Phaedra woke with a start. Her heart shape face was wet with tears, the dream still hanging vivid and lucid in the room. Tears falling for the hurt child within this woman, tears falling for the passage of so many years, filled with too many hurts. Tears falling for all those other souls in pain, whose hearts also ached from so much sorrow.
Phaedra woke with a start. Her heart shape face was wet with tears, the dream still hanging vivid and lucid in the room. Tears falling for the hurt child within this woman, tears falling for the passage of so many years, filled with too many hurts. Tears falling for all those other souls in pain, whose hearts also ached from so much sorrow.
Closing her eyes, she became aware of a soothing sensation, as if gentle soft hands were caressing her face, wiping away the tears, stroking her hair, as one would a child. She felt strong hands remove her evil husband’s grasp from her body. In her mind’s eye, within that special screen where clairvoyant scenes had played since as long as she could remember, an image began to form;-
On a black velvet pillow, a red organic mass, which she knew to be her heart, lay pumping and pulsating erratically, weak feeble beats alternating with rapid panic-stricken throbs. The tubes and arteries extended out across the darkness, connected to nothing, going nowhere. Blackened and wizened at the extremities. The heart was whole, but slowly cracks and fissures appeared rending it apart, huge chasms ripping the breaking heart asunder from the ventricles which fed it leaked weak rivulets of blood. The erratic beats started to slow, the pulsations now just involuntary spasms, the heart was dying and darkness was closing in. Then a voice, clear, strong, and powerful reverberated in the dark theatre of her mind,
‘This is your pain born of this lifetime, these are your wounds.’
A pair of hands appeared over the stricken heart. Hovering over the heart drawing and pulling dark, shadowy shapes and forms from the crippled organ. As each dark mass was pulled forth, a fissure closed, the chasms began to shrink. The hands were now pulsating, beaming a high frequency of energy emitting particles of vibrant white light. Piece by sorry piece the torn and rent heart began to meld together. The hands of light picked up the heart from the blood soaked black velvet pillow and gently encased it within a warm and healing embrace.
Phaedra now clearly saw her strong, healthy heart. It was whole, complete, and no longer beating in the blackness, but held in radiant golden light. Suddenly filled with an electric jolt she felt the heart placed into her own body. The hands of light were now golden and held together in the prayer position. They slowly unfolded to reveal a holographic slideshow, of many people, times and places. The scenes played out and once again, the voice resonated over the moving picture show with the words:-
‘I have taken and healed your pain
Torn the hurst of many lifetimes
from the recesses of your heart’
As words and images faded away in a violet haze, Phaedra felt the soft brush of an Angel’s wing…Opening her eyes she saw a small white feather fluttering to the floor.
Please welcome a very special guest writer to EdenDene Books, my talented 15 year old son Ryan Nash. Here is Chapter One of a spooky tale, just right for a cold winter’s night!
Chapter 1: Almost Certain Death
I remember it well, now there were two boys they came tearing around the corner in complete fear and terror. I didn’t really understand what exactly they were running from as it was in a dark, narrow, treelined passage. I heard heavy footsteps getting louder and louder from around the corner. I felt as if I was about to find out what the boys were running from.
Then a loud spine-chilling roar came from around the corner and everyone froze. The two boys slowly turned around. A tall dark silhouette stepped out of the shadows as a thick supernatural mist rose from the ground. The footsteps became increasingly louder and louder. I became frozen with fear as the shadow grew.
The two boys began to run and barged past me with brute force. But, I, I was still completely frozen. I wanted to run but it felt like there was a force that was holding me back. I physically and mentally couldn’t bring myself to do it. Suddenly silence descended, all I could hear was the beating of my heart like waves crashing on a rocky shore. Electricity crackled in the air as the suspense grew even more. I looked back up the shadow… was gone.
The mist began to clear up I couldn’t believe my eyes, in its place was a small kitten sitting there cleaning its paws. The small black cat looked up at me and it had deep blood red eyes. It winked at me and scurried away back around the corner.
I was so stunned by what had just happened and I knew there was much more to it all than just a small innocent creature because the shadow and the vicious roaring was so much more than a kitten could have caused. Just everything about the situation seemed off, why would two teenage boys run away in fear and terror from something so fragile and timid as a kitten? I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I wanted to find out what that kitten really was I wanted to find out the truth about why those boys were so terrified. My curiosity had gotten the better of me once again as I decided to follow the kitten even knowing that it might be something so much more… supernatural… then a kitten. I began to walk forward going down the dark avenue for trees and around the corner. I couldn’t quite see what was further down the passage looked like an endless narrow path covered in overgrown vegetation and vines.
