Danu’s children pass

Riders_of_the_Sidhe

Air too grey

between ditch and tree bough,

gone the sun.

We hear the rushing tide,

the dark night roaring that swallows the stars

and we shut our ears to winter’s song.

 

Through rain and streamwater

Danu’s children watch

with cold misty blue eyes

a summer world

of kestrels’ wings.

 

The world shrinks,

colour of water,

blossom chased into the past

like empty husks in the icy steppes.

 

I close my eyes, my ears, the shutters tight,

that the lilting wind melody

lull to sleep

the children of the mist,

and, their laughter ending,

the tide turn its ebb into the dark

to flow bright with summer kestrels’ wings

for we who cower beneath mortal skies.

Microfiction #writephoto: Balor’s Eye

A story break. I didn’t have time to do Sue Vincent’s photo prompt last week or was it the week before? But it’s a good picture, so I’ve had a go now.

sighting-stone

Most people peered through the round hole and saw the fields at the other side of the rock, the grass rippling and the far trees swaying in the breeze. But some people saw something else. Some people are gifted with the sight, or perhaps cursed is the better word. A few recognize this gift from an early age and stay away from the places that show them the otherworld. Most only realize when it it is too late.

He had no idea that he was anything but a very ordinary man, living a very ordinary life. True, he loved walking and running and would often sleep out beneath the stars with only a sleeping bag and his dog for company. He was never happier than when he was up in the hills with only the sound of the larks and the wind in the trees. Often, his running took him up to Balor’s Eye, and he would climb to the top of the rock and look down on three counties at once.

If he had a foreboding, he ignored it. If he was drawn to Balor’s Eye at the summer solstice, he did nothing to fight it. As the sun sank to the rim of the hills on that longest day, as its long rays fell through the round hole that was called Balor’s eye, he peered through, as hundreds, perhaps thousands had done before him, and he saw a bloody battlefield.

There were no slanting golden rays, but an ocean of red blood and fire. There were no larks singing, but men screaming. He tried to back away, but a face in the anonymous heaving, bleeding crowd turned and a voice called his name. His name?

Lugh!

The voice called from two thousand years away, yet he heard it clear, and he knew it for his own. His knuckles clutched the rim of the eye, but something stronger than the familiarity and ordinariness of the peaceful fields gripped him. The otherworld was calling its own; and he had a part to play.

Lugh! Come quick!

He was an ordinary man with the heavy muscles of an athlete, and the walking stick in his hand was a long spear. With a gasp, that was both regret and excitement, he leapt through the round hole, the eye of the giant Balor that looked out onto the otherworld, and the red battle enveloped him in flames and blood.

Before the eye could find him, he span about and cast the spear, the long spear no other man could wield, and it passed through Balor’s eye. The rock, the giant, the mass of man and mountain roared one last curse, belched one last gout of flame, and fell dead. Lugh, the extraordinary man was carried, a hero from the red field. He cast a last, puzzled glance back at the tumble of smoking rock, but already the memory of the peaceful, lark-singing field was fading.

 

Microfiction: The End

I saw this competition today, the Sully Award, and since I have any number of 200 word stories, thought I’d enter one of them. Not necessarily the best, but one I’m fond of. If you would like to enter, you have until next Tuesday. Just pop over to Heylookawriterfellow’s blog. The more the merrier.

Stonehenge_sun_through_trilith_April_2005

They had run out of time. There were no more moons left, no more hope. Nothing more would rise in the sky, night or day. The standing stones watched but refused their help. The magic that lay beneath them slept. And it would sleep now forever. The sleepers would never waken, though this was surely the end, and they were the only ones who could avert it. So said the stories.

The fox watched the setting sun and called the vixen. Together they slipped through the gateway between the stones to the otherworld and left the earth to its dying.

Vixen stopped and looked back. Dog fox sat and wrapped his brush neatly over his toes. The sky beyond the stones was darkening though not with night; it was dark because the sky was empty. The pale sun had set and no moon would rise. The stars had all fallen and the universe turned its back on the earth. A flock of birds swung, swift, feathered darts, between the stones. An owl followed, another. They were the last. The stones fell together and shattered. The doorway had gone. Fox shook himself, vixen yawned, and they trotted into the starlit night.

