No Man’s Forest

Here’s my attempt at the Sunday Scrawl prompt challenge, which I recently begun myself; it runs from Sunday on a weekly basis (you still have all of today and tomorrow to enter and a new challenge will be released tomorrow) If you want to know more about this challenge, check out the page here.


There’s a sound in the distance – not a flurry of feathers or a scampering of paws – this is a new noise, a stark contrast to the familiar chatter of the forest. It’s distant, but undeniable; my ears prick as the quietest of whispers scream one, single message: there’s an intruder in the forest.

It doesn’t take long for me to shake off my former drowsiness. As I race through the trees, I keep my body close to the ground, skimming across the leaf-strewn earth. I’m fast, and within minutes I have reached the source of the whispers. I duck behind the nearest tree, ears still pricked.10245908_229013817292235_2035726348_n.jpg

The whispers are stronger now; their once frail voices have become hard as they slice through the serene quiet. I watch as their owners reveal themselves: not one, but two. Men.

They laugh to one another, trampling through the undergrowth as frightened insects scarper from over their feet. I glance skyward to see all the nearby birds take off, fleeing for their lives.

It’s been a long time since man has dared enter our forest. At the border, they put signs up – signs that are meant to ward them off, but these men must have ignored the signs. They must have ignored the danger. I hesitate behind my tree, wishing I was bigger – wishing I was just the tiniest bit more powerful. I don’t pretend to like man. They’re loud and brutish, caring only for themselves, not the forest or its animals. Yet, if I could, I know that I’d stop them. I know that I’d try to warn them.

I glance to my left. A fellow rabbit has arrived behind the next tree, his ears pinned back and eyes wide. I try to catch his eye, but he’s far too preoccupied with something in the distance. I turn to look, too, and then I close my eyes. I thought it would take longer for them to get here.

From behind the men, on the wooden path that they tread, three pairs of narrowed, yellow wolf eyes stare back at us from the gloom.


If you want to enter the challenge, simply write a post based on the above picture, and click here enter! Thanks for reading!

Sunday Scrawl #3

For a long time now, my two main hobbies have been writing short stories and taking lots of photographs. It therefore makes perfect sense to me to start a photo prompt challenge of my own. Here are the rules:

Sunday Scrawl Logo

  1. Below, you will find this week’s photo prompt!
  2. Responses to the prompt can vary from prose/poetry writing to more photographs – there are no limits and no word counts.
  3. There are no tangible prizes for this challenge, but I will be reblogging the top entries!
  4. Feel free to use the photo below or the “Sunday Scrawl” icon to illustrate your responses (although I’d love to see some of your own illustrations, too)!
  5. Please remember to include a pingback to this post in your response.
  6. To enter, just click on the “Mister Linky” icon at the bottom of this page! (I was having some trouble with the “InLinkz” tool that you may have seen on my first Sunday Scrawl, so I’ve switched to Mr. Linky; hopefully this will work better.)

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On the Run (part 2)

The second week of the Sunday Scrawl challenge is officially over! Thank you to everyone who took part; it’s been an immense pleasure to read your wonderful responses to my photo! I’ve reviewed all entries and chosen a ‘winner’ for the week.

This was not an easy decision to make as so many of the entries were not only well written, but engaging and pretty intense! I have, however, selected Sammi’s story to reblog this week; part of a serial that she’s writing, this week’s piece of writing was simply stunning. Thanks again to everyone who has taken part this week; as there were so many great entries, I’ve added links to all of them below!

Sammi Cox

To read the previous instalment of this flash fiction serial, click here: Part One


I made the train.  I still don’t know how.  One minute I was running, sure I was going to miss it, the next, the locomotive slowed down to go through the tunnel.  I caught up with the last carriage, grabbed a handle and pulled myself up.  Opening the door was trickier, thanks to the cold, but I did it.

The rear carriage was empty, so I had no fear of being found.  I took a seat next to the window and tried to calm down.  I never imagined making it this far.

The train wouldn’t stop again for twelve hours, so I dozed for a while.  When I woke it was to find that the forest had gone and in its place a snow-white expanse stretched for miles and miles, until it merged imperceptibly with the…

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The Gated Gardens

This piece of creative writing is for the purposes of the Sunday Scrawl prompt challenge, the competition that I run on a weekly basis. I’m a little later at answering the prompt this week as I have just moved into a new flat, so I apologise if I have been late responding to comments etc. Thank you to everyone who has taken part so far, and I hope you enjoy my story!