I had been walking for about twenty minutes when I saw a light at the end of the passage. It looked like an opening to another place, another universe. I felt a warm breeze coming for the opening at the end of the passage. As I got closer to the end of the passage, I could see the small kitten sitting, looking into the distance. I began to slowly edge myself toward the kitten, but I stepped on a stick which alerted the kitten that it had company. The kitten twitched its ear and slowly turned its head. When the kitten looked up at me, so my eyes met its and I felt like it was staring into my soul but instead of feeling immense fear like I did earlier I was flooded with a sense of calm and weightlessness.
The kitten tilted its head slightly and slowly looked away, but as I begun to walk towards it and close the distance between us the kitten got up and slowly walked away from me, yet again going around another corner breaking my line of sight with it. As I came to the very end of the passage what I saw was breath taking. It was indeed like an alternate universe before I was just speculating the thought, but it really was. The sky was red and the sun or what I think was the sun was deep ocean blue.
I looked in front of me and it looked like a forest of some sort the trees were black with red leaves. I looked over and the kitten was sitting by a tree looking up at the sky again. The kitten got up and walked behind the tree but, what came out of the other side of the tree was no kitten. A young man with black hair and deep blood red eyes stood in the place of where the kitten once was.
‘I knew it!’ I said to myself. I knew that the kitten was something more than a kitten I just didn’t expect the kitten to be a man. He stood tall looking back up at the sky, I walked over toward him intrigued as to who or what he was.
They call me H, it’s not my name, it’s the product I sell. Work nights, late nights, all night. Suits me fine. I can’t sleep, keep going…the uppers, the downers, the highs and the lows. Night, that strange nocturnal world. For most people the darkness is a blanket to soothe tired minds, not me, I am unable to find a shroud to wrap my unquiet soul in peace and blessed sleep. You see, there are these wasps buzzing in my head. Angry, insistent. I don’t want to give life to them, those electrified thoughts. But they are incessant and won’t stop. Try to block them out, but the drugs don’t work, not now, not anymore. I did a deal with the devil, long time ago. Thought I wanted what he had to offer, fast cars, fast women, fast living. Respect. Power. Got it all then found I didn’t want it anymore. But there was no way out, no going back. You see, that old devil had sealed the deal in blood. I’d seen too much and done too much and he was there to witness it all. Told me the Man Upstairs wouldn’t want my sorry arse. No room in heaven when you belong in hell. And believe me, there is no hell worse than that of your own making.
It’s getting late, the night sultry,still greedily holding onto the heat of a scorching summer’s day. Somewhere sirens are wailing. I’m restless, edgy. I’m up, I need to come down. Take a few shots of Grey Goose and light a Dunhill. Pick up the phone and text my girl “Meet at the Heath in ten.” Didn’t wait for confirmation, knew she’d be there. Grabbing my keys I leave. It is a long way down from the seventh floor when the lifts are broken. I live a high life in a low life place. It’s a concrete jungle, and from the ground the sky is just a distant memory. The walls start closing in on me, feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep dark well. No way out. No light.Those wasps buzzing in my head again. Damn those thoughts, getting louder, shouting for attention. I need release and I need it soon. Firing up my Porsche, I kick down all 700 horse power and in just 2.7 seconds the turbocharger on the 911 powers 0 to 60 and I roar off into the night. A hungry beast looking to feed on fresh meat. In nine minutes the sprawling urban estate with all its edgy energy is far behind me, I’m in the lush lanes of Hampstead Heath and the pumping stereo is discordant and jarring here. But I don’t care, I want the noise distraction to shut those fucking wasps up until I get relief.
As I swing into West Heath Road, Kimber is waiting under the soft orange glow of a streetlamp. She thinks she looks good, all long blonde hair, killer heels and short black leather dress, with a tease of a lace stocking top on display. The bitch looks like a Hoe, just how I like her. Then like a miracle cure, the mind chatter stops. All I think of is her, wanting her , needing her, now. I grab her hand and lead her deep into the undergrowth. It’s easy to find a quiet place on the heath, there is enough space for all those other creatures of the night out doing their thing too. She wants to take it slow, I have other places to go. Goods to deliver, money to make. I wind my fingers tightly into her hair, pull her to me and kiss her hard. Its fast and furious and I am lost for a moment in time, caught in her sensuous scent and hoping she will bring me blessed release. She doesn’t and I push her away. I’ve seen that look in her eye too often, the ghosts of the women I’ve reeled in, beat them, cheated on them and then cut loose leaving them with kids, heartbreak, addictions, just walked away and all without a backward glance. No mercy, no remorse. Kimber could have been different, she was edgy, damaged and fun and took no crap from no man. I liked her, a lot, but she wasn’t the ‘one.’ Did I even know what I wanted?Someone to watch over me, love me for who I truly was and saw what I could be, not what I had become. Someone who would raise me up after my fall from Grace, and shut those fucking wasps up? An Angel, untainted by the filth that was my life? Did I even deserve a ‘one’?
