Archive for the Stories Category

Alphabet of Resolutions

Posted in Stories on 01 January 2013 by grubbycupthelesser

Always be ready to do something novel for you never know when you will discover your next passion.

Bless those you love for everything beautiful comes from their goodness.

Create something new every day for creating is far superior in every way to chaos.

Demand respect from everyone and earn it as well.

Expect more from yourself than you think you can give so you try harder and do more.

Flights of fancy should be undertaken for a little bit every morning.  You never know what smiles you could put on your face with just a little imagination.

Go somewhere new every month.  It does not have to be Europe or South America, it could be a path in a new neighbourhood where you make a new friend but do not forget to give God thanks because you can.  Stagnant people are not happy people.

Help the Homeless and the Heartbroken simply because you would not want to be where they are.

Inspire others to be better too.

Jazz up your life with jokes and laughter for smiles make life worth living.

Kiss as often as you have the opportunity.

Laugh Long and Let your hair down (if you are old, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks).

Make opportunities if there are no obvious ones.

Need only what God thinks you need.

Open your arms . . . give hugs daily.

Practice Praying better and daily.

Question demands. Perhaps they are not necessary after all.

Reach for connections that make you happy and some that you’ve neglected.

Score Success even when it is only the size of a thimble.

Take Time to Thank God for He is the Source of all things.

Understand who you are and spend time with people who like the real you and not the ‘you’ they think you should be.

Value your true friends and family for they are the ones who hold you up when you are falling down or falling apart.

Welcome positive changes and Work your Way through the negative ones.

Push eXtra hard to reach an impossible goal.

Yawn less from boredom . . . do something you’ve never tried before like art or photography or playing an instrument.

Be Zealous in any important endeavor.

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Blue Moon Friday . . .

Posted in Stories with tags , , , on 31 August 2012 by grubbycupthelesser

The moon this morning was full and clean-looking.  It hung high in the sky, happy to be sharing space with all the big, bright stars that still sparkled even though night would soon fade into oblivion.  The sky itself was that amazing blue colour that defies description and has no name; it isn’t cobalt nor is it sky blue but rather some perfect point in between.

The sun was still hiding below the horizon, but giving warning that day was about to consume the mystery of the dark with its powerful rays.  The trees in the field were black stick silhouettes that always remind me of cartoon trees of our childhood and my imagination makes them twist and turn and put their branches on their trunks as they talk to each other.  Every once in awhile a bird bomb goes off as I pass one of the trees, telling me that their yearly southern migration has begun. (writer’s note — a bird bomb is the term I’ve coined to describe hundreds of birds flying all at once out of a tree because they’ve been startled by a noise such as me walking the dog).

I am told that the moon is a blue one on this last Friday of August and we will not see another for almost eighteen months.  I would truly love to see a blue moon, one the same colour as tempera paint, perhaps, just because God wanted to give us a rare treat.  He does that sometimes with rings around the sun but that is usually interpreted as some wicked sign of bad things to come, not taken to be amusing like the thought of a real blue moon would be.

I love the night sky.  I love being alone in the darkness of the early morning just before it dissolves into day and I cannot wait until it returns again to delight me with its promise of quiet peace.

Introducing characters from QuillenLand

Posted in Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , on 25 August 2012 by grubbycupthelesser

Meet the new cast of characters from Book II, QuillenLand, as the story of the boy wizard Griffon continues.  The story opens in the accidently discoved QuillenLand which has been nearly destroyed by a natural disaster.  Next the story continues to Crone’s Corners where the boys learn of the other catastrophies involving their world and no one understands why these wicked events are all happening.

My young wizards are now twelve years old and learning advanced magic skills such as casting wynd and weaving complex spells. Nuri has found her talent lies in healing and herbal remedies like her mother.  Meanwhile Griffon and his new friend try to find a solution to all the ills in their lands with the help of Zolonev and Griffon’s father.

Our new cast of characters:

Serro Zolonev — Wizard who owns Zolonev’s Antiquities, a magical place full of ancient treasures.  Serro assumes the leadership of the OmniCircle in a very non-traditional manner during a series of disasters in the magic communities.  Although he cares very much for the wizard community, he cares more for power and wealth and will do almost anything to obtain both.

