You can have a go too! It's not too late! Combine it with the Poetry Bus Challenge if ya like, as the Bug did so successfully this week. Rules, guidance and other players' fruits are at Raven's Nest.
The Mini (shade tree, price, disappointment, power, camera)
David wandered out into the garden. It was sad to see how it had deteriorated since his father’s death. David had not inherited his father’s seemingly magical power over green and growing things, so had no idea where to begin with it. He smiled to himself, remembering the joke question he used to ask his father: what’s the best time of the year to lay concrete? His father had always laughed indulgently, but David knew that the laughter covered a secret disappointment that David had not taken to gardening and would not be continuing the nursery business. He hefted his camera: he would need some good pictures if he was to sell the house quickly and for a good price. He approached the old shade tree at the far end of the garden. It would make a good steady back-rest for his shot of the rear of the house. As he walked up to the old tree, he noticed something in the bark: David’s Tree. He smiled. He had carved that when he was eight. He ran his fingers over the inscription and surrounding bark, savouring the roughness and the memories. Suddenly, for just a moment, he got a most vivid impression of the life of the old tree, pulsing slowly but strongly under his hand. He snatched it away quickly, not really liking the strange sensation. Curiosity overcame him, however, and he pressed his fingers to the bark once more. Hours later, sunset found him wandering around the garden, his camera discarded and forgotten, his hands caressing every flower, leaf and stem, his heart rejoicing in his father’s secret.
The 10-worder (shark, Scotland, gravity, final hours, aggravation, heat wave, sweet tooth, killer, tragic, flowers )
New to Harold? The story so far is here.
“I’m pleased to see you‘ve taken on board the gravity of the situation, Doctor Flowers.” The voice was deep, but thin and tinny, as though it came from a long distance away.
“I certainly have,” replied a second voice – Flowers’s, presumably. “Arranging the logistics of the move is pure aggravation, but a sensible precaution given what we’ve been hearing.” This second voice was higher-pitched, distorted to almost a mosquito-whine. The listener could barely make out the words, but the words were all that existed in the listener’s world – there was neither light nor shade, neither warmth nor cold, and – up till now, at least – there had been no sound. Memories stirred lazily in the depths of the listener’s mind, like fish in the depths of a frozen pond. It had not always been like this. The listener struggled to recall what exactly it had been like, but the effort was exhausting. The first voice was speaking again.
“Have you done the ten o’clocks yet?”
“I was Just about to do them, sir. Would you care to see?”
“Yes, I would, actually. Lead the way.”
The voices fell silent, leaving the listener alone to wonder if it had imagined them.
“I wonder how long this heat wave is going to continue,” grumbled Prada from her post by the front window, “it wouldn’t be so bad if we had air-con or something.”
A couple of hours had passed and the mysterious telephone truck was still parked, apparently deserted.
Behind her, in the living room, Othello stood up and stretched, a few joints popping as he did so.
“Seen anything yet?” asked Box, who was indulging his sweet tooth with the jar of jelly beans from the kitchen.
“Nothing that jumps out at me,” sighed Othello.
“Me neither,” added Mercury, sitting back from his computer and rubbing his eyes. “Let’s take a break and come back to this, my head’s buzzing.”
“I could take over if you like,” offered Box. Mercury gave him a be-my-guest wave and wandered into the kitchen in search of a cooling drink.
Remembering not to stand in full view, Harold wandered over to where India was watching the back garden.
“I could watch for a while if you need a break.” He said. India favoured him with a killer stare, but then seemed to reconsider and, mumbling her thanks, walked after Mercury.
“I think she’s thawing,” Harold whispered gleefully to Teatime. “She didn’t even insult me that time.”
“I think the final hours of the universe will be but a distant memory before she ever warms to you, old button.” Teatime replied
“I live in hope.” Grinned Harold.
“Then it’s a jolly good thing you’re immortal.” Was the monkey’s dry response.
The voices were back, closer and louder this time. With an effort, the listener dragged together the shreds of its diffuse attention and tried to focus on what was being said.
“…pioneering work was first done in Scotland,” the one the listener dimly remembered was called Flowers was saying.
“Oh, yes,” agreed the first, as yet, unnamed voice, “Shark-something and Webber, or something, wasn’t it?”
“Sharkey and Webster, sir, yes.” replied Flowers. “Brilliant researchers, both, but sadly not given the credit they deserve. It was tragic the way they were killed before they could publish, truly… Oh hello.”
“What is it?”
The voices were very close now; the listener did not have to struggle at all to make them out.
“The readings are a bit high on this one.” Flowers explained, “Could you just hold on to this for me, while I change the settings? We don’t want to go the way of Shark-something and Webber, now do we?”
The two voices laughed together quietly for a moment. There followed a rapid series of clicks and suddenly the listener forgot itself once again.