Death Comes Calling

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The Winter sun hung low in the sky, tantalisingly bright yet withholding the promise of warmth on the frozen fields below. A murder of crows took to the wing for their last supper before the dusk wrapped a grey blanket over the land. Melisande knew once they returned to roost high in the line of ancient Oak trees it would not be long before night would come riding in. She felt the temperature drop and shivered, pulling her woollen shawl tightly across her thin body. The morrow would arrive with a dressing of hoar frost. Clutching her basket, the meagre rations of berries and nuts forlornly rolled around, as she made firm strides for home. The barren fields had no more to give and neither did she.

It had not always been this way.

The cottage had seen better days. The interior was a grey as her ragged hair. A motley collection of worn out furniture, table and two wooden chairs, a threadbare armchair before an empty and cold grate. A dirty mirror hung above the mantle. There was no need to clean it, long ago she had stopped caring about the reflection looming back. The lonely ghost of the woman who once was remained trapped behind cobwebs and dust.

Melisande’s bones ached. She longed for warmth, from a lover, a friend, someone who cared. But there was no one. They had all left long ago. She piled applewood logs and kindling into the grate. Reluctantly the fire took, spreading a wan light into the gloomy room. She would make herb tea and maybe try to eat and then sleep, in dreams maybe she would be free, if she could keep bad at bay and the nightmares away. The cawing of crows heralded the coming darkness. She shuddered.

The fire flickered into life, and slowly sipping the soothing tea she stared deeply into the flames, into the past.

Back to vibrant times when she had turned heads, a selfish woman with many lovers she had met through her work in the big city. The cottage in the country was her retreat from the madness and mayhem and greedy life of an Investment Banker. Treating people badly was her trademark. It didn’t matter, there were plenty more foolish enough to replace the ones she callously discarded.

A tear rolled down her face. In the flames she watched the scene replay as if it were yesterday.

Another party, another drunken, drug fuelled night on the town. Worse for wear she had crawled back to her Penthouse. Needing to sleep, but wanting just another drink. Ignoring the stabbing pain in her chest, she snorted another line of coke. Another pain, gripping her with vicelike intensity. A knock at the door. It is a handsome man. She asks if he wants her body. She is drunk and drugged. He says no. He is Death. He wants her soul. Shocked she slams the door. The next night he returns. Again she slams the door. The third night he returns and tells her I have not come for your soul tonight. I have brought you a gift. It is in this box. As long as you open the box every night at midnight I will not return.

She accepts the box. The handsome man leaves. She begins to fret, death knows where she lives. She moves to the cottage, fear ensures she makes a ritual of opening the box at midnight, just as Death instructed. But still she anxiously awaits the knock of Death at the door. She thinks back each night to what she lost and what could happen. Every night the crows caw. The years slowly crawl by, empty and barren. In the end she is old, poor, wizened and lonely. The firewood runs low. Freezing she throws the box onto the fire. Blue sparks fly up the soot encrusted chimney breast. Then in the silence of the night “Rat-a-tat-tat” it had finally come. A knock at the door. It is Death.

“You said you would not come. I opened the box every night at Midnight. Every single night for the past twenty five years!”

“Yes, but you have now burnt the box. The contents have been destroyed.”

“But there was nothing in the box. It was empty!”

“No, it was full of your fears. Every time you opened it, you let them out. Every time you closed it, you put new ones in.”

“So I have been a prisoner here, of my own making? Trapped by my fear of dying?”

“You should have come when I first called. Happiness awaited you in paradise. But your greed kept you here and then you made yourself a prisoner of your own fears. You have not lived but you have died a thousand times, when you had only need die once…and step into eternal Life!”

He held out his hand. Melisande took his hand and walked through the open door. Death was nothing to be feared, He was an Angel leading her Home.

The winter sun hung low in the sky, dawn was breaking and there was the promise of a bright new day.