Boneblade — Owns the broom shoppe in Crone’s Corners.  Rudely given the nickname Chaff by Zolonev who thinks the tradesman too old and not very bright.  Suffers from a lung disease caused by breathing the straw while plying his craft.

Spellbinder — The wand maker of Crone’s Corners.  Has the sight like Griffon and does not like what he sees in the future.

Wynter Wyckwood — The much loved witch-owner of the Herb Shoppe on the High Street.  She is beautiful and helpful and Griffon has a crush on her.

Piet Muldoor — Artist of the Zoroastran Community who visits Mage’s Tavern.  Harbinger of bad news.

Aidan — aka Little fiery one — Orphaned boy of QuillenLand who becomes Griffon’s first true friend besides his cousin Nuri.  He is a falconer and quite the outdoorsman.  Introduced in Book I, he is Nuri’s first love.

The Norse  folk — Residents of Tyraani that include Norse folk, nymphs, merpeople, and the Deviant ones.

Forests of Firentzia — Land of the ogres, giants, dragons, tree spirits, revenants, and dark trolls.

Grimling — the students’ new tutor who replaced the beloved Morpheo (died in Book I).

Iron Feather — Aidan’s token, a horgrine, created from a black stallion and a falcon.  For more on tokens see Creating Tokens under stories.

scrations — huge, ugly rat-scorpions.  An army of them could devour a giant in seconds.

the Cruwels — cave dwellers in Blencken.  They eat spiders and bats and are not very friendly to intruders.

The Noddies — Adorable little people from Blencken who were named for their funny little head nods as they speak.  For more on the Noddies see under stories.

Pagonites and Outlanders — Residents of regions excluded from the OmniCircle because no one wants anything to do with them.  Pagonites are the personification of evil and the Outlanders are diseased.

Bailey Baggyknickers — leprechaun who is the king’s son.  The king sent Bailey to find his son’s fiance’s voice (the only thing that keeps the kingdom bright and happy) and the wee man finds that Asmodeus has her.

Doginese — the wizard who owns the Pet Emporium in Crone’s Corners.

Witch Hazel — Seamstress who creates all of the wizards’ costumes and robes.  She is dark-haired, a seer, and highly creative.

Asmodeus — The wizard of unequalled evil of the magic world.  He controls the wicked region of Pagon and his robe is the entrance to hell.  It is he who is causing all the problems in the world of magic while torturing those he has sent below.  Griffon knows he must overcome this powerful being to obtain the shields necessary to right all the adversity or die trying.

Nuri’s true love — (name withheld until publication).  A wizard with most unusual powers who is commanding and as different as  Nuri herself.  At first the pair suffers from attraction coupled with reasons they are not interested.   However, these two are fated to be together and nothing will keep them apart.

Fog Blog

Posted in Stories with tags , , , on 11 August 2012 by grubbycupthelesser

Okay, so July was one of the worst months of my long life and while August started out better, the powers that be are determined to make their lives better and mine worse so not much has really changed.  Therefore, in self-defense, I must turn to magic and fantasy, wishing all the while that I could be a real witch and make banks and government regulators all disappear into Hell itself where they so rightly belong.  Or, failing that, I might find some philanthropist who wants to throw some money my way (all without the government finding out, of course, because if they knew, they would simply take that too).  But you don’t care about that, so let’s go somewhere else instead . . .

There are exactly forty-two sunrises before the autumnal equinox in this year of our Lord 2012.  Each day that ensues will be incrementally shorter and the temperatures cooler and the air itself will take on a slightly different scent than the one we know of summer.  The bugs and flowers will change as well.  Fewer crickets and mosquitos and more locusts (gross) and the possibility of rain increases as we enter what is commonly referred to as hurricane season.  Fortunately, I love fall rain.  It is cooler and usually not as violent as spring or summer rains and it lasts longer.  In the fall, there are days of rain where the sky is grey and the drops are soothing and steady, like a balm for the soul.

