A little parable on knowing it is OK to ask for help if you are not OK…
Two strangers met in a forest.
“I can’t find my way home,” he said.
“I’m lost too, maybe we can find a our way home through the forest together,” she replied.
He looked uncertain, and shaking his head began to walk away.
“Come back!” she cried, “What if you are going the wrong way?”
“NO!” He shouted, “What if you lead me further into the deep dark woods?”
“What if I don’t? What if I lead you home?” Frustration burning in her dark eyes.
He shook his reluctant head. “You go your way, I will go mine. I don’t need you or anyone to help me, I will find my own way home, ALONE.” Without a backward glance he took off through the dense undergrowth.
Alone and afraid she cried out “Help me!” She thought she heard a whispering in the trees behind her and turning around she saw a feint ray of light shone ahead, just enough to see through the canopy. She moved closer and closer to its source. Realising it was coming from soft sunlight heralding the dawn of a fresh new day she began to run. She knew she would now be able to find a way out of the darkness, following the cookie crumbs the dancing motes of light threw upon the forest floor.
Turning, she called excitedly to him, for now they both could be free and no longer lost. But he was long gone, deeper and deeper into the undergrowth, ensnared and trapped by tangled roots and gnarled old trees in the forest of the night. Even if he had been willing, he was too far away to hear.
Knowing she had lost him, she ran forwards drawn by the intensity of the growing Light. The kiss of the morning Sun caught tears glistening on her face, tears of gratitude for her salvation and of sorrow for the lost stranger who could have become a friend.
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.
It’s Friday afternoon and here I am curled up on my favourite couch, pushed up close to the red brick feature wall, it allows me a sweeping view of the rest of the dimly lit interior, it is the best seat in the house. Comfortable and discreet and perfect for me to enjoy my favourite past time, people watching. I’m enjoying the enticing aroma of freshly ground Arabica beans brewing, all the better to tempt the taste buds of of our patrons. I also see a fresh lemon drizzle cake has arrived on the counter, baked by the fair hand of Cassie. I’m sure there won’t be much of that left this evening!
I’m Henry and I run things around here at the “Black Cat Café ”. That’s Cassie over there, with the fluffy blonde hair and huge amber eyes, if she were a feline she’d be a playful Persian Kitten, but you do have to watch her, sometimes Kitty has claws! Cassie is a people person. Me? I’m far more reserved, cool, detached and maybe even a little introverted. As you have noticed I am an actual Cat, a rather lovely Burmese, with silky black fur and jade eyes that miss nothing. Maybe I am biased but just like our downtown coffee shop, I am rather unique and special.
Could be “The Black Cat Café” feels like home from home, a little haven nestled amongst all the bustling commerce, catering to that strange human need to hang out with other humans. It’s cosy and intimate with discreet seating, an eclectic mix of distressed brown leather sofas and sumptuous armchairs covered in velvet hues of deep purple and forest green. We have lots of plump Liberty print cushions scattered about for patrons to sink into and enjoy a leisurely break from the humdrum world outside. Low, mahogany tables with fresh Freesias in china vases and tiny tea lights in coloured glasses add to the sense of being in an intimate space. An ornate gilded mirror picks up all the twinkling fairy lights strewn around the walls. Cassie happily hosts local artists, displaying their vibrant work. The vibe is vintage, eclectic and super cosy. There are plenty of little nooks and crannies for those desiring a quite tete a tete, friends sharing intimacies, lovers sharing secrets. We cater for those wanting to see and be seen too. Sat outside at our cast iron Bistro sets, they are welcome to light up a cigarette, sip an espresso and watch the world go by European style. And all from our Waterfront pavement in our quaint little corner of Providence.
Interesting what you see in a coffee shop, all the little vignettes of peoples lives, how they interconnect and entwine. I like to people watch, maybe because I’m such an introvert, a window on the world without getting too close. Maybe I am just a discerning cat. It is just like front seat watching your favourite day time soap opera as life’s little dramas play out. I can tell a lot by just looking at a person, where they choose to sit, what they are drinking. Now, you for instance, are a cat person, I can tell you will enjoy just sitting here and soaking up the atmosphere, the scents and sounds. Cassie likes to play the blues on the stereo. I prefer the sultriness of Lana Del Rey and Beth Hart, she plays them too. Says they capture raw emotion, love stripped bare. Cassie gets things, that’s why she is my person. I don’t like to share her.
Come and join me, I’ll be glad of your company and happy to chat for a while. Plenty of space on this old couch. Grab yourself a steaming mug of your favourite brew and people watch with me. Don’t be shy, I find that introverts like to join me, they don’t feel so obviously on their own with a cool cat for company.
“Why thank you Henry, don’t mind if I do. I think I’ll go for a Macchiato and a slice of that lemon drizzle cake. Let me introduce myself, I’m Tyler, I’m a writer, people watcher too. Like to observe the depth psychology of interpersonal relationships. See him over there in sports clothes, with the well dressed woman, what can you tell me about them?”