“Go home to your husband, Kimber.”
“Yeah…” Knowing I won’t. We’re done here.
I walk her to her car, she leans in for a kiss and I light a Dunhill instead. That look in her eyes again, but I don’t care. Reaching into my pocket I pull out a couple of wraps.
“Something for after, Babe, for you and the old man.”
She pushes my hand away, “I don’t want drugs, the drugs don’t work, I want you, I thought you knew that? Wanted it too?”
Shrugging I slip the Black Leb back in my pocket, I have plenty others want what I got. I don’t need “it’s complicated.” Suddenly her heady perfume is overpowering, her voice annoying me. I open her car door, I see tears in her eyes, she’s got the message. But her tears don’t matter, she doesn’t matter. I need release, I need peace and she isn’t it.
Looking at my Rolex, it’s ten before midnight. I get in the 911 and my slate grey beast roars into life and I am gone, leaving her with her memories. It’s a short drive to Primrose Hill. When the noise in my head gets too much I come here, park up and walk to the top. Only me and the demons who like to keep me company, sitting in darkness watching the lights over London town. I pull out another Dunhill, take a long drag of nicotine. I don’t do my own merchandise anymore, Kimber was right, the drugs don’t work. The devil, he showed me these lights once, from a different vantage point. I liked what I saw and grabbed the life with both hands. Now here I am sat alone in darkness, searching for something but not knowing what. I’ve had the cars, the money, the drugs, the violence, the women, the life. A big player in my urban prison. The devil sold me a deal. I sold him my soul. Now, I’m feeling like I want it back. The wasps start up again, buzzing in my head, driving me crazy. I’ll stay here from midnight until dawn breaks, watching my own personal open air screening of the double feature horror show of my own mind movies.
I want to sleep but there is no sleep for the wicked…
As the Orchestra struck up the music and the dance floor of the Waldorf Astoria glittered into life, Florence stood up. She reluctantly took the outstretched hand of her long time dancing partner, Old Nick. As he swept her elegantly into the diaphanous throng of chiffon and lace she stumbled. His vice like grip on her arm and steely glare ensured she would not cause him further embarrassment. She flinched and blinked away hot tears of anger and shame. It hadn’t always been like this. They were so in step before…
Florence once thrilled at being in the company of rich and influential Nick Mephistopheles. He wasn’t handsome and his age was indeterminate, but he had charisma and a dark charm. Nick’s business practices were more than shady, but as long as she was on the receiving end of his largesse Florence didn’t give a damn what people said about him. There were rumours he was part of the underworld, they said there were other women but she didn’t care. Florence was a night girl, drawn to danger. Nick’s lifestyle was an aphrodisiac. They said he ruled New York City and went for the jugular of anyone who opposed him. Was she afraid? No, it didn’t seem to worry her, it gave her a rush. She didn’t give a thought that there may be a heavy price to pay for his patronage when their first dance had begun all those years ago.
“What kind of business are you in, Nick?” Florence asked with an engaging smile,
“I’m a people person, a collector,” his reply was enigmatic and further enquiries subdued by the string of exquisite black pearls he draped around her slender neck.
“How can I possibly repay your generosity, kind Sir?” She already knew she would do anything for him. The lavish Manhattan lifestyle was highly addictive for a girl from a Brooklyn brownstone.
“Oh, I guess body and soul should be payment enough, yours and others I send you to collect!” There was a twinkle in his coal black eyes and she thought he had jested. Back then. Back when the dance had begun.
Nick was generous. Florence only had to express a desire and it was hers for the taking, fabulous jewels, designer clothes, the Fifth Avenue apartment and the prestige of being on his arm. All the hedonistic delights the city offered were hers for the taking. New York was his plaything, a bauble in his hand. No one quite knew where Nick’s power came from. No one dared to ask…
Nick liked to work hard and party hard. He liked all eyes on him and he had a ruthless and vindictive streak with rivals in both the ballroom and the boardroom. Florence was a huge asset to his dealings. Nick rewarded most handsomely when she performed. With a Siren’s call her beauty brought victims to Nick’s lair. It was all a game to Florence, well paid with a hint of danger. She liked that. The glitter and glamour were as seductive as hell and Florence willingly checked in all morality and conscience. The years passed and she continued taking to the dance floor and dancing to Mr Mephistopheles tune. No questions asked.
Tonight, there was unease in the air. Florence was tiring of their ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’and told him she wanted out. She told him she wanted more, she wanted love. Nick laughed in her face then grew possessive and wrapping his strong fingers around her neck he drew her close.
“Florence, we have a contract. I own you, body and soul.”
