Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Writer Spotlight: The talented Katie Masters tried her hand my last picture prompt. Find her enthralling story in the comments of the last post.

Picture Prompt:

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The view from the cottage offers the first sighting of any ships and boats heading toward the coast. Everyday, for hours on end, I stand at the bottom of the garden, watching the horizon span out from the jut of rock that shields the cove. Alfred no longer scolds me for my time wasted in such a task, and where he’d once reprimand me for standing in the rain, hail, and gales atop the cliff, he now merely brings a a blanket without a word.

I await the Black Whisper. It has been fourteen months since she left under attack, leaving me here with Alfred. Fourteen months of me acting the lady with no family save an elderly manservant. I long to shun the corsets and petticoats for my britches and coat. I wish to not have to keep my gun and sword hidden in case of visitors.

Alfred fears she will never return, but that doesn’t stop him from watching and waiting in the night. I know she will return, for the captain would not abandon us…me.

“Supper is ready, Lass.” Alfred’s frail hand on my shoulder startles me. “As I am a soul, you’re wet through.”

“I shall be along, Alfred.”

“Tis misting today. You shan’t see a bloody thing unless it is upon our door. How shall I explain to the Cap’n, when he does return, that you caught your death upon the cliffs? He’d tie me to the rope and use me as the fecking anchor!”

Turning foot, I head into the cottage. “Your skinny arse as anchor, pah!” Wisecracks are what get us through the long days. Alfred’s rebuffs are so sharp and witty, yet he says nothing. “Alfred?” Still nothing.

The old man splutters, but no words surface. Instead, he points to the mist. Sails break through as if cutting at the air. The Black Whisper sails into the cove with a familiar, burly figure at the bow.

“The Cap’n has returned for the lass who waited,” Alfred guffaws.


 

 

Picture Prompt

book-review12

Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations and spotlight them in the next picture prompt post.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

K.J. CHAPMAN.png

“Is that it? Is that all we fucking get?” Caine shouts into the air. Tears leave streaks through his muddy cheeks as he pummels the wall. “We have been trapped inside that maze for seventeen months, and that pathetic exit is all we get?”

“What were you expecting?” I ask. The sense of claustrophobia that I have lived with for nearly a year and a half melts away from me and I starfish in the grass.

“A fucking fan fair! I don’t know…I just thought it was all for something bigger, something greater. Freddie died in there, and for what? Nothing!”

He’s bloodying his knuckles up, much like he did when Freddie died. If he’s not careful he’ll get another infection. Throwing my arms around him, I drag him away from the wall. “Stop, Caine! We’re out. It’s okay, we’ve made it.” He sags against me and weeps.

“No, you haven’t,” says a voice behind us. Both of us spin around, drawing our knives. A tall, skinny man wearing only a loin cloth and holey running shoes approaches. He is  accompanied by at least ten others, all in a similar state of dress; dirty, bedraggled, and famished. I thought we were filthy, but these guys look positively feral. “That was just part one.” He hands me a pair of muddy binoculars. “Just look.”

Caine snatches them from my hands and scours the horizon. He staggers backward, grasping at me to ground him. “There are more walls. No! No! Seventeen months! We’ve been in there seventeen months!”

The man hangs the binoculars around his neck. “We’ve been here ten years. No one has made it through part two.”


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

 

 

 

Picture Prompt

book-review12

Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Writer Spotlight: Check out Jacky’s interpretation of the last picture prompt over on her blog: Jacky’s Journey.

Picture Prompt:

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“And no one knows what’s on the other side?” I ask.

The pastor shakes his head. “Only those chosen during the Storm Festival take the steps. It’s an honour, Lacey. You get to fulfil your destiny. The Gods only favour us with prosperity if the chosen take the steps. They will reward you, my child.”

“But no one ever comes back.” I glance at the mountain with its thousands of steps that disappear into the clouds, and then picture my mother’s crying face. I’ve been training for years to be able to tolerate high altitudes and have the fitness levels to make the trek. Ten of us are selected from the clans for every birth year, and only two will make the climb on their eighteenth year. Myself and a guy called Mal from a fellow clan won the title of ‘Climbers’ during the Storm Festival. I can see Mal in quiet conversation with his pastor.

“Thank you for your sacrifice, Climber Lacey,” my pastor says, kissing my forehead. He steps aside to allow me to greet Mal for the first time.

