Monday, November 30, 2009

From Up Here

Today's muse: The view from the airplane as we flew over Puerto Vallarta.

* * *

From Up Here

Almost black, the mountains have the appearance of chocolate cake sprinkled liberally with Oreo crumbs. Dark points peak through white candy floss clouds—a delicious dessert for the starved traveler.

Perception shifts as we descend. The mountains become more green; an artistically layered blanket, pilled with years of use, intricately arranged into peaks and hollows.

Closer to earth, steel-roofed buildings wink in the sun—pockets of civilization glinting like gold nuggets in the morning light.

A haven that feeds my starving soul, comforts my weary spirit and sparkles with life.

Welcome to Mexico.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Suit and Tie

I'm on vacation this week, but have post-dated some pieces.
Hope you enjoy them.

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

When I saw this prompt, I knew immediately what I wanted to write. It seemed even more appropriate that I post-dated it for this date, as we'll be leaving Mexico today and going home.

* * *

Suit and Tie

The charcoal gray suit was not something he wore often. In fact, he had worn it only twice before—when he married Fae, his beloved wife of 42 years and when his daughter wed the Jamieson boy.

Always clad in faded jeans and a flannel shirt, Bill Hitchings was admired and respected in his community. A successful farmer, he was always willing to help his neighbour, wanting nothing more in return than heartfelt thanks. Although he had passed the reins on to his capable daughter, he still insisted on tending the animals, not able to let go of what he loved. But as Bill always said, you can’t stop time and you can’t stop nature.

And now he looked awkward in his charcoal gray suit that Fae had insisted he wear. She heard murmurs that Bill would have looked more comfortable in his work clothes. She only smiled. Some occasions simply don’t call for jeans and plaid. And this was one of them.

After all, Bill was going home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Hands of Time

I'm on vacation this week, but have post-dated some pieces.
Hope you enjoy them.

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

Although the prompt was actually "clocks",
I took the liberty of spinning it to "time" ...
I'm sure Marc will understand.

* * *

The Hands of Time

Incessant ticking
not only marks the pace, but
pushes time forward
compelling it to speed faster.

The countdown
has begun
and she frantically works
to halt detonation.

Not willing
to lose everything
she will fight
until the end.

Time will not win,
the reflection is promised,
and she dabs on
more moisturizer.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Reapers

I'm on vacation this week, but have post-dated some pieces.
Hope you enjoy them.

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

* * *

The Reapers

It was written, centuries ago, that when all hope was lost, when the people of Sartalon-6 faced the darkness, a new entity would come forth to bring sustenance—to breath new life. The Elders had watched the skies, but no such being had come to their aide. There was no other choice but to send the Reapers to harvest what they could in order to cure the ailing population.

Leading the mission, Drevko had left his parents, promising his mother he would come home and make her well. She stared back at him with listless eyes and shrugged.

“It does not matter, Drevko,” she murmured. “I no longer care.”

And that was the crisis that faced his world. Hundreds of thousands of people with no will to feel even the tiniest emotion. No happiness, no love. Not even hatred or fear were given a passing glance. Men starved in the streets as commuters walked by them, staring blindly ahead. Elderly patients, pleading for attention, were ignored by caregivers who no longer felt compassion. Children, abandoned by parents who chased the almighty dollar, were left to forge new alliances with less desirable beings. It was common knowledge that, if left to its own devices, Sartalon-6 would self destruct.

Drevko thrust the lever forward, pushing the limits of his craft, determined not to fail. As he consulted his instruments, he was surprised to see he was off course. He made adjustments to the navigational system, but the craft did not respond. It was as though another force was pulling the entire fleet against their will.

Before he could command the others to prepare for defence, a planet came into view. Not a planet, he decided, but an everlasting expanse of lush land. Vast fields of thriving crops dotted the landscape. Enormous, snow-peaked mountains pierced the clear blue sky. Clear, sparkling waters meandered throughout.

As the fleet landed, one by one, the crew members stepped onto the foreign terrain, looking to Drevko for guidance. Then all eyes turned as a man and woman approached. The dark-haired man was dressed in flowing aqua robes, a large pendant hung from his neck. She—resplendent in a full lavender gown—gazed at the newcomers with interest. A small red crystal winked at her throat. Although they did not wear the usual trappings of hierarchy, and no escorts were in sight, it was clear that this couple held power. Perhaps, Drevko mused, beyond the authority given to a ruler.

“Your search has brought you to us.” The man’s voice was smooth and immediately calmed the anxious Reapers. “We have what you seek.”

“Even we do not know what we seek. How can you?”

The woman gave a knowing smile, inclined her head in acknowledgement. “You do not believe.” It was a statement, rather than a question.

“Believe what?”

“There is only one thing that can restore compassion to your people.” As he spoke, the man lifted his hands to hold his palms facing upward; the woman followed suit. A strange golden light seemed to shimmer around them, envelope them.

