Microfiction: Starman take two

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Her dearest wish had always been to catch the tail of a falling star. Where did they go, she wondered, when they blazed across the night and disappeared below the horizon? The small child would dream of bright red oceans filled with golden fish, glittering starfish and rainbow-coloured birds soaring in a turquoise sea. Later, she dreamed of the infinite depths of an unknown heart, following the shining silver light to reach the core, to travel with a twin heart to the limits of the possible.

When the biggest, brightest star she had ever seen poured earthward in a cascade of light and tore up the big field, she was there to greet it. When she saw him, crawling out of the smoke, pulling off his helmet to reveal brilliant green eyes and red gold hair, she smiled and held out her hands, and she held out her heart.

He returned her smile and opened his arms wide.

“We have hearts too,” he said, and their two hearts curled around one another in their cupped hands, like two silver fish in a bowl of clear water. With twin hearts beating together, she touched his cheek and it was smooth and warm; he traced the curve of her lips with his thumb.

“I’ll show you where the falling stars go,” he said.

“Will we swim in the crimson sea?” she asked.

“With the golden fish,” he said.

“And fly in the turquoise air?”

“We will be rainbow feathers and music.”

“Take me there,” she said.

And he did.

Microfiction: Starman

For Charli Mills’ writing prompt: a 99 word fairy tale.

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Once upon a time there was a little boy who gazed at the stars. Far away, a little girl wished on every falling star to catch one and follow where it led.

The boy grew up to be a starman. On his first voyage to investigate Earth, he was drawn out of orbit and fell, streaking the night with fire. He climbed out of the vessel, the smoking crater, and took the hands of the girl with brilliant eyes who was waiting for him. Together they repaired his ship and flew away to write their destiny among the stars.

Microfiction: The spring dance part IV

Last episode of The spring dance and first post of 2016. Thank you for reading these posts and offering your thoughts and encouragement. I appreciate it more than I can say.

Wishing you all a beautiful, peaceful and fruitful 2016.

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Reluctantly the little girl left the dancing place. She looked over her shoulder at the blue black fox, sitting in the hazel thicket watching her.

Heal the wound, said the rose.

Take care, said the wolf.

Come back to us, said all the trees and birds and animals in the forest. She waved and plucked a yellow kingcup to remember them by.

The little girl grew and took her promise seriously. She did what she could to speak up for the forest and the things that lived there. The cart track disappeared, first beneath the bulldozers and diggers, then the builders came and piled house bricks on the turned earth, and new roads trickled everywhere like black worms.

The little girl grew older and still her voice was heard in meetings and committees and councils. Property developers came to see her.

“But why do you need so much garden?” they asked. “Why does anyone need nearly two acres? That’s valuable building land, that is.”

Her children, then her grandchildren tried to get her to leave the old house.

“I like it here,” she said. “It used to be peaceful.”

Her garden was peaceful and was always filled with birds. Foxes knew they could hide up there when the vermin hunters came round. Stray cats and dogs always found a welcome. But she was tiring. Tiring of the animosity of the neighbours who didn’t like the strays and the foxes, and the drifting leaves from her trees, and because their children liked to play in her garden rather than at home in front of the playstation where it was safe. She was tired of the angry traffic on the road and the feeling that beyond her gate was enemy territory.

One morning, so early only the foxes were about, she decided it was time.

Goodbye, she said to those who could hear.

Goodbye, they replied. We’ll miss you.

She found the road that led to where the track had been and followed its mysterious meandering between garden fences and garage walls until she came to the forest wall of smooth, shiny stone. She knew when she found the place because a wolf’s face smiled at her, straight into her eyes because she was taller now.

Come in and join the dance, the wolf said.

We’ve been waiting for you, said the rose.

And the little girl in her heart skipped over the gnarly, curly roots of the big tree. Beneath a hazel thicket she could see a blue black fox waiting. With a sigh, her heart brimmed over and she smiled through tears. She slipped through the gap in the wall and followed the fox to where the dancing forest stretched on forever and ever.

 

If you enjoyed this story, you might like to dip into The Green Woman. The first volume is still free, just for today.

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The Procession: the whole story

Here is the entire story—my glimpse of it anyway. I’ve added a final 100 words to make it a round 500.

8Oˆ

Bejewelled and bedecked they trooped through the deep green light of the sea caves as if they were at court, accepting the homage of bass and flounder with blind arrogance, dead souls streaming from the wreck. Barnacles studded satins and silks; needlefish threaded through torn lace, bloodied and scorched.
“Where are you going?” the wanderer asked.
“To see the new queen crowned.”
The voices trailed away into a gargle of bubbles as a chasm opened beneath their dead, mincing feet. The wanderer turned his face into the glittering morning sunlight, brilliant as a shoal of minnows, and continued his journey.

