Pryon #15 – The Passage

This serial-based story is one that I have been writing across a series of blog posts. You can read the first part here. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

“I don’t agree with my father,” Dorian was saying bitterly. “I don’t want hundreds of people to suffer for one man’s actions, but he’s past reason.”

“You’re still his son,” Linyeve said, coming to stand in front of him. “Whether he’s denounced you or not, you’re his son. Doesn’t that mean anything?” Dorian looked a little surprised at her courage. He took a few deep breaths, seeming to calm himself.

“Not anymore,” he muttered, and then straightened up. “It’s time we got you out of here,” he added. “My father will be sending guards to check on you.” He gave her a sly smile and pushed open the door of the nearest prison cell.

IMG_1108.JPGLinyeve tried not to look at the man pinned to the wall as she followed Dorian inside. She wanted to ask what his crime had been; what could he have done to warrant being abandoned down here in the dark? She kept her mouth shut, though; after everything that she had heard and seen, she decided that it was better not to know the truth.

Dorian was bent down low, brushing away a thick layer of dust that coated the stone floor. Then he seemed to reach down in between two stones, pulling up a small, metal handle. With a deafening creak, a trapdoor swung open.

“In you go,” he smirked.

Linyeve stared at him, her heart racing.

“What’s down there?”

Dorian laughed, pushing his long hair out of his face.

“I don’t want to kill you, Linyeve. I think I’ve just explained that. This passage will lead you right outside the Kingdom. Don’t try to go back to the villages. That’s no use, but you can try your best to make your way in a city. Westbreen might be best – where we were before – people don’t ask too many questions there.” He made a strange movement in the air and then, from nowhere, produced a rickety lantern with a small flame flickering inside. “You’ll need this,” he added, handing it to her. She clutched it in her good hand, still not confident about using the one which had been burnt at Wrenstead.

Then she swallowed, and nodded. It was no use thinking of what could be lurking in that passage; if she stayed in the Kingdom, she was going to be murdered.

She shifted herself over the hole and began to lower herself down, but then she stopped, looking at Dorian.

“You’re still the prince,” she said. “Even if your father won’t listen to you, the people might. They have no idea what their King has been doing in the villages, but they could do, and it would terrify them. No one wants a king like that ruling them.”

Dorian stared at her blankly. It looked as though he wanted to say something more, but Linyeve couldn’t hold herself up anymore. Her arms gave way and she spiralled into the darkness beyond, watching the square of light, partially concealed by Dorian’s face, grow smaller and fainter. Then, with a splash, she hit water.

There was a clunking sound, and then the square of light was gone: Dorian had closed the trapdoor.

She gasped, kicking her legs furiously and holding her lantern high above her. She didn’t want to think about what would happen if her one source of light went out. There wasn’t enough light as there was: all she could feel was a pressing darkness and numbing cold from the water. She kicked harder, pushing herself forwards, and then hit a bank. She scrambled up, breathing rather heavily. She was cold, drenched and thoroughly confused, but to her relief, the lantern was still lit. She held it up.

There were more bodies down here – lots of them.

Some were floating eerily in the water, their eyes fixed blankly above them, whilst others had been stacked against the banks, their arms flayed out in every direction.

19533686_242015476315832_6942166162641780736_nLinyeve had to cover her nose and mouth, retching as she picked a direction and ran. The flies were everywhere, swarming about her and tangling in her hair, but she kept on running. She didn’t care where she ended up anymore; she just couldn’t bear to see just how many people had been cast down here to rot. Not a single one of them seemed to have been buried, and there were hundreds of them – maybe even thousands – Linyeve had no idea how far the passage stretched.

Just as she was thinking that she would never escape the tunnels, however, she saw that the darkness in front of her was beginning to lessen. She charged onwards, and then, quite suddenly, she was outside again.

She fell to her knees, her head spinning wildly. She tried to stand up again, but then she keeled over and was violently sick on the grass. She didn’t think that she would ever be able to clear the image of that passage from her memory – what remained of the King’s victims would stay with her forever.

Thank you so much for reading! Click this link for the final part of “Pryon”!


