Once Upon a Page

Firstly I would like to apologise for missing my deadline last month. I would like to say it was because I was away on a much needed family holiday, or that my right arm has been out of commission due to repetitive strain from writing too much in awkward positions, or that writing my latest story for the Everlasting Fantastical Adventures took most of my time and inspiration up, but no excuse is ample or totally correct. Let’s just say I had a sabbatical and am now back.
This month’s piece has turned into the start of a bigger story with part one below …
ONCE UPON A PAGE there were three animals who went on an urgent quest into a deep dark cave. Each one determined to find something they had lost that was very dear to them.

First was Henry, a snow white goose who had had his honk stolen during a flight through a winter storm by a mischievous wind spirit. He had chased the spirit but lost it in the thickest part of the blizzard. A goose without a honk is a sad thing, every time he tried to warn his flock when a stranger approached he looked silly and ended up in a flap. Since then the other geese laughed at him and, what was worse, he couldn’t honk back.

The second was Nicholas, a jovial orang-utan who had misplaced his laugh when eating his way through a field of peanuts. He had searched and searched, opening as many shells as he could, but his laughter was gone. Now when he told a joke all he could raise was a smile and he felt his world was dull without his belly laugh that could shake the trees.

Last was Hugo, a big black-haired rat who went to sleep on New Year’s Eve and woke up the next morning incomplete. It had been dark in the sewer that night and there had been a troop of young rats from the local University prowling around. It was true Hugo had eaten a stash of overripe plums he had found which made him woozy, but he had felt nothing else that night. He had woken up without his tail, a limb no self-respecting rat could do without. His balance, coordination and his dignity were beyond repair.

The three had met in a market place in the town of Everhope on the outskirts of Wishful County. The market was the home of a famous Sage. Each had come to ask about their dilemmas. The Sage had listened to all three animals. She had told them they must go to the mountain of Faith nestled on the edge of the world to find their answers and that all three must undertake this journey together.

Half way up the mountain was a cave. A deep and lonely place in which was hidden a magical chest. If they could unlock the chest then their wishes would be granted. Without any arguments they decided to follow the Sage’s instructions and set out that same afternoon. Three days and three nights they toiled through torturous weather across the wilds. Each finding out something about the others during the hard journey. Now they had arrived and were standing on the brink.

“So this is the place.” Hugo peered into the gloom. “Looks spooky to me …” he said doubtfully, “and I like damp dark places.”

“-”, honked Henry, or rather didn’t. He buffeted his wings and shook his neck from side to side.

“Hugo, I think the goose wants to tell us something.” Nicholas scratched his chin. They hadn’t found out Henry’s name as his honk was gone and he couldn’t write.

“No doubt.” Hugo shrugged. “ What is it, Goose?”

“-”. Henry said silently. His white face and beak beginning to turn red with anger. The Orang-utan and the Rat exchanged blank looks.

“Maybe we should play charades?” Nicholas suggested.

“We tried that already, remember?” Hugo shook his head too quickly and almost fell over. He really missed his tail.

“When we were crossing that stream and the goose tried to tell us something. It didn’t work, so he lost his temper and took off in a flap. Landed on the other side without a care. He was so upset he wouldn’t help either of us across. We got all wet and cold just because I laughed at his antics.”

“Well, you shouldn’t have.” Nicholas grimaced, his eyes flat and his wrinkly face looked all lopsided and wrong. “I’m sure he was only trying to help us.”

“We’ll never know.” Hugo sniggered, “unless we find that Chest of Wishes.” He liked to snigger. It was a very ratty thing to do and he found himself sniggering a lot more now than he did before he lost his tail. With a quick glance at the other two to make sure they would follow, Hugo stepped into the cave.

“Come on, Goose. You know Hugo doesn’t mean any harm. He’s just like any other rat.” Nicholas held one long arm out to the bird.

