Kreative Kue 239

Kreative Kue 238 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
John W Howell is the author of the John Cannon trilogy of My GRL, His Revenge, Our Justice and Circumstances of Childhood, co-author of The Contract, and blogs at Fiction Favorites.

Say where? by John W. Howell © 2019

“Look at that place down there.”

“I know right? It’s beautiful.”

“Who do you suppose lives there? Probably some money-grubbing aristocrat.”

“The garden is lovely.”

“You can say that again.”

“The garden is lovely.”

“For heaven’s sake, I didn’t mean to really say it again.”

“Well, I’m a very literal kind of person.”

“With a side of Obsessive/ Compulsive behavior.”

“I resemble that. I’ve been told also that I am very sensitive.”

“What do you mean sensitive?”

“To the feeling of others.”

“Give me an example.”

“Well you said, ‘Who do you suppose lives there?’”

“Yeah, so what?”

“I never answered you.”

“Now that I think about it you did not. Why?”

“Cause I didn’t want you to be uncomfortable.”

“Uncomfortable? How would I be uncomfortable.”

“You mentioned that the owner of that house might be a money-grubbing aristocrat.”

“Yeah so?”

“I live there.”

“What? That’s impossible. You are just a plain old nerd I met at the balloon launch area.”

“Aristocratic nerd don’t you mean?”

“Aw come on. You are pulling my leg.”

“Ask the balloon pilot.”

“You’re serious.”

“Yup. We are landing for a spot of tea and a few watercress sandwiches.”

“At your place.”

“Right on the South lawn. See where the garden paths come together in a roundabout? Right there.”


Na’ama Yehuda, who blogs at offered this amazing piece:

Middle Child by Na’ama Yehuda

Her rooms were in the middle of the castle, hovering above the center of the river, sandwiched between two layers of guard rooms, bordered on both sides with sentinel halls.

Her residence, her very life, was perched between the woods on one bank and the manicured gardens on the other, split between one land and another, between a grand promenade entrance on one side and an into-the-wild entrance on the other, belonging to both and owned by neither. It was so by design.

Oh, she was no prisoner. She had the freedom of the castle and the pleasures of the adjacent lands. She could go riding or strolling, hunting or frolicking, visiting or picnicking. As long as she made sure to spend the exact time on either side of the river, as long as she took heed to show no favor, no preference, no prediliction.

Three of her attendants were timekeepers. One from each side of the river. One from a foreign country altogether. All three carried hourglasses and were charged with maintaining synchronicity. Disputes were rare, for they would mean a cease of all outdoor activities till the disagreement resolved, cause a strain on her well-being, tarnish their families, and lead to possible replacement. The timekeepers kept discrepancies to a minimum.

The comparable reality extended to everything: An exactly equal number of ladies in waiting from each side of the river, exactly the same number of servants, workers, soldiers, guards, and tradesmen who were allowed to live and work in, or gain access to the castle. The same number of her dresses had been made on each side of the river. Half the furniture, too.

The constant balancing act was tedious. It was also necessary.

“You are the bridge,” her governess had explained to her when — still a child — she was fed up with being shuttled across the castle mid-activity, so equal play time on the other side can be maintained. She did not want to have two of everything and be required to play with each equally. “You were born to end five hundred years of bloodshed.”

Her parents had defied odds and had sought alliance instead of massacres. They’d built a bridge over the fear and hate that endless war had fed. They’d began construction on the castle. They’d birthed her.

The people had watched and waited.

She was barely toddling when her parents’ carriage had gotten ambushed by some who’d believed that ending the alliance would enliven the centuries-old feuds. The warmongers were wrong. They’d killed her parents, but not the want for peace. People on both sides of the river came for the murderers. People on both sides worked to complete the castle-bridge and ensured the princess could be raised in its center.

It was on that day, cocooned in her governess’s lap, in the room above the river that had for generations divided her people, that she truly understood: After so much distrust, an exacting fairness had to be the glue that would hold peace till lasting trust could grow.

No betters. No less-thans. Not even the appearance of favorites.

The efforts to keep it so were sometimes so precise as to be ridiculous, but she preferred to err on the side of the absurd, rather than risk her people any harm.

She was the princess on the bridge.

Her rooms were in the middle of the castle, hovering above the center of the river, sandwiched between two layers of guard rooms, bordered on both sides with sentinel halls.

Her residence, her very life, was perched between the woods on one bank and the manicured gardens on the other, split between one land and another, belonging to both and owned by neither. It was so by design.

My effort was

It takes two

“Aah, look at that. Isn’t it absolutely the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?”


“The chateau, silly. What else could I mean?”


“In your dreams, Sunshine.  Maybe twenty years ago. Certainly not now. Look at you.”

“Can’t. No mirror.”

“And look at those gardens.  Look how clean and tidy they look. How come you can’t make ours look like that?”

“Maybe in part because they aren’t that big. Or that level. Oh yes, and maybe because I don’t have a team of fifty people to do the hard work.”

“You don’t need them in a small garden like ours. Just you should be enough. Old Mr Smythe next door has his nice and here’s just one of him. And he’s older than you are.”

“And he has three strapping sons who come around to do the heavy lifting.”

“I’ve never seen that.”

“That’s because you spend most of your days in coffee mornings, WI meetings, church meetings and other do-goodery.”

“What’re you saying?”

“I’m saying you never see his lads helping him because you’re never home.”

“If you’d rather I didn’t get involved in things outside the house—”

“Don’t get me wrong. I’m quite happy to do all the housework as well as the gardening while you’re out gadding about. Besides I like my own company.”

“More than mine?”

“Your words, Dearest, not mine. Anyway, have you seen the size of that place?”

“Ooh, yes. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?”

“Wouldn’t do for me. I’d end up having to do all the cleaning and dusting in that bloody great place whilst you’re out having a good time.”

“Excuse me. What I do is my civic duty. I’d hardly call it having a good time.”

“Of course, Dear.”

On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.

Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.


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