Ohhh…Those two…They meet in here every Friday, same time, same seats, same drinks. An English Breakfast tea for her and a Skinny decaf Latte for him. I admit I like them. Good. Decent. Married. The last six months I’ve watched it all happen and watched it all unravel.Observed the other players in their little world, too. They haven’t noticed me, noticing them.I can tell you it all, what went wrong, ripped them apart. Shame really. I would have liked to have said something to them, let them know they could make it better, but it would not have worked. They wouldn’t have heard me.I’ve had eyes and ears on them. I think this is a ‘make or break’ coffee date…I know Cassie thinks so too. The whole thing has put her on edge. Oh, my steamed milk has cooled down, just a few sips and I shall share my observations, my dear Tyler!
“I’m intrigued, Henry, do tell!”
He’s called Chase, he’s from the Mid West. Tough guy. Made it out of the ghetto and sidestepped the gangs into law enforcement, rapidly rose to Captain in one of Chicago’s toughest precincts. Had the heart of a lion, fearless on the mean streets, got burnt out, saw way too much too soon. She’s a New Yorker, Manhattan, a real UpTown girl. I’ve intuited all this from the stories they tell each other and things Cassie has said. Life brought them here to Rhode Island. He may be in his late thirties now but still has a great deal of stamina and physical strength, keeps himself athletic, runs marathons. Cassie said it keeps his head clear, I disagree. Who or what is he running from?
“What about the woman, she is beautiful, but a lot older, ten years easily?”
Her name is Venetia, she’s all Fifth Avenue elegance. Look at those pearls, the Chanel suit and those Manolo heels. If you get close enough, you’ll get a waft of gorgeous heady Italian perfume, classy dame. He smells of fresh pine, a forest of green stuff. My Cassie smells of fresh baked muffins, I think I prefer the muffins myself.
“They look like a mismatched pair, Henry, don’t look like they would have any meaningful connection?”
Looks are deceiving my dear Tyler, do what cats do…Look at those eyes, so dark but shine so bright. I wonder if that was the draw for him? Those eyes are cats eyes, see things that others don’t. I can tell that she ‘sees’ him. Knows him well. He seems to like that. She has a fierce intellect. He likes that too. Admires her for her depth, not threatened by her mind like some men would be in the company of a Psychologist. Her Practice is a few blocks from here, she’s been in with a few of her clients. The Black Cat Café is discreet, comfortable, puts them at ease to open up to her. Cassie is okay with her doing some counselling sessions here. Now if she were a cat, she would be a sleek and elegant Russian Blue, him he’d be a Savannah. Chase still has a wild side. Cassie says she has yet to meet the woman could tame that one and if the ‘one’ ever arrives that will be the last we see of Chase around here.
“So Chase is a bit of a dark horse, a player then, Henry?”
Hard to tell. His eyes are fathomless. They may be blue. They may be grey. Depends on his mood. I have wondered if he, despite all his physical strength, is desperately trying to keep bad at bay. He isn’t easy to read. But I noticed that Venetia saw down into that deep dark well and into the hidden place where he keeps those old hungry and angry ghosts on lock down.
“Oh, that is rather deep, Henry. It takes a lot to bare one’s soul. Somethings we never admit to, even to ourselves. World stays safe that way.”
Yes, you are right. The unsaid ‘thing’ … He knew she knew... and he loved her for it but he just could not tell her. It was complicated. Humans, funny things. Felines are so much further along the evolutionary scale, cats say what we mean, mean what we say. Demand what is ours. Take it if necessary…
“What happened, Henry? Do you know?”
Of course I know, I’m a cat, I know everything and I was right there, under his feet! Saturday night he was sat on my couch knocking back Jack Daniels, Venetia was at a conference in New York and Chase was badly missing her, couldn’t sleep, he gets these nightmares. Cassie was upstairs visiting the land of dreams so I decided to keep an eye on things down here. He called her. Too much alcohol, both of them, and it all came tumbling out…unsaid words, finally said…And he got afraid. Of her. The truth. Possibilities. Life… And she was ashamed, she crossed a line, didn’t know how to go back… Pity really, They were so good for each other.
“But he is still with her, sat over there? They are both wearing wedding bands. Surely it didn’t end that night?”
No, it should have done. Been cleaner. Better for everyone, and no one would have got hurt. Instead he did the craziest thing and ‘let the Stranger in’, took up with Maggie. Caused a lot of complications around here. I don’t judge, but I didn’t like that. No, not one bit. Cassie was very upset by all the drama.
“Who is this other woman, Henry?”
She’s the innocent looking blue eyed blonde at the counter, watching them, whispering in Cassie’s ear yet again. …wish Cassie would unleash her claws on that one, but she’s standing there listening to her … And because Maggie is her sister, Cassie is believing all her lies…Hiss…I wish she would get the hell out of MY Café and back to her Five and Dime store!
“Oh Henry, what a surprising turn of events!”
I wasn’t surprised, saw it coming, he was meeting her in here, right at their table! She tries to emulate Venetia, her wit and her wisdom, but she just isn’t her. A perverse thing in him needed to regain control. Shut those ghosts up. Make his world safe again. So he chased and caught Maggie . Felt pleased with himself until he realised that the hunter became the hunted and Maggie was not for letting go or keeping things under wraps. But something deep inside whispered, then shouted. His soul cried for the woman he truly loved… But to be with her he would need to be true to himself, stripped bare. Accept what she could and could not give to him. Would he choose to do the inner work she was willing to help him do? Or would Chase cut loose?
“This Maggie must have have something. Some people cheat because they can, others cheat because there is something fundamentally missing in them and they are seeking integration through another person, trying to find a way to make themselves feel whole again. What do you think, Henry?”
