#DystoniaAroundTheWorld Challenge, Short story

Flash Fiction for #DystoniaAroundTheWorld: The Fallen

Hello September! The beginning of my favourite season and Dystonia Awareness Month. As promised in my previous blog, I am sharing flash fiction written for the Dystonia Around The World challenge in aid throughout the month. My aim is to complete 1000 miles of writing to fundraise and spread awareness for Dystonia UK. I have faltered in my writing thanks to dystonia flaring but I am hoping to get back on track.For more information and my fundraising page, click here.

So following on from the woodland theme of A Walk in the Woods which I shared  to celebrate 100 miles, here is The Fallen.

 

The Fallen

 

Her long fingers ran over the ridges of the rough bark, and along the smoother lime lichen. They dipped into a furrow, disturbing a black beetle in its resting place. It scuttled away. A lone tear escaped, betraying her efforts of being stoic. She bit her lip and gulped the sob down. When the news came in, she hoped this magnificent solid specimen would survive, but the abundance of blue sky at their approach confirmed her fears. In full leaf and his splendour finery on display, he did not stand a chance when the high winds ripped through the woodland, uprooting the sturdy, and whipping the young, testing their resolve to survive.  The majestic were felled by an unforgiving and relentless storm set on destruction to transform the familiar and loved landscape. The words on the clipboard blurred as she marked her location on the map and scribbled on the form. Name: Quercus.

How many others would mourn the loss of the magnificent oak, the keeper of secrets, creator of memories? More than enough, she decided. There were those who stood under the green canopy for illicit kisses, the readers who immersed themselves in another world while cocooned in his branches and generations of children who learnt to climb on his accommodating lower limbs. She moved along to locate the lovers’ initials circled by a deeply scratched heart, a sign of their eternal love, except now it was over with the exposure of the labyrinth of roots ripped from the earth.

Age? She nibbled the end of her pencil. 569 years. Her certainty wavered but there was no time to check. The petrichor intensified as she bent down to place her ear and flat palm against the trunk, hoping to feel the low thud of his wooden heart. His silence matched the crows circling above.

No one knew it was coming. There was no warning. Her chest tightened. Except from Harold. His repeated mutterings of an incoming storm increased in strength the evening before, but they were ignored and then silenced by the turn of a bedroom key; all of them certain his prophecy belonged to a storm decades before, playing on a historical loop in his mind. It made no difference; it could not be stopped, but she could have captured the landscape in her memory one last time.

It’s the circle of life. The fallen would provide shelter and nutrient for the new, but the flash of neon yellow through the remaining trees and groan of machinery advancing said different. She pressed her lips to the bark and murmured her goodbye. With a flick of her black tipped delicate wings, she darted away.

 

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More soon. Take care and stay safe!

Love

just Kate

#DystoniaAroundTheWorld Challenge, Dystonia Around the World Challenge, Short story, Writing journey

#DystoniaAroundTheWorld Celebrations and a Walk in the Woods

Not only have I completed 100 miles of writing enabling me to virtually visit my dream destination, The Cabinet of Curiosities, in Haworth, Yorkshire but I have leaped over the £100 mark in donations.

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As promised for reaching my £100 target, I am sharing a piece of flash fiction before September when Dystonia Awareness Month begins. Thank you so much for all your support and donations. It is appreciated by myself and all those involved with the #DystoniaAroundTheWorld challenge.

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A Walk in Bluebell Woods

Mary did not know why she stopped the car in the lay-by. She did not remember turning off the motorway. Perhaps it was the relief that the dreaded meeting had been cancelled, or maybe it was the tears running down her face that forced self-preservation to kick in, but it was the trail of bluebells snaking through the oak trees that made her get out of the car and follow the dancing flowers through the woodland.

Dappled green light shone through the canopy above her. She was not wearing the most appropriate footwear for the woodland as her high heels sank into the ground, but the blue path urged her forward. When was the last time she ventured into a wood?

Mary’s heart lurched as his disapproving face flooded her mind. He would not approve of such unfeminine activities as clambering over the fence or stumbling over the hidden roots in the deep foliage. She swore as she snagged her tights. The sting of the scratch bringing her back to reality as the rustling of the leaves in the soft breeze and the chattering birds calmed her thoughts.

The trees opened to reveal a bumbling stream, Mary sat on its bank while the motorway droned in background. As the sun warmed her face she imagined it as a roaring river or the buzz of a bee close by. She had always been told that she had a good imagination.

Suddenly an image of her mum’s smiling face flashed by; “Always my little Pollyanna,” she would say. Where did that go? Her positivity, the ability of always looking on the bright side and appreciating the little things; every day the greyness seeped in, dragging her down and strangling any glimpses of future happiness. A wall had slowly formed between herself and her colleagues leading her to watch the world in a haze.

Unable to resist she slipped off her tights and dipped her feet in the ice cool water. Making figure of eights she watched the ripples spread across the stream distorting the pebbles below. Her shoulders relaxed. She felt calm. She could feel the moment.

Mary looked at the ring of faded bruises around her ankle before rolling her sleeve up to reveal the fresh marks around her wrist. She had felt each one form as he crushed her against the wall, shouting her latest failures while his alcohol fumed spittle joined her tears. The list of her misdemeanours grew by the day, her body recording each of his disappointments.