Individual droplets of dew collect together on the leaves, clinging onto each other as their bodies stretch out, their reach elongating, until finally they snap. The water cascades to the floor, showering my hand as I hold it out, brushing past the leaves as I walk, slowly towards the familiar, black gate.13827185_303455753342581_2017557188_n.jpg

I hadn’t had any intention of returning to this place, but I’ve walked this path so many times that I now can’t seem to avoid it. My legs carry me here as if possessed by some higher power. I can’t resist it, and I don’t see why I should.

I stare hard at the gate, taking in its elaborate patterns and thick, bolted entrance. It’s the only way out. I’m certain of that; I’ve explored every inch of the gardens, traversed each of its many acres, in search of an escape. The perimeters of my prison are guarded by thick, impenetrable bushes that circle all the way around the manor, lowering only at this singular, haunting gate: my only exit, sealed with a bolt and key from the outside.

My feet take me right up to the gate, stopping only so I can reach a hand through the bars, scrabbling only half-heartedly at the lock. It will not open. It may never open; for twenty-three years, I have existed within my prison, speaking only to my fellow inmates. Why should that ever change? This isn’t just my prison; it’s my entire existence.

When I was child, I hadn’t minded the prison, because I’d thought that that’s all there was. I didn’t know that there was an outside, so I had no desire to reach it. I’d lasted most of my life in this happy state of ignorance, and all that while, from the gardeners, to the nurses and handmaids, no one had thought to tell me that there was more. Perhaps each of them hadn’t wanted to be the one to ruin it for me. That had been until my sixteenth birthday. It had been my first birthday alone, my mother having died in early September. I hadn’t wanted to talk to the servants. I hadn’t wanted to talk to anyone, so I’d run. I’d run all the way out here, to the strange, tantalizing gate. I’d seen the break in the hedges and looked beyond, to the trees and the flowers that I couldn’t quite reach.

I’d asked since, of course. I’d asked everyone I happened to run into, and then I’d discovered the truth. It had been too late by then, though. The only person who really mattered had already left me, which meant that I couldn’t ask her.

I couldn’t ask her why she’d done it.

IMG_1163.JPGWe’re all women here; I’m told it’s to stop the endless cycle of betrayal. That’s what one of the nurses told me, anyway. They don’t want more children growing up in here, which means that I’m the last one. Before long, all the servants will have left me; the youngest one left is fifty-eight, which, in my mind, can only mean one thing. Before long, I’ll be the solitary prisoner of this infernal, hated prison cell. Because it might look pretty and provide me with enough space to run around for days at a time, but it’s not enough. It’s still a prison, and I’m still alone.

I sink slowly to the cobbled ground, my legs crossing automatically as my head falls into my hands and I begin to sob furiously. I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t want to have to think about my cold, lonely future. I don’t want to have to think about roaming around that manor all by myself. I don’t want to have to think about how many days I will sit here, staring hard at the immovable, impossible gate. I look up, angry tears still falling from my eyes.

Then I freeze.

Something that has never, during my entire existence, happened before, just has. I’ve seen a child.

I blink hard, standing instantly and rushing manically over to my bars, mouth slightly agog. The boy stumbles a few paces back, apparently alarmed. He’s clutching a small, stuffed rabbit around his chest, which he drops as he scuttles away. Then he looks down at it, apparently conflicted.Rabbit2.jpg

“What’s your name?” I ask greedily. I know I should move back so the boy can grab his rabbit, but, if I do, he might leave me. “My name’s Alika.” The boy doesn’t move. His eyes are still fixed on the rabbit, every muscle frozen, as if every portion of him is occupied in his own internal war. If he moves forward, he can get his rabbit, but then again, if he moves, the strange, wild woman might attack him.

I sigh, stepping away from the gate slightly.

His eyes are fixed on me as he creeps forwards, bent low as if he thinks it will make it harder for me to see him. I don’t say anything else. I don’t see the point.

In a sudden move, he rushes to the rabbit, yanks it up by the ear, and races off in the opposite direction, without sparing another glance for the wild woman behind the gate.

I lean heavily against my cell door, regret pounding through my veins. I should have kept him with me. I could have at least looked at him a little more, taking in his tiny little features and smooth, innocent face. It was one thing to see a child, but a male – well that was something as equally as foreign to me. I rattle my cage, and, on the strangest of impulses, begin to shout.

“Please! Please, help me! I’m trapped in here and I can’t get out! Anyone… you have to help me!” My voice begins to break, and I mutter, in a barely audible whisper, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

They’re a funny thing, wishes. In the days of my childhood, I would waste them on frivolous things, such as wishing for the agility needed to climb the highest tree, or wishing to be able to run as fast as the rabbit that just alluded me. I’d never wished for an escape, though. It’s as if a part of me already accepted my fate. Why try to fight the inevitable?