Maggie is the first, Chase is the second. Venetia told Cassie in confidence that in her professional opinion Maggie has a Histrionic Personality Disorder. She needs a lot of attention, demanding more than Chase could, would or even should give her, didn’t see past herself and that he was hurting too… God, how was he hurting. As a psychologist Venetia knew both of them had issues and thought she could help them both through it… She just ended up getting burnt in the flames of her own desires.
“All very deep, Henry, do you think he will choose Maggie? Or Venetia ?”
Hmm…Neither…I am hoping he wakes up, smells the coffee and plumps for his long suffering, loyal and understanding wife!
“I thought you said they were already married, Henry?”
I did. They are…
…just not to each other…”it’s complicated”… I told you it was like a soap opera around here!
Chase is married …to Cassie…
“So Venetia is?…”
Venetia is Chase’s therapist and Maggie’s too and er, also her wife!
“So let me get this straight, Chase and Cassie, Chase and Venetia and Chase and Maggie?”
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…
“If you could, would you?” He looked at her quizzically.
“Just askin’…” Her smile held the promise of a secret she may or may not share.
Intrigued, he decided to indulge her cryptic question. “Fly around the world in a day? No, too far! Climb a volcano, that’s another no, too hot! Sit on an iceberg with a Polar Bear in the North Pole, Brrr much too cold!”
“None of those things Cooper, they are too um…mundane… That isn’t the nature of the question!”
“Join a camel train and cross the Arabian desert to sip rosewater at an oasis?” Is that fanciful enough?” He saw a flicker of light in her dark eyes, decided to close her down, this was getting too deep and the game was about to start. “No, not for me!”
“Why? It’s not too far, not too dangerous, not too cold, hmm unless maybe at night. You could keep warm sipping potent Arak, and with the heady scent of incense burning wrap your arms around your true love and make love to me by moonlight and starlight! “
Cooper looked taken aback and out of his depth. He didn’t want fancy Arabian Liquor when there was a case of Coors on ice. Forget heady incense, the only smoke he wanted was twenty Marlboro Lights. And as for the desert, well his true love the New York Giants were playing in Las Vegas and the clock was on countdown to kick off.
“Is it because it is too hot? Don’t you like it hot?” Was there just a hint of sarcasm in her voice? “Afraid you may get burnt?”
“The Arabian desert is a big place just to grab a drink, and what if the Oasis was no more than a mirage, I’d be left very thirsty, can you grab me a Coors the game is starting in like two minutes.”
Purposely not taking the pointed hint Stella pressed on, “What if it isn’t more than a mirage? Unless you make the journey, you will never know.”
Walking into the kitchen, she filled herself a large glass of chilled Californian Chardonnay, took a slow sip and then another…The wine cooling her rising ire. It was all about him, it was always all about him. Saturday night, and all dressed up with no where to go, except another one way ticket to boredom city. She downed the wine, filled another glass, grabbed Cooper a beer and determined not to loose his attention stood in front of the T.V set.
“…In answer to my question ‘ If you could, would you?’ instead of sitting there watching life, what if you tried actually living life then what exciting, wonderful and amazing thing would you do?” Her voice had a sharp edge, the wine kicking in, unable to bite back the bitterness she felt.
He looked at her at a loss how to reply. Should he tell her if he could, he would shut her up, make her go away and let him watch the Giants in peace? Something in him knew he couldn’t give her what she wanted, never could, never would. She was different from all the women who had loved him and left him, a free spirit he had managed to trap and he was not about to let go, so he indulged her little flights of fancy, even though they bored him, then made sure the bars of the prison he constructed around her grew stronger and stronger, and her world grew smaller and smaller.
Seeing and mis-reading the panic in his eyes, she clasped his hands, trying to pull him up toward her. He remained seated, resolutely focussed on the TV screen behind her.
“Cooper! If you could, would you please put me first? If you could, would you please notice me?” And if you can’t would you please set me free to be with someone who would actually appreciate me?!”
“Stella, you mean everything to me, all I do, baby, you know I do it for you. Been a long week at work. The stock exchange is brutal, give a guy a break…Make it up to you. Can we set the world on fire tomorrow, You go to Nieman Marcus and get a fancy new gown and I’ll take you out to that new Fifth Avenue restaurant all the celebrities go to. The first game of the NFL season is about to start, so for tonight how ’bout you fix us a bowl of chips and join me on the couch.”
The weight of too many broken promises hung heavy in the air between them. Stella knew whatever Cooper did was all for him, none of it was for her. She also knew he was the one truly trapped, for in her mind she could always fly free…
With a sad smile she said, “I’m tired too Cooper, do you mind if I leave you to watch T.V you know ball games are not my thing?”
He nodded, relieved, “Sure thing baby, can you just grab those chips before you go?”
Stella walked back into the kitchen. Looking out over the glistening lights of the New York skyline she felt trapped in her Manhattan penthouse. Some where over the East River the stars were shining, but with all the light pollution she couldn’t see them. Stella downed the rest of her wine, wiped away the threat of hot tears and did as Cooper bid, as she always did. The Emperor called and the nightingale sang…
“Don’t get up to any mischief in your dreams, Stella!” A dismissive peck on the lips made sure she didn’t linger.
