Unwelcome

Culvert_beast_by_Spex84

Unwelcome

The hunter is here. His soapy scent lingers in the air, cutting through the earthy aromas I’ve become so used to. I scurry across the ruins, keeping to the shadows, refusing to look behind me. His smell tells me he’s getting close. I don’t have much time. Continue reading

Troubled

morning_light_by_lostinmymind89-d5jyrkw

Troubled

Daylight creeps in
With long glowing fingers
Traces the contours of your face
And shines a light on my equivocation.

I float inside the silence that is poured
By these suspended moments
Trace the roads not taken
With weathered hands
And wonder.

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Linking up with the summer series supergrid
over at yeah write. My piece is a 42-word
gargleblaster, inspired by this week’s optional
question prompt.

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Image credit:  Lostinmymind89 deviantART

The Princess and the Progress

old spinning wheel

The Princess and the Progress

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Bygone, a royal baby was born. The king and queen had tried for many years to have a child, but with no success. As their frustration and sorrow grew, the kingdom prayed. And then, after five long years, Queen Sophie discovered she was pregnant. For nine months, the kingdom held its collective breath and King Antioch hovered nervously.

Finally, one bright spring day, the baby was born. The king and queen were now parents to the most beautiful baby girl they had ever laid eyes on. They named her Aurora and the kingdom exhaled.

When Aurora was one month old, her parents held a celebration. Everyone in the kingdom was invited, and some lined up for hours to offer gifts and blessings to the new princess. The king and queen received each guest in turn. The pile of gifts grew and the blessings included things like health, happiness, good eyesight, and a strong stomach.

As mid-afternoon rolled around, a strange-looking woman stepped up to take her turn. She had frizzy hair, dainty features, and wings. It took King Antioch a moment to realize he was actually looking at a fairy. But not just any fairy. This one clearly belonged to the Radical Fairies from the far side of the realm. As he moved in his seat, Queen Sophie placed her hand on his arm.

“We did invite everyone in the kingdom,” she said quietly.

With a grumble, King Antioch waved the fairy forward.

The fairy stepped up to Aurora’s bassinet and smiled. “The princess is so lovely,” she said. Then she began to wave her wand. “The fates they move both hot and cold, but mortals must not question why. When the princess is 18 years old, she will prick her finger on a needle and die.” The fairy grinned and vanished in a puff of smoke.

Up until then, the day had been going really well. As the fairy’s words sank in, King Antioch jumped to his feet and bellowed across the room. “The celebration is over. Everyone must leave the castle immediately.” He grabbed the bassinet, took Sophie’s hand, and practically flew to their private chambers.

After a lot of pacing and cursing, King Antioch knew what he had to do.

The following day, a Royal Decree was issued. It banned all needles and needled things from the kingdom. That included spindles, brooches, hairpins, and needles used for sewing, knitting, embroidery, cross-stitching, crocheting, needlepoint, and lace-making.

The decree created some challenges for the kingdom. For example, all clothing now had to be imported from other realms, and women had to find creative ways to keep their hair up. But the greatest challenge was finding things for the girls of the realm to do. Until the decree, while the boys of the realm went to school, the girls were taught to spin thread or sew and knit, or they learned how to make lace, or do needlepoint. They were also taught how to put their hair up. Some were lucky enough to receive lessons in music or dance, but there’s only so much singing and dancing you can do. As it was, most of the girls were left twiddling their thumbs, which was slowly driving their parents crazy.

As King Antioch listened to yet another complaint from a parent—this one with three young daughters—he found himself at a loss about what to do. Queen Sophie placed her hand on his arm.

“I have an idea,” she said. The king leaned in and Sophie whispered in his ear. When she finished, he looked at her dubiously. She raised her eyebrows. “Well, do you have a better idea?”

So King Antioch issued another decree. This one proclaimed that all girls in the realm would now be expected to attend school, just like the boys.

When Aurora was old enough, she attended school as well. She was a bright girl who grew into a bright young woman. As King Antioch watched his daughter soak up her education like a sponge, he wondered why he hadn’t insisted that girls go to school sooner. Sure, the tapestries on the castle walls were looking a little ragged with no one to repair them, but his daughter’s mastery of trigonometry held a different kind of beauty.

Eventually, Aurora’s eighteenth birthday arrived. That autumn, she set off for college. As the royal procession made its way through the countryside, they came upon a quaint museum.

“Stop,” Aurora said to the coachman. She hopped out of her carriage and wandered over to peruse the items sitting on the museum’s front lawn. “What’s that?” She pointed to a strange wooden contraption.

“M’lady.” The curator stammered, clearly unaccustomed to having visitors. “That is a spinning wheel.”