Soon, the leaves on some of  the trees will change from bright green to oranges and reds and yellows as nature dons her most flamboyant coat of the year.  I like to think of autumn as the season of the woman for in the fall she can be outrageous with colour or mysterious with fog or dark and brooding in the cold, crisp night.

There remain only three full moons before Halloween so we will watch what is now a tiny little white sliver in the sky wax and wane until our Harvest Moon is full upon us.  Our mood will change and we will want to become more active, going to football games or going shopping or simply raking leaves.  Being outside is no longer a chore, but something to be savoured, along with the soul food we begin to prepare.

Our thoughts will turn from planting plumbagos and moss roses to gathering pussy willows and pumpkins, great crysanthamums, and bales of hay.  Scarecrows and goblins and all things ghoulie and ghosty will begin to appear in stores in anticipation of the second largest season of the year, only surpassed by Christmas.

And I?  I will go in search of a big black cat, a cauldron, and a spell book then see if I can’t find a few curses to send government and banks into the Black Void.  Ah, life then will be good.  I smile just thinking about it.

The End

Baelmal’s Maze

Posted in Stories with tags , , , on 10 August 2012 by grubbycupthelesser

The maze in the north of WeyVerne was not like others of the kind even though all mazes are actually puzzles to be overcome with patience and careful thought and this one was no different in that regard.  It was considered a masterpiece of intricate greenery and it attracted visitors from all over the world.  But, unlike the other mazes, this one was darkly magic and created by a most wicked sorcerer, who entertained his whim of the day on certain unsuspecting visitors and the decisions they made once inside his creation.  Would he grant them a future of delight or dismal gloom?

Upon entering, the visitor had to select a direction immediately.  Left? Right? Straight ahead?  Happiness?  Death?  Chaos?  Bliss?  Unfortunately, none of those who visited knew they were spinning the wheel of chance when they entered; nor did they credit the maze with what happened afterward.  The maze was responsible, nevertheless.

Today the maze seemed particularly vengeful and when the first visitor, an American woman, entered and went left instead of selecting one of the other two options before her, the maze punished her.  It was decidedly ironic for the American loved this magical place and this maze more than anyone who’d been there before now.  But today, the spirit of the maze did not care about anything save the choice the middle-aged woman made.  To further complicate her fate that day, she kept going left every time she came to a fork in her path.  By the time she exited the last of the tall evergreens, she had a lifetime of job losses, a lack of money, and no love to keep her warm in the sad future waiting ahead of her.

The woman shuddered and commented to her waiting companions, “I feel like someone must be walking on my grave.  I have this creepy feeling now that I didn’t have earlier.”

“It’s just the breeze. Here, borrow my sweater,” and the others laughed, thinking she was simply being fanciful.  They moved on to explore the rest of the castle grounds and thought no more of a maze in a garden.

Later that day a young boy led by a very stern father asked if he might be allowed to go in as he heard other children laughing inside and he wanted a bit of happiness like that for himself.

“Only if I don’t have to go with you,” the father snarled his response, obviously bored with the entire visit and wanting only to be somewhere the young lad was not.  He shoved the boy inside, happy to be shut of him even for a little while.

The lad looked cautiously before he stepped inside, then offered a prayer of gratitude as his mother taught him before he admired the green-blue of the yew and its texture.  He hesitated before considering where he wanted to go as he wanted to go from start to finish without getting lost in there.  Obviously the maze felt a connection with him as he was so obviously special and underappreciated.  His fate was blessed before he began to explore.  When he finished his exploration and stepped outside, the sun shone brightly on his fair hair and he found his mother was waiting for him with a smile.  His father was nowhere around and neither of them saw him ever again.  Neither was the man missed.

It was then the wind began to blow in short gusts, gently tickling random leaves on the ground as fate began to change yet again.  Strangely, there was a hint of sage in the air as if someone were cleaning out the old.

