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Tay Vigil

This was a recent entry for a spoken word competition through Shortbread  it wasn’t successful as it was considered too quiet for the actual show but I had a complimentary comment and thought that I would share it.

The Tay Bridge was the scene of a railway disaster and the Tentsmuir Forest is an area of natural beauty.  I tried with this piece to marry the peace and beauty with the memory of horror and disaster

The Tay Bridge Disaster

Tentsmuir Forest

Shortbread Competition

 

Tay Vigil 

The sand is warm, it isn’t often so, we are too far north, but today the soft beach puffs around my toes as I spin in a slow circle, hands outstretched, head thrown back.

The sky is a pale basin above me, wisps of white stretch and coil on the summer wind it’s one of those skies that you don’t believe in until you see it yourself.

Slowly, slowly I lower my head.  Creeping upwards now into my field of vision are the high tops of the pines, deep, deep green against the azure background.  I hear them singing to the sky, a sussuration on the edge of hearing, a beautiful sound, natural, organic and free.

Lower and lower, now I see the bent and tortured bulk of the weaker trees and gorse bushes leaning against remembered gales, collapse threatening, next time, next time.

Now my knees bend and crumple and I sit amongst the dunes.  The song of the trees is a gentle echo in the whisper of the grasses.  Listen to us, we can tell you of the sea, roaring and pounding before the winter wind, ah the wind. We can tell you of the birds and the fish and the peace and the fury.

I hope the seals will come, it is almost time and if luck is with me they will slide onto the beaches, dragging and pulling with flippers that are totally unsuited to the task and yet perform it well.  Yes, yes they are coming, I see them, dark humps amidst the coruscations.  Each time the thrill is the same, my breath is suspended by the wonder of it until dizziness reminds me that I need oxygen. Frozen in delight I watch them fill the beaches, the noise is unbelievable, wonderful and I allow my lids to close, the better to listen to my oceanic brothers as they snort and argue under the sun.  A blessing and a thrill.

Gulls and trees and whispering sands and the cough and snuffle of sea creatures.

Flopping back now I rest against the dune, yes my hair will be matted with sand, yes my clothes will rasp and chafe at my skin on the walk home but right now I want to be one with it, I want to sink down and be a part of the whole, the beach and the forest and the sea.  I remember as my body touches the earth, his hand in mine, his gentle lips and the heat of his body the last time we came and he told me of his love and hope for the future.  Now that he was working for the railway all was possible and we would be together forever, I can hear his voice now asking me to be his wife…

The sky is deepening, the blue is richer and the clouds have flown.  The gulls wheel and scream as they ready for the journey to the roosting places, for me the fear is starting.  I have to stay, my brain tells me to leave now, to go home and sit in the firelight and simply think of him but today is his birthday and so I will stay. Tonight I will stay until the light has gone, see I have brought a lamp, I mean to spend the night.

The air is cooler now and I need a woollen shawl around my shoulders, the shivering is only the change in air temperature, it is simply physical.  I can do this, it is summer, many months away from the dreadful anniversary in December.  I pray that there will be nothing tonight, that the world won’t remember the screech of metal, no creak of tortured girders or explosion of steam, tonight I won’t hear them as they plunge to their deaths in the greedy river.  Last year I heard them calling to me, crying in anguish as they were swept by the angry water and I fled in fear before the spectres but his memory has brought me back.  Love for him and duty forces me to sit in the cooling sand and bear witness.  Maybe after tonight I will see the bridge wreckage on my way home and I will know they are at peace, all of them, the forty-six we laid to rest and the others like him who were never brought away from the water.  If I can stay and listen to the sush of water against the sand, the trees and the reeds, if I can hold my nerve in the dark and face my fear and remember only his smile and his arms around me as he left for work that day maybe then I will know that they rest in peace, my lover and his friend the fireman and all the other passengers if I am brave enough to stay maybe I can see them safe home.

 

 

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Shortbread Summer’s Here Competition winner

http://www.shortbreadstories.co.uk/competitions/view/summers_here_writing_competition/#axzz2YHRHHlyY

The Summer’s Here writing competition was judged, as are many Shortbread competitions, by preliminary votes cast by site members and then a final judging by the site team.  This time the winner was a relative newcomer with a novel slant on the subject.  Though Steven says that he doesn’t normally write “happy” stories this one proves that if he decides to he surely can.