An Empty Bed

Heavy heartbeats
Inside my chest;
Across the sheets:
A living unrest
(I do detest).

And gasping sighs
Slip from my heart:
Endless goodbyes
That will never start
(Not on your part).

And fingertips
Wanting to feel,
Wanting those lips,
Wanting their steel
(You always conceal).

And an aching head
That can’t accept
This empty bed:
a cot unslept.
(And then I wept).


This little poem was written for the purposes of the prompt competition over at Creative Writing Ink, inspired by the above photo. Thank you for reading and please do leave a comment below – it’ll make my day!

Pryon #8 – A Name

This short story is part of a series that I have been writing across a series of short blog posts. To read part one, you can click the link here.
Thank you so much for reading and enjoy!

“Who were those men?” Linyeve demanded over Kanalin’s desperate sobs.

“No one, it doesn’t matter,” she cried, face red and blotchy. “How could you let my daughter die?”

Linyeve clenched her fist furiously, the injustice of it all making her lose her temper.

They killed her, not you and not me! She was dead the minute you hit the wall, now answer me. I have lived through this twice now, and I want to know why. Who were those men, and who – or what – was Ana? I want answers, and you are going to give them to me. I’ve earned them.” Kanalin’s eyes seemed to freeze over as she stared into Linyeve’s face, and she took a deep, steadying breath, holding Jakob close to her.

19533686_242015476315832_6942166162641780736_n“I only wanted to protect my children,” she whispered. “A few nights ago, those men – the ones in cloaks – came to me and told me about the fire. I don’t know how it works, so don’t ask me, but they told me what was going to happen to Wrenstead. When they finally got me to believe them, I wanted to run away: of course I did, but they told me that if I did, they would come after me. They would kill us all, Jakob and… K-Kyla, too,” she let out a deep sniff, and then continued.

“They offered me a deal. They told me an orphaned girl was going to visit the village, and that I should go to her. I was to bring her into my house and keep her there. In exchange, they told me that they would take my children, and that they… they would keep them safe. Well, I mean, I’m not very strong and I told them that, so they introduced me to Ana. S-She showed me what she could do with that mind of hers – a family gift, they called it – and told me that she would keep you there. All I had to do was lure you to my house. I was to do whatever it took, an in return, my children would live.” She looked at Linyeve.

“They told me that you’d committed terrible, horrible crimes… and that you had no family. Of course, now I realise they were lying: they lied about all of it. They were never going to keep my children safe. They just wanted you. They said that you should have died, and that you needed to die… I didn’t ask too many questions, but I accepted their deal, and they left.”

dakota-corbin-492737-unsplash“They said I needed to die?” Linyeve interrupted, feeling stunned. Even with Kanalin’s explanation, nothing seemed to make sense. “Why, because I didn’t die in Little Bringleton?” Kanalin didn’t answer, now preoccupied with the sobbing Jakob. “But Ana and this family… I’ve met someone like her before. Are they the ones doing this?”

Kanalin blinked, eyes wide.

“They’re not a family,” she said, her voice hushed. “They’re the family and of course they’re the ones doing it.” When Linyeve still looked confused, Kanalin began to scowl. “The royal family, girl – the house of Pyron.”

Thank you so much for reading! If you’re enjoying the story of “Pyron” so far, please do leave a comment below, and if you want to be notified when the next instalment is out, you can follow this blog through either WordPress or email by clicking on the links in my homepage’s sidebar. Thanks again!

Picture Credit: Photo #3 was by Dakota Corbin (Unsplash).

You can read part nine of “Pryon” here.

Pryon #2 – Questions

This story is part of a series of separate blog posts. To read part one of “Pryon”, please click the link here. Thanks for reading, and I very much hope that you enjoy this second instalment.

Linyeve had bolted over the fence and raced around the corner to the dirt track before the boy had even noticed she had gone. Once on the path, though, she stopped, watching in horror as the village of Little Bringleton was ignited.

