24 August, 2011 at 17:12 (Uncategorized) ()

Christopher and Alice,
Around each other curled,
Discussing in some detail,
Their own little world.

Alice and Christopher,
Forever and ever will be,
Curled up on a sofa,
Arm to arm and knee to knee.

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Travelling Salesman

24 August, 2011 at 15:36 (Flash) (, , , , , , , , , )

“You have to admit it is adaptable and that the glide function is incredibly smooth.” he said smarmily.

My lips pressed together. “Yes, but you did lie somewhat on the advert.”

“Madam,” the salesman assured me. “I most certainly did not. This is a vehicle with one careful owner which functions beautifully for all your travel needs.”

“You didn’t state that the careful owner was yourself.” I stated from my seated position.

“This is true, but Madam, I sell many such second-hand objects, I’m not required to make any disclosures as to the persons who have sold or otherwise given me their items.” He smoothed down his jacked with impecably manicured hands.

“If you had the idea that it came with… obligations may have been more obvious.”

“Madam, I am here to negotiate a sale. You signed the contract and now you have a top of the range magic carpet.”

“I was expecting a flying car!”

“Madam did not make that clear.”

“I was not expecting to become a genie!”

“I do fully understand Madam’s predicament and can only hope that Madam will find, as I did, a buyer for the carpet and it’s genie curse.”


(Three Word Wednesday: Words – Adapt, Glide and Lie)

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Sebastian of Portugal

23 August, 2011 at 21:12 (Lace and Steel, Short) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

It was a cold January when the king of Portugal was born and almost immediately he had entered the world the serving maid Belle, noblewoman of Aragon and satyr to boot, had him off in her arms to present to Maldonado. Of Queen Joan’s actions on that day nothing more is said but Maldonado, the half-horse astrologer made the prophesy that he is famous for and that did indeed come to pass.

Desired shall be the King and many mistresses will he take,
Though he human be he’ll fight for satyrs sake.
At Alcazar he will be turned, and flee within a rout,
By the eternal gates, his life and all of Portugal be turned about.

Brought up as he was by the two Mithraic priests his grandmother commanded never to leave his side Sebastian through himself into the fleshy pursuits at a young age. His conquests before the age of eighteen are legendary throughout Europe, such was his legend (fit to equal that of Casanova) bastards born still in Portugal are called ‘Sebastian’s Children’.
But as his proposals of marriage were turned down by the House of Valois and even the Hapsburgs, that curious intermarried political alliance of satyr and harpy, legends of Sebastian’s promiscuity lessened and that of his misogyny grew.

When he ascended to the throne women were no longer seen at court, soon throughout Portugal it was unheard of for a woman of decent social standing to walk along a street without a male escort. Though women were not seen at court Sebastian’s mistress, Rosinne Menezes would invite the ladies of the gentlemen of court to the upper rooms to which women were consigned without gentlemen escorts. These ladies would play whist and various other games until Sebastian’s law that forbade women to take part in card games. After that they danced, but he forbade that as well.

It was on the eve of his fateful war in Morocco that he declared women should wear no other colour than black, and, in a rare public appearance, Rosinne appeared by his side dressed as it’s now customary for Poruguese women to appear. That is to say, in the high combed cap with it’s trail of velvet and lace, not a hair in sight and with an unheard of high-necked collar, the golden symbol of Mithras at her throat, her figure swamped by the gathered sleeves and skirt.

Sebastian fought with mercanaries of every stripe and hew but the size of the satyr force within his army was unheard of, most were of the Germanic states and the Hanse lands. On the field of Alcazar, where he suffered his most epic defeat at the hands of the Moroccan King, Abd Al-Malik, his legend was made for his defense of the satyr general, Le Camoëns.

He stood, alone upon the field, this noble satyr,
Sebastian turned to face his general and his friend,
Across the field of war they stood, and the Moors held back,
Then with one shout that Royal Traitor Abd Al-Malik,
Commanded his trolls onwards where Le Camoëns stood.

It is said that Sebastian single-handedly fought off the thousand trolls Al-Malik sent against him as he retreated with the injured general. What is known is that Sebastian was in the last boat to leave the Morrocan shore and that the soldier and poet, Le Camoëns was with him. It is also known that when Sebastien and his general reached Lisbon they had already partaken of that curious water which has granted Portugal it’s strange magic. For Sebastian reigns in Portugal still, Rosinne Menezes his Queen and the shadowy satyr, Le Camoëns his advisor. Fashions and laws in Portugal have not changed for a hundred years and it is known as death to innovation and invention for all that it jealously guards it’s fountain of youth.