The king’s carriage pulled up behind Aurora’s. King Antioch watched in horror as his daughter approached the spinning wheel. As he moved to try and intercept her, Queen Sophie placed her hand on his arm.

“Don’t worry,” she said.

He paused, halfway out of the carriage.

“Ouch!” Aurora yelped. The king looked at his daughter. She had pricked her finger on the spinning wheel’s spindle. But, instead of collapsing to the ground, Aurora simply grinned and sucked the tip of her finger. Then she examined a few more items before turning and climbing back into her carriage.

King Antioch looked at his wife, who smiled serenely.

“Sometimes you need a little magic to make good things happen,” she said.

As understanding dawned, King Antioch got back in the carriage and the royal procession continued moving forward.

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This story was inspired by this week’s WordPress Weekly Challenge, which asked us to think about a lost art. For some reason, I thought of spinning wheels, which naturally made me think of Sleeping Beauty. I hope you enjoyed my take on the fairy tale!


I’m also linking up with the moonshine grid over at the yeah write community. It’s a great place for you and your blog to hang out on the weekends.

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Image credit: Svetlana Tikhonova @ PhotoXpress.com

Safe Distance

pele_hawaiian_volcano_goddess_by_arawyndesigns-d66mj1l

Safe Distance

Carefully, Pele Vengar applied lipstick, then stepped back to admire her handiwork. She knew it was vital to present the perfect image, especially now that she was entering the final stretch of the plan.

After a few little touch-ups, she was satisfied with the woman who returned her gaze from the mirror. Her eyes were dark and smoldering. Her mouth was soft and pouty. Her curvy shape was draped in something light and clingy that hinted at the treasure lying beneath. And long, fiery red hair cascaded over her shoulders in soft waves her namesake would have loved.

She remembered the first time she’d met him; the man she was going to see. He’d asked her why she was named Pele. She’d laughed and told him you could blame it on a combination of Hawaiian ancestry and hippie parents. He’d smiled and told her he’d known a Hawaiian guy a long time ago.

She walked over to the desk in her hotel room and checked the screen on her laptop one more time. Everything was in order. It was time to go. She closed the laptop, tossed it into her suitcase, and made her way to the front desk.

Her rental car was waiting out front. She smiled at the valet, who nearly swooned as he accepted her tip. Then she hopped in the car and made her way from Waikiki to the Queen Liliuokalani Freeway. From here, she would join up with the Veterans Memorial Freeway and head up to Oahu’s North Shore, where he was waiting for her.

She pulled up to the stunning beachfront villa he’d purchased with their spoils. It was like something out of a movie, with columns and fountains, surrounded by lush Hawaiian foliage. And there he was, standing out front, grinning like a fool. Kane Larkin, CEO of Goliath Enterprises. She parked the car, took a deep breath, and conjured a smile.

“Pele,” he said, sweeping her into an embrace, “I can’t believe we pulled it off!”

She smiled, “I told you no one would suspect you of stealing from your own company.”

“That you did.” He grinned. “Beautiful and smart. Just the way I like them.”

She doubted that, but kept right on smiling.

“Come on, let me give you the tour.” He placed his hand on the small of her back and escorted her inside.

After the tour, Kane led her to the lanai for dinner. They watched the sun set while they enjoyed excellent food and magnificent wine. He didn’t believe in moderation, which was exactly what she was counting on.

When they’d finished the second bottle, she proposed they head inside.

“Let’s play a game,” she suggested, her eyes filled with molten promises.

In that moment, he probably would have agreed to anything.

She took her time tying him to the bed, making sure her hands lingered in all the right places. The man at the hardware store back in California had assured her the rope could pull a truck, and he’d shown her how to tie a knot that wouldn’t slip. Once Kane was secure, she hopped off the bed.

“I’ll be right back,” she said, heading for the washroom.

He was patient at first, but after a few minutes, uncertainty crept into his voice.

“What’s taking so long?”

“I’ll be right out,” she called as she finished her task.

When she emerged from the washroom holding her shorn tresses, he knew things had gone off course. The hair on her head was now short and spiky, and her soft mouth was fixed in a hard line.

Kane looked at the hair. “What did you do that for?”

“An offering for Pele,” she replied, savouring his confusion.

“But, you’re—”

“I’m afraid not,” she interrupted. “My real name is Amy Kealoha.”

She watched his confusion turn into comprehension.

“I knew your father,” he said.

“You killed him.”

“No, he killed himself.”

Amy leaned over Kane. “Only after you ruined him.” She tossed the hair onto the bed. “But you can take that up with the gods that meet you on the other side.”

She pulled the detonation device from her purse. Her brother had rigged the place after Kane bought it. She would meet up with him when it was done.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “Your money will go to good use.” And with that, she turned on her heel and walked away.

“Pele! Amy! Please!” Kane yelled after her.

She never looked back, she just kept walking.