He knew where she was, safely tucked up in his bed. Once she was asleep he’d trawl through her emails and cell phone, just to make sure no hidden threat was lurking. He’d never managed to find anything incriminating, but that didn’t stop him looking. Couldn’t be doing with any one coming in and filling her head with nonsense. There was a way to handle sensitive types like his Stella, just pretend to go along with it all and then let her know she had hit a brick wall. He knew she’d tire soon enough and go off to sleep leaving him in peace. Dismissing her from his mind, comfortable in his T shirt and shorts he chugged his beer, lit a Marlboro and settled back to watch the Giants kick ass.
♥ ♥ ♥
Her pillows were plush filled with Canadian goose down, the sheets cool Egyptian cotton. Stella slipped off her blue velvet dress and eased into the king sized bed. She could have cried but her tears had dried up a long time ago.
As she drifted of to sleep, the reflection of Manhattan’s myriad of lights reflecting on the East River became a starlit sea. And in a tiny sailing boat Stella’s nocturnal journey took her away from her Penthouse cage to freedom. She travelled by moonlight and starlight to a distant shore where he was waiting, in a place where love lived forevermore. The man of her dreams. Together they lived, they laughed, they loved.
And when she asked him “If you could, would you…?” He answered “If I could, I would love you for eternity Stella!
“Would you?” She whispered.
“Stella, I would stop time for you and hold you in my arms forever!”
And sweeping her up, her lover carried Stella further into the land of dreams.
She smiled in her sleep, knowing she wasn’t doing anything wrong…
…there was so much more than they could see, so much more that they could be…
In the deep heart of winter a caveman had been hunting in the depths of the frozen forest. He had trapped a huge wild boar. He felt enormous pride at the big beast slung effortlessly across his powerful shoulders as he made his way back to his tribe.
The women had been at work too, gathering. As he approached he saw they had little to show for their efforts, a meagre ration of bitter berries and pungent leaves. He did not care for such fare.
He wanted the Boar all for himself. The hide would clothe him in fine style and the meat would fill his belly. With a huge roar, he frightened them away from their cave, determined not to share with them.
Outside the cave the women took refuge huddled in the hollow of a huge tree. They were hungry. They were cold. And they were frightened. The women wept.
Worried they would take his huge hoard of meat whilst he slept, he started piling huge chunks of limestone at the cave entrance.
The pile of stones grew higher.
The women came. The women pleaded.
He roared. He added more stones.
But in the cave he had no water and he had no wood to make fire.
The meat started to rot.
Still the women came.
Still he would not share.
The snow melted and spring dressed the Earth in a gown of green.The women working together gathered many fruits, berries, nuts and herbs and pure water from the stream. They ate and they drank and they were well. Pleased with their progress, they called to the caveman to come share in their bounty.
He mistrusted them, fearing a trap to get his meat. He added even more stones to the cave entrance.
He was now almost in complete darkness.
Time to time the women would go to the cave to see if the caveman would come out, to join the tribe once more. Their entreaties would be met with yet another ferocious roar.
In the gloom he could not see his meat was infected by maggots. He continued to eat the infected meat, until only the bones were left. He gnawed on the bones not wanting to share any of his bounty. When he was done gorging he fell ill. Very ill. The maggots were now inside him, eating away.
He weakly cried for help, but none came. The women could not hear him. He had built the stones too high.
Outside the cave, the tribe thrived for after the harsh winter Earth was bountiful and provided for all their needs. The women were gatherers and not hunters and so the animals became their friends and showed them where they could forage and find even more fruits of the forest. They wove clothes from leaves and reeds. And life was good. As they received from nature, so they gave back, walking gently upon the Earth, the Great Mother.
They wanted the caveman to share for they knew his meat would not last forever. And so the women went back to the cave but the caveman roared no more. The stones were too high and packed so tight that the women could not get through the impenetrable wall the caveman built. Reluctantly, and with heavy hearts, they left the forest.
The tribe continued to work together, to share and care and co-create. This way knowledge became power. They used their new found power wisely and in doing so each one became a Creatrix. The women knew there was so much more than they could see, so much more that they could be. Building a raft and following the path of the river they set out to cross the sunlit sea. Not knowing where they were going, but confident that they were better together and all their needs would be met.
They had set off for a brave new world and would take the caveman with them ~ for his seed was growing within the bellies of some, although not all, of the women.
A team of archaeologists found the cave. The bones of the caveman lay with the bones of the boar, so entwined it was hard to distinguish them as separate creatures. They puzzled to gain understanding of the significance of the bones and the cave…
…The place where Greed had been born in the world…
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…
I am very excited to welcome a special guest author to “Gossamer Threads” and I hope you enjoy the first instalment of a Sci-Fi Series by my beautiful boy, Ryan Nash, aged 13 🙂
There is us, the human race, the only place we could live is on Earth or so we thought. Lately scientists are developing a space shuttle capable of travelling way beyond our solar system. Giving the human race the chance to dramatically evolve to their full potential. The launch of this craft is due to take off next Sunday on 1st January 2035. Since the economy crash of 2020 technology has evolved to become more advanced than scientists previously predicted in 2005 as we begin to evolve.