As she tried to pull away he kissed her hard on her ruby lips. There was none of the usual passion, just a stamp of ownership. She shuddered. The ballroom had become a prison and her dancing partner her gaoler. They had sealed the deal a long time ago – When you dance with the devil, there is no way out…
It was time for a new dancing partner. Nick would have to go. As the thought crossed her mind, she saw the Stranger and he saw her. And Nick saw him too. Savagely he grabbed her wrist, and snarled,“Stay with me, Florence. Better the devil you know...”
Florence broke free and without looking back made her way across the empty dance floor. All eyes were on her, but she saw no one only the charismatic stranger. He seemed to emit a numinous light. Music sublimely filled the ballroom and she moved inexorably into his arms.
“Do you want to dance?” she whispered seductively.
“Only, if you are willing to forsake Nick’s protection and come with me to the end of time, Florence.” He brushed her face with beguiling lips and shuddering she realised his mouth was as cold as the grave.
“I will…” she paused looking back at Nick’s table, but he was nowhere to be seen.
As the stranger held out his hand, it dawned on her he knew her name, but she did not know his. Just who was this beguilingly beautiful man? With prescience, he smiled and answered the question swimming in her mind.
As she gasped, he swept her into his arms and onto the dance floor. The Orchestra struck up the music and the plaintive strains of Sibelius’ ‘Valse Triste’ filled the air. The Last Waltz would truly last forever as Florence danced with the devil to the edge of darkness…
I’ve always been fascinated by abandoned places and the fragments of the past lingering in the stale air. Is it the remnants of lost hopes, I sense? Fragments of dreams and burnt out desires? The Croft was one of those places with so many stories to tell and I wanted to hear them.
Tapping into residual energies? It is what I do and I’ve never questioned it, accepting it just ‘is what it is.’ They never leave, those old ghosts from the past, their memories becoming just another layer on the atmosphere. And if they chose to reveal their secrets, as a whisper on the wind, then I have a greedy ear to listen.
I walked over to a small wooden framed window, dirty panes of glass, eyes dully staring without seeing, the wild beauty of the land. The taste of sea salt hung in the air flung up by harsh waves beating down upon soft silver sands. Who stood there, looking out at me looking in? Did they ever wonder what lay on the edge of the horizon, what lay over the sea from Barra to Skye. Intrigued and wanting to know more I approached the door, coated in peeling paint of soft pink and covered in lichen. It beckoned to be opened. I reached out and grasped the iron handle, blackened and rusted with age, expecting it to be cold to the touch. Instead I felt it crackle as a jolt of electricity ran up my arm. The magic had begun, hands from the past were still imprinted on the handle. A melancholy creak and the door opened, allowing me admittance to a forgotten world. Who would be waiting and would they be willing to speak? Would I have too many questions, for which there were too few answers?
And then I heard her! A soft whisper in my ear as gentle as the kiss of a summer breeze.
“I’m still here.”
“Talk to me,” I said, “tell me your story.” And she did.
Flora was her name, a bonny lass with red hair, flowing like molten lava down her slim back. She shyly lifted her head to look at me, her eyes filled with innocent guise, and matching her simple muslin dress, a splash of cobalt blue in a grey place.
The impressions came flooding in, gossamer threads of the fabric of her life. She’d loved him and leaving the comfort and protection of her Father’s castle walls ran away with her Sailor boy, freely crossing over the sea from Skye to be with him in the croft.
Life was harsh but Flora comforted herself when it was cold outside the flames of passion and desire he ignited in her were all she needed. The warmth of his love and the fire burning brightly in the grate would keep bad at bay. Until the fire went out, leaving ashes and dust…
Slowly Flora came to realise she was not enough for her man. She shared him with his Mistress. It was a bitter blow to see his eyes light up when he heard the siren’s call, in a way they no longer did for her. With sad resignation Flora knew, once his Mistress summoned him, he would go. Much as he loved his young wife, when the sea whispered his name, he was lost.
Many a moon tide she stood waiting upon a lonely shore, looking out to sea and praying for his safe return. He would return. He always did once the yearning to be free and sail the seven seas had been assuaged, then he would hold her and love her and she would forgive and forget. Hope burnt brightly within her innocent heart. He was her lover, her friend and husband in the eyes of God above and father of her children yet to be born. Bonny bairns who would play at her feet. Strong sons who one day would go to sea and ease their poverty, such dreams had she!
I sensed the atmosphere change. Anticipation, excitement and the thrill of laying in his arms replaced by a dull dread.
Silence. She was fading.
“What happened, can you tell me?”
Outside the sky was blackening, dark storm clouds approached. I smelt the promise of rain, harsh and bitter.
“Ohh..Flora…” I felt her pain, “Talk to me…”
I heard the rasp of the door swinging open.She had no words left. It was time to go. I took a final look around and followed her out. The croft was empty, love did not live here any more.
