MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “stories”

Cherished buttons

©Jean L. Hays

He didn’t sew often, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t good at it. He knew how to do household chores and would always help his wife whenever possible.

His children looked up to him as the superhero he tried to prove he was. It was amusing when they were young and inspiring when they got older.

It’s what she missed most about him.

She still cherished the jacket they bought together. It held fondly so many memories. But what was most significant about it, is that when the button fell off, he was the one that sew it back on.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The hustle and bustle of sincerity

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Sit there and wait. Observe. That hustle and bustle that is so characteristic of airports. That feeling of restlessness, anticipation and anguish. Imagine the stories, of where others are coming from and heading to. And the knowing that you too will soon be at some other part of the world.

But more than anything, realise that airports see the most sincere feelings: people reunited, running into each other at high speed, kissing and crying, recounting stories the mouth can’t tell fast enough, eyes that are struggling to take in all the charge, the hugging, and the end of missing someone.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The Spring Swallow

https://fr.123rf.com/photo_71470708_premi%C3%A8re-hirondelle-assise-sur-une-branche-l%C3%A8ve-t%C3%B4t-printemps-premi%C3%A8res-fleurs-fleur-de-pommier-fleur-de-ceri.htmlWhen he opened the window that morning, he was greeted by a swallow speedily flying by. It was the first of this year’s spring and it was busily gathering material to build its nest. A new generation was coming. And for him, it was a sign that better days were near.

He woke her up with a kiss on the forehead and led her to the window. Eyes still half shut, she was excited to see the small bird. It was now sitting across their window on a wire, chirping happily.

The day began cloudy. It was not the sunny morning all meteorologists were talking about the day before.  But that didn’t ruin their mood.

They decided to go for a walk. Something carefree and unrushed. That was what weekends are for – to be able to decompress from the daily stress we all experience during the week.

Yet the day turned out to be an adventure. They discovered a rescue park for sea animals, something which fascinated them so much, they promised to return. And then, there was that small, cosy restaurant they went to, where everyone was – unexpectedly and contrary to the norm – friendly, kind and helpful. For the first day in a long while, they managed to enjoy their lunch and even made new acquaintances.

It is nice to feel loved, especially when it comes from the most unexpected and unlikely of sources. But what is even better, is when you discover those little gems of life in places you never thought to look.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle”.  – Albert Einstein

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Swallow

Words of the wise

roller-coaster“Do you remember what it was like the first time you got on a roller-coaster? The excitement you felt when standing in line, the thrill that engulfed you as you took your seat, the adrenaline rush, the fear and the nausea, and the pleasant relief at the end? Life is like that. Like a roller-coaster. Love is like that too. In time you learn to become stronger and wiser. But that does not mean you stop loving. Or living”.

Grandma May always had a way with words. Her voice was as soothing as a hot cup of chamomile tea. And she always knew exactly what to say at precisely the right moment. Tricia could think of no other person to turn to whenever she needed a word of advice, a shoulder to cry on, or simply a hug.

Ever since she was a young child, she would run to Grandma May whenever she scraped her knees and needed consolation, whenever she would fight with her parents for some reason or other, whenever she felt betrayed by her friends, and, above all, whenever she experienced a heartache. The latter was Grandma May’s specialty. It was not everyone who could mend a broken heart. But Grandma May knew all too well what it felt like, enough to be able to convince even the most heartbroken of creatures that they will survive. She never told Tricia what she herself had gone through in life. Even when she outright asked, Tricia would never get a clear response, only some sort of wise-person talk, like something Yoda from Star Wars would say.

“How can you be so sure that a love like that will come again? What if that was it? If you had your chance and you missed it? Where will I ever find someone who loves me as much? Who will care for me so? Who will I find to match with so perfectly?”

Tricia was firing out questions as if her torso was a machine gun that had been kept silent for too long. Tears were rolling down her cheeks as she lay in Grandma May’s arms and wondered how life can go on after such intense pain.

Grandma May had brought tissues, tea, cookies and a blanket. And she decided to tell her a story.