Bifrost

A circular poem based on today’s magnetic poem

731px-rhinegold_and_the_valkyries_p_072

Quiet as stone falls the light,

bright and glacier cold,

folding the world in clouds of frost.

Bifrost the bridge of violet and blue,

hues of the rainbow,

slowly arching across the sky,

flying on swans’ wings from rooted earth,

berth of sky ships, soaring,

roaring with the winds voice.

Rejoice in this sky-reaching and spanning space,

race, white swans with this dead heart,

part the clouds for I see the journey’s close,

rose scented, blue horses joyful riot,

quiet as stone falls the light.

 

Into the dark we go

I’ve been away, back for Samhain for a family chat about the ones gone before.

Marc,_Franz_-_Blue_Horse_I_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Into the dark we go, we go,

Till shadows fall before the light,

And we leave all our pain behind.

 

Red sunset frames an open door,

Hands reach out to beckon us home,

Into the dark we go, we go.

 

The path it turns, the sea rides high,

With fear of leaving in our hearts,

Till shadows fall before the light.

 

Meadows sweep beyond the door,

Blue horses run, love in their stride,

And we leave all our pain behind.

Microfiction challenge #20: Isle of the Dead

A nice cheery subject this week. That’s the title of the painting, which I think is eerily beautiful. It’s a pretty small island if it’s meant to stock all the dead ever, so maybe it’s like the Tardis? Or the portal to another dimension? Where is it, and who is in the boat?

There’s lots to get your Halloween teeth into with this one. What I would suggest, if you want to keep on good terms with me, is not to mention pumpkins, or werewolves, or vampires. Keep it classic, please.

Post your stories in the comments below before next Thursday, and have fun!

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Microfiction: Avalon

1024px-ilya_repin-what_freedom

When the tempest blew in the big picture windows, spraying the customers with broken glass, the tea rooms emptied in a gale of screams and the undignified flurry of black coat tails. Within moments, no one was left except the big man in the fur-collared cloak who seemed to find the whole scene amusing. She was transfixed by his gaze, the laughter in his eyes, and was ready to cling to his huge frame as to a life raft. He beckoned to her and strode outside to where the ocean swept over the promenade and the boulevard was just a memory.

At the door, she blanched and leapt backwards, waves curling over her shoes. A sharp cry escaped her. “It’s coming, just like the prophet said it would. Nothng can stop it. The world is ending!”

He laughed, a rich, deep laugh that drove back the night, the fools and the monsters. And he took her hand.

“Come with me,” he said and stepped out into the foaming, swirling flood. She hung back in fear and shook her head. The horizon was barred by the jagged white mountains of icebergs and they sailed, frozen battleships, closer and closer. No human voices were heard over the whine of the wind. The world had disappeared beneath the raging waters. Mute, she shook her head again until his laughter worked its magic. His face was red with the cold, and his lips, pulled into a brilliant, white-toothed smile

“Is this a dream,” she asked.

“Perhaps,” he said. “Who knows? Shall I show you where the black pearls grow and starfish light their lamps?”

This time, she laughed with him and took the offered hand. Together they stepped into the flood and he led her to where the waves became wild white horses and the icebergs the misty shore of a green island.

Night sky is black

The Daily Post prompt is: understanding.

A cleave poem, because I haven’t written one in a while.

1024px-Galaxies_in_Hiding_(Unannotated)

Night sky is black/ shot with light

A sheet pierced with holes/ a million stars

And a light that shines behind/ showing the way

From another world, I long to go/ to a better place than this

Though the weight in between/ so dark and full of pain

Stirs the air thick with mists I can barely see

Wings white and strong will bear me/ across the feather-light sky

And a story guide my way/ to where the spirit is free.

 

Poetry challenge #3: Samhain

This week’s theme is obviously Halloween, Samhain, Toussaint, All Hallows, whatever you want to call it—the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. This is the time when the dead are close, our waking world and the otherworld touch, the door between them is open.

Be inspired by the season, the myths, or the picture. One more round of sept form—seven lines of 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 syllables respectively. Get writing and post your creations here.

Animation_candle_flame

Here are my efforts.

Souls

long dead

hasten from

the otherworld

drawn moth-like

to flame

bright.

 

Dark

night falls

moonless sky

still the lake lies

candle flame

draws you

home.

