Survival with Michael: On the castle steps

Here is my contribution to Ermilia’s Weekly Picture it and write prompt.

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“Did I advise you that this is a bad idea,” I said.
“Did I advise you that we haven’t eaten in two days,” she replied.
“But did I advise you that people seldom make it out of situations like this?”

The wooden porch creaked under our boots, but the crashing waves from the shore below along with the pounding rain quieted our noise to my liking. The castle had the greatest percentage of keeping extra food lying about in this time of shortage. I could likely withstand nine more hours without nourishment, but Rose needed it presently.

The bright moon was high and allowed us to see more proficiently out on the cliff then under the canopy of the coastal forest. The milky light showed a long deck that wrapped around the entirety of the castle. Why you would need a second floor wraparound porch seemed pointless to me, but nevertheless there was a replica porch on both the second and third floor. The floors didn’t end there either. Above the two pointless decks, there were three more housing levels.

“Should we try the door or a window,” Rose asked.

The front doors were solid oak with intricate carvings. I looked at the magnitude of windows. There were too many  to count whilst your stomach makes regrettable noises even though the number would be simple to find, for If you took each window on the first floor and multiplied it by the number of replica floors above and then added that number to the multiplied amount of the different floors above the replica floors, you would get the number of windows for the front of the castle and since the front of the castle had a high chance of matching the back of the castle you would take your total of the front and multiply it by two, but then you would also need to do the same arithmetic procedure for the side of the castle and multiply that number by two and finally you would add both totals together getting the exact number of the dusty dirty windows on the structure, but I was lacking far too much nutrition to waste time on such frivolous calculations.

“Okay, from the annoying silence I’m going to assume you thought way too much about that question,” she said.

Rose kneeled below the door and rolled out the shiny toolset, one of our only possessions of value. I could pick the lock faster, but I appreciate the secret smile she has every time the lock tumbles in the chamber. Right then the wind howled, whipping her blond curls into the air. I also appreciated her curls.

What if this time the home owner was an excellent shot? If only the climate hadn’t turned for the worse, maybe we would have had better hunting along our journey.

“There might be someone home,” I said.
“Michael, didn’t you notice the chimney smoke?”
“Didn’t you notice the 2,682 windows?”

She stopped and turned slowly towards me. I don’t particularly like it when she stares at me blankly with those large green eyes.

She cleared her throat and said, “Is there more or is this one of those statem—“

“Of course there is more. If we happen to become trapped within this monstrosity, window fifteen on the first floor is a great escape route due to the fact that a hedge lies beneath the window.”

She did one of those one eyebrow raises with squinty eyes. I asked her what that meant once before and she told me it meant she believed I was making up things which I told her that I do not in fact make things up, ever.

“I believe you’re in a foul mood due to undernourishment,” I said.
She huffed, gathered the tools, pushed past me and stomped off the deck. I thought she was going to keep walking back into the shadowed forest. Maybe she would want to go hunting instead, but then she turned right back around, up the stairs, and into my face.

“Don’t you want to eat,” she asked.
“Yes.” I let out a breath. My brain sometimes blanks when rose gets close to me. I’m not even sure if it was me talking. “Please except my apology. I was in fear for your life, but now I know no one should anger you when you’re in a foul mood due to hunger.”

She knelt back down to her station and said, “If you say one more thing about my malnutrition or hunger I’m going to punch your pretty face.”

The door clicked and inched open, but she was looking at me instead of her progress. I frowned.
“What now,” she asked.
“You didn’t smile.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Are you hungry or not,” I said and strode past her inquisitive look and into the waiting darkness. We would find something to eat and not talk about smiles or hidden feelings.


I love these prompts. They are fast, fun, and It’s a great way to keep practicing writing skills without the stress of struggling with plot structures and all the other stresses of story making. 🙂 Babbling here, but my point is if you enjoy reading them you should really try writing to them! Just click HERE and it will take you back to Ermilia’s blog who posts the prompts every Sunday.  Hope you enjoyed, feel free to leave a comment, and come back again! –Katie

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Help from a pirate?