Oh yes and second place was me!!!! Just sayin’. 🙂  http://www.shortbreadstories.co.uk/story/view/pangkor/#axzz2YHRHHlyY

Join Shortbread to vote and to join in the competitions, it’s free and with over 15,000 readers and 4,000 short stories you will find people to communicate with who love reading and offering helpful feedback and more shorts than you can shake a stick at.

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The Grave has a new Cover

This is my beautiful new cover for The Grave – it should be live on Amazon in the next twelve hours.  Thank you Studioanjou

TheGrave_book_cover (1)

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This week’s FFF entry – it got the most votes!

The buzz word was “Cushions” and it was amazing to read the different interpretations.  If you like short shorts this is a great little competition that takes place every week on Authonomy.

This was my entry this week which, surprisingly won, though with this competition the winning is definitely secondary to taking part in order to exercise the writing muscles and the banter amongst the entrants which is always kind, supportive and good-natured.  

http://authonomy.com/forums/threads/111851/fff-may-3-2013/?pagenumber=1

Nana’s Cushions 

Marnie liked baby-sitting, no, she loved it, she adored the little ones they were truly the light of her life. Sandra was always so very grateful when she came to look after them. She really didn’t know what a delight it was for Marnie to come here to this lovely home and to spend time with Timmy and little Phoebe. 

She glanced around the neat living room, the babies were both asleep. Though she knew it would take something approaching an earthquake to disturb them she still walked softly and kept the radio turned low. There were magazines on the table and on the shelf beside the fireplace a collection of photograph albums. 

She leaned forward and dragged them out, laying them carefully on the carpet. The babies when they first joined the world, pink and wrinkled and surprisingly angry for such little beings. Perhaps they understood that once they left the womb, from that very moment they were part of something else, something wonderful of course but also cruel and dangerous and oft times difficult. She kissed a finger, laid it gently on the funny images and then put the books to one side. There was another one, the white one with entwined, gold rings embossed on the front. Sandra and Paul’s wedding album. She laid the heavy book across her knees. There was Sandra, absolutely stunning, her long hair twined with flowers the glittering dress falling in heavy folds to the floor, the bouquets, the top hats, sunshine and happy smiles.

There she was, hiding behind Bill, well as much as she could, and there almost lost behind a pillar and there with little Jenny sitting on her knee. They had laughed when the photographs had first come back from the photographers. “Oh Mum”, Sandra had pointed to the proofs laid out on the table. “There isn’t one of them where you’re not behind someone or squashed up in the background. I don’t know why you spent all that money on your lovely outfit and then we don’t get one good look at it”.

She had smiled and shrugged her heavy shoulders. They didn’t know, none of them knew did they. She had been a dumpy child, a heavy teen and always a fat adult. Bill would laugh at her worries, I love you Marnie, I love all of you and he would squeeze her love handles and bury his head in her ample bosom. She said she didn’t mind, told them it was just the way she was and anyway she wouldn’t want to be a stick insect.

Oh but she did, she did want to be thin, she had tried, starvation diets, pills, fads, Weightwatchers, all in secret all with a sense of shame but it never did any good. No matter how hard she tried she had never been able to shed more than a few pounds and then that had gone straight back on, Christmas, holidays, worry, happiness any darned thing would lead her to food, to too much food.

She pushed the book to one side; she couldn’t bear to look at it any more. Paul’s mother had looked so elegant, the bridesmaids so glamorous and Sandra like a fairy. Great tears plopped down her cheeks, “Look at me, just look at me” she murmured. A double chin, a big bust, generous arms, bulging out of her sleeves. Folds and furrows, ridges and pads. “Fat, fat, fat”. she muttered. It was too late, she would never be what she wanted to be, she would never manage to be lovely, to be slender. She sighed and closed her eyes, moments later she was jolted from her wallow of self-pity by a dreadful scream from the bedroom. Little Phoebe yelling from behind the safety gate. “Nana, Nana”. She leapt to her feet and scuttled up the stairs all the time cooing and calling out. “It’s alright darling Nana’s coming, you’re alright Marnie’s here.” There she stood her little face red and tear stained, holding out her tiny finger.

“Nana, my pinga.” There was only a tiny mark on the tender flesh and a quick glance around told the tale of wooden box and a trapped hand. No real harm but shock and tiny pain made great by fear.

Marnie flopped onto the carpet and gathered the little girl to her, wrapped her in love and rocked her crooning and stroking and kissing.

