The storm.

Thank you Wallace Peach for this amazing prompt.

February prompt

Any one who was … anyone knew about the storm and Dorothy. Time magazine, Mental health periodicals and well, they wrote a book and a film. But, in the Circus community, and burrowed beneath the grass lands. The story of Monica and her six Mousletts. Abandoned by a wayward Father; as they were. Then rescued by Humphrey the Hefferlump from the most atrocious storm; was mentioned, far and wide.

How although he was fierce and feared by all who encountered him; he gently shaded Monica and her Mouseletts until the storm past, and the snow settled. Then he sucked them all up his trunk, collected the wibberly wobberly house from the bough of the Acacia tree. Took them all to his watering hole. Where to his surprise … but no-one else’s, they all came to a watery end.

Humphrey, never was to be kind again. A rogue with the courage of a Lion and the heart of a Tin Man, who unfortunately was too stupid to know he was missing the intellect of even a scruffy scarecrow.

Sometimes the moral of the story is clear … once an old rogue Hefferlump always an old rogue Hefferlump.

The prompt picture is on loan with thanks from Pixaby and the Oz gif from giffy. Thank you also Esme Slabs for the sharing space Here!

“Was I too cruel … or not cruel enough?” Answers in the comments please I can’t wait to respond.🤣😂

Take Care Not to Become The Next Project Abandoned.#FridayFictioneers

If you would like to read more or join in please 🔜 click here

Thank you for the prompt photo below Ted Strutz.

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We holidayed, near Dijon; in Burgundy. In a Farmhouse with orchards a rambling landscape and numerous trees. After visiting Les Halles for picnic food and Burgundy. We strolled around the grounds; warming our souls in the suns rays. Idyllic and perfect. We came upon a car as if years earlier someone climbed out; never to return. An inspection revealed several old cars, one with a family of Door-mice living in the glove box. On our return, John asked.”Projects are they?” Waving behind himself. With a derisive snort, Pierre answered in a clear authoritative voice. “Projects sir * … Projects abandoned.”

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We holiday in beautiful sleepy slow places to chill and capture the moments we sometimes neglect. It refreshes the bond and reminds us how without thought or consideration we too could so easily become project abandoned. Thank you for reading do you think we all should consciously work at connecting with our relationships? Or is it snowflake mentality you’re married so get on with it? let me know in the comments I simply love to chat.

THREE CHAIRS AT A TABLE.

 

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Stan, my friend with the sad eyes and scarred hands walked in the park. His daughter beside him. She twirled around holding out her tiny arm which hooked her wicker basket. She danced until the flowers inside bobbed. If I had been closer I know I would have heard her giggle, seen her cheeks flush and eyes shine. I watched them from my window. He put out a protective arm to slow her while he mouthed words that I was never to hear. My fingers stroked the pretty net curtains as I watched the scene below; they flapped softly in the breeze as if to wave hello.

In preparation, I set the table with my most attractive linen smoothed the fabric with my hands and placed the crockery precisely. I stacked nibbles, dainty cakes and treats in the centre on a three-tiered stand. I remember being pleased with the appearance of my peony-filled jug.

Going back to the window I noticed the traffic, it was particularly heavy as it buzzed to and fro beneath me. I glanced in the direction of the park in time to see them. Dad stretching his torso as he stood up, he ran his ragged fingers through his hair, tugged at his tie and put a hand towards the child. Still swinging the basket she held on to his fingers and craned her neck; high enough to catch his eye. He stooped to speak, she nodded and though I couldn’t quite see … I am certain she smiled. Together hand in hand they walked towards the gate; it was a touching scene; one I won’t forget.

I recall a smile played about my lips and a delicate fluttering sat in my stomach as I made the last-minute checks. I placed a beaker of milk and two china cups and saucers on the table. The kitchen like the rest of my second-floor apartment; was neat and pretty. Since a child, I have favoured keeping everything … spick and span.

The breakfast table that I’d dressed in a gingham cloth, now had three chairs tucked tidily underneath. The staging gave the room a welcoming feel as if it had always had room for two more. I gave the room an involuntary nod of approval.

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It was then, as I was satisfied that my best was done. Right at that moment, I remember hearing a dull thud from outside. I had a hesitant thought making me stop for a second, but I rushed on to the bathroom to re-apply my lipstick. I turned my hand, glanced at my watch and thought … they should be here by now.

