Passion flower

Suddenly there was a passionflower in the garden. She didn’t know where it had come from. Could it have been planted there by a bird? A squirrel? She knew she hadn’t planted it… At least she thought she knew…

A week later she was pottering in the yard. A beautiful lily caught her eye. Again she racked her mind, thought back to spring? It might have been in a bag of bulbs she had bought? It was early autumn. Too long ago to remember.

Over the next few weeks new plants appeared in her borders. Beautiful flowers and plants. Expensive plants. The gate was locked at night, and she only went out occasionally in the day. Was she being stalked…?

The revelation of who was doing the planting came late one Friday evening. She was having a drink with an old school friend. As she sipped her red wine she told her about the plants popping up in the garden.

Her friend blushed and smiled. Oh dear, she said. I’d better tell you. My garden is full, too full. I decided to spread plants out to my friends gardens, you, Jackie, Maude and Sisley.

Well it started as a bit of a joke, but once I realised I could push through the hedge down the bottom of the garden? Well I just kept coming back. I hope you enjoyed the plants? I should stop!

Don’t you dare! I love them. I was spooked, but now I appreciate the surprise. Thank you. Keep going, its fun.

Scarecrow prompt

#bandofsketchers prompt for Sunday. My hubby posed as a Scarecrow for me while we were at Trentham Gardens yesterday.  I pretended his hands were straw. Its hard to do a drawing of a Scarecrow if you don’t see them very often, but I think this gives the general idea of how they look. I think they are meant to scare away rooks and crows that might eat a crop in field. The idea is that the birds think there is a human in the field, especially if the clothes it wears are old and ragged and flap in the breeze. If you want to read or see stories about scarecrows look up Worzel Gummage who was a character in a TV series in the 1970’s.

Magic Mountain Creek

Magic Mountain Creek is a novel I began last June during lockdown. It was inspired by an article in The Smithsonian Magazine about the packhorse librarians in Kentucky during the Depression. I have self-published it, and is available free to read on Issuu or as a Kindle publication from Amazon for £4.99. “1934, Depression-era Kentucky, […]

Magic Mountain Creek

The Kraken Wakes

I don’t do book reviews, but I’ve started rereading ‘the Kraken Wakes’ by John Wyndham.

It’s not the most comfortable book to read in the midst of a global pandemic, and like his better known book ‘the day of the Triffids’, it is the story of an alien invasion of global proportions.

The book was written several decades ago when the threat from communism and the Cold War was at its height. Part of the story is the arguments between the west and the east and them blaming each other for losses of ships over deep ocean trenches.

The narrator and his wife are involved from the start, seeing fireballs hit the sea during their trip on a cruise ship.

It continues in three phases, one two and three, that gradually describe what happens as the invasion continues. Some of the language and attitudes are old fashioned because of the age when the book was written. But the book builds tension gradually and as I’m about half way I don’t know how it will turn out.

If you want to read an interesting sci- fi book have a look. There are others including the ‘Midwich Cuckoos’ and ‘The Trouble with Lichen’ that Wyndham wrote.

Double dragon trouble

A mouth full of teeth? No two! When the dragon egg hatched Ernic did not expect to see this! Double headed dragons were a rarety these days. They were more legend than reality.

The dragon was named Tuis, meaning two, and the villagers became more nervous as it grew. Ernic was given the task of feeding it. But those two heads could eat double what a normal dragon ate. Crunching bone and flesh. Dragons didn’t eat humans but they were carnivores. They would sometimes belch flame but they did not need to tendorise their food, their teeth were strong enough to bite through anything.

A gap of a few months ensued, all was quiet, Tuis continued to grow. But his mood started to change. Now he was angry. It was as if each head had a different mind and they started to squabble. One head was more dominant and no matter how Ernic tried it would grab more food. Tuis one was bigger than Tuis two. It had a darker gleam in its eyes. Shar teeth would snap at its twins head.

