The Party – Short Story – January 2, 2016

ginestra flowers

Walking into the room shaking snow off the cherry red coat she was wearing, she looked around the feeling a little out of place.  At that moment she heard her name being called from across the room and went towards the sound like a lost soul in the desert goes towards water.

“Ah Virginia, how nice to see you, but dear!  Why don’t you take off your coat! Here, let me help you.” a tall pleasant woman said doing just that. “Now, let’s get you a drink!” the woman said as she handed the coat to a nondescript greying gentleman of about seventy.

Virginia took the drink her friend had offered and sipping it let her eyes roam around the room.  The chatter of the people reminded her of the old rusty springs of her Grandmother’s double bed.  Odd she thought, her Grandmother had passed away forty years before.  People came up to her and they greeted and kissed her.  They exchanged what is commonly called small talk and eventually drifted away.

“How have you been doing …”

“Isn’t that just terrible news about Anna and Mario …”

“Seems the government is going to fall again …”

Small talk for a small world she thought. After a few moments she found herself standing alone in the room and somehow felt more comfortable.

Her mind wandered and she imagined herself walking again in the woodlands of Tuscany among the trees of the Maremma. It was 1987 when she’d met Gaitano and they’d gone for the first of their many walks in those woods.  The yellow ginestra flowers were in bloom then, he’d always loved those bright broom flowers. He’d pointed out the different kinds of bird’s nests to her; she’d been impressed by one huge nest that had been made in the bough of a large tree, she couldn’t seem to remember now what bird that had been.

She was pulled out of her thoughts when another guest entered the room.  A buxom woman of around sixty with a carrying voice. They’d once been close friends a few years back, but she’d gone off to America and they’d lost track of each other as sometimes happens.  As soon as she had hung her coat up she made a bee-line for Virginia.

“Ah, Virginia my dear!  What a sight for sore eyes.  I’m just so very  happy to be back home!” she said as she kissed Virginia on both cheeks, “I’ve had a really harrowing time out in the sticks of North America, I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  But first, tell me my dear, where is Gaitano that adorable husband of yours?”

A sudden hush fell on the room and even the usually self-confident woman felt the collective embarrassment and she realized that something was off.

This happened more rarely now that he’d been dead for nearly three months, but still, sometimes it did happen but it no longer bothered Virginia like it had done.

“Oh my dear Carla, you haven’t heard.  He passed away last autumn. We scattered his ashes in the Maremma.” Virginia replied.

Carla with tears in her eyes embraced her friend.

© G.s.k. ‘16

(This is a work of pure fiction based on parties I’ve been to in my youth. Bastet)

hung, cherry, wearing, bloom, snow, springs, bough, trees, again, roam, woodlands, seventy

The Signal – Short Story – September 12, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was walking along the river under the harvest moon one evening, kicking stones that seemed to be hidden under snow, when I saw a signal from up in the old tower.  It was a lady for sure, for it seemed that she was waving her skirt from the window.

I ran to the bridge, gritting my teeth as a cramp caught me in my side.  I’ve no marathon blood cells for sure in my poor body, just a weak blend of sedentary  DNA.  I came to the pond, just below the tower and was surprised to see my friends Jan and Dale.

“I’d bet you good money that that is Mary O’Rourke a waving her skirt!” Dale whispered lowly to me.

“And just how would you be knowing that and who is Mary O’Rourke anyway?” came a low rumbling reply from Jan.

Jan and Dale had been dating steady from the first day they’s begun taking organ lessons at the Academy of Music – about 5 years all told.

“Don’t you worry about who’s Mary O’Rourke, but believe me, she comes sometimes and waves her skirt from the tower, when it’s not her knickers.” Came Dale’s hoarse reply.

About that time we heard someone scurrying through the bushes not far from where we were huddling.  For some reason, we decided to hide.

He ran out into the open court not far from the pond, he was tall willowy man. He looked as though he’d seen better days, though he was handsome in his own way, with long fair hair that glinted like gold in the moonlight.

He gave a jaunty call: “Hey, you in the tower, who are you signalling?”

A girlish voice answered: “It’d be you if you’ve got the nerve to carry me away.”