Before Drevko could remember his upbringing and the protocol he should follow, the others dropped to their knees and bowed in reverence. The goddess raised an eyebrow, her eyes dancing with merriment.

“You do not bow before a god?”

Drevko fell to the ground. “I’m sorry, My Lady.” The goddess laughed, a light tinkling sound.

“I do not chastise you. Your apology is not necessary.”

Drevko looked up, mesmerized by her dazzling beauty now that she allowed it to fully radiate.

“My child.” The god’s voice rumbled gently. “You must bring faith back to your people.”

“But...My Lord, my people worship many gods.”

“Ah.” The god raised his hand. “It is not only faith in the gods that your people need. It is faith in all things.” Drevko’s face clearly displayed his confusion, murmurs spread among the Reapers. With infinite patience, the god continued.

“You must have faith in the heavens and the earth. You must have faith in love and kindness. Above all, you must have faith in others as well as in yourself. Only in this way can humanity flourish.”

Drevko, with the others, hung his head in shame. He vowed to take the message from the gods back to his people—to slash through the darkness with this light of hope.

“I am a little surprised, though,” mused the god, “that you, who call yourselves Reapers, know nothing of this.”

“My Lord?”

The god sighed. “You reap what you sow, my child.”

Monday, November 23, 2009


I'm on vacation this week, but have post-dated some pieces.
Hope you enjoy them.

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

* * *


The fog was beginning to dissipate. He couldn’t quite see it yet, but Trevor could sense it. Things were a little too clear. It all seemed better without the harsh light of day.

She emerged from the fog. Curls as black as midnight swirled around her shoulders, her hips swayed in a seductive rhythm. The pale shift she wore hugged her curves, promised tantalizing delights beneath it. She gave him a coy smile, tilting her head down to gaze at him through her lashes.

As he reached out to play with the end of a stray curl, she covered his hand with hers. The contact sent a shock through him, made Trevor’s heart beat unevenly. Her steady gaze held him; the smoky eyes seemed to look right into his soul. They knew what he wanted, knew what he had to have.

He knew he shouldn’t. A respected business man in his community—a husband and father—Trevor was above these hedonistic urges. But that first taste had been intoxicating and had only left him wanting more. This mistress gave him something no one else could. With her, he could escape the burden of responsibility, if only for a few hours. He was weary of the faux smiles of his colleagues. Disappointed with his spoiled children who scoffed at any discipline. Bored by his impassive wife who lay lifeless while he made love to her. He longed to hold someone close in the darkness of night, to have limbs wrapped around him in wild abandon, cry out his name in release.

He looked up at the full lips that curved in invitation. Her hand caressed his jaw as she whispered temptation in his ear. Walking away, she glanced over her shoulder, crooked a finger at him to follow. There was no hesitation in his step as he chased her mocking laugh.

And as the needle pressed into his arm, he thanked the raven beauty as she coursed through his veins. He would sleep with her again...if only for a few hours.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teach Me

Today's muse: No specific muse today...

* * *

Teach Me

Teach me little one.
Take my hand and
show me how to
laugh and play.

Teach me to be royalty.
To dine like a princess—
eat imaginary fancy treats and
sip invisible tea from
chipped plastic cups.

Teach me your ways.
I want to learn
how to ride a dragon,
catch fairies in my palm,
and know that when I wish…
the stars will listen.

Teach me to remember.
I have forgotten how to
see with my heart and
listen with my soul.
I have let myself
grow up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small-Town Life

Today's muse: Wood and Pixels Narrative

* * *

Small-Town Life

A quaint little village, it boasts one stop sign where Church and Main intersect. A casual wave at a passing car always elicits a response—be it a honk or a returned wave—as it’s more likely than not you know the driver. Either it’s someone you see at church on Sunday or his son bags your groceries on Saturday morning. Probably both.

A warm summer breeze dances with the laughter of children and flirts with clean laundry hanging on the line.

At night, families gather together to bow their heads in thanks and revel in the love and laughter shared at dinner.

A tiny place forgotten by many, but remembered by God.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Outline ~ Two Haikus

Today's muse:
It's Two Haiku Tuesday over at Daily Writing Practice
The prompt: Outline

* * *


gentle soul of love
exudes peace and harmony
bright aura sparkles


dancing eyes and smile
now ever remembered as:
a white chalk outline

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Interview

Today's muse: Sunday Scribblings

* * *

The Interview

"Are you going to marry my dad?" Sarah didn't look up when she asked this pointed question. She continued coloring with the yellow crayon, her tongue firmly planted between her teeth, as though she had asked if we were going to the zoo tomorrow. Not knowing what to answer, I went with what I thought was the safest response.

"I...I don't know."

