Vrytolka

It was an interesting thing to be counting, as I always did, (8 sets of 8 with one for good luck) when I heard the rapping on the window.

I stood with my cat in my arms. He all wild eyed and bristles, me feeling triumphant that the doors truly were locked as I heard the crrrk crrrk of someone trying to move the handle.

“You can’t get in!” I called into the night as my cat spluttered and hissed.

“That means nothing to me. If you hear my raps you hear me, and so let me be heard.”

I darted my eyes upwards to one of the rectangular windows that reached to the ceiling of the tall glass room, and bore witness to a most peculiar sight.

Its nails crooked and long scratched at the frame of the window, its eyes fully black as though made entirely of coal, and its teeth gleaming white as it smiled at me through gnarled thin lips.

My cat, I assume, saw this too, as he dashed from my arms to seek refuge beneath a wicker chair.

Despite how I felt with this creature’s eyes following me fixatedly, I turned my back and kneeled down to comfort the poor thing (as it still hissed quietly to itself between low grumbles).

“Hush, hush, hush, hush” I said, being sure to utter this four times, before I reached under the chair and tickled his head. A claw grabbed at me, tearing the skin of my hand and my cat slunk further back.

“You’ve frightened him silly!” I cried, turning on the creature accusingly.

“Let me in and I’ll soothe him”

Did this creature take me for a fool?

“I trust you no more than any would a stranger hanging from their roof and rapping on their window.” I glared at the creature as it grinned its eerie smile back at me.

“And those teeth that you’re so fond of showing, those are flesh tearing teeth and for that I trust you even less!”

The creature scoffed and dropped noiselessly to the ground, it was the height of the glasshouse if not slightly more as it leaned its head sideways to peer through the same window it had used to get my attention.

It, of course, had horns, that were visible now, as it stood in a stream of shallow light.

“I like you,” It said in its deep crisp voice. “I wish to grant you your desires.”

“You can’t like me very much if you wish to play these games with me,” I replied haughtily “and don’t think me so naïve, I’ve not seen the likes of you before but I know what you are.”

The creature’s grin widened and it tapped nonchalantly on the glass. “My dear”, it whispered “you have never known any the likes of me”

“Known? Thankfully not. Seen? Not in my darkest nightmares. But heard of? There isn’t a soul in the village who hasn’t heard of you!”

I empathised hasn’t, an appeal to vanity, for being decidedly lonely as I was the conversation was at least entertaining and at most interesting.

The creature was drumming its fingernails in a droll fashion. Drum, drum, drum, drum, drum, drum, drum, drum.

Thoughtfully rather than creepily did he look at me.

“You aren’t afraid of me, yet you don’t trust me. I know not what to do with you.”

“Oh,” said I disappointedly, worried that he might leave. “I was afraid of you but my fear lapsed under the knowledge that you can’t enter this room.”

And at that the creature laughed.

My heart beat quickened and that beat was all it took for him to be beside me within the security of my sanctuary.

“I can enter anywhere I choose, anytime I choose.”

I flew to the door, latching my hand onto the handle and shaking it vigorously.

“One two three four locked one two three four! Locked! Locked! Locked!” I cried.

The creature, its head tilted to the side, admiring the spectacle, took my wrist in its hot grip and pulled my hand away from the handle.

He leaned his head down to be only a few inches above mine and putting my finger to his thin cracked lips he said, “Shhh.”

I felt I was to feint. What was to become of me now this demon had welcomed itself into my home?

He still had hold of my hand, and, keeping his grip firm around my wrist despite the burning at my skin, he used that very same finger of mine and pointed it to myself.

“You are to take the wishes I grant you and make use of them. Do you understand?”

“And what if I don’t?”

A low growl came from beneath the wicker chair.

No sooner had the wretched demon released me from his grip did he have my poor cat in his grasp, and as it shrieked and it struggled he said, “I’ll eat your darling kitty cat.”

I reached out to take him but it was of no use, he only took him higher and opened his mouth, which gave a sickening crack as it unlatched, dangling my cat above his ready jaws.

“I’ll wish, I’ll wish!” I screamed.

He looked at me his proud black eyes shining with triumph.