He scrambled up the broken stairs that led to the tower and soon descended carrying a slim girl in his arms going off towards the river. She was cuddling him and kissing his neck and face, it must have been hard for him to walk at that point.

“Slow now lass, slow … I’ve a boat on the river, and there I’ll make love to you as you’ve never been made love to before!”

Soon there was silence again and we looked at one another.

“I told you it was Mary O’Rourke,” whispered Dale “And that’s the last anyone will see of that man.”

“Whatever do you mea….”

The cry of the banshee lilted up from the water as a dark cloud covered the harvest moon plunging us into complete darkness. Then came the blood curdling yell of a man in great pain.

© G.s.k. ‘15

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Verdun – June 24, 2014 – Short Story

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Georges-Michel sat in his recliner, a photo album on a mobile reading table with a little girl on his knee.  The room wasn’t very big and two of the walls were nearly covered with books, there was a large window that looked out onto a well-kept garden.

The little girl, Babette, with her long light brown braided hair and smiling intelligent eyes, was around 6 years old. The elderly gentleman, her great-grandfather who was closer to 80 than 70, had pure white hair and an adoring smile that peeked through his white beard. Continue reading

Wordle Monday – June 23, 2014

wordle-14Unhappily James Phantom walked through the cemetery past tombstones decorated with flowers, from tea roses for a lovely lady near the chapel, to a bunch of puffy yellow chrysanthemums for old Mr. Jeffreys.

In life he’d been inured to the unpleasantness of being an outsider, but felt it was unjust  to have to be the brunt of illegitimate xenophobic insults even in death.

There was not a scintilla of truth in the string of slanderous conjectures that Mistress Mercy had spread around stating that he was “different”, that he was in fact, a zombie.  What was at first a brontide coming from two old gossips had now become a palavar of virtuous outcry by the older generations.

In life, he’d been hounded, arrested and accused of practicing witchcraft.  The accusations, based on the simple fact that his father being a voodoo man,could talk to the dead.

The exorcists insisted that DNA had determined that he must have the power not only to speak to the dead but, ironically, to turn people into zombies as well. He suspected that he’d just been a pawn. What they’d really wanted to do was embarrass the upper crust of the Jamaican community branding him a lowly warlock

He’d denied the accusations vigorously, reminding them that he was a man of culture, a professor of philosophy, but to no avail. They imprisoned him and in prison one night he’d met his fate.  A huge bat had  flown into his cell, attached itself to his jugular vein and grazed upon his blood until he’d died.

When they’d found him they quietly placed his poor body in, what they thought was, an abandoned crypt and said he’d escaped from his cell and had probably gone back to Jamaica.

He’d awakened in that tomb three days later but realized he wasn’t a ghost.  He wasn’t alone either … Mistress Mercy stood there glowering at him because he’d invaded her home. That was when the old hag had started her hate campaign. She reasoned just like the exorcists too.  She said that he had to be a zombie because his father was a voodoo man!

It was bad enough raising hungry from the tomb every night … but hey, he was under nobodies spell and he certainly didn’t drool walking around like an empty eyed, inelegant goon.  He was completely articulate too.

“Anyone with any sense should realize that I’m a vampire!” he shouted to no one.

The exorcists had been right about one thing though. Unfortunately, he could talk to the dead like his father had, it was in his DNA.


Written for Mindlovesmisery Menagerie Wordle 14

Pear Rounded Me! (A Riddle Story) – Tale Weaver’s Prompt #2

Painting by: Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Painting by: Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Everyone loves me, I’m one of your favorite typical tropical imports.  Some will tell you that I can help you digest, cure your cancer and revitalize your body … wouldn’t really know about that though.   Most people enjoy me because they love my pulpy sweetness!

I’m very big in my native lands…whether that be Africa, Mexico or Central America and even Australia – and in India the country that grows most of my fruit! It seems though that in the U.S.A. they only know me as an American fruit.

My roundish pear shape is so exciting,  my green skin turns reddish orange…if you let me mature.  Some people, seeing me cleaved in two, think my center is rather vulgar or is that vulva … some people comparing me to “a ladies private parts”…my tiny black seeds nestle in my pulpy red fruit, just might give you that impression 😉 .

