Picture it and write – Gilded lily

Like birds, the words flew away

She had been forced to hurry. First light had broken half an hour ago, and while she’d dressed as fast as she could, the corset had refused to buckle. Her shaking hands had struggled, but she had not dared to ask even a maid for help – for fear of alerting the farm of her intentions.

Now, with a few slices of cake in her petticoats, and the dreaded court transcript in her hand, she stole out into the light, careful to keep her bonnet down low. The crispness of the air smacked her skin, and cooled her cheeks into ruddy apples. A dog stirred on its chain. She smiled, scooped down low and cooed in a soft voice – and he did not bark.

As soon as she was out the gate she felt freedom push her forwards. She hurried along the trail toward the old elm forest, looking carefully over her shoulders. She didn’t allow her eyes to pause – searching in every shadow, every slip of light an ever present danger.

Gunfire, only too recent a memory. The flash of gold. Red, warmth and love flowing freely. Her tears, his protestations. Police and chains. The recollection filled her with adrenalin, and rather than allow the fear to stop her, she ran. She ran toward her lover.

Ahead she saw the spot. She turned her head, looking for his outline. Of course he wouldn’t wait out in the open.
“Why has this fear spread over every moment now?” she questioned. It was a cancerous rust filling holes in their teeth. It made them whisper. Plan. She gripped the transcript tighter to her chest. “Nothing is more important,” she said.

A twig broke and she snapped her head to the side. She still could not see his form in the silhouettes. Instead, a book lay on the heather. It was obviously meant to be read. A feather stuck out of the top. She bent down to inspect it closely.

The leather glowed, and the gilded title urged her to open it.

She gasped, and stood up with a start.

“Yahooo!” she squealed, spinning in a circle, kissing the book and throwing that dirty life wrecking transcript into the air. She lowered the book to reveal a wide smile. With her fingertips, she traced the large, hand inked words covering the text of the book, as tears streamed down her cheeks.

“I’m free!” the black ink proclaimed. She need not hide, nor run. But looking around at the forest and wiping away the salt from her eyes with her sleeve – she knew that it was far from truly over.

Ermiliablog is the wonderful creator of  Picture it & write – join in the fun!

Advertisements

Someone Like You – Listen & Write Entry

This entry is inspired by the wonderful Ermilia blog, who never ceases to provide quality prompts and entertaining ideas.

Now that she saw him at the bar, smiling and laughing so easily amongst friends, those soft hands of his cupped around the glass, with what Marian now thought was an unparalleled tenderness, (one she’d relived on too many late nights) she suddenly felt foolish to be here.

Her stomach lurched when he turned, sending a bilious vacuum to her mouth at the thought he might catch a glimpse of her. She licked her lips but found her tongue alien, clogged in gloss.

“Whisky,” she thought. Letting go of the table to walk she wobbled, and had to steady herself. Her heart pumped embarrassingly loud in her temples; flushing her face and fishing her hands damp.

‘Why was he still so reliable? So dependable?’ she shook her head. Here, at the same haunt she’d avoided all this time. ‘Why was it so easy to track him down again?’ Gazing at him now, she could see the chasm of her creation gaping between where she stood and he laughed.

“I’m tired of this, of you,” she’d spat that night, using her eyes to pierce his heart while her words pealed away in a stem of thorns. “Can’t you just…be different, can’t we DO something different?” she had screamed, hands raised in the air and not for the first time, she watched him recoil aghast at her fury. Strangers walked around them, pretending not to see or hear, a fact he would later recount with humiliation.

Sparkling gems and diamond stones piled solidly in her youthful hands and she’d only noticed the dust they created.

She inhaled sharply and held her breath, pushing down her fears, her emergent tears, and the swelling of regrets and mistakes that threatened to convince her to flee rather than face him. She could not afford the flight.

Another breath and she forced oxygen to her desperate striding limbs and light into her false smile.

One more intake and she was there, the familiar heady cologne rioting through her body in a bittersweet rush of long kisses and warm embraces, golden in the sun and open to the sky.

“Oliver?” she said quietly, patting him on the elbow.

He turned, his smile fading to resemble a startled bird on the footpath, distended in the traffic of shuffling feet, powerless and hurt.

With every syllable in greeting she stretched her warmth and love for him out in a cloak – the fabric of her soul – that she longed to wrap him in and sooth away the past. Yet the words came out empty, unfulfilled nothings of meaningless chatter.

“How amazing to see you here,” she smiled an attempt at breeziness.
“My friends just left and I thought I spied you in the crowd. Do you have time for a drink?” She hoped that he didn’t notice her cracking voice.

