Photography Challenge: Variations on a Theme

This week, show the same thing — an object, place, or person — presented in several different ways.

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to escape my normal, daily routine, and take a road trip to Orlando, Florida.  The place, Bonnet Creek, was absolutely breathtaking!  Right outside my door was this lake filled with amazing water dwellers…alligators, water fowl, and Koi fish, to name a few.   A half mile trail skirted the lake, upon which I was able to get in my daily 4 mile run/walk.  These beautiful Koi beckoned as I passed by, and I couldn’t help but stop to enjoy their many colors.  A couple of female Mallards paddled by to check out the excitement.  I look at these photos, and I feel peace.

some more fish
Koi fish from Orlando Florida.
m fish
Koi fish in Orlando Florida. “Let’s go this way.” “No…no, let’s go this way!”
More koi of different colors in Orlando Florida.
Female Mallard duck, avoiding the Koi.
Mallard duck…taken in Orlando Florida.
Female Mallard duck taken at Orlando Florida.


Photo Challenge:  Variations of a Theme.  

The Cabin in the Woods

Today’s two word-prompt combination:

[WordPress:  Candid]  +  [Writer’s Block:  Virus]  =

The Cabin in the Woods



The cabin appeared innocent enough, but to be candid, it too was infested by the same demonic virus that ran rampant in the woods.

What’s the old idiom..  “…looks can be deceiving…” ?  

Yes, that was the one.

The cabin was just like any other cabin with its walls, doors, windows and rooms, but that’s where the similarity ended.  This cabin was old…ancient, and it held many secrets…many bad secrets…

No one could attest to the cabin’s origin.

The old mountain folk claimed it had always been…there.  There had never been a time before the cabin.  The horror of the cabin seemed to be inborn within each child birthed into the area.  There was never a need to say, “…stay away…”  No, somehow they…well, somehow they just…knew.

Of course many ghost stories were spun, down through the years.  They were told by the light of a campfire, and always…always told barely above a whisper.  They feared the trees around them would steal their voice and carry it upon the winds of the haunted forest and deliver it to the cabin.

One such story whispered in the night, tells of a father who is filled with grief  over his son who has caught “the fever.”  Knowing there was no cure, the father plans to take his dying son to an old hag that slept in the cave located on the other side of the mountain.

The old woman of the cave, spent her days foraging for plants, that others tossed into the fire, to be burned as weeds.  The sanctimonious, and “good people” of the village shunned the old woman.  They called her a witch by day, but at night, in the cover of darkness, the very same took their sick, and begged old Molly to heal them with her powers.

The father held his son close to his chest, and began his journey to see the old woman. The path led to the outer reaches of  the cabin, and when the father realized this he stopped abruptly.  He could go around the cabin and its god-awful forest,  but there was no time as his son was near to death.

It is said the father fell to his knees and cried  for old mad Molly to come and save his dying son.  His cries echoed long into the night.  No one knew if mad Molly had heard his cries, but everyone knew the hag never came to help.

The father looked down at the son he cradled in his arms, and listened to a tiny voice plead…

“…papa…please…I don’t want to…to die.” 

But the father was too afraid to go any further, and so he held, and rocked his boy until the cries for help ceased.   Like a zombie, the father rose, and took his son’s lifeless body home.

He laid the pale form down upon some old cloth.  The boy’s eyes were open in death, and they stared at his father as he was rolled into a sarcophagus of burlap.

Then he laid him inside the earth, and began to cover him with the freshly dug dirt.  With each shovel full, the father thought he heard his son’s pitiful cry…

…papa…papa please…it’s cold …papa…papa please…” 

When the last shovel of dirt was emptied, the father went home and hung himself.

Now, the old folk, claim that sometimes at night, when the air is just so… the cries of the boy can be heard riding the upon the winds of the haunted forest….  “…papa…papa…please…I don’t want to die…”


Today, the cabin was hungry.  It had been long since it had eaten the bones, and drank the blood of a fresh kill.  The hardwood floor, dry and cracked like the sands of a desert, ached of thirst.