Sarah put her crayon down and scrutinized me. "Hasn't he asked you yet?" She seemed quite surprised; as though the fact that her father hadn't asked me to marry him yet was an affront to her young heart.

I shook my head. Sarah sighed, picked up her crayon and continued coloring.

Until this very moment, the fact that Aaron hadn't asked me to marry him was not something that crossed my mind. After all, we had only been dating little more than a year. And there was Sarah to think of. I wasn't surprised to find myself in love with Aaron. He is a wonderful man and a fabulous father. What really surprised me was to find I absolutely adored his eight year-old. Sarah is funny and clever and I enjoy every moment I spend with her.

Being a mother was never something I dreamed of. My own mother was distant, to say the least. Once I could wash and dress myself, she left me on my own, preferring to go out with a string of men she insisted I call Uncle. I vowed, at a very young age, that I wouldn't become like her. It seemed the best way to avoid this was to never have children.

Then Aaron came along. After our fourth date, he introduced me to his daughter. We bonded instantly. She easily accepted me as an addition to her life and I began to question my decision on motherhood.

Now I sat across from her at Aaron's kitchen table, coloring in caricatures of farm animals with a meticulous hand, as though I was creating the next masterpiece. Move over Dali, I thought, as I studied my picture.

"Let's say he does ask you." I sighed. Sarah obviously was still on the marriage issue. "What will you say?"

Good question, I thought. Yet another one I didn't know the answer to. I stared at Sarah as she diligently colored her own picture. Everything seemed so simple to her. Typical of all children, she seemed to take on life with fearless abandon. Not like me, I mused, who seemed to hide from any challenge, afraid of failure. Maybe that was my hesitation. Not of failing myself, but of failing this innocent child before me. How was I supposed to be a mother when I'd never had one?

"You'll have to say something," Sarah stated, her tone matter-of-fact. The whole thing seemed so normal to her. Why couldn't it be for me? It occurred to me that Sarah had the right attitude. Perhaps I should take my cue from her.

"What do you think I should say?" I asked, not sure whether I wanted to hear a truthful answer.

"Do you love him?" She asked as though we were choosing between two sweaters. Do you like blue? If you like blue, then you should get this sweater. If you love him, then it's obvious you should marry him.

"I do love your dad." Is this something you're supposed to admit to an eight year-old?

Sarah nodded smartly. "Then you should say yes," as though this decided everything.

"What if he doesn't love me?" I held my breath. Of course he did, he told me did. But maybe Sarah knew something I didn't. After all, as she pointed out, he hadn't asked yet.

Sarah rolled her eyes and snorted. "Of course he loves you. He talks about you all the time." I digested that bit of information and allowed myself a small smile.

"Besides," she continued, "I love you too. If you marry daddy, that'll make you my mom." She looked up then to see my reaction. I would be her mom. I thought about that and it made my heart pound in a way it never had before. I wasn't afraid—I was excited. I could be a mom. Something I had avoided for so long, at once I knew I wanted to experience. I smiled at Sarah.

"You'd want me to be your mom?"

She nodded. "Of course. It's like you are already. We just need to make it legal. Then we can all have the same name. Like a real family."

I laughed. "That would be nice, wouldn't it?" Sarah jumped off her chair and ran over to me, wrapped her arms around my neck.

"It would be great! Now we just have to get dad to ask you."

"I think you already asked her." Sarah and I both looked up as we heard Aaron's voice. I could feel my face redden. How long had he been standing there, listening to our conversation? I was mortified and stared at the floor. I couldn't look at him.

"Daddy!" Sarah ran over to Aaron and threw herself around his legs. "Ask Sarah to marry you," she said in a loud whisper. Aaron looked over at me and raised his eyebrows in question. I closed my eyes and covered my face with my hands, wished for the floor to open up and swallow me whole.

"Do you think she'll say yes?" Aaron asked.

"Oh yes, daddy!" Sarah's confident reply had me smiling. I lowered my hands and looked over at him. He looked down at Sarah and winked. She gasped, then squealed with delight and, taking his hand, led him over to me.

"You have to get down on one knee," she instructed. Aaron, bent down and leaned over to Sarah.

"Now what?" he whispered.

"Do you have a ring?" Aaron shook his head, glancing at me with an apology in his eyes. He shrugged. Sarah waved away this problem.

"We can pretend."

I grinned at Aaron as he took my hand and placed an invisible ring on my finger. "Will you marry me, Janet?" I opened my mouth to reply, but Sarah cut in with her own proposal.

"And be my mom?" I laughed. No proposal, I decided, was more romantic.

"I will." Aaron and Sarah grabbed me in a fierce hug. I smiled at Aaron as I rested my cheek on Sarah's head. I was going to be a wife. And a mom.

Sarah pulled back to look at us.