I shake his hand, introduce myself, and stand beside him. It’s hard to disguise my trembling as anything other than fear. The steps loom in front of us, and the crowds cheer behind. I daren’t turn to search for my mother for fear of breaking down.

“Ready to see what’s on the other side?” Mal asks.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman
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Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

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“Do you hear that?” Reggie pushes his ear to the side of the large drum. “Music…”

Pushing my own ear against the damp metal, the quiet but definite sounds of music emit from within. There is also a voice; a soft hum of a voice singing along. “Someone lives here,” I whisper. With that, the music vanishes and is replaced with an eerie silence.

“How? It’s an old vat or…wasn’t this a sewage works? I bet it was some kind of filtering system. God,the stuff that was probably stored in there.” Reggie makes a vomit noise in his throat.

A twig snaps from the treeline, then another. The Trackers are close. Reggie’s face betrays his fear. “If they find us they’ll drain us,” he says, the words sailing out on a shaky breath.

A panel bursts opens between us. A greying man with a wispy, white beard, crouches through the hole. “Get in here!” he shouts. “Hurry, before they see you.”

We have little choice. Reggie climbs in first, taking my hand and pulling me through. The man brushes at the dirt with an old rag, destroying our tracks, and then he pulls the panel back into place and secures it. Placing a finger to his lips, we sit in silence, listening to the Trackers scouting right outside.

After a few long minutes, we hear them move further into the woodland. “How did you know we were safe?” Reggie asks the man. “We could have been Trackers?”

“You were worried about being drained,” he says, tapping his ear. “If you still have your own, human blood in you, then your fine by me. Besides, it was worth the risk. I haven’t spoken to another living soul in two years. You don’t get many visitors when you live in a shit tank.”


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

 

Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

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Two hundred and eight days of solitude. Two hundred and eight days of my own company; nothing but an internal monologue to get me through each day. I can’t be the only one left. Seven billion people on the planet have all just poofed into non-existence. I’ve decided that today shall be my last. As the cliffs loom in the distance, and it dawns on me that I have walked the length of the country, I prepare myself to take my final dive.

Removing my shoes, I take a last stroll along the waters edge. The sand is soft and warm under foot; a sharp contrast to the hard, cold reality I face. It takes all my strength to turn away from the rolling waves, but the time has come to put myself out of this misery. Making my way back to the coastal path, something catches my eye a little further down the beach. The closer I get, the more my heart races. A stone sculpture stands proudly from the sand. The sea-weathered stones are postioned with a beautiful artistry. Dropping to my knees, I wipe away the sand drift from the boulder at the base of the sculpture and press my forehead into the sand as tears shudder from my body. The rock is inscribed with a message- the best message I have ever read.

“I search for survivors every Thursday. Do not leave this point. Look out for my yacht. Hang in there, you lucky sons of bitches.”


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

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As the gates open, the colour green fills every inch of my vision. I hadn’t realised how much I have missed colour. Dirty browns and dusty yellows have been our lives for so long now, even the rusty red of blood seems to blend into the landscape because it has become such an ordinary sight to us. To see a fully developed eco system such as this in comparison to the hell outside, is probably the closest many of us will ever get to a heaven.

The head honcho, Fraser, gives us a minute to take it in. “Welcome to your new home. This is where you get to start again- humanity gets to start again. You will have two days to settle in, and then you will be assigned your new jobs. Everyone plays a part in this new world. I am sure you will find everyone very welcoming.”

There is a scream from behind, and instinctively, the whole group draw their weapons. Fraser waves his hands to calm us, and approaches little CeeCee at the back of the huddle.

“What is it?” she cries, as an animal curiously walks around her. I haven’t seen such an animal in about fifteen years. The sight of such vivid pinks and the majesty of its posture holds me transfixed. “Get it away. Mama, what is it?”

“Away, Gerald,” Fraser says, shooing the animal. He bends closer to CeeCee and her mother. “I bet you’ve never seen an animal, eh?” CeeCee shakes her head, tears spilling from her eyes. “Gerald is a flamingo, Sweetheart. He won’t hurt you.” Then, he turns to address us all. “We have over three hundred species of animal within our perimeters. This is about more than saving ourselves. It is about saving our world.”