The fire that had engulfed the black storm clouds above was whipping through the houses, causing rooves to catch alight and a terrible smell of burning to rise up through the air. There was nothing she could do – nothing, except watch as the houses began to collapse. She thought she could hear screams, but they might have just been in her imagination, as she thought of everyone she had ever known crumbling to ash.

christopher-burns-369659-unsplashIt was as if there was something wrong with her head. It didn’t seem real somehow. The greengrocer, the children from next door, and her kindly, loving grandmother, who had brought her up for as long as she could remember, couldn’t be…

But there was no chance of survival for anyone in Little Bringleton. The flames were everywhere, roaring through windows and sweeping up stairways. The fire had formed a sort of circle around the village, leaving the trees and grass beyond its borders untouched.

Linyeve felt a hot, burning anger rise up in her chest, and whirled on the spot to face the pale boy, who was now leaning against the fence behind her.

“You couldn’t have helped,” he said, not meeting her eyes. “It had to happen like this.”

Had to?” Linyeve demanded, marching up close to the boy. “Had to? Why did it have to? And what even… I mean, how can this… and you… you… and everyone’s…”

“You need to calm down,” said the boy, still not looking at her. “You need to breathe.” He walked a little closer to her, arms outstretched as if to protect himself from an attack. “You’re going to be alright. There’s another village not far from here – Wrenstead, it’s called. Someone there will take you in and-”

“-Why did you save me?” Linyeve interrupted, eyes filled with hot tears. “Why, out of everyone in the village, did you save me? You waited for me that day we met; there were lots of people around, but you waited for me. You made me come outside and stopped me from going home…why?”

20184382_1746415735387738_3780746710079242240_nThe boy sighed, looking towards the smouldering remains of Little Bringleton. His eyes traced the billowing clouds of smoke, the fire itself now reduced to a few smouldering patches of grass. Then he glanced back towards the sky and saw, to his relief, that it had returned to a languid grey colour once more.

“Go to Wrenstead,” he said shortly. “They’ll help you.”

Linyeve, who’d glanced up at the sky, too, opened her mouth to repeat her questions, but when she looked back at the spot where the boy had stood, she saw that he was gone. She glanced up and down the track, and even checked the meadow beyond the fence, but every trace of the boy seemed to have vanished.

Ears buzzing, she turned back to gaze at the little that was left of her home. She didn’t want to look, but at the same time, didn’t seem able to stop herself from looking. Nothing made sense. Everything had happened so quickly… Fire didn’t just rain down from the sky, and that boy, who’d seemed able to control her somehow… he wasn’t right, either.

10245908_229013817292235_2035726348_n.jpgThat first day, when she’d met him leaning against that very same fence, he’d told her to meet him in the meadow at 6pm in two days’ time. Linyeve had ignored him, of course, and thought nothing of it, until 6pm that night, when her body had moved against her will, dragged her through her window and forced her towards the meadow. She shuddered, feeling her legs walking slowly forwards beneath her. She didn’t know who he was, but he had known about the fire; he’d expected it, but, at the same time, it hadn’t seemed as though he had, in any way, caused the fire – and how could he have? How could anyone explain those flames? They had come from the sky itself, as if some God had sent it down to punish them.

She averted her eyes from the village as she passed. She didn’t want to see her home reduced to a few blackened ashes. Worse, what if she saw… she sped up, eyes closed against the tears still falling down her cheeks.

She felt dazed; it was as if the boy was controlling her body again, although she was quite sure he was not. Everything was functioning automatically, but her ears were still buzzing, and a strange numbness was hovering over her mind. It was all that she could do to keep walking. Little though she wanted to do anything that that boy had suggested, she knew she didn’t have much of a choice. She’d never been there before, but she’d heard of Wrenstead. There’d never been a reason to leave the village before now; in these parts, it was only the trade merchants who felt the need to travel, but she thought she knew the general direction of this other village. Even if she was wrong, walking was better than standing still, and she was eager to leave the black scar on the horizon far behind her – the scar that had once been her home.

Thanks for reading! Click here to read part three.

Picture credit: Photo #1 was by Christopher Burns (Unsplash).

Spring Breeze

I’ll be right there, I’d said. Just a minute; I’ll be there in a minute.

That had been a minute too long, though, because then I’d turned around, and Danny wasn’t there anymore. He wasn’t there, down the street, or anywhere. Not dead – I know he’s not dead – just gone.

