Kreative Kue 383

Kreative Kue 382 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

2012-10-22 17-34-46_0001a

John W Howell is a multiple nominated and award-winning author who blogs at Fiction Favorites. Details of John’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

Memories by John W. Howell © 2022

“What do you have there?”

“It’s an old photo.”

“Let me see. OMG, it’s of that stupid van.”

“Whatya mean stupid van? We had a lot of fun with it.”

“I have to admit we took it to a lot of places when we were young.”

“We could see things we never would have been able then. Good times”

“Yeah, okay. I also remember some of the not-so-good times. Like the day you pulled up in it to take me out.”

“Your dad sure had a lot to say, didn’t he.”

“You blame him? Some hot blood pulls up in a bedroom on wheels. I remember that silly grin on your face too.”

“I didn’t own it. Then I had just borrowed it .”

“And I remember watching television that night with my dad watching you.”

“We can laugh about that now.”

“I suppose we can. At least we don’t have to travel like that anymore.”

“I have a surprise for you.”

“The tone in your voice is the same as when you pulled up the first time so long ago. I can never forget that tone. So tell me, my worst fear is not coming true.”

“What is that?”

“That somehow you found a van like the old one sitting on the driveway.”

“Nah. I wouldn’t do that.”

“Thank heavens. So what’s the surprise?”

“Two first-class tickets to Paris. We’re going top drawer.”

“I can’t believe it. Sounds great.”

“And we can check out a new van while we are there.”

“Don’t tell me.”

“Just messin’ with you. Nope, five-star hotels and a leisurely six weeks to see the country. We even have a driver.”

“You are the best.”

“No smooching in the back seat, though.”

“Is that a dare?”

My effort was:


“Is this it?”

“Would you care to rephrase that question, young man? Perhaps with a little less ambiguity? A little more clarity? Maybe some precision?”

“Are you always this pedantic?”

“Always is not the word I would use to describe the temporal aspects of my character. I have changed over time, you know, as have we all. Yourself, included, I might suggest.”

“Okay. I’ll be precise. Is this… I’m reluctant to use the word vehicle, but I suppose it will have to do. Is this vehicle going to serve as our transport and accommodation whilst we are wherever we are, whenever we are?”

“If you question pertains to whether the mode of transport in which we find ourselves is our ship’s chosen manifestation at the current point in space-time then I can reply in the affirmative.”

“So we have to travel in this smelly old wreck?”

“Again, affirmative.”

“And where are our quarters?”

“These are they.”



“There isn’t enough room for all of us to sleep comfortably! Speaking of which: where are the others?”

“Have you learnt nothing? Look around, what do you see?”

“Roads, cars, oh – and a caravan, banks, fields, sheep—”

“STOP. Look around inside our transport.”

“I see nothing. Just the two of us… oh, that reminds me of a song. ♫ ju-ust the two of us ♫”

“No, no, NO!”


“No singing! We agreed, didn’t we?”

“No. You said and I – what’s the word I’m looking for?”

“Let me help. I stipulated, you acquiesced. In my world, that means we agreed. So no singing, okay?”


“Again, look around inside our transport and tell me what you see.”

“Just us.”


“And nothing.”

“No furniture, fixtures or fittings?”

“Well, yeah, obviously. It is a sort of campervan, I suppose.”

“Now look up.”

“Oh, wow. A roof!”

“Don’t be sarcastic. Look at the roof closely. Go back and take a close look. I’ll come with you.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be… oh, I don’t know… holding the wheel or something?”

“That’s just for show. The transport doesn’t need anyone there. It knows what to do.”

“But this is a road, with other vehicles and other drivers, not open space.”

“It knows what to do.”

“But it’s a machine, not a person.”

“Take that back.”


“It is our relationship with the transport that makes it work. If you insult it, I don’t know what could happen. It certainly wouldn’t remain stable and functional. Now apologise.”

“Sorry, transport.”

“Now, pull down the ladder and climb through the roof.”

“Sorry, did you say climb through the roof?”

“Humour me.”

“Okay, here goes … wow!”

“What have you to say now?”

“Yeah. I still preferred the old police box look.”

Raymond Walker offered this fantasy tale. It is rather longer than usual, but well worth reading in its entirety. Raymond is a prolific author whose main web site is at Details of Raymond’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

Untitled © 2022 Raymond Walker 

Divorced, pushing fifty, suddenly, I found myself alone. My wife, ex-wife I should say, had found someone else, a better lover, a better husband, nicer than me, more dynamic, I have no idea, I never asked, just accepted my fate, and meekly went away. A good woman, she would have had her reasons, but I did not wish to know them. I had never been a good husband. I often worked away and was tired when home, no longer the vibrant athletic youngster I had once been, but I had worked hard and had a little money saved and some shares that paid dividends occasionally. You got some freebies from them.  