My trees are quite particular too … masculine and feminine my biographer here learnt whilst living in Chad.  They begin quite small of course, but then they grow into great trees…the feminine have lovely white flowers.

People love me at the end of meals…or for breakfast.  Some cut out my fruit and add bananas, sugar and lemon and make a fruit salad with me. I’ve heard people making ice-cream with me and the Italians make granita!  But, I’m also good in savory dishes, the Indians make a mean chutney with me but then,  there are literaly hundreds of recipes for you to try with me.

Have you guessed who I am yet?


Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Tale Weaver’s Prompt #2

 

Speakeasy 107! The Night Before Christmas: Grandpa’s Story

My FireplaceThe Night Before Christmas: Grandpa’s Story

We all went to grandma and grandpa’s house that year for Christmas.  We’d arrived just in time before a blizzard hit and that was no mean feat, we were something like fifty people from all over Illinois.  Grandma had made lots of pallets for us to sleep on the floor.  Now, thinking back from my 60 some years, I guess it looked more like an emergency shelter than a house.  Except for the huge Christmas tree in the living room.

The pot belly coal stoves were blasting out their heat.  As well as the 50 some odd people, so it was really hot that Christmas eve, though outside it was very cold indeed.

Grandma distributed egg nog and hot chocolate as well as Christmas cookies and we all waited for Grandpa’s Christmas story.  Grandpa told the best stories.  Every time we visited he’d tell a story about “the olden days”.  This was the story he told us that night:

“Well now, in the olden days, seems that Santy Claus didn’t have no reindeer you know.  There weren’t so many places he had to go to give gifts back then.  America hadn’t been discovered yet, and the Christmas star hadn’t begun to shine…util…well now I’m going to tell you about that when!

Old Santy Claus lived in the dark woods of Germany…the Black Forest I think it was called.  He loved his forest and he loved little kids too.

One year, it came to his ears that the terrible snow storms had blocked everyone in their houses.  The Yule log, which you had to burn to welcome the new year, had gotten wet and wouldn’t burn.  All the proper cleaning had been done for the festivity, but without the burning of the log…well, the Sun wouldn’t come back bringing spring with Him.  The children of course couldn’t have their Yule gifts unless the log burnt.  It was a right terrible situation, I can tell you.

So old Santy, as he was more or less the king of his forest, chose a greatbig ash log that he’d put asides for a long winter’s night, and he pulled out his sled, hooked up his horse and put the log and a whole bunch of little wooden toys he’d made over the year into the sled and started off for the village which was pretty far from his home and it was still snowing too, by gum!

It took him no little while to get there and night began to fall.  It was very dark at first then, up high in the sky, he saw a brilliant star that seemed to sit right over where the village should have been.  The snow kept falling, and it was right cold.  His trusty horse though just kept moving along going towards the star.

It was close to 10:00 of the night, just like now, when he saw the first lights of the village.  The bells on his sled were a jingeling away, and the people looked out to see who’d come to visit them.  He pulled up to the great house, were all the people used to go to celebrate their feasts…it was nearly abandoned, but the Chief of the village was there.

“What have you come here for in this terrible night?” asked the Chief.

“I’ve come to bring you warmth and light…and a couple of gifts for the children too.” he replied as he pulled off the skins that protected the Yule log and the toys.

The Chief rang the bell that called all the people to the great house.  They came in droves, thinking maybe there was an emergency…in those days, there were quite a lot of barbarians around, like Romans and Huns you know…and when they saw it was Santy’s sled they were not a little surprised.  But very happy!

They took the log into the great hall, and the gifts too.  Everyone ran back home to bring food and drink…like grandma did a little while back.  And the people sat around the fire, singing songs for the Sun who would now surely return.  At midnight…the people went outside…the snow had stopped at last, and the star that shone in the sky was so bright, they were sure that it must have been the Suns’s own son who’d come to tell them that all was right in the world and spring would be early that year.  You know, I think that must have been the very first Christmas in the world, nows I come to think about it.”

We kids sat in awe, and then one of my older cousins said:  “Look, it’s stopped snowing!  Let’s go see if the star has come out too!”

(I’m afraid I went a little over the word count, this is 784 words)

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