Tag Archives: story

THE IRON PENDULUM – EXCERPT

“Are you comfortable? Yes? Good!”

Shuffling papers. The smell of incense burning somewhere in the recesses of the dimly lit room and cigarette smoke cloaked by mint gum.

“How are you today Julia?”

“Fine.”

“Just fine? Could you elaborate a bit more for me?”

“Really fine!”

A heavy pause whilst pen scribbles across the pad in a frenzy of illegible scribbles. The annoying smoker’s cough blowing warm air my way. My nostrils flare from the unwelcome attack.

“Do you remember what we discussed last week?”

“You mean not telling my parents about you touching me?” I grin. The papers shuffle aggressively and another whiff of cigarette breathe blew my way.

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Ken the Fireman

Now for those of you who follow my blog quite regularly, you might recall I once wrote about Ken of the Sealed Knot. It was a chance meeting; a gas man coming to fix my boiler and after a cup of tea and chat, I discovered his amazing life story.

Well, guess what? I have met another Ken! This time, he’s an ex-fireman. Here’s how we met… Continue reading

Masquerade III

Alore drifted with elitist elegance, her long neck bowing in acknowledgment of the guests we passed at the Ball. Their gasps did not go unnoticed and she paused, waiting for me to draw closer before whispering, “Why are they staring so? Is it the amulet that draws their attention?”

I nodded, smiling at the awkward glances of the older guests who obviously knew my bloodline. Dre’gons descended from their fire breathing ancestors with a mixed history of bloodshed and hatred. My ancestors were known for their unflinching cruelty towards other realms and the amulet had been used to wipe out usurpers daring to contradict the Dre’gon rule. The less than amorous stares were from the families who had tasted our wrath and I watched their anger at my presence. Alore was too young to know the history and her devotion to me would be lost in an instance if she knew the power I held over the amulet. The sooner we returned it to the keeper of the realm, the better.

A curly haired man approached us and welcomed us to the ball. We followed him as he led us through various rooms, accessing worlds so wonderful and sometimes dangerous as we tried to find the hostess keeping all in order. He introduced himself as James, a close friend of the keeper’s, and since she was busy pulling threads of destiny and time together to contain the various visitors, she had asked him to play co-host. My attention was drawn to a stunning woman dressed in a devils’s outfit with fiery red hair. She ran past us dropping her red leather mask on the floor. A sturdy gentleman followed suit and picked the mask up, holding it with passion as he placed it over his own face.

Suddenly, a shadow in a green cloak flittered past, sending shivers down my spine. I recognised the spectre and knew trouble would be brewing soon. We had to find the keeper.

——————–

I watched as Dre’gon’s attention waned from the she-devil to the green spectre. The amulet felt hot against my skin and I clutched it tight, feeling the burning imprint of its scaly dragon shape into my palm. Not much time was left at the Ball and soon all the worlds would return to their orders, far away in different lands. I had to act now.

“James, does the keeper know that we have the amulet of destiny?” I asked. He nodded slightly, taken aback as I showed him what lay in my hand. The amulet glowed, heat emanating from its tiny gems scattered across its scaly surface. A pulse of energy scoured through my body, throwing me against Dre’gon’s solid chest. He caught me to him, steadying my thin frame as the amulet pulsed again.

“We must find the keeper of the realms now!” growled Dre’gon. His shocking blue eyes glittered and little green flecks filtered through, turning clear blue to an almost Aqua. The gems on the amulet lit up, matching his eyes and the dragon shaped bracelet lifted into the air, escaping my desperate clawing hands and cries. The creatures in masks around us stopped to watch as the threads above us suddenly became visible and the amulet drew them together. Guests screamed in alarm, fighting to escape the ornately decorated room. Flashes of reds, greens, blues burst and crackled above everyones’ heads and screams drowned out my voice.

Lifting my arms up slowly, I used the power of the souls I had harvested to tether the threads. Cracks appeared in the wooden carvings framing doorways and windows and the earth shook. Dre’gon seemed to grow as the amulet drew out more power from the threads, his red hair spiking up as his feet levitated. I screamed for him to help me but all was in vain. Somehow he was linked to this amulet. Of course! The dragon! Fire! Wrath! My mind cried out as the childhood stories of horror and desolation flashed through. Dre’gon belonged to the warlord family that had slayed millions in order to keep their rule. I choked down the tears as my powers stuttered. The flashes were spiralling above us and James had run away with the rest of the guests. Only Dre’gon and I remained in a once beautiful room as we fought for the powers of the amulet.

——————————–

My focus had to remain on destroying the amulet. If Alore succeeded in stopping me then all would continue on forever. But how to tell her to cease this battle? How to let her know that only I could bring this all to an end and if she continued her attack, deaths would continue?
I felt her powers against me, but my soul was not as others. My soul was something she did not want to taste. I had to destroy the amulet and fight against her attack, both in order to save her.

