Charlie’s Journey – OWPC Challenge

Charlie did so enjoy elephants.

Each night Charlie’s dad would tuck him up tight in bed, kiss his head gently and with a “sleep well Charlie” he would turn out the light and pull the door almost closed, leaving it ever so slightly ajar to allow the light from the hall to dilute the darkness just a little.

Charlie would lie quite still until he heard his dad’s footsteps trail away and, unless he was particularly tired, he would grab his torch and his favourite books and head under the blanket to escape to fantastical other worlds and far away places.

Tonight, however, was different.  Tonight Charlie was not under his blanket, instead he stood with his ear to the door, listening for the familiar sounds of his parents chatting in their bedroom until everything went quiet and he knew they were fast asleep.

As quietly as he could Charlie grabbed his rucksack from his wardrobe, and into it he pushed his Torch, a notebook and pen, his favourite teddy – Winston, a compass, some clean socks and the blue woolly hat his grandmother had knotted him for his birthday. “Perfect things for an adventure” he said to himself under his breath.

Quickly and quietly he dressed, and with his bag on his back and his shoes in his hands he tiptoed out of the room and along the hall until he came to his parents bedroom.

The door was open, and he could hear his father snoring inside.

He couldn’t fall at the first hurdle he told himself, there was an adventure to be had and he had been planning it for quite some time, at least a week.  Dropping to his hands and knees, holding his breath, he crept along the floor as low and as quietly as he could to avoid being detected until he was past the open door without incident.

He breathed again as he slipped down the stairs, avoiding the creaky steps, and slipped into the kitchen.  He took a small bar of chocolate from the treat drawer, 2 apples and a banana from the fruit bowl and a bottle of water from the fridge and added it to his bag and zipped it closed.  That should do for a few days he told himself, just long enough for him to find more food along the way.

After slipping on his shoes, struggling a little to do the laces – mum always helped with the laces – he grabbed his coat from the hook near the door, pulled it on and then put on his now rather heavy backpack.  He took a deep breath.  This was it.

He reached for the key in the door, and was about to turn it then remembered the note.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small handwritten letter which was folded in half and on the front he had written “To Mum and Dad”.  Inside it explained that he was going on an adventure, but not to worry because he was a big boy now and that he would be back in a few days once he had seen an elephant.  Charlie did like elephants.

Charlie returned to the kitchen, popped the note on the counter top and headed quietly back to the front door.  Turning the key ever so slowly the lock clicked and he pulled on the handle, not daring to breathe in case he was heard.  He stood motionless, listening for any noise from upstairs.

No noise came.

He pulled on the handle, the door swinging just wide enough for him to pass through and he felt the cold night air on his face as he slipped outside, pulling the door closed as quietly as he could.

“This is it Charlie” he said to himself, “the beginning of a great adventure”, and with that he walked off down the garden path into the night.  Reaching the old wooden gate at the end of the path he looked up, the sky full of more stars than he remembered seeing before.  It was so very very dark.  He suddenly felt rather alone.

Across the street Charlie noticed an old man in a long brown coat walking a small white dog.  It was Mr Morley and Chops, the man who owned the corner shop.  Chops barked eagerly when he saw him and Charlie was just quick enough to duck down behind the gate before my Morley turned to see what Chops was making such a fuss about.

“Calm yourself Chops” said Mr Morley as the passed down the street “People are sleeping”.

Charlie’s heart raced as he let out a long sigh.  This was far scarier than he had thought it might be.  “Come on Charlie” he said to himself getting up off the ground, “you want to see that elephant don’t you.”  He stood at the gate and listened to the sounds of the night. Far off he could hear more dogs barking there was the unmistakable sound of a police siren not too far away.

Charlie wasn’t too fond of dogs.  Or police cars, the sirens heart his ears.

Charlie scratched his head, then looked back at the house.  The landing light shone gold through the upstairs window and he could just make out the familiar pattern of space ships on his bedroom curtains in the darkness.

With a sudden change of heart Charlie raced back down the path, and opening the door hurried inside and pushed it closed.  He stood breathing heavily with his back to the door and then raced back upstairs, as quietly as he could, back to his bedroom – not stopping to crawl past his parents open door – and slipped into his room.   With his bag still on his back and his shoes still on his feer he jumped back into bed and pulled the blankets tight around his ears, only his eyes peering out.

The light from the hall was suddenly obscured by the familiar silhouette of his father.  “Are you okay Charlie” he asked, “what are you doing up?”

“I just went to the toilet” Charlie replied.

“I told you drinking that hot chocolate would have you up in the night” his father said and smiled, “back to sleep okay.”

Charlie nodded as his father turned to leave the room.

“Dad” he said.

“Yes charlie?” his father replied.

“Can we go to the zoo to see an elephant?” Charlie asked.

His father laughed.  “Of course” he answered, “now get back to sleep.”


Want something a bit different? Try these…


Screw you, one and all.