My eyes snapped open. It was early morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet, but the cell was lightening.  Someone was trying keys in my cell lock. I hadn’t been fully asleep. It was too cold to actually sleep. The mist rolling off the sea every night seemed to bruise my bones even further than the hard cobble stone ground. I was in a cell awaiting my verdict, I had no Idea where I was, and it didn’t matter because I didn’t even know who I was.

The cell door cracked open and in stepped a tall man. In one hand was a ring of keys and in the other a sword which left no room for a meal. It’s been two nights and three days since my last meal. The meal consisted of an onion potato watery broth and a small bread roll. They were trying to starve me or maybe they were just cruel.

Maybe he had come to take me to my death. My mind began to race with alternatives. Maybe I could plead for my life or maybe I could fight my way past him. I’m not sure how far I would get, but it would be better then not trying.

He walked into the dawn light and that’s when I stopped breathing. With a dirty long coat, high boots, and layering of a red sash around the waist, the man before me was a pirate.

He smiled or grimaced, I’m not sure, but it was probably because I was shocked to see he had all his teeth.  There were many toothless people running around these parts.

The pirate cleared his voice and said, “He was right ’bout ye, but if ye ready to be off now ’tis the hour.”

Who? Who knew about me, I woke up three weeks ago in this strange land with no memories. I didn’t know my own name and I was all alone.

“Who are you talking about?”

“We can speak ’bout that later. Right now we hurry or did ye want to die here?”

I raised my hands from my lap. The shackles clinked and slid down my raw forearms. “What about these,” I asked. The sun was beginning to rise and I could see his eyes were a jade green. He was good looking in this dim light, but as he got closer his stenches were overpowering. The dirt, grime, old booze, and faint smell of dried blood forced me to back up against the wall.

“Don’t be a-feared lass, I won’t hurt ye.”

“I’m not afraid, you just really smell.”

“If ’tis a problem I’d gladly just be off,” he said.

The things you put up with for food…and freedom. I raised the shackles again and he got to work. He also kept mumbling to himself. I think he said something about an ungrateful wench, but I wasn’t sure.

Chapter one~Part One.

So, I jumped the gun and poste a poorly written draft of this yesterday. I was just so excited to share this new idea, but the first draft was riddled with too much back story. I will try to be more patient in the future!

-Katie

An Unwanted Birthright

My weekly response to Ermilia’s weekly Picture it and write prompt.

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“Do you have to push so hard?” The branches were digging into my scalp. My sister had been working on my hair all morning and I wanted to scream out of frustration. The braiding and weaving was for the coronation that would take place today on my twentieth birthday.

“Don’t whine Lilium,” said my sister.

“Don’t call me that!”

“It’s your name, and you better get used to it,” She said.

My father was the only person who ever used my full name. I’m not embarrassed of my name. Most elves are named after things of nature. He told us my mother enjoyed flowers more than anything else in the forest and shortly after our births; she named me Lilium for my blond hair and for my younger sister’s red hair, my mother named her Dahlia. One of the few stories I have of her and us since she died when I was five and Dahlia had only been three. An incurable fever of the forest had taken her life.

It really wasn’t about my mother, because I don’t even remember her. It was because of last leaf fall. Colored leaves had just begun to fall when father had taken Dahlia and I out for a hunting trip. Along with forty of the finest royal guard, but that hadn’t stopped his death. Ambushes are swift and deadly. If he hadn’t given the order for our escape, we would have also died that day. I had wanted to stay, isn’t that what all those years of training had been for or were they so that we could run away, as our King, my father, fell to the muddy earth. I could still hear the way he shouted my name, as I argued. “GO LILIUUUM!”

