Category Archives: Alternative history

Sue Vincent’s wonderful Thursday photo prompt #Writephoto #Haibun

 

stone-in-the-wood

Beautiful bower,

Stained marble stones hide bleached bones.

A place  of sadness.

 

From his raised throne at the head of the hall, the Compte LaReine turned to his master chevalier.

“I’ll see them now, my three guests.”

The heavy oak doors at the end of the hall swung back and three white robed knights were invited into the long, wood-panelled hall. They had surrendered their swords and shields, distinctively marked with the red long-halted cross.

The three approached the dais and bowed low before the Count. Dubois, their spokesman started to introduce himself and his companions but was rudely interrupted by a loud, bellowing voice demanding the reason for their apparent desertion from the Templar order.

Unbeknown to them the Count was dismayed that they had not been willing to divulge the whereabouts of the legendary famed Templar treasure. He knew that the Order had lost favour and wished to curry favour with King Phillip. After secret negotiations he had agreed that the three, accused of heresy, although falsely, would be confined for two days and without trial, put to death as ordered by the King.

“Take them below,” he thundered and roughly, without ceremony, they were lead away. Two days later they were unceremoniously put to death and their bodies taken and placed in a shallow grave in the forest to be forgotten.

So they remained for the next two centuries until the Pope was persuaded to grant a pardon to all the French Templars and throughout the country, the bodies were exhumed where known and re-interred beneath marker stones in the territories where they were once revered for their piety and fighting prowess.

These stones remain a place of pilgrimage, although more often  a destination for treasure hunters and the curious.

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Filed under Alternative history, As you read it, Christian, Flash fiction, Haibun, History, Inspired by fable, Self compositions

100 Word Wednesday: Week 94 #100WW

bikurgurl-24-oct

It was the first day of our guided tour. Myself and the other thirty passengers exited the luxury coach as we arrived at the forbidding wire mesh gates. I assumed that like me, all were on a personal pilgrimage.

i looked around at my fellow travellers, there was no look of expectant excitement on any of the faces. On the journey the atmosphere was subdued as everyone was visiting to bring closure to stories of their family’s fate.

Photography was allowed so I sent my drone up, instantly tears formed as it picked out the child’s toy on the roof.

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Filed under Alternative history, As you read it, Flash fiction, From the heart, History, Inspired emotion, No offence intended, Self compositions

Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt: Faraway #writephoto

p1000756

I walked back down to the slipway at first light. As expected there was only one reminder of our work from the night before, at the last low tide. Of course none of us could be sure if the Gods had smiled favourably upon Ulrika and allowed her to escape ready to rejoin the world of men.

Not that she could come back into our community. The prejudice of the villagers was too great. Many of the young men would be unhappy that she had been taken from us before she had given her acceptance of a marriage proposal.

Apart from the memory of her long, flowing, red hair nothing was allowed to remain in the minds of men. Her name could not  be spoken. Her supposed crime never again mentioned unless as a warning to naughty children who failed to eat their meals or refused to carry out their chores.

Elder brothers and sisters would frighten their younger siblings by telling them she was hiding under the beds, as older children do.

I was saddened for I did not believe the tales they told of her. That is why I had returned to the place of the crabs. I was not disappointed. if the Gods had not intervened then overnight the crabs and fish had done their work.

The white rock which had been  so carefully  placed upon her bare chest sat lonely in it’s place. No scrap of flesh or bone remained. Picked clean by snapping claws and teeth.

Ulrika was now far away, either in the hands of Gods or men and I would be the only one who would feel remorse.

 

 

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Filed under Alternative history, As you read it, Flash fiction, Inspired by fable, Old knowledge, Self compositions

Sue Vincent’s #write photo, part the second

spectral

Atop the grassy mountain
stands a stark grey silent ruin
in clearer air black ravens soar
high above the mighty tor
below, the marshy vale sits
in a sea of swirling mist
clammy moss-lined battlements,
leaning, long forgotten remnants
no bright, wind-blown flags unfurling
beating drums or trumpets sounding
gone the soldiers, all their followers,
the tourney ring bedecked with flowers,
trapped in the stones just memories
fading over long centuries

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Filed under Alternative history, History, Self compositions

Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt: Spectral #writephoto

spectral

The great stone edifice had been standing sentinel for over a thousand years. With it’s tower and four storeys it had served as the seat of all authority, it’s imposing presence casting fear into the hearts of some; security in the minds of others. Providing a home, and employment for the servants, the garrisoned solders and a ready market for the market-traders who had seized the opportunity to set up their stalls in the shadow of the high walls. Eventually was formed a thriving community, nourished and encouraged by the needs of the Lord of the Manor and his retinue. All unaware of the nightmare to come. On the third Sunday after the Feast of St. Joseph a travelling fair had arrived in the town. Their wagons loaded with with hawkers, jugglers, dancing bears and a hidden cargo. On their second day in the town the performers realised that they had brought a legacy that would be remembered only as swift, deadly and disastrous. The plague was relentless, reducing both the village and, despite locked gates and armed guards, the castle itself, to an empty shell. The survivors, believing the land accursed, moved away to the towns that had escaped the catastrophic events. The thatched dwellings and the limestone battlements gradually eroded, their stones carried off to build and repair houses far away. It did not take long for the tower to remain only as a home for bats, owls, spiders and beetles. In time, visitors to the district could find no-one who knew when it had been built or who had lived in the ruin on the hill. Folk memories suggested that something bad must have once happened. Hence the reputation that the old stones were haunted by some unknown entity, but despite no-one having seen or heard anything supernatural, the rumours of ghosts persisted.

