, cold, hard stone walls.

Sister Mary was shaken at this and cried, “Sally, calm down, I will fetch the Mother Superior and ask her permission for you.”

Then she quickly left the room.

  Almost immediately a bright blue light lit up the room, an ethereal light that touched every corner of the innumerable atoms that made up Sally and her surroundings.

  Sally smiled as she rose from the bed of animal furs and skins and walked away from the monastery. Never looking back and never to be seen again. Search parties were sent out by her Father, desperate to find his Warrior Princess.

 

Copyright ©️Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

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