The child looked up, great tears wobbling on her lower lids and she smiled. “I love you Nana, I love your cushions, your cushions are like big clouds they make me feel better.” And with that she snuggled into the ample flesh, popped a finger into her mouth and hiccupping quietly she drifted back to sleep. Marnie sat there in the dark nursery, rocking the precious little being, holding her gently to her cushions and she smiled and she knew, she would never be slim, never be glamorous but her family loved her as she was and if her cushions made this little girl feel better then maybe they weren’t so bad after all.

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

The “competition” is announced on Thursday and runs until Monday and for bits of Flash Fiction, funny, dramatic or yes at times just plain odd it’s worth a look.

 

 

 

 

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Research and Development

Stephanie loves her life, she has engineered it and built it to be what she has always wanted and she simply loves it.

Years before Mum had stood and gazed at her daughter in surprise and wonder, “Oh Stephie you always look so lovely and smell so nice, I don’t know where you learnt it all.” She couldn’t understand how this girl born and reared in what could only be called slums turned out looking a million dollars, presenting herself so well and always knowing what to say and how to behave.

Mum didn’t know about the hours and hours of reading, research and secret practice in the tiny bedroom.  The correct way to sit, the proper way to get in and out of a car.  Which cutlery to use, how to eat asparagus tips, when one could or couldn’t eat with one’s fingers.

Stephanie practised her speech in secret too.  She knew that if her friends and family heard the way that she wanted to sound they would mock her.  Up her own bum, they would say.  Ideas above her station they would accuse. It wasn’t that she thought she was above them, well not much really.  As she witnessed through the television and magazines a life that was so much grander, more luxurious, dignified and elegant than that which was her lot deep in her soul she ached for it.

She bought tapes about elocution and etiquette.  She learned how to conduct herself in public and then, when she left school and took “a position” as her Mum loved to call it as a receptionist in the Grand Hotel she could watch the rich and the privileged.  The whole world was her classroom, her working day a continual lesson and she applied herself with single-minded determination.

The hours and hours of self improvement paid off. She had a senior job now with the Hotel Chain, a beautiful apartment looking out over the town centre and wardrobes full of designer gear.  Jimmy Choo’s sat in silent glory under her Vivienne Westwoods and her Gucci bags jostled for space with her Louis Vuitton.

The only down side was that it all came at great financial cost.  The jobs which had been so very valuable from an educational point of view had paid little more than the minimum wage.  As the posts became more senior the clothes and lifestyle that were de rigueur in the world which she had made her own cost an arm and a leg.

The plastic was great of course and it seemed that all one had to do was fill in the forms and another gold card found a place in the soft leather wallet, another platinum account leaked money into the tills of Harrods and Harvey Nichols.  It was all okay because of course it was only a question of time before she found “the man” the rich, handsome, generous male who was going to take all the financial worry away.

There was no question in Stephanie’s mind that it would happen, look around – these women leaning on the arms of bankers and movie producers were no better than she was.  For goodness sake some of them were even dressed in chain store jeans, why she saw one girl wearing what was unmistakably an M & S jacket.  She was the daughter of a local property magnate and so possibly she was doing it to make a point, but still.

Mr Powers wasn’t exactly what she had in mind, he was short and balding and his teeth, well she didn’t actually like thinking about his teeth.  With all his money you would think that he could have something done.  He liked Stephanie though right from their first meeting when he came to organise a Party for his sister.

“Money no object.” he insisted, “the best, just everything the best for my lovely Jane.” And so it was Magnums of Krug, Almas Caviar, Chateau bottled rare, vintage wines, it was the stuff that Stephanie’s dreams were made of.

They spent hours together discussing the party.  Which film star would be best seated next to which formula one driver.  What would be the very best order for the parade of presents.  These would come one after the other borne aloft by waiters dressed as Egyptian slaves, an extravaganza of luxurious display an over the top flaunting of filthy lucre, bliss absolute bliss.

As the costs climbed higher Mr Power didn’t flinch.  He wrote cheque after cheque all of which zoomed through the system at Coutts the money tinkling happily into the coffers of the Hotel Chain.  The more money that flowed into Head Office the less Mr Power’s teeth bothered Stephanie, the more extravagant the plans for the party became the less his lack of inches seemed to matter.  Of course the inevitable happened and he asked her if she would please do him the honour of attending as she had been such a help.  By now Stephanie had turned him into if not a god at least a not bad looking, old, balding, short guy with poor dental work.