The cabin…like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was in desperate need of its own Renfied.   Renfield had been the vampire’s insane but loyal servant, who guarded the coffins at day, and at night was ever faithful to prepare for his master tasty meals.

The cabin was confident it had finally found its Renfied within the body of Thomas Cain.

Thomas, also the loyal servant, had worked hard to prepare the cabin.  Today he completed the finishing touches, by polishing a bag of silver “tools” and laying them neatly beside the chair he had bolted to the floor.  The leather straps at the chair’s arms and legs were crisp and new.  They were stiff, Thomas thought…they needed “breaking-in.”  He thought of Amy, and smiled.

He walked slowly to the bathroom, and looked at his reflection in the mirror.  Thomas pulled the mask over his face.  He watched, as the sinews of burlap snaked their way over, and around the contours of his face, taking care to etch out the jagged openings needed for his eyes, nose and mouth.  The burlap was old, and so it stitched its tattered places with the hide of a pig that had been slaughtered many years ago.

Thomas smiled, again.  He was happy with his new face.

Another pair of eyes, hidden behind dusty rafters, had watched the transformation.  It blinked, and refocused its black eyes upon Thomas, and then a rotted smile split its face.

Soon, the fun would begin.








































































The old folk claim that at times when it’s dark and the wind is blowing from the right direction,  the boys cries can be The father  He covered the boy with dirt and could swear his son’s pitiful cries…“…papa…papa please…I don’t want to…to die…”  but he kept filling the grave with sod until the last shovel full and then he went home and hung himself.  This was just one of the many tales whispered quietly around campfires in the night.

The cabin was hungry…it craved blood…it longed drink it up within its hardwood floors.  But it needed like Dracula needed its Renfield to carry out the dirty deeds.  The cabin had searched and called hungerly to neaby evils…but finally it had found its Renfield within body of body of Thomas Cain…  Thomas had heard and took great care to prepare the cabin.  “It has to be perfect,” Thomas thought.  He picked up the old burlap and wrapped it around his head.  The mirror revealed his transformation.  The sinewy fibers wrapped like snakes over the face of Thomas.  They weaved over his mouth, nose and eyes taking care to form it jagged opened over each orifice.  Thomas looked at himself and smiled but he only saw a scarecrow monster staring back.

Up in the rafters, there were another set of eyes witnessing the transformation.  They were black and they missed nothing…


Photography Challenge: Silence

Rustic Cabin in the Shenandoah National Park

This week’s photo challenge is simply…Silence.

I took the photograph above on one of my silent get-a-ways.

Forever an introvert, I am drawn to silence.

These are just a few of my favorite sounds of silence…

Quiet mornings with coffee in hand…

In my hammock, all is silent, save the cicada and birds overhead…

Lying down under a blanket of stars…summer’s breath upon my skin…

A long Winter’s walk…brown leaves scattering…

My feet in sand and the ocean nearby…

and so much more…



Silently…it dies…



A loophole…peace…hope to gain…
A place to hide…to escape the pain?

Yes, this has happened…and that has too…
Regret…of all these things I do.

Where is this place…of which I search?
Standing…bleeding…covered in dirt,

My face ashamed…I am a disgrace.
I guess this loophole…an imagined place….?

I look…your eyes…and find it not there…
Just anger…judgment…devoid of care.

My head in my hands…I beg of your face…
Show some concern…if only a trace…

Afraid…I look…but only once more…
Your back fades…you close the door.

Wretched…alone…this heart cries…
The hope within…silently dies…


This poem is in response to today’s word prompt, loophole.

The Face Behind A Broken Window

So, I continue my quest to combine two prompts, one from WordPress (WP), and the other from The Writer’s Block (WB).  The intent is to create an interesting challenge that will entertain the minds of my readers.

