Monday, June 29, 2015

Lifted

Poetry is not my norm. But I was intrigued by Eat Sleep Write's poetry prompt this week, especially with the local "monsoon" month going on. Here's what poured out.

wind and rain
bring an unseasonal chill
upending plans for the day

instead
a trip to the berry patch
splashing through puddles

pick
purple black sweetness
with rain washed fingers

feet
crying for release
from soggy stockings

inhale
ozone freshed air
exhale fatigue and ennui

berries
set aside for later
with shoes and socks

time
to dance barefoot
with the drops

raise
hands to the sky
pirouette in the breeze




Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blessing of the Garden Gate

My offering for Master Class Monday at EatSleepWrite
The prompt I chose was nonpotable blessings




Twas quiet here, not long ago.  Shadow prevailed and gave cover to ghosts of the despair.  Wraiths of grief wrapped chilled fingers of loneliness around the heart of one left behind.  Neglect squeezed and choked life into submission.

Then she arrived. Her dreams and memories carried in boxes of cluttered life. The man by her side not so sure of this final destination, pulled along by her need to come home.

Life and color slowly return, the man working hard to reclaim a space left to weedy decay. She spends her time splashing color on faded walls. Together they create home.

Warm, golden light now shines from windows once shuttered in despair. The laughter within spills haphazardly into flowerbeds beneath the screened opening as one of the blood resides within again.

The bright Fae of the night climb thorny stems to peek inside.  Wings shimmering with moon glow from a cloudless sky, they raise excited brows and whisper of better times. They've marked the return of Rose and Tulip, old bearded Iris.  They hail the arrival of Lily and Heather.
  
Malevolent ivy retreats in frustration, pushed out by carefully nurtured roots. It slumbers uneasily beneath the color splashed gardens, waiting for the chance to regain a foothold.

Barefoot, careful of the garden sprites, the woman contentedly surveys the work of her spouse. Multiple beds entice butterflies and honey bees. Songbirds settle into the regained peace. 

A vegetable garden flourishes where none have farmed for decades. Fruit trees replace the ones lost through age and neglect. Wild berries welcome eager hands that have grown since picking and stuffing them into giggling faces long ago.

Her gaze follows the spreading limbs of the oak that shaded her childhood. Beneath it an overgrown lilac was a green fortress for herself and her siblings. Trimmed and tidied it still provides a quiet space within to think and to dream. 

On sunny days her man sees the figure of a woman regarding his work. Her grandmother she says. The one who left behind bits of garden hidden amongst the weeds. He raises his brow, but accepts and hopes his efforts are acceptable.

From the corner of her eye she catches glimpses of the Fae. They duck under the ferns and dance around the lilies. Playing chase with the squirrels and flitting about the feeder with hummingbirds. She tells no one she sees them, just smiles to herself.

Flowers follow their season, bloom then fade, replaced by the next, finally relinquishing to colder months. The vegetable garden ripens and gives its bounty to enhance the table through winter. Always some seed or fruit is left behind for wildlife. And Fae.

Snow fall blankets the ground, insulating roots and bulbs. A protective cover of bright white sheltering the promise of spring to come. 

She looks for the tracks in the snow. Rabbit, squirrel, and sometimes prints unfamiliar. Frosty pictures are left on window panes, icy flowers, a reminder that spring is nearby.

With yarn in her lap she waits out the cold. Watching for the early signs, a blush in the undergrowth, tiny buds peeking from the trees. Daffodils pushing through the frost, not waiting for a designated date. 

Soon, the time for faery dances and color will draw her barefoot through the garden gate and all the blessings it holds.



Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Vic

A new story with Willa, the realtor that "hears" houses.


Willa Baker pulled into the gravel drive, rolling over the clutches of weeds getting an early spring start on absorbing the stones. Parked next to the house, she fiddled about with the paperwork in no rush to exit the relative safety of her car. 

A loud slap on her windshield yanked a strangled squeal from her throat, heart racing she looked up to see a shingle slither down the pane to lean nonchalantly against the hood.

"Fine, you old bitch. I'm coming. Don't know what for...you've chased off at least two dozen prospectives." She ran her fingers through her dark, shoulder length curls before gathering her purse and briefcase. Taking a deep breath, she opened the sedan's door and cautiously stepped out. 