She looked with scorn at the cortege that tripped and strutted on jewelled feet into the utter darkness. The ship emptied, poured out its cargo of dead souls, following where the merfolk led, oblivious to the dancing sharks, the laughing monkfish. Not one noticed her where she stood behind the rail. What did a servant girl mean to them? No more than they with their painted faces and stones for hearts meant to her.
“Come with me,” the traveller called to the dark-eyed girl, the dark-haired girl as she turned her head. He would show her the wonders of the deep, he said. He would take her with him as he travelled the oceans. But what she would, he would not, so she turned her face from his reproachful look. He was for the light, the warm, shallow seas full of the glitter of miniature fish, bright-painted enamel among the corals. She was for the dark.
Her love was dead days before, fallen from the rigging and swallowed by the waves. She would go back, following the shoals, over the black rocks and through the green caves until she found his lost soul and they would walk into eternity together.

When the last of the ill-fated courtiers disappeared into the gloom, and the laughter of the merfolk had faded into a mirthless gurgle, she picked her way carefully across the deck. Broken spars and tangled traps of rigging barred her way but she leapt, floated, glided following the dogfish, along the ocean’s uncharted paths. Mile upon mile of phantom fish and shimmering shoals, she passed, cliffs of green rock, forests of gently waving fronds, and piles of monumental coral, before she heard the song of his wandering soul, and the dark ocean leapt with the brilliant light of lovers reunited.

* * *

She follows the bright streamers of fish-glitter into the golden light. He is there, so close now; she feels his presence throbbing in every salty droplet, hears his voice calling with a lover’s song. Dogfish, sea bass and ray stir the water electric, as she rushes towards the heart of the whirlpool of notes. There, in the mouth of the deepest, the most sacred and mysterious cave, he stands, no longer broken, waiting with outstretched arms. She darts, faster than any jewelfish, and enters his aura of peace. Entwined, never more to part, they cross together to the other side.

The Procession: Part three

The final 100 words from me (I think) on Repin’s strange painting

8Oˆ

When the last of the ill-fated courtiers disappeared into the gloom, and the laughter of the merfolk had faded into a mirthless gurgle, she picked her way carefully across the deck. Broken spars and tangled traps of rigging barred her way but she leapt, floated, glided, following the dogfish along the ocean’s uncharted paths. Mile upon mile of phantom fish and shimmering shoals, she passed, cliffs of green rock, forests of gently waving fronds, and piles of monumental coral, before she heard the song of his wandering soul, and the dark ocean leapt with the brilliant light of lovers reunited.

Book review: Conor Kelly and The Four Treasures of Eirean

Alison Isaac is a blogger friend and a great writer. I knew that already from reading her blog and some of her excellent short stories. We share a love of Irish history and legend (more or less the same thing) and Alison is a fund of detailed knowledge for anyone intrigued by the origins of myths. Still, her Conor Kelly stories are for children, and I wondered whether I would enjoy them. I believe we as adults judge children’s literature in very much the same way we judge any book. If it doesn’t cut the mustard for an adult, why should intelligent children like it? I came to The Four Treasures of Eirean with a bit of trepidation because I really wanted to like it. I didn’t. I loved it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Conor-Kelly-Treasures-Eirean-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B008T8A7SK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1416819935&sr=1-1&keywords=Four+treasures+of+Eirean

Conor Kelly is an unconventional hero. For one thing he can’t speak, for another he is bound to a wheelchair. Not exactly the first person the Sidhe would turn to in their hour of need, you’d think. Well you’d be wrong. Conor Kelly is made of stern stuff and he has the blood of Lugh Long Arm in his veins. Transported to Tir na nOg where time has a different meaning, Conor’s personal adventure runs alongside the history of his ancestors, dipping in and out of our world and the fairy world, in a plot full of action, suspense and mystery.
Conor can’t speak because he can’t command his vocal chords, not because he isn’t thinking the same thoughts as any other fourteen-year-old. When Annalee, the messenger sent by the Sidhe, reveals his latent ability to communicate telepathically, she relieves him of the frustration of never being understood. She also breaks the astonishing news that Conor is expected to save the Sidhe’s disappearing world for them. Even his physical disabilities, they insist, he can overcome if he only tries hard enough. At first Conor refuses to play along, says they need a hero with the use of all his limbs. But there is more than one type of hero, and gradually Annalee has Conor fighting villains and mythical creatures out of the mists of Irish legend.
Just because this is a book written essentially for children doesn’t mean that the characters are simplistic. One of the best things about this story, in my opinion, is the delving into the complexities of human emotions. Annalee is rarely what she seems, an enigmatic character struggling with her own demons. In a way, Conor understands, though he struggles to believe some of his suspicions. The feelings Annalee and Conor have for one another is one of the most touching things in this very touching story.
This isn’t a soft-centred, sugar coated fairy tale that pretends a severely handicapped child can defeat armies single-handed. As well as searching for the four treasures of the Sidhe, Conor hopes to find the well of healing and his own salvation. But it isn’t as simple as that; he is still just a boy in a wheelchair. But what he does discover is a tremendous strength of character and rock solid determination. He shows compassion and forgiveness as he struggles to make the right moral choices. On the way, he has to deal with hardship, death, and betrayal.
Alison Isaacs packs such a lot of tenderness into this story about a real disabled boy, dragged into a story that he fears will overwhelm him. The author knows her subject though, and she guides Conor through his adventures with an expert and sensitive hand.
I recommend this story to anyone over the age of ten or so who enjoys a good story and good storytelling and knows how to recognise a real hero.

Amazon US link