“Your first wish?” he asked.

“Let go of my cat and never touch him again.”

He dropped the cat to the floor and it yelped as it hit the hard concrete.

I quickly dashed to its aid and found the pitiful thing to have broken a paw. Taking it in my arms I hissed, “you monster!” to the creature who stood smiling back at me, his mouth held wide, revealing those hideous teeth.

“I did as I was bid to do. You caused the harm you now seek to heal.”

Guilt surged through me as I thought back to what I had done, “You can never touch him again!” I found little relief in what I said, my cat purring quietly as cats do when in pain.

“That I cannot, so heal him I shall not,” it replied to me and smiled its wicked grin. With that it vanished, and I took my cat inside, sobbing into its rough fur.

We went to see the veterinarian first thing the in the morning and when I was asked what had happened I lied and said the foolish thing had leapt from one of the high top cupboards in attempt to catch a fly that buzzed about its head.

The strange man with the big ears and hairy nostrils had looked at me in such a sceptical fashion I almost blurted out the truth, but in those few seconds that my brain recollected the truth, I realised it was a much wiser idea not to.

On our way home, my father driving, I in the passenger’s seat with my cat sat on my lap growling to itself, we happened upon a neighbour of ours.

She is a horrid thing.

We’d invited them over for dinner just a few months before and she lacked in any skill of conversation about anything other than herself. And the way she looked at my father! Why, it made my skin crawl so much I almost felt the spiders claw out of my flesh.

But there she was, basket on arm from fetching some food for her mother, leaning into our car suggestively as she always did and my father, being the kind but naïve man he is, invited her inside so we could take her home.

Oh she droned on and on about her new dresses and gems and the compliments she had received, not once did she question why my kitty was there in the car, and I know she had seen him! Then, that little snake, why she hinted and she hinted to be taken to a show I know she had little interest in seeing, but so stupidly had I mentioned to her in passing how my father wished to go.

Of course he offered to take her, and of course I kept my mouth shut and I just hoped that the demon would be returning that night.

And he did. The first man, if it were a man, to ever keep his promise to me.

It was after supper and father and I were both retiring after discussing the news, both of the neighbourhood, and international, that I heard a strange cooing noise from inside my bedroom.

I opened my door half in fear and half in excitement and there he was, sat on my bed besides my kitty. At first, in horror my eyes gaped wide as I thought he was touching my darling’s soft fur, but he wasn’t, his hand was but a few centimetres above it. Whatever he was doing I chose not to complain about as my cat slept soundly and purred complacently in whatever dreams cats do have.

“You came back.”

“I said I would.”

I sat beside the demon on my bed. He was less frightening now, by all means I should have been petrified but, after seeing that wretched creature earlier today with her deceit hidden behind fluttering lashes, I felt a sort of empathy for this demon who had kept his word and in comparison to that leech was a gem.

We sat for a minute in silence. The noises he was making to the kitty were so soothing I felt that they were putting me to sleep and soon shuffled back to rest my head on a pillow.

The demon rose from the foot of my bed and sat on a chair nearer to my head, such a gentlemanly action it seemed to have been.

“Are you going to make a second wish?”

I’d been expecting this question, and I’d been thinking over my answer to it all day. But first I had a question of my own.

“What do you get in return?”

There was something charming in his smile, when I looked away from his teeth I saw that it reached his eyes. Such an uncommon thing in humans, to see someone genuinely at peace, it was a comforting thing to witness.

“Humans are exceptionally give and take, aren’t they?” he said, a touch of his smile still lingering on his features.

“I suppose we are, but no more than demons.”

“That’s because most demons were once humans.”

“Then doesn’t that make your first statement void?” I was determined not to be thrown in circles this time.

“I’m not most demons.”

 “There is a girl who is courting my father…“

“After what happened last night, I’d advise you to be a little more specific.”

“Elizabeth Green, she’s twenty years old and lives just two doors from us. That would be Bristled Cottage. Is that specific enough?”

The demon nodded, leaned his head onto a leathery hand and smiled, “Go on.”

“I despise her. I’m not so certain that I wish her dead, but I want her to keep away from my father.”