So, I didn’t wish for an escape, even as I beat my head against the hard metal of the gate. I didn’t wish for anyone to help me as I felt the blood begin to trickle down my forehead, but it didn’t matter. My unasked wish was answered, nevertheless. I hadn’t really thought about what the boy had been doing in this forest, all alone. If I had, I might have yelled a little louder.

His parents found me a few minutes later. I’d almost knocked myself out by then, but I was still alive. The father drove off to find something called wire cutters. I didn’t know what they were; they didn’t exist in my world. Then – well, it was so easy – then I was outside and being lead to a strange, unfamiliar box with wheels attached. I screamed in alarm, as well as amazement, as the box began to move. I wasn’t really scared, though. There could be nothing scarier out in the real world, than there already had been in that prison. I didn’t care what wild beasts I would face out here, because I wasn’t alone anymore.

There are people – so many people – now. They are busy and colourful and blessedly unfamiliar. I don’t know them. I can walk up to them and introduce myself. The best thing, though, the best thing of all about being free, is that I don’t have to think about those things anymore. I don’t have to hate my mother for betraying her royal husband, and I don’t have to worry about being alone. Out here, I will never be. There’s too much life.

That’s all folks! – Sunday Scrawl #1

The first week of the Sunday Scrawl challenge is officially over! Thank you to everyone who took part; it’s been an immense pleasure to read your wonderful responses to my photo! I’ve reviewed all entries and chosen a ‘winner’ for the week – it’s only a little late because I moved flat on Saturday, so everything has been a bit of a mess!

This was not an easy decision to make as so many of the entries were not only well written, but engaging and pretty intense! I have, however, selected Varad’s story to reblog this week; there was just something about the ending to the story that left me reeling. Thanks again to everyone who has taken part this week; as there were so many great entries, I’ve added links to all of them below!

L.E.R.T

11272892_847812051963254_1840294869_nGoodbye, cruel world! Is that how suicide notes begin? Whatever! I’ve had enough. Usually, the person committing suicide blames someone in their suicide note. Well, where to begin! Should I start with my absolutely useless and horny parents? Maybe! If you don’t have the brains to purchase a condom, then maybe you didn’t deserve to have sex.

Hey, my so called mother! Ever heard of abortion? Nope, don’t think so. If you were dumb enough to get pregnant with a child you never had any plans of raising, then I guess you wouldn’t have been smart enough to visit the nearby clinic. My worthless father, great job sticking around mate. Hope you had a great night of fornication.

My foster parents, If your idea of bringing a child up is whipping the cane out for every small mistake, you needn’t have bothered taking me in at all. Might as well…

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Sunday Scrawl #2

For a long time now, my two main hobbies have been writing short stories and taking lots of photographs. It therefore makes perfect sense to me to start a photo prompt challenge of my own. Here are the rules:

Sunday Scrawl Logo

  1. Below, you will find this week’s photo prompt!
  2. Responses to the prompt can vary from prose/poetry writing to more photographs – there are no limits and no word counts.
  3. There are no tangible prizes for this challenge, but I will be reblogging the top entries!
  4. Feel free to use the photo below or the “Sunday Scrawl” icon to illustrate your responses (although I’d love to see some of your own illustrations, too)!
  5. Please remember to include a pingback to this post in your response.
  6. To enter, please just add a linkup to your post in the comments section (linking to this blog should do it, but add an extra link if you’re worried)!

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You can read my own response to this prompt here.

Sunday Scrawl #1

For a long time now, my two main hobbies have been writing short stories and taking lots of photographs. It therefore makes perfect sense to me to start a photo prompt challenge of my own. Here are the rules:

Sunday Scrawl Logo

  1. Below, you will find this week’s photo prompt!
  2. Responses to the prompt can vary from prose/poetry writing to more photographs – there are no limits and no word counts.
  3. There are no tangible prizes for this challenge, but I will be reblogging the top entries!
  4. Feel free to use the photo below or the “Sunday Scrawl” icon to illustrate your responses (although I’d love to see some of your own illustrations, too)!
  5. Please remember to include a pingback to this post in your response.
  6. To enter, click on the blue froggy link at the bottom of this page!

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You can view my response to the prompt here.

The Sunday Scrawl

Hi everyone,

For a long time now, my two main hobbies have been writing short stories and taking lots of photographs. It therefore makes perfect sense to me to start a photo prompt challenge of my own. I will post my first challenge this Sunday, and hope you’ll join me in writing a response to it.

You can post absolutely anything in response to my challenges, from poetry and short stories, to photos of your own. If you want to know more about “The Sunday Scrawl” challenge, you can visit its page here.

Thanks for reading; I’m looking forward to hearing from you next week!

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