Whirlwind, that was the only way to describe the romance.  True to herself Stephanie had kept quiet about all the research.  Jim, (unfortunate name really – a bit lower class but he just wouldn’t answer to James) Jim liked horse racing and so Stephanie did a crash course in the history and background to the sport of kings.  He often visited France, how fortunate that Stephanie had studied France for her dissertation.  Well she would certainly have done had she ever attended Cambridge and of course wishing to so very badly was only a step away from actually doing it.

The wedding, ah the wedding.  It was a shame that none of Stephanie’s family had been able to make it but then again it was difficult for them to afford the air fare to Belize.  Jim would have paid for them all if only Stephanie had remembered to tell them.  Not to worry they wouldn’t have liked the food and Mum could never put up with heat.  Stephanie did pay her a flying visit the week before with a picture of the dress and a promise to come back later after the honeymoon – yeah like that was going to happen.

So here she is, she loves her life.  Unfortunately she doesn’t love Mr Powers.  She loves the way that he has swept aside all her debts with hardly a glance.  She is charmed by the way that he insists that it is far better that she have accounts at the shops in Mayfair so she doesn’t have to risk walking around with too much money.  She really, really loves the pretty red Porsche but no unfortunately she doesn’t love Mr Powers.

Well Stephanie is nothing if not thorough; see her now burning the midnight oil.  Well the other option is the fat, little old guys groping hands eurgh.  This research doesn’t do itself now does it and there is so much of it relating to the very best and safest way to dispose of a person and it all must be done with taste and elegance of course.

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Hey I won!!

I put a little story in for the Shortbread Stories Valentine’s competition and for some reason didn’t get the email that would have told me that I won!!  How lovely though to have notes of congratulations as the notification.  

The Hunter 

Bobby is hiding in the bushes, he knows he shouldn’t. He is breathless with nerves, he’s never done this on his own before. His palms are sweating and his knees jiggle up and down like mice in a sports sock. If he is seen it’ll all be over for him, the older boys, the almost men, will laugh at him, ridicule him, why does he think he can do this? him, the little squirt.

Maybe he should change his mind, go home, he can put this off now, it’s too dangerous, the risk is enormous.

Tears of nervousness start to his eyes and his belly rumbles with fear. Why, why is he doing this? With his luck he can bet that it’s all going to go horribly wrong.

What time is it? he tries to judge but the sky is overcast, silver grey clouds hiding the sun and denying him any guidance. Now he can hear someone coming. His throat dries and his fingers pluck at his cuffs.

He picks up his weapon, carefully. It’s nearly time. His throat is clogged with a great lump, he swallows and draws in a shuddering breath. Between the twigs and leaves he can see figures now coming towards him, is it time? Yes, it’s time. He steels himself, draws his knees up and tenses his feet ready to pounce. The quarry is nearer, he can see her, the group splits the way he knew it would, now the bulk of the herd heading down the wider path leaving just one female, this is the one he wants. Now, now, he takes a breath, grabs his weapon and leaps from his hiding place.

She startles, leaps back with a shrill cry, “Shit Bobby what the hell are you doing?”

“I got this for you, it’s flowers, happy Valentine’s Day.” He runs, legs pumping, glancing back once, twice, Lydia stands open-mouthed on the path staring after him clutching the bunch of wilting roses. As he takes the corner and almost slips on the wet grass she raises a hand, waves and blows a kiss.

Bobby is in heaven.

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FFF winner

I was thrilled to win this week’s Flash Fiction Friday competition.  We do this every week on Authonomy, the challenge is to submit a story of less than 1000 words, sometimes there is a theme, sometimes it’s a free for all.  This week the theme was “expectation”.  I had been having a silly back and forth conversation on one of the other threads and this led me to the following story.  although it is a little sad I believe that there is a nub of beauty in there as well.  Thanks for the Flashers who voted for me.

 

Bye Bye Blackbird

Its half past now, I think I’ve done everything. I tidied round, silly yes but, well that’s me. John always used to say, when we were going on holiday, “Why are you dusting? Are you making it clean for the burglars?” But when we came home and it was all tidy I knew it had been worth it.

Of course there’s no coming back this time is there. Hm, my tummy does back flips when I think of it. Strange, when I made the appointment, called the number last week I was very, very calm almost dead inside. Well I think I was, numb at least. It was the day after the funeral and I couldn’t feel anything, a grey plastic film over everything. It’s still there now, but I focused on today and this and it has helped, it really has.