“Is that your wish? To keep Miss Elizabeth Green away from your father, a Mr Jonathan Coal.”

I almost complied, but thankfully my wits were about me that eve.

“I don’t trust your methods, so let me devise the plan.”

“That is no longer simply a wish, that is working with a demon. Are you sure your Christian heart will not shatter by doing such a thing?”

“If God is not willing to help me, then it shall be down to the work of demons.”

“But would God break your precious kitty’s paw?”

“I’ve seen him do much worse without permission.”

The demon leaned back on the chair, “I’d normally refuse, as it takes the fun away. But I like you-“

“Yes, you’ve said.”

“Be quiet. I like you and so I’d like to hear what you can come up with. However, if it is boring, I shall proceed in doing it my own way.”

“Agreed,” I said, and reached out my hand to shake his.

“And now you’re making demonic pacts. I’d say you were easily corruptible, but this attitude appears to have been in place since before I arrived. Are you not christened?”

“Surely a demon such as yourself would sense that, whether it were or were not true. Now let me think.”

He sat back, placed his arms behind his head and waited patiently whilst I deliberated in my mind. There were so many loop holes that without writing a contract for this I thought it would be an impossible wish, one that I would have revoked. But instead I decided to change the wording and keep it simple.

“You’re to keep my father away from her, not her away from my father. She is to contract-“

“Some hideous disease that makes her undesirable? I expected better of you, Katherine.”

His words hurt, and in that instance I realised I had been seeking to impress him, as well as see a way forward with this wish.

“I want to make sure my father is left unharmed, that nothing physical comes ail him, nor emotionally, nor have his reputations at stake either. Part of me wishes she’d never come into existence.”

“That wouldn’t be too wise, so much would be undone, who knows even where you would be. We all tie into each other’s existence; this becomes evident once we die.”

I wondered at his knowledge, at what great things he must know and that maybe one day I could come to know. I had been raised a Christian girl, but since my mother had died my faith had left me. It left me. I had been faithful to our lord up until the moment she breathed her last breath. And, faced with demons, his existence had become real to me once more, unfortunately it mattered little. Belief and faith are different things, you can believe in something, but to follow blindly? To follow a promise that is never truly given… that he will look after his children, he will care for them and keep them from harm. He cared little for my mother as she fitted and convulsed… as she swallowed her tongue, and so I cared little for him there on after.

The demon was real. I could reach out and touch him and for all his evils I could trust at least that he was present and the words said would come from his mouth and not a fraudulent messenger.

“Then what do you have in mind?” I asked the demon.

“Fun. I want to have fun with the girl.”

I admit that I smiled. It was as though he’d looked deeper into my mind than I ever had and found what I wanted. He described something called kleptomania, the irrational need to steal. He told me how it would be a good idea to allow my father’s meeting with Miss Green to go ahead, and that if I just left it up to the demon it would all be okay.

I asked him his name before he went to leave, and he said to me, “That is of little use to you, for once your wishes are up, which very soon they will be, we will no longer meet. Goodnight, Katherine.”

I sobbed myself to sleep that night. My dear kitty curled up beside my head, but his comfort couldn’t take away my thoughts. No, nothing I presumed could do that.

Had I come to have feelings for this grotesque demon? I think I had, and it was this that woke me early and led me downstairs to my father’s study.

My eyes still stung from the tears. I’d scorned myself for this, being so foolish of heart to cry as I did. So now I put my mind to work. I scanned each book title until I found it, my father’s small copy of an encyclopaedia of demons. He was a god fearing man; so much so that he had taken it upon himself to learn of demons, so that he in turn could create god fearing children. My parents only had one child, one that lived that is, and that was I.

The sun was rising when I had finally decided upon which demon was most probable. It was Vrytolka.

The picture bared slight similarity to how the demon looked. I wondered if he appeared differently to others, and then I disliked thinking of him helping other lonely girls, so I read further.

Vrytolka

 

In the hierarchy of demons Vrytolka resides within the higher circles. His image has been spotted in artist renditions of hell for centuries. He is tall and lean, with leathery black skin and large, feline ebony eyes. His teeth are pointed and in contrast to his skin a startling white. Upon his head are two smooth horns which protrude from the skull, these do not bare a leather appearance alike his skin, but instead appear of bone.

