A walk in the meadows – Short Story

It was so glorious, the day I first fell in love, it couldn’t have been better; weather wise at least. My friend Alex and myself were outside, during our half term of college. She had suggested that we go on a walk for a change, far away from any technology, so we left our phones behind; anything that required a battery. We forgot about our studying, where thankfully our recent passing of exams was no longer a stress but a relief, and of course from everyone else. It was just a nice change of scene, just the two of us as best of friends since childhood, before our studies resumed later next week.

We had gone to the field behind our houses where we lived, arms linked and hands held while trailing a path through the lash green field; littered with so many different flowers and plants neither of us could recognise. All the way out in the country where it wasn’t so tainted by concrete, street lights and the noisy pollution of cars. It was so peaceful out here that only the wind could be heard carrying the songs of birds, when we weren’t laughing of course. I remember how warm it was with the sun bearing down when occasionally it broke through the clouds.

We talked so much about when we always used to play out here and had so much fun away from our parents, who always told us not to but we did anyway. She always was the brave one, I followed her rarely without question. Every grazed knee or splintered hand was because of her, being the adventurous spirit that she was. I used to often look at her with a strange sense of awe, that someone could be so free and wild yet made me feel so safe and secure at the same time. This was before we were thrown into the daunting process of living in an adult world, where she seemed to only thrive even more, she was an unstoppable force and unrelenting with a passionate glow. We’ve never been separated, evident by any of the photos of either of us, as they never existed without the other.

I think it was subtle over the day but I noticed my heart thumping so intently, I felt like it really wanted to burst through my chest, every thump seemed to grow stronger. My head was buzzing I could barely make sense of anything but it felt so real, so painful. But I finally knew how I felt about Alex. Now I knew another feeling, with this feeling of love all that grew was fear. I wondered if our friendship would all be ruined forever if I tell her…oh how I wish I could tell her…

Prompt: https://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/challenge-2015-week-8-19-february/

Laura Steel © 2015

Summer Lightning – Haibun – (CWPS: #4)

Yet another summer week and once again the air is filled with a warm humidity; that is refreshing if there’s wind. Clouds were forming in the distance, the kind that was menacingly tall, wide and very dark. Even before the last waning oasis of clear sky had been vanquished, a loud boom sounded of into the distance, was it thunder? A monster having roared awake from its slumber? Before the Sun could spirit way to the safety of the horizon it had been swallowed whole, not even a single ray of sunshine was able to permeate through the thick blanket it was now enveloped in.


A bolt of lightning struck and claimed its first victim. A poor lone tree in the fields, one that had been blow apart and exploded outward with sap and bark now littering what was once a rather pristine sea of green. A second later, the roar of thunder stretched across the sky and it sounded hungry. Rain drenched the ground with an energized vigour.

The storm continued for hours, it was so captivating to behold such a magnificence natural event; from with in the safety of bricks, mortar and pains of glass. Each strike was so beautiful, not just visually but because each one is unique from the last. Each proceeding boom terrifying though, as it shook the the houses, as well as the very air in any onlooker’s lungs. Like the sirens in ancient mythology, it drew in new inquisitive bodies to participant together in witnessing something so deadly and foreboding.

Yet as soon as the electrical spectacular had swept across, it was gone. Faint murmurs of what it used to be, now dissipated from beyond sight. The show was over and as awesome as it had been to witness, it left those watching wanting more. No mortal could ever hope to stay a beast so malevolent, those who would be foolish to try would feel it’s wrath.

Jagged bolts scar the sky
Conjured forth from vast darkness
Cosmic rage brought forth

Prompt: #4 – 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts for Seasons –  Bryan Cohen © 2012

Laura Steel ©2015


Summer Drought – Haibun – (CWPS: #3)

Yet another sunny day and once again my friend and I went outside to play during our half-term . After about an hour of running around playing outside, we had the novel idea of having a water fight to cool off. We managed to run home even under the extreme heat to plead our case for what could have been a really fun day. However, unbeknownst to us at the time, our county was subject to a hose-pipe ban. We asked what this meant while trying to get over our immediate disappointment at being told simply “no”. It was hard to believe that where we lived we would suffer a drought, although this was fairly obvious from the yellow patchy grass we had been playing on. You get told about these other countries that have droughts because they are nothing but deserts and sand dunes, not likes places like where we live that are practically always raining.