Eily Nash ~2020

Heat of the Night

A sneak preview of a Chapter from a manuscript I am working on…

KIMBER

I’m home alone. Again. Husband is in NYC. Again. He’s a frequent flyer, goes where the money flows, London or New York. Right now it is a tidal wave flooding back to Papa across the East River from his latest project. Who knew Manhattan money would actually want to cross the Brooklyn Bridge? He did. Has a sixth sense for seeing potential. Where others can’t see beyond the raw product, Richie sees polished perfection. From his vantage point on the 95th floor of our Midtown Penthouse, he has 360 degrees views across the City and Central Park. GreenPoints caught his eye. All those rundown old warehouses lining the waterfront, battered and bruised, he raised them from the ashes of dilapidation like a Phoenix, reborn into something wonderful and new. Once given the full Richie treatment, hiding their humble beginnings, the luxe new apartments began enticing buyers hungry for a bite of the Big Apple’s property boom. Richie has a magic touch. He likes fixing things and then moving on. He did that with me. I was a waitress in a cocktail bar…you get the picture…

So my man is a mere 3455 miles away. Separated by the Atlantic ocean, a mere five hours time difference. Nothing compared to the gulf between us. I’m here in our Park Lane penthouse looking out over London. Richie likes high living, literally. Our homes are a statement to how he sees himself, a property magnate on top of the world. I step out onto the terrace clutching a glass of Veuve Cliquot, watching night falling. The twinkling  lights of the West End are enticing for anyone with an itch to scratch, looking to find the heart of a Saturday night. And I’m here. All alone. Longing to be all dressed up with somewhere to go. 

I’m inside looking out and laugh at the irony of people outside looking in. Window shopping. Wanting what I got. Don’t let it fool you. The glitz soon wears off. Only so many Manolo’s you can line up next to your Birkin bags and  all your Chanel, Dior and Armani clothes hanging in your custom walk in closet. Envy from some, aspiration from others. Looks can be deceiving. Beware what you wish for, I want to say to them, go read the tale of the ‘Emperor’s Nightingale’ then tell me you want what I got. Don’t you see it in my eyes that I want to be free…I want to be me. Don’t envy me. I ain’t got what you got, freedom. 

My iPhone kicks into life, incoming Skype call from the man himself. I tear myself away from the enticing lights dancing on water and answer. 

“Baby Girl! “ 

I detect he is a touch too bright. Slate grey eyes, holding more than a hint of steel forged in a foundry of darkness somewhere north of midnight. Shutters down, the demon hiding in those dark depths did not choose to be seen tonight. 

“Miss you baby love,” I coo making sure he sees I am wrapped in my silk dressing gown. I slide it open. He doesn’t bite. I know he is not alone. He’s all dressed up with somewhere to go. I can’t see the bitch but can smell her. If she isn’t next to him she soon will be. I act like I don’t know. I’m not acting if I were to confess I don’t care. 

“Got a deal to seal, baby girl, heading over to the Upper East Side in 5.  How’s my Kimber?”

“Good, missing Papa Bear!”

“Love you. Call you in the morning.”

I call the dog over and make sure he sees us snuggling on the couch, watching the wall hung TV on Netflix. Satisfied he hangs up. 

I have an itch. I’m going to scratch it. 

In less than half an hour I’ve changed into a barely there dress and the most killer heels I can find. I shake my long blonde hair free from the  confines of the tight chignon he likes and replace the elegant pink pearls gracing my ears with gold slut hoops. A dash of Chanel Rouge Allure on my lips and a lick of black eyeliner, heavy coat of mascara. A line of Coke, a blue pill and I am good to go. 

A quick call and an Uber is on the way. It’s not the night to take my Bentley out. Not the part if London Town I am heading. 

“Don’t wait up, Mama’s going to be late!” I stroke Kimber’s sweet little Bichon Frisée fur and head for the door. I have an itch to scratch.

The nightingale has wings and she is going to use them, taking flight into the heart of the night… 

©Eily Nash (2020)

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Dimpsey Dusk

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DIMPSEY DUSK

I’d heard many an ancient story told, of the magic the Bluebell Woods may hold. Did I believe it, was it for real? If a mortal man stood in a faerie ring, precious time was something they would steal. Could there really be such a thing? The thoughts rattled around my head, I admit by curiosity I was led. It was back in the merry month of May, as I recall, ’twas Beltane day and  just as the dimpsey dusk had begun to fall, I heard enchantment call. 

I set off down a country lane, clambering over stiles, a rickety bridge across a rhyne and through the fields of Barley, until I stood at the entrance to the Bluebell Woods. I had left the world so mundane, seeking the magic that lives in a space beyond the confines of time. I stood very still, barely holding my breath. What if the myths were true, could meeting the Fae really cause a man’s death? Beautiful Bluebells, their scent pervaded the air. Suddenly I did not care as their tinkling chimes dispelled my fear, I could sense the magic as I drew near.