Ejected from my home and having nowhere to go, I bought an old campervan. A wreck, but I loved it. I travelled North thinking to see more of the most beautiful country in the world. Scotland is scenically wonderful. Nights in my little campervan were lonely but the scenery was spectacular. The Aurora should be shared with someone you love but I enjoyed it with the peace of loneliness. I stayed by Cape Wrath for almost a month, but the storms were horrendous and eventually drove me south into Kintyre. The garden of the highlands.

I parked near a lonely river, with only a ruined cottage, a young pine poking like a turret through its roof, nearby. The full moon bled silver onto the rushing torrent, and I was the only person in the world. But other creatures roamed the night. I saw a swirl of white that I thought was a badger down by a hoary old Sycamore. A fox wandering by soon after and deer quietly roamed close to the van.

It had been a long drive, the roads difficult, often single track, in a lightly populated area and the bottle of wine I consumed sitting, looking out into the night, all combined to send me off to sleep. My body slumped into the small seat of the caravanette.

“Rob”, A pain in my cheek and mouth, “Rob, wake now. You must wake now; I will have to hurt you if you do not”. A slender, “girl” sat upon my chest. Slapping me. Long green, brown hair dripped upon her shoulders and splashed upon my face. She was small and skinny as a child, dressed in rags and pale as a corpse but determined. I roused, my head still dislocated with tiredness and the wine from earlier. “Something fierce comes, and it is close” she said, pulling me to my feet.

“You should have not been alone, staring out into the night in a place such as this. You saw some things, but more importantly they smelled you”.

“A badger, perhaps, a fox and maybe an owl but that may just have been a passing cloud”. I did not understand what was happening here.

“You saw no badgers; you saw something far more dangerous. A dread stalks the evening here. Close to the river there are barrows and dolmens, crypts, and cysts. Sometimes the desiccated dead, watered by the river, swell once more into a semblance of life, if coaxed to by witches and there are many such hereabouts, humans have little to occupy them here and so the meddle with things that they should not. The Dread has crept from one Dolmen to another feeding on the river folk, when it can find them. I cannot allow my friends to die.

The small, lithe, girl made me rise and I walked down to the river. “How can I help, I am neither big nor strong, I cannot defeat a “dread” even the name is meant to inspire fear and I am no hero”

“Yes, but you are human, we are of different races” the dread has no power over you, to you it is big and strong, to us it is the death of our race. We are small and kind and do not hurt anyone when we can avoid doing so. She was as pale as a moonlight night, her river weed hair ragged, her teeth sharp, a hunter, a predator.

Did it really matter wither I lived after today, my life was as empty as the campervan was full. “I will help if I can, after all this is only a dream, what else can it be”

I broke a branch from a dying oak and built a small fire from leaves and twigs. The wood is still strong. I pushed the end into the fire for a short while and then drawing the burnt and deadwood away sharpened the stave to a point that felt like steel. “It will come soon” she said, “fire draws them, like moths though they are frightened of it”.  Then we sat in silence, warmed by the fire and listening to the river and trees. Sometime later the girl whispered, “It comes” and disappeared.

A lumbering beast hove into view, tall, almost double my height but stick thin. Long arms and spindle fingers with sharp nails in front searching. The beast was blind, hideous, its eyes long gone along with most of its features. It stopped a little before the fire sniffing the air. Then to my surprise he said, “I smell you human, you should not be here, this is not the place for you.”  The voice hissed out as though there were many other spaces than its mouth to issue from.

“Sit” I said, “Share my fire, the warmth will please you”, “I have nothing here for you to eat or drink but my van is parked up by the road and I can fetch you something if you wish me to” I gestured but the beast could not see. I thought to stab it with the sharpened stave as it sat but the beast’s next words held my hand. “You have my thanks human, you are gracious, the night is cold, I am cold and have been for a very long time, I will share your fire but have no need to eat”. “I fed recently”

The beast’s arms and fingers searched forward and found the heat of the fire, little strips of its skin flaring as it touched the blaze. It drew back slightly and folded its long thin legs before the fire.

When settled I asked, “do you have a name? a hooting sounded, hollow and high pitched, it took me a second to realise that the beast was laughing. The dread shook its head, “Oh no human, you do not catch me so easily” Names beget power, and I shall give you none over me”.

