Story Photo: Walled Garden

Fun Garden

This is a picture of a wall in a garden I regularly visit. This garden is fun because it has lots of different interesting places to see, including a few walled gardens that seem hidden from view until you find your way inside.

Today, we’re going to explore what’s behind this garden surrounded by a brick wall. Look closely and consider what you might find there.

The Challenge

Here are some questions to consider. Remember, you don’t have to answer all of them, but do pick at least two to answer in the comment box.

  • What plants live behind this wall?
  • What would you have to do to get past the wall?
  • Who created this walled garden and why?
  • What secrets are on the other side of the wall?
  • Who is waiting for you beyond the bricks and why?

The Special Challenge

For this challenge, I want you to imagine you’ve found your way inside this walled garden. As you look around, use the comment box to describe what you see. You can use the questions above to help you with this challenge or wing it on your own. Provide as much detail as you can. Make me, and the other readers, see what you see!

I will randomly pick two of the special challenge entries to feature in the next story photo post, including links. To participate, you must include the words, SPECIAL CHALLENGE, in your comment and your description must be 100 words or less.

No Time?

For those of you in a rush, here’s a couple of quick and easy questions?

What’s your favorite garden to visit?

What garden flower do you like best?

As always, have fun and be creative:~)

Endings

Eleanor sat at her computer, staring at the picture of a pink donut with sprinkles and hearts. She groaned and said, “Why did I accept that challenge?”

Before getting this picture, she agreed to a challenge from her writing coach to write a story without a happy ending, difficult for a writer consistently known for her sweet stories with happy endings.

When she agreed, she thought it would easy. But that was before she visited the online writing site and saw that the prompt was this picture of a scrumptious pink donut. She immediately knew she was doomed. How would she NOT write a sweet, happy story about a pink donut?

Eleanor sighed, took off her glasses and leaned back in her chair. She ran her hands through her curly red hair in frustration. The now slightly blurry pink donut just stared back at her. She imagined it childishly singing, “Nah, nah, nah, you can’t do it!” She couldn’t help herself. She stuck her tongue out at the picture.

Cleaning her glasses, she put them back on and the donut became crystal clear. She concentrated on the picture again, waiting for something terribly sad to occur to her so she could write the story.

Her mind wandered. She thought about how much she liked donuts, especially iced donuts, like this one. She even loved the sprinkles and the candy hearts. It really did look yummy. Her stomach growled loudly, letting her know it agreed.

Eleanor stood up and stretched. Since she wasn’t writing anyway, maybe it was time for a coffee break. She’d think about the story while enjoying a donut with her coffee. She printed the picture, stuck it in the side pocket of her purse and headed for her favorite Dunkin Donuts. She remembered seeing pink donuts in the baking tins behind the counter.

The bell chimed loudly as she walked inside the restaurant, but no one was behind the counter. She perused the donuts. They were a sad lot. Only a few glazed lemon-filled and some broken Crullers sat on the baking tins. Not a single pink donut was in sight.

Disappointed, Eleanor stood at the counter wondering what to do next and then she smelled something familiar; something definitely NOT nice! It was cigarette smoke!

Turning away from the donuts, she looked for the offender and spotted a dark-haired man in a booth wearing a dirty apron, looking back at her. He was drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette!

Eleanor HATED cigarette smoke! It made her sneeze. She immediately felt one coming on and then promptly sneezed all over the countertop.

“I beg you, ma’am, not to leave your contagions on my countertop,” said the dark haired man as he blew smoke towards her.

Eleanor was pissed. It was his fault she sneezed in the first place! “If SOMEONE didn’t smoke, I wouldn’t have sneezed on the countertop. As a matter of fact, if SOMEONE was working behind the counter, I’d have my coffee and donut by now.”

“No, you wouldn’t. The pink donuts with the sprinkles and the hearts aren’t ready yet” said the man, giving her the smallest of smiles.

Eleanor froze. Staring at man, she thought, “Okay, this is weird. How’d he know I wanted a pink donut with sprinkles and hearts? I didn’t tell him.”