The tide was going out and I made haste down to the beach, passing a rocky outcrop of granite monoliths. Had she too passed this way? Were the stones silent sentinels witnessing her silent scream as day became night and night day as she waited, fear descending as a clammy shroud.
At the closing of the day, as the light was fading away, I saw her standing there upon her lonely shore. Calling, calling…
But her love did not hear, for he was lost to the deep embrace of a cold, cruel sea. The siren had called. He would not return.
Her words were carried on the wind over the sea to Skye for no one to hear but me…
It is said every soul who walks upon the Earth is assigned a Guardian Angel ~ there are times the Angel may walk beside a soul, there are times the Angel may carry a soul and then there are times the Angel can only stand and weep…
Midwinter. A fog began to descend over the grey London skyline. Dusk had stealthily crept in and stolen the remains of the day away. White stucco walls cloaked in numinous mist and the elegant terrace of Victorian villas took on a ghostly air, Window panes glowing warm orange, reassurance that all was well within. Fire light, fire bright, all is well tonight. Smoke snaking from tall chimney pots into the chill air warned preternatural creatures of the night to stay away. One house stood apart from the camaraderie of its neighbours, no warmth or light was to be found within its walls. As dusk gave way to night the fog began to lift. Lights were extinguished and weary folk made their way gratefully to bed, giving thanks to the Lord for the day that had just been done and the morrow yet to come. The interior of number four was just as bleak as the façade. Winter’s icy fingers reached into the very heart of the despondent house, into a cavernous bedroom dressed with heavy furniture of a bygone century when the house was proud and new. A huge mahogany bedstead, barely discernible in the gloom, rose as a dark island in a sea darkness. An oak armoire and a Chiffonier threw dark, dancing shadows. A huge black Victorian cast iron fireplace, inset with tiles glazed with an elegant William Morris floral design took centre stage. It was too dark to appreciate the contrast of the beautiful pure white flowers, against the blackness of the cold and empty hearth. Lilies for the departed soul now restored to innocence after death. The room was out of step with the modern world unfolding beyond its ornate walls patterned in rich shades of gold and teal. Heavy brocade curtains dressed window. Although slightly closed they admitted a pale sliver of moonlight to come creeping in and illuminate the scene within the room.
From the remote island of the big bed, a young child sat up, big hazel eyes wide open, scanning the room for an unknown yet threatening Presence. She drew an eiderdown tightly around her tiny body, tucking the edges under her tiny chin. The warmth was reassuring, providing a degree of safety and comfort. The big bulky frame of her Father lay beside the little girl. He was sleeping, heavy breathing reverberating around the room, chasing away the creeping silence. Shadows danced on the walls, intermittently thrown up by arbitrary moonlight. A gilded mirror hung above the fireplace and the child was mesmerised by the forms within its silvery depths. Were there phantasmagorical creatures living in the mirror, inhabitants of a world within worlds? A ray of capricious moonlight fell across the hardwood floor, illuminating a languid, white, and crumpled body. Comatose, the flaccid form lay curled in a foetal position, an empty brandy bottle clutched in a lifeless hand. A strangled sob escaped into the gloom alerting the man, and on seeing his tiny daughter was wide-awake, urged her to snuggle down and sleep. Having witnessed the scene for far too long and powerless to change things, he had ceased to care a long time ago. Defiantly, the child shook her head, soft auburn ringlets swaying around her little heart shaped face, big hazel eyes luminous and anxious. She enquired tentatively whether Mummy was cold, laying there on the floor? Why was Mummy on the floor yet again, and not snuggling up with them like she used to? Should Mummy get into bed too? Should they cover Mummy to keep her warm? Thinly veiling his feelings of revulsion and contempt, voice laden with disgust, the tired man reassured his tiny child that Mummy was fine. So many questions, so few answers. The floor was where Mummy wanted to be, so they should leave her there and go back to dreamland. Then he rolled over and went back to sleep. The little girl burrowed under the covers, and lay down with her tiny nose snuggling into her Daddy’s warm back. Mummy was fine, Daddy knew best. Her worries alleviated, she slept the rest of the night comforted by the deep sleep of the innocent. In her dreams, the child called for an Angel, an Angel of Love and Light, and the Angel hearing her call, came.
Suddenly, a luminous golden glow bathed the room and the Angel stepped out of the Light with her arms outstretched. She held a gossamer blanket, woven from the light of the stars from the heavens above, and gently she wrapped the child’s Mother in love and light and tenderness. For the Angel knew, just as the child knew, that the woman although bound by addictions and barricaded into her own pain was still a beloved child of the Godhead, of Source and deserving of love and forgiveness and understanding. The Angel prayed a quiet benediction over the child and her Mother and the man who had long forgotten the truth, as he slept in his warm bed whilst his wife lay on the cold, hard floor. A fragrant blend of frankincense and lilies filled the room. The sour smell of stale alcohol pervading the air now dissipated. The man did not smell the fragrant perfume purifying the woman nor did he see the blanket of stars that wrapped her. He did not see the Angel of Light tending to his wife as the Celestial Being tried to remove the vicious demons of addiction from her. He did not see the tender white lily the Angel placed in the woman’s hand as she took away the empty bottle. He did not see these things, for he too was enslaved by his own addictions.
