Emma decided it was about time to dust the old library. It was her Great Aunt’s prided possession and she too valued it dearly. Emma loved this house. Her favourite childhood pastime was treasure hunts there. And now that she had inherited it, she secretly hoped that her Aunt had left her just one last hunt to indulge in.
It had been three weeks since she had last stepped in there. Life continued as normal outside its huge wooden-carved windows; birds were singing an ode to the sun, whose rays illuminated every corner of the giant room. Dust had gained possession of almost every surface. But Emma was determined to put an end to the reign of this uninvited guest.
As she thoroughly dusted out each shelf, she recalled the wonderful stories that lay hidden within each book, resurrecting their images and characters, and she imagined her Aunt watching over her and smiling.
The top shelves extending to the ceiling were harder to reach. Emma brought a chair and climbed up to continue her mission. There was her favourite book! What memories that enclosed… Suddenly she heard a crack, and before she identified where it came from, the chair’s back leg broke off and Emma fell with a thump, with the book landing on her head, like a cherry on a pie. As she scrambled to get up, she noticed a small gold key protruding from the pages of the book. She looked up bewildered, and made out the shadow of a small door where the book had been on the shelf. Was this the last treasure hunt she was yearning for? She got up immediately with excitement rushing through her veins and opened the little vault. Inside was a crimson notebook. Her Aunt’s diary, describing her thoughts, feelings and experiences. It was exactly what she needed – a lucky accident that would bring her Aunt closer to her again. Just when she needed her most, she always found a way to reappear…332 words for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge. The prompt was to use the word lucky: LUCKY (adjective) 1: having good luck 2: happening by chance : fortuitous 3: producing or resulting in good by chance : favorable
It was night. Darkness had spread its grasp as the wind was howling through the cracks in the window sills. Jane was sitting on the couch, curled up under a blanket reading a book about vampires. The theme seemed to be in fashion lately, so she thought she might as well give it a try.
There was a full moon that night. The mist had stretched its claws over the forest and you could barely see further than two metres ahead. Lilly was scared but at the same time excited. She was sure he would come. She hoped he would. And she was waiting for him. Her bedroom window had been left open on purpose. The curtain was dancing with the breeze. She was on the second floor but that was not a problem for him. Vampires could jump to extraordinary heights and had inexplicable strength and stamina. But he was late. He promised he would be there 20 minutes ago. It was not like him to be late. Suddenly, everything turned dark. A power cut in the area? Or was the evil vampire clan back? Lilly felt cold sweat running down her spine. What could she do? She heard a noise from the kitchen. Was someone in there? How did they get in? Only her window was open. She took the flashlight from her drawer and tiptoed down the stairs to see. She was terrified but had to check. There was no evidence of any intrusion. Until she reached the kitchen…There was a broken plate on the floor and she had to tread carefully to avoid cutting her feet on the pieces. And the fridge door was half-open…but the light wasn’t on… That’s weird, she thought, as she approached with a trembling hand…
Chaf! The lights went off and Jane was left in complete darkness. Let alone the curiosity of what was in the fridge, she now had to face a black out. Damn it, she thought, and I don’t even know if I have a torch, never mind where I keep it! She got up, feeling her way to the chest of drawers behind the couch where she was certain she had candles and matches. She lit one up and was making her way back to the couch, when she heard something crashing in the kitchen. She froze immediately. For a minute she stood petrified. The book wasn’t coming to life, was it? She wasn’t expecting anyone, let alone a vampire. She cautiously moved with only the flicker of a candle to guide her. On entering the kitchen she detected pieces of broken glass on the floor. And the window was half open. What’s going on?! That book was just a silly tale! But just to be sure she opened the fridge as carefully as she could – the light was on, and there was nothing bizarre in there, well, nothing that shouldn’t be there. She turned to face the window when a cold breeze rushed in and blew out the candle. Standing alone and frightened in the dark, she shared Lilly’s anguish. And then…
Then she felt something soft and furry rubbing up against her feet. She screamed and jumped up and down and almost stepped on it. “MIAAAAOGGRRRR”. It was only Missy. Where had she been all this time, anyway? Power was back and she could finally resolve the mystery: the wind blew open the window which apparently had not been sealed properly, and the cat, scared as it was, rushed over the sink and threw down a glass. That was all. No vampires. No unexpected visitors. Now back to the previous story…or should she?
Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)
She began running. What she had seen in that dark alley had already started to infect her soul. Creeping up inside her and instilling fear in her head. She had to run. To keep moving. Out of the darkness. Her arm was still numb and she wasn’t even sure if that needle was sterilized. Blood was still dripping on the corners of her dress, but all she could think about was getting out of there. Finding light. She couldn’t feel anymore. She was scared but couldn’t sense it. The past fortnight had been a nightmare. How she got into it, she can’t remember. She just wanted out, now!
The shadows of those men chasing after her, first with a stolen car and then on foot, running behind her as their body masses seemed to grow larger with every step closer they came. It was all so vivid in her mind still. And every couple of minutes she would turn her head round, out of fear that a tattooed-muscle-pumped arm would reach over and grab her. Pull her back on to a stinky t-shirt, gag her and tie her up on a wooden chair in a dark room, with only water and stale bread for survival. She didn’t want to go back to that. And what did they want from her anyway? She had no money, and knew no one in the area. It was all a series of wrong choices that led there. Spur of the moment impulses that in hindsight were so wrong.
But that was over now. All she had to do now was persevere and find a place with light. With people. With life. Her eyes had already gotten used to the darkness but she just had to reach for more light. And she was bound to find it…306 words for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge – to include the word infect INFECT 3a : contaminate, corrupt <the inflated writing that infects such stories> b : to work upon or seize upon so as to induce sympathy, belief, or support <trying to infect their salespeople with their enthusiasm>
Do you? You think you know what this is. But it is no ordinary blog post. You are expecting some sort of short story, about maybe a ghost in the attic that Sally was sure existed and was terrified every time she went up there, but in the end the ghost was in the basement and she never realized it and even became friends with it, giving it a name such as Jasper – because Casper was just too mainstream. But no, that’s not what you’ll get out of this post.
You expect that you’ll read something related to current affairs. Such as the papal conclave for example, and how “conclave” means “with key” because the cardinals are locked in the room until they elect a new pontiff. Or even how the red shoes the Pope wears are the only remnants of the all-red attire that Pope Pius V decided to change for white in 1566. (See, there’s some pieces of information that you might not have heard!)
You might be expecting some useless yet entertaining facts, for example: the fact that kilts don’t actually originate in Scotland but France; it is possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs; more than ten people a year are killed by vending machines; the original pack of Skittles doesn’t contain the colour blue so you don’t really “experience the rainbow”; Coca Cola translated to Chinese means “to make mouth happy”; pearls melt in vinegar. But no, that’s not what you’ll get from this post (although in essence you did just learn a whole bunch of useless information!).
So, you’re wondering right now: what is the point of this post? To be honest, I’m not quite sure myself. But now that it’s time to go back to what you were doing before you got consciously distracted from it, you feel it wasn’t really time wasted – look at all the things you learnt! Fun doesn’t necessarily arrive on purpose. Remember that! 😉333 words for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge – to include the word time TIME (noun) 1a : the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues : duration b : a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future c : leisure <time for reading> 2: the point or period when something occurs : occasion 3a : an appointed, fixed, or customary moment or hour for something to happen, begin, or end <arrived ahead of time> b : an opportune or suitable moment <decided it was time to retire> —often used in the phrase about time <about time for a change>
A very popular children’s game, especially for the younger ages, is cops and robbers. The rules of the game are simple: one group plays the robbers, the bandits having done something bad, most probably robbed a bank for example, and the other group plays the policemen chasing after them in order to bring them to justice, i.e. prison. The game is based on the commonly acceptable rules of how society works.
But when did the cops suddenly become the bad guys and the robbers the good ones, the ones who are actually supported and justified by everyone else? In the violent riots that have broken out in countries facing the ruthless measures of austerity, where their people are brought to the brink of exasperation and suicides and crime have seen a dramatic increase, why are the police portrayed as the bad guys? The ones who attack and strike without reason. Who throw tear gas and pin commoners to the ground with unjustifiable causes. And the robbers, those that run amuck, looting and destroying private property are rationalized by public opinion. But most of all, why is it that every group of people is generalized? That all policemen are bad. And all robbers justified for having resorted to stealing?