Agitated by both the tardiness of my visitors and the noise from the road I returned to the living room. My hand reached out and stroked the baby doll with trembling fingers. I was pleased with my choice; such a perfect gift. Looking down on confusion below … through the freshly cleaned glass. There were people and vehicles everywhere, shouting and crying. The squeal of a siren, a distant whining of an ambulance assaulted my ears. I backed away slowly dropping the doll to the floor, then turned to look at the table. A jagged sound was coming from my windpipe. I flinched as it startled me. The sound made my heart race and my stomach clench. Through lashes clouded with unshed tears, I thought … how nice three chairs at a table can look.

 

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This should be a link to me reading it … fingers crossed that it works.

P.S. the written word is a revisited story, one which has been tweaked, so it slightly differs from the audio.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7WJ-42kvYrWQ2RzRHgxUVFnRjNoOUlCNEE0TUlBTUZyWUVn/view?usp=drivesdk

If you are reading it or listening; I am very interested in your views. Which version did you prefer? leave me a comment as I simply love to talk, and will answer quick smart.

Acknowledgements:

peony photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash,

window Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash Roses photos by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash

What Is The Colour of Christmas Mummy?

Inside a tiny house, nestled in the suburbs of London. Emma looked up at her Mum. “Mummy the sunshine in my picture,” she said pointing to the drawing on the fridge door. “It is sunshine colour, isn’t it? The grass, with Daddy and Mummy, it is grass colour… isn’t it?” A frown shaped her face as she waited for an answer.”That Orange” Emma poked the pencil into the paper, “It Is an orange Orange isn’t it.” Emma’s neck was stretched to its full length, her lips pursed and a chubby hand holding a colouring pencil was pointed at her drawing. Mary dropped to her knees beside her daughter. Intently, she looked into her eyes and explained about colour and how a few had the same name as the things she drew; like Orange and lemon. Emma and her Mother drew and labelled a colour chart, while her little brother straddled Mary’s hip. They learned the colours of the clothes in the laundry bag and the cushions on the sofa; though Emma’s wings threw in some confusion. During the day they sang songs and told stories, together glued tissue paper rainbows to add to the already crowded fridge door. Mary and Joe Carpenter, went to bed that night almost as tired as the children. They were both happy, knowing that tomorrow would be Christmas. The anticipation of the excitement on their children’s faces, the reactions to the parcels beneath the tree. Though not many, each one had been chosen with love, and need in mind.

On Christmas morning Emma skipped into the Kitchen. “What colour is today mummy?” Mary lifted her head, wearing a huge smile. Her eyes crinkled as they met that face. Her five-year-old was clutching pencils and pursing her lips. Her hair knotted from sleep; her giraffe under her arm. Mary’s pride shone from her face, as she wiped her forehead with the back of her flour encrusted hand and bent to her daughter’s height. “What colour do you think it is?” Emma screwed her brow and as if contemplating the world and left the room.

Within the hour Mary had worked her magic, children clean, fed and playing nicely. Food cooking nicely and preparation almost complete. Mary wriggled and hummed to the music on the radio as she cut the last sausage roll. She wiped her hands on the tea towel stuck in her waistband. Throughout the house, the air was thick with the scent of pastry and cinnamon and the sounds of happiness. The little girl’s question forgot; in the excitement of the day.

Tom crawled up the hall chasing his new train blowing spit bubbles; giggling as he went.
Dad burst through the front door stamped his feet and brushed a light dusting of snow from his hair. Joe’s nose was red and he rubbed his hands briskly to warm them.”Kisses” he called as he smacked his lips and waved mistletoe above his head.”Kisses I want kisses” he roared. Emma and Tom rushed to be lifted in a sloppy lip smacking embrace.
There were lanterns, twinkling lights and paper decorations dangling from every space in the little house. Carols rang out from the kitchen radio and sparks snapped against the guard on their open fire. It looked a perfect Christmas to him.
Dropping everything Mary ran to join Joe for a kiss; Singing as she went. Flour covered kisses ended in chuckling and tickles. With all four sat breathlessly on the floor. Emma looked up into her Mothers eyes and quietly said
” I think the colour is Christmas mummy.”

This is a story I wrote a while ago, I have revamped, extended it, and wearing its very best party frock I have brought it back. I hope you like it, and it gives you everything you need; putting you firmly in the seasonal mood.

During the weirdness of 2020 when the world went a little bit mad, I joined the Theatre for my first ever virtual workshop. With guidance of our creative director, actor and teacher Lynn Whitehead We wrote scripts and radio plays.

Some of us narrated, some were characters and others of us wrote. All of us worked as a team. We made soundbooths under duvets, in wardrobes, or padded dens. Tim our ( on loan) sound magician, stitched and spliced the recorded voices, added the backing tracks and effects. He worked on it for days to transform our groups efforts into a complete piece.