I didn’t think it would be like this. We had a pact you see, John and me, we agreed years ago. When the time came we would get some pills, pour some champagne. Have some lovely music and candlelight. We had it planned so well, we would eat as well as we were able, and then when we were ready go off together, with the sunset and the blackbird singing. John had even found out what pills were best and where to get them.

We thought there would be time, possibly some illness yes but time to prepare, we never thought it would be like this.

When the police came to the door, no, no, I can’t talk about it. People have said it will fade with time, I will accept and learn to handle it but I don’t want to you see, I just don’t want to. I know, oh yes I do know it’s selfish of me but I don’t care, for once in my life I don’t care.

I never would have thought there would be people willing to do this, it’s very brave of them. When I Googled it, “suicide assistance”, I never thought for a moment there would be so many. It’s a strange and awful world in some ways but just for me now a blessing.

I’ve tidied round, I’ve taken the cat to Mrs Barraclough, she said she understood and that if I ever wanted her back to just say but I know that she’ll be happy. I’ve done a note for James, I hope he won’t hate me for this. I’ve tried to explain but he looked so bereft the other day, so much sorrow and I hate to add to it but he has his life, the children, he’ll be okay. I hope he’ll forgive me.

I’ve changed the bed, and done the laundry, I didn’t want to leave dirty linen in the basket. Mind you I’m not going to be in bed, I want it to be here, in the living room looking out on the garden, I want it to be where we were happiest. Oh don’t misunderstand, we had fun in the bedroom, hehe, oh yes, even in the last few years but the living room was where we talked and planned and were together in the lovely evenings. Just the two of us, close and calm just the way it should be. I want to sit here and watch the sun go down on the garden and go down with it.

The woman said she’d come at seven, just before sunset, she understood, about the garden and the blackbird song and drifting away with the day. It’s ten to seven, the money is on the table, and the glass of wine. I’m nervous, of course I am but a bit excited too, is that strange? No, no not strange at all. It’s as if John just went on ahead and now I’m going to meet him.

There’s a car drawing up now, there’s a clause, you sign a second paper, saying that no matter what you won’t back out. I understand that as well but it was a bit profound signing that.

Oh there she is, she’s quite young, pretty. Used to be a nurse according to the site. Eeh my knees are knocking. Still here we go, let’s get on with it. I am looking forward to seeing John again, it’s only been a few days but it’s been lonely doing this on my own. Still soon be back together.

“Oh hello, dear, hello. Come on in, just in time, there’s the blackbird now just starting to sing.”

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Festive Friday competition at Shortbread Stories

Voting closes tomorrow for the Festive Friday Competition at Shortbread.  My little piece was delayed and could do with some support, if of course you like it and feel it deserves, there is a mixed bag of stories from a modern Santa trying out a sat nav to the very traditional.

Have a little look why don’t you:-

Shortbread Stories – The Eve

 

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The Shelter – An honourable mention.

I recently entered a Flash Fiction Competition at Tenebris Books.  I was very pleased to have received an honourable mention and this short is now on their blog

 

http://www.tenebrisbooks.com/2012/11/13/the-shelter/

 

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Halloween competition

My Halloween entry was runner-up which was lovely and thanks for the votes 🙂 The other one didn’t do quite so well.  As a consolation to it I am going to pop it on here.

Dark Magic

Sparkling splinters of light floated free, the room was bejewelled and made magic, mist formed and spiralled as the tall, black clad woman strode forward. She glanced behind her, the veils and draperies of her outfit moved and glittered, dark sequins capturing the enchanted light, absorbing and subsuming it into her very being. The door was closed the drapes were drawn. She approached the mirror.

“Spirit, spirit, speak to me. I demand you present yourself.”

A deep glow formed at the centre of the glass, it pulsed and spun, a vortex of blood. A low humming throbbed in the silence growing in intensity until it filled the night.

“Show me spirit, show me where she lies.”

A scene formed, dark and misty. The woods, trees dripping with rain, wet grass gleaming in the moonlight. The scene shifted and changed, a tiny house, well-kept, a wooden gate guarding the swept path, mowed lawns and rose bushes, the dark blossoms black blooms in the night the white ones tiny nodding torches under the moon. Polished windows were curtained, flickering light gave small illumination behind the fabric and an owl blinked on the chimney pot.

Yet again the picture reformed, became the inside of the cottage, a small warm living room, floral wallpaper, bright rugs, shining brasses, and there in the middle of the room, surrounded by blooms and candles a glass casket. Seven small figures, huddled beside the bier, grief and despair rounding their shoulders, lowering the bearded heads. Seven hearts breaking and seven good beings asking why.

