Sunday, April 7, 2013

Prompt: Little girl in the abbey ruins

Thanks to Daniel Peckham for the gorgeous visual prompt!

“Woo, Kellie! That’s about as appetizing as the haggis they had at breakfast!” Joe groaned as he changed Kellie’s diaper.

“That’s not funny,” Janie called from the ensuite bathroom of their charming room at the Heriott Park B&B in Edinburgh. She came into the room, still fitting her earrings, to admonish Joe. “They’ve been lovely here, even giving us a larger room for Kellie’s crib. And what have I told you? Don’t—”

“—diss the haggis,” Joe said, making Kellie laugh with his funny faces. He swung her up and gave her a kiss, then stepped over to kiss Janie. “Okay, my lovelies, where are we headed this morning?”

Janie shook her head and laughed. “Over to Holyrood Park. There’s a palace and an abbey, plus lots of room for Kellie to run around. Better take your book. I am planning on getting a lot of great photography done.” She held up her new DSLR, purchased for this trip. Joe laughed and held up his iPad. “I’m loaded, but I know I’ll be on Daddy-duty, if you’re busy with that.”

The spring sun burned away the morning mist as they walked south through Edinburgh to Holyrood. It had rained since they arrived in Scotland, but the day promised to be gloriously sunny and warm. Janie burned pixels on her DSLR, getting used to its features, taking shots of buildings, people, a cat in a window, doorway gardens.

As they entered the park, Janie pointed to the abbey ruins. “Look, Joe, that rainbow looks like it drops right down into the cathedral. Let’s go see if there’s a treasure inside!”

Joe laughed, “I think you’re confusing your British Isles mythology, but whatever you say, dear.”

Janie stuck out her tongue at him as she continued, “The light is really good now, and there’ll be too much glare later.” Joe nodded agreeably and they wandered around the abbey grounds and into the open remains of the cathedral. As they walked under the broad expanse of arches that framed the entrance, Janie pointed out another rainbow had appeared in opposition to the first. She cocked her head in confusion, looking around the sky. “I don’t understand where they’re coming from…” she muttered, snapping pictures as fast as she could focus.

Only the abbey walls remained standing, rows of arches that reached to the open sky. The walls were curiously clear of mold, mildew, ivy or any other stains of aging. In the center of the nave stood two pillars that were covered in moss, any descriptive carvings lost to time.

“Down! Walk!” Kellie fussed to get out of her stroller, and Joe unsnapped her belt and helped her down. She toddled ahead, scuffling over the tiny gravel as she chased lazy pigeons. Joe followed her across the nave’s open center, while Janie was occupied with her viewfinder. She looked up from a statue of the Virgin Mary that looked as sharp as if it had been carved yesterday to see a third rainbow in the sky.

She looked around for Joe to point it out—she’d never seen three rainbows at once. He was on the far side of the nave, watching Kellie toddle toward the two moss-covered pillars. Janie watched Kellie with a smile, and then a flicker of light caught her eye.

She looked up to see the rainbows were moving. Auroras? She thought in confusion. A fourth rainbow had joined the three, and they wiggled across the cathedral’s open view of the sky, angling over the four corners of the nave. Janie looked across for Joe, but he wasn’t looking up. No one was. She looked back to see the rainbows arching in pairs from the corners to the central pillars, creating a lattice of colored light over them.

Kellie ran between the pillars, and the rainbows flashed down to the ground and disappeared. Janie blinked. Kellie was gone, too. Joe was running toward the pillars. Janie dropped her camera and raced to meet him. They stared in desperation, calling Kellie’s name.


Kellie ran towards the pretty lights. She reached up and laughed when they surrounded her. She looked around to show her mommy and daddy, but they weren’t there. The building was darker. She looked up and saw the roof. That made her frown. She could see the sky a moment ago. She looked around again for her parents. “Mommy? Daddy?” she said, uncertainly.

A nun heard the child in the nave. She stood from her prayers at the Virgin’s alcove and looked around the pillar. A little girl stood in the nave, looking lost and confused. Sister Mary Eileen shook her head. “Oh no,” she muttered. She quickly walked over to the child, who was stuffing her fist in her mouth and getting ready for a real fuss. Kneeling, she took the child’s hands in her own. “Come child, let’s go to the kitchen, shall we, and see if Cook has any bread in the oven.”

Kellie studied the lady in the long dress. She had pretty eyes and a mouth that looked like it smiled a lot. Bread from the oven sounded nice, and Kellie had left her Cheerios in the stroller. She nodded, and the lady stood and led her out of the abbey, toward the palace kitchens.

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle, Bacon

Robert Sequoia, Bequest

Time writing:
Several breaks, including some research for this piece, so maybe 1 hour writing?

April word count:


  1. Oh no! I hope Kellie gets back to her parents. The nun seemed to know what was going on. (Says someone who may very well take a toddler to Hollyrood Abbey...)

    If you don't mind, I'm going to hang onto my piece for the day -- I wrote something that I think might actually turn into a short-short, and as I've never written a complete story in less than 300 words, I'd like to give a go at polishing it. Happy to share offline once I have, though!

    1. LOL Just watch out for the rainbows *wry grin*

      Of course, good luck on the short-short. I've continued 2 things I started here and hope to publish, but realize that I'll have to explain I shared the beginnings here. Hopefully that won't shoot me in the foot.

      Let me know how this one goes!