By the time Sunday came, everyone was ecstatic and filled with joy to see the first shuttle launch since 2010. The shuttle was very big and holographic; it has huge thrusters and looked ascetically pleasing. Shortly after admiring the beast of a shuttle it was the decisive moment the time to make history. The count-down began 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and off it went, accelerating faster and faster, through the sky before becoming no more than a faint red dot in the sky and disappearing into the beyond.
Meanwhile on the space shuttle the crew were preparing to go into hyper drive propelling them light years away from the milky way within minuets. Their mission was exploration and investigation. Their mission would take the crew about 1 year, hopefully returning home by New Year’s Eve 2036. Quickly the engines on the shuttle power up to hyper drive and within a blink of an eye the shuttle was hurtling into the unknown.
As the engines came out of hyper drive to the slow hum of the engines whirling down, the crew were amazed to see bright and vibrant colours and some colours that they never even knew of their existence. The Beyond was truly an amazing place populated by different planets; a strangely coloured smallish purple planet, a large green planet and an extra large blue planet with 12 moons!
“This is amazing,” one of the crew members said as another took a photo of the new planets with their phone. Space in this new solar system was not like the black dullness back in our home solar system, instead it was alive with vibrant and pinkie blue tones. It made the solar system look more friendly and cute.
“Okay, enough lolly gagging and admiring the planets, now lets go and explore and investigate these new planets.”
The large shuttle slowly approached the small green planet. Once the shuttle had landed the crew members disembarked the shuttle to explore and collect samples form the planet’s surface. The crew called the planet Dormarous. As the doors on the shuttle open, the crew take their first steps on Dormarous. The planet seemed like earth, but as if they were in a rain forest.
“Interesting,” one of the crew members observed. “What?” another said, “The Eco system is exactly like Earth, we can breath this air, in-fact the oxygen here is purer that the oxygen on earth!”
Surprised the crew slowly remove their large metal helmets and took their first breathes. The place the crew discovered is not like any other known solar system, for the crew had found a self aware solar system, populated by self aware planets, suns, moons and stars.
As the crew of the shuttle were taking samples, one crew member dug a soil sample from the ground when there was a tremor beneath their feet. The crew member had just hurt Dormarous! At first the crew just thought it was a short anomaly nothing more than a mini quake. But it soon became apparent that it wasn’t a coincidence, but a known fact that every time a crew member stuck a metal object into the ground there would be a mini quake.
“That’s weird,” one crew member remarked.
“What is?” another enquired.
“It seems that every time I poke the ground it causes a mini quake!”
The crew member was right! In fact it was unsettling creepy that the planet could feel pain and the crew wondered if they could do more things to the planet, make it feel emotions. But how would the crew be able to accomplish something like this? The crew could never have imagined that they would encounter something so bizarre or something as strange as this.
The crew returned to the shuttle to collect some equipment and electronics to further test the question ‘Does the planet feel like any other sentient being?’ As strange as it is, the crew were very creative in how they tested this theory. The first test had already been completed and results had strongly indicated that the planet may indeed feel pain. One of the crew members documented the events that had taken place on their time on the strange planet they named Dormarous, while the rest of the crew were trying to test the theory ‘Could the planet feel anger and depression?’ Their first attempt went as a fail. The crew tried shouting at the planet, but nothing happened. Then the crew started arguing with each other about what they were going to do to be able to make the planet feel other emotions. Just as they were arguing, the planet started to violently shake and the equipment started to go off the charts with 7.9 magnitude quakes. Right at that moment the quakes ended, a deep loud voice shouted ‘SILENCE!’ Shocking the whole crew.
The crew became increasingly concerned about their safety.
‘DON’T YOU PEOPLE HAVE ANY SANITY!’ The planet Dormarous asked incredulously.
One crew member shouted out ‘Who are you what do you want from us?’
In reply the planet Dormarous continued to speak ‘WHY ARE YOU BEINGS SO DECEPTIVE AND CONNIVING?’
‘Us conniving and deceptive?’ One crew member responded indignantly.
Dormarous started to become angry and more agitated and annoyed. ‘THAT’S IT! I’VE HAD ENOUGH!’
Suddenly a hole opened up and devoured the shuttle craft.
‘TO GET THE SHUTTLE BACK YOU WILL HAVE TO PASS A SERIES OF TESTS TO PROVE TO ME THAT YOU ARE WORHTY TO BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE! PROVE TO ME YOU ARE ALL WORTHY AND YOU WILL GET YOUR SHUTTLE BACK AND ALL BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE IN PEACE. KNOW THIS, FAILURE FOR ONE IS FAILURE FOR ALL AND THERE WILL BE DIRE CONSEQUENCES FOR FAILURE, TO SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE ON THIS PLANET AND DIE HERE OR TO DIE IMMEDIATELY, YOUR FATE IS NOW IN YOUR HANDS. CHOOSE WISELY AND BE CAREFUL.’
A cautionary tale of Dapper Don and my timely escape from becoming his reluctant muse…A true story.
….I was taking a little trip down memory lane and thinking about the many times I have accidentally got myself in trouble through misplaced kindness.
‘How could kindness cause trouble?’ I hear you ask, dear Reader.
‘Intentions being at odds with expectations,’ is the answer, I guess. One person intends one thing, the other expects something else…as was the case with my accidental ‘clandestine coffee date’ with dapper Don…
It is hard to resist a cute dog out walkies with their human. Teddy the little Yorkshire Terrier was a handsome boy and very engaging with it, he knew just how to get attention. I would stop and fuss over him and pass a few words with the man attached to his lead. Eventually the delightful little doggy succumbed to old age and passed over the Rainbow Bridge and I didn’t see Don anymore.