“Lily, are you listening?” I had been staring out the window. Turning to the mirror in front of me I could see tears had fallen from my deceitful eyes. It had been a long time since I allowed myself to think about that horrid day.

“I’m sorry Lily,” she said.

“It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean anything.”

“What are you thinking about?”

Father’s death and the fact that we don’t know our mother, how am I going to rule our people, why couldn’t you have been born first?

“Nothing, It’s nothing. I’m only nervous.”

“Don’t lie to me, Lily,” She said. “You never cry, well in front of people anyways.” She looked down at her hands. I hadn’t even noticed, but my hair was complete. I was now ready. We would make our journey to the cresting hill where thousands of our alliances had gathered. When the sun begins to set, the ceremony will start and at last sun light I will take my vow to protect our people even at the cost of my own life.

“How do you know I can do this,” I asked.

Her eyes were shining emeralds in the mirror. “Because father always believed in you just as I do.”

Posted up in the emergency room

After the emergency room they move you upstairs
once they know you won’t die right away,
it’s always just better that way,

It’s 3am and the ambulance is still bringing guests in
well, tonight the place is booked like a five star hotel
I wish for once it was like a shanty run down motel.

The nurse just came in and informed us
we will be stuck with a curtain as a door
And old blood stains upon the floor

His Gurney was wet,
he was uncomfortable,
but the least of his worries was this small detail.

Dirt and blood stained the pristine white sheets
but soon to be gone
when the new bed could be retrieved.

Even the bed was one of their last.
Where is our ticket home you might ask?
Well, it comes with an x-ray at nine am.

Nine am is when we shall see
exactly how terrible the two holes in his lungs actually might be.
Nine am is when we shall see
exactly if he might need surgery on his wrecked right knee.

the nurse asks on a scale of one to ten,
but I believe the sale is unfitting
by my calculations, where I’m sitting-

11 for the broken leg,
5 at least for the broken rib
3 apiece for the two holes in the lungs

my addition is sound,
and to me,
22 it looks to be around.

This is a poem I’ve been working on for some time about my brother’s stay in the emergency room early this august. I sat by his side through the night in fear about his situation which magnified my frustration at the circumstances.

Locked out, dead phone, and the cops!?