“Lady Alore,” I heard James call out.
Her focus wavered. I put all my efforts into destruction. The final layer of metal melted away and the blood of ancestors flowed onto my skin. The explosion of light and wind was all engulfing.

Screams met my ears as I opened my eyes. The world was a different place. I no longer saw things in the hues as they were in reality. I looked down at the fear on their faces, the horror on that of Alore. The betrayal in her eyes.

“You beast!” She yelled at me. Her powers could not even touch my thickened hide.

“Stop!”

All those that had returned with James turned at the sound of the woman’s voice.

“Keeper,” said James. “Lord Dre’gon has betrayed the Lady Alore and attacked us. And now he has turned into that!”

“No.” The keeper’s voice was calm and the room went quiet. She walked towards me. “I have waited a long time for one of you to come and take back what you left here. Take back the pains, the agonies, the tears.”

“What do you mean?” Alore asked.

The keeper looked from my now red scaly hide to the beautiful lady that had been my love. “Only one of the Dre’gons could bring peace to this place. No longer is there a need for protection. A Dre’gon of pure heart had to make the sacrifice and take back the blood left here by his ancestors when the deaths were caused, and with that sacrifice he also has taken on the suffering of those dying moments inside of him, and will holds these excruciating agonies until he dies.”

Alore looked at me and calmly walked up to my now enormous body. “You knew, when I asked you to come here, what you would do. You saw the amulet. You knew you would sacrifice, be this. And you still came.” I felt her loving touch more painfully than all her power combined.

I stepped back from her. No more of this. It was now time to leave. To go where my kind lived. The keeper knew. She nodded as a giant doorway opened before me and allowed me through.

With one last look back, I saw Alore being held by the keeper.

Not every story has a happy ending. She lives, that is enough for me.

The End.

A Halloween story by Ronovan and Eloise

In case you missed the first and second instalments, please click on the links below.

Masquerade
Masquerade II

Picture from coolchaser.com

Masquerade

Fragrant scents of Jasmine overpowered the cool evening breeze, sending the heady perfume through the sinewed trunks of the ancient trees silently watching my fumbled footsteps in their forest home. My shoes were not made for the uneven ground and I stumbled yet again on an unseen root sticking out from the slick moss covered path.

At last, a glimmer of light twinkled in the distance. The forest held its breath as I weaved through to my final destination, Grandmother Tree. Her wide, gnarled trunk hid a secret passage to the other realms, an escape from the world I existed in everyday. The light grew brighter as I stumbled over yet another hidden root, nearly ripping the long cloak I wore to protect the soft silk gown draped over my cold skin in soft fluted layers, perfect for the Masquerade ball.

A twig snapped behind me and I stopped. Listen! Another crunch closer still, this time heavier steps accompanying the death of the twig. They were close. I drew the hood of my cloak over my head, covering my body with its blackness that matched the dark shadows of the forest. Muffled voices permeated the wall of trees as I pressed my body as close to Grandmother Tree’s large trunk as possible.

Maybe they were using the portal too. Maybe they just wanted to find their way out of this enchanted forest. Maybe they wanted to slice my throat and retrieve the amulet I wore on a long gold chain, nestled between the curve of my breasts, so that they could break through the realms.

Voices became more distinct; the deep resonance of an older man and the soft squeak of his young companion. A cold shiver slithered down my spine. It was Brogan and the vile Timmins – notorious thieves and murderers, willing to go to any lengths to break through the keeper of the realm’s woven tapestry of worlds. Destroyers of all things beautiful. My worst and most dangerous enemies!

“She must be here, somewhere,” growled Brogan. “I can hear her heart fluttering like a trapped butterfly.” He sniggered, breathing deep. “I can smell the fear like ripe fruit for the picking. Come on Timmins! She’s close.”

Timmins stumbled over an oak’s crafty root, swearing and kicking at the bark of the tree. He rubbed his thin bristly face with long crooked fingers. A tongue swept over blackened teeth as he grinned at his large burly partner.

“Can I play with her when we catch her? You promised Brogan. Let me have her once you get the amulet!”

The whiny voice set my teeth on edge and I hugged the shadows, daring not a breath to give away my hiding place. Thankfully the light had dimmed from the secret door, a slight glimmer as they approached Grandmother tree. The pleasant scent of the night flowers was replaced with a pungent odour of sweat, faeces and sulphur as they stomped past, barely notice the portal door. It hit me like a solid body of disgustingness and I could barely hold still without tearing up. Only the distant stars could escape the smell of these fiends. Their footsteps were swallowed into the night and the smell moved on, leaving the forest to release its breath and for me to collapse against my beloved tree. My chest heaved as I tried to catch my breath without retching.