“A long time ago, when there were enough women and men to form communities, the first heartache appeared. For now, people were free to choose who they wanted their partner to be. When a pair was formed it was usually for life. But on rare occasions, the couple split. They simply decided they could not continue on the same path together because their thoughts were heading on two different trains. I know you’re probably wondering what these prehistoric people were thinking about, but I’ll have you know that ever since our hearts began to beat, our minds began to think. The couple who split up ran to their own families and asked exactly the same questions you do now. It is natural. Everyone does. It is part of the process. The wisest man in the village – he also happened to be the eldest – took each aside on separate occasions and told them this: In our lives, we all must pass through different stages in order to grow. Just as we go through extreme jubilation when we are happy, we also go through severe depression when we are sad. But our minds and bodies have developed their own mechanism to deal with these roller-coasters. It is something you may know as the Kübler-Ross model, or more simply the five stages of grief. It consists of the stages we go through in order to, in a sense, mourn for a period of our lives that has passed. In these five stages we go through denial (refusing to accept that this phase in our lives is over); anger (at everything and everyone for having led to this); bargaining (in an attempt to make things right if something else where to be done or if we tried harder); depression (because you begin to realize that you have to go on alone, no matter how much you may miss your previous life phase); and acceptance (when you truly acknowledge the fact that life goes on and you must rejoice the memories and become stronger through the experience). It is our process for recovering, becoming more resilient and moving one. Above all, however, it takes time. And just like every heartbroken soul that came after this couple, we all survive. It takes time and patience and lots of strength, but it does work. Keep yourself busy – but don’t forget. Learn new things – but don’t regret. Become tougher – but don’t stop being kind. You will get through this. Everyone always does.”

Tricia was watching Grandma May dumbfounded. She had stopped sniffing and sat there mesmerized by her words. She had nothing to say. No words could come forth to be uttered at this moment. Maybe it was better that way.

So, she got up and brought a board game for her to play with wise Grandma May.

Breaking the Law, Breaking Bad

camping_fullsize_story1Have you ever broken the law? Stealing candy doesn’t count. Something more substantial. Like tying the officer’s shoelaces together when you’re ten years old, so he can’t run after you when you grab an entire ice cream bucket from the town market. Not that I would know how that would be done, of course. So really, have you ever been bad?

I remember a specific summer when we had gone camping. That week was fully, completely, no-turning-back, law-breaking. There was almost nothing legal about it.

To begin with, we had camped in a non-authorised camping zone. And we would soon realise why.

We had gotten off track on the way there, because one of us had forgotten the GPS, and, well, let’s face it, a sense of orientation is not our strongest trait. But that is why we went camping to begin with. To practice.

It took us three hours to set up our tents (when at practice we had them set up and equipped within thirty minutes). The wind was blowing everything away, the tent blew up like a balloon, and then we spent about two and a half hours chasing the tents around the makeshift camp zone in order to bolt them down to the ground. It was kinda funny if you weren’t the one running after the tent.

So, by the time we got that part done, we were starving. Luckily we had brought enough food with us. Well, at least for the first couple of days. We had to light a fire to warm up the pre-cooked food we had cleverly tagged along, yet there were no marked firewood lying around anywhere (as there would have been if we had reached the intended camping site). So, the two “macho” men in our group proclaimed they “would go get wood”. We waited. And waited. Then we heard a screech, a yell, and a bump. Apparently, they had reenacted that cartoon scene where one of them sits on a branch, sawing the wrong end of it, so that eventually both branch and sawyer fell onto the on-viewer who was (stupidly, may I add) observing from ground view. Enough said.

We could not sleep at all during the night, because we were literally bombarded by flying monkeys. OK, so they weren’t monkeys, they were mosquitoes. But they were huge and noisy and were everywhere. They might as well have been flying monkeys.

The next day, we decided to go fishing at the lake. Well, you can see where this is going, so I won’t tell you much. Just that it involved a cut arm, a rusty fishing line, an eel, some whitebait, and someone almost drowning.

Our food ran out, faster than the sun set. It seems that misfortunes, and the absolute lack of any first-world comforts that we so often take for granted, can certainly accentuate your appetite. We decided to hike to the nearest market. On the way, we were almost tackled by a grizzly bear. OK, that is a bit of an exaggeration. On the way, we were definitely tackled by a grizzly bear. It tore off both the “macho” men’s T-shirts and tried to pull of my shoe. Luckily, the boot was tightly fitted on to my leg and I managed to run away.

We had hiked for three kilometers by the time we reached the market and found an inn right on top of it. But of course, we had (smartly) left our money back at the “campsite”. Nonetheless, we decided to sneak in and take a shower. Us two girls, managed quite easily. But when the second boy was finishing up and looking for a towel, the innkeeper’s wife came in. Screaming ensued, mostly from the wet, naked man, who had fortunately managed to grab a towel that turned out to be the innkeeper’s conservative nightgown, and we ran out of there like crazy.

The innkeeper, however, fulfilled the threat he had so loudly yelled at us. Police were called, of course.

By the time we returned to the campsite, the police were already there. So was the bear. We were the ones to get a heavy fine for all this confusion and illegality. But we did also get a ride back to town. Not matter if it was in a police car. With the sirens on. Apparently, the police thought we had something to hide and that is why we were acting so strangely. Little did they know, this is how insane we were. We were forced to spend the night at the police department and pay the fine in full before we were released. It was certainly better than spending the night with a grizzly bear in our tent.