After about twenty minutes off relentless nagging our mum caved in, she said we would be allowed to have a small water-gun fight. The excitement was immense. It didn’t even twig that she might get into trouble for using water so wastefully but at that age we didn’t care. We immediately ran to the shed in pure elation and grabbed the plastic weaponry from off the floor, dusting off what was a blanket of spider weave all over it. We flooded back to the kitchen, which was our first direct source of water. We were barely outside for five minutes before we ran out of ammo and rushed back to reload, only to be halted by our diligent guardian who told us to go change…

…Its hard to believe at that age that what we wanted to waste water so effortlessly, so casually; the source of every living thing on this planet. You don’t really care about it either, not that you are fully aware though that hundreds of thousands of people a year die from dirty water or dehydration, and here we were wasting it. I’m not sure whether to look back now with fond happy memories or guilt…

Essence of all life
Clean water – precious resource
Taken for granted

Prompt: #3 – 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts for Seasons –  Bryan Cohen © 2012

Laura Steel © 2015 

Summer Holiday – Haibun – (CWPS: #2)

HIt was half-term and for the holidays this year my parents actually forked out for a proper trip to the seaside. We were going for the week, staying at a small hotel they had booked using their savings. Along with mum, my sister and myself, dad drove us all for hours just to get there but we didn’t mind. It was the first holiday we all had together, one that we were all old enough to remember.

After arriving at the hotel and checked in, we immediately unpacked and settled into our temporary accommodation, taking an hour or so before we then left for the beach; which was overlooked by our rooms windows. The first thing my sister and myself done when we got their was take off my shoes and socks. I just loved the feeling of the sand on my feet; the almost silky feeling was so pleasant and relaxing as my feet sunk into and were swallowed whole into the grainy loose floor.

We stopped near the wall furthest area away from the water’s edge. Mum flung out a blanket for us to sit on while dad prepared the picnic we were going to have. All I remember is wanting to rush out to the water and splash about but we were abruptly stayed. Mum had ordered us to sit down while she lathered our backs with a sunscreen. At the time I never really understood why, when I questioned mum she merely said it was to protect us but divulged no further into how.

I’ll always be fond of this holiday, it was such a great time for all of us as we all had so much fun. It always saddens me that we will never have that sort of time together again. I suppose as time goes on things change, as do people. I only hope that one day, when I have kids of my own, my family will have that same time together, being happy. The need for nostalgic relived moments like that are a powerful thing to resist.

Happy times are rare
Cherished memories fade slow
Protected by love

Prompt: #2 – 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts for Seasons –  Bryan Cohen © 2012

Laura Steel © 2015


Summer Heat – Haibun – (CWPS: #1)

It was that horrible time of year again, during mid July. Apparently it is the hottest Summer we’ve had for years. I can’t stand this heat, I never have, there’s just no end to it. Its relentless. Where ever you go, what ever you do, its there…haunting you; its like some poltergeist that’s hell bent on scaring you out of your skin, only in this case sweating. I much prefer being too cold and having the option to wrap up than being unable to escape the unrelenting ambient warmth that can’t be quelled even with the strongest of electronic fans.

Everything was ok up until last week, we could just about manage. We had this rather decent air conditioner, pumping that ice cold relief into our home; it precariously sat perched on the window sill. That sweet chilled air was such a welcomed break from the relentlessness of Summers worst boon. Alas, it packed up. Now we are here, sticking to the furniture like insects cemented to fly paper, trying to forget the sweltering heat that we have been enveloped in, that is making us feel so lethargic and bored. We can’t even afford a new one because dad needed new tyres on his car and the vet bill from our poor cat has hampered any hope for a new one. I do hope this heat will relent before we all melt like poor snowmen on a beach.

A heat that won’t quit
No escape from the fever
The Sun’s blaze baths all

Prompt: #1 – 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts for Seasons –  Bryan Cohen © 2012

Laura Steel © 2015

The Ex-Communicated Champion – The Hard Life

Watching the cool flowing water meander around the mossy rocks and hovering fish scales glisten from the noon day glare, a secret break away at his favorite spot on the bridge. Sol was unhindered most of the day, however dark rolling clouds appeared creeping from beyond the horizon, blanketing the far lands with thunderous rain. The sweet song of birds euphorically burst through the air, a brief distraction from the strain of turning straw, they almost sounded like they were warning each other of the impending weather change. Standing there, alone, doing nothing wasn’t appropriate behaviour for a young farmer. “A farma’ ain’t allowed no breaks, doin’ nofing means no food for uv’ers!” So says Joah’s father…

It was too hot to work even as the clouds slowly strolled across the sky, the last hours of the lit day burning away fast. Even though he should be working constantly and his father would have had him scorned for not doing so, he was in no mood.
“Works not over til I say!” is what he would have said, or “Ya idiot, not like this…can’t you do anything right boy!” Anything he had done was never enough and what work he had done was always criticize or belittled. Days were hard, long and tiresome. Just as he father’s father before him and so on for atleast a few remembered generations. “Men of’tha house ‘av muck for blood…ya know.” Was he favourite saying to anyone with ears.