"Can I have a brother or sister?"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grandma's Quilt

Today's muse: Wood and Pixels Narratives

* * *

Grandma's Quilt

"You will put it on your marital bed." It was a command, rather than a request, as Grandma lay the handmade quilt in my lap. She shrugged.

"Of course, not on the first night. You won't need a blanket then." She winked and I felt the heat blaze across my face. This was not the kind of conversation you had with your grandmother!

"What?" Her eyebrows shot up and disappeared beneath her grey fringe. "You think I'm too old to think of such things." She nodded. "Let me tell you something..."

I groaned. Please, I begged to whatever deity may be listening, don't let her paint too vivid a picture.

She lowered herself beside me on the sofa and arranged the colorful quilt over our laps. Her hand, twisted with painful arthritis, caressed the bright starbursts. The tiny hand-sewn stitches were evenly spaced, despite Grandma's failing eyesight and limited mobility.

"Each star is balanced. The points spread out, but they are anchored in the center." She smiled at me. "Just like you and Philip," and she covered my smooth hand with her wrinkled one. We were both keenly aware of the contrast, but said nothing.

"You complement each other. Where one is weak, the other is strong; you support one another when it is needed most. And when you argue…" My head snapped up. Grandma gave me a small tap on the hand. "Oh, you'll argue, don't kid yourself. You'll want to leave…or he will." She traced a finger along one of the points, from one end to the other.

"You'll be as far away from each other as you can ever be."

My stomached tightened. How could this woman speak so negatively? She and Grandpa had such a wonderful marriage. Why was she telling me this the day before I was getting married? My shock must have been obvious, because she took my hand and brought my finger to touch the center of the starburst.

"But you will always come back here. To the center." Grandma looked up at me and I knew what she was trying to tell me.

"To the heart," I whispered. She nodded, pleased that I understood.

"When you've both said you're sorry and you're done with the lovemaking…" I rolled my eyes, but smiled when she gave me a pointed stare, "then you wrap yourselves up in this blanket and hold each other close. And remember why you fell in love in the first place."

I nodded, swallowed down the lump in my throat. "I promise, Grandma." I kissed her cheek.

I swiped a tear from my cheek. "Did you and Grandpa have a marriage quilt?"

She nodded, her clear blue eyes lost in memories. "We used it quite a bit that first year. We were so young," she shook her head sadly, "we didn't know what we were doing. But we figured it out soon enough and it made us stronger."

Grandma let out a quiet laugh. "After a few years, whenever we argued, right in the middle of screaming at each other, one of us would storm out and come back carrying the quilt. We usually started laughing and forgot about fighting."

I grinned. "I hope Philip and I have as good a marriage as you and Grandpa."

Grandma cupped her hand to my cheek and winked. "Just try not to smother him with the quilt."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Consultation

Today's muse: Nothing specific ... I was just feeling a little creepy today.

* * *

The Consultation

"I don't know where to start, really." I sighed when there was no response. Maybe that was the point—the silence was intended to make me talk, prompt me to continue. Alright, I'll play along.

"I guess I'm really here for advice." I stared at the water-stained ceiling. The chocolate brown leather sofa was soft beneath me; it was the perfect length for reclining. I made a mental note to ask Dr. Sifton where she bought it.

"You see, I haven't been sleeping very well. I've been having these awful nightmares." I paused, not sure how much to divulge so early in our first session. "You did say that the client-patient confidentiality forbade you to divulge our discussions, didn't you?" I took her silence as confirmation. No doubt, she was eager to hear what I had to say and didn't want to distract me. I knew what she wanted me to tell her. I saw no need to disappoint her.

"I know the nightmares started after the first one. When I took the Evans girl and locked her in the basement, she screamed for hours. I was certain someone would hear, but we were never disturbed." I smiled ruefully. "Perhaps there is a God," I chuckled.

"It took hours to cut her into tiny pieces," I continued, "and almost 80 Ziploc freezer bags to dispose of all the portions." My lips curved remembering the metallic smell that hung in the air, the echo of crunching bone.

"When they found her, and the newspapers started writing about her…about me…" My heart had pounded when I read about it. People would talk, and they would remember. I was famous.

"Then I couldn't stop. I wanted more. So I continued. I've lost track of how many girls I've taken. It doesn't matter, really."

I picked at a loose thread on my shirt. "But the nightmares, Doc. They're driving me mad. And the only way to ease them is to kill more. You gotta help me!"

Behind me, a door opened, then closed. I heard someone—a woman, by the sound of the swishing skirt—sit down. Her smell was intoxicating. I immediately knew I had to have her.

"Sorry I'm late," she said, "Shall we get started?"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Laughing all the Way

Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice

* * *

Laughing all the Way

Eight years ago we stood
face to face
and promised to cherish and love.

Eight years ago we stood
hand in hand
before friends and God above.

Eight years later we're still
face to face
and cherish our love every day.

Eight years later we're still
hand in hand
and laughing all the way.