You’ve got to be kidding me
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I had closed my eyes and rested my head against the unyielding door. How could the key work in the dead bolt, but not the bottom lock? I didn’t know it was an actual possibility when the woman from Wal-Mart warned that sometimes keys don’t work and I needed to keep the receipt just in case.
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My phone rang and I fished it out of my purse. The screen was dimmed and the red blinking light informed me the battery would soon die, great another problem. It was “Home” calling. Well home is two hours away, so they really couldn’t help me, but they could probably get a hold of someone that could.
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“Hello,” my mom said.
“Hi mom, my phones dying and my spare key isn’t working, so I’m locked out. And I really have to go pee.” Sometimes I just blurt out everything I’m thinking in stressful situations or under the influence of major caffeine.
“Oh, do you want me to call your brother?”
“Yes, thank you.”
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We hung up and I jingled, jimmied, and seriously begged God that the key would work this time. No luck.
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My breath came out in puffs of white and I seriously regretted wearing a dress today. Even with thick tights, the cold air seeped in, as the night air dropped in degrees.
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I bent down to collect the contents of my purse. I had dumped them all over the front porch searching for the other spare key. I had made two just in case I lost one in the future. It was probably sitting on the kitchen table where I left it.
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I also threw my phone into the purse since it had died and headed to the curb. My brother would show up soon with the third key or my sister would show up to rescue me, again. I waited and waited, but after an eternity 20 minutes of waiting I thought I should make a phone call.
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My downstairs neighbor’s car was parked at the curb and I could hear the TV, so I knocked on her door. I took a step back and prepared a speech, trying not to sound as stupid as I probably seemed, but she didn’t answer. Maybe she couldn’t hear, so I knocked a little louder, but still no answer.
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I walked to the small complex across the street and played eeny, meeny, miny, moe with the doors. A middle aged woman answered the selected door in red pajama bottoms, a big doggy t-shirt, and pink slippers. Even though I was super angry I had a real smile on my face.
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Explaining the situation, she let me in and I dialed the only two numbers I know by heart. The down side of having a cell phone is you don’t memorize numbers.
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My sister didn’t pick up and I really didn’t want to bug my friend, but called anyways. She answered, but I could tell she had been sleeping, so I just told her I’d call her later.
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The woman saw my frustration and was probably afraid for her phone in my angry hands, so she offered to plug in my cell phone.
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I called my mom and she told me she thought I got in. Are you serious? If I didn’t call you back wouldn’t you be worried. I wanted to take all my frustrations out on her, but it wasn’t really her fault.
“What do you want me to do,” she asked.
“Nothing,” I said.
“Okay.”
“I’m not mad at you, I’m just in someone’s house and super frustrated. I’ll call you later.”
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After hanging up with her, I called my sister again, but no answer, so I called her husband Kevin.
“Domino’s pizza”
“Kevin, I need to talk to Mary.”
“Mary? I don’t know who you’re talking about. Would you like to hear our specials?”
“Can you just give her the phone?”
“Is it an emergency because she’s reading to Emily?” Emily is my four year old niece.
“Yes, it’s an emergency.”
“You’re always in an emergency, how extreme is the emergency?”
“KEVIN!”
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When I got off the phone with Mary, I declined the cup of tea from the serial killer nice neighbor, and went outside to wait for Kevin. She probably wasn’t dangerous in the least bit, but you never know.
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I was waiting at the curb, again, when I noticed a man walking down the side walk. Great! I didn’t want any creepy conversation on top of everything else. Maybe he’d just walk bye. As he got closer, his outfit became familiar. GREAT, it was a cop.
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He walked over to me and asked if I was knocking on the downstairs apartment. She called the cops, really? I guess her door doesn’t have a peep hole and she was a little scared. I should have called out to her, but I don’t even know what her name is. What was I going to say? Hey downstairs neighbor, it’s me your upstairs neighbor.
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“Yes, I live upstairs,” I told the cop. I explained the situation, again. I hated tonight. The cold, the door, the neighbor, the four letter key, and especially Wal-Mart for giving it to me, but most of all I hated myself, for not trying it in the lock before I left my house this morning.
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The cop waited with me until my brother-in-law, Kevin, the jokester, showed up. I think the cop was just bored. He probably thought it was going to be a bogus call and then had some adrenalin when he saw someone standing outside, and then became super bummed when he realized it was the idiot girl who lived upstairs.
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He asked me about living in apartments, noisy neighbors, and the neighborhood. I think he was fishing for information about the last disturbance call made on this address, but that’s a different story.

Heart2Heart: Digging up the hatch…

Months ago, I had ripped my broken heart from my soul and put it in a shoe box. Well, this is just a metaphor and I wish it was a little different. I would tell you I took my feelings of love, turned them into a sparkly butterfly, and set it free in a meadow, but that would be a bunch BS. Pretty, but BS all the same. It wasn’t the easiest break off to say the least. My slow stumble of regret/sadness had turned into a walk of embarrassment/letting go and then finally back into a normal happy go lucky jog. It takes effort to just move on, but it eventually does happen.

My story in life has taken many routes and I want to share with people the disaster, hope, love, and comedy of it all. I still have plenty to share with many surprises to come 🙂

–Katie

Try to laugh at your mistakes, it can really change your day!

My brother and I were going grocery shopping and stopped at the 7/11 for coffees. Being on a budget this was a reasonable option. Well, I’ve never had coffee from a 7/11 and they give all kinds of options. Seven different types of coffee, a spinning table with creamers, a spinning table with pump syrups, peppermint creamer, pumpkin coffee, sugars, and the list continues. I was a bit overwhelmed, but did my best to pick the right combination. Sending a small prayer up that it wouldn’t be the nastiest thing in the world, I searched for a lid.