One thing is for sure though. We definitely learnt to appreciate all the things we usually take for granted. Clean water, food of all sorts, warmth, technology, bear-free zones. But the camping trip did us good, for we realized that we need a little order lest our world springs into chaos; a little light to save us from our own darkness.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Breaking the Law

Don’t talk. Just listen….

unknown call– Don’t talk. Just listen. Did you see the fireworks yesterday? Yes, just after the new Prime Minister’s victory speech? It was as if the country was having one huge party. Well, I don’t blame them. I mean the guy’s just 40 years old. And he is not bad to look at either. Plus, the casual, no-tie look makes him more likeable. I think that’s one of the reasons why he won over so many people. He managed to convince them that he relates to them. He is one of them. And like he said, he wants to have a government that belongs to all the people. Well, good luck. It would be great if at least somebody managed to do so. But did you see the fireworks in the capital’s centre? It reminded me of those 4th of July fireworks. You remember then ones. That is when I met him. You know who. That bastard who broke my heart. He played me like a fiddle on the roof. You know I ran into him the other day at the supermarket? He was shopping for groceries. At least that is what he said. He looked good. Was wearing jeans and a shirt. A shirt I got for him. It felt very weird. To be honest I even forgot to buy half my shopping list after I saw him. I was so depressed by the time I got home, that I spent the entire night watching series on TV and going to bed by midnight. I know it’s pathetic, but what do I do? Come on, you know what I am talking about don’t you?

– I’m sorry, who is this?

– Becky? It’s me, Deborah.

– I’m sorry, I’m not Becky and I don’t know any Deborah.

– Oh. Well, this is embarrassing. I am so sorry.

– Not a problem. I hope everything works out. And don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It takes time. Stay strong!

– Thanks! Sorry again for this awkward call!

[Dials Again]

– Don’t talk. Just listen…

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Unknown Caller

Wishing and hoping

bus-cartoon-comic-breadwig.com_What if everything everyone ever wished for you came true? Wouldn’t that make you super happy? Wouldn’t that make you feel invincible? Megan had the strange ability to realise every wish everyone else ever wished for her.

Not her own though.

And there was one catch. The wishes that came true where those that were spoken by the elderly passengers of a specific bus. The number 23 that followed a circular route up to the town’s old medieval castle.

Megan would take the bus once a week to go to her grandmother’s house. She lived in the hills of the upper city, where the ruins of the old town walls were situated. They were used to fortify the city in the Byzantine times and later even used as a prison when the city came under siege. Now all that remained was ruins. The older townsfolk frequently travelled up there because that is where most of their leisure centres were situated. And tourists travelled up there because it featured one of the most amazing panoramic views of the city below.

Megan first noticed the coincidence when she got up to give her seat to an old woman who got on the bus. The old lady thanked her and wished that Megan would always be as smiling and kind. Megan could not stop smiling for the rest of the day. No matter how much she tried. Even when she was watching a tearful period drama that night on television, she could not shake off that smile.

She did not pay too much attention to that at the time. But the next week, when the same incident happened (Megan thought it was only proper that she would give up her seat for the older passengers), an old man wished her that she would find someone who would appreciate her kindness and good manners. Fate would have it that at her stop she slipped on a small puddle of water that had formed at the middle bus doors and almost fell out. But she conveniently fell (literally) into the arms of a young man who was standing just outside. She fell in love with his smile and strong grip. He was mesmerized by her sparkling eyes. That was the beginning of their long-term relationship.

It just seemed that whatever was said in that “magic bus”, as Megan called it, it came true. And it was all good wishes that brightened her life. She was bound to get it all: to be smiling and happy, to find success and joy, to live a life as she wished.

When Megan decided to tell her grandmother about her special trips up the hill, her grandmother smiled widely. She told her a tale that there was a princess who lived in the castle three hundred years ago. When she was born, she was blessed by all the townsfolk who were invited by the King and Queen to share their joy of having a newborn. The townsfolk were so enchanted by her beauty that they simply wished that the child be happy and have everything she would ever wish for. Megan’s grandmother said that the princess indeed lived a long and happy life and it was under her rule that the city thrived. She joked and told her that the elderly passengers of the bus could be descendants of these townsfolks who believed Megan was the reincarnation of this princess, and so she deserved to have the same fortune. Megan smiled. She was too old to believe in fairy tales.

But on the ride home, an old woman whom she helped onto the bus took her hand and wished her that the kindness she offers be returned to her. And that her children will be as blessed as her. Megan smiled and thanked her kindly. That night, her Prince Charming proposed and ten months later, they had their first child who grew up to be as handsome as his father and as caring as his mother.