“Ya mother will ‘av your ‘ide if ya slack off!” He would say to Joah if he saw him as he was, gawking into the wavy waters mentally distanced from everything. His mother wouldn’t have said anything of the sort, but she couldn’t really complain…not if the occasionally blackened eyes were anything to go by.
She used to sing songs to Joah as he slept as a baby and further more until his teens, they abruptly stopped after then.
“He’s too old…ya hag, he needs ta man up now… You’ll soften ‘is ‘ead.” Heard late at some untold hour of one cold night. After which they did.

Nothing but hardship followed in the years to come. Tiling, sowing, scything when crops were bound. Chopping and hunting when coldness hardened the dead fields. This was the time table over and over for years, with the ever so rare trip to the nearest market. Time spent was over efficiently, with no moments for merriment. Watching the other boys and girls in town playing their games was as close to fun as Joah would be allowed, being cuffed on the head when any spark of enthusiasm for fun presented on his face.

What happened next was unpredictable and unconceivable to Joah and his father. The old man found himself pounced upon and left writhing on the ground, after his throat was gouged out by the razor teeth of a Diralupa. Joah ran over to find the large bulky, black matted hairy wolf-like beast, who had pinned his father flat into the tilled soil, too preoccupied to noticed anything else. It had unknowingly sprang out of now to Joah’s father’s surprise where during the dusky hours of the day. Waning light limited the detecting of the creatures presence and the out lying wooden fences provided no protection other than to mark the field’s limits.

It had rather boldly found it’s meal miles from it’s den in the hills. Rumours of it prowling the hillside had circulated the local towns but Joah’s father paid no heed as stubborn as he always was. Joah strangely felt a sense of remorse, panic and anger when he realised the predicament his father was in. Emotions he was not expecting to feel for the man who he had to suffer, for so many gruelling years.

Confronting it with the four spiked fork Joah grabbed while sprinting in aid of his father, screaming muffled with gargling as he tried in a vain attempt to prise off the beast looming over him. Joah lunged the fork into the side of the monstrous form who was still wearing the viscous crimson around it’s maw. The four honed spikes pierced the creature’s hide inch by inch into and through it’s inner organs. It staggered away on each of its four paws letting out a wincing cry as it meandered off into a slump.

Joah looked upon his father, still in the throws of death, who in turn looked up at his son with pleading painful eyes, wishing that his suffering would end. Joah stayed his hand briefly, almost enjoying the pain his father was suffering. Pity took over. And without thinking he lifted the fork vertically above his head and landed the mercy blow. He threw away the fork and walked slowly over to his favourite spot on the bridge, panting a heavy remorseful breath that mismatched the thumping in his chest. Staring at the darkened waters, the fish that once beautified the river were dimmed from sight. He looked upon his home were the light broke through the windows, unable to find the words his mother would have to hear when he returned.

 Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/challenge-wednesday-17-september/

Edited: 26/09/2014

Laura Steel © 2014

The priestess’ prayer

The priestess rested upon the gold metallic rail with a sadden contemplation, her mind was quiet and free of distraction.

She looked out across the balcony towards to the sea that stretched out beyond Solaris’s northern harbour. Staring at the Sol with narrowed eyes, she hoped that it would reveal something to her that she was otherwise unable to contemplate.

She rested her forehead of the cool metal and it drew from it the relaxing soothing properties that helped focus her mind.

The priestess’s prayers would be cast to the heavens unknown.

It slowly become overcast, a rarity in these lands and the yearly raging storm of Tempia the Unrelenting Goddess was on her way to renew the lands of it’s much needed hydration. 

Sol was setting and it’s remaining warmth skipped across the waves and was failing to continuously light the day and the light from the wall held torches was flickering sporadically.

She felt the cold droplets caught upon her face. The carved stonework of the balcony was changing colour with every new puddle and each rain drop could be heard with a subtle clarity. As the rain poured more readily, soaking through her silken gown, she looked up at the last light of the setting distant star…and smiled.

Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/weekend-medley-2324-august/


Laura Steel © 2014

The Geneforged Sorceress (Part 1) Escape to Silvasung Forest

Having no home, there no reason to live beyond survival with in the city of Caldera was no longer enough for Anya. Having recently witnessed yet another family have their children taken away from them because of their Vis ‘taint’. She felt so helpless and lacked enough courage to act out and was eating away inside of her. The alleys and sewers had housed her for her entire life but being constantly on the run meant that she would never know a sense of peace. One she wanted so desperately but she knew if it was one she wanted it meant she could no longer stay. The urge to escape was always present but a level of complacency and apathy compelled her to stay, even with the Academy having successfully made the city uninhabitable for anyone who used Magik at any level.

