The Frame

In response to Indigo Spider’s Sunday Picture Press

Visual Prompt 2 -- Portal by Stephen Shulz (

Green tea nestling on the bottom of the teapot. A vegetable steamer waits empty on the hob. Both require hot, steamy water to make the most use of them.

He pours boiling water into the teapot, replacing the lid and then covering the plain white teapot in a flowered tea cosy. Then Llanal, for that is his name, leaned towards the mug tree on the worktop and took the only delicate china cup hanging among the coffee mugs that hung from the other branches on the mug tree. He loved his green tea in a china cup. He had no saucer for the cup but enjoyed the way the tea swirled into the cup as he poured it.

Llanal waited for the tea to stew a while.

Once poured he added no other additives, green tea was meant to be drunk with nothing added except on the odd occasion when he added a spoonful of honey. He left the kitchen, turning out the lights as he passed the switch, then headed towards the darkened living room for an evening of quiet contemplation. Atmospheric, ambient music played quietly, providing a background to his thoughts as Llanal relaxed on his oversized and very comfortable sofa. He had lit several candles around the room and now sat in the subtle light enjoying his tea and solitude.

Llanal, a forty something male now divorced and coming to terms with his new single status, enjoyed these quiet evenings to himself. He worked in a very loud factory, operating a machine that made parts for chairs. They were metal parts that looked to Llanal like they would be of no use in the manufacture of chairs.

Not that he cared much, he earned enough money to pay his way and enjoy the odd evening out with some new friends he had met one evening whilst out with an old friend whilst they ‘celebrated’ his divorce. They had decided to go ten pin bowling and a mixed group on the next lane had included them in their evening and they had all soon become quite friendly. Now they invited both Llanal and his old friend out to regular evenings but as often as not, Llanal would go on his own as his old friend was still happily ensconced in his marriage.

Now he relaxed further into the sofa, staring at the frame set in the wall opposite. At first glance the frame looked like a window but once night fell it was obviously a picture set in the wall to look as if it were a window. On evenings like the one he was about to enjoy, Llanal hit the switch that would offer light into the frame, making the picture within come alive and for all the world, look like a window into another day-lit world in the darkness of the room.

Although the frame looked like it housed a picture of a mountain in daylight hours, after dark and with the carefully placed lighting switched on, it took on a life of it’s own. Sometimes Llanal could see a hillside village and almost make out the old villagers as they scratched a living from the meagre land. Other times it looked as if he were looking in on other worlds, odd shaped buildings, strange creatures and very strange landscapes. Totally alien!

He never saw the same landscape twice, every time it was a different hillside village or alien landscape.

The frame itself was quite large, measuring 24 inches wide by 48 inches tall. He could have hung it width ways but he felt it looked more at home as a window frame rather than a picture frame. It was an old wooden frame that Llanal had found on his meandering walks that he sometimes took around the estate late at night when he couldn’t sleep. It had been dumped in a skip and he had salvaged it in the hope of finding a picture big enough to put in it. The desire to see it hanging on his wall had overtaken him as soon as he had arrived back home that late night and within an hour he had mounted it on his wall opposite his sofa.

The mountain appeared within the frame and the frame took on the appearance of settling into the wall as soon as it was hung. The following days saw odd, hazy apparitions appear within the frame but Llanal could not make them out. That was when the idea of some carefully placed lighting came to Llanal. He had no idea where the idea came from and even less idea of where he should place the lights, they seemed to choose their placing themselves.

That evening he sat back in the sofa and new worlds started to appear in the frame. He had tried walking up to the frame one evening but the worlds disappeared and the image of the mountain returned. Now, on quiet, solitary evenings Llanal would make his green tea and settle back letting the old frame take him to places he could barely dream of, see sights unseen by humans before or since.

©2012 Trevor Litchfield

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  1. Indigo Spider

     /  January 19, 2012

    Oh so much to say about this! This is great, love the details, starts simple & builds into fantastical worlds in a frame. I like to think it is a ‘magical’ frame where the worlds really exist but even if it is just Llanal’s imagination creating the various worlds with each viewing, it is still magical. Thanks, this was a fun read 🙂

    • I’m pleased you enjoyed reading this one Indigo Spider, it was fun to write as well. I’m not entirely certain if the apparitions are within Llanal’s mind or the frame but either way I also agree that the frame is magical.

  2. Wonderful journey, Robin

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