Keeping Calm and Carrying On (1)

…ooh, how we laughed. It weren’t so much the puddle that made us laugh, but what went in it. She were stood with ‘er back to it, and me, I were face on. It ‘ad stopped rainin’ about an ‘our ago an’ there were about three others inth’ queue beyind. We could see th’bus comin’ over th’brow, but none of us saw th’lorry trundle rarndth corner. It’s them pot ‘ole’s faults. Fancy one bein’ by th’bus stop. Anyway, th’lorry’s wheel went right through th’ole, splashed th’puddle all over th’five of us in th’queue. She took the brunt. The brunt. She were saturated. Saturated, right through to ‘er smalls. I copped it all down one side, and th’others in th’queue caught the muddy splashes. The man width’ paper had to throw it away, it tore right through it. ‘E chuckled first. Then me. Then she started. Before long, we were all ‘owlin’. Like I said, it weren’t th’puddle that tickled us, but th’lorry.  The man width’ paper pointed out what were on th’side: ‘sure to keep you dry longer’. An’ the bus just sailed passed. Out of service. That really set us off…

Eight under two ‘undred words. There we go.

The Standing Order

For a group of secretive people they are certainly easy to infiltrate.

These robes I bought from that flea market down the road are very itchy, but at least they hide the fact I’m not wearing one of those medallion things they have around their necks. Not that they will look in my direction anyway, but I’d better not scratch myself just in case. It’s really tempting, though.

It’s frightening how they just stand there, individually or in pairs, totally unaware of the biting winds and heavy blizzard. Frozen. Rooted to the spot like statues. At least I’m under cover here! Ha! Under cover… I like that.

I know that they’ll start moving again when the midday bell tolls, and then the next lot will come out. I just need to be still and patient. Act like I’m one of them.

I like how the sunlight comes through the windows like that… it looks too warm for these bitter temperatures, but it still gives off a warm glow. Maybe they concentrate on that. I wonder how they keep these massive windows clean. Especially up the top there. Perhaps they’re self cleaning.

I wish I knew what time it was. I can’t feel my feet.

Look at the light. Look at the light. I think it’s working!

The light doesn’t seem right for midday, thinking about it. How long have I been here? I bet they’ve hypnotised me and forced me to join their number. I hope not. I only want to see what it is they do when they go inside. Oh no… what if they have hypnotised me and had me running around like a chicken? I don’t feel like I’ve been running. I wouldn’t be this cold, if I had.

C’mon… c’mon. Toll bells! Toll! I can’t feel my hands now.

Ah! At last!

No, wrong – it’s a hand-bell from inside. What was that? Three… four… five… six. Six rings.

Now the clocktower is ringing.

Actually, where is the clocktower? I can’t see it from here – it must be behind me. But the sound from the tolls is ahead of me. It must be an echo. That’s odd.

Ah, they’re moving now. They’ve formed a line ahead of me. I’d best try and join them. Nonchalantly does it. Good job I watched how they walk… I’ve got that off to a tee. Just need to speed up a little and then I can slip in there, behind. Made it. They’re still looking forward and haven’t seen me.

What was that? I thought these were a silent order. There it is again – definitely a voice. Sounds like “Order of Six”.

Oh.

This is the Order of Six.

I make the number up to seven. They obviously know I’m here.


A bit of mystery I feel for this week’s What Do You See? challenge from Hélène; link below.

Weekly challenge

Let Sleeping Dragons Lie

George wandered slowly as a cloud due to the heavy weight on his shoulders, and the hefty flag the heavy weight was holding aloft. George was certain the old stone bridge they were crossing creaked and groaned, when George suddenly realised there was something beneath.

“Steady, boy!” Heavyweight reassured, as George whinnied nervously. “There’s nothing down there only snow!” George shook his head from side to side. “A few more steps and we’re across, into the safety of the Grand Kingdom.”

George suddenly reared up onto his back legs as a large scaly tail swished at speed from the side of the bridge, whipping the cobbled road before them. Heavyweight toppled from the saddle, and crashed unceremoniously to the ground, breaking the staff of the flag in two.

The tail swished again, this time knocking the flag part of the staff over the side of the bridge.

“That’s one angry snake!” Heavyweight declared, scrambling to get back upon George, only to realise his victory banner was now gone. He adjusted his helmet, and pondered trying to retrieve the flag. “A snake that size can keep the banner!” he declared without further hesitation, thinking what a pity it was that it had got the best end of the stick, and wishing that he had a ladder so he could at least have tried to get it back.

Without further thinking, Heavyweight clutched at his short stick, unsnagged his cape from the horse’s harness, clambered back into the saddle , readjusted his helmet, and was knocked back to the ground by the swishing tail.

George turned to look at Heavyweight, but as his leg was caught in the stirrup he dragged Heavyweight around across the icy stone cobbles.

“Woah, boy!” Heavyweight whimpered, looking directly at George, who was a gift from his sister Princess Grace of the Grand Kingdom. George opened his mouth, which caused Heavyweight to wince. “We need to get that tooth seen to, boy!” He said, still hanging off the stirrup.

The tail swished once more, and that was it for George. Making a rod for his own back, he galloped off the bridge at breakneck speeds.

“Woah,boy!” Screamed Heavyweight, his head bobbing along the ground, protected, luckily, by his helmet. George came to a stop at Small Mercy brook, a hop and a jump away from the bridge, which Heavyweight was grateful for. He untangled himself, dusted himself down to make him look once again like the Prince he should be. He discarded the staff as it was no longer of any use to him.