Sightings of him are rare from survivors. Many who witness the Vrytolka are unable to be saved. They speak of being granted wishes, although the number is unknown, it is usually three in mockery of our holy trinity. Needless to say, where the Vrytolka lurks, there will undoubtedly be trouble as wishes, often unjust, are granted.

Once the wishes are used the Vrytolka consumes its prey, devouring the heart and inhaling the soul so the child of God may not ever step upon the cool stone of heaven.

There is little known evidence of defeating the Vrytolka, it will pursue its prey until all wishes are granted; appearing in an alternative human form if necessary to hear the utterance of a wish from the one it stalks.

 

Vuhuuu! That was a long flashback, huh?! It’s also a kinda vision into the future. Meet Katherine, one of my Ironbridge Asylum characters. Unsurprisingly, she is one of the patients… What? What’s Ironbridge Asylum I don’t hear you ask? It’s the sequel to Samson the Storyeater! And is something I first started thinking about years ago (this was written in 2011 – uuurgh time stahp, stand still a bit!). Ironbridge Asylum is a book that I actually recently mentioned to Bia. I wanted it to have a bunch of little extras in there, such as character cases and letters and diaries and their own versions of what happened – mostly so readers could make up their own mind on whether or not these people were mad. This was one of them.

Anyway, the fun bit. I don’t really understand what style of voice I was going for with this, I think it’s just how I used to write. That or I’d been reading a lot of fantasy or Victorian stuff again. I had to edit this one because I think I wrote it very quickly in draft form, there were a lot of red squiggles telling me off when I first opened it. I also trimmed down a couple of sentences that were really running on (let’s call them Forest Gump sentences) to get some sense out of them. Other than that, it’s pretty much in its original form. One thing that is obviously wrong with it is that it’s not finished, and I have no idea where I was going with it or if I can even write in this way anymore, so finishing it even for Ironbridge Asylum might be quite clunky and awkward. Another flaw that bugged me while reading it is that I never named the damn cat. How hard is it to name a cat? I’ve never lived in a house without a cat. I thought I was a cat when I was a child – I’m ashamed to say this is true, I’d even meow and scratch at doors until I was seventeen I don’t know how old! I should’ve named the cat! Boris or something. Anything!

I think I have more longer pieces for flashback fiction Friday but I might post them in bits because I’m not sure how well it works to post such long pieces on here. I also use this blog as a bit of a portfolio though and I understand if these ones are a bit too long to read. I’m not sure where else I could post them, if anywhere!

Thank you for stopping by though, I’ll see you next time with hopefully something a bit shorter or a bit newer! X

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Sympathy

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Sympathy for you,

                                           is that for the devil.

Hidden beyond the river,  in the mouth of a god.

a tireless melody

once irresistible,

now tuneless,

rehearsed without song.

Echo forth, in search,

it finds me.

Kneeled down, wounds concealed

in mud that clings

jealously.

Magicians step, between natures gold,

amber, red,

tears of the forest,

soundless above the fall of the Earth.

In casted shade, broken shadow of dusk,

my senses tricked

I pause.

Fool,

forever tempted, by ancient dance.

Cupped salvation,

secret of ageless alchemist,

                                                               antidote to deceivers curse,

Holy water

flows over lovers palms, through marked destiny,

branded by sun, obeyed by moonlight,

 lifted upwards,

before a silhouette.

My sympathy,

Magician,

I offer to you.

 

 

 

Hello everyone!

I finally motivated myself to take part in a word prompt, just uh, a little late (this is from Tuesday). The prompt “sympathy” is from the blog The Daily Post. Is this a blog? Or wordpress witchcraftery? Not sure! I’m following it either way.

I might write another post deconstructing the poem and talking about how each part is relevant. However, poetry is supposed to be whatever is made of it by the reader, and with that in mind, I might not. The only reason I guess I’d do it would be from a writer to writer perspective. The workings out like in maths, so to speak.