She contemplated this for a few minutes and then said, “Well, when will they be ready?”

“They’ve got about ten minutes to go before I ice them and put on the hearts and sprinkles. Do you think you can avoid sneezing until then?”

“The impudence of this man! What happened to decent service?” Eleanor angrily thought to herself, but said instead, “If you put out that cigarette, maybe I won’t sneeze.”

The man squashed his cigarette in an ashtray. He sauntered behind the counter and into the room where Eleanor guessed the donuts were made because she heard the sound of pots and pans.

She sat down on a counter stool. While waiting, she used her compact to add some bright red lipstick and then wished she hadn’t. It wasn’t like she wanted to impress THIS guy!

Just as she was about to get up to leave, the man emerged, holding a tin of the most beautiful pink donuts with sprinkles and tiny hearts that Eleanor had ever seen. She swallowed hard as her mouth watered.

He poured her a cup of coffee and put a pink donut on a nice clean plate. She daintily picked it up and bit into it. The moist cake was divine and the still soft icing tasted like strawberries. Her teeth crunched on the small sugar hearts, as a few sprinkles fell from her mouth to the plate.

The donut man, who Eleanor now realized had the most beautiful blue eyes, swept up the sprinkles from her plate with his finger, and put them in his mouth.

Eleanor forgot all about the cigarettes, the sneezing, the incomplete story about the tragic pink donut and almost everything else. She stared into those blue eyes and knew she’d found the man of her dreams at Dunkin Donuts.

A few weeks later, the dark-haired, blue-eyed donut man, who now wore a nicotine patch on his arm and answered to the name Stan, told her how he knew she wanted a pink donut.

Actually, he whispered it to her, while they were in bed. “It was the paper sticking out of your purse,” he said as his breath tickled her ear. “It had the picture of a pink donut with sprinkles and hearts. I saw it and guessed the rest. I had some donuts waiting to be frosted and it was easy to add the sprinkles and hearts.”

Eleanor sat up, thinking about the irony of her story. She’d been searching for an unhappy ending, but got a happy ending instead. This made her laugh so hard, she started sneezing. Stan just patted her on the back and kissed her neck, sending wonderful shivers down her spine.

The moral of this story is writers never really know where their stories will take them:~)

This is a post for The Red Dress Club and based on the prompt which asks us to write a fiction or nonfiction story about the header picture. There was no word limit this time. Thank goodness!

Constructive feedback is welcomed and encouraged:~) I want to improve my writing and hope those who read this post, will assist me in my efforts. Thank you.

Story Photo: Say What?

Meet Josephine, she’s a distant relative of Joe and Tallulah, two squirrels that live in my yard. Josephine lives in the neighborhood. We surprised each other one day when I was taking a walk.

The Challenge

I snapped this photo of Josephine just as she was about to say something. Your challenge is to share what you think she said to me via the comment box.

That’s it. Have fun and enjoy!

Last week’s challenge: Old Picture

To answer all the “inquiring minds” out there, this picture is of my grandmother and was taken in the late 1800’s. She grew up in North Carolina and so I’m guessing that’s where the picture was taken. She is sitting in a wheelbarrow in her family’s garden.

While I didn’t know her well, my grandmother loved gardening and grew the most beautiful roses! She quickly learned that I was never meant to be gardener. So, she taught me the skill of using a peppermint stick as a straw to drink tea, cold and very sweet tea. Hey, I’m from the South. What do you expect?

In this picture, I was told that she is feeding two baby mockingbirds that had fallen from their nest. I was also told she is holding an eyedropper, but now that I’ve looked closer with a magnifying glass, I’m not so sure. It does look a bit like a needle as Alien Ghost questioned!!!

However, I’m sticking with the eyedropper. The idea that my grandmother might be smiling as she put baby birds out of their misery, instead of feeding them, doesn’t bode well for my family tree:~)

Special Challenge Daring Do’ers

This was tough. You didn’t make it easy on me and I wasn’t as specific as I usually am:~) Therefore, I’m including a few of you who didn’t do a “conversation,” but who did talk about what the birds might be saying. Here are the links to those who dared to take on last week’s “Special Challenge.”

