We stood open-mouthed, tears in the corners of our eyes, some openly weeping in disbelief. Just ten minutes before we had been watching one of the most amazing sights to be witnessed by man in the twentieth century. For no human could have witnessed this spectacle before the later half of the century. We had managed to find a little known viewpoint from which we could watch the launch of the space shuttle for departure to the International Space Station, a marvel of scientific engineering. All had seemed fine as we watched in what appeared to be slow motion as the giant rocket slowly lifted but seemed to rapidly accelerate and the rocket stretched to the heavens but our elation and cheers had turned to stunned amazement as we saw a trickle of flame creep up the side of the craft causing it to perform a flaming somersault, startlingly bright against the pale blue, at the beginning, cloudless sky. An explosion ensued resulting in a highly visible shower of crimson heated metal fanning out into a parasol of vapour trails like upstretched arms bowing in protection of a defenseless scalp. Within a few minutes even these had dispersed leaving a few innocent, tell-tale wisps in the sky.
Everyone was waiting for this once in a generation experience, the rebirth of the Phoenix, 89 characters
Did you see that?
There, when we turned.
No, what, anyway you should be reading the map.
I don’t like maps. Do you have to drive so fast?
I told you, we’re late. Shit! what is that?
Oh God!. Aaaagh!
I’m sorry Jane it just appeared.
Well, it did say, “Landslide ahead!”
Well! the only good thing I can say for this downpour is, it should start to wash away the radiation before news of the leak gets out. 134 characters.
I could have told them but I guessed what they was planning, serves ’em right, proper Fools gold, damn shame about my wagon though.
Oooh! The collective sigh as the magnificent, gleaming, freshly painted steam locomotive pulled into platform 1 of Barnstaple Town station. Cameras clicked, people jostled, old men, eyes filled with happy tears of nostalgia, young parents with toddlers on leashes or in pushchairs. Everyone scrambling to catch a glimpse of the magnificent past brought back to life in celebration of their industrial heritage. Proud that their offspring would hopefully remember this day with the fondness so obviously felt by all the excited onlookers. Behind the engine and tender, fourteen carriages stretched far beyond the platform, windows fully open, a body leaning out of each, faces smiling and happy but no-one allowed to open the doors to leave. All too soon, with no cry of, “mind the doors,” accompanied by the shrill note of the guard’s whistle announcing the departure, it is time. The driver leans out of his doorway on the footplate, checking that the way is clear, he pulls a lever and the snorting beast exhales a white cloud. The giant driving wheels slowly turn and once more the train pulls forward, ready to spread joy along the tracks on the next stage of the journey. A brief encounter, enjoyed by all, leaving a feeling of pride, and a unilateral, unvoiced , “Aaah!”
Chantellion is sitting in front of her loom with her back to the central hearth, where a pile of glowing embers barely give enough light to see. Her woollen cloak covers her long greying hair and is open at the front allowing her bare arms to protrude. Hunched forward uncomfortably on a low, wooden, three-legged stool,she lets her fingers run down the fine threads stretched horizontally in neat, evenly spaced rows across the frame, lingering on each one as if to test it’s quality. At her feet in what seems a haphazard pattern, stand large skeins of coloured rough yarn. Varying in size and hue she has placed each one carefully within reach of her outstretched fingers knowing which to choose even in the gloom. She is alone and sits rocking back and forth to a slow rhythm only she can hear, whilst humming almost imperceptibly a low tune that her own mother taught her. Long gone are the days when Chantellion was considered to have a sweet singing voice and she knows that if she raised her voice she herself would be disappointed at the change wrought by the years of sitting in smoke filled rooms. Memories of her younger self appear in her mind and she smiles, satisfied that with these memories will come others and she will be ready to pick up the threads ready to start weaving her picture stories. This is how her family’s traditional tales are told. Not by word of mouth around the blazing fire in the evening where they may suffer distortion by exaggeration and faded memory. This only leads to arguments and ill feeling. Through her loom the tales she tells in woven pictures can be read by all and know the truth. This is her task, as chronicler, entrusted to her, like her mother and grandmother before and soon will be entrusted to her own daughter for that is their way.