The writing, producing, directing etc, all happened in different places. Not once did we leave our homes or meet in person.

We fulfilled the remit set to deliver a 45 min recording for people to listen to over the Christmas period. To finish with a collection, something for everyone, and let people see the Theatre still came alive, despite 2020s pandemic.

A group of tales linked in a framework that visitors to the Theatre website, and the local radio could log on and listen to. This story became one of the tales we turned into a dramatized piece.

Merry Christmas to you all, followers, friends and visiting readers. Supporters of the arts.

Do leave me a comment I love to chat.

Suggestions and Stonking Good Stocking Gifts Inside.

Dark visions horror anthology Buy Here

I won’t lie, I may be biased slightly … because I have a flash fiction in this book. But, and the but is huge; I am very proud to be part of this Anthology. Stuffed full of stories; some you can read in a snatch, others that fill a lunch break. All will fill your thirst for the weird, the creepy and the scares. Ask your local shop to get this best-selling horror anthology in stock. Order it from the library or purchase it from Amazon. Either way, you won’t regret giving, reading or receiving this gem. Twenty-seven Authors and 34 stories to stir and startle your imagination. Ideal for the unique individual in your life. The quirky shopper that wants to be the best present giver. The toilet reader. Ideal for the Allotment snuggler; sat in solace in the shed. For the wise man (maybe three of them)😃😂 escaping the world with this book before bed.

NEWS FLASH! any moment now this book will be available in audio I will pop a link here as soon as it is live.

My next choice is this. A fantastic little piece of kit that will thrill any guitar playing person. It has to be a must for a stocking I am filling.

https://drummondandhammett.com/product/accessories/trans-amp/

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A great place for a special gift Drummond and Hammett make some amazingly unique items; the whiskey tumblers above are only one of many hand-made items on offer.

RIGHT HERE

This Gift stop is for …

All writers and readers

or library feeders,

sketchers and scribblers

and stationary givers,

drawers and doodlers

Fiddlers and stencilers,

And collectors

Or pencilers.

A small niche company in Ireland who makes exquisit gifts one of my favorites are her hand rolled pencils Press Here to find my favorites.

Next is a doozy of a gift.

Geoff LePard’s Book

Apprenticed To My Mother

Buy Here
Geoff painted a clear picture documenting the lives of his Mother and family. Her quirks and idiosyncratic ways are brought to life with carefully chosen words. His words have you standing in the corner of the kitchen; watching her show her boys how to cook. The story is punctuated with his father’s extraordinary poetry; received by his wife throughout their lives. It paints a picture of a time past and fortitude shown. It has laugh out loud moments like the comments she made and the diplomacy she fooled you into believing she used. A cracking good tale one well worth reading. Told beautifully by a loving son, and a damned good storyteller.

The cushion in my photo is a fluke, but Geoff mentions his Mothers dabble with Beekeeping so I thought it apt in the circumstances. The cushion is mine purchased from Dunelm. A super stocking filler, even those surgical stocking wearers who we can never quite please … will wipe a tear and cast a smile at the strength and the love in this book. Three generations of my family have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. This book will Grace many a comfy seat, accompanied by a slice of perfectly baked lemon drizzle cake.

My final gift idea is time.

It doesn’t have a price-tag because it is priceless.

Offer time, Pick a date and time; time to sit, and listen. Share a cuppa with someone who is alone, share a story or two.

I owe you two babysits written in the Christmas card. To give a young couple the time, to do as they wish; time for themselves.

An invitation to supper or breakfast, sharing food is rarely about eating. Sharing food is more about your caring; you cared enough to ask, to share your time.

What are your best gift Ideas and did you enjoy mine? I love to talk, leave me the gift of a comment.

There Is Power In A Name.

In 1000 words (by the end of each month) using the monthly prompt word. Write a short story, no more than 1000 words. To join in, read the entries and guidelines PRESS HERE. November’s random word is Educate.

Aland worked in artificial intelligence, Luna, two days a week for an Observatory; together they taught the children. They live in a self-sufficient home in the Fens. London was fifteen, Quacey twelve, Diana eleven, Amaris ten, Jaci seven, Candara five, Auberon and Neoma are the two-year-old twins.

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London’s raindrop alarm splashed his hair, with a clenched fist to hit the stop button. Last week he tried ignoring it, four drips in and a deluge of freezing water soaked him. He was not best pleased with hanging out bedclothes and remaking the bed; all before school. The schoolroom was down the back of the plot; both Aland and Luna planned the lessons, they had a nursery nurse Martha to help educate Jaci, Candra and the twins.