Meanwhile, the wizard Baelmal watched the maze in his crystal ball from high up in the tower of his rotting castle.  He thought briefly of his childhood and his choices and decided he’d done his single good deed for the year.  He shot his hag mother a wicked glance full of hate and wrapping his cloak about himself, transported himself to his chambers to escape his own fate for a while longer.

The End.

The Queen’s Treasure

Posted in Stories on 07 August 2012 by grubbycupthelesser

Henry prepared to board the train at Clapham Junction that morning at half-eight the same way he did every morning.  His headphones were crooning French love songs in his ear because they calmed him and made him able to pretend that someone loved him.

The quite ordinary looking man picked up the Times (TM) at the news agent’s and tucked it under his arm as he calmly made his way to the sandwich vendor’s stand in the middle of the concourse.  He looked around cautiously, noting that there weren’t as many travelers this morning . . . probably the weather.  It was raining nonstop and the sky was dismally grey and cold so probably a lot of people called in sick from work.  That wasn’t unusual these days.  The economy was bad, food was in short supply and salaries simply weren’t keeping up with the changes.  Even wizards like himself were having a hard time keeping themselves in brooms and potions and staying healthy.

Just then a young girl approached to ask, “Excuse me, sir, but you dropped this.”  She held up a five-pound note and he took it, not having realized he’d dropped it in the first place.

“Very kind of you, thanks.”  He took in the dark hair wet from the rain, her pale skin and big, violet eyes.  He guessed that she was about fourteen and decided she would be a beauty when she entered adulthood.

At least she’s honest, he thought briefly.  Not like some of these cheeky beggars hanging ’round here and the tube these days.  Or, was she?  In a panic, he reached into his pouch and felt around until he touched it.  No, it was safe.  He breathed a sigh of relief.  It would not do to disappoint her Highness and this was very important cargo he was safeguarding.

Normally the wizard would have hopped on his trusty broom and been to Windsor in a snap, but the broom was misfiring and he didn’t want to fall and land on his treasure.  Besides, while most wizards preferred aviation balm or brooms or faery dust, Henry loved the trains.  He rode them every day without fail so he could look out the window and enjoy the beautiful scenery and listen to his headphones and pretend that someone loved him.  It wasn’t much of a life, but it was one he loved and today was more special than most because of his assignment.  He was as excited as the Queen herself over his find.

Henry had been the Queen’s loyal sorcerer for over twenty years and she valued both his service and his discretion.  No one knew of their relationship save the two of them and both wanted the secret to remain that way.  To the rest of the world he was simply another advisor although rumours did rise once in awhile because of the secrecy but none guessed the truth which rather amused them.

Henry heard the announcement telling him, “Platform 6 now boarding for Windsor” over the loudspeaker and he made his way there.  The doors were open and waiting for him so he selected the car with the least number of passengers, carefully avoiding the lad with the bicycle as he entered.  He took the very last seat in the rear with no one around him and watched the others as they selected their seats.  The trains were always quiet in the mornings with passengers reading their papers.  Henry considered reading his as well instead of watching the drizzle outside, but he was too distracted to read so he decided to simply watch the rain fall from the sky.

About halfway between stations, Henry heard a tiny crack.  Goodness, I hope I hear no more noises like that before we arrive.  It could get rather sticky, he thought, but kept quiet and prayed a bit.  Fortunately there were no further noises coming from the pouch and the next thing he knew they were pulling into the station.  As soon as the train stopped, Henry was out of the doors and hopping into the Queen’s limo which she had sent to meet him.  Neither the driver nor Henry spoke a word as they carefully made their way through the throng and up the High Street the short distance to the castle.  Henry paid no mind to the entrance, the guards, or the trappings which he had seen so many times he no longer noticed.  Instead he was directed to the church where he knew they would have total privacy for this meeting.

He bowed low and reached into his bag as he approached.  When he was directly before her, he could see the excitement that sparkled in her eyes that changed to wonder as he pulled the large speckled egg from his pocket and held it out to her.  She didn’t touch, but they were both amazed when the remainder of the shell broke and inside was a tiny dragon, bare of scales and looking about with wide eyes, trying to take in all of his new world.  He was the last of his kind and had been hidden in the Cave for years waiting  for the right time to make his appearance.  Henry didn’t know why he found the egg nor did he know why it hatched now, but he was honoured to have a part in the discovery.  He felt an instant connection with the wee creature who kept cocking his head to the side to look at the wizard with a puzzled expression on his face.

