I know I should be posting something cheerful, but I find that I can't.
I'm sure you understand.
This isn't a horrible story, it's just melancholy.
I wrote it 'on the spot' within a ten minute time limit during an Uxbridge Writers' Circle meeting.
The prompt that got me going was a bookmark that had lichen pictured on it.
Here's the story:
She sits and stares at the grey, fuzzy lichen clutching to the old branch lying on the thick, green grass. It had missed her by a couple of inches. She'd felt the cold breeze on her face and in her hair as it tumbled down. Hadn't she told Angus at least ten times to cut that tree down? If he'd done it twenty years ago, she wouldn't have had this near-death experience.
She turns her body and heaves herself off the wet ground as her hyper-active border collie runs backwards and forwards to the barn. Looking around, she wonders what on earth Angus has been doing. Nothing, obviously. The fences are missing rails and, as she touches one of the posts it wobbles precariously, signifying its separation from its anchor in the ground. The vines obliterate the fences in some areas, making it look as if there are escape routes for the horses.
Where are the horses? She can't see them anywhere. She fights with the sliding door, stuck on its rusty wheels, as she peers into the dark, damp gloom inside the barn.
No sign of life. No smell of wood-shavings, hay, grain, or cat food. Her dog wags his tail and turns towards the house, as if encouraging her to leave.
She mumbles that she really must have a word with Angus. Things have gone to wrack and ruin.
On the verge of a panic attack, she takes off her boots and coat, climbs the stairs and a strange looking container sitting on the mantlepiece catches her eye. The urn has a simple inscription on it. She snatches her breath. Her husband's name, and he died fifteen years earlier.