Then one day I bump into him and have a little catch up chat. I should have remembered that dogs and their owners are often similar in temperament, the late lamented Teddy could wrap any female in a five mile radius around his cute little paws. Don tells me he is lonely. He tells me his long term live in girlfriend left him. He says he misses company.
I reassure him that he is a fine looking gentleman, well dressed and well kept and has such a charming manner that he will certainly meet a lovely new lady.
He says he likes to go to town in the mornings to sit and have his coffee and just watch the world go by and it would be nice, just once, to sit with someone. He has spun such a tale of woe that by now I am feeling so sorry for him and offer to buy him a coffee and watch the world go by with him for a while. I arrange to meet him at Costa coffee at 11am. He brightens considerably and we go our separate ways.
I go home to my lovely husband. When he asks me what I am up to the next day I tell him about my latest act of kindness, my coffee morning with a lonely gentleman. He looks a bit dubious, says nothing BUT he will meet me afterwards at around 12ish and to keep my phone on. So all is good and next day off I trot on my impossibly high heels to do my good deed 🙂
I rock up at Costa and Don is sat, dapper as ever, just as he said watching the world go by with his drink in his hand. I buy me one and him another. We are chatting away and it’s just like having coffee like with the girls…or so I think…
I tell him I am writing and have finished a book. He seems interested. I tell him I like witchy things, his eyes glaze and he rapidly looses interest. He starts talking about himself. He doesn’t stop. He tells me art is his hobby and he belongs to the local art club and that he has had work in their exhibitions.
‘Oh how wonderful! How impressive!’ I enthuse, from what he has said he doesn’t get much encouragement and I am on my mission to brighten his lonely day whilst enjoying a yummy Flat White.
His gaze travelled over my rather fetching and well stuffed co-ordinated outfit of lime green T-Shirt and skinny jeans. In the interests of honesty I have to ‘fess up that channelling a plump caterpillar was not a good look, all the same he took in a rather too long and appreciative glance of what my friend Angelica calls my ‘assets’ I am thinking he didn’t need any encouragement after all…O’er…and well, Ewww…
‘Yes, indeed, the nude life models are my thing! Why don’t you call around to my place, I am more than happy to show you all my work, day or night, in fact, anytime at all. I am always on the lookout for my next muse, Eily My Dear.’
It is fair to say by this stage that one was not amused to be his considered his unlikely muse! I almost broke out in a cold sweat envisaging the lecherous Lothario immortalising me in oil.
My mind went into overdrive…O’er what if I ended up imitating a lush lovely from Luis Ricardo Falero’s ‘The Witches Sabbath’ or ‘Moon Nymph’? Dunno how I would have explained a bit of nymphing to Mr Nash 😦
Oblivious to my obvious discomfort Don tells me just how much he is missing female company. He tells me just how much he admires the female form. He tells me his Lady left him ‘cos of his cheating. But he is now over her as he has a new interest…Hmmm…
The penny is slowly dropping. Time for evasive action methinks.
Saved by the ringtone! Hubby calls.
‘Yakety yak yak…’
‘Yes Darling, I’m just finishing coffee with Don, see you at the fountain in 5 minutes.’
An incredulous stare from across the table.
‘That’s my husband,’ says I, ‘sorry I shall have to fly!’
‘Your husband??? You TOLD him you are out with me???’
‘Errr…yes. And? He likes to know where I am! Sorry he can’t join us BUT I have an urgent need to join him, like right NOW!’ I prepare to take flight, and not on my broomstick.
So now Don is looking at me like I have just invited him to a swinger party. At the speed of light the reason for our coffee dawns on me. Open mouth I gasp ‘Surely, you didn’t think we were on a date???’ This was not my expectation!
The look I got back said it all. His dishonourable intentions were clear!
Shocked, I made my excuses and left. I never went for coffee with him or any other ‘gentleman‘ again…
My very wise husband cried laughing. ‘Is art the new ‘come up and see my etchings line?’-that will teach you young lady about going on coffee dates with other men!’ says he gleefully.
Was my man jealous of my accidental clandestine meeting with dapper Don? No…not at all…Dapper Don was an octogenarian! Mind you he didn’t look too bad for an old boy of 80…
Once upon a Time, (as all self-respecting fairy tales start), a beautiful Princess named Rowena was trying to find her way through the forest. She thought she had become lost, and she panicked to be alone so far from home. As she neared a clearing in the forest she was delighted to see a fine Knight upon a fine horse. The sun was glistening on his amour and he was a dazzling sight. He introduced himself as Prince Tarnish.
The gallant Knight offered her his hand, and pulled Rowena up behind him onto the magnificent steed. And as is generally the way in these matters they rode off into the sunset. The Princess greatly anticipating the happy ending she had been sold with her Prince. Eventually, after a bumpy ride they arrived at the Knight’s castle. Once again, the bright light of the sun dazzled the Princess and she was unaware of her surroundings or where the Knight had brought her to, a fortified castle in the Land of Mendacity. She was so very tired after the long journey. Night fell.