Sebastian, they say, was struck from behind with a spear by one of the Morrocan trolls. They say that both he and his satyr general should have died before they made Lisbon but that Sebastian’s Mithraic advisors ordered the boat make landfall at some secret cove. Portugal guards it’s borders assiduously these days and ware any, pirates or persons of nobility who make landfall on Portugal’s coastline.

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The Faun

22 August, 2011 at 13:25 (Castle Moon, Long) (, , , , , , , , , )

There’s a monster in Castle Moon and it is a very dangerous sort of monster for it wears pretty rose-tinted spectacles and carries itself as if it were a real person. But it took the little scruffy cat, Ninja, a very long time to find it for Castle Moon is full of winding levels and far too many staircases for one city.

In fact, it took Ninja quite a long time at first to come out of her bedroom. She had rented one with the new friends that she had made, the vixen Bysshe, the lion Spod and the wolf Bem. Their house in the part of the city known as The Bower (for it sort of overhung much of the main shopping area, being a good two or three storeys higher than much of the town) was decorated with small cuckoo clocks and daffodils and was very, very pretty.
The reason that it took Ninja a long time to come out of her bedroom was not, as might first be supposed, to do with her innate shyness. For, although she was a scruffy little black and white cat she was not over-imbued with shyness, actually because she was a hereditary Moggy, she was possibly over-imbued with boldness. In fact it was because of that boldness that she did not emerge from her room for some days.

Ninja’s room in the house (she later was to discover from Bysshe that is was The House of Ulster) had for some time been the spare room. Thus it had a bunk bed, the bottom of which was only slats and no mattress, a desk, a window, and covering the window, and overly large wardrobe. Now she had soon discovered that she could use the wardrobe to climb out of the window and sit upon the tiled, sloping roof of the kitchen and look out across the city. But the morning of her first night there she also decided to open the wardrobe.

It may not come as any surprise to my readers to hear that when she opened the wardrobe and pushed past the mothball smelling old fur coats that Bysshe had warned her she had left in there, she discovered it to be snowing.

Of course the wardrobe door shut behind her, and of course she paid it no never mind, for she was utterly enthralled by the notion that it might snow in a wardrobe. After she had gone a few more steps inside she not only smiled with delight to see the snow covered branches of small green fir trees but had actually laughed out loud when she saw the lamp-post looking for all the world as if some witch had ripped it clean from a London street. It glowed merrily as the snow swirled around it. She stood beneath it for quite some time, awed by the sight. Then she head the crunching of footsteps in the snow and looked around to see a faun, with a woolen scarf wrapped around his neck and a warm winter coat, carrying many little parcels. The faun looked up and saw her, “Oh Light preserve us!” he cried and dropped all of his parcels.

Ninja ran to help him gather them all up.
“Daughter of Bast! Daughter of Bast!” the little faun kept saying.

“No…my Mum’s name was Lotte, Lotte Valerius…”

But the little faun kept saying it so Ninja helped him with his parcels quietly.

“Princess, I insist upon your accompanying me back to my home for tea and biscuits. Good tea mind, none of this generic brand stuff.”

Ninja agreed since she was still so very curious about the world. And that was the beginning of why she didn’t come out of her room in the House of Ulster for quite some time.

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The Shipwreck

21 August, 2011 at 19:09 (Flash) (, , , , , , , , , , )

The storm cracked it’s lightning whips from overhead and still the rig continued it’s journey, tossed by the waves. For a moment it was outlined against the black clouded sky by a crack that echoed around the sky. It strained over the racing waves, beneath the clouds. Not even those aboard could hear the creaks of it’s timbers as the wind tore a line free of the mizzenmast. The roar of the ocean was too great and the thunder too loud. Then the ship seemed to catch itself in the trough of two waves, the fore tossed by one and the aft by another, there was a moment when the sea seemed to pause, hover above the decks, and then it crashed. The figurehead plunged into the trough of the wave and the jigger tore from it’s hold and the foam and salt of several tonnes of water plunged upon the ship.

There was no time for anything to be done, as the sailors aboard the ship tried to race up from below decks the sea pushed them back. The sea wrapped itself around the full-rig like a serpent and squeezed with all it’s might. The foremast joined the jigger as the sea squeezed. Lines from the mainmast span free from the rigging and spiraled up in the water like tentacles from a drowning sea urchin.

The next morning the sea was calm. The yellowed sky glowed free of clouds and the only evidence of the previous nights events was the driftwood that came ashore as flotsam. The beachcombers ran for such, but the gentlemen on the beach ignored the spars of the ship and it’s intricately carved figurehead to favour the barrels floating merrily as jetsam upon the tide.