When no more shingles fell, she began her customary walk-about of the property. Starting from the drive, she made a circle from her car to the rear, reacquainting herself with house and yard while watching for evidence of vandalism or signs of breaking and entering. As usual, the place looked no different than when she'd first inspected it. 

Willa made her way around the other side of the house and down the front lawn to the street. Sighing, she slowly made her way up the uneven pavers, her mind appraising the house for the umpteenth time.

The old Victorian had seen better days. Neighboring homes stood well away, as though the peeling paint might disease their vinyl facades. Though the spring sun still shone brightly on the few boards still boasting their lavender hue, grey held sway and was gaining ground.

Plush green lawns held the wayward weeds and rocky soil at bay either side of the Victorian's lot. A ramshackle shed stood at the edge of an abandoned garden. The only clue of its prior existence was a gnarled rosebush stubbornly clinging to life. 

Boarded windows with shutters atilt gave the house an air of isolation. Passers by averted their gaze. Neighbors never mentioned it. Even the children shunned it, not worthy of imaginative adventures.

She stepped onto the porch, mentally running through the list of clients that had come to see the Vic. She turned to the faded red front door, eyebrows raised. "What are you gonna pull today, huh?"

The last young man that had come to see the old place had immediately begun planning renovations before stepping foot inside.

"That cupola will have to go, or be enclosed. The shed will need to be razed. It's a mess. Who paints a door red?" He continued his criticism up the porch. Willa knew this wasn't going to go well when the she had to fight to open the door.

He kept up his running monologue of changes from the front hall, around the kitchen, and all the way up the stairway. Willa could feel the resentment building. She wasn't shocked when they opened the first bedroom door to find the ceiling caved in and plaster falling from the walls. 

"You've got to be kidding me! You said the inside was in decent shape!" 

"Well, it is an old house, I didn't say it was perfect." Willa answered. She muttered under her breath, "Really, a little overkill, don't you think?"

"What?" She hadn't realized she'd spoken aloud.

"Oh, nothing, just chattering to myself." Though she knew it was pointless to continue, she asked, "Would you like to see the rest of the rooms?"

"NO."

Willa breathed a sigh of relief, hard telling what other surprises the old Vic had in store if they continued. She followed the young man as he hurriedly made his way back down the stairs and out the front door leaving it wide open. 

As he opened his car door, he looked at Willa, "Maybe if the seller drops the price, I'd be interested in the property. But the building is worthless, needs to be burned." As he finished speaking the front door slammed shut. Startled, he gave Willa a suspicious glare, jumped into his car, twisted the key, and sped away.

Willa stood at the end of the walk, her eyes sweeping from the wide porch to the square cupola. As she strode forward, she fished for the keys in her pocket. 

"Oh,hell." She reached the porch and tried the door. It was locked, with her briefcase, purse, and keys inside. "Give me a break. You're awfully fussy, you know. Cute trick in that bedroom." 

On her walk through the previous day, the interior of the house had been tidy and the rooms as neat as the long years of in-occupancy would allow. As they had been every time she inspected it after a disastrous showing.

Eight interested parties had come to see the house in the last month. Each one had evidently been deemed unworthy by the Vic. 

Willa glared at the locked door, "You know, if you don't come down off that high horse of yours, the bank is going to take you down itself. They're already getting antsy."

The door remained solidly closed. Willa turned as she heard a car pull into the driveway behind her own. "Great, last client of the day and I can't even show them your inside. Though that might be for the best."

She pasted an apologetic smile on her face as a young woman exited the car. "Hi, I'm Willa, and you're Tina?"

The woman clutched her purse nervously, her eyes bouncing from the house to Willa, across the yard and back to Willa. Finally, she shyly nodded her head. "Yes, I'm Tina. I came to look at the house?"

Willa thought, "Oh dear, this beast will make a meal of this one." Aloud she said, "That was the plan, but...I managed to lock myself out. I'd be glad to show you outside and the property." Willa waited a moment. "I can get another key tomorrow, if you want to come back then. I am so, so sorry."

"Oh, I see." Tina's head dropped, "Well, um, I guess I can just look around outside."

