50 Word Stories: Captured


The mirror captured my soul and wouldn't let go. He tried to escape the frame's aluminium confines, the rippling quicksilver it held, but failed. He was trapped. Every time I returned, my forlorn soul looked back. Only when I covered him with a curtain did his eyes stop haunting me.

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Individuality Lost

“Standing in the shade with shadows and strewn leaves, I feel a strange affinity with the world all around. Like me, this zone of the dark and lost is displaced from the English summer everyone else inhabits. Scattered fragments of seasons lost, we crinkle together, the leaves and I, discussing our cool displeasure. I may remain here, if the shadows will have me, unless that means individuality lost?”

Honest! I’m not Lion.


“You look shattered.”

“I am.”

“Bad night?”

“Aren’t they all? Life doesn’t get any easier when you close your eyes.”

“Work?”

“Work.”

“Bothering you?”

“Just a bit.”

“What is it you do?”

“I’m a lion tamer.”

“Lion tamer my ****!”

“No, really.”

“Wow!”

“There’s not much call for us these days. There’s no more circuses, no safari parks, no great exhibitions, nothing. Times are hard.”

“Sure are. If we’re feeling the pinch, you must be.”

“Yup. It’s really beginning to bite.”

Author’s Note: Believe it or not, this is actually an almost true story from when I worked in retail. The smallest, meekest guy you could ever meet had this conversation with me. He used to wear a black suit at all times and a bowler hat. I thought he was talking out of it (as we say here) and not until an older and very honest colleague of mine confirmed his by then retired job, did I believe him. 

Funny what you think about when you’re having your morning coffee.

Richard

Man 1 – Cows 0

I took this picture this morning whilst avoiding the many cowpats that proliferated across the meadow. The cows had been extra sneaky by utilising the cover provided by extra long grass, (we’d had a lot of rain) and lack of marked pathways. They knew I’d be coming along to gaze at the Sunday sky and laid, or part-set, I’m unsure of the correct term, their secret, smelly traps. Fortunately, I outsmarted them. 

You see, unlike the cows that wander the meadow willy-nilly unaware of the natural beauty around and above them, I am, and treasure it. As such, I concocted a brilliant plan: stand in a safe zone and just look up, the clouds would come to me. They did. And although my bovine nemeses mooed their anger and showed their general displeasure in other less subtle ways, I managed to see a beautifully textured morning sky, whilst they only got to see me. Man 1 – Cows 0. Unless that’s what they wanted all along? Hmm.

Influences 4 – Nature

I have always been interested in nature. One of my very first memories was of receiving a book called A Naturalist’s Guide to Great Britain. I still have this book even though it was given on my seventh birthday. I used to peruse the pictures and then try to identify the same things when outdoors. For some reason, and for someone with such a bad memory, most of the nature stuff stuck in my brain particularly birds. I still look for hawks and buzzards every time I go outside.

When I grew older — I won’t say taller — I made a point of visiting and holidaying in places that were linked with natural beauty. I’ve been lucky in visiting such wonderful countries as Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden as well as many others renowned for their scenery. I have loved them all. I think this is why I love a view and at some point in the future, if ever I could afford a permanent one, it would mean more to me than any amount of material possessions.

There are two things that have brought me peace of mind. The first is writing — I honestly hate to think where I would be without creating. The second would be when I’ve been as far away from other people as I could get: the top of the Eiger in Switzerland and the Arctic Circle. I dream of those two individual things being one. I love it quiet and I love stunning scenery.

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Wengen Switzerland

Author’s Note: If I remember, I’ll write a post about my visiting the Ice Hotel in Sweden, having to go to the loo in the middle of the night in nothing but my boxer shorts and a pair of trainers and walking past a bar full of very drunk people. They went quiet. I went red.

I have concerns about whether the next generation and certainly the ones after them, will be able to admire as much natural beauty as I have. This worry is probably reflected in a lot of my short writing for WordPress and with more subtlety in my long-form work. I become frightened whenever I consider the consequences of our acts. So much now rests in the hands of humanity and those hands are greased and sweaty.

Life is a delicate balance, a see-saw in a hurricane one might say. Life is colour and sound and texture and the sum of our collective imaginations. Life is also a constant source of inspiration and nature personifies it. I’m not sure what I would do without a few green trees, unkempt hedges and a stream or two. I wouldn’t write the same as I do, that’s for sure. Food for thought.

Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers / Author of The Eternals Series

The Eternals

Hunter Hunted

Into Eternity (Soon!)

After The Rain


The slanted sun made cauldrons of the chimney pots, the terrace's brick facades still black in the shadows. Millions of tiny raindrops hung from every available angle dotting my path with sparkling jewels, the dyke again a perfect stream. Every green leaf was a perfect green, every branch a liquid ochre. It might only have been a walk around the block, a perambulation to clear my head, but there was never a better time than after the rain.

Author's Note: We've just had a storm which lasted an hour. As soon as it finished, I was straight out. Perfect!

The image is from Pixabay because I forgot my phone. D'oh!

The Annoying Thing About Glasses (A Personal Post)

Now, you may think me a competent person… What do you mean, you don’t? Goddamn! Anyhow, I have an inbuilt mechanism that makes me rather robotic. I can and prefer to do things a set way — it’s just the way I am.

As luck would have it, most things I do, I usually do right straightaway. If I do, I shall always do them right. I can write something, put that writing away, then come back a year later and continue with an exact same sentence that if I’d checked a few lines further on is already there. Freak!

In real life, I was and still am good at sport — I’m good at editing, too, because that was almost ‘sprot’ — particularly anything that involved balance. I loved football, rugby, cricket, running and the list goes on, and I’m lucky to say I was good at them all without ever really trying. I write this to illustrate that I am not a bumbler.

So, why tell you all these personal details and eccentricities? Answer: to highlight my failings. I’ve found my nemesis: reading glasses.

About six months ago, I bought my first pair of reading glasses. It never bothered me having to wear them and still doesn’t. If ever given the chance to wear sunglasses, I’ve always jumped at it, as the pinching effect on my nose and general lessening of glare helps me avoid the headaches that wreck my life. This has continued with reading glasses. However, and referring back to earlier, I do things a certain way. I also like things to be just so. I can’t stand my glasses being dirty, smudged, breathed on, or any other such impairment of vision. Unfortunately, from the very first time I touched them and because of my aforementioned foibles, I can’t stop putting fingerprints on them. I’ve done it wrong once and always shall. It drives me mad!

I can hold my glasses at their furthest points and slip them on my head from distance: they’ll be smudged. I can wipe away all forms of residue and have them breathed upon before they even get near me. I can use the softest cloths, the best wipes or even wear gloves and still my glasses will be smudged. It is failing I have. I am ashamed of this inability.

One day, I hope to correct this truly irritating quirk. I will approach my glasses case, unzip them, remove my specs and place them on my head to a view of crystal clarity and smile at my aceness (I just made that word up). ‘Tis a dream I have. Ah, one day.

I’m sorry if this baring of self has disappointed anyone, really, I am. If you view me any less, I apologise. But know this, by the time you’ve finished reading this story, I’ve already smudged my glasses enough times to make me red with rage. Yet still, I write. Yet still, I try.

Richard

King of Smudges.

In Frustrations Found

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I tear at my hair with the savage intent of a hungry tiger. This is not how it is meant to be. This is not… not… but I cannot find the words, they are lost in a mist of tumbling red where glaring eyes fire and vicious disassemblers of dreams lurk. I have lost myself. I am lost.

Breathe, I say. Write just write. Lose yourself to worlds and places others do not know. Throw yourself upon midnight dreams and cloak yourself in darkness. Cast yourself upon swords of your own creation and lick away the blood with false relish. They will not find you, I insist. They will never know I’m here, I try to convince myself. But, they do. I am always found.

Frustrations abound in this cacophony of me, this unsettling of self. I shake my head and scream, but nobody hears, not even me. Fingers clench until my fists turn white shaking with something… something, but I’m unsure what?

This world is a strange and wonderful place. There is so much potential, so much scope to make marvels of all that we know and all that we see. This world is a place for all people, all minds and bodies, but not mine. Like a jigsaw with an extra piece, I am surplus to this place. I find it… frustrating!

Purgatory Calling

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The essence of the thing stimulated:

Fog; Nothingness; Self,

a vortex of spinning grey.

Time stalled, backtracked, leapt forward,

my eyes uncomprehending

of what other senses detailed.

I dizzied and derailed,

former bluster extinguished;

I was lost.

Purgatory calling, claimed the mist,

and it was, and it did, and it took all of me

even my smile.