Slowly, I crept towards the humble light of the portal door, gently moving the baby ferns growing out of the gnarled roots of the tree. The light grew stronger as I pushed the door open, squinting against the brightness. Warmth wrapped itself around my cold limbs and I carefully crept through the small door in the trunk. I had to deliver the amulet to the keeper of the realm before Brogan and his sadistic friend could catch me.

Suddenly a large hand grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back, ripping the cloak from my shoulders. Sharp pine cones and soft needles dug into my back as I landed with a hard thump against the cold earth. My last memory was of my head connecting with a tree trunk and a thin raspy voice cackling in delight…

Part II tomorrow

Raymond

He blew into the Care Home like a tornado on speed skates. Wild piercing blue eyes, ragged sunburnt skin and flowing white hair that refused to be styled in anything that didn’t suggest pirate, he pouted and shrugged off any help. His name was Raymond. Continue reading

Family time

School’s over and homework needs to be done. I’m busy in the kitchen whipping up a lasagne whilst listening to music on Jango and my six year incessantly asks how to spell words like “thrashing”, “claw”, “spiky”! He’s writing a story about a monster in a cave. I love his describing words and secretly watch him leaning on his arm, writing and talking to himself.
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Tap Tap Tap

Tap. Tap. Tap.

The sound reverberated through my alcohol soaked brain. Insistent and annoying, it couldn’t be ignored anymore. My brittle eyelashes exploded dried mascara across the white pillow cases reeking of cigarette smoke and alcohol dribble; probably mine.

A groan escapes my parched throat as a thousand drills set to work across synapses in my brain; the effort of sitting up drawing the chomping headache closer to a nauseous state as things drift in and out of focus. Brown duvet, the colour of dirty mud. Ugly retro furniture scattered across a minuscule bedroom suffocating from IKEA throwbacks that were as mismatched as my brain functions. Eww, was that the smell of vomit? I search around for my mobile and touch a warm body buried under the mud duvet. It moans and a burp escapes its neandatholic shape, accompanied by a hairy hand scratching a naked exposed butt cheek. Nausea was reaching a critical point as I tried to piece together the night before.
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Flash Friday – The Beginning of the End


Krak des Chevaliers/Qalat al-Hosn, Syria. CC photo by Jon Martin.

Today’s dragon’s bidding:
Include a marriage proposal!

Rules: Based on the photo prompt and including the Dragon’s bidding. Between 140 – 160 words. Enter your Flash fiction in the comments in the Flash! Fiction Blog, and add word count and twitter handle.

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

“Run!” I scream until hoarse. Retreating footsteps stamp through my waning consciousness. The room shows traces of life; neatly laid bed sheets, empty chairs and droplets of blood scattered like rose petals, just out of sight. My ragged breaths catch on dry air wafting through soft curtains. Eyes drift over the view. I came here to marry her, not watch us die…at the Krak des Chevaliers.

“Open it!” I squint, focusing on the memory of a small velvet box.
“Would you marry this punk?”

She nods, eyes dancing with excitement. Our kiss is soft…lingering. Diamonds sparkle in the hot Syrian sun.

I look down at my hand covered in blood. Screams outside draw my attention. Silhouettes dance across the hot stone. Rifle shots splinter, then silence.

Visions of holding hands, returning from dinner. Three men waiting. Hot fingers ripping us apart; terror screaming in my ears.

“I love you” stifled in solid stone walls, forever.

Word count = 157 words

Copyright held by Eloise De Sousa(2014). All Rights Reserved.

Find me on twitter: @mello_elo

Happy Wensfriesday!

I missed out on wishing everyone happy Wensfriesday on Wednesday! It’s a tradition I started with my family to break the long weeks during term time – a middle of the week Friday treat. So instead of them waiting all the way to the end of the week for a treat, they get one on Wednesday and we pretend our week is over!

I know it sounds ridiculous but don’t we all wish for shorter weeks and the weekends closer together? My kids have a gruelling schedule. Because we have one car at the moment, I spend most of my life on the road, fetching, dropping off, driving up and down the motorway to fetch the Hubble (husband) to and from work too. By the end of the day, we only get to settle down and enjoy dinner pretty late. For the younger members, they sometimes can’t last that long and end up falling asleep before dinner. No TV time or playtime, just travelling up and down in between homework runs and afternoon activities. So Wensfriesday was born.

On said middle of the week Friday, the kids get to choose a movie, have a special dinner and a Friday treat. The excited squeals I hear when they discover a chocolate or sweet waiting for them on their pillows makes it all worth it. For the Hubble (husband) he gets his choice of sweet too and a lovely big glass of wine to enjoy in front of the TV once the kids are tucked away in bed. Yes, if we wanted to we could do that every day, but making it a middle of the week event gives it a special feeling and makes us want to earn the privilege.