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

k-j-chapman1

They say the wall has stood for two hundred years. We are prohibited from going within one hundred yards of it. The outposts are manned, but to converse with the guards is punishable by lashing. It is just the way of the wall. Chief tells us that it was built for our protection from the monsters outside. We recite those exact lines during our communal prayers.

Mumma warned me to stay away as a child. I would always push the limits; stepping one foot over the perimeter or throwing pebbles at the wall. It was during one of these escapades that I saw a guard without his helmet on. He looked ordinary like Papa, but he was eating something strange; a food with a long, yellow skin. I couldn’t fathom why he wasn’t drinking blood? All we can drink is blood, else we get sick.

It was then that I heard his voice carried on the breeze. “Why do we do this God damned job?” he asked someone just out of my sight.

“To keep those filthy blood drinkers in check,” another voice replied.

I now know that the wall is to keep the monsters out… of the other side.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Picture Prompt

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Today’s picture prompt was taken at a National trust estate in Cornwall. Just after I took this picture, we had to climb down the slippery, leaf covered embankment. I asked my daughter to hold my hand, and she refused, claiming ever so politely that she would hold her Daddy’s hand because Mummy is the best at slipping over.

I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence or paragraph to accompany it. You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

If you do not have an Instagram account, but would like to join in, you can post your sentence/ paragraph in the comments, and I will feature them in the next Picture Prompt post right here on my blog with links back to you.

Picture Prompt:

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I stand back from the swamp, watching the men from a distance. One calls out in elation and plunges his hands into the green, murky water. The rest wait patiently, the tension prickling the air around us. Daring to creep closer, I crawl on all fours to the embankment. He withdraws a small chest from the depths. It looks ancient, just like the key I found on the bank yesterday.

“Don’t open it,” one man warns. “It must only be opened by the heir.”

“We don’t know where to find her,” the man replies, turning the chest in his hands.

“Yes, we do. She’s hiding over there.”


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

Fortnightly Picture Prompts

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Over on my Instagram account, I have posted an inspiring picture that I took on my rambles around Cornwall. I plan on posting a picture every fortnight that inspires me in some way, and invite you to have a pop at writing a sentence or paragraph to accompany it. You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

If you do not have an Instagram account, but would like to join in, you can post your sentence/ paragraph in the comments, and I will feature them in the next Picture Prompt post right here on my blog with links back to you.

So, let’s see this picture, KJ:

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Here is my paragraph inspired by the picture:

‘The map says nothing about a lane or road in this part of the woods. The lock is new, but the fencing looks as if it has been here for some time. The wet mud preserves boot prints; someone has walked up there, but there are no boot prints to show that they have come back out.’


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Picture Prompts: #1

As it’s the new year, I have created a new writing exercise post that will last for six months. The idea is for me to photograph something that inspires me each week, and use that picture as a prompt for a writing exercise post each Tuesday. The picture can be anything. I’m not limiting myself, so whereas one week a landscape shot may hold inspiration for me, the next week it could be a funny shaped vegetable- who knows?

This week’s picture was taken during a ramble through local woodland with my family. We had to jump a creek, try not to lose our wellies in thick mud, and get back to the car park before it got dark and we got well and truly lost. There was something so magical about the wildness of this particular woodland. Ideas kept springing to mind, and I had to take a plethora of pictures. I have opted for the following:

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It’s a photo of a particularly beautiful area on our walk. As night started to fall, the area took on a eerie,magical quality, and that is what has inspired this story. It’s longer than my usual short stories, but I felt it necessary.

The Man in the Woods

“You said you knew the way back,” Libby whispered. Every creak, bird call, and whistle of wind puts her on edge.

“I said, I’m sure we’d find our way back, but that was in the daylight. You were the one who wanted to stay and get those last few pictures.”She huffs ahead of me, no wiser of the path we’re taking. “Do you have any signal?

She laughs out loud. “Of course I don’t have signal. We’re lost in the woods, Fiona. Have you never watched a horror film?”

I roll my eyes, and opt for silence. If we keep heading in this direction we’ll stumble across some kind of civilisation soon. When Libby has subconsciously blamed you for something, there is no changing her mind. It’s a good job that I don’t pay her much heed. If she wasn’t Davey’s girlfriend, I doubt we’d hang out, like ever.

Libby stops, holding a hand just inches from my face. “Do you hear that?”