“No I’m not!” Hugo snapped over his shoulder, but he didn’t stop to argue. He did not dare to turn in case he fell over. Henry flapped once and then gentle pressed his wingtip into the offered hand of Nicholas. Together they followed the rat into the gloom.
To be continued…

Advertisements

A Supernatural Short Story

This month’s short story prompts were …

Character – Short, Supernatural,

Traits – Arrogant, Curious,

Conflict – Weather

Location – Forest

 Objects – Message and Vehicle

 I hope you enjoy this tale.

Trouble at halloween …

The rain pelted past the trees, thudding on my skin like I was a drum.

“BLARRR! Enough, foul weather!”

I move under an oak tree, pressing myself up against its trunk. Just as well my skin‘s so tough the rough bark was just a small annoyance, much less than the thudding rain. Here I was, trapped in the forest. Trying to get back to my garden in time for the midnight feast. But time and the weather were conspiring against me.The incessant drumming was hurting my head so much I couldn’t even rhyme.

It was the squirrels fault of course. If he hadn’t stolen all the chocolates I wouldn’t have had to chase him into the depths of the woods. The squirrel had scampered for his drey thinking he would be safe to scoff all the treats, but he hadn’t factored in me. I suppose he didn’t get to see me most of the year; I only come out on Halloween.

When I fired my stream of seeds and pulp at the wee thing he had jumped out of his skin. His tail standing out like a pine tree, stiff and smelly. He didn’t moved a muscle as I collected up the treats, hiding them away and his eyes had popped when I blew  a last noisy rasping raspberry. That had been fun!

With the treats in my  possession I set out to return to the garden. But on my way back the storm hit hard. Buffeting winds, thudding rain, extraordinarily nasty weather. Things would have been fine if it had been blustering in the opposite direction, but no, that would have been too easy. All of that horrible wet windiness was set to blow right up my nostrils as I flew home. It was almost blew my lights out.

What was that? I thought I heard something; a message on the wind.

There it is again! I can hear someone calling. It must be the children. They want to see me! Etching my features in a grimace, I prepare to face the pelting raindrops. I am needed and nothing but death can stop me. As I launch myself out from the trees, a few choice words pop into my head.

The rain is fierce with hasty schemes,

               It batters my mind with nasty dreams,

               But weather won’t cause me inner shame,

               Long will burn my internal flame.

I race through the air, skirting around branches and over logs. Lightning strikes stab me and thunder rages. The rhymes inside have inflamed my spirit and I feel invincible. Around me sizzling rain flashes past in streaks of orange as my fires roar higher and higher.

I hear the children again. Their shouts growing larger, “Uppity Mister Pumpkin Head! Uppity Mister Pumpkin Head!”

With a final push I scream out of the storm. Silver lightning carves the sky in two behind me as a great rolling thunderous echo erupts from the clouds. I have defeated them and they are annoyed.

But what’s this? The children’s faces are full of terror! Silence grips them as they stare at me. My light spills out, filling their eyes. My inner flames blaze with the strikes of the midnight clock. It’s Halloween and the supernatural stalks the night.

With a laughing rush I soar over their heads, making them duck and dive. As I pass just above them I pour out my treats; chocolates and candies galore. All the flavours of Halloween and the children cheer for more!

 

 

For next month’s tale, here is the prompts… (only one of each category – I will set up a new box to use from January onwards)

Character – Tall
Traits – Quiet
Conflict – Money
Location – City
Objects – Horn

 

I hope you all have a wonderful and rewarding Festive Season. May Health Wealth and Happiness surrounding you all like the treats from Uppity Mister Pumpkin Head in the coming year.

 

Cheers,

Grumphspawn!

 

“Uppity Mister Pumpkin Head”- is a character from the “Everlasting Fantastical Adventures” and is protected by Copyright. Please ensure you have the author’s permission before any replication of this blog post.

A Creature of Fantasy

Was that seaweed on her head?