At the moment during the holidays, we are enjoying haphazard days of waking up late and going to sleep even later. As I type this the house is layered in the sweet mellow sounds of children sleeping peacefully. They will rise and meet the day probably later than ten, but that is their holiday and I think it’s great to get a chance to unwind. And it gives me time to catch up with you all and chat!

So, once the school term begins we shall resume our ritual. The Wensfriesday treat! Why not give it a try and see if you like having a special break mid-week? Remember it doesn’t stop you from having another treat on Friday; it just means you have two Fridays to look forward to in the week!

Happy Friday everyone!

Ebola … What Will You Do?

From the first reported outbreak of the virus in Zaire back in 1976, we have had information roughly every decade showing the migration of Ebola from Zaire to Sudan, pop ups here and there across Europe and the United States, but mainly countries on Africa’s west coast. The western world has watched with trepidation as the disease spread with fury through villages and towns, wiping out tribes, laying to waste families and health officials.

This year, I have paid particular attention to the speed with which Ebola has spread. From March 2014, the first detected case was reported in the South Eastern forested area of Guinea (the deaths had occurred in December 2013 but were only flagged in March 2014) . It spread with deadly purpose to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. As of the 18th of August 2014, the WHO (World Health Organisation) has reported a total of 2473 suspected cases and 1350 deaths. The organisation has declared a public health emergency of international concern, only used twice previously – in 2009 with the swine flu pandemic and 2014 with polio. The number of deaths now outnumber those from previous outbreaks combined; this is from 1976 to the present day!

What steps are we taking to fight the disease?

They have now granted permission for the administration of the drug Zmapp for Ebola patients in Liberia. This is the same drug that was given to the two Americans, Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who succumbed to the disease whilst in service with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia.

Our borders are locking down on travellers coming from West Africa and a few cases have hit the headlines, showing us how close Ebola has come to touching down in our own countries.

Could Zmapp be the cure we are looking for?

Being an untested drug (no human drug trials apart from the two doctors have taken place for this drug) we are not sure of long term consequences and side effects. Our focus is on curing as many people as possible. But what if one of the other drugs filtering through to Africa changes the disease, morphing it into something worse?

The pharma companies have been given the go-ahead to rush test cures for Ebola. What if something else much worse than this deadly disease is created in the process? Monitoring the drug in a controlled environment is hard enough, but out where supplies to hospitals are scarce and facilities do not have sufficient equipment to monitor results could lead to misrepresented results. Could the zombie movies we enjoy as entertainment become a living reality? Maybe too far fetched, but the consequences of using untested drugs in a panicked environment makes me nervous.

What would you do if you were given the order to immunise your children or yourselves against this new terror?

After the reaction of MMR, what happens to those who decide not to get immunised? Ebola is transferred through body fluids of the infected (alive or deceased). We have experienced the Norovirus in our schools and hospitals and have seen the devastating consequences of sickness spreading through a closed environment. But immunisation from drugs not given enough time to see the side effects makes me think twice. The doctors mentioned above might have recovered on their own; they are still not 100% sure if the Zmapp cured them. Maybe it would be better to wait? I don’t know. 40% of those infected at this moment are recovering according to certain media sites but that is no guarantee my child/children might be the lucky one/s. It’s a game of Russian roulette.

What if there isn’t enough to cure everyone?

Only a few doses of Zmapp have reached Liberia and Canada has delivered 800 – 1000 does of VSV-EBOV, their untested vaccine. If this succubus of death spreads across the world, won’t the commodity suddenly become a prized possession? At this moment, it’s not financially viable for the Pharma companies to produce a vaccine as the returns are not matched with the demand. The disease is concentrated in poor countries where charity organisations or western governments have to fund production and administration of the drug. Once this changes I can hear the coffers filling quickly for these companies to churn out anything resembling a cure. We will all be panic buying, raising the costs and reducing the availability. It’s human nature. Chaos and death caused by a deadly disease or careful administration and recording of who has received the drug. This is if they manage to create a drug that works before the disease spreads further.

The more I read about the decisions being made, the more I worry. We sit and wait for the inevitable bad news within our borders, concentrating on the horrors of war across the Middle East. But are we paying enough attention to the silent killer that is reaching its infectious fingers across oceans, countries, factions, religions and cultures? How do we stop something so aggressive and deadly in its tracks once it catches fire within our borders?

What will you do when it comes?

MAPfrom UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Published on 19 Aug 2014
Information obtained from CNN, Reliefweb, WHO, Wikipedia, CDC