The cards in the picture are from the incredibly (and I mean incredibly) beautiful Shadowscapes Tarot Deck.

I hope you enjoyed this.

As always, thank you for reading!

Arbie x

 

Kidnapping Death’s Daughter – buk talk

Hey everyone!

I said that today I would talk about my book and start posting quotes from it (which feels weird, to be honest) so here I am, being all blog responsible, and doing just that!

Kidnapping Death’s Daughter is a young adult urban fantasy novel (that’s a fair few tags) that I wrote a couple of years ago. I wrote the entire damn thing in a month…and then I faffed with it for three years. It really is the editing that’s the stickler, isn’t it? Although, come to think of it, I also left it to sit all sad and alone wherever its feet were up, too…

I had it in mind that I wanted an agent, that partnership and friendship I’d seen other writers talk about. I’m a rubbish sales person and I can’t speak highly for my work, so I thought having someone who wanted to be in my corner would be neat. I sent out about 15 queries (when I really wasn’t ready) got back one encouraging one (though still a form rejection), and the rest were “No thanks, bai” It didn’t really discourage me, what did was the fact that I was actually undecided on whether or not I wanted an agent or to go it alone. I like me freedoms you see.

Fast forward to earlier this year, I decide I’ll give it another go. I sent out one query, got a rejection, read some stuff about indie authors, and decided that’s what I wanted to be. I tells ya, it has made things a lot easier and quieter in the ol’ noggin now that I know (haha – well, kind of) what I’m doing.

I have a real love for the characters in this book. If you’ve read my post The Importance of Character you’ll have seen one of them already. Gykruk is a swine, but he’s my swine. I also once made a blog post about actors I’d like to see play characters in my book. I’ll fish that out too – Actors I would stalk until they agreed to a role in my book turn film. See, I was wasting time on things like this when I should have been editing and improving the structure and story! Bad. Learn lesson.

Anyway, to the book! Here is the most recent query I sent. It’s bad. I can’t write queries, or synopses (I need to improve before I put out the full book – eeep), but it’s probably the best I have at the moment.

 

 

Ever since Robin’s brother died, every morning has risen with a new question, all of them echoing the grandest and most desperate: Why?
Until the day after Peter’s funeral, when a librarian with an odd sense of humour, and an even odder creature for a pet, reaches out to Robin and whispers an irresistible opportunity.
“Death has a daughter, steal her.”
The questions have changed. Could this be a bargaining tool against Death? What will he say when Peter is returned to him?

How do you kidnap Death’s daughter…

His cousin Caleb is intrigued and eager to join his adventure, and if the next morning rises with too many questions, now, at least, they have a clue to find the answers.
They leave for an ancient city by dusk.

In York, cathedral spires claw at the moon, gargoyles peer down on cobbled streets from wooden beams, and the creatures of Yr Oerfa feel their skin prickle as they sense the change war brings. Amongst them, hunted by beings more dangerous than two mortal boys, Death’s daughter is writing her own story, and it, too, begins with loss.

Kidnap her? First they need to find her.

 

 

 

I hope you like the little quotes I’ll be posting up weekly and that it doesn’t get too annoying. I’ll also be posting them on my brand spanking new Instagram account. Be my friend if you like. I don’t understand what I’m doing on there but I’ve seen a lot of ferrets. For the quotes I’m using an app I find to try and make them look a little more pretty. Please advise if you know of a better way. Oh! Hopefully I’ll be able to post some images, too, because I have a super talented lady friend drawing the characters and they look amazing!

Lastly on this post where I don’t know what I’m doing (see there’s a reason I laughed at myself up there) if you’re an indie author please share your experiences, or any other author for that matter, or if you were once an employee in a top secret agency, yeah, that would be cool too.

Hope you’re all well,
Will be lurking on your blogs soon!
Arbie x

Two black cats, Neo

Oh, weird, deja vu. That’s happened quite a bunch lately and I’m not sure if I should be taking it as an omen or preparing myself for a gang of Agent Smiths.

meow meow

Anyway, hello loves! It’s been an interesting week but an awful lot of it doesn’t really find its place here. On the other side of the soap opera I am living in right now I’ve been up to the usual ferret herding and wall staring. I tell you, one day it’ll do something if I just watch for long enough.

eellove
This picture has no relevance. I just feel that the post needs it.