"All right, but there's not much to see." Willa automatically went into sales mode as she led Tina around the property. "The house has been empty for some time. There will be the need for some repairs, but the price is low enough to allow for that. There are some windows obviously need to be replaced, and the exterior will need painting."

Tina spoke quietly,"Is that color lavender? Is that the original paint?"

"Well, it was the last time someone painted, I expect."

"It's pretty, I wonder what the whole house would look like if it was repainted in that."

Willa raised her brows with hope. "I imagine it would be grand, Tina. And then add a nice contrast to the trim and shutters...it could be gorgeous!"

Tina smiled cautiously at Willa as they walked toward the back yard.

"Is that a garden? And a potting shed? What kind of rose bush is that?  Oh my, it has a bloom already!"

Willa jerked her head toward the weedy patch that was once a garden. A perfect red rose peeked out of the overgrown bush, a rose that hadn't been there and hour ago.

"May I look inside the shed?" Tina was already reaching for the door. "Look, lavender paint here too! And look! There's some left on the trim. I think it's green, oh, I like that!"

Willa was enjoying the young woman's enthusiasm, "Just like a lilac, and you're welcome to look inside, just don't expect much."

Tina pulled the shed door open and squealed with delight. "Look at the old gardening tools, and pots! This is perfect! Oh, I wish we could get inside, the house must be awesome!" Her timid nature evaporating with every step.

"I'm really sorry about that," Willa repeated, "I swear I'll get a key tomorrow." Tina barely heard as she trotted up the back porch and peeked through the window of the kitchen door.  

As Tina leaned against the door, she twisted the knob unconsciously. "It's open!  Can I go in? You must've left it open earlier and forgot. Now I can see the inside and you can get your keys." Tina scooted inside before Willa could answer.

"What're you up to, you old biddy? I've never opened that door." Willa muttered her suspicions as Tina explored the kitchen. The centerpiece of the room was a large work table, a worn Hoosier cabinet stood next to a huge one basin sink. Tina walked the entire room, gushing about it's personality.

From there to the dining room. The ornate oak trim shone as if it has just been polished. The peeling wallpaper didn't even seem faded.  Willa smiled at Tina while surreptitiously casting suspicious glances behind and ahead. The Vic had never looked better. 

From attic to basement, the old house showed only its best to Willa's client. Tina's originally shy demeanor had  disappeared by the time she'd investigated every room, closet, and corner at least three times. 

Willa cautioned Tina to think about the time and expense it would take to bring the old Victorian back in shape. "No need to rush. There aren't any other offers. Sleep on it, make sure you really want to invest so much."  

Her thoughts were running a different route. "This place must be getting to me, I'm actually trying to discourage the only client to get through the whole place."

It was no matter, her advice went unheard, "Oh no! I'm ready! I love this house, I want this house, and it needs me. I'll have to get started matching paint and wallpaper." Willa tamped the frown that wanted to take over her brow. 

An hour later, the offer signed and ready to be delivered, Willa finally convinced Tina to go home. 

"But this is home now," Tina whined. 

"Not yet. I'll turn this in first thing. Then we'll go from there, dear. There are hoops to jump through." Willa promised she'd call as soon as the everything was properly attended. 

After multiple reassurances,  the young woman had finally driven away, Willa sat alone in the kitchen. The Vic had been a difficult property and Willa wasn't convinced that the house was through playing games. She'd read resentment and anger regularly as she had led other clients through the Vic. Now, she felt arrogance infuse the space. 

"Happy now, you old beast?  Find your soul mate?" a loud flapping sound echoed down the stairwell. Willa arched a brow, "Fine. I'll leave. But if you chase her off after your performance today, I won't bring anyone else. I'll leave you to the wrecking ball."

She packed the papers into her briefcase, made sure the house was secured and headed for her car. Five more shingles lay on the hood. 
















Thursday, March 12, 2015

Puppy Love

I haven't written for so long, I feel all awkward-y.  And, there may be some cursing and a little bitty bit of graphic violence in here, just sayin...
And many thanks to (or laying of blame on) Tara R. from Thin Spiral Notebook for the inspiration.




Archie strolled down the sidewalk ignoring the lure of loud music leaking from the open doors of the clubs lining the street.  He'd occasionally glance up at the full moon shining down on the lines of night lifers waiting their turn to get inside. 