“My apologies, I did not know that. I will not ask again. My name is Robert, do you have a name, not your own, that I can call you as we talk?

“You are an unusual beast, human, first you do not run screaming as all others do when I appear, then you graciously offer to share your fire and food. What is so different about you compared to others of your kind?

“Little, really, other than I no longer wish to live, were you to kill me now I would simply accept it”, the beast hoots shaking its head and the hands held before it, warming at the fire. “You find that funny? I asked. “I do”, the beast replied, “you are alive and wish for death and I am dead and wish only for life, it is a delightful paradox”. The beast hunched forward, as if imparting some arcane knowledge, the deed only accentuated by the fires flame shadowing its ravaged countenance. “You do not wish death Robert, Shun it at all costs. I have been dead, and it is cold. Yet I would have happily remained, but the bitches pulled me from death and now I wish for life”.

“Witches, I think you mean”, “Bitches, witches? No matter, abhorrent people, bored and wishing to cause trouble, they have given me a hunger for flesh, the faerie nearby are now my prey, in life I loved and looked after them, in death I have become the beast that feasts upon their shattered bodies I hate what I have become.”

“Then become what the witches do not expect, protect the faerie, look after them, stop the witches from hurting them” “What then should I eat” for I will fade again into death unless I eat”.

“Wait here, I shall not be long, I have something in the van that I know you will love as much as I do. They give nourishing sustenance but taste like heaven”.

 After I had returned from the van and fed the dread we sat and talked for a long time, most of which he sat munching, crumbs falling from his lopsided mouth. I shouted into the wind and river noise for the girl and after a while, cautiously she came and sat by the fire, close to me and as far from the dread as she could get whilst being there.

“Can you survive on these? I asked the beast, who simply nodded munching, too polite to talk with a full mouth. “If I can feed you these as often as you wish, can you forget your craving for faerie flesh?

“I can” the beast said. “I am sure that I can until the bitches spell me once more, then I have no idea what I will do, they have control over me, they resurrected me”. I nodded.

“I promised that I would not do this, but I am going to break my promise and ask for your name” If I have your name and she has your name you cannot be compelled by it, the witches cannot compel you, I looked to the girl, she nodded. “Arnold” said the beast and this time it was my turn to laugh, “Arnold, not really the name you expect a dread to have” The beast, I am sure, looked slightly hurt. “Arnold, you must promise me now that you will look after the children of this river and protect them against all that may try to hurt them. I will bring you food, as much as you wish, but you must protect them, will you promise?

“I swear”, said the beast, “I will protect all the children of the river” I nodded, though he could not see it and the girl smiled. We sat talking until long after dawn had broken when Arnold insisted that he would have to go back to his tomb and the girl to her Forrest. I wandered back to my campervan wondering if I had eaten some strange mushrooms or if I was still dreaming. I did not even make up the bed in the campervan, just slumped onto one of the cushioned sheets still fully dressed and stinking of woodsmoke, fell asleep.

It was late afternoon when I woke, still smelling of woodsmoke and not a shower in sight. What a strange dream, perhaps it was not a dream as I still smelled of smoke. Oh, but I barbecued burgers for my lunch yesterday. That answers it, just a strange dream. I made myself a coffee and dozed, still tired until the door opened to twilight and the girl stepped inside closing the door behind her.

“Hello Rob” she said coquettishly, her eyes blinking in the light. “I came to thank you; you have helped me and all the children of the river. You have even protected us; we have a dread defending us now. I knew that you would come and help us, that Is why I knew your name before you ever came here. I saw you in a dream do this for us, but I saw many other things as well she said removing the few rags she wore.

I turned away though I was fascinated. “I am sorry, you are too young for me, and anyway I really do not know you” She laughed, throaty and enticing, “I was a woman before you were born Robert, I am a child of the river, and I was upon this earth when the gods ruled on Olympus, and you will be mine. I have seen it”. She pressed against my back naked and after a while I turned to face her.

“You have my name”, Can I know yours if this is all true”. “It is all true Robert, it is all as you see it to be and I know it to be true, I have waited for this moment for an age”.  She kissed me softly, slowly, her lips brushing mine, our breathing deepening, and I responded. Somewhere during our lovemaking, she whispered in my ear. “Cassandra”

After a while I stopped living in the campervan as, with my share dividends, I had bought the little ruined cottage above the river and often Cassandra joined me there. At night sometimes the dread would visit, Arnold sitting by the fire munching his Mcvitties chocolate digestives.

No wonder he was able to give up faerie flesh for they were heavenly.


Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put your offering (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at before Sunday evening UK time. 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. Thank you for taking part.