I swat her hand away, barging passed her, but then I too hear it. “That’s an engine,” I whisper. Headlights filter through the trees up ahead, and swing to the left. The car continues on out of sight. “There must be a road, a house, something,” I say, racing on.

Libby holds her camera to her chest, and jogs behind me. The road is more of a mud strewn dirt track, and on first glance, looks like it heads into deeper woodland. “There has to be something up there,” Libby surmises. Once again she takes the lead, flicking her hair over her shoulder as she does so.

I pull out my phone again- still no signal. Thrusting it back into my pocket, I plough through the mud, my wellies lagged up to my ankles. Libby lets out a little ‘ooo’ noise, and quickens her pace. A building sits nestled in dense trees. We could have missed it, if not for the silver car parked outside, reflecting the moonlight.

Libby’s already at the door. “This place is derelict. Do you reckon someone actually lives here,” she says, knocking.

The house is dying if not dead. Both upstairs windows are cracked, the roof bows in, and the white paintwork is tinged green with algae. The whole place smells boggy, but the car is fancy. I peer in the car window as the front door opens.

A man answers with a candle in hand. His features stretch in the flickering light, appearing demonic. He steps out, his face one of confusion and irritation.

“Oh, thank god,” Libby exclaims. “My friend has got us lost out here. Please, please could you show us the way to the real world.”

The man takes another step, the moonlight exposing him. I’m struck by his appearance- green eyes, dark hair back in a ponytail, and a symmetry to his face that surpasses that of Greek Gods.”

Libby makes a strange noise. She too must be seeing what I’m seeing, but up close. “Sorry, I’m- um- I’m Libby,” she says, holding out her hand. The man looks at her hand, and then giving it a shake, he looks passed her to me. “Oh, that’s Fiona,” she adds with a flick of her wrist. The action irritates me. She always acts like I’m a  nuisance, an annoying wasp that could be wafted away. The truth she wont admit is that I’m her only friend, if you can call us that.

I offer a quick wave.

“So, directions would be fantastic,” Libby continues.

“Would you like to come inside a minute,” he asks. His smooth voice stirs something deep in my tummy.

Libby is already heading into the house. How has this girl survived this long. One minute she’s talking about horror movies, and the next she is stepping into a strangers house in the woods.

“No, we’re happy to wait out here, thank you,” I say, grabbing her arm.

The man’s lips purse as if he’s hiding a smile, but he nods, and heads inside closing the door behind him.

“Fiona, could you be anymore rude? I’m freezing, and he was being polite.”

“We are lost in the woods, Lib. He could be a serial killer for all we know.”

“She’s right,” says the smooth voice. He has appeared from the back of the house, wearing a coat, and carrying a torch. “I’m not, but I could have been.” He heads down a narrow footpath, shining the torch at his feet. “It’s this way on foot.”

Libby lets out a flirty laugh. “Ignore her. I could tell you were a good man as soon as I saw you. Thank you for helping us.”

“A good man, well, that’s a new one.”

“Excuse me?” I say. Both Libby and Greek God turn toward me. “Did you say something?”

He raises an eyebrow. “No.”

“I just thought I heard something.” I walk at least ten paces behind them. Libby desperately tries to keep up with our escort, but he moves quickly. He glances at me, his mouth turns down in contemplation, and then he turns his attention back to the footpath.

“You haven’t even asked us why we were out here,” Libby says. I roll my eyes. Here we go. “I’m a photography student. I needed some natural images for an assignment I’m doing. Would you like to see?”

She doesn’t let him reply, just starts flicking through her pictures. He nods politely, glancing down just enough to feign interest, and then something draws his attention.

“Oh, I was just checking the exposure on that one.”

“Beautiful,” he says.

“What one is beautiful?” I ask, curiosity getting the better of me. “Even though Libby enjoys photography, and scrapes by in all her assignments, she doesn’t have a natural talent like Davey does.

His head jerks in my direction, his eyes locking mine. I feel exposed in his glare, and look to my feet. Why is he so intense? Why do I like it?

Libby notices his interest in me; she can’t deal with that. Libby always has the male attention, not boring, weird Fiona. “Alright, Miss Bighead. No one said anything about beautiful.” She whispers something to Greek God, and giggles like a school girl. He doesn’t seem impressed.

