Charli Mills latest prompt is here
July 13, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an unexpected landing. It can be acrobatic, an unplanned move or created into a metaphor. Go where the prompt, or chickens, lead.
If you are going to be a klutz and fall over then learn to fall well. I’ve certainly experienced my 10,000 hours of tumbling to ensure my clumsiness does me the least damage. If I’ve inherited a propensity to oesteoporosis from my mum then I’m probably in for a painful third age but so far, scratches and light bruising apart, most of my somersaults end up in sharp intakes of breath from anyone watching, much hilarity if they are family members and an embarrassed leaping to my feet accompanied by ‘it’s fine, I’m fine’ from me.
I had lunch with a blogging friend, Derrick Knight on Thursday at Barton on Sea in Hampshire a few miles from where he now lives and where I grew up. As I stared out over Barton Cliffs towards the Isle of Wight I vividly recalled a winter walk with my brother and parents back in the early 1970s. Mum and dad were on the beach combing the tide for useful flotsam while I followed the Archaeologist who was more interested in cliff falls to see if any fossils had been exposed. At one point we climbed the cliffs. Just under the lip at the top we found a sort of path and followed it, peering at the sticky red clay to see what might have been revealed.
Quite what happened I’ve no idea but he was ahead of me and he had no problems with the path. However a few feet behind I suddenly found myself on a sheer cliff face without said path.
This state of affairs couldn’t continue, of course and I began to descend much more quickly than is recommended in books on Cliff walking.
On the way down and as an inexperienced cliff diver I wasn’t prepared for the spin cycle that is built into the programming. I turned two complete circles, vaguely aware of a couple of shrubs regarding me with bemused indifference as I hurtled past.
At some point I’m sure my mind turned to consider how this rather exhilarating experience might end. The denouement came quicker than I probably expected as I had glanced a line of beach huts that were rapidly approaching and noted, with something akin to disappointment that they hadn’t considered how their design could have been adapted to incorporate a system of cushioning for anyone approaching from behind via an attempt, unsuccessful as was apparent, at unmanned flight.
I stopped. Abruptly. In an aspen shrub. Said shrub was sufficiently mature to have the strength to stop me but with enough youthful sappiness to bend on impact and not impale me on its branches.
As subsequently became usual, I hopped to my feet. There is a school of thought, in such circumstances, that one should lay still while triaging oneself. But that ignores the embarrassment factor, the need to leap up and try and create the impression that, against the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, this whole thing was planned.
I looked whence I had come. The Archaeologist stood on his precarious perch, watching me. When I waved he nodded once, maybe acknowledging I had somehow dodged rendering myself a megaplegic, maybe a recognition that for once I’d done something vaguely impressive and heaved himself to the safety of the cliff top. Neither of us told our parents, not then at least. After all they might have imposed some sort of ban on fossil hunting and cliff walking and that would never do.
And for this week’s flash, Mary’s journey in search of her twin sister’s daughter continues. She is in a quandry
Words On The Stairs
‘I don’t know, Paul. I really don’t.’
Penny listened to her parents from the shadows on the landing, her face pressed to the balustrade.
‘It can’t do any harm to ask him to find out if your niece is alive, can it? I mean if it’s another dead end, that’s it and if not…’
Penny noted her father’s tone; almost pleading. He wanted Mary mum to continue. Her mother’s voice, in contrast, sounded flat. Emotionless. Penny stood and walked downstairs. She held her baby sister in her arms. ‘We want to know mum. And you do too. Don’t you?’
And if you want to know more about the family, click here