Pandora and Seb are back and forth a little but given that my nephews and brother are currently living with us I’ll give Pandora the benefit of the doubt and consider that she is under a lot of stress again. I wouldn’t say this is beyond the realm of possibility – she’s had a lot of change lately and this is another one. Thankfully, Seb is still grooming her and being the usual sweetheart she is and I think Pan is starting to come round to a bit of ferret-ferret comfort. Merm can be a comfortable cuddle blanket, but I’m not about to start licking her. I’m not that odd, yet.

Here are a couple of pictures we took together – in true myspace mirror fashion. Obviously these are filtered to high heaven. Stress is taking its toll and the spots (you can still ruddy see) made me all prissy.

 

By the by, I know I have posted pictures of myself in every blog post so far and I will most likely continue to do so. I’m sorry if it makes me seem self-obsessed. I’ll probably talk about why I keep going selfie-o-rama in another much more ooo aaaa serious post. Speaking of face pictures, pictures in general really, what do you all think of using instagram as writers? I’ve created one on the suggestion of a very talented artist I collab with, but I haven’t used it as of yet. Wait, did I ask about this last week? I hope not. Awkward.

To something less outwards and more inwards, I’m going to start a new weekly blog post (on Wednesday – that seems like a suitable day, right?) that will be short snippets of passages from my book – Kidnapping Death’s Daughter. For the first, I will be posting about the book and giving a little write up about what it is and why it’s sat around doing nothing for a couple of years. Lazy book, bad. I intend to publish it as an ebook this autumn and although I don’t expect much will happen with it as of yet (maybe never –  I love my characters but it’s a bit rud structure wise) I’d like to start posting about it. I hope this will not become a nuisance to any of you. I like having you around and I just bought another set of cups so we all have one for cuppa time.

Holy smokes what is this witchcraft I did something to my mouse track pad thing on my laptop and it made the text go smaller. 

Other than those little bits of this and that I’ve been watching The Story of Diana – something I never thought I’d think to watch, and I’ve found the entire thing rather sad really. I know it’s cliche to do an “I remember where I was when…” comment, but it’s the only thing I do remember about her: where I was and what I was doing when I saw the news that she had died. I was too young to really know who she was, but she was a princess and I knew princesses were important so I shouted up to my parents what had happened. And that’s that. It’s interesting to now, some years later, actually be learning (well, as much as we can from a documentary about any person) who this princess was that I rushed to tell my parents the news about back in yonder year. It feels so rotten to say of someone’s biography after they have died, but it is quite interesting to learn more about her.

I also tried to watch the American live action version of Death Note last night. No. Stop. Bad.

One last thing, I hope to post some more creative posts alongside my flashback friday and my soon to be weekly book snippets. I’ve finally started to feel some creativity coming back while thinking about the plot for my latest book – Jack. It’s been a real slump. I can’t express how glad I am that characters and stories are starting to reappear. I’m actually quite sure I don’t need to, you’re all writers. You know what it’s like when stress smothers your imagination and that elated feeling when your imagination starts fighting back.

I will leave you with a picture of Pandora and the pokemon that my boyfriend quite rightly pointed out is her lookalike. I’m on to you, you furry snek!

 

 

–  Arbie x

Making Wishes Out of Dandelions

Making Wishes Out of Dandelions

 

“What are you wishing for?”

“I can’t tell you that, if I tell you that then it’ll never come true.”

The girl blew hard on the dandelion and watched as the tiny winged seeds flew off with the breeze.

“I think that’s ghastly. You’re decapitating flowers.”

“I’m not. I’m allowing them to grow.”

“Come here; let me put a French braid into your hair. Perhaps some of the seeds will land on your head and continue to grow there!”

The sister’s laughed.

Time moved slowly, but pleasantly so, and when the call came from their mother that they should return home, they rose with full dreams and empty stomachs, as they trekked back the short distance for their supper.

“Emily, your hair looks beautiful,” said their mother as they entered the kitchen. “Did you do that for her Lucy?”