He let out a sigh, he just wasn't in the mood anymore. .

His spirits had been high as he left his basement apartment and bounded up the steps to street level dressed in his clubster's best.  Tight black jeans and ab hugging red polo, his black hair artfully tousled. He was primed for a hip grinding night of dance followed, hopefully, by a light snack before heading back to hide his head in bed.

At the top of the stairs stood a pale figure, obviously waiting tor him. That was where Archie's night began to lose its luster. 

"What now, Conner? Did I break another rule? Sleep too late, awaken too damn early?" He'd been in the city a couple months and had immediately stepped on the local brood's toes. Conner had become a regular bearer of criticism

"Gratch wants to see you. You haven't attended a meeting in weeks, and you're overstepping Pike's territory." 

"What? Bullshit!" Archie tried to step around Conner, who moved to block him.  "Okay. Look, I'll check in with Gratch in the morning. Right now, I'm hungry. Just let me get on with my night." He tried to sidestep again, "And just how much "territory" does Pike have? I haven't hit the same street twice since I've been here."

"If it's east of Talbot Street, it's Pike's. I know you're new, but at least pretend to be considerate. Play west tonight and see Gratch before you crash." Conner gave  Archie's outfit a contemptuous once over. "And, dude, wear shades. Your eyes are fuckin' glowing." Conner turned his back and strode quickly away. Archie could still hear him mutter about freaking lone wolf freaks that thought they could do as they pleased.

"You invited me, asshole! And my eyes don't glow!" Archie yelled at Connor's retreating back. He regretted accepting that invitation. Nothing here had been as Conner had promised. It was all rules and checking in and don't go here, or there.

"Bullshit." Archie stubbornly headed east, toward the rising full moon.

He was met at the entrance of the first club by one of Pike's clan. "Not even, jerk. Move on." Archie left. They'd guessed he wouldn't obey and were waiting for him. He'd be outnumbered and knew it wasn't worth the risk. 

He turned around and wandered more or less west. The neighborhood changed within a few blocks. He left the boisterous club life behind and found the streets lined with shops that closed before the night took over leaving only smoke filled dives and swaggering working girls. Each half block broken by unlit alleys. 

The moon had reached it zenith as he crossed yet another alley. A yelp caught his attention and he stopped to listen. 

"Get off ya little piece of shit!" A growl followed by cursing and another yelp piqued Archie's curiosity. He silently entered the alley. Careful to avoid the litter of trash, he made his way farther down the narrow space. 

In the dim light from an open door he saw two men digging behind a dumpster at the alley's end. A pasty faced blond held a broom, a sickly thin black man had his right hand wrapped around his left wrist. The smell of fresh blood filled Archie's nostrils. His pace quickened.

The broom wielder thrust his weapon under the dumpster and pulled. A tiny, dirty ball of fur tumbled out. With a growl it headed toward the man with the smell of blood wafting from him.  Before the creature could reach him, he aimed a vicious kick at its small form, rolling it across the alley to collide with the wall.  The broom made contact eliciting another yelp.

"Hey! What's the deal, dudes? You got to pick on a puppy?" Archie stepped in between them and the injured animal.

"Screw off, kid. The little bastard bit me. It's dead." 

Archie grabbed the growling pup by the scruff. "I'd say you provoked the poor thing. It had to defend itself, didn't it?"

"Go home, boy. This ain't your business."

"Well, I just made it my business. So back off and everything will be fine. No one gets hurt, especially the puppy."

The men looked at Archie, then each other. Blondie swung the broom, Archie yanked it from his hand, twirled it baton style then drove it through his throat. As pasty face dropped to the ground gurgling, Archie grabbed his partner before he could recover from shock and run.

"Oh shit man oh shit! I didn't see nuthin' let me go. Didn't know it was your dog so sorry man. Oh shit oh shit!"

"Oh shut up." Archie put the pup down as he grabbed slim's head, jerked it back and sunk his fangs deep into the jugular. 

He drank until the heart stopped then dropped the lifeless body. Turning his attention to the blond, he found the pup grunting and growling, furiously tearing flesh from the dead man's throat wound. 

"Slow down there,Turbo!" Archie picked the pup up by the scruff again, holding it at arms length as it snapped and snarled. "Dude, you'll make yourself sick gorging like that."