My brother came around the corner and said I could put ice in it from the fountain drink machine, so that I could drink it right away. What a good idea. Well I walked over, put my cup under the ice slot, and like an idiot pushed the button. Coffee splashed in my face and down the front of my shirt.

He walked up and said, “oh man, tell me you didn’t just do that.”

“Yep, sure did,” and I was feeling like the biggest idiot ever.

After a quick stop back to the house and a shirt change we were back on the road. I took a sip of the coffee and it wasn’t the worst ever, but pretty damn close. I hid the grimace and took another sip. It was probably because the coffee I chose ran out halfway and I filled the rest with a different kind.

We were in the grocery parking lot and he wanted to finish his coffee before facing the Sunday shopping rush. I glared at my cup of coffee and decided the best thing to do was down it. I didn’t want to be ungrateful since he sweetly bought me the coffee. Men sometimes get mad when you waste their hard earned money.

I was gulping it down when I felt him staring.

“Damn,” he said.

I looked down at my shirt. “Are you kidding me!” I had spilled coffee on my second shirt of the day.  What the hell is wrong with me?

Then I noticed the lid wasn’t on all the way. I wanted to get out of the car and throw the blasted coffee across the parking lot.

“Why didn’t you tell me it was spilling,” I said

“I thought you didn’t care. I was in shock because I thought you were drinking it like when someone is drinking water so fast it spills out the side of their mouth.”

I started to smile at the visual and then flat out laughed when he impersonated a sane person drinking coffee and then me drinking coffee.

I rolled through the store with a coffee stain, but smiled every time I thought about my idiotic morning and his impersonation.

Learn from my mistakes.

1: Never push the ice button and let it fall into the cup. Let it fall into your hand.

2: Make sure the lid is on all the way.

3: If you make the mistake and pick a coffee that runs out, start over.

4: Don’t let the small things ruin your day. Try to laugh instead.

Waiting on a letter…

The picture is by Nikita Gill and this my take on the weekly picture it and write found on Ermilia’s blog.

Nikita Gill

When will the winds change? It’s been so long since I’ve received a letter back. I began to light my candle lanterns and send them across one at a time. I’m afraid to sleep and miss the south winds. What if I’ve missed the letters you’ve sent?

The other day my hair stopped flying in my face and began to whip backwards. I had dropped everything and scared ma half to death racing out of the garden. She was yelling for me to come back, for there was still planting to be done, but I was flying towards the river. It had been too long. 37 days to be exact. I had stood there till the sun set and later that night cried silent tears.

Nobody swims. To swim is forbidden unless you had a death wish. I don’t know how long the people have been separated by this undrinkable water that burns the skin and I worry about what would happen without the rain. I once heard it was the people who lived here long ago that ruined the water. I’ve often thought about taking a boat, but with all the wars you couldn’t just sail to another’s land. What if something has happened to him? What if he’s finally moved on? I hate my blasted skin color. If I was his people’s color then I might have been able to blend in.

I was sitting there hugging my knees to my chest when the wind changed. A small flickering light began to grow and a sob escaped my mouth. I quickly covered my mouth and almost died waiting for it to reach me. If the wind changed I would throw myself in the water. It reached me and I held a candle to the words.

My dearest love,
I’ve waited 37 days. I told you in my last letter we couldn’t do this anymore and that you needed to move on with your life. I threw myself into work. I cried shamefully when I wrote that letter because I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to selfishly keep you to myself, but this isn’t away to live. I’ve decided to make it my goal to end this war. If not for the fact that we as a people would grow into something better working side by side, but for true love. I’m sorry my love for putting you through this.
Love, Henry

I never received the letter he was talking about and I’m glad I didn’t. The pact was eventually made. We were old and didn’t have many years left, but it didn’t matter.