I’ll be right there, sweetheart.

His scooter lay abandoned against the park gates, a wheel slowly turning, and I still clutched his little, knitted gloves in my hand.

Not dead. I know you’re not dead.

IMG_2486.JPGYou expect the world to stop; you expect everything to just pause, but it doesn’t. Nothing gets any easier, but it doesn’t stop, either, and, ten years on, I’m still here.

I’ll be right there.

There’s a Spring breeze behind me. Spring – a new start. I close my eyes, clutching those little, knitted gloves to my chest, and I jump.

I’m coming, sweetheart. I’m coming.

Word Count: 150

I hope you enjoyed this piece of creative writing that was inspired by the competition over at Ad Hoc Fiction. This is a weekly-run prompt that requires only 150 words and the inclusion of each week’s prompt word, which, this week, was “spring”.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment below!


The familiar, well-trodden path to the beach had become slick from the rain, and I slipped slightly as I descended, the icy wind knocking me back against the rocks. By the time I reached the stone-filled shore, my knees were bruised, and my ears and fingers were half-numb from the cold.IMG-2788.JPG

Any person with sense would have avoided the beach on such a day, but not me. I would make this journey in hail storms, amid thunder and lightning, and fog so thick I could hardly see my feet. It didn’t matter how treacherous the path, or how cold the wind; I would be here every single day, flowers in hand.

I closed my eyes, kneeling to feel the water before me. I let it flow softly through my fingers as I released my load, a tear rolling down my cheek.

“Hi mum,” I whispered.

Word Count: 145

Thank you for reading this piece of creative writing. It was written for the purposes of the flash fiction competition over at Ad Hoc Fiction, this week’s prompt word being “cold”. I hope you enjoyed it!

Lost in Time

The ebony sheets were folded neatly at the end of the bed, their many tassels swaying limply as they dragged themselves across the mottled carpet. Beside them, stacks of crumbling books stood alongside each other, their spines now barely legible, and their contents faded. In their shadow, there were a number of strange ornaments I barely recognised: a porcelain swan with half its beak missing; a patterned sphere with purple liquid still swirling about inside; a couple of empty old frames; and a box.

I felt my knees bend automatically. I remembered this box. It had always sat on the mantle above the fireplace, its jewel-studded exterior shining out at the rest of the room. I’d never asked what was in it. It was just a part of the room – part of the furniture. I fiddled with the clasp, fingers shaking slightly as I tried not to look at the layers of dust all around me. More than half these things hadn’t been touched in years. They’d just stood here, lonely and forgotten, waiting for someone to pay attention.

I don’t know what I was expecting to find inside the box. Perhaps a hidden letter old photograph? I wasn’t surprised when I saw the violin strings, but my knees did bend again, and, as I hit the floor, my neck snapped round to face the back of the room, where the piano glistened in the half-light, the old violin propped up beside it. There was not a single dust on either of them – no cobwebs, no spiders, and no neglect.

Lost in Time

Credit: Vittorio Zamboni

I wanted to go to them, to close the piano lid perhaps, or else to stroke the violin’s polished strings, but I was immobile, simply staring across the room like some sort of rag doll. It didn’t seem right to move them. They were meant to be here. How could I pack them away, put them in some lorry and send them away? How could I ever have that power? They belonged here. They belonged with her…

I stood up, wiping tears from the corners of my eyes. They were right – everyone was right – everyone who’d told me not to come here. I wasn’t ready. I might never be ready, because everything was wrong. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. I wanted to rush about the room, to pack the books back into their case and put that box back on its mantle. I wanted to scream, to lock the house away and stop anyone from ever disturbing it again.

Taking a deep breath, I wrenched my eyes from the back of the room and marched straight out of the house, locking the door firmly behind me. I wasn’t ready.

Word Count: 453

Thank you so much for reading this short story! It was inspired by the photo prompt competition hosted by Creative Writing Ink, where there are no word limits and no limitations – just a picture, and a whole lot of inspiration. I hope you enjoyed the story; if you did, please feel free to leave a comment below, or follow me for more creative fiction!