The challenge is to write a story using 200 words or less based, on the photo prompt.
by John Yeo
I just wonder if this will be the one, the train my destiny will be on. I have stood on this platform many times during this last month since I received the last letter to say you would be coming home. I hate the thought of this crazy Afghan war, separating us any longer. I wish I’d never applied to join the forces to serve our country. I guess I was caught up in the patriotic fervour that swept the country, whipped up by stirring stories in the media. I was shocked when I discovered I was judged unfit for service and even more so when you informed me with a smile, that you’d applied and been accepted. I knew you were a special person when I asked you to be my wife, I never expected women to be allowed to serve, even Nurses. I have prayed for your survival every day since that terrible moment you were hit by a snipers bullet when you were desperately trying to save a life. Our separation has been excruciatingly painful and I’ve missed you and thought of you every single minute. Please come home safely my darling fiancée!
Welcome to What Pegman Saw, a 150-word weekly writing prompt inspired by the photos found on Google Maps.
by John Yeo
’The thing is; Bill: There are too many people here. This base camp is becoming overcrowded. Someone was wandering around in the dark outside our tent last night. I woke and went outside, but all I could see was a large shadow heading towards the mess tent.’
Bill looked astonished at this revelation.
Fortescue continued. ‘During supper some time ago Sherpa was telling us the locals have a legend about a saucer in the sky that landed here for some days and then took off. Rumour has it one of the aliens stayed behind. They have seen him on the mountain and they call him Yeti. Professor Rawlings believes there is a monster on the prowl. He found a large pile of excreta on the foothill, roughly covered with snow. Apparently, he’s sent a sample off to the lab for analysis.’
I wrote this post for ‘The Quintet’ our church magazine in response to the theme of…SLAVERY.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
by John Yeo
The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about slavery, is the horror of the period between 1600 when legal mass slavery was reputed to have begun in the UK and 1863 when slavery was officially abolished in the USA.
Although slavery in one form or another actually began much earlier, in the form of war captives, and the domination of one tribe by another.
However, slavery comes in many forms; human slavery is just the tip of a hidden iceberg. Almost every one of us is a slave to addiction in one form or another. Whether it be one of the obvious big four, Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, or Gambling or another enslaving addiction such as the habitual rejection of food as in questionable diets and slimming fads that could lead to the horrors of Anorexia or Bulimia.
A miser’s enslaving addiction is the storing up of wealth and hatred of expenditure.
Addiction can take many forms, in fact, people can become addicted slaves to almost anything, from eating too much ice cream to viewing obscenity.
By far the newest trap, with the potential to become the biggest modern path into enslavement comes in the form of Internet addiction. Particularly the new, so-called, Social Media, it starts as a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends but it can slowly and insidiously become a time-consuming, enslaving addiction. ‘Just one little look!’ becomes hours and hours of pointless time-wasting.
The dangers of internet enslavement to the younger generation have been recognized and well-recorded. This has the potential of becoming the biggest threat to the unwary in recorded history. With the added side effects of leading the young astray along a maze of unforeseen addictive paths. Children, of all ages and many adults, are becoming bombarded with images and alluring, time-consuming pathways embedded in the World-Wide-Web.
This is not to downplay the obvious advantages of the web for education and instant communication.
One of the biggest challenges in the near future will certainly be a coming to terms with the effects of this widespread, self-inflicted, modern form of enslavement of the unwary; who become ensnared by this highly addictive web.
I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of 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.
“He woke up and all seemed normal. Little did he know that before he’d even had a chance to get out of bed, he would become the subject of a prank.”
THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE
by John Yeo
March had stormed through to a windswept close with frost and snow combined. They say a whole generation of unwanted bugs and vermin die as a result of a harsh frost. The parents are unable to forage for food and the young die off. This is Nature’s way of culling the overpopulation and striking a balance. Extreme but effective, clearly a supreme example of survival of the fittest in action. Scooter Danes was a smallholder and a budding pig farmer, he sighed as he did the rounds of his smallholding, feeding and checking on the animals. Scooter was a hard worker, a broad-shouldered man of medium height, whose most distinguishing feature was his head, which had a curious shape with a protruding forehead that was absolutely devoid of hair. Scooter worked tirelessly to make ends meet. He was well known in the community for his sense of humour and his laid back style of leaving the unimportant things to chance. Scooter sighed again and thought, ‘At least I can feed the dead rats and other vermin to the flocks of local scavenging crows. The vermin are so hungry at the moment they make no attempt to conceal their whereabouts.’ Scooter loosed off a couple of blasts from his trusty shotgun and picked off a few of the blighters who were busily engaged in making a meal of his overwinter greens. Violet, his young wife appeared at the cottage door and called to him, ‘Come inside Scoot, your meal is on the table, it’ll get cold if you don’t come in soon.’ ‘Coming Vi! I’m starving hungry, this weather really does give me an appetite.’ Violet straightened her pink striped apron and put her hands on her extremely generous hips. She was a comely woman in every sense of the word, a typical farmer’s wife who never stopped working from dawn to dusk. Flicking a few strands of her loose greying blonde hair from her eyes, she grinned as she said. ‘ Charles from Willow tree farm telephoned to ask if you would be going for your usual pint in the Crown tonight.’