 

Love

once warm

your heart was

now still and cold

let the flame

your steps

light.

Flash Fiction: Another dream, another place

This story is derived from a real experience and telling my eldest daughter about the rather strange goings-on, she suggested the creepy reason. Thanks, Marthe for the inspiration 🙂

Two paintings for this one because I like them both. The first is by Théo Van Rysselberghe, the second by Marta Shmatava

Théo_Van_Rysselberghe_-_Portret_van_Marguerite_van_Mons

It began with my toothbrush. It always seemed to be damp when I used it in the morning. My irritation that somebody else had been using my toothbrush ended up provoking irritation in the rest of the family.

“What is wrong with you, Mother? Why would I use your poxy supermarket toothbrush when I have a custom made model from the chemist?”

Nobody, of course, had used my toothbrush. Why would they? It was ridiculous. It was ridiculous too that either of my daughters would have pinched my earrings, my laughably old-fashioned earrings that had belonged to my mother.

“What the fuck, Mother! Who wears baubles like that now? Except the Queen Mum, maybe, Gawd rest ’er soul!”

The diamond and amethyst earrings turned up again in the soap dish. I put them away in their box in a drawer of my bedside table.

At night I slept badly, fitfully. The moon was too bright, supper too heavy, too many worries seething in the backroom of my mind where they had been relegated. I woke often, dreamt odd, disjointed dreams. But then dreams are odd and disjointed. They’re hardly like reading the newspaper. I woke often, hit by the lingering smell of perfume. I began to wonder if one of the bottles on the bedside table had leaked, so I took them into the bathroom and cleaned them all. I left them on the side of the washbasin.

When I next woke, because of the moon, the supper or the worries, scent drifted strong and sweet about my face. It wasn’t until the next morning that I remembered there was no perfume by my bed anymore. Something made me check. The earrings had gone again. My toothbrush was damp.

Preparing for bed became a time of unease, the bathroom a place where nothing was certain any more. I hung onto Jim at night, my frantic grip making both of us uncomfortable. I curled into his back, my arms strapped across his chest, keeping the night table, the bathroom, the perfume, behind me, the door firmly closed. Despite Jim’s comforting presence, I still had the impression of movement when the house should have been still and began to wake systematically at regular intervals. Each time I was left with the feeling that I had just missed something, a fleeting touch lingered on my shoulder, or the bed sighed as though relieved of a pressure.

I would wake, weary, as if I had spent the night not asleep but walking, running, maybe. A jacket would be slung on a chair on the landing, a pair of my shoes in the bathroom, dropped and left askew where they fell. The shower head dripped warm.

One night, on waking with the moon in my face, I rolled over to face the door. Perfume, faint and sweet floated in the night air, and the door was open. Cat, I thought, I hoped. I held my breath, waiting for the scratching at the landing door as she let herself downstairs. Nothing. I sat up, feeling the faint fluttering of garments, fabric rustling, the soft pad of a step. The smell of perfume, my perfume grew stronger. Jim muttered half-awake.

“Get back into bed, Jennie. You’re letting the cold air in.”

The sheet moved, I clutched at it and it jerked from my grasp. I struggled as the sheets were pulled back and I felt the weight again on the bed. I slithered, slipped, fell into a thick, clinging blackness that oozed through the open door.

Now I can only stand in the doorway and look in, watch myself sleeping next to a man who is, who was my husband. I can get no closer than the doorway before I have to turn back to the life, the world, the dream maybe, where I am trapped, where Jim was killed in an accident before we were married, where I have no children, where the future is empty.

When the moon is too bright to sleep, I remember another world, and I am drawn to the doorway of the bedroom in this place I used to live, where the other me, the lonely, bereft, me sleeps with Jim, my Jim, and neither he nor my children notice the difference.

Sometimes, when the moon is too bright, the supper too heavy, or the worries too insistent for sleep, I come here and stand in the doorway. She has locked away the tokens but I know where they are. I know all my hiding places, after all. She has taken my life, my home, but she will not have my memories. I open the drawer. Locks are made to be opened by those who have the key. I take out my mother’s earrings and put them on. I spray my hair with my favourite perfume. She mutters and frowns in her sleep. Jim stirs. I smile and leave a red rose, fresh with summer dew, on his pillow.

January snow drifts softly against the window.

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