It wasn’t like any plant I knew. It was out of the water for starters and yet it flowed like it was being caressed by the tides. When seaweed dried and died, its flavours turned foul. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t like the shoreline, too many rotting tastes. The deep waters were  better; crisp, clean with the tang of salt. The ocean was my home.

Yet here I was, bobbing in the swell and watching a creature of fantasy walking in the world above the waves.

The object she moved on wasn’t an island, there was no rotten taste to the waters and it had no rocky roots down to the seabed. It was more like one of those trees that floated by after a storm. Only it looked … made. Put together by people. Who would do such a thing and why? The ancients had built cities in the still of the depths, but no one had needed to add anything for generations. Why should they, we had all we needed?

Then there was the girl. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. She looked lithe, her curves like gentle waves, and her skin glowed amber in the sunlight. She was so strange and yet so startlingly beautiful. Unlike the girls under the sea, she moved calmly in the air, back and forth, as if searching for something she couldn’t. I can’t help but wonder what it is? Maybe I should help her.

Neither my younger sisters, nor their friends, would ever come near the surface. They didn’t like the wildness of the world above. All that wind, thrashing and thundering, and during the day the sunlight was blinding. Their eyes were not used to such bizarre intensity. But I had swum this way so often mine had acclimatised to the sun’s rays and I loved the way my skin warmed up, if I lay on the edge of my world, floating between. I could understand why my sisters loved the cool depths. The world of our senses was so comforting. There was no danger and even the sharks didn’t touch us. We were held sacred by those denizens.

But I felt there had to be more and I couldn’t stop myself exploring, even if I wanted to. It was an irresistible force, a greed my father, the Old Man of the Sea, had warned me. Others had swum those currents and all of them vanished. They had died, he cautioned me, consumed by their insatiable hunger. That had frightened me. I’d stayed down in the depths for two weeks after that conversation. But inside my heart I knew I would return to the surface, and here I was.

All I had wanted was to feel the sun on my skin again, but as I neared the surface I saw the floating structure and when my eyes had held the girl, my heart had swirled like a hurricane. I watched the girl with the light coloured wispy seaweed on her head. Her eyes were blue like the waters near a beach. Inviting and warm. I wished she would jump into the sea so I could say hello. I wanted to touch her skin and hold her close, even though she looked so dry. The hunger built up inside me, the swirling grew and, before I knew it, I was swimming up to the floating object.

But how would I survive in the world above and how would I pull myself out of the water? The sides of the floating object were too tall for me to grasp, and as I swam closer I lost sight of the girl. My heart didn’t ease, if anything it grew more desperate. I needed this girl.

There was a contraption hanging between our worlds from the blunt end. Was this a path? A means of crossing over? My heart raced. I stretched my fingers out. Grasping the rung, I pulled myself up. As I cleared the sea, water cascaded from my body. Sunlight heated my skin as a light wind cooled me. It felt so strange and yet so wonderful.

I hadn’t thought how I would breath. I had lived all my life in the water. The air was just too abnormal. I felt panic fighting my hunger, but the thought of the girl was too powerful and I pulled myself up next to her. I didn’t care, even if it meant I would die.

Her eyes burned bright and I could see the whiteness surrounding them. In the centre of the blue, her dark irises pulled at my soul and I knew I was lost forever.

“Hello?” I said, surprised the noise carried, even out of the water.

She smiled. That beautiful strange creature who had captured my heart, smiled at me. My chest rose and fell, with wonder I realised I could breathe the air. It was a miracle.

“Hello. I knew I would find you out here.” Her words sounded so rich, so full of life, my hunger vanished and my heart settled. “I am called Ruby, and we are soul mates, you and I.” Her eyes brimmed with love.

And I knew I would never leave her…

 

I hope you like this month’s offering. I had fun writing it.

So for next month the words will be…

 Character – Short, Supernatural,
Traits – Arrogant, Curious,
Conflict – Weather
Location – Forest
Objects – Message and Vehicle

 Wish me luck…