“Who calls their kid’s such stupid names?” Shouted London, as his fist pummelled the jute wrapped bale in the barn. “Even our bales suck.” He punched hard into the rough cloth. ” Clean this dig that,” punch swipe, his hands were hot and speckled with droplets of blood, fibres clung to the wet grazes. London pulled his forearm across his face and sniffed hard. His brows creased and mouth screwed as he looked out of the hayloft door. From his position he could see Luna, teaching Quacey Diana and Amaris about pond ecosystems; besides the duck pond. Fishing chairs and nets lay with buckets, paper and pencils; cluttering a trestle table. Dad was doing something disgusting in the reedbed across the far side. He should be revising for his exam at the college next week, instead, here he stood, sulkily watching, keeping out-of-the-way. “I won’t stand a chance, the kids who have normal names and normal lives will hate me.” Regardless of the pain, he returned to finish, his punches clean, swift and hard.

Jaci and Candra were painting a frieze with stamps made from potatoes. Martha looked in on what should have been London revising. Her call to Aland was answered swiftly, “Hi, I am sorry to have to tell you; he’s gone again.” She heard a ragged sigh, his voice flat. “Thanks, Martha, any clue? Anything at all?” She could feel the sadness in his tone, “sorry nothing.” Struggling out of his waders he swore as his sock sank in the grey sludge beside the reedbed. Throwing the waders in the old golf cart, he slumped into the driving seat and turned the key. He watched the children with Luna and smiled to himself. A Kyte caught his eye gliding, like a dart; it plummeted. That’s when he saw movement in the hayloft, relief followed by anger. Going into the barn he coughed and stamped, Aland didn’t want to surprise the boy. Soon they were eyeball to eyeball. Aland winced at the sharp hay stabbing his bare legs. “Okay, I am listening.” His lips were pursed his brow furrowed. London shook his head slowly. Aland caught sight of some blood on the boy’s sleeve, picked his arm up to look. “Better go home get that cleaned before your mother has a fit.” London jerked his hand free. He reached the tackle and hook used for lifting and lowering bales; defiantly he stared at his Dad as he abseiled from the loft.

The house was quiet with the children asleep. The only sound was the bats … and the beat of a base carried on the night’s breeze. Lights shone from the schoolroom where London revised to the background of heavy metal; minus the headphones. “That young man is pushing his luck,” Luna had to hold back from banging the mugs into the cupboard, ” Really Aland, we can’t let him get his head; we will lose him.” She dropped her face to her husband’s shoulder. Squeezing her tight his lips pressed to her ear. “We will cope, we’ll find a way to get through to him.” She turned to him, “It needs sorting before his exams … or he will fail.”

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London sat in the hayloft watching the Moon; tonight it was almost full. Tomorrow a red Moon would be seen from this vantage point, but the thought of sharing it with his siblings and parents made him mad. He scuffed his boot angrily filling the air with dust. London’s cough disguised the sound of weary boots treading the stairs. For the second time today, Aland faced his angry lad. “You, home, now!” London moved towards the door as his dad grabbed him, “Do not push me, use the stairs.” His shoulders slumped, eyes focused on the floor; his boots thumped the steps purposefully. The boy, closely followed by his Father; left the loft.

Luna and the children were excited, today they prepared food for a moonlit picnic. Dad set up two telescopes, one at the lake the other in the loft. He hoped that Mum’s calculations were correct and the sky clear for the show. Jaci Candra and the twins covered spheres with crumpled tissue with the help of Martha. Quacey. Diana and Amaris wrote stories and poems depicting the moon’s phases. Their fun made London angrier. With wet red cheeks, London came face to face with his father, neither of them expected the other. “You always follow me” London roared, his nose only an inch from Aland’s face. “Sneaking up, spying on every little thing.” His nostrils flared, he snatched and flinched and took off at speed. Alund followed. Twigs cracked, sweat seeped into his eyes but he knew this was crunch time; the boy mustn’t win. Aland’s chest began to tighten his legs trembled, but on he tore. At last, London fell to his knees, breath spent, shoulders twitched and drips of salty tears fell from the end of his nose. Aland flopped on his backside; breathing heavily next to him. His head back; eyes screwed and mouth gaped. Eventually, they talked.