Looking around her oasis, she didn’t want to leave or go home.

Home! The word conjured up fresh memories; warm dinners, being cocooned in love and surrounded by laughter. Touching her barely noticeable rounded stomach, she reached for her phone amazed at finding a signal. Her fingers glided over the keyboard remembering the number from years ago. Her heart thudded, and skipped a beat, as a familiar voice answered.

“Hi Mum, it’s me.”

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Thanks again for supporting Dystonia UK.

Catch up soon when I have written more miles.

Stay safe!

Love

just Kate

If you would like to sponsor or follow my journey for the Dystonia Around The World challenge my page is here. Or follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

#DystoniaAroundTheWorld Challenge, Dystonia Around the World Challenge, Writing journey

100 miles complete and virtual visit to Haworth #DystoniaAroundTheWorld

I am thrilled to announce I have completed 100 miles of my Dystonia Around The World challenge. From a virtual paddle at the beach, I trundled to Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens, East Yorkshire for an ice cream, soak up the atmosphere in the variety of gardens and hunt for the fairies in the woods. It brims with inspiration for regal dalliances and childish tales. When I am able, it will be one of the first places I revisit. 

 

From there I visited the wonderful city of York with the Minster, quirky shops and cobbled streets including The Shambles. My last visit was for the RNA Afternoon Tea, something that will be greatly missed this year. 

 

 

My final destination is The Cabinet of Curiosities in Haworth, Yorkshire. This former Victorian Druggist and apothecary has been restored into somewhere magical. With delightful mugs, cosmetics, candles and witchy books my bank balance is relieved it was a cyber tour. As I do not have photos of my own, this Facebook post will have to do. Isn’t it amazing? When I do get the opportunity to be there in person, expect a long post on the experience. 

 

 

Now my goal is I have increased it to 1000 miles. Where could I go next? 

If you would like to find more about my writing challenge click here or if you would like to support me visit my fundraising page, here

Once I have reached £100, I will release a piece of flash fiction on this blog,

More soon.

Love

just Kate

 

#DystoniaAroundTheWorld Challenge, Dystonia Around the World Challenge, work in progress, Writing journey

The first 10 miles of #DystoniaAroundTheWorld Challenge: New Ideas and Beginnings for Stories

 

Yesterday, I shared my intention to raise awareness and much needed donations for dystonia by signing up to the Dystonia Around The World challenge. I have downloaded an app on to my phone to time my writing and the journey has begun. According Dystonia UK, ten minutes of an activity equals one mile. This is a lot less daunting than I originally thought when I read it as one hour equals a mile. Maybe I will complete 1000 hours on this project depending on the length of time the challenge runs for and the donations, but for now we will focus on one mile at a time until I travel 100 miles.

Where can we go?

This morning, I had achieved over ten miles of writing. This made me think of where I could virtually visit in my 100 miles target. Manchester is always an option and it would be nice to catch up with friends but yesterday I saw a wonderful shop I long to visit, The Curiosity Society in Haworth, North Yorkshire. It looks full of atmosphere and magical inspiration to get the creative sparks flying. At 80 miles away, it fits perfectly with a quick detour to one of my favourite places to relax, the sea.

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So with my ten miles I am banking them for a Horlicks and a tea cake on Bridlington beach to blow away the cobwebs of shielding and isolation. One day soon, I will do it for real, but until then memories and imagination will have to do.

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My progress so far

With those miles, I have written the beginning of a short story about a cursed locket and a potential scene from my current work in progress inspired by the prompt, the scarecrow, given by my local writing group for homework. I doubt I will use it in the manuscript, but it gives an insight into one character. Watch this space; it will be available to read in September.

Catch up soon.

Happy writing and stay safe!

Love

just Kate

If you would like to sponsor or follow my journey for the Dystonia Around The World challenge my page is here. Or follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

 

#DystoniaAroundTheWorld Challenge, Short story, Writing journey

Writing Challenge to Support Dystonia UK or what have I let myself in for? #DystoniaAroundTheWorldChallenge

August has arrived and with the speed time is flying this year, it will soon be September. September is Dystonia Awareness month which I always try to participate in. I was diagnosed with a rare form of dystonia, dopa responsive dystonia, in 2012 after many years of doctors scratching their heads. I have been lucky; medication gives me some relief during the day and I have adjusted to being wobbly and a new way of living. Awareness of this neurological condition is crucial for better treatment, diagnosis and research for a cure. Many people suffer for years before they see someone with experience of diagnosing and treating this condition despite it affecting at 100,000 people in the UK.

Writing has been my escape throughout my dystonia journey and gave me a focus away from hospital visits, disability and more recently, the four walls of my home during lockdown. To help Dystonia UK which supports people affected by this condition, I have signed up to the #DystoniaAroundTheWorldChallenge. I can not run or walk 100 miles even with my walker but I can write. My aim is to write for at least 1000 minutes in many sprints. I will post the resulting short stories/flash fiction here from September.

I'm taking part

If you would like to know more about dystonia, click here and if you would like to find out more my writing challenge click here.

Thanks for reading and your support whether it is through donations or encouragement, it all matters. 1000 minutes seems a daunting task and I am now doubting my ability to achieve the goal and producing something readable. If anyone has any writing prompts or inspiration for short stories please comment below.

I had better get writing. Take care and stay safe!

Love

just Kate