Family #writephoto

99 Word Challenge – Sound









Pesky butterflies – Weekly Weather Challenge: Hurricane

Now I have heard it said that if a butterfly flaps its wings in my back garden it can cause a hurricane in the Philippines or Singapore or somewhere equally warm and exotic…

Now I have heard it said that if a butterfly flaps its wings in my back garden it can cause a hurricane in the Philippines or Singapore or somewhere equally warm and exotic,

Not wanting to appear ignorant I looked up the source of the saying, and from what I read it can be attributed to one Edward Lorenz, who I am sure is most learned, and is the basis of a chaos theory hypothesis which speaks to the randomness of outcomes given any number of contributing factors.

That is about as far as I got before my ignorance and intolerance of such nonsense got the better of me and I decided that surely it must be complete tosh and it would be most appreciated if people would just stop saying it.

I would like to suggest that Mr Lorenz get outdoors more and get a proper job.  Has he even seen a butterfly?  I can just imagine his lofty minded colleagues patting him on the back and congratulating him on his recent thesis whilst on the inside he is laughing his tits off and wondering how he might get into the head of the English departments knickers.

Okay, now if this is true then surely we need to kill all butterflies.  As beautiful and whimsical as they might seem, they cannot be allowed to run amuck causing severe meteorological events.  That just will not do.

Do butterflies possess some magical storm inducing power?  What about the effect of other winged creatures?  What about bats and eagles?  Could a fly flapping furiously in Egypt cause a light drizzle in Cape Town?  A lot of questions I realise but ones to be answered surely.  Heavens, can high winds in the Sahara be attributed to activities of a small flock of gulls in New York?

Perhaps I am taking it too literally and getting myself vexed over nothing.  I am thinking that I should have continued reading instead of submitting to my ignorance.

There are obviously many things that I do not know, but what I do know that I just went out into the garden with a tea tray and spent a minute wafting it up and down, simulating the force of a thousand angry butterflies.  I do not expect this to have any effect on anything (unless my neighbours saw me then perhaps there may be an awkward aversion of eyes next time we cross paths), but if by chance Manilla is ravaged by monsoons, hurricanes and tidal waves next week then I take it all back.

Frightfully sorry.

Fancy something else?




This Week’s Challenges: August 13 – 19 (OWPC & WW)

One Word Photo Challenge: Hummingbird – Part 1

“Sorry sir” Henderson replied “but we drop out of FTL and go radio silent and now we’re locked in orbit at four times the usual distance instead of heading home.  That’s not protocol.” 

This was written in response to the one word photo challenge which I rather enjoy, and details can be found at the link below.  This week I had to use the word “hummingbird” as inspiration.  It had me thinking of thinking of things of a geostationary nature…

One Word Photo Challenge


In the cold of space, 80000 Miles above the Kazakh steppes the Hummingbird emerged from Faster-Than-Light and Captain Jenkins ordered it be placed into geostationary orbit.  Shortly after a call went out across the ship-com for the vessels four most senior officers to come to the captain’s quarters.

“Gentlemen” Jenkins began, “take a seat please”.

The three men pulled up chairs around the table.  Henderson, the Chief Engineer,  waited for Jenkins to be seated before speaking.

“What’s happened sir?” he asked.

“What makes you think something happened Henderson” the Captain asked sharply.

“Sorry sir” Henderson replied “but we drop out of FTL and go radio silent and now we’re locked in orbit at four times the usual distance instead of heading home.  That’s not protocol.”

Jenkins took a deep breath.  “About 30 minutes ago, on approach to FTL drop out point, I received an encoded fragment of a sub-light notification  warning us to stay away from Earth.  Sub-light then went offline.”  H paused before continuing.  “When we came out of FTL I initiated a comms freeze override and engaged full shielding.”

Coles took off his hat and placed it on the table.  “And we know nothing more Sir?”  He was the eldest of his senior officers and a damned good Chief Navigator and the best Comms officer in the fleet.

Jenkins stood and began to pace, he didn’t think as well when he was sat down.  “Not a thing Charles.  I wanted to brief you all before we start full scans.”

“Sir, if I may” Coles interjected.

“Go ahead.”

“We’re ready to go Sir, we can initiate fulls scans as soon as you give the word.”  he stood as if to leave.

“I need to know if we are visible” Jenkins asked calmly, still pacing.  “I need to ensure that should we take down the shields to run scans we maintain minimal risk of exposure.”

Coles put his hat back on and straightened it.  “Sir, From this distance we are pretty much undetectable with shields up.  We will need to reduce shield strength to half to initiate full diagnostics but even with reduced shields we should be hidden from anything but a targeted scan”

Jenkins stopped pacing.

“Okay, let’s do it.  Initiate full planetary scan.”  he continued, turning to Henderson and Carter, who had sat silently throughout .  “Gentlemen, all hands on deck please.  We have no idea what is going on down there.”

Both men replied in unison standing.  “Yes Sir.”

As the three men headed for the door Jenkins called over to Carter.  “Let’s bring the rail guns online Master Chief” he instructed.  “I don’t want to get caught cold”

“Yes Sir” Carter replied and exited after the others.

Jenkins followed his officers and headed to the bridge.  He wasn’t prone to panic or overreaction, but something felt wrong.  “Officers never run” he told himself as he settled into his chair, three large screens in front of him.

