Lookout #Writephoto

lookout

This submission is for Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo weekly prompt. I can’t resist these.

Without a choice, Kael crept through the sheeting rain toward the garden, the baby heavy in his arms. His other sister, Gitta, hid behind the trellis, paralyzed by the terrible stridency of murder. He took a step closer and ducked back, squatted and held his breath, stroking Clover’s cheek to keep her quiet.

A guard in a black cloak stood at the corner of the shed, a loaded crossbow resting in his hands. He squinted in the rain as he scanned the garden, pens, and moor. Gitta didn’t seem aware of the man’s presence, and Kael begged her to stay as if his will alone could bind her limbs and silence her tongue. “Stay there, Gitta. Please, stay there.”

The guard spit and wiped the rain from his forehead with a sleeve before walking toward the pens. Kael tossed a stone into the garden. Gitta spun and he beckoned. As she ran toward him, he retreated into the heath. “We’re going to hide in the old cairn,” he told her. “You lead, quiet as a mouse.”

Gitta nodded, eyes like winter pools, her body soaked and shaking. She set off and Kael followed. They squeezed through the gap into the stone hollow. Kael opened Clover’s blanket and wrapped it around both sisters. They sat near the back, snuggled together, the tight quarters offering shelter from the storm.

“No talking,” Kael whispered when words formed on Gitta’s lips. She nodded and pointed at his shoulder. He gave his bloodied sleeve a peek and shrugged, then placed a finger to his lips.

Heather broke beneath quiet footfalls. Gitta pinched her eyes closed and Clover pressed her face into Kael’s arm as the shadow of a man blocked the gray light. Kael looked out, meeting the dark eyes. The stocky guard combed thick fingers through his wild beard.

“Niall?” another voice called.

“Just taking a piss,” the bearded man yelled into the rain. He gestured for Kael to stay before he trudged away. “No sign of them. I’ll stay on the moor and keep an eye out.”

Kael swallowed a sob, motionless, listening. The autumn skies brought premature darkness, the rain falling in rustling gales. Clover slept in his arms and Gitta dozed, emitting small sleep-filled cries that grated his raw nerves. The wind keened, and rain-dampened calls kept him vigilant, the hunters still on the prowl. Sorrow pressed down with the unbearable weight of the old stones.

101 thoughts on “Lookout #Writephoto

  1. Great piece with words that flow so well …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KL Caley says:

    Beautiful imagery, such a good job, Diana. Do you think you will expand it? KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. my valiant soul says:

    Ma’am,I have no words to adore the vivid description and the intensity with which you have written this post.I adore your blog to abysmal.Glad I can see your beautiful stories in my wordpress reader now.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. macjam47 says:

    Fabulous response to the prompt. I could feel Kael’s tension.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “eyes like winter pools” I love this phrase and description

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very strong and so vivid! I was holding my breath waiting! Another wonderful story!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a beautiful and imaginative write for the photo prompt! The characters have such depth in even such a short story, and the suspense also is great. I enjoyed your explanation on how you come up with character names. Just wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I recommended your work, Diana, today to a published author today who seemed to be struggling with his creativity. I said, “I think just by appreciating her word choice will be enough to spark you into action.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I got goose bumps when the guard lied to protect them. Powerful writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sacha Black says:

    Always always so much depth to your writing. I need to read one of your books as I think I could learn a lot from you

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so sweet of you to say, Sacha. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I have this thing totally figured out. If you ever have any free time, I’d recommend Sorcerer’s Garden. It’s pretty spirited (like you). Have a great week and Happy Writing!

      Like

  11. reocochran says:

    Each of your characters show their own personality, Diana. I love the way you describe and build traits. These form how they may act and react in the next scenes or chapters. One great part of reading you over time, I feel you have to “know” each person in your story before actions are developed. It makes a few writers I used to read; “pale” in comparison!
    Kael is so serious and strong, aware of all around him, no sign of his being able to let down his guard yet. . . I’m ready for tomorrow and sun’s early light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Robin. I picture him being about 8 years old and therefore the weight of the world on his young shoulders. Thanks for reading. We’ve been rainy all week – hoping for sun. Have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        The weight of the world on his shoulders~ I did feel this, Diana.
        It rained only one night and afternoon out of 9 up at my Mom’s apt building. We were able to get out three times together and once she declined I went with brother and his wife.
        Not sure how work will go but have been enjoying calling the new guy in texts, “Agent C” while he does the same to me in his replies. Having fun so far. . . Busy lives and so far, only 3 dates in 104 days of contact. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. inesephoto says:

    Beautiful! I could sense the tension and then relief. Look forward to reading the whole story!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Annika Perry says:

    I love your imaginative take on this photograph, Diana. Full of suspense in even just a short piece. Wonderful atmospheric writing! Where do you get the names you use here and in your books? They are always terrific! Hope you’re having a great weekend. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • The old internet, Annika – baby names! Ha ha. Even for a short piece like this, the names take me a while to pick out. I really do think names evoke character. Have a wonderful weekend yourself, Annika. I’m curious. How is your book coming? Let me know when you are ready for a beta reader 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annika Perry says:

        Diana, thank you so much for asking about my book and offering to be a beta reader. Wow! That makes me smile. To be honest with my father-in-law’s illness, passing and all the worry and travel over the past few months, as well as another serious family crises I have not made as much progress on the edit as I wished. With things looking up I am hoping with my renewed energy and back to ‘normal’ life to start working on it in September after the holidays and hopefully have it finished latest December! There, now you have me bound to a date! Scary but exciting!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Val Boyko says:

    So good! Love the tension that brings the view to life 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wonderful take on the photo, Diana. Elegant writing in a suspense-ridden short one. Great stuff. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Steven Baird says:

    Wonderful writing, Diana. Intense, suspenseful, and threaded with sorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. olganm says:

    I can’t do very short ones but yours is fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Fantastic, Diane! I’d really love to see a whole story with this. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Such powerful writing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. And you always do such a great job with them! Love this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. You. Are. Such. A. Good. Writer. !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. ghostmmnc says:

    I don’t know how you come up with such good stories for the photos, but I’m sure glad you do! Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • These little short ones are easy for me, Barbara. I don’t have to think through all the threads and layers of a book. The problem is that I can get really distracted doing these! Thanks so much for the visit and sweet comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Excellent short for this photo prompt. The guard taking a piss made for a bit of fun suspense. Have a great weekend Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Great writing as always! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Nurse Kelly says:

    Glad you can’t resist the prompts! Wonderful, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Bernadette says:

    Oh, oh, I hope the baby doesn’t start crying and give them away.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Excellent response to the prompt. A pleasure to read. Love the way you ended this. You also provide just enough detail to set the story. Have a creative weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Cezane & Michelle says:

    This was a wonderful read! I love how you interpreted the picture and gave a story to it ^.^ 👌 – Michelle

    Liked by 1 person

  29. gillswriting says:

    Great read Diana. I loved the completeness and yet also the openness! If that makes sense! Anyhow a great read. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Great tension in your story, Diana. Good atmosphere. I hope they all make it to their goal. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I like it, I like it a lot. You are such a talented writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Wonderful, Diana. I love your writing. You create an atmosphere and characters with a natural flow, and with the skills of a wordsmith. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  33. trentpmcd says:

    Great little story!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Well done, Diana! The setting, the emotion, so vivid!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. That was very good all from a picture. I thought it captured the sombre nature of the moors very well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  36. noelleg44 says:

    Fantastic Diana! Every time I read a short of yours, I see a wonderful book. This left me with SO many questions!

    Liked by 2 people

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