Arts Web Show
Ellis/desk49 (note: Ellis is taking a blog break, but I recommend you look at his archives. He’s a great storyteller and poet.)
Ginny, Special Moments in Time
Hilary, Positive Letters…Inspirational Stories
Jean Sampson (I give Jean credit for participating, but I have no link for her)
Linda, From Roses to Rainbows
Patricia, Patricia’s Wisdom
Suzen, Today’s Path for a Healthier Tomorrow
Talon, Talon—barely scratching the surface

Thank you all for participating in this Story Photo Special Challenge:~)

The Dance

Charlotte sat on her dorm bed, nervously playing with her heart necklace, a gift from her dad before he died. Touching it, she remembered his words, “Darl’in, keep this necklace snug as a bug around your neck. When life gets out of kilter, it’ll remind you to look inside your heart and find the truth.”

She wasn’t sure what the truth was anymore. Ever since she’d come to Saint Anne’s, a small Southern women’s college, she’d desperately been trying to join her mom’s old sorority. Finally, they invited her to be a pledge, meaning she had to pass certain “tests.” To Charlotte, these tests were often mean-spirited, but she did them anyway.

Tonight was a perfect example. For her final test, she had to go to a dance with Johnny, a senior from the neighboring men’s college. The sorority girls called him The Ugly One behind his back because of the acne scars on his face. Her test was to attend the dance and pretend she was enjoying being with him, while the sorority girls made faces and giggled at her deception.

Her buzzer rang telling her Johnny had arrived. Picking up her purse and gloves, she straightened her petticoat skirt and walked out the door. At the steps leading to the lobby, a few sorority girls were waiting and teasingly called to her, “Now you have fun, Charlotte. Don’t you forget your promise, you hear?”

Charlotte ignored them and hurried down the stairs. The quicker she got this date over; the quicker she would pass the test. At the end of the staircase, Johnny was waiting. She pasted on a smile and tried not to stare at his scarred face. Instead, she looked into his soft brown eyes and saw adoration. Everyone knew he had a crush on her. It was why she was selected for this “test.”

After helping her into his truck, he climbed in beside her, slipping a small corsage of flowers around her wrist saying, “Charlotte, you look lovely tonight.”

On the long drive, they talked easily. In the dark, Charlotte couldn’t see his scarred face and soon forgot about it. She discovered he had a wonderful sense of humor; he kept her laughing most of the trip. She found herself relaxing in a way she’d never experienced with a boy.

Before the school entrance, Charlotte saw a brightly lit playground. Impulsively, she touched Johnny’s arm and said, “I don’t want to go to the dance tonight; let’s go to that playground instead.”

He surprised her by saying, “Is that a good idea, Charlotte? I know you have to be seen with me at the dance to pass your sorority test. I don’t want to be the reason you don’t get in.”

Charlotte felt the heat of her blush as she asked, “How’d you know, Johnny?”

“Don’t feel bad, Charlotte. It’s happened before. The sorority girls love to remind me of how ugly I am by using a girl I really like. Still, it’s worth it to be with you tonight.” He spoke nonchalantly, but Charlotte heard the pain in his every word.

She touched the heart on her necklace and said, “They’re not succeeding this time! You’re the nicest boy I’ve met in ages.”

He looked straight at her, his face stark in the playground’s lights. “Are you sure? These scars will not disappear.”

Charlotte looked back at him with a big smile and said, “Johnny, this is the first thing I’ve been sure about in a long time. So, push me in that swing and tell me stories to make me laugh.”

This is a post for The Red Dress Club. It’s based on this week’s prompt which asks us to write a short piece of no more than 600 words about a time when we took a detour, including where had we intended to go and where we ended up.

Constructive feedback is welcomed and encouraged:~) I want to improve my writing and hope those who read this post, will assist me in my efforts. Thank you.

Header photo Credit: belterz