I do enjoy Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompts, and the variety of responses she gets for each image. I usually know, when I look at her photos, whether I have something. This is what came to me for this week’s prompt:
What do you see in the flames, little one?’
Her hair was burnished gold, little flickers around her rounded cheeks, small teeth like rice grains as she smiled. ‘I see stories, Nanna.’
‘Stories?’ I raised my eyebrows.
‘Yes,’ she said, reaching her small rounded arm towards the fire. I held out my hand, warning her back and she shook her head, curls bouncing.
‘Oh, don’t worry, Nanna. I know I’m not to touch, Mama said so. I just like to watch the pictures.’
I went still. A curl of excitement started in my stomach. It had been so long I’d almost given up hope. Our tribe had given up, too. I reached to smooth my hand over her soft hair, the fire casting spidery shadows from her long eyelashes as she watched the fire dance.
‘And so what sort of pictures do you see, my precious?’ I waited, half-holding my breath.
‘I see things that have been, and things to come.’ Her voice was deeper for a moment, her childish tones more grown up and I let out the breath. So here it was, here under my very nose. I closed my eyes, knowing that the path before her was long and hard, but that she was the only one who could walk it.
‘I saw the man, the man that came the other week? With the beads and the furs?’ She was all childish excitement again, grabbing at my hand. ‘I saw him ages ago, that’s why I knew what I wanted when he came.’
‘Did you now? Well, that is a fine thing.’ I laughed with her, remembering how she had chosen the small wooden boat, its prow carved like a dragon, like the ones the invaders rode on so long ago. ‘And why did you choose a boat?’
She turned to me, her little face all at once serious. ‘Because I saw them too, Nanna, in the fire. It told me the boats are coming. They’ll be here soon.’