Awaking from a fitful sleep, she opened her eyes and was bathed in pale daylight filtering through the window. With surprise she noted the window had iron bars. Why would such a beautiful castle need such things, what was to be kept out, or who was to be kept in? Peering through the thick black iron bars, which greatly restricted her view of the wide and wondrous world beyond, the Princess saw her Knight, Prince Tarnish. He was preparing to mount his trusty steed and ride out in pursuit of adventure, after all, isn’t that what Knights do? Rescue fair damsels and slay dragons.
In the cold light of day, the Princess saw that the Knight’s amour was not the dazzling white she had first seen. No, it was tarnished in many places. With blinding intuition she realized the Knight had no interest in slaying dragons, for they would be a formidable foe (and also put up one hell of a fight). This Knight sought out tender and pure hearts to run his gauntlet. Hearts he intended to batter with his spiked lances, and just for good measure pierce with the cold steel of his sword. For the pure of heart knew not of his treacherous traps. She also saw an image in her minds’ eye of the Knight. He was sitting astride his mighty horse, whilst she tried to wipe the tarnish from his amour, with the beautiful fabric of her luxurious and dazzling raiment. The Princess valiantly hoped she would be able to shine his amour so brightly that once again it would gleam as if the heart of the sun blazed out from the core of his very being. With deep sorrow, she saw that she was unable to polish the Knights amour, the tarnish was too ingrained. Worse, the beautiful, iridescent clothes that made up her attire were becoming rags. Torn, tattered and shredded beyond recognition with the fruitless effort. The Knight chose not to notice such trifles, and he did not provide his Princess with new garments befitting her royal status. She began to wonder if he truly was a Prince of
if he truly was of noble birth. Polishing Prince Tarnish’s armor was proving a huge challenge to Princess Rowena. This was a job for a serious Alchemist, versed in the magical arts of turning base metal to gold. It was not for the feint hearted or the delicate sensitivities of a Princess versed only in Love and Kindness. To know this grieved the Princess greatly, and in her sorrow many tears fell. Eventually the tears formed a shimmering, glistening pool in which her countenance was reflected. The Princess stared into the pool and it took many minutes before the realization dawned, the desolate and sad beauty looking up was indeed a reflection of her own self. How had this come to pass? In anguish she cried out for help.
A soft voice whispered in reply,
Surprised her request had been heard, she looked for the source of the comforting voice. Could it be there was a fairy godmother waiting in the wings? Turning her regal head towards the discarnate voice, she was met with the sight of not a glowing and magical fairy godmother, but what appeared to be an incredibly ugly, wizened old Crone. In truth the Crone was a Wise Woman, but the Princess had yet to find this out. At first she recoiled in horror to her answered prayer. Beware what you wish for.
The Wise Woman was wrapped in a deep moss green velvet cloak; under which her long and bony fingers gripped an object of deep beauty, an oval mirror, coated in a strange
black surface which gave no reflection.
‘Who are you, old woman?’ enquired the Princess.
The Wise Woman looked deeply into the sad eyes of the beautiful Princess. Her gaze was penetrating, reaching into her very psyche. Her eyes seemed to draw the very essence of the Princess’ character from the core of her being.
‘The help you requested’ she replied.
‘What do you carry under your cloak?’ asked the Princess, intrigued by the black mirror.
‘Your freedom’ replied The Wise Woman.
The Wise Woman told the Princess, as she handed her the object, that it was a scrying mirror, magic of course. It was made from black Obsidian, a crystal for prophesy and truth.
There was a warning on the back of the mirror stating:
‘Truth can hurt,
Untruth’s hurt even more’,
Proceed with Caution.’
‘OK, you read the warning, ‘What do you want to know?’ asked The Wise Woman
Holding the vision of the handsome Knight, not so resplendent in his tarnished amour, the Princess asked,
‘Pray, tell me what lies beneath the Knight’s amour, who is there when the real Knight stands up, is he really a Prince of Noble birth?’
Looking deeply into the mirror her gaze was met with an inscrutable black surface, slowly an image appeared in the depths of blackness. She did not see an image of a fine and valiant Knight, intent on righting wrongs and doing chivalrous deeds. She did not see a Knight worthy of the glorious deeds the Troubadours sang of in their love songs and on the strings of their mandolins. She was shocked to see a very horrid and naughty child. He was throwing the mother of all tantrums, his face contorted in rage because he could not have his own way. Sadly, the Princess recognized that this was indeed a true depiction of the Knight. She turned to
The Wise Woman and enquired,
‘Does the Knight not know of Love, Honor and Chivalry and all that stuff the Troubadours sing about?’
‘How could he?’ replied The Wise Woman
‘He is but a child, and he does not know that Love is unconditional. He seeks to receive not give love, from a place of childish egocentricity and willfulness. This child has not been taught well, he faces many lessons before he learns.’
‘Oh, how very sad, that grieves my heart.’
The Princess sighed, for she was indeed pure of heart. She did know about love being unconditional and compassionate. Her heart went out to the Knight who did not know these things.
‘And you, Princess? Are you ready to face yourself?’ enquired The Wise Woman
At first the Princess was afraid, the sorrowful face from the tear stained pool still fresh in her memory. It seemed an eternity since she had seen her true reflection. There were No mirrors in the castle; for the Knight had no desire to see His true reflection and equally had no desire for the Princess to see her true beauty. He knew then the light of her loveliness would illuminate the darkness in his heart.