This is the equation of today’s combination:


[WP = Brilliant] + [WB = Write a story about the images on a roll of film] =

The Face Behind a Broken Window

Photo from Grim Stitch Factory. Handmade and hand-painted by Cameron Scholes.


Amy’s heart beat loud against her chest, and her hands trembled as she handed the clerk a twenty dollar bill.  The clerk noticed, and looked questioningly at Amy, but said nothing during the exchange.

Mindlessly, Amy thanked the clerk, and grabbed the envelope which contained the photos developed from the roll of 35 mm film, she had submitted earlier.  Automatic doors opened, and she stepped into the howling of winter’s wind.  She was oblivious to the cold, for her mind could think of nothing but what she held within her hand.

Amy opened the door of of car, and slid into the driver’s seat.  Not willing to wait until she got home, she ripped open the envelope and begin to rifle through the photos.  There were many pictures of Sky and Rudy, and on any other day, she would have paused to gush over the images of the two loves of her life; however, today was different…

Today she searched for the face of her stalker.

Finally, she came to the photos of the old abandoned farm house and barn.  Amy, an artist at heart, had taken these with the intent of putting them to canvas.

She had been alone the day she took the pictures.  With Sky at work, and Rudy at the groomers, she had, had time to kill, so, she grabbed her camera, and drove deep into the loneliness of rural Virginia.

She had spent over half an hour snapping shots, of the abandoned structure.    Wondering what it had been like in it’s heyday,  Amy felt nostalgic, and her hand itched to hold a paintbrush.

Later that night her phone rang.  She picked it up and put it to her ear.

Amy listened to the silence from the other side of the connection.  Finally, she heard her stalker’s breath waxing and waning in an almost poetic rhythm.

Amy felt her knees buckle, and she reached for the counter to keep from falling to the floor.   Abruptly, the breathing from the other side stopped, and after a long pause a raspy voice whispered…

“…I watched you today.  Paint for me…paint for me, Amy…”  He held her name for a long while, and then the line went dead.

Now, as she sat in her car, she searched the photos of the dilapidated barn, and could find nothing out of the ordinary, until she rested her eyes on the small broken window, surrounded by planks of rotted wood.

From the window a face stared back at her.

She quickly put on her glasses, hoping for a better view, but the exposure of the photograph was too dark.  She looked at the next photo, to find it bathed with brilliant rays of sun, that had escaped the grays of the clouds overhead.

There was just enough light to capture a perfect image of the face looking at her.

The face was cloaked in burlap, and could pass for any scarecrow strung up to frighten birds of the field.  The mask was stitched with what looked like leather twine, and its cutout eyes were black.

Amy stared at the face behind the broken window, and her blood ran cold.













The “Airport Test”


Thanks for stopping by Redhead Reflections!

I hope this day has treated you well thus far, and I send out good energies to all who read this!

Today’s word from WordPress is Forlorn, and the prompt from my book, Writer’s BlockIMG_4442 is…Opening Lines.

So, I continue my quest to combine the two prompts, with the intention of creating an interesting challenge that will be entertaining for my readers.

Writer’s Block says this about Opening Lines:

“What makes a good opening line?  It depends on the story.  Editors of suspense thrillers often hold manuscripts up to an “Airport Test”:  If you were browsing through an airport bookstore, picked up a paperback, and read the opening line, would you buy the book before boarding your flight?”

After reading this I decided it would be fun to take an opening line from one of my horror stories, and tweak it just a bit to include the WordPress word, forlorn.  

Today’s combination is the third in this series.

“Amy opened her eyes to nothing…forlorn, she tried to bring her hands to her eyes, thinking she could rub away the dark, but her hands were bound behind her back.”

Photo from by Don

Hopefully, this opening line passes the “Airport Test.” 


If you would like to read Amy’s Story visit Creepy Reflections where all of my horror stories take up their residence.   