He patted George’s nose.

“I’ll keep quiet about this one, boy,” Heavyweight was trying to be helpful again. “No-one will believe me there’s a snake that size living under the bridge anyway. You handled that snake very well, George!”

George whinnied once again and rolled his eyes.

It’s Hélène’s ‘What Do You See’ challenge once again… and this week, I see knights of old – or something like that.

Visit the link below to see more interpretations of the picture, expertly selected once again!

Weekly challenge

Another Sunrise

The child cuddled the fox until the Sun rose.

The fox’s paw was now healed, after the child had released it from a trap in a nearby field, and bathed it in a magical light, the colour of the Moon, from her own hands.

When the Sun was fully in the sky, the child released the fox, who playfully licked the child’s cheek before bouncing off through the flowers in the clearing.

The fox looked back just in time to see the child rise into the sky, her wings now outstretched.

Archangel Ariel smiled as the fox rejoined her cubs.

***

The Bag Lady (Cheryl) recently asked me to write something based on the above picture, so this is my response, in a hundred words.

Signals From Outer Space

“What do you mean they’ve heard us?!” Bellowed plutoCen Kr’Dorir as he shattered his lectern with another of his trademark single punches. Shards of the reinforced and unbreakable plastic/metal compound material shot in all directions around the Council Chambers, causing several of the delegates to dive for cover, and embedding themselves into the reinforced clothing worn by others, in readiness for such a situation. plutoCen Kr’Dorir was positively fizzing – and not in a good way.

Unfortunately, the new Ambassador of Makemake wasn’t properly attired, and a lengthy shard punctured the sleeve on her expensive and delicate tunic.

plutoCen Kr’Dorir simply glared and looked toward his media spokesman. “Sort that” he bellowed, thumbing in the ambassador’s direction, “and then come with me to the War Rooms so we can discuss this matter in private.”

“Me, plutoCen?” Rep Alno Stonerav’n stuttered, as he pulled second-in-command El-Smala to her feet.

“YOU???” the plutoCen was now very red in the face. “Of course not. I was referring to plutoTwo El-Smala. Why on Pluto would I want a media spokesman in a private meeting? You will get the twisted facts when we are ready, and not before.” He then promptly walked out of the chamber and through an old wooden door which led into the really old part of the Chambers.

El-Smala gushingly apologised to the ambassador, and left her in Rep Alno’s hands and promptly followed the plutoCen. Rep Alno looked at the ambassador with a gentle smile. “You know he’s a tad hot-tempered, don’t you?” He asked. The ambassador rolled her eyes and poked a finger through the hole in the sleeve with a sigh.

Through the heavy wooden door, the plutoCen’s voice could still be clearly heard, as though he was still in the room. The remaining delegates in the Chamber gathered quietly round the door, including Makemake’s ambassador.

“What do you mean they’ve spotted our drones? What are drones” followed by mumbled muffling.

“At their airports in their United Kingdom? Our surveillance spheres have been noticed?” More muffled words. “Grounded? Hahaha! That will teach them for interfering. Did they get our sphere?” Even more muffling. “Good! Try another of their countries, just to see how sophisticated the are.”

Another round of muffled words was followed by a very strong string of plutonian expletives, some which hadn’t been heard for several decades. The ambassador almost collapsed in shock, but Rep Alno still had hold of her. She gazed lovingly into his eyes, but the plutoCen’s voice carried once again through the wood and any thoughts of flirting quickly faded away.

“Keep up the interference with their voting options. Their Eurovision Song Contest is coming up, so we can influence their choices if we continue bombarding them with the radio signals.” Muffling. “WHAT??? THEY’VE DISCOVERED THEM TOO??? They think they’re from where?” Muffling. “Distant galaxies? GOOD. They won’t trace it to us then. Keep on.” More muffling. “ALIENS??? They think they could be coming from aliens??? How very dare they! We are not aliens.” More muffling. “Ah. Aliens from other galaxies. I see. Keep them thinking about that country they blame everything on. Keep them focussing on the negatives. Keep confusing them with this Brexit they continually go on and on and on about. Actually, send a sphere over one of their capital cities so that they see it. That will really churn up the thoughts.”

Suddenly, the Makemake ambassador sneezed very loudly, and as the gathered crowd glared at her, some gesturing her to be quiet, the wooden door flung open and the plutoCen stood looking at them all, his face as livid as usual. With nowhere for them to run to quickly, and knowing they had all be caught eavesdropping first hand, they each in turn sheepishly grimaced.

A voice bellowed out from the ambassador’s stomach.

“Ambassador Wamlam, please respond urgently. We have had a malfunction, and half of the plutoCen’s conversation has been broadcast all over the Solar System. Our agents around Earth have picked up the signal, but we don’t think the Earthlings have – or if they have they haven’t got them clearly. We can’t get too close as they are sending up their weather generator clouds again. Please respond as this is a matter of utmost urgency which necessitated breaking radio silence.”

“WHAT???!!!” the plutoCen’s scream went off the scale. He punched through the wooden door, sending shards of it across the chambers, and the gathered delegates once again diving for cover. Rep Alno hastily dragged the ambassador away and was ushering her to the exit, as she tried to pick wooden splinters out of her other sleeve. “This way, ambassador. I’ll get us away. I didn’t like this job anyway… my boss thought the stories I sent back were always ridiculous, biased and inaccurate. I mean to say, you heard it all here first and it still sounds unbelievable!”

Continuing the intermittent Pluto Rising story. You never know, there may even be a part four sometime in the future!

PART ONE

PART TWO