Slowly she lifted the mirror, eyes tightly closed. And slowly she opened them, unsure what she would behold. The deep black obsidian once again stared inscrutably back. Once again an image formed within the heart of darkness of the magic mirror. An imaged that grew and grew in magnificent radiance. It was the most gorgeous, multi -faceted, pure cut diamond she had ever beheld; emitting glorious, iridescent, magical colors. The diamond glowed and pulsed with the intensity of the very Sun itself. In awe she asked
‘What does it mean?’
‘You see a true reflection of yourself, Dear One,’ answered The Wise Woman.
‘And the Knight?’ whispered the Princess.
‘You saw a true reflection of what he is, Dear One, he is no Prince and therefore not worthy of you,’ answered The Wise Woman.
‘What now, what do I do?’ implored the Princess.
Once again she lifted the magic mirror and gazed deeply into the void of all knowing blackness. She saw clearly the Knights castle, the draw bridge was pulled up and the hatches were battened down, for a fierce and mighty storm approached. Vicious vines were rapidly growing over the castle walls, reaching to the very turrets and parapets. And with all her heart the Princess knew, if she stayed she would be forever entrapped within the Castle walls.
‘Is this all there is for me?’ A solitary tear fell onto the mirror.
‘Look again, Dear One’. Replied the Wise Woman
When she did, she saw a path leading from the treacherous castle. A tiny little path, winding through thickets and thorns and all manner of unforeseen terrors.
The path gradually widened and once free of the castle grounds it opened into a glorious golden path leading towards the Sun. Along the path were strewn infinite possibilities and opportunities. Once again, the Princess’ intuition showed her that if she summoned all her courage and bravely traversed the path she would find her own Eden. The Princess vaguely remembered, from what seemed an eternity past, this path was the very one she had been on. That was before becoming lost in the forest and doubting her ability to travel alone, before seeking the ill-starred protection of the Knight.
‘What do I do?’ she cried to The Wise Woman, who had stood by and silently observed all these things.
The Wise Woman wrapped the Princess in her old, fragile and wizened arms. They felt strangely warm. They felt strong and the Princess was filled with a pulsating feeling of absolute acceptance, peace, tranquility and an overwhelming sense of unconditional, heartfelt love for The Wise Woman. A feeling that was all at once familiar, the Princess felt she had come home.
‘The choice is yours alone, Dear One. It is the way of this land you inhabit, this Earth plane, that you have been given as part of your lessons the double edged sword of Free will. You have free will to stay or go or free will to enslave yourself to another or choose to use the key that you alone hold to your freedom. You always have the gift of free will, use it wisely.’
As these words sunk in, the Princess broke free from The Wise Woman’s embrace, and through her tears which were now falling as rain upon the winter of her heart, she struggled to see the Wise Woman. As she wiped her face, she gasped, The Wise Woman was gone. In her place there stood a radiant Being of Light. An Angel, whose very presence filled the entire room and emitting a brilliance that was truly ethereal and heaven sent. In awe, the Princess realised she was looking into the face of her own Guardian Angel.
‘Know this, Dear One, now you have asked for my help I will support you whichever path you choose. I cannot choose for you, as you have free will. I can and will ease your path and illuminate the way. Know that I have Always been with you and there for you. I have laughed when you laughed and I have cried when you cried.’ The Angel smiled and then continued,
‘Dear One, nothing is lost, herein lays the opportunity for a lesson to be learned. Things on this Earth plane of illusion may not always be what they seem. Can you now see the day you were lost in the forest, you alone had the freewill to find your own way out, and you alone had the free will to choose to accept the Knight’s hand? You could not make the Knight what he is not? The Knight could not make you who you are not.’ The Angel paused to allow the Princess to assimilate her words, and then continued,
‘Dear Princess, a priceless lesson to learn is this: all you need to navigate this sea of life is to let the wisdom of your Soul captain the ship of the Self. The Diamond that you are refracts the Light of Cosmic consciousness you hold as your birth right.’ Her eyes looked deeply into the Princess’ as she continued;
‘Even the Knight holds this light, and when his inner child grows so he too will come to realize this Truth.’
‘Will the Knight change his ways, will he change for me?’ asked the Princess, holding onto a tiny vestige of hope, for she loved the Knight although she did not love the way he had chosen to treat her.
‘In order to love another, first the Knight must learn to love himself; completely free from his ego self, this may take some time,’ the Angel answered.
The Princess bowed her head. She realized that her Knight may never be able to change his ways and that if he did, it would be for himself and not for her or anyone else. She finally realized that to hold onto the hope another person would change to be the way someone else wanted them to be, well that was a flawed hope, doomed to failure. Her wise companion continued to counsel,
‘Remember and hold these Truths: Time is the great illusion, for in Eternity there is no time. You, the Prince and all mankind are in essence spiritual beings; you are in the density of matter whilst you grow through the experiences of being in human form. You are more than you can see. There is much more that you can be. Princess Rowena, the choice is yours alone. You may choose your path, you cannot choose for him the path that you would wish Prince Tarnish to travel, only he alone can decide.
The pure essence of Divine Love resides within you~All that is without is merely an illusion.’
And in That moment the Princess absolutely and unequivocally knew the path she would choose……