‘Of course, I will my darling, ‘ replied Scooter smiling broadly, ‘I never miss my usual pint of draught ale with the lads.’
‘That’s what I told him, now eat the farmhouse stew, it will warm you up before you go out.’
Later that evening, Scooter joined his pals Chas, Mick, Pete and Phil in the local. They had all grown up together in the area and they were firm friends. Chas was his nearest neighbour, who lived on the next small holding to his, a friendly man who always had a good word to say about everyone else. Unlike Scooter, who had his own way with words when he put a slant on reality to the detriment of anyone who displeased him. Mick and Phil were firm friends who worked for the same building firm together and shared a lot of common interests. Pete was the joker in the pack, a short man with a huge personality. A local builder, he had built a thriving business from scratch and often kept Mick and Phil in work. Scooter was warmly welcomed by everyone, especially Pete who was secretively grinning as he chatted with everyone. Scooter immediately took his position in front of a brightly illuminated one-armed-bandit and began feeding £1.00 coins in. Ever since he had hit the jackpot some months ago he was hooked, chasing money he had been piling into these machines ever since. Pete and Mick sidled up alongside him and Pete grinning broadly handed him an envelope. ‘We’ve had a bit of luck Scooter, our syndicate has won a nice sum on the Lottery. This is a copy of the letter confirming the win. The cheque hasn’t been cleared yet but I intend to post cheques for the winners through everyone’s letterboxes first thing in the morning.’
‘The drinks are on me!’ Exclaimed Scooter excitedly, but he was a little disappointed when the rest of his pals declined. Except for Pete who accepted a double scotch and Scooter joined him in a toast.
The evening passed swiftly and Scooter wended his way back to his cottage and was soon fast asleep.
The next day he was up with the lark. To his delight, there was an envelope lying on the doormat. Without opening it he rushed into the lounge and hugged Violet. ‘Our lucks changed Vi! This envelope contains the answer to all our worries’.
Violet opened the envelope to find two words boldly emblazoned across a dummy cheque. APRIL FOOL. Scooter then realized the horrible truth, it was April 1st and he had been the victim of a cruel prank.
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.
I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to the monthly theme of Fools.
A PANOPLY OF FOOLS
by John Yeo
It was a rather special afternoon at the village drama society, all the members were holding their breath in anticipation. Today was casting day for a performance at the local theatre, rumour had it that some celebrity guests would be attending the auditions. The play we would be performing was to be William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. I had reluctantly joined the West Chester drama society at the behest of my dear wife Penelope, who is a regular performer. This was to be a first, I have never acted in my life before and I was feeling incredibly nervous about the prospect. I gingerly made myself known to the other members of the group as we entered, The Leering Donkey, a local pub.
‘Hello everyone, I’m Norman, nice to meet you all.’
There were several nods and smiles of welcome and approval from the assembled members of the drama group.
I was a bit unnerved when a tall young man came bustling up and said; ‘Hi and welcome I’m Lawrence. Wow! You will be perfect for the role of Nick. Penelope darling! Well done; your husband will be perfect for the role I have in mind.’
‘Nick?’ I asked, ’I don’t remember a character by the name of Nick in Midsummer Night’s Dream. I read the play last night at home!’
Lawrence smiled and said, ’Don’t worry Norman, the character you have been selected for has an important role to play! I think you will be perfect for the role of Nick Bottom. A very sought after role indeed!’
’BOTTOM!” I exclaimed: “You mean the character with an Asses head. The fool?’
’Norman this is not just any old fool you will be playing here! Bottom is a very important fool. Out of all the panoply of Shakespeare’s fools Bottom is the finest. I think this role could be the start of a well-revered career: Bottom was one of the leading performers in the Mechanicals. I think you will be perfect for this part. Am I not right Penelope darling?’
‘Are you mad? I refuse to get involved with this! Anyway! Who do you think you are calling darling? That’s my wife you are addressing.’ I said, becoming quite annoyed by the sly inferences of this toffee-nosed twit.
’Just a theatrical term lovey. It’s a great pity; Won’t you change your mind? I think you would be perfect for the role; I’m sure you would look exactly right playing the character with an asses head.’
’Clear off!’ I said walking out of the pub. One month later Lawrence and my wife Penelope had set up home together. I swear if I ever wake up from this horrible dream, I will get my revenge. Wait until he finds out that Penelope is part Mexican and suffers from Montezuma’s revenge whenever there is a certain variety of food on the table.
Because I am a traveller I can look down on the birds and up at the fishes. I collect moments and can venture back in time to lost worlds. I seize life and simultaneously escape it at will. Because I am a traveller I envy no man at home.