The Queen reached out to pet the tiny newborn in awe for a few moments before she picked up a small bell resting beside her which she rang, lokking regretful as she did so.  Into the room came a beautiful woman with dark hair and violet eyes.  The girl at the station.  Why was she here, Henry wondered.  And why does she now look my age instead of fourteen?

The Queen had a sly smile upon her face as she introduced the young girl to Henry.  “This is Avery, the dragon’s keeper.  She will be taking charge of our little precious cargo while he is yet young. I want you to take him to Balmoral where I believe you will be more likely to keep his existance a secret until he is a little older.  Also, I would like the two of you to work closely together and keep me informed of his progress.  That will be all.  Oh, and Henry, pay attention to what I am not saying.”

Henry looked over at the woman now holding the baby dragon and he smiled as he pulled his headphones out of his pocket and placed them in the bin on his way out.  He had a feeling he wouldn’t be needing them any longer.

Yippee, August

Posted in Stories with tags , on 06 August 2012 by grubbycupthelesser

I always get excited when August arrives because it means that the worst of summer is over and fall is approaching.  I’m sure that depresses some sun loving people, but for one who loves the crisp air, the smell of burning leaves (not caused by forest fires), and fog lingering in the early morning as the sun comes up, it gives me a heightened sense of anticipation that is the best of all feelings.  I think of fall as a present, better than all the others, that I receive every single year.  It doesn’t even need a bow or wrapping paper to make me smile.

In the fall I can pretend I am again living in my beloved England where I can visit Sherwood Forest one weekend, peer over the chalk cliffs of Dover with windmills waving their ambitious sails behind me the following weekend, and tour a dark and eerie dungeon yet another time.  And, let us not forget, the faeries and other wee folk hiding under the flowers growing in the garden of number 4 Lower Road, Fetcham where my heart still remains.  I miss Ros, the Italian lady next door who was married to an Irishman and their lovely children who had to see what a waterbed was when they saw us hoisting a hose up the second story after the furniture arrived.  I miss the friendly Brits who were always helpful and delightfully entertaining with their practical jokes and sharp wits.

Ah, the memories . . . yet here I sit, in America and worse, in Texas in the summer without an air conditioner and not earning a dime from writing (or from much else these days, even though all I seem to do is work).  Sigh.  Guess I will go visit the photo albums, touch the memories, and pray for what Scarlet O’Hara says tomorrow will be.

Pt. Five

Posted in Stories on 02 August 2012 by grubbycupthelesser

(Note to readers . . . this is the fifth part of this story so if you have not been with it from the beginning, you might want to start with pt. one and work your way here.  Thanks, Debbe)

Fergis and Virgilia were led through the Wood of Twisted Trees by Veronica while the newly friended ghost followed hesitantly as if uncertain if he should stay behind or go with them.  It was cool in the morning with the sun barely peeking its soft white light through the trees but promising a day without rain.  Veronica held the found paper in her hand tightly as if afraid to lose it and Virgilia seemed to come alive as they made their way down the Path of Uncertainty.  Fergis and Veronica exchanged glances as they had no clue what was transpiring with their friend.

The pretty blonde pointed out the briar and the rabbit below that neither of her companions had noticed at all.  The briar gave Veronica an idea.  She cut off lengths and twisted it into an odd little stick.  She proclaimed her creation a wand but the other young one shook her head, “not yet.  You need some of this,” and she picked a length of ivy and twined it around the outsideof the briar for her friend. Now Fergis and Veronica were freaked as they’d never heard that many words come out of Virgilia’s mouth and because, as soon as she finished her task, a puff of smoke came out of the wand and the ivy and the briar forged into one solid whole.

“Creepy,” said Fergis with his mouth turned down into a frown.

“Right,” replied the girl as they both attempted to ignore the latest action and hurried down the road anxious to find something interesting before the best part of the day was gone.