“Marian,” he said in reply after a dazed pause. “Marian.” His shoulders slumped forward on the second utterance, and his eyes appeared to have trouble focusing. He shook his head a little at a thought he seemed to have and lifted those gentle fingertips to squeeze his temples and smooth down his face.

Another breath. She blustered on.
“You look wonderfully well. I heard that you’ve settled down, and married now?”

Bad Habits Die Hard – Chapter Three of ‘Hijinks’

For this week’s Indie Ink Challenge, Brian Feebhail challenged me with “Bad Habits Die Hard.” I’ve written this challenge in the voice of my main character for a young-adult novel I am writing for NaNoWriMo – your feedback as always is appreciated.

Chapter Three

She looked out from her bedroom window, thinking about the day. Why had he been so kind to her? It seemed suspicious, all of it. After all, he was so good looking, and she was so plain, she said to herself.
She headed over to the mirror, and looked at herself in the reflection. Yep, plain. Her friends had always said that her best feature was her hair. She twisted it now, on top of her head. She had seen some women in magazines with this hairstyle, but on her, it just looked wrong. She never seemed to be able to pull off anything other than a messy style, or a classic pony tail. Her shoulders slumped. She wouldn’t hold his interest for long, that she was sure of.

Then she remembered how he had looked when they’d said goodbye. That couldn’t have been fake. Even though they’d only just met, he truly looked forlorn when he’d waved goodbye and headed down the footpath back toward the ferry terminal. Like he really didn’t want to go. Like he wanted to stay and talk to her, in the same way she wanted to talk to him. To take the time to get to know each other better, to understand one another more. She took out the piece of paper and stared at it in her hand. Caleb Liu. 6045 67 89. It was just a simple piece of paper, but something significant. It represented her first date.

She looked at herself again in the mirror, seeing the smallest of smiles at the edges of her lips, but when she caught sight of herself, her hair now hanging in a half up, half down mess, her freckles sticking out against the flush of her cheeks, her hips bulging slightly above her jeans because of the way she was standing, everything crashed back down again. She didn’t even know if this was a real phone number. What if today had been one big prank?

Why else would someone so handsome want to spend so much time with her?
Why HAD he been so friendly? She searched her mind for an ulterior motive. Anyway, she eventually said to herself, when she couldn’t find a valid reason for him hanging out with her; he will soon figure out how boring you are and you’ll be alone again.

Alone, in a different country, without any friends. She slumped on her bed. She’d had a spectacular day, and had experienced so much, but now that it was over all she wanted to do was bury her head in the pillow and cry. She still missed her friends. She missed her hometown. She missed the familiarity of the world around her that she’d had back home. She hadn’t known how simple her life had been before, and how good it was for her.

She beat her fist into the bedspread, forgetting that she still had Caleb’s number in her hand. It had started to become a little damp from her body heat, and she nearly tore it in half by accident when she punched the bed. It was enough to shake off some of her self pity. She lay her head on the pillow and looked out the window. The lights were shining across the harbour, and the colours looked pretty.

Why oh why was it so hard to believe in herself? She questioned. Just for once, she wanted to feel like the girls on T.V. She wanted to feel beautiful, desirable, and fascinating. But you’ll never be, she told herself. No, you’ll never be that, she heard the voice say, nasty and mean, just like the ugliest version of herself.

She looked at the piece of paper. What did he see? She wondered. Next weekend she would know more. It’s a long time to wait, she thought.

*********************************

I challenged L.Vu with “Art for Art’s Sake” – why not drop by and check it out?

Destiny’s Dance

Below is the “Picture it and write” challenge for this week. Thanks Ermilia for such a stunning photograph!

Destiny’s Dance

“Follow me,” she said, stretching out her hand and pulling me into the hazy, pheromone fueled room. The music pulsed, throbbing like an excited heartbeat. Each of the bodies on the floor; cells controlled by electrical impulses. I too followed mine – sharp as the lasers that cut through the smoke and tasty as her teasing lips.

Her eyes, so clear, blue and mesmerizing. A black stripe across her face as though a vigilante – my Zorro of the night. Seductive, skin tight leathers that taunted, highlighting the luminosity of her skin. In contrast she glowed, radiant.

A female’s whispered chorus permeated from every corner, and yet from nowhere, perhaps within? “Follow me…,follow me,” she sighed in song, and in that moment I was sure it was her continued plea, somehow controlling the music, and surely in command of me.