As the animal realized its belly really was full, it settled into Archie's arms. "Bet the Gratch's brood missed you when they decimated that lycan nest last week, huh? Damned intolerant jerks."

 "Hmm, Dude or is it Dudette?" His attempt to find out and was rewarded with a growl and nip.

"Okay then." Archie glanced at the west leaning moon. "We'll just wait until we can do a diaper change to check your junk."

With the satiated pup in the crook of his arm, Archie exited the alley. The tiny werewolf lifted its nose and howled mournfully. The full moon dipped a little lower as Archie made a decision. 

"I'm pretty sure rescuing you is another no-no. Well, they did say go west."  
 He grinned, leathery wings ripping through shirt fabric as he lofted into the air and pointed westward, following the moon.  "Since you won't give me a hint, we'll go with a gender neutral name, okay?"

"Wanna see the Pacific...Robin?"













Thursday, November 13, 2014

Farewell, Patricia

I received a message in my "other" box on Facebook. I seldom think to check there, so this message was three weeks old.  I didn't know the sender, but she asked if I was related to Patricia de Perez, as I had commented on a post she'd made. 

I answered no, not related just friends.

Her reply stunned me.  My friend had passed away, three weeks ago.  They were trying to locate her next of kin.

How did I miss her three week absence?  

Patricia was one of my first internet connects.  We followed each other on Twitter, when I finally succumbed to Facebook, we found each other there.

We shared a love for cats, often sharing pictures of our furbabies.  She was an advocate for shelter cats.

We liked and shared with each other many posts with mutually shared interests. She loved gardening and crafting.  She operated an online gift store.  She found beautiful pictures and put them on her Facebook wall.

Her sense of humor often made me giggle.

When I made a Facebook page for this blog, she liked it.  Patricia was often the first to "like" and comment on the page when I added a story. 

I never met her IRL. Now, I never will.  

Patricia de Jerez

Rest well my friend.  I miss you.







Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yes, #amwriting

A question came through my twitter feed a few days ago.  It went like this; "would you keep writing if you knew no one on earth would ever read what you've written?"

I thought about it for a minute.  Then I answered. Yes.

Yes, I would still write.


I hang around the internet with beautiful writing people. Their words inspire me. I'm the unpublished hanger on. I know if can ever connect the vignettes, character studies, and poems, I may have a story.

And I do so want to write a complete and sensible tale. But if I never get it done, it'll be because something grabbed my attention and said "write me."

Because I am a writer. Undisciplined for sure. Scatterbrained at least. But a writer. A weaver of words. With tales to tell and myths to mold.

Because...
When I walk outside and see the leaves turning, fleeing from their branches, words are unleashed in my head.  Scattered nouns and adjectives trying valiantly to create a sentence.

Because...
When things happen around me, my mind runs off in tangents.  Visions of "what ifs" start scrolling behinds my eyes.

My characters are my friends, I see them. I hear them. I smell their surroundings and feel their emotions. 

They give me their stories in fits and starts. Then wander off to have another adventure. Which I'm sure they'll relate as soon as they return.

And when they do, I will write it. Whether or not anyone reads it.


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Awakening

Part 4 of Annag's beginning.  If you haven't already, read parts onetwo, and three



 Lillian shuffled between the quickly made litter and the defiled clan house, directing the men of MacGoulan in the proper way to secure her human prize, and questioning Sionn.  

"You're familiar with the clan chief's sword, are you not?" she asked.

"Aye, I've seen it"

"Have you found it here?  Did Donnchadh die with his blade, is it with his body?"

Sionn tried to hide his disgust, "I did not search his remains, old woman! You said to burn it all."

Lillian smirked, "Before you light the fire, search for the sword. If you do not find it, search again after the fire has cleaned up the mess. Search every hovel here. Do not think to defy me, Sionn MacGoulan, don't for a minute think this same fate couldn't visit your home." Without waiting for an answer, she left him glaring after her as she returned to the litter that held Annag. 

The hairs rising on Sionn's neck convinced him to follow her commands. He watched as she directed his clansmen to accompany her, carrying the wounded girl with them. 

>>>>>

 Annag’s dreams were ugly and disordered. In them she ran, trying to escape the terror that began as her wedding feast. Trying not to believe Taog, her betrothed had been torn apart in front of her.