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This is my response to this week’s speakeasy,
over at yeah write, where we had to make some
reference to a video prompt and use the sentence
“She never looked back, she just kept walking.” as
the last line in our piece.

Click the badge to learn more about this awesome creative writing challenge.

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Image credit: arawyndesigns @ deviantART

 

Lost Girl

wounded_machinery_by_marcelabolivar-dm7816

Lost Girl

Inside the broken machinery of me
Your absence is a gaping wound
Leaking oil and tears.

In dreams, I sometimes catch a glimpse of you
And happiness consumes me
Until I see my failure
Reflected
In blue eyes
So much like mine.

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This is my response to this week’s gargleblaster,
over at yeah write, where you have to answer a
question in exactly 42 words.

Click the badge to find out more about this
awesome challenge.

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Image credit: MarcelaBolivar @ deviantART

The Accident

Ghost_by_Apri1

The Accident

“Tell me if you’re game, and I’ll let the guys know we’re on.” Enid exhaled impatiently. “Ruby! Did you hear me?”

I blinked and shifted my gaze to Enid. “Sorry. I was lost in thought.”

Sympathy washed over Enid’s face. She smiled and put her hand over mine. “It’s okay, Ruby. It’s my fault for rushing you. I’m just so excited you’re being released today.”

Enid and I had been best friends since the day we’d met in first grade. We’d been through so much together and she had really stepped it up after the accident. She was the kind of friend they make movies about. I squeezed her hand.

“So what were you saying?” I asked.

“That I’ll let Jeremy and Sam know if you feel like meeting up tonight.”

It’s not like I really wanted to go home. I nodded. “Sure. Sounds good.”

“Great!” Enid bounced to her feet. “I’ll go call them.”

As she left my room, the strange veil returned. Darkness blurred the edges of my vision and vague shapes layered across the world. I closed my eyes and shook my head, but the veil remained. So did the voices. Too quiet to make out more than a word or two, but loud enough to feel they were real. I leaned back against the pillow and closed my eyes, willing the veil to pass.

These bizarre visions had been happening since the accident. At first, they’d only happened once or twice a day, but they’d been increasing. This was the fifth one today, and it wasn’t even noon.

I hadn’t told anyone about them—not even Enid. I didn’t want to be labeled as crazy, which was entirely possible given everything that had happened. It’s not every day you survive an accident that wipes out half your town, including everyone you know, except your best friend. My heart twisted. For a moment, I was sure I could hear voices I knew, but when I opened my eyes all I saw was the cold white hospital room. At least the veil had receded.

The rest of the day passed in a blur. There were forms to sign, and somber chats to be had with doctors, nurses, and social workers. Finally, I was free to go. Enid met me out front. I stuffed my meager belongings into the back of her car and hopped in beside her. The visions were now coming two or three times an hour. I watched the ghostly figures move and listened to the obscured hum of their voices while I tried to ignore the lump growing in the pit of my stomach.

Enid drove straight to our rendezvous with the guys. We pulled up in front of a latched gate on the outskirts of town. Enid hopped out and gestured for me to do the same.

“Where exactly are we?” I asked as I stepped out of the car.

“I don’t know,” Enid said, “but Jeremy swears it’ll be a blast. Come on.” She squeezed through a gap in the gate and started down the dirt road.

Something niggled in the back of my mind, but I followed Enid anyway.

After a short walk, we reached what looked like an abandoned construction site. There was a giant hole in the ground. Light flickered in the hole and I could hear Jeremy and Sam laughing. Ruby walked toward the hole.

As I followed, my vision grew dark and the veil began to swell before my eyes. I stopped in my tracks.

“Ruby, come on!” Enid called.

As the faces swam before me, I remembered the night of the accident. Jeremy, Sam, Enid, and I had broken into the high school chemistry lab. I wasn’t exactly an A-student, but I’d taken chemistry and I knew whatever the guys were mixing was unstable. I remember grabbing Enid’s hand and telling her to run. After that, everything went black.

“How did they survive?” I didn’t realize I’d spoken out loud until I felt Enid’s hand on my arm.

“Ruby, you have to come with me now.” She began to pull me toward the pit, but I stumbled and fell.

The veil grew stronger. I could see all these people I knew sitting beside me, reaching their hands out. Without another thought, I grabbed them.

“Ruby!” Enid cried out, scared and desperate. “Ruby! Please don’t leave me!”

Her screams faded as my consciousness returned, but they still haunt my dreams.

I loved Enid like a sister, but it just wasn’t my time to die.

 

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This is my submission for this week’s speakeasy challenge. This week, we had to use the following sentence as the first line in our post: Tell me if you’re game.

We also had to make some sort of reference to the following photograph:

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 Image credit: April Elizabeth @ deviantART