And the Angel stood and wept silent tears for the man and the woman who could not see, as their child could, the Presence of Angels.
“I knew these people…once…It was a long time ago…”
She looked like she needed to talk, some fragmented ghost of a memory rattling around the caverns of her mind seeking to find a voice. So I pulled up a chair and sat down beside her and prepared to listen. After all, it is what I do. Listen. I listen a lot. People tell me things, always have. Seems to come from nowhere, the torrent of words, the secrets and the shames. I never judge. That is for the Man above not me.
A waiter came over. Smartly dressed with slicked back black hair, just a hint of grey kissing his temples and a smile that reached his rich brown eyes. I noted he was deferential without being subservient, in a very European way. I liked him and resolved to leave him a good tip. I saw he liked her, a lot. Did she like him? It was difficult to tell. There was a story hiding behind his smile, but that would be for another time. Right now was her time. She had something to say and I had a strong intuition I needed to hear it.
I ordered a pot of English Breakfast Tea, toast and marmalade, “Make that for two, please,” I glanced at her and she nodded her approval at him.
“Très bon,” he rewarded us both with a smile, hiding just a soupçon of merriment. This man did not take life too seriously at all. He really was very handsome and as he walked away a delicious hint of citrus and spice lingered in the air.
“Mmm,” I sniffed appreciatively “Do I detect patchouli and sandalwood?”
“Indeed you do. Top notes and base notes. Quite enticing, isn’t it? Clive Christian 1872,” she replied with authority and I wondered if she was the one who had gifted him a very fine bottle of cologne.
We sat in comfortable companionship in the beautiful glass roofed Courtyard. Soft pink stucco walls wrapped the restaurant with the elegance of a bygone age. She asked me if this was my first visit to the Wallace Collection. I smiled and told her I often came here to Hertford House and take yet another admiring stroll through the sumptuous rooms of the museum, admiring the works of fine art, especially paintings depicting angels. I told her my Mother had first brought me here as a little girl.
“Mummy are Angels just make believe or are they really real like the elves with their black patent shoes with big silver buckles and fairies with their gossamer wings in my big picture book?” I had made earnest enquiries.
“Indeed they are Evie,” Mummy had replied, “Would you like to see the lovely paintings of the Angels in Hertford House? We shall look at suits of armour and you can see for yourself knights who protected princesses were very real too! We shall have tea and toast and yummy jam when we finish. ”
My Mother always had a special way of making the most magical things sound a natural part of everyday life. I missed her and gazing at my elegant companion momentarily wondered would Mummy have looked just like her if the sickness had not came and took her away much too soon. Would we be sitting here now recalling my delight at the moment I had gazed on the beautiful paintings of Lords and Ladies of long ago. Entranced by the many treasures housed in the Wallace Collection, I had moved from one sumptuous and ornate gallery to the next, each filled with armour, fine porcelain, ornate snuffboxes and gorgeous fireplaces and rococo chandeliers. And I had seen the Angels. And I had believed.
I saw I was under close scrutiny, “I like it here,” I told her, “ I like it a lot. It’s been a long love affair,” I said.
She smiled and told me she loved it too, had been visiting the imposing Georgian house, standing proudly on London’s Manchester Square, for as long as she could remember. She said that she loved the Gainsborough’s and Fragonard’s. She smiled in appreciation as she divulged her favourite painting and said she found Scheffer’s “The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil” hauntingly beautiful. She said it made her cry. She told me she hugely admired the serenity of Velázquez’s black veiled beauty “The Lady with a Fan” and shared she was intrigued by sculptures depicting veiled beauties. She wondered if Raffaele Monti’s emotive statuette really depicted a Circassian slave? Perhaps, she postulated, she was truly free and her beautiful veiled countenance was an allegory for her seeing ‘beyond the veil’ into numinous realms. She said her name was Evelyn and she had a town house close by in Crawford Street, she was a Writer and she was glad of my company. A lot of words as one would expect, but not what she really needed to say.
I shivered involuntarily. Crawford Street was a place I knew well, having grown up in an elegant stucco fronted Georgian house. In different circumstances I would be living there now, but for the premature loss of my darling Mother. That house held many happy memories and I had vowed one day to return, that it would be my home again. Meeting Evelyn was proving to be more than a touch synchronistic.
Our tea and toast arrived.
“Those people…?” I tried to engage her to take my mind away from wandering down dark avenues from the past.