“Spirit, is she dead. Tell me, is she truly dead?”

The picture in the glass faded, the light changed, golden beams flooded outward, glittering mist whirled and twisted in the air.

“She is dead then?” The woman could read the messages from the mirror as if they had been spoken aloud, the change in colour, the mist, the shades in the magic glass were as clear to her as any of the ancient writings in her grimoires and so she smiled and turned away.

Deep in the woods a lone rider ducked beneath low hanging branches, his dark horse moving smoothly along the sodden path. He tugged at his hat pulling it closer, deeper over the dark brow, it was cold and wet, it was almost midnight, it was almost time. He felt the thrill shoot through him. Many years he had waited for this night, he had known it would come but it had taken many lifetimes, now it was here and his cold heart fluttered with excitement. She was waiting for him, there was but one more mile to travel and then she would be his.

Back at the castle the dark queen could find no rest. How could this be, the spirit of the glass had shown her, had told her, the girl was dead, lying in the cottage, those stupid woodland creatures weeping and wailing around her, it was over and again she reigned supreme, the most beautiful, the most powerful, the most feared, why then did she feel uneasy.

At first she had not recognised it for what it was, so long it had been since she had experienced the emotion and now it grew, her stomach clenched and soured, her heart quivered and her hands shook. She had taken the scrying bowl from the shelf and gazed into the liquid depths, all that she had seen was the reflection of her own eyes and the vague and rippling picture of the girl in her glass cocoon, surrounded by flowers, golden hair cascading around pale shoulders, the quiet eyelids closed and locked in death.

She had questioned the cards, they told her nothing, the crystal ball held its own council. Still she felt the fear, a formidable creature writhing at the centre of her soul. With a great cry she hurled the goblet of wine across the room to shatter against the old stones. What was wrong, why was she afraid?

The little gate rattled as it swung back against the hinges, startling the grieving party. They turned to one another, heads shaking, eyes puzzled. Who would travel on this dreadful night, who would disturb their misery. Thunder sounded on the door. Petulous reached for the rifle hanging above the fireplace, Jovialous hefted the club as Timorous held a taper to the lantern.

The door cracked open.

“Who is there, who knocks on such a night?”

“A traveller, lost in the rain. Please could you help me, my horse is in need of water and I seeking directions?”
“Tis a bad night traveller, move onward, the village is but a half mile further on, leave us we have troubles aplenty this night.”

“But sir, would you refuse my horse, I have ridden hard, just a pail of water from your well, surely you won’t refuse a dumb animal. I am sorry if you have troubles but ‘tis a foul and evil night, will you not help a pilgrim.”

The gathered mourners glanced at each other, decency and tradition dictated their actions and Petulous pulled open the heavy door.

“Sire, you find a house in mourning, forgive us our reticence. There is water in the trough your horse is welcome to drink.”

“And me sir, will you not offer me a glass of porter to warm me this cold night.”

“Of course, of course. Please step inside, but Sire, we crave your indulgence, we are holding vigil. Please forgive us if we ask that you sit in the kitchen, some bread and cheese perhaps and ale, we have no wine, it has soured.”

The dripping figure stepped over the innocent threshold and there he beheld her. She was more beautiful than he had dared to hope, more glorious in death than anything he could have imagined, he was spell-bound as he stepped across the flagstones to kneel in wonder beside the coffin.

In the castle the Black Queen railed at the mirror.

“Spirit I demand you show me, show me!”

No light spiralled, no glittering shards sparkled, the glass was dead, the spirit departed, the magic flown.

As he lifted the great lid the petrified dwarfs could only watch, he had taken their ability to move, had made their muscles ignorant of the messages from their brains. In kindness he let them live, had they not delivered his heart’s desire. He leaned forward, took hold of her hand, ice-cold and lifeless, he swept the hair from where it lay across the white throat and his great fangs pierced the virgin skin.

As her eyelids flickered and the small stains formed on her neck the princess smiled into the deep black eyes of her prince, he helped her from her resting place. She glanced around at the immobilised figures of her friends and spared one small tear for their generous spirits and then she ran with her beau out to the great black stallion where it pawed and fretted in the rain, eyes wild, great nostrils flaring. He leapt to the saddle pulling her up to sit before him.

“To the castle, to the castle and my stepmother.”

The night screamed its fury as lightning struck the tower, the glass shattered and the dark queen turned to face her destiny.

 

 

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