Soon the trio came upon a thicket where they discovered a lovely spotted baby fawn curled up asleep and looking up in a tree overhead they spied tiny birds with blue beaks crooning softly.  The children were fascinated and all sat on the ground to watch the little fawn quietly as they listened to the birds lovely trill.  Veronica did not realize it but she was swinging her wand to the tunes.  Before she realized it, the baby deer was the same colour as the beaks of the birds.  “Ah oh.  Did I do that?”  She asked, wondering how she was going to change it back.  She waved the wand again . . . the deer was now red.  Pretty, but not as it should be.  Since that worked, Veronica waved the wand again and again, proceeding through each colour until the poor animal was back to soft brown.  In the meantime, the baby’s father returned and stood beside the thicket, pointing his rather large antlers at the trio who decided rather quickly that it was time to be on their way.

Before long the sun was directly overhead and Veronica decided they should stop and eat.  Fergis refused to look at her when she requested the food she’d given him earlier in that morning.  He didn’t have to tell her, she knew he’d eaten it all.  “Nevermind, there are some berries over there on that bush.  We can eat those.”  Before long, each of them had dark blue stains around their mouths and they were laughing out loud because they looked so funny.

However, suddenly they were distracted by a strange noise that sounded like flapping wings, but with much more force than a bird would create.  Next they felt a blast of intense heat and they became quite afraid for they were uncertain what caused it.  Huddling together with the silly ghost hiding in between them, they finally saw what caused the noise and the heat.  Looking up past the tops of the trees, they saw the huge head of a black dragon that was staring down on them with very large eyes and bared teeth.  Dragon drool dripped from the corner of his mouth and he eyed them as if they were potentially his dinner or as if very angry with them for some reason.

Virgilia surprised everyone when she looked up at the fierce looking drake and shook her finger at him saying, “Shame on you, frightening small children like that.  We haven’t done anything to you.”  Her voice was very certain and not at all like she was afraid.

But if the children were surprised by her actions, the giant dragon was even more so.  “Huh?” he said it very loudly as he lifted his head back away from where the young ones and the frightened ghost were sitting.  The large creature sat down on the ground and looked down at them as if trying hard to determine what to do with these small beings.

“Good one,” Fergis commended his friend.  Veronica recommended that they take advantage of the dragon’s surprise and sneak out past him.  Unfortunately the dragon rose and began to follow alongside just like the ghost except now much of the ground thundered from the creature’s rather large footsteps.  His tail made sweeping brushes behind them, occasionally knocking down a tree or upending some brush.  Without thinking Veronica waved her imaginary wand at the drake and in a thrice he became their size.  They were all shocked but none so much as the poor dragon who was now very near tears.  The once powerful and scary dragon was now reduced to baby dragon size and he was not at all happy with his current circumstance.

Dumbfounded, Veronica asked, “Did I do that?”

Fergis who was distracted by a fly replied, “Dunno . . . try it again and see.”

The little girl did just that but instead of the dragon changing sizes as before, he became plaid instead of his intimidating black.  Now he resembled one of their toys except he was still intact and the poor thing became more distressed than before.  He hiccuped and fire snorted from his nostrils, setting the bramble in front of him aflame.  Veronica poured the rest of their water on it, and sizzling smoke filled the air, but at least the fire was out before a much larger problem faced them.

Speaking for the first time, the timid ghost informed them, “I think that wand is magic.  Do you think you could bring me back to life with it?”

“That’s the problem, isn’t it?  When I shake it, the wand does things, but I never know what it is going to do.  I could make you disappear or I could make you the size of a tree.”  She looked puzzled and sat down with a pout, resting her chin on her hand, uncertain what she should do next.

Fergis stopped making faces at the fly long enough to notice and asked, “What’s the matter? This is boring . . . let’s do something. If you are magic now, why don’t you just make up some parents so we could go home?  Yeah, that would be good.”

