THE LOST LEGION

‘What now?’ screamed Aetius.

Another hail of arrows split open the sky, hurtling down on them. On command the surviving legionnaires raised their shields and fended off the onslaught. The screams and cries signalled more men lost. The wild gale battered them, the rain hammered them relentlessly.

General Manius stared through the bleak grey storm at the huddled remains of the Ninth legion, strewn along the unforgiving rocky hillside.

They were hopelessly lost in this barren land. There was no escape. Retreat was blocked behind them, and they had no idea which way would lead them to safety. The aquila had been lost.

On all sides they were surrounded by the hellish inhabitants. Why had they been sent to conquer this desolate place? There was nothing here worth Rome having.

‘General, what now?’ Aetius yelled again.

Through the storm Manius heard an evil animal howl. Emerging from the thick fog, fearsome warriors charged towards them.

‘We fight and we die,’ Manius commanded as he hauled himself to his feet. His men followed his example. They rushed to meet their death. Manius fell to one blow from a giant axe.

The Ninth legion was lost to history. The land called Caledonia remained wild and unbowed.


 

203 06 June 18th 2017
Copyright A Mixed Bag

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

OLD FRIEND

The grey clouds hung low over the surrounding rooftops. Phillips stood next to the gate. His breath formed small puffs of mist. He pressed his hands deeper into his pockets.

‘They sent you.’

Phillips recognised the voice from the other side of the gate. He had last heard it in the bar in Whitehall all those years ago.

‘They needed someone who could confirm your identity.’ Phillips peered through the small gaps in the gate’s bars. ‘Show yourself.’

Travers stepped out from behind the wall. ‘Satisfied?’

‘It’s good to see you.’ Phillips said.

‘And you, old friend.’ Travers replied.

‘Why did you do it?’ Phillips asked.

Travers shrugged. ‘Someone had to. Wars were being fought over false information.’

‘What about your loyalty to our government?’

‘Governments come and go.’

‘To your country then?’

‘What are countries but artificial borders dividing people. Better to sacrifice oneself and prevent nuclear war.’

Phillips knew his friend was genuine in his belief. ‘You know what my orders are.’

‘Can you do it though?’ Travers smiled.

Phillips pulled the gun from his pocket and fired two shots. Travers slumped against the gate.

‘Goodbye, old friend.’


200-05-may-21st-2017

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

LADY MADONNA

I sat under the umbrella of the cafe, shaded from the strong Roman sun. Sipping from the cool ice drink I watched the people go by.

Excited, loud groups of school children ran across the ancient cobbles mixing with bus tours of the ponderous elderly. Teenagers by the fountains took selfies with their phones. Couples sat in each others arms, heads resting on shoulders, stealing the occasional kiss.

The midday bell rang from the tower. I looked to the door. It opened as it did everyday at the same time.

She strode out across the square. The crowds of people seemed to part in front of her. I marvelled at how effortlessly she glided on the uneven ground in her heels. The eyes were hidden behind chic sunglasses, her auburn hair fell from beneath the stylish wide-brimmed hat. Her hips swayed in the tight dress that stopped just below the knee exposing the tanned and toned calves.

I watched her walk from one end of the piazza to the other until she disappeared from view. The sights and sound of the world resumed. I left my money for the drink and ambled away.

Same time tomorrow.


Exif_JPEG_PICTURE
Copyright Sally-Ann Hodgekiss

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

ASSASSIN

Donovan got back to his car. He turned on the small red ‘phone.

He watched the traffic. Nothing suspicious.

The screen blinked. He clicked through the menus to the ‘Music’ folder.

Strange. Usually there was just a recorded message from The Office with details of the target.

Instead there were music tracks. He scrolled through the list: Justin Bieber; Beyonce and someone called Harry Styles.

Something wasn’t right.

10 a.m. at the airport café, corner table, red ‘phone. He had been a couple of minutes late. The ‘phone had been tucked down the side of the seat, instead of sitting on the table as usual.

He clicked play on the first track. Unbearable pop music filled the car.

Protocol had been compromised.

Donovan got out the car and walked away.

***

Daisy sat on the aeroplane. Mum and Dad were sitting in front. It was a blow to lose her music collection.

How had they done it? It had only been a minute before she had realised she had left her ‘phone in the café, gone back and picked it up from the table.

Even at thirteen, she knew she was destined for something special. A glamorous assassin, she smiled, just like in the movies.


199-05-may-7th-20171

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

A FLY IN THE KEYBOARD

He pondered the email on his screen.

His initial outrage had prompted him to write a thunderous reply, filled with ill-tempered language and dismissive ire. How dare they criticise his work? Who did they think they were?

‘Just ignore it,’ his agent always told him. ‘You don’t need to prove anything. Your a bestseller. Who cares what they think?’

He re-read the email and calmed down. As he read though, the doubts entered his mind. They actually made some  good points. That plot twist didn’t make any sense. Maybe they were right. The book was rubbish. His entire career was luck. He was a complete fraud.

He stopped himself. Enough of that sort of thinking. You’re a success. A literary star. They are entitled to their opinion. Don’t let it bother you.

How to respond? Should he take each point and offer a rebuttal? Or provide a general defence? But who has time for such contemptuous nit-picking. The cursor blinked at him.

He shrugged and typed:

‘Dear Sir,
‘Thank you for purchasing my latest novel and taking the time to write to me. I have exciting plans for the next book, and hope you are looking forward to reading it.
‘Kind Regards.’

He congratulated himself on rising above the criticism and returned to his writing.


198-04-april-30th-2017

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

This month I participated in the A TO Z CHALLENGE 2017 – a post each day based on the letters of the alphabet and theme. You can read my final story, a crime thriller HERE.