I’m beyond thrilled that the lovely Sue Vincent has revived her #writephoto prompt.
Sue has a knack for taking photographs that contain stories, so it’s lovely that she feels able to share them once again. This week, her prompt is this atmospheric shot of a boulder guarding a pathway. I’ve been on a few journeys through the landscape with Sue, and I can already feel the voices whispering from this particular shot. Here’s what they told me…
‘You shall not pass!’
He boomed the words, his staff banging down onto the muddy path. Then his freckled face split with a grin, childish laughter ringing across the bracken, carried by the wind to wreath around and through the crevices of the ancient boulder that guarded the way.
‘Give over,’ I said, giving him a little shove as I went past, his stick clattering to the ground. He grinned again, picking it up and running ahead as boys do, swiping at leaves and imaginary foes, his blonde hair catching the pale light.
Ahead, the hillside was crowned with ridges and rocks, like the bones of an ancient dragon curled around its mound of treasure. There were stories here, but then there always were, in the old places. Perhaps the ridges were ancient walls, or perhaps the glaciers had left them there, when they retreated in a creak of ice and snow from the land.
A breath blew, cold on my neck, as I passed the stone. All was still, and I realised I could no longer hear the boy, or anything, other than a single heart beat, like a drum in the distance. A spear point dug into my chest, the metal gleaming dull bronze. The ridges on the hilltop rearranged themselves with a noise like teeth grinding, first into castle walls, then a dragon’s tail, flicking back and forth so that boulders tumbled.
‘You shall not pass.’ The words were whispered, this time. Another heartbeat, butterfly wings in my chest.
And, from down the trail, I heard laughter once more.
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