My eyelids closed and I stretched my neck in a languid circle, body swaying to the rhythm. I could see nothing but her face in every facet of my mind’s eye – that intent gaze, with a lifetime of knowledge to share. Perhaps more? She seemed to access whole generations. In her face I could see mirrors facing mirrors, reflection on reflections, and time s t r e t c h e d.

We’d only just met, but destiny danced on my lips, surging my passion, ebbing me on.

Sailing Paper Boats

For the Indie Ink Writing Challenge this week, Mare challenged me with “It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since it happened”, which is a very timely challenge, as this week was exactly one year since my father died of brain cancer.

The salty breeze blew as the girl carried a cardboard box toward the lake. She was escorted on either side by two women, one older, and one younger, and there was a sense of purpose in her step that loaned gravity to the box. Poking out the top were the harsh lines of triangles in a multitude of colors, glossy and firm.

The younger girl was crying. Tears streamed down her face as her long blonde hair whipped across her cheeks in the wind, sticking in places where the damp salt penetrated. She reached up and brushed it away, but the slow stream of warmth from her eyes continued like an elegant waterfall.

The older lady held her chin high. Her eyes were wild, like the colours of the sky as it began to fill with the dying embers of the day. Her crisp white shirt gave her a polished and professional appearance, at odds with the natural beauty of the surrounds. Those who knew her could see the signs of the immense stress of the situation, but a lifetime of caring for others facing similar circumstances kicked her actions into auto-pilot, and she smiled through the pain.

A small group was gathered on the wooden jetty over the lake, as if witnessing some sort of ritual, a rite. The wind blew stronger, and as it gusted, the sounds of birds filled the air – chorusing the fading sun.

The girl with the box reached the end of the jetty, and took off her thick winter stockings. Despite the cold, she lowered herself down the steel ladder into the black briney water, the colour of deep space and equally mysterious. They were only a few meters from shore, and from this vantage could see right across the bay to the other side of the lake, where tiny houses began to turn on lights in their even smaller windows. Surely it would take all day to swim that far, and at least an hour’s sailing?

“Ahhh it’s freezing!” the girl said, her cheeks ruddy in the wind.
“How are we going to do this? Does someone want to pass them to me?” she said, gesturing toward the paper boats in the box, while holding on to the steel ladder with the other hand so that she wouldn’t fall in the water. Her question gave away the spontaneous nature of the event.

“I’ll pass them to you,” said the older lady. The blonde girl was standing with her arms wrapped around herself in a hug. On the shore, the last glowing warmth hit the land, highlighting the bare Jacaranda tree and the verandah. “This is exactly what he would have wanted,” the girl on the ladder said, taking the first boat in her hand, and holding the eyes of the older woman, who looked like her mother, so striking was the resemblance.”Yes, I think he would have liked this,” she replied, smiling and frowning at the same time.

The boat traveled through the air to the water, where it sat high up on the surface, bobbing expectantly. The girl gave it a little push, and it began to sail, solo, into an unknown future. Soon it was joined by another, then another. A line formed when a fourth entered the water, and the second boat tipped on its side but continued to float. They spread out, forced by unseen currents and eddies.

“They might end up in the channel and go right out to sea!” said the mother-woman wistfully. “That would be nice,” she added, passing another boat carefully. “Yep, they might. Who knows where they’ll end up? Some might cruise to the island and make a landing there, only to sail again with the next tide,” said the girl as she prodded the paper boat in her hands forward.

One after another, the fleet set sail. “What are we up to now?” said the girl, eyeing the box contents. “Well, there’s only 5 to go. So we’ve sailed 50. That’s most of his life,” she said. “Here you go. We could say this one is his early years, just going off to school, or it could be the last few years we spent together, the holidays to the islands, or out fishing, depending on which way you look at it” she said, pausing to gaze out toward the middle of the lake, and biting her lip as if trying to concentrate very hard, or to remain stoic.

“Last one,” she said, passing a white boat into the hands of the girl. “I guess this one’s both birth and death. Happiness and sadness. Joy and grief. The full circle,” she placed the glossy paper boat in the girl’s hand. The girl spun on the ladder and sent it sailing, salty tears running off her nose as she leaned forwards, joining the huge pool of tears they’d already cried, as big as a lake and as deep.

“We love you Dad,” she mouthed, wiping her nose with her skirt, and watching as a seagull swooped down to inspect one of their creations.

The jetty fell silent, entranced, watching as the boats floated away. “It’s hard to believe that a year’s already passed,” someone said, words blowing on the wind, scattering over the waves through the huge blue expanse.

**************************************************

I challenged Jen O with “Listen to your heart: You are standing outside a room but can clearly hear what is happening within. You cannot enter the room”.