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The Merfolk

20 August, 2011 at 11:14 (Lace and Steel, Short) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Off the Aquitainian coast are the waters which, a thousand years ago or more, one could cross to the gleaming citadels of Atlantis. Now, though, Atlantis is long gone, carried away by it’s overweaning arrogance and confidence in it’s polished, whirring technology and it’s fairy-bloodline of Kings. Now the ocean of the Atlantic is a deep blue-green and peaceful save for the song of whales and the ripples of the deep sea kraken.

It is, mostly peaceful, though if one were to dive below it’s surface, a little way from the coast one might hear the calm blue punctuated by the high-pitched tones of the merfolk, speaking and singing, each to each. If one were very lucky then one might catch a glimpse of brightly coloured scales, someway off in the distance, for these merfolk of the Aquitainian coast are not as friendly as those of the Breton coast, nor as warlike as those who claim the North Sea (with whom the half-horses have some sort of treaty). These merfolk are secretive, sometimes shy and sometimes not by turns.

There are tales that fifty or sixty years ago there was a merman, so captivated by the beauty of the Aquitainian Queen, that he wished to impress her in the way of Aquitainian men. So he had peasants construct a glass case, which he filled entirely with sea-water and then they carried him through the countryside singing. No-one had ever heard such beautiful songs, he sang both the ballads of the Aquitainian bards and also the traditional songs of his people. When he came to Toulouse the Queen leaned from he tower window to hear him and, upon catching sight of his purple scales and manly upper body she fell in love with him.

At that time the Queen had a husband, but it is the tradition of Aquitainian Queens to take lovers, so she took this merman as her lover in secret and kept him close at the court in Toulouse. There she had her dalliance and the merman bard frequently sang at the court and composed many ballads in honour of his queen.
The secrets of the Queens of Aquitaine have no power when it comes to the magic of the children of the sea and so soon the Aquitainian Queen was pregnant and bore a child as no Queen of Aquitaine does when they have a lover. But bear a child she did and this child could walk upon legs despite it’s fish-tailed father.

The rumours around court at the time were that the Queen and her consort argued day and night but that she had persuaded him to accept the child as her heir. However, on the day before the Queen presented her child to court, a party of horsemen rode to the castle and presented themselves to the Queen in her private chambers. All in black they were dressed and carried swords, hanging by their sides, larger than any had ever seen and of a burnished metal the like of which the finest swordsmith in Aquitaine had never seen. It is said that they were Frenchmen, and none know what passed between them and the Queen but they rode from Toulouse in the night, back to Paris or wherever it was they had ridden from. They carried with them a small bundle, one that they had claimed by an ancient right from the Queen and on the next day no heir was presented to the Aquitainian court and the merman bard was seen no more.

It is said he returned in sorrow to the great Atlantic Ocean and that this is the reason why the merfolk of the Aquitainian coast are rarely seen. So, if you are lucky you may hear the tones of their song as you dip your head beneath the waters. When you pull your head up it is likely that the salt water running down your face will be comprised of tears as well as the ocean. For the songs of the merfolk off the coast of Aquitaine are always sad ones since the bard left his Queen in Toulouse.

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Unrest

18 August, 2011 at 21:52 (Flash) (, , , , , )

The day of peace would come upon me, this I knew. I who haunted the night with my moanings, I who walked the creaking boards of the old house for countless nights, I would achieve my rest. Rather, another would achieve it for me and on that longed for night I would sink into the arms of a sleep so deep it cannot be named.

I awaited that day in the wee small hours of the morning when I would look out from the window across the moorlands below. I would hear the howlings of the wind and my own cries would add to it.

I awaited that day going for long walks in the late twilight, I encircled the house that I called my own as the wind whipped my long hair into a frenzy. I walked until I could walk no more and returned to the house on the moor ready to sink into death’s embrace.

Then the blessed day arrived. My saviour arrived on the moor in a white van with a hippo on the side. He carried the object of beauty up my stairs and replaced the mattress on the bed.

Now, finally, I could sleep.

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Mermaid

18 August, 2011 at 21:33 (Flash, Lace and Steel) (, , , , , , )

The thing I’ve always loved about the sky is it’s lightness. Even when it’s crossed with clouds it’s so bright and when it rains the ripples it sends across the world are like nothing else, so tiny, so perfectly there.

I have often wished that I could enter the sky, exist somehow within it’s airy lightness, but I am aware of my heaviness and the needs of my lungs.

I shall remain here, in the dark-water, watching the sky.

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Voice Mail

17 August, 2011 at 14:13 (Flash) (, , , , , , , )

“I just need you to action this item.”