I poured tea, fragrant with freshly pressed leaves, from a pewter pot into our cups and she added the milk and sugar. The toast was good. I ladled on rich yellow butter and a generous helping of deliciously bitter marmalade and as I savoured the flavours I waited for her to speak. You can have an intuition on what they may say, sometimes hear the words before they actually speak them. Then when they do speak, the emotions come in, sometimes softly flowing, sometimes a tidal wave. And I have it all hitting me, sometimes it’s hard to remain inscrutable, to just listen. But it is about them, not me, so they never know I have eyes that look into their distant pasts and possible futures, their right here, right now’s or just how much I know…
She was different. Looking at me quizzically with intelligent eyes, and with a start I realised she was reading me reading her. A feint smile. I winked at her, knowingly. We laughed conspiratorially.
Sunlight, delicately streaming through the glass roof caught her hair. Cool blonde with strands of silver pulled off her face by a black velvet band. A woman of a certain age, but what that age was I would be hard pressed to say. Quietly understated elegance. She wore pearl earrings. Beautiful pearls, soft as moonlight. I admired them.
“Indeed yes, they are beautiful. Tears from the moon.” Her eyes misted. I reached over and covered her hand with mine. A simple gesture, speaks more eloquently and deeply than words ever can. She had long slim fingers tipped with manicured nails varnished the colour of her pale pink pearls. Her hand was surprisingly cold.
“Those people…” I encouraged, knowing the earrings held the key to her story, as did love. Was it lost, unrequited, had her heart been broken or did she carry the heavy weight of human frailty having inflicted pain and hurt on another? I munched my toast waiting for her to reply. The toast here is really very good. My reward for patience just a flicker behind her grey eyes, a wry smile and the deafening sound of silence. Perhaps a guilty conscience lay behind her insouciance? I truly hoped not.
Suddenly I had a very strong desire to know and held her gaze searchingly. I saw the relief in her face as the waiter returned with a fresh pot of tea and she took the opportunity to slip her hand away from mine, the shutters were down. The moment had passed. I got she was uncomfortable with my touch, the warmth of another human reaching out to her. I wasn’t sure if she would tell me her story, or keep her secrets to be shared only with the ghost living in the caverns of her mind. With a start, I realised I could not read her, looking into her eyes all I saw was myself looking back, my pale pink pearls catching rainbows of light as the sun danced through the atrium.
She may well have a lifetime of stories to tell, but I was going to have to live them before Evelyn shared our secrets with me, Evie…
O’er I am feeling a tad pleased with myself, My Lovelies!
“Indeed, Angel, and just why would that be?” I hear you ask “Is it because you are such a clever little Pupster and your paws have penned such woofiliciously good books?“
Hmm…Yes that is one reason to be pleased, but it isn’t that!
“Oh, could it be that you are so cute, Grannie waits on you hand and paw?”
Well yes, of course she does-that’s her job, and now I have my Butler James he does too… But that isn’t really a reason to be pleased, unless of course you count THEIR pleasure waiting on MOI…So, it isn’t that!
“Of course, it is because you are so beautilicious, you have all those boys chasing after you…Teddy Hot Paws and your True love Handsome Hamish in Tewin, your English country village (you told us all about them in Telling Tails) and Mason the Hollywood Hottie and Shaunessey his Intellectual brother in Manhattan (We met them in Angel in the City) …Oh and of course Krios the Royal Personage you told us all about in your gorgeous slice of chick lit, Angel Cake!“
It is true that I am rather like that other famous Diva Marlena Dietrich.Can I help it if Dogs cluster to me like moths around a flame and worship at my perfect paws.. I like her you know. I like old movies, all that Noir stuff. It gave me an idea for my latest photoshoot…Moi goes Noir!!!
B.F.F’s Jenna and Amy do everything together and share everything together. They have vowed to be Best Friends Forever! Both girls long for a puppy to love and share. But their apartment block in London’s busy West End has a total ban on pets.
Just when their dream seems impossible, gorgeous poodle Poppy Paws comes tearing into their lives, bringing big changes with her. With an unexpected move to the countryside it looks like the girls wishes have just come true…But have they?
Everything should be just perfect in their new homes and Poppy has wrapped her perfect paws around the girls hearts and is part of the ‘Best Friends Forever’ team. Life is good until ‘bad dog’ Patch spoils things for Jenna, she becomes afraid of the thing she loves most, dogs!
With her friendships with both Amy and Poppy Paws threatened, Jenna desperately needs to overcome all her doubts and fears or risk loosing her friends.
In Which Angel Is Determined To Have her Cake And Eat It!
Grannie has been selfishly ignoring all my copious ‘Want, Need, Now’s!’
Grrr…and more Grrr’s…
I want to take my Morning perambulations in Central Park, but Fifth Avenue is a long way down from my incarceration in our Penthouse.