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Filed under Alternative history, Flash fiction, Self compositions

MLMM’s #First Line Friday: August 31st, 2018

Summer died that night. It was a time of celebration, the deep fire-pit, filled to the height of a man with peat, brush, bracken and branches ready to be lit. The cattle, pigs, sheep and fowl driven in to the central enclosure ready for the elders to carry out their grisly task,

The children had asked the usual questions which we had asked when we were young. The answer was always the same throughout the years. “This is the way it has always  been.”

“The beasts we have nurtured lovingly throughout the year must repay our kindness. There will be feasting for everyone before the dark days come as they surely will. There is not enough goodness in the fields to keep and sustain our flocks and herds. Only the necessary  few will be kept for our daily needs.”

“The offering  we make now will be noted by the sky-dwellers and if pleased they will  send the bright sun back to lighten our days once more when the time is right. This is as it has always been.”

As we watched the great fire was lit. Bright scarlet and yellow tongues of flame leaped into the not yet dark sky. Our animal’s eyes rolled at the sight. As each one was led through the narrow entrance between the stakes into the very heart of the village the remainder started to grow restless and were snorting, bleating and clucking wildly. We could hear the loud cries of pain from within and panic started to spread through the now terrified animals. We beat them furiously to  try and stop the by then dangerous mayhem.

A greasy cloud of dark smoke hung motionless in the air above the cluster of thatched dwellings and the smell of animal fat was strong in ours and the remaining animal’s nostrils. The addition of the animal fat helped the flames to reach high above the height of the palisade for all to see.

The last beast was lead through the opening, their  dark, deadly destiny assured. Gradually we heard the sound of drums performing an increasingly louder, rhythmic, hypnotic beat.  It was hard to stop our feet from stamping and dancing in time to the music.

Finally the last of the sun’s rays died and only then were we able to pass through the portal to join the great feast marking the change of the seasons.

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Filed under Alternative history, Flash fiction, Inspired by fable, Old knowledge, Seasons, Self compositions

MlMM Sunday writing prompt #One Place to Another

Earduk looked into the mist. It was fourteen sunrises since his father Shardan had ceased his part in the tribe.

It was time for the final ritual. This was Earduk’s personal ceremony.

Hanging from his shoulder the jute bag felt heavy  as it bounced on his right thigh with each step.

He stopped in a kind of reverie, wondering  how far his father was on his journey. Today would be a great help to him, Earduk was sure.

He tapped the bag at his side and with a smile remembered how hard it had been to prepare the heavy sword within. He and two of his brother’s had strained for many fire-burnings to bend the blade exactly as required. It’s spirit was now released and it was ready to work for it’s owner.

His father would be waiting to feel it in his hand once more. Only then could he continue his journey with his wife Lucine, Earduk’s beloved mother.

The mist was starting to clear. He could hear the rush of wings as the flock of geese that resided on the lake in safety overnight started to lift off from the lake to fly over to the grassy plain to start the day’s feeding.

He could see the causeway ahead and he slowly reached into his bag. Reverently withdrawing the blade he turned it over and over  in his hands. The blade flashing in the rising sun casting shafts of light  onto the dark waters lapping gently at the reed-covered banks.

Taking three paces onto the causeway he raised the u-shaped blade above his head and with a loud cry cast the offering  far into the pool.

The splash caused a stir among the remaining geese and hastened them  in their decision to take off. The ripples dislowly diminished and with the ritual complete Earduk turned back to the shore.

Earduk would be able to  tell the elders that Shardan could now be placed in the niche near to the door of the family roundhouse. Once more armed Shardan would continue to protect his family as before.

 

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Filed under Alternative history, faith, Inspired by fable, Self compositions

On the waves of time

The restless waves

Frozen in the land,

waves of earth in headlong flight.

Now a resting place

for old forgotten heroes,

safe in the hands of Gaia.

The stark hand carved walls,

a labour for so many,

now washing over them,

providing the peace they sought

in the green relentless tide.

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Filed under Alternative history, Double tanka, Self compositions

Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 93, “Inspiration & Plan,” #SynonymsOnly, Enemy in sight.

life-is-likea-cup-of-tea

Unfurling the map,

Our foe is there, he points, for

added impetus.

Fear for homes and families

makes our resolve yet stronger

 

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Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge NO. 92, “Bewitch & Treasure,” #SynonymsOnly, tales from the Argo

life-is-likea-cup-of-tea

By lust for riches

and impolite behaviour

we became swine.

Jason through  his piety

made Circe reverse her spell.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Alternative history, Factual, Old knowledge, Self compositions, Tanka, Uncategorized