200 Word Story: Maze

I thought I’d try some spontaneous writing, that is, giving myself a certain amount of time, be it 10 minutes, 20 minutes or half-hour to write a story within the constraints of a certain number of words. It would give me the chance to practice story writing and hopefully force me to write something even if I didn’t like what I wrote (which happens a lot!)
This was meant to be a 50 words story but I got a little carried away, so here’s my version of a 200 word story, which was still pretty difficult because of the re-writing and editing I had to do. Have a read, and do let me know what you think!

She turns the corner, following the watery pinpoint of light leading her to a hazy freedom. A scuttling sound pings behind her, making her grope at her sides to the craggy wall to spin around in the now-silent dark. Waits, until the scraping sound comes again, she imagines its closer this time, making her legs urge her forward, her walking becoming a hurried shamble. She trips, stumbling over the rocky path, breathing louder until she hears that shuffling coming closer behind her.

She’s no longer hiding her fear, speeds up to a rushed jog, jagged breath while desperately praying that the thin stream of light won’t suddenly end – running now, muscles burning and eyes streaming with unwanted tears. The noise grows louder, it’s thundering in her ears now, the harder she runs the louder, each stamp of her foot feeling like it is bringing an ominous cymbal crash upon her.

Her eyes see more light, sees an opening, her precious stream of light growing bigger. The floor beneath her slopes up making her scramble, clinging and climbing upwards into a unforgiving brightness and onto a gravelly floor, soil and dust announcing her arrival.

Turns around.
To face what is coming.
To face?

Nothing. Just cold air and empty blackness.
She trembles, cautiously steps backwards, ready to run again.

There! That noise again.

Looks down…seeing a chain hooked onto her shoe.

Inside a Giant Puzzle

I love mazes, I always have – they represent a manifestation of those puzzles and games I’ve always played in games, computers and in story books. It’s not often I get to see one, I’ve probably been through about four mazes in my life so far (and one of them was a really rubbish one at Disneyland which was more aimed for small children rather than my lumbering feet).

I’m still on the look-out for more mazes around the UK (I don’t think I’m ready for the World’s Biggest Maze yet, though), but I am looking forward to wandering around some life-size puzzles and discovering the secrets behind the hedges (sounds like a rubbish teen horror book, doesn’t it).

If you haven’t been to a maze and would like to in the future, I will give you some warning – if you get lost it can become very frustrating, tiring and boring to wander around in circles! Try and keep a sense of your direction (eg. walk north, walk towards the sun etc) and try not to get too confused!

mazeAlso part of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

The Gardens of Hever Castle

There are some seriously beautiful flowers, gardens and sculptures to be found at Hever Castle, and it’s great fun to wander around and explore all the different places. And while there aren’t arrogant peacocks wandering like there are at Leeds Castle, there’s a lot of wildlife and beautiful scenery which really is a wonder to discover.

My favourite two spots was the hidden staircase waaaay back behind the castle, which led to a tiny waterfall and a great view of the Castle and it’s grounds; the second spot was the stunning view of the lake at the end of all the gardens, which had a seating area to relax and enjoy the moment.

And of course the flowers! There were colourful, beautiful flowers in abundance, which varied in shapes, arrangements and colour all over the various parts of the walkways, gardens, garlanded over statues and hidden behind nearly-secret gates which led to massive flowerbeds. Oh, and I was lucky enough to spot a mother swan with her seriously cute cygnet babies : )

Imagine playing hide and seek in this place!

Hever Castle in Kent

I love visiting historic landmarks and places with beautiful greenery, and Hever Castle in Kent is just one of those places – a beautiful castle, with a maze, some breathtaking gardens and a very peaceful, serene lake. Oh, and some really cute hedge animals which really made my day! I managed to take advantage of the random and sporadic sunny weather last week by visiting the Castle and it’s grounds, and it really was an enjoyable day out – there’s plenty of things to look at, and the fact that it was the home of Queen Anne Boleyn at one point gives an added romantic touch to it.

Perfect for the summer, and it’s a great place to wander around and discover hidden stairs, quirky mazes and beautiful gardens!

The Girl in the Red in The Maze of Wonders

Featuring: My niece as The Girl in Red (special thanks to her)

One of the fun attractions at Leeds Castle was the deceivingly confusing maze, I’ve always loved mazes and puzzles, and I’ve always wanted to go in a proper one (seeing as the last one I went to was a really rubbish one in Disneyland which involved everyone just following the next person over hedges that was just ankle-high). And before you ask, it’s not cos of the maze scene at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Although that didn’t hurt either.
So it was great fun wandering around with the sisters and the niece, with all of us shouting out different ‘directions’ and er, trying not to cheat. Thank goodness it was a sunny day too, although we did worry about those mysterious puddles we found.

Looking at these pictures reminds me of those role-player maze games where you just keep clicking til you either find a door or get hopelessly lost. Or get eaten by a troll.

I also look like a bit of a stalker with these pictures but I swear I’m not. I mean, wasn’t. Oh, you know what I  mean.

Oohh, I think we’re getting a bit lost…(we were stuck in this maze for about an hour after laughingly saying it looked too easy. Fools that we were.)

Ooh! There she is! Let’s follow her!

Follow the follow the follow the girl in the red coat…

Eeeek! Dead end! Back to square one. Grrrr.
(By this point it was looking a lot less easier than when we first went in. I’m pretty sure there are skeletons in some dead-ends, or at least, some koalas nibbling on lost foreigners )

Okay let’s keep going, she looks a bit more sure this time…

Look! I sense the end in sight! Run, run girl in red, look at those fools going the wrong way!

Yaaaaaaayyy! There’s a rocky grotto to climb at the end of the maze. Now peer down and  laugh at all those fools still walking around blindly. No, not me, don’t point at me. Oh, fine.

We tried to cheat a bit (just a teeny bit) by trying to ask some of the people in the middle to guide us…but none of them could see us jumping up and down and asking for help. So we had to do it the long and boring honest way, and found our way at the end of the maze after a lot of whinging and going around in circles some good navigation and team work.

I think one of the things I loved best of all about the maze was just how neat and square all the hedges look. Even though I’ve never had a hedge in my front or back garden in my life, I can still appreciate a nice bit of greenery. Y’know?

Definitely worth a visit and a good wander around the maze if you ever decide to visit the Castle!