There is a boy I need to ‘Meet and Greet’. He’s totally Yummy and so are the mega tasty titbits in his treat bag. You can appreciate just why I’m keen to go walkies like right now. So who is he? Well snuggle up and join me in another of our “Shh…Secret Sharing Sessions” and I will tell the romantic tale of how we met, My Lovelies! But not a word to Hamish, my very jealous boyfriend back in England, he may get the wrong idea…again!
We met yesterday and I think I may be in lurve. So his name is Krios. He is so sophisticated and cosmopolitan and so dashing. Krios is a Kokoni dog from the beautiful Greek Island of Kythira in the Ionian Sea. He told me he is in the Big Apple all week, waiting for his big boat to come into New York Harbour from Athens. Oh, he must mean a luxurious ocean going liner, he must be a real billionaire! Just think of all the goodies he can buy me! Krios told me his name means Ruler and master. Ohh, he must also be a King, or a Prince at the very least. I told him my name meant a divine and celestial being. We are a match made in heaven. Grannie said his name and mine are total misnomers, cheek! Grannie said Kokoni’s are a very common small dog in Greece and certainly did not rule anyone. Grannie is mad. The boy is obviously a royal personage travelling incognito. He has as good as told me so. I was on a photo-shoot for Vogue Magazine at the Bethesda fountain, you know the fancy one on the terrace right by the lake in Central Park, when I hear this delicious Greek accent exclaim enthusiastically,
‘The Angel, she is soooo beautiful!’
Naturally I reply, ‘Ohhh, yes I am!’ and flutter my beautilicious eyelashes, as the owner of the voice is a mega cute dog!
‘Have you been a fan of mine for long, would you like my paw print?’ I inquired of the cute dog, as I flirted with further rather fetching eyelash fluttering.
He looked a bit bemused and confused and unbelievably asked Moi,
Grannie had come along to watch my shoot, and ensure all my want, need, now’s were promptly dealt with. Nonplussed at his ignorance, she nudged me and whispered in a very loud voice,
‘I think he was referring to her up there, not you down here!’
She pointed to The ‘Angel of the Waters’ towering over the fountain, and the cute boy only nodded his head. Can you believe it? Humphh. Is my Grannie for real? Does that boy live on Mars?
‘F.Y.I ignorant young man, I am Angel Nash, beautilicious Global Icon, Fashionista and famous Author! And all these cameras are for Moi, not some old statue!’ I sternly, yet modestly informed him.
Angel’s love life is about to get even more complicated as her misadventures continue in her latest tasty treat of a Westie book! Take a peek and preview now!
Angel is a diva dog who has it all, beauty, fame and a luxurious uptown life in Manhattan with her doting Grannie and Butler James attending to all her copious ‘want, need, nows!’. What more could a girl want? When Angel meets a super cute boy, who happens to be an incognito King, she realises there is something missing from her life, the royal title of H.R.H Princess Angel to be exact! When her royal suitor bestows tasty treats and offers more, Angel’s dreams of social elevation go to her head. Our girl is on a mission to nab herself a crown and a rather yummy cake. She isn’t about to let the little matter of a true love back home in England spoil her plans. But when old frenemy Kimbles the Bichon biatch arrives in New York, and a blast or two from the past reappear, life becomes “it’s complicated” and Angel finds she has more than a touch of trouble on her delectable paws. Mischief and mayhem ensue as Angel is determined to have her crown and wear it and have her cake and eat it! Join our girl on the couch in her fabulous Manhattan Penthouse as she candidly reveals all in her cosy secret sharing sessions, with you, her Lovelies!
From Pupster to Pawsome Author of Westie books…Meet & Greet Miss Angel Nash!
“…I am miffing mad! I have been unfairly accused, and misunderstood. Grrr…It is not a good idea to cross Moi! My True Love, Hamish, and that B.F nabbin’ frenemy of mine, Kimbles, should be worried! Grannie can watch out too! It is time to name and shame and my paws are on creative fire with all the tales I am going to tell!”
Angel’s love life is already ‘It’s complicated’ especially as her frenemy Kimbles is keen to get her paws on Angel’s True Love. When a gossip girl whispers in Handsome Hamish’s ear that he is not the only cute boy she has been stepping out with, the shadow of suspicion falls on Angel. Meanwhile selfish human, author Grannie, thoughtlessly decides to feature sneaky Kimbles in one of her books, a dream Angel has longed for. It is all too much and the fur is set to fly! Canine chaos ensues when Angel takes matters into her own paws and sabotages the offending manuscript, getting Grannie fired and Angel hired by a huge New York publishing house. A riotous romp unfolds along the way to sudden fame, as our girl creates mischief and mayhem and muses on hugely important matters, namely herself!
🐾 A PAWSOME READ ~ PAPERBACK & KINDLE EBOOK on Amazon