In Greece, Golden Dawn, an extreme nationalist and right-wing party is gaining ground faster than you can say its name. It is after the robbers. But it is no police. At least it has no authority like that mandated by policemen. Its members take matters into their own hands, simply because the police – being dubbed as the bad guys – are no longer able to act, out of fear they might be persecuted themselves. And going back to the generalization trend, Golden Dawn targets immigrants, because it declares that all immigrants are bad for this country and that they overstay their welcome. It might be true that the more frequent robberies, looting, stabbing and killings are the “work” of immigrants but maybe, just maybe, not all immigrants are bad. Of course nobody considers that. Because when your child, your relative, your friend, is out for a walk one evening and ends up being stabbed by immigrants in an attempt to steal, then you end up understanding the reason behind Golden Dawn’s anger and begin yourself to feel a despise for these immigrants that have turned your country into a purgatory. But not all robbers are immigrants. Just like not all immigrants are robbers. And Golden Dawn certainly cannot be justified for targeting them all.
But you see, that is the problem with games. You never quite know how they will turn out in reality. If the cops and robbers – the good guys and the bad guys – reverse roles, what happens? And yes, there also are Cowboys and Indians, but who is the good and the bad there? For the Conquistadores in South America were the ones who plundered and took over by force the land of the Indians leading them to near extinction. Good and Bad are in the end theoretical terms. And it remains up to the perception, understanding, principles and ethics, of each individual to give them meaning.
Also part of Daily Prompt: Toy Story
Daily Prompt: Fantasy: The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .): a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?
The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Sandman, even Jack Frost have been the Guardians of childhood for ever since the beginning of time. They provide comfort to children all over the world. But most importantly, they give them something to believe in. That if you place the tooth you just “lost” under your pillow, the Tooth Fairy will bring you money. That if you’re good all year round, Santa Claus will bring you presents. That at Easter, the Bunny will scatter colourful eggs around the yard for you to have fun in a scavenger egg hunt. That even if you can’t sleep, the Sandman will make sure you do and ensure that your dreams are not haunted by nightmares. And that during the cold winter, that nipping at your nose is Jack Frost demonstrating his presence. These characters are there for a reason. To teach children the magic of fantasy, to enrich their lives with vivid characters, and to make them aware that for every action there is a reaction. Even though not directly evident, this very type of fantasy installs discipline in children’s behaviour.
I distinctly remember a black figurine in my grandmother’s bookcase next to my bed in her house. She always put me down for a nap after lunch and if I couldn’t or didn’t want to sleep she would tell me that this figurine would come out and punish me. My grandmother wasn’t racist. But she sure knew what she was doing, because I would always take my afternoon nap.
If anything, this fiction is harmless. It also creates memories of people in your life as you will certainly remember an instance or two of bedtime stories you were told or the anxious wait for one of these characters to arrive.
Fantasy is a part of our lives. An integral part for that matter. And regardless of age, everyone needs something to believe in, to help maintain hope that things will get better. That there will be a silver lining at the end of every dark cloud. And that these Guardians will prevail in the end and will protect the dreams we forge as children…
“Hey pup! How ya doin?”
“All right. Not too shabby, I would say. Out for the day’s walk. How about you?”
“Good. Just got up from my nap. Tiring day today. Was up since dawn. You know, had to chase after breakfast. My stomach was growling!”
“Ah, I know that feeling. I just hope the economic crisis doesn’t cling on us too!”
“Hey pretty! Nice bow you got there!”
“Oh thanks, Dane! Just got out of the salon. You like the new style?”
“Suits you perfectly darling! You should pass by more often. Makes the sun shine brighter!”
“Oh stop, you’re making me blush!”
BRRRRRGGGGGGRRRRRRR!!!! The neighbor next door started the lawn mower. I was abruptly woken up from my daydream and reinstated back to reality.
Suddenly the Great Dane sitting by the window moved back indoors, while the Labrador puppy out front startled and dashed away, dragging its teenage owner with it. Even the little white poodle with the pretty pink bow which previously appeared as parading down a runway now rushed to distance herself from all the noise.
Go figure, and I thought all that woofing and barking was a racket. They might as well have been having a conversation. If I could only understand what they were saying. It even seemed like they saluted each other before they ran off. Could it be?
Daily Prompt:Twenty-Five: There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)
There were many things Peggy liked in Miami, like sailing and running. But she certainly disliked the heat and humidity. Nevertheless, she entertained herself and Puggy (her Pug canine friend) at the beach, where he usually splashed abundantly in the water, getting her all wet and dripping head till sandals! She relished meeting her human friends at the sea-view cafės and bars which served amazing and refreshing juices. Peggy did examine displacing her life elsewhere, but always asserted that Miami was the best place in the end. That is until Puggy gained a friend…and she…well, she gained an acquaintance…a friend…and eventually a life partner… But that’s a different tale!Letter not used: O