The older girl nodded. Her own loose golden curls bobbing about her head. She took her place at the table and waited as her younger sister received the quick jab in her thigh that had become a necessity three years ago, when she had been just four years old.

After supper, when their father had returned home, they sat in their beds and listened as he read to them the same poem as every night:

“With the lights dimmed throughout the town,

and all the little ones put down

to dream the wishes they pray come true,

which wish means the most to you?”

As he kneeled beside each of their beds and tapped his cheek expectantly, they kissed it softly then whispered in his ear their wish for the day, before he left, taking the light with him.

 

 

A door slammed shut. A cold wind shook the shutters of an open window and rattled the hinges as the door attempted to break free from its frame and shatter against the wall.

Lucy awoke cold, with droplets of sweat covering her brow. She stayed still for a moment; her blood jolting through her veins and breaths coming in short sharp jabs.

“Emily?” she whispered into the darkness. “Emily, it’s all right. I think it was just the wind.”

Lucy tentatively reached her legs over the side of the bed and searched for her slippers with her feet. Slipping them on, she crept across the creaking floorboards and towards the window. Shutting it she turned to her sister’s bed, “See, there’s nothing to be frightened of.”

No reply came.

Suspicious of her younger sister’s usual games she edged closer and carefully, should she still be asleep, peeled back the cover that was masking a part of her face.

Whilst being uncovered, Emily’s arm dropped limply over the side of the bed, and as Lucy grasped it to put back beneath the covers, she found it cold.

She pressed her hand to her sister’s cheek and found that too was cold. Her fingers were shaking as they moved across to her sister’s lips, and waited for the comfort of air to come from her mouth. But none came.

Lucy fled from the room, fled screaming through the damp, silent house.

 

 

Everyone is dressed in black. Everyone wants to know how each other feels and if there’s anything they can do. A girl, with curly blonde hair sits alone. Her back to the coffin placed before the fire, with the picture of the young brunette smiling warmly on the mantelpiece.

Outside the rain pours and through its splashes Lucy can see the dandelions sway back and forth in the accompanying wind. She knocks her glass to the floor and it shatters into tiny segments causing guests to leap backwards to be safe from its shards.

Racing from the room she throws open the front door and sprints out into the garden. She drops to the ground, digging her nails into the earth she tears the dandelions out from the soil in great clumps and tosses them into the rain and the wind.

“You can’t make wishes out of dandelions!” she screams. “You stupid, stupid girl! They don’t listen to you! They can’t listen to you!”

Arms clasp around her own, locking them in place, and a voice whispers into her ear, “Her wish was to keep you safe, for you to never see sickness as she did. Someone was listening.”

 

 

 

 

Aaaah, finally one I can grab by the scruff of the full stops and give a good beating to! I don’t like this. At all. Alright, alright – the first bit isn’t completely awful, the little dad poem bit is pretty cute. Anyway, I remember writing this a few years ago and attempting to put forward a moving short story. It fell short. There was no punch at the end – in fact, the end doesn’t really make sense now I’m reading it with fresh eyes. I don’t recall the illness the younger sister had being contagious, so how could she have got her wish that her sister never see sickness as she did? It was far too soon (only a few weeks later) for any words like that to be offered. Don’t get me wrong, perhaps if I had used a more chilling or affective line this story could have come together in a better way.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the experience in writing short stories (or much of anything to completion) to do that. It’s always in completing things. I think that’s where we, as writers, really learn how to improve. This story is far too disjointed, we don’t really get chance to bond with the little girl so although we may care because…well, child – sick – we’re not evil, we don’t form a connection because we love the character, it’s because we’re not monsters (except you, back there. yeah, I spies ya). I think, also, it just isn’t my style of writing. I like to be silly and I’ve noticed far too often that when I play a game of serious-o-fiction I fail. It may be a skill I need to learn, or, it may simply be that if I want to be a writer I feel like I need to write a particular type of novel, even when I don’t enjoy writing it.

Shove it. I don’t hold other writers to those rules so I’m going to quit putting them in place for myself. Write, write, write. That’s all there is to it. Do you hear that, brain? Do you?! Ignorant swine.