The dragon, upon hearing of their intent, willed himself to calm and tried to communicate with the little girl.  It wasn’t easy because her brain was so very convoluted.  His thoughts were too gentle at first, like a soft morning breeze, but little by little the thoughts became more distinguishable.  “Use your wand as a beacon.  Let your real parents find you.”

When Veronica understood, she raised the wand into the air and tiny embers like little fireworks began to spark from its tip.  The sparks became more intense and rose higher and higher until they were shooting high into the air above the tops of the trees.  From under the flowers along the lane bobbed little Will-o-the-Wisps that until now were hidden from view.  Their darting and dashing about delighted the children who forgot everything except these delightful creatures and the firework display.

The Dream

Posted in Stories with tags , , on 01 August 2012 by grubbycupthelesser

The dream was trapped there as it slinked its ugliness across my frontal lobe and arced through convoluted synapses until it finally came to rest in the long-term memory chamber.  It wasn’t going anywhere, rather like food poisoning to the stomach or some unimaginable horror branded into one’s unsuspecting eyes.  The dream lay there waiting like a venomous snake in a basket or bush waiting for the unwary to brush up against it again so it could rattle my reality in addition to my slumbers.  It tortured me like a deep furrow from out of which I could not climb yet I could not remember the dream, only feel its creepiness lingering and I could not escape.  I was truly haunted by a nightmare.

I tried to conjure up a replacement thought or emotion.  Butterflies?  Too fleeting.  Balloons?  Colourful ones that float softly among the clouds . . . Pop!  Pop!  Pop!  They break, each one scaring me with its noise.  This isn’t working, I tell myself.  I begin to sweat with flashed of the dream coming to me.  The balloons were like guns, not stopping.  I try to run but my feet are like cement, plastered to the ground with fear, holding me fast like a fly stuck to flypaper.  Now I know how the little creature feels.

What was in that conglomeration of fleeting images that flashed like a zoetrope through your slumbers, I ask myself, mystified?  Were you falling from the sky so you kept waiting for the ground to come up to smack your physical body with its reality? No?  What then?  You must confront demons that torment you.  Let them linger not to fester but expose them to the light so they can dissipate like a ghost sprinkled with Holy water.

Was it a raging fire thirsty to consume everything in its path, including flora and fauna and ultimately — you?  I see you are trying to search those little used areas in your brain . . . don’t forget to look up and to the right.  It’s there, I know.

Who is this person talking to me in my head, I ask completely bewildered by it all?  Why is he there?  “Go away!” I scream at him mentally, “Go away and take that damn festering dream with  . . . you.”  The last word almost dropped out of the air completely as’ the dream’ flashed an image both in my head and in front of my eyes.  It wasn’t a dream.  I gasped, completely horrified now.  I am haunted by reality where I find myself a figure on a zoetrope going ’round and ’round with bright flashes of light exposing everything I don’t want to see or remember.  Flash!  Flash!  Flash!

The End

The Tryst

Posted in Stories with tags on 18 July 2012 by grubbycupthelesser

Margery Morninglory lived in a small, small house on the wrong side of town.  Like many houses in her neighbourhood, it was painted faded pink and had curved mosaic tile steps from the 1950’s Elvis era leading down from the front door, giving the place an air of being just past its sell-by date.  The yard, typical of those found throughout the southside of town, was mostly unkempt and half the shrubs were only partially alive due to neglect and sporting shriveled brown stubs along with bits of green, a sight no longer appealing to passersby.  The colourful pots on the porch steps of bright blues and yellows were now dull with dirt and the plants in them were so long dead that even the owner had no clue what they once were.  Its dilapidated state made visitors sad thinking that a family with happy children lived there once upon a time when the house had been pretty and alive with laughter.

In front of this particular house was a sign that was lopsided, the paint on its surface peeling but still readable.  It let potential clients know that Margery, the resident of the home, was a fortune teller and card reader and just above the black letters was the ‘eye’ the one that sees all, knows all.

Margery owned the house, having inherited it along with her profession which had been a family tradition since the great war.  Ms. Morninglory was now thirty-nine years old and holding.  She had never married nor held an inclination to be and had no family members or children to complicate her life.  She was content.  Her profession was enough for her.