After many preparations, Anya made plans to sneak out of the city and was almost flawlessly executed. She had managed to sneak a few meters out of the main city gate, before her presence was noticed. It was still enough to avoid being trapped inside the gates. The guards pursued her with raised voices orderings her to stop, with their pole-arms extended readily as if to carve the air and provide an aerodynamic benefit. Either through willful ignorance or sheer determination, their echoed commands fell silent on her ears. The guards in chase would not let up and they continued to pursue her relentlessly.

Anya ran as fast and far away from them as she could. With the open terrain all around Caldera there was no where to hide, apart from one remote location, Silvasung Forest. The steepness of the mountains and soft ashen ground made it hard to maintain her balance and caused unwanted strain on her already starved body.

As she entered the forest and disappeared through the trees, and out of sight, the guards gave up. They looked on with disbelief and a strong sense of relief; in their belief they saw that she was no longer their problem. Their chuckled among themselves, as they holstering their spears and swords, and walked all the way up to their original posts.

Running such a distance was agonizing and was unbearable. Anya’s legs ached all over, her blistered feet were sore and had a few open wounds. Her chest was pounding, like her heart was about to explode. After a few hundred feet inside the forest she had tripped on an outcropping root, falling fast onto her stomach. Her face was covered in thick ash that was underlying beneath the leaf litter, almost caustically burning her heavy set eyes. She propped herself up, shaking through her straining arms, with almost no strength left. Staying on her stomach would have prevented her lungs from grasping the much needed air they hungered for.

She looked back, stretching her head over her shoulder and saw that her hunters where no longer in pursuit, she could no longer see the dark brown ashen hillside or the towering Calderan city gates. Only the summit was visible, barely, and the plumes of steam that poured out from the various vents that ran along the rim of the basin, as well as lower down the mountain where the few rivers of lava that erupted from around the volcano, carved through the landscape like fiery snakes meandering for prey.

The forest leaves were of the deepest crimson and were present all year round. When they had wilted they would flood the rooted-over and bolder scattered floor. A sea of blood mirrored the canopy of the area and was broken only the thick weaving trunks, their branches reaching out like pale hands for any spare food.

No one entered the forest willingly. In days before the Academy, rumours of the forest being alive or haunted were told, as childhood stories to prevent children from running off to an uncertain end. Stories and legends have always existed about there Silversung Forest, so much so that even the top scientists of the Academy have deemed the forest off limits. No research teams were permitted beyond its edge, as all previous attempts had been met with groups of Calderian Academy students failing to return from the deepest reaches. Their attempts to control the forest from overgrowing were constantly hampered, were it only not for the rivers of lava and areas where no ash fell stemmed their intrusion.

The tranquil serenity of the forest warmed her heart and calmed her mind. She could hear the wind rush through the leaves and all the panic that beset her since melted. The fresh air free from ash was invigorating. Knowing she could no longer return and having lost all desire to do so, she picked herself up and proceeded to walk further into the forest, using it as cover to get as far away from Caldera as possible. Hoping that once she finds the other side she would find a better life for herself. That was until, the hissing started.

Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/picture-this-monday-16-june/

Laura Steel © 2015

Prompted Poems – Perfect World

A perfect dream? (Haiku)

In a perfect world
We’d ideally get along
Is it just a dream?

Misunderstood (Limerick)

Getting along would be good,
Loving each other we should.
But some people hate,
Forgetting would be great.
If only they weren’t misunderstood.

Ruined (Cinquain)

Our world
Is beautiful
Many vistas to see
But neglect can turn it to ash

Perfect World (Acrostic)

Perpetually spinning
Eternal in orbit
Radiance of Sun embraced
Flowing long rivers
Erupting volcanoes rage
Cold winter poles
Traversing mountains and forest

Will be ruined by arrogance
Oppressed by tyrants
Ruined by pollution
Littered by rubbish
Destroyed by ignorance

We’re not perfect! (Monotetra)

The whole wide world is beautiful.
It’s lush plants and trees are fruitful.
It’s growing life is mutable.
It’s provable, It’s provable

But our ignorance can infect.
Our arrogance promotes neglect.
We all should do more to respect.
We’re not perfect! We’re not perfect!

Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/tuesday-conundrum-29-july/

Laura Steel © 2014