With glow worms to light the way, I followed a winding trail, determined to return to tell the tale. The leaves begin to sway, dancing to the birds signalling the end of day. Then I saw him, my heart skipped a beat. A little fellow, so dapper and neat. He had a suit of red and green, such a creature I had never seen. Shiny black shoes with silver buckles upon his feet. With cheerful words he greeted me, ‘Good Sir, Merry Meet!’

I was so surprised when he spoke and  told me he was of the Elven folk. Reaching up, he took my hand and led me into an enchanted land.How blessed was I to see a sight, granted to a mortal man that warm Summer’s night. In a clearing in the woods, the Beltane fire burned high and bright. Beside the Elf, I felt brave and I felt bold, and so I stood, quite at ease and protected by the trees, and watched it all unfold.

I was midst the Royal Court of the Fae as their magical May procession got underway, led by the Faerie Queen and her Holly King. Oh her beauty had to be seen! Her silken gown was spun from gossamer threads, a golden diadem upon her lovely head. Her flaxen hair was loose and long and came tumbling down. Her Consort, a majestic sight as he took her hand and they sallied forth into the night. The Faerie folk, Elves, Hobgoblins, Dryads, Sprites and Nymphs all bowed down to She who wore the Green Wood Crown. 

Enchanted I watched as their Majesties walked by, the Faerie Queen caught my eye. She beckoned me to join her entourage and follow the retinue. I did not hesitate, grabbing the little Elf by the hand, I did as she bid me to and went further into the deep dark woods. Along the way Fireflies flew, tiny sparks of  dazzling, dancing light, as the procession came through.

By the Beltane fire, I saw two thrones, hewn from ancient stone. I felt the power build and rise from the forest floor. I had wandered through a liminal corridor. A land of beauty, magic, song and dance. The whole forest was alive, and I was entranced. Beetles, bugs and Bees joined in the festivities. There was nectar to sip and cake to eat. A giant toadstool became my seat. Fallow Deer, Badgers, Stoats, Mice, Foxes, Hedgehogs and Voles are came creeping shyly in to pay homage to the Faerie Queen. Such marvellous sights, the like of which I had never seen!

And through the night music played, on a Harpsichord, flutes and Mandolins, and a Nightingale sang madrigals and songs of Courtly love. Oh how we danced and twirled and spun in circles, round and round. My feet hardly touched the ground! And then from somewhere high above, I heard a Barn Owl screech and in a happy, dizzy haze I fell upon the forest floor. The sights and sounds receded, I looked but although he was needed, my Elven friend was somewhere out of reach.

Beneath the light of a Flower Moon, the Faerie Queen looked upon her blessed realms of The Summerlands,  stretching as far as the eye can see. Beauty reaching to infinity. With a wave of her magic wand and the mists begin to rise around Avalon. Sleep fell upon me, and enchanted by the  Queen of the Green Wood’s spell, I kept the secret. For their story I would never tell.

Eily Nash (2020)

 

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Gossamer Threads: Short Stories

Song of the Siren

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In shallow waters he teased and played, enticing hungry bodies to lust and fall to sin. Then with practiced ease, no remorse or backward glance, he would callously walk away, leaving heartache in his wake. Broken shells and shattered dreams on the empty shore of love.

Until the fateful day he heard the Siren’s warning call.

‘Beware the beautiful mind that draws you in.’

Intrigued by the beguiling deep, he slowly waded into the stillness of the sea, thinking he was free to ebb and flow and ride the tide, like the Starfish on the beach.

Yet each time he heard the song of the Siren, he went further until there was no ground beneath his feet.

Falling

Falling

Siren calling …

Who could save a drowning man from his own desires as he became a willing prisoner to the deep?

Eily Nash

Find my books on http://www.amazon.com/author/eilynash

Two Rivers

 

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Alone in London, I stand by Tower Bridge. Old Father Thames hears my thoughts of you and how deeply I am falling. Wise is he, takes them rippling on the current down to the endless sea. 

Somewhere far away in a Northern land, you are standing too, on your bridge of stone and steel beside a Castle Keep. Do I imagine that I  hear you calling and feel you reaching through the ethers  for my hand? 

Day is fading and our City lights flicker into life. Do they hear the music of the night? And meet with moon beams upon the waters where both our ancient rivers flow? What stories do they share and what secrets do they know?

Perhaps they speak of Lovers hearts taking flight to meet upon the Bridge across forever. A special place, lost in time, where we come together. In the heat of the night, two rivers meet and our bodies entwine to dance upon the glory of the Tyne.

Eily Nash ~ 2020

My Books are on www.amazon.com/author/eilynash ~Come have a look!

 

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