“You went pretty far out to get those pictures,” he says, then he stops, turn to face me, and shines the torch at my feet. “It can be dangerous that deep in the woods. Please, don’t go down there again.”

His words seep into me like honey absorbing into my skin. Despite myself, I nod, not able to look away from him. He smiles, and my tummy swoops.

Libby steps in front of me, breaking whatever that tension was. “We won’t be coming back here again,”she says, laughing. “Fiona, doesn’t know her left from her right.”

“Well, she seems much more sensible than you.” The fiery tones in his voice catch me off guard, but I grin to myself as Libby stumbles over her own tongue. “How are you two even friends?” he asks.

“Libby dates my brother,” I say. Libby glares at me. What was she expecting? ‘Oh, how could I ever not be friends with such a talented, friendly, selfless person such as Libby?’

Greek God laughs, the sound rolls around me like thunder. Shit! Did I just say that out loud? Libby appears just as confused by his outburst as I am, so I rein myself in, and concentrate on my own feet. He slows his pace, not much, but enough to allow me to catch up. Libby glares ahead with a face like a slapped ass. Greek God looks to my hand twirling my necklace, but averts his gaze when he realises I’m looking. What is happening here?

Street lights appear up ahead, twinkling through the blowing trees. He points his torch toward a stile. “There you go, ladies- the car park.”

“Thank Christ,” Libby says, sighing. She checks her watch and quickens her pace. “I’m supposed to be at work in ten minutes.” Jumping the stile, she straightens her jacket, and fixes her hair. “Are you okay to get a taxi home, Fiona? Otherwise, I’m going fifteen minutes out of my way.” She’s running to her car before I can even answer, and without so much as a fuck you very much to our rescuer.

I can’t leave it like that. “Thank you for helping us,” I say, turning to face him. He has Libby’s camera, flicking through the images. “How did you-”

“I wanted to show you the image I thought was beautiful,” he says, not looking up from the camera. “That self- absorbed, bimbo of a girl would have deleted it, otherwise.”

“I knew I heard you.”

“I didn’t say it, l thought it.”

He hands me the camera, and my breath catches a little. The image is slightly out of focus giving it a soft quality. I sit on the river bank, leaning back on my wrists. I’m oblivious to the camera, and twirl a yellow leaf in my fingers.

“What do you mean, you thought it?”

His fingers dance over my shoulder, leaving a coursing energy behind them. “Do you feel this?” he asks, centimeters from my ear. I nod. “Impossible.”

“Who are you? What is this?” I step away from him, drawing my arms around myself.

He backs up, holding his palms in the air. “Don’t fear me. I don’t know what this is, but it’s important. Come on, I’ll drive you home. Your idiotic friend thinks it’s okay for you to get a taxi alone, but I don’t. I would also like to have a word with your brother about his taste in women.”

I smile, instantly regretting it as one spreads over his own face. Wow, he is stunning. “No, I’m fine. I can walk it in less than five minutes, and anyway, I can look after myself.”

“Oh, is that so,” says a strange voice. A hand clamps over my mouth, and Greek God’s face falls in shock. In the next instant, he’s launched from his feet, hitting into a tree trunk with such force that the creak echoes throughout the woods.

“Hello, Anneka,” the voice whispers in my ear. He knows my birth name. Not even Libby knows my birth name. Greek God’s eyes meet mine if only briefly. My birth name means something to him too.

Okay, Fiona, think this through. His hand is big enough to cover my mouth and nose easily, I can feel his insane muscles pressed against my back, he’s about two heads taller than me, and there is a weapon of some kind in his waist band.

Inhaling through my nose, I stamp on his foot, and bring an elbow back into his ribs. He drops slightly, releasing his grip on me a little. Spinning in his arms, I bring my knee up to meet his manhood, and as he falls into a crouch, I grab his head, using the same knee to smash his face. Blood spurts from his mouth and nose, and as he topples, I kick him in the ribs, and unsheathe his knife; an ornate, silver blade that looks as old as life itself.

Greek God snatches the knife from me and plunges it into my attackers chest. An eerie hiss emits from the wound, and the man withers in front of my eyes until he’s nothing but dust.

“You can fight,” Greek God pants, nursing a deep cut to his forehead.

I don’t reply. I just stare at the pile of dust on the floor.


 

Images are the property of K.J.Chapman

Written works are the property of K.J.Chapman