Luna watched as they walked, arms draped across shoulders; she smiled. London sat with his siblings around him. Aland tugged Luna away, hand in hand they walked with heads almost touching. London told the children how each one had been given a name specially chosen for its astrological connections. He told them how lucky they were to live there, together they watched the spectacle before them.

the names as verified in the link are:

Aland = Bright as the Sun (English/Celtic origin)

Luna = Moon

London = Fortress of the moon

Quacey = Moonlight (Scottish 0rigin)

Diane = Goddess of the moon.

Neomea = Full moon

Oberon = Large moon

Ameris = Moonchild ( Irish origin)

Candara = Glowing like the moon

jaci = Moon (American tribal origins)

The above list was compiled from various sources but most are verified in the link below.

Name Link

Does someone in your family have an unusual or meaningful name? leave me a comment I would love to talk?

Around The Garden.

I set the garden up first thing before the crow dropped feathers and the frogs sang. Tables, chairs, chests of drawers. Grandad’s binoculars and his upright teatime chair, the one with a wooden hinged cup tray at the arm. I piled and propped things to replicate rooms; polished and loved them one last time. I could almost hear them; Popa and Mama … discussing how this was; as needs must. By the time Chorley arrived with the mail, the lawn was an outdoor house. Trestle’s replicated the kitchen, displaying the silver with the willow- patterned service piled high. Sun crept between the Ash and sparkled the Copper kettles and pans. Grandma’s embroidery samplers, linens and her handmade lace filled the aged trousseau box, beside the Chaise longue … under the Apple tree. A copper slipper-bath nestled next to the herb garden. Laundered towels I draped on the oak airer; besides the pond.

By half-past three all was sold … except for the large mirror Mama used in her dressing room when I was three. It reflected more than Stupley’s walled garden. Memories of ball gowns, pirouettes and tiara’s, stopped me from accepting a bid. Satisfied, I took a last look around.

My stream of consciousness began with a word containing round and ended with it also as the prompt suggested. Thanks again Linda Hill for the opportunity. Press “HERE” to join the fun or read some wonderful posts.

Let me know what you think! I am thick skinned and love to chat. 😉

Forest Child.

Sue Vincent invites you to join in press here to leave your piece or read many imaginative others.

Today’s word is track.

Some say those that were born here have … the thing. The magic of the forest, sap running through veins, nooks and crannies, corners that hold secrets. A quirky look at life, grounded in soil and mulch.

I was born of this place, in the cottage hospital on the edge of Savernake forest. An ancient wood 2750 acres of mystery and as you would expect history. As a child, I once was found sleeping at the foot of the Great Bellied Oak.

Fred liked to walk with his girls through the forest, when time allowed,The youngest would no doubt need carrying before the track had stopped its meandering. The day was sunny and all was lush, branches flicked light this way and that, birdsong was full-throated all in all he thought, its a good day for a walk.

Me, the three-year-old, me, loved to walk the most, but my chubby legs would not always keep up with the want to finish. That was when Daddy’s arms helped out and shoulder high I would grab his ears to hold on and soak in the atmosphere. Shafts of light threw colours or that was what Dad said, I knew it was something special. My sisters four and six didn’t really want to walk but we all loved Daddy and his treats. The story goes that I had held daddy’s hand until we stopped to share a picnic; a bag of Smiths crisps with a twist of salt and a bottle of Orangina. Three straws he pulled from his handkerchief pocket we sat on Dads tweed Jacket three little bums; eyes as big as saucers. Once the feast was over we stood so he could shake his Jacket. Like a magician, he pulled a white paper bag stuffed with soft Pontefract cakes from his cap. I remember how we oohed and ahhed, how he did the Dad magic, producing a perfect round Pontefract coin from behind our ears.

This is where our stories differ, (Dad’s version) the sisters playing chase ran off the track, I couldn’t keep up my legs were far to short for his turn of foot. So he told me to wait and not move from the spot and he’d return as quickly as he could. (My recollection) My feet could not go fast enough as I was swept behind a frightened Dad through the forest, my hands wet from licking the liquorice from my fingers slipped free, and I fell with a bump. When I woke Dad was not there, I was laying on a bed of moss at the foot of the Giant oak. A voice whispered as I sat up; ‘do not be afraid child, we forest folk always look after our own.’ I looked around but could not see anything more than a wisp of colour flash by my head. Daddy, with one sister under each arm, was struggling to walk and calling my name. I told a very cross face that he wasn’t to worry his head, the forest folk took great care of me, when you were gone.

Our stories have like Chinese whispers altered with the years, but last week was the first time I returned to that spot. Now a road is next to the Old Big Bellied Oak, and the A346 south of Caudley trundles caravans and cars by oblivious to the magic.

Were you born somewhere magical? Or have you visited such a magical place? leave me a comment I love to converse.