Megan slowly started to believe in fairy tales. But maybe it was just the fact that she wanted to believe so much that made all her wishes come true.

Or maybe there truly is a magic bus roaming around each town?

 

N.B. 1 Inspired in Thessaloniki by the Heptapyrgion – Yedi Kule.

N.B. 2 Song that inspired the title of this story is “Wishin’ and hopin’” by Dusty Springfield

La Hora Gris

La Hora GrisThe first time she died it was around noon, on a stifling hot day. Her carriage had ran off-track. Something had scared the horses and they sprinted off course, almost inverting the carriage as they went, knocking it on obstacles right and left. She was already injured when the carriage fell sideways onto a giant rock off the stone-covered road. The horses were so terrified that they continued to run at full speed. So fast, that they never even realized there was no more ground left to trample on. And the carriage fell off a high cliff. And that was their end.

The second time Teresa died, it was during a tornado. It was monsoon season, and everything happened too fast. As the saying goes, ‘when it rains it pours’, and there was certainly hail that day too. She was caught in a stone-house, not built to last such natural disasters. She could see the whirlwind approaching, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. The feeling of getting caught up in this monster, was like being pulled into a roller coaster from which you can’t escape. And then it all goes black. And you remember nothing more.

The third time, death came silently. Teresa was aboard a large cruise ship with her boyfriend. They had just gotten engaged in the most romantic of ways – he had even arranged fireworks for her – and she was over the moon. They were cozy in their cabin suite, falling asleep in the early hours of the morning, when something immense, hard and bulky crashed onto the ship. They hardly felt the water filling up their room, and it was only seconds before this force of nature took their last breath.

Teresa’s fourth encounter with the Reaper was during a car chase. She was after a known-fugitive. She knew this meant a promotion, recognition and acknowledgement that she was good at what she did. And that women could be just as good police officers as men. But when she finally trapped the fugitive and there was no way out, out of seemingly nowhere, he fired a gun that hit her straight in the heart. Her consolation lay only in the fact that she managed to fire right back and get him for it.

They say if you have one encounter with the afterlife, you would always remember it. Teresa had five. And she remembered every last minute. Even the shark bite that took her fifth life, when she tore her foot in the ocean outside a reef she set to explore. She remembered how she screamed and splashed, but there was no-one around to hear her because she had drifted too far out.

But somehow, she never remembered what happened afterwards. After the light at the end of the tunnel appeared. After she had crossed over.

It always felt like waking up from a dream. She was simply starting a new life, as if that was where she left off. It was strangely natural. But she never gave it too much thought.

Until now.

Lately she had always been tormented by a thought – an obsession that penetrated her very being. It was the only thing that terrified her. La hora gris. The grey hour. When it is neither night nor day. But when it is better to fall than rise. That was how it had been imprinted in her brain. That hour of day scared her, more than anything.

It was that hour that she felt her end would come. Her final end. That hour that would take away everything from her. And that is why she rarely kept anything other than the clothes and jewelry she wore.

She spent a couple of years worrying about this fatal moment.

Until she met a man on the pier by her house. He appeared oddly familiar, and for some inexplicable reason she felt she knew him, deeper than any other person she had ever known. She felt a connection with him. A mysterious, incomprehensible feeling of trust, affection and attraction for this man.

And it was all realized when during that grey hour, he came towards her, smiled, and said: “Don’t drive yourself crazy and enjoy this moment, because you never know when life is going to hit us again.”

Instantly she knew. He had been with her all this time. He had accompanied her through all five lives. He was the carriage driver, the owner of the wooden shack, her fiancé, her police chief, her scuba instructor. He had failed to protect her all those times. But now he was right there. And everything would be all right.

Rewriting the magic

pinocchio_by_ireprincess-d4hni8vFairy tales always make you smile. And leave you with a fuzzy warm feeling like a heartfelt hug. Because they remind you that sometimes life can be wonderful and as dream-like as you wish it to be.

We’ve all grown up with fairy tales. But sometimes, when we’re older we like to imagine how these would be if they were given a different twist!

Prompted by H.E.Ellis that’s exactly what I did with the story of Pinocchio – you know what the story of the wooden puppet is, right? Well, you think you do! You haven’t heard this version of it before!

Because this version is modernized, to include gambling, coins (lots of them!), greed, profanity, shipwrecks, and…well, magic!

So go ahead, read this! And don’t worry, your nose won’t get bigger! 🙂

And just to make it clear, here is the link to the full story: https://mcswhispers.wordpress.com/twisted-fairy-tale/

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