Again Paul wished that there was a mute button on real life, especially when it came to the heartless verbing of nouns.

“Sir?”

He blinked a little and brought himself back to the reality of his secretary and her paperwork standing in front of him.

“If you could sign…”

He shook his head. “Not now, just…out please!”

He looked at the phone, no message light flashed at him from the desk. He had become used to the messages, from the first sobbing, pained one he listened to on returning from a meeting.

‘They say the fetus isn’t viable. Please…please call back.’

He had left work at the usual time that night, unable to face her crying.

There had been angry ones, ones full of sobbing, then hopeful ones. ‘Jade made it through another night, I’m still at the hospital. Come visit us.’

He had, and he had peered at her baby through layers and layers of clear plastic and tubing. Machines beeped and tubes gasped around her. She had never seemed to be anything to do with him but had always seemed a life removed by a dozen layers of plastic.

The hopeful ones had been when the messages became more and more infrequent, rather than dozens all day there would be one or two.

‘Jade’s allowed to come home. Pick us up after work.’

Each one, getting more and more terse, to the point. He had thought that this meant she was feeling better, and in a way, he supposed, it had.

The final message had been very terse and straight to the point.

‘I’m leaving. I’m taking Jade. We’ll be gone by the time you get home.’

He had left work early that day, as soon as he recieved the message, but some cruel trick of fate had a tanker crash on the motorway ahead of him and he was trapped there for hours. By the time he reached home they had long gone and no helpful note or handy clue left to tell him where.

He had returned to work, uncertain of what else to do. He took refuge in the routine and now he sat in his office looking out across the other city-blocks and down from his window at the cars, looking like models, whizzing below. He could barely make out the people, only those sporting clothes of particularly vibrant colours were obvious to him, sat up here, being asked to action documents. He was looking at life again, through a dozen layers of plastic.

A loud knocking at his door startled him from his reverie.

“Paul? There’s a meeting in half an hour, will you be attending?” the head and shoulders of one of the younger managers poked through the door.

“No.” he said, standing. “No I won’t.”

Then he marched down to the switchboard, determined to cash in some old favours. He walked out some time later and made his way to a cafe where he ordered a coffee, nothing fancy, with milk and sugar. He sat at a table positioned on the pavement where he could watch all the colours move around him, then he took out his mobile and dialled.

“Hello?”

“Hello darling. It’s Dad, and I’d really like to see my Grand-daughter.” he said.

“She’d really like to see you too.”

(The words this week were: Gasp, Mute and Viable)

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The Manatee Army

16 August, 2011 at 17:41 (Flash) (, , , , , , , , , )

He pressed his hand to her slightly clammy forhead, he couldn’t tell if she had much of a temperature today or not. He wished passionately his wife was there, she was so much better at this sort of thing than he was.

“You don’t have too much of a temperature today.” he said.

“It’s the manatees Daddy,” she said. “They took it away with them.”

He had to smile at that, he’d had no idea what a manatee was when he made up the first story of an invisible manatee army protecting his ill little girl, he’d just liked the word. As it turned out so had she and she’d demanded a picture of the strange creatures so she could better picture what her invisible army looked like. When he’d told her of the argument with the Dugong tribe that lived next door she’d asked for a picture as well. She had spent days, floating in a of fevered state of awareness, staring at the sea cows’ images until she had quite frightened him when she told him that she could ‘sort of see’ her army dancing their lucky get well dance around her bed.

“Tell me a story about the manatees, Daddy.”

He sat next to her on the bed and put one arm around her. It had become quite a refrain of hers. She especially liked the ones which ended with a manatee dance. Manatees’ dances were magical and caused all manner of ills to be fixed. It was by dancing that the manatees had taken away her temperature. It was also by dancing that they had eventually made peace with the Dugong tribe next door.

“Tell me where they took Mummy, Daddy.”

He was unable to speak for a moment. The question he’d been dreading had been already answered to be replaced by something unexpected. There was no doubt in her mind where Mummy had gone, the manatees, the answer to everything, had clearly taken her. But how could he tell her a manatee story when there was no happy ending?

She was looking up at him expectantly from the bed. He cleared his throat, wanting to explain to her that life on a remote island had seemed so exciting from the mainland, so romantic and that that was why they were here. He wanted to explain too that they hadn’t counted on meningitis, nor concentrating on the illness of their little girl to the exclusion of her mother.

He cleared his throat again.

“Once upon a time, when the manatee army was very busy they saw a very pretty lady who was very, very sick…”

One day, when she was older, he’d explain it all to her, but today there would be manatees instead.

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