Viable Danger

My sister, my mama and me 

Today’s word prompt is viable.

So, I took the liberty of looking it up in several dictionaries, and this is what I found:

  1. Alive, capable of living, developing, or reproducing.
  2. Capable of working, functioning or developing adequately.
  3. Able to exist, perform as intended, or succeed.

After digging a little more I was able to discover its etymology.  It originated from Latin’s word vita.  In France, during the 1820’s, “vita” evolved into “vie” which meant life, and the suffix “able” was originally used in reference to newborn infants, in 1848.   If we were to compute this etymology into a mathematical equation it would look something like this:

[Latin/Vita]  +  [French/Vie=Life(1820’s)]  +  [Able=Newborn(1848)] =  Viable

Gosh, I love words!  

New words are provided daily by WordPress (WP), with the intent of getting the writer’s, imaginary juices flowing.

Sometimes they inspire me, but mostly…not so much.

514zc4z+s6L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Today, I had the bright idea of taking today’s  word, and combining it with a prompt from my book, The Writer’s Block.  The book is a 3×3 inch block filled with 786 ideas. (That’s a whopping 2 years and 66 days of writing material!)

My challenge is to take one prompt from the book, but only in the order it is given.  The very first prompt is:  Describe your first brush with danger.  So, if I were to compute today’s challenge into a mathematical equation it would look something like this:


[Viable]  +  [Describe your first brush with danger]  =  [Today’s Post]

So without further ado…today’s post:


Viable Danger

My first brush with danger happened early in my life.  I was only a newborn, so this story is based on my mother’s word, and it goes something like this…

I was a preemie, born a month early, and weighed barely five pounds.  In spite of this, baby Lisa, was a viable newborn, ready to take on the world.

My mom took me home to live on Wood Street, in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.

Wood street, at that time was a dead, end dirt road.  The locals liked to call it “washboard alley” because of all its ruts.  Also, I’ve heard it say, that the area was called “frog level,” because every evening the frogs would congregate in the nearby creek to serenade the street dwellers.

One day, my mom laid her sleepy baby (me) in the crib, and covered her with a warm blanket.  Since I seemed content enough, she left me with my father, and walked past my aunt’s house to visit my grandmother, who lived two houses down and on the left.

After a while, my dad looked in at me, and saw that I was not breathing and that I had turned an ashen color.  Frightened, he picked me up, opened the front door, and hollered, “Bessie, come quick…there’s something wrong with this baby!”  My mom and aunt came running, grabbed me, got in the car, and headed to the hospital.  My aunt drove, and my mom, who just happened to be a nurse, performed CPR on me the entire ride to the hospital.

At the hospital I was given oxygen.  The doctor said I almost died of SIDS, (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and then scolded my mom for laying me on my back instead of my tummy.

My mom vowed she had laid me in the crib on my tummy, and I believe her.  At that time (1960’s), it was advised to lay infants on their stomach.  Today it’s just the opposite.

That’s the story of my first brush with danger, and since it nearly killed me; I dub this post Viable Danger.


I’ve no clue what WP’s daily prompt will be, however,  the prompt from The Writer’s Block is:  Diet

(Hope you’ll join me for tomorrows combination!)

PS –  Thank you mom, dad, and aunt Emma for saving this girl’s life!









Daily Meditation: Mark 2:16-17


One day, a well-known, and well-hated, tax collector invited Jesus and his friends to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors, and many other notorious sinners.  

When some of the teachers of religious law, who were Pharisees, saw Jesus eating and socializing with people like that…they asked, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

Jesus heard the question, and answered, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, sick people do.  I have come to call sinners, not those who “think” they are already good enough.”


We are called to pull down the walls, and open wide the gates.

Christ says, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL unto me.”

All means All, there is no fine print.

How magnetic is your faith?

Do you compel, or do you repel?


Father, may my actions and words draw others to your unconditional love.


Daily Prompt:  Magnetic