If Margery’s house was considered sad, her clients were even more so.  Most of them were from her side of town, but once in awhile one of the idle rich would discover her place and they would come by to unburden themselves and ask for direction concerning their spouse or their children.  All of her clients, regardless of their station in life, were unhappy with their lot in some way and it was Margery’s job to listen to them and attempt to help them find some small bit of happiness either with their families or, more often, without them.  Margery knew with absolute certainty that what people really needed was someone to hear them and to encourage them and the seer was both willing and able.

When clients entered Margery’s home, they could not help but notice the Catholic influence as her walls were covered with pictures of the Madonna and Jesus and there were dozens of crucifixes and lighted religious candles that cast flickering shadows on the faded wallpaper.  She was so rooted in her convictions that every morning she would light the candles and pray to the saints for all her clients which may or may not be credited for the changes in the clients’ circumstances.

For years she read tarot cards, inspected palms, or asked questions of the I Ching depending on the needs of her clients.  If it were called for, she would sacrifice a chicken for them to appease the Gods.  She remained just this side of the law by taking donations for her ‘church’ instead of charging a fee and she was open for business six days a week, oddly Friday through Wednesday.

Thursday, however, was a different story . . . for on  Thursday, Margery would turn the sign in her window to ‘closed.’  Then she would grab her patchwork quilted bag, put on her green knitted cap and pink leather fringed coat.  Before going out the front door, she would stop in front of the mirror to check her makeup for flaws.  When she was satisfied with her quirky appearance, she would pat her black cat on the head and leave for no one save Margery herself knew where.

Wesley Wellington lived on the right side of town in a walk-up townhouse that had a doorman who would tip his hat on seeing the man and call him ‘sir’ as he opened the door every day for the tenant.  Wesley was quite distinguished for an elderly gentleman and one who carried himself with an air of distinction that only someone who was once ‘someone’ could own.  In all the years the doorman had been employed there, the elderly gent had never divulged a single thing about himself and he remained, if not mysterious, then at least a very private individual about whom nothing personal was known.

Inside the townhome Wesley’s domain was like he was, lean, tidy, and with an order that comes with liking things in their places so the owner knows exactly where to find them.  He possessed nothing of excess so there was also nothing of the residence to say who he was beyond a few pictures of the ocean and a wall full of first edition books with beautiful leather bindings.  As would be expected of the library belonging to such a person, the books were arranged in alphabetical order so he could find exactly the book he wanted whenever he wanted it.  The only other things of note in the room were a brown leather easy chair, a teak Chippendale desk, and a pair of bifocals casually placed on a side table below a brass lamp that he would require to light the dark.

Other than the brisk walk he took six days a week, no one knew what he did the rest of the time he was alone.  But, the doorman did know that every Thursday at precisely noon, Mr. Wellington would leave, wearing his fine fedora hat with the front of the brim discretely covering his slightly greying hair and shielding his blue eyes.  He would remain gone until late afternoon when he would return  as mysteriously as he left.

Without fail every Thursday Margery would visit the local theatre for the matinee where she would sit in the last row in the very dark back right corner, where she occupied the same seat every week.  Before the movie began she would be joined by her beau who would take the empty seat she saved for him.  Neither of them cared what they saw on the screen, neither said a word to each other.  They would simply smile and hold hands in the dark while they had vivid fantasies about being together for about two hours until the movie finished.

Then, when the screen flashed ‘The End,’ the couple would rise and make their way out of the theatre, still walking closely together and taking their time as if not wanting to end the time they had away from their otherwise small worlds.  But as they approached the exit and made their way out into the sunshine that blinded them momentarily, Wesley would blow Margery a kiss and she would give him the tiniest bit of a wave then they would turn and go their seperate ways.  Wesley would return directly to his townhouse on the right side of town in the same manner every week while Margery returned to the pink house on the wrong side of town in a different manner each week.

Later that particular afternoon, when the doorman spied Mr. Wellington returning, he would swear that the man sported just the tiniest hint of a smile beneath that Fedora as he opened the door for the gentleman.

The End

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