           Running from the vision of savaged flesh that had been her mother and the memory of her father being pulled down and slain.

           Fleeing the scream of her young sister before her head was ripped from her body.

          Trying not to see every one of her clansmen dismembered, bloodied.  Dead.

         Screaming herself to muffle the soothing voice that kept repeating, "It will be alright."

More frightening was the beast that walked beside her. A man with a wolf’s snout. Claws at the end of each finger. Together they walked from village to village, clan to clan. In each pace they left blood and death behind.

She raised her hands to wipe the tears from her face only to see claws growing from her own fingers.

She screamed in denial.

“It will be alright,girl.” Again the voice. Soothing. Compelling. Terrifying.

She’d cried out repeatedly in her fevered dreams. And each time that voice, those words “it will be alright’” mocked her.

>>>>>

Annag woke from the nightmare at midday. The sun blazing through the window across from her cot. She felt a strange relief, at least she was alone.

The room smelled of burning herbs and the taste on her tongue mirrored them. She tried to raise her head. Dizziness made that impossible. She could see the sky bleached white by the heat of the day. A wind gusted through the window, its breath drawing the last moisture from her mouth.

She lay back on the pillow, her mind sorting the dreams from reality. The burning pain on her back insisting far more of the nightmare was real than not.

Her solitude was too soon broken. The persistent voice from her dreams broke the silence.

“So, Annag, last of MacClarren, you’ve awoken finally.” Lillian filled the small space.

“Where am I? What has happened? I don’t remember, where is my family, where is Taog?” she asked the last question already knowing the answer.

“You are a guest in my home. For now.” The old woman appraised her. “What do you remember, girl?”

“Attack. By… wolves?” Annag closed her eyes as tears began to form, then opened them quickly as memories of blood and death swam behind her lids.

“Wolves?” Lillian snorted, “You know better, girl. The only wolves in this land are the one’s on two legs. How do you even know the word?”

“I don’t…”

“I do. Men that become beasts, the old stories. Wolf? Not really, just animals from a man’s black heart, made real by old magics.”

Annag tried to deny, she shook her head, “no, they are only tales to frighten children! Such things don’t exist, they cannot…”

“They cannot? Were you not frightened, ‘child’?” Lillian sneered at her. “Your clan is dead. MacClarren is no more. No father, chief. No mother. No precious little sister.” Lillian’s voice that had pretended comfort during the nightmares, threw aside the pretense. “And your MacGoulan boy? Ripped apart.”

“Stop! Stop it!” Annag tried to get up from the cot, Lillian pushed her back with the butt of her staff.

“You stop, girl. Stop puling like a babe. You are alive. And hard work it was to keep you that way.” Lillian eyed her sidelong. “What I really want to know, is how you survived, how you slew a dozen shape shifted men and only have a few scratches to show for it.”

Annag’s memories played in her mind. Her father’s blade. Where was her father’s blade. She almost asked the old woman, then hesitated. She had held the broadsword in her hands, where had it gone? Vague recollections of moonlight glinting on the iron. Surely she’d never left the clan house. But, where was the blade?”

She did not trust this old woman. Her answer was half truth, “My clansmen killed them before they fell themselves. I remember being wounded. I must have fainted, the beasts thought me dead already.”

Lillian weighed the words. “Perhaps. Perhaps that is so. We shall see, yes, we shall see.”

“Sionn! I remember Sionn, I want to speak to him, please.” Annag was ready to leave this place, this woman. She could go to MacGoulan, she had been betrothed.

Lillian laughed, “I think you don’t want to speak to Sionn, or any MacGoulan. The scratches you remember, the one’s healing on your pretty back? They carry… well let’s just say a sickness.”

“What do you mean? Am I dying? The babe, I carry a child!”

“Dead is what you’ll both be if you approach any MacGoulan. Those marks mean the beast is in you now, girl. You’re tainted.”

“No! You're lying, lying!” Annag stood up in spite of the dizziness, she wanted to strike Lillian. Stop the words that resurrected the dream. The dream of walking with the beast at her side, leaving death behind.


Lillian smiled knowingly at Annag. “Am I now?”




Don't be afraid to leave a comment, let me know what you think.  Concrit is welcome!