“Coles” he shouted out across the deck,  “drop shields to 50% and initiate full Earth side scans please.  And pinpoint the fleet for me will you.”

“Sir, yes sir” came a prompt reply.

Jenkins waited a few moments before the first results started to be returned.   His screens lit up and a cascade of information began to filter through.

“Jesus Christ” he exclaimed as the information began to pour through.  “Coles, are you getting this?” he shouted.

“I am sir” came Coles’ response.  There was a note in his voice that made Jenkins uneasy.  “I’ve validated outputs and there are no errors.”

“Shields back to 100%” Jenkins ordered sharply.  “Henderson, take us out to 160 thousand miles full speed.”

“Yes Sir!” came a response “One hundred and sixty thousand.  Initiating sub light engines.”

Coles walked across to the captain, his face ashen and spoke quietly “Sir, there are no mistakes – those transponder results are unmistakable – that is the entire fleet in pieces down there with zero signs of life.”


Fancy something similar?  Try this, or this…

Photo courtesy of Stevebidmead @ Pixabay

One Word Photo Challenge: Horse

Only occasionally did the fat bottomed girl come to ride him, so for the most part he was rather content.

“Good morning Horse” said Chicken, scratching around in the dry earth for something to eat.

“You’re up early” Horse replied curiously, ambling slowly to the fence and shaking his head. “I don’t usually see you around here.” He munched on a particularly sweet clump of grass at the foot of the paddock fencing.  Chickens usually stick to their own end of the farm he thought to himself.

“I didn’t sleep well” Chicken replied, “they stole my babies again yesterday, bastards they are!”

“Again?” Horse responded quizzically, “Do they steal your babies often?”  This sounded rather terrible he thought.

“Every time!” Chicken responded, quite upset.  “And it isn’t just me.  Every morning they turn up and take our babies away and there is nothing we can do!”

Horse considered this for a while.  “Nothing at all?” he asked still chewing.

“Not a thing!” Chicken replied.  “Have you seen the size of them?”

“They Don’t look that big to me” he replied slowly, swishing his tail.

Horse didn’t object to them particularly, they fed him when he was hungry and in the winter he had a blanket to cover him when it was cold.  Only occasionally did the fat bottomed girl come to ride him, so for the most part he was rather content.

“Obviously they don’t look big to you!” Chicken scolded “Look at you, you’re huge!”

“Hmmm.” said horse, he was not one to anger quickly but this sounded most wrong.

“Juliette once tried to give them a good scratch and she got her neck wrung” Chicken continued most animated “how would you like it if someone was stealing your babies and wringing your neck!?” she demanded.

“Most disturbing” Horse ruminated.  “Most disturbing indeed.”

Horse considered the situation for some time.  He chewed and he thought and he thought and he chewed.  “And it’s the fat bottomed girl that steals the babies is it?” he asked.

“Indeed it is, indeed it is!” Chicken replied most upset, “every day she steals my babies!”

“Hmmm” Horse said again.  “Not good , not good at all” he mumbled to himself.  “Stealing babies indeed.”

“But nothing can be done” said Chicken sadly, “nothing at all!”

Horse said nothing and resumed his breakfast as chicken wandered back to her side of the yard, pecking and scratching and muttering under her breath as she went.

Days and weeks passed, and weeks turned into months and Horse did not see chicken again, but he did not forget the story she had told him of the fat bottomed girl and how she stole Chicken’s babies.

A thin layer of snow lay upon the ground the day fat bottomed girl came to see him. It had fallen unseasonably early he thought as she fastened his blanket on nice and snug.  “I hope it isn’t going to be a long winter” he thought to himself.

The girl with the fat bottom only screamed ever so slightly as he kicked out at her as she walked behind him, and as she lay on the ground, blood pooling in the snow about her head he thought of Chicken and her babies before returning to his breakfast.


Want to read more of my stuff?


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Nichole Wells

One Word Photo Challenge


“I think that today I shall stay in the pool” said Hippo as the sun began to creep over the horizon, a fiery line drawn against the silhouette of the hills beyond.

“I think that today I shall stay in the pool” said Hippo as the sun began to creep over the horizon, a fiery line drawn against the silhouette of the hills beyond.

“Is that not what you do every day?” Crocodile asked with a mischievous toothy grin

“It is indeed” Hippo responded, his ears twitching.  “It keeps me cool when the sun is most fierce”

Hippo heaved his huge frame from the riverbank.  “And what are your plans today?” he asked crocodile.

“Today I shall do what I did yesterday, and what I shall do tomorrow” Crocodile said.  “I shall go to the pool and then I have some breakfast.”

“And are you going to try and eat me again” Hippo laughed, “It was ever so funny when you tried that.”

Crocodile remembered all too well the day he met his old friend and laughed.  “You tasted terrible anyway” he joked.

“The sun is getting up!” Said Hippo, “Come on lets get going, all the good spots will be taken.”



Want to read more of my stuff that’s not about hippos and crocs me but about  and zombies and people and rude poems and life and stuff?