Finally it happened that One’s teeth grazed Two’s neck. Snap! The deed was done. Tuis smaller head collapsed forward. Then a look of utter despair came across Tuis face. He crumpled. Double trouble. Dead.

Rain arch?

Have you seen it?

Look up on the sky. Can you see it? The rain arch. I don’t understand it. That’s not normal? Who knows what it means?

Is it a stunt, is it possible? How can you believe that is real?

These were the questions being asked by people who saw it. The picture went viral. Then stories of other arches appeared in the news. There was more rain and more arches. No one had an explanation. But strange things continued to happen. The rain arches started appearing at night. There was only the arches. A new phenomena.

Him

He was stern, bearded, he was a patriarch and knew it. He had always been strict with the women and girls in the village. They could come and go, but were not allowed to go to lessons, while the boys had schooling, and of course the best food and clothes.

Nothing would change his mind, that was how things were and that was how it would always be.

His daughter, turning ten years old, looked up to him. But she was clever. Too bright for washing clothes till her hands went red, too clever for feeding the chickens or wringing their necks and plucking them when the time came. She could do everything girls five years older than her were capable of. She stitched and sewed, she span wool. She was useful and her father knew it.

‘father’ she would ask. ‘Why is the sky blue? How old is the world?’ Or ‘why are the clouds that shape?’ One day she even asked why the moon waxed and wained. Her father would just say ‘none of your nonsense my girl’ or ‘get back to your laundering’. The daughter turned round sadly and carried on with her chores.

For two years this carried on, until one day the father became ill, he took to his bed, and despite his wife’s care he only grew worse. His eyes were closed when his daughter bought his supper to him one evening. She spooned some broth into his mouth, he retched, but she persevered. Little by little he supped the food. Later she came to check on him and he seemed a little better.

A week later he was sitting up in bed. His daughter came into the room and he held her hand as she gave him more broth. ‘what’s in this food’ he asked ‘it tastes strange, bitter’ ‘just herbs’ she said.

When he had fully recovered the father asked his wife what she had used to make the broth, ‘it wasn’t me’ she said. ‘Daughter talked to the old women, she made the broth after speaking to them’.

Later he talked to his daughter ‘how did you know how to cure me?’ ‘I asked questions like I always do’ she said.

Finally his mind changed. ‘you will go to school my girl, if you can learn such things off old women, I want to know what you can learn in class’.

The daughter started school and after four years she was taken into college. Finally she was trained as an apothecary. From then on the father insisted all the children, girls as well as boys, should be taught.

Staring at me…

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Lined up, their beady eyes staring at me..

Two owls, mock leather and fake jewels. They sit on the sofa and look back at me. Is there a glint if evil in their eyes. If I fall asleep, will there be a great flapping of wings? Will they peck my face?

They are mocking me, watching me, sitting ready to pounce once I have closed my eyes. I just know it. Nightmares fastening their claws into my arms. Beaks ready to stab at my ears, eyes and mouth.

I remember being paralysed by the fear of them. Black and gold feathers brushing my hands. Their talons raking my veins, tangling in my hair.

How can I escape their gaze. Looking back at me. My reflection in their eyes? I want safety. Instead I may be trapped inside them, in their black lined guts. Lost forever in their gaze.

Christmas Carol re-written

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I’ve just seen the third and final episode of a Christmas Carol, adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens, but with much more details and ‘plot twists’.

Gone is the vaguely cute Scrooge of the original, who is somehow not that nasty, at least compared with this Scrooge. But there is more back story about what caused his intransigence and avarice. There is also much more about what he and Jacob Marley did to his employees, the evil actions that harmed them.

On the whole this was a much more adult adaptation, including swear words and sexual exploitation. Once I got over the fact that it was more of a rewrite than an adaptation I actually enjoyed it. Scrooge does not end up gloriously happy (spoiler alert), but he is changed and his attitude to others is improved. It feels like there might even be a sequel!