Sunday, 18 June 2017

Laughing Lights

This week, Chuck's email is late... or it's not arrived. Either way, I thought to go back to last week's choices and pick another title. 


Late, late at night, is the time –
Usually after midnight –
When everyone is fast, fast asleep,
Is when the laughing wakes, wakes me up,
And I go, go to the window and look outside.
Into the darkness of the night, night, I see
The lights of the garden where there were none

Curiosity gets the better of me, me
And I tip-toe past down the hallway in my slippers,
Past my parents’ door, down, down the stairs,
Out to the back garden where the laughing, laughing
Is louder, louder and sweeter, sweeter
Than before.

Little, little hands pull me into their games,
Their dances, dances, and twinkling music,
And it’s fun for hours, hours on end!
Then, I wake up and I’m back, back in bed and
Mum is shaking me awake, asking why my slippers
Are wet.

For a long time after that first, first night,
I go and see my friends in the garden,
Where the laughing lights are every night, night
After midnight when everyone is asleep,
And their music starts, and they begin to laugh out
At me to come downstairs,
To join them.

One morning, I brush, brush my hair to find my ears
Aren’t the same, same as they used to be.
They are long, long and pointed!
Quickly, I hide, hide them with my hair as Mum comes
Into my room, room asking if I’m ready for school;
Like nothing is wrong.

Little, little things like this keep showing up,
And I keep, keep going out to the laughing lights
Late, late at night to dance, dance with them all
In the garden, in the rings of lights until dawn,
Until I go, go back to bed, keeping my secret
Like they asked me to.

Then one night, I wake up and there’s no, no more
Laughing or lights from the garden.
I look, look out of my bedroom window and find
Nothing but darkness in the garden, garden.
Running down, down to where my friends were,
I look, look for them!

“They are gone, gone.” Mum’s voice says behind me.
I turn crying as they don’t understand how nice, nice they were.
“Dad, mowed the lawn today and they went away.” She took my
Hand, hand and took me inside back to my bedroom,
She tucked me into bed, and left on my night light.
I cried myself to sleep.

Summer came, came and I was woken again by laughter
After midnight and I rushed to the window to see them all
There waiting for me.
I ran down, down to them and they greeted me happily.
My parents were behind me as the fairies of the garden
Took me away, away and let me live, live with them.
Just as they, they were going to let me do

This time, they didn’t give my parents a choice, choice
This time, the lights wouldn’t return,
And I knew, knew they’d let me stay with them
To dance, dance,
To sing, sing,
To be a young, young child


Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Secret Gift

Chuck gave us a list of titles to pick from and asked us to make it fun and easy... well, easy? Okay, fun... it's a different kind of fun. 


She opened the door and there was a basket sitting on the top step with a blanket over it. Hesitantly lifting a corner of it, Lizzy found the basket empty.

She looked around the street.

There was nobody around.

There were no kids snickering in the bushes nearby.

So, where did this basket come from?

Pulling out her phone, she took a photo of it and called her friend – a warlock – who’d be able to tell her what was going on. He asked her to text the photo and when she pulled up the image of it, she saw a dog looking at the camera.
“Oh my god.” She called him back, “Denny, I have a Hell Hound.”
“I’ll be right there.” He said.

They both sat out the front with the basket in front of them. He looked at her, “How did you figure it out again?”
“I took a photo of the basket, called you and then went to send you a photo and saw the dog in the photo.” Lizzy said, “You remember when you fixed up my phone to see other-worldly things? Well, it worked.”
“Just as well it did.” He said, “That basket looks empty, but through the camera on our phones, it’s not.”
“What my main question is who would leave me with a Hell Hound?”
“Yeah, I was about to ask that too.” He frowned, “Hey, you better call your Mum, make sure nobody in your distant family didn’t die; leaving you secret gifts... you know... like this guy behind.”
“Oh, jeez.” Lizzy pulled out her phone and made a quick call, walking inside as she did, then came back just as quickly, “Denny, my Uncle Luc died. When he knew he was about to die, he sent out gifts to his distant relatives – including me – and hoped we liked them. None of us knew he was going to die; not even him.”
“So, what do you do with a Hell Hound?” he asked.
She shrugged, “I don’t know. They’re bred to take souls and you can’t train them; even if you do get them as puppies.”
Denny regarded her, “I think it’s time you and I called on a demon and asked exactly what to do with this little guy.”

The graveyard was foggy and they felt as though they weren’t alone as they walked past all the headstones – the markers of death – with the basket in a wagon behind them. They also brought along with them the ingredients to call a demon forward to talk.
“Who in Lucifer’s name called me... oh it’s you Lizzy.” His eyes turned from black to hazel as he took on his human form.
“Don’t bullshit me. Uncle Lucifer is dead.” She said throwing a thumb over her shoulder, “And he sent me a Hell Hound in his death throws.”
Denny sighed, “So, exactly what does she do with this thing? She’s not a demon, she’s not a human... she’s part of society and yet still part of your world... so how does she fit into this story?”
The demon looked at the wagon as the basket in it creaked and moved, “Well, I have to say, he’s looking lonely and is wondering why you haven’t touched him.”
“There’s a reason why I don’t touch him... he’ll eat my hand.” She snapped, “Why did Uncle Luc-ifer sent me a Hell Hound?”
The demon gave her a smile you would give a young child, “You see, Lizzy, he gave a secret gift, what you do with it is up to you... but I would bond with it before somebody else does.”
They turned and glanced at the rocking basket and wagon, then glanced back, to find the demon gone. Denny groaned, “Dammit, I knew we should have trapped it.”
She walked over to the wagon wondering if it was going to be all that bad if she had a Hell Hound for a pet, “Denny, do you really think it would be so bad to have this guy as a pet? I mean, if I just treated him like a normal dog, it wouldn’t do any harm, would it?”
The warlock turned from cleaning up his gear, “Listen carefully, Lizzy, we have to be careful in what you do with dog. He’s not a normal dog, okay?”
“Okay.” She sighed.

Days passed and she did her research on Hell Hounds. The collected souls, they couldn’t be treated like any other dogs on Earth or Hell. They were bred for evil-doings. But the one thing she couldn’t find was anyone to train him.
So, one day, after feeding him his breakfast of one of the neighbour’s cats (the old biddy had about fifty of them – so she wasn’t going to miss a few of them), Lizzy wondered if she could train the dog. She pulled out her phone, turned on the camera and found his head, “Man, you’re getting big, aren’t you?” she reached out and scratched behind his ear.”
“Aaaww... Lizzy, I was hoping you’d do that.” She stopped, turned and saw her Uncle Lucifer standing behind her.
“I was told you were dead.” She moved next to the Hound as she felt him sit by her side and she turned off her phone.
“Come here boy!” he called to the dog, “You’ve done your job. Time to come home.” The Hound licked its chops, leaned on Lizzy and sounded content where he was, “What did you do!”
Lizzy grinned, “I’ve been showing the Hound affection. He’s a nice animal once you get to know him, but you don’t seem to understand Hell Hounds. They enjoy the company of people who live with a foot in both worlds – like me. We’re not too human, and we’re not too evil, which suits them just fine. And seeing your dog thought you were dead, he bonded with me.”
“He hasn’t taken any souls... it’s what he’s bred for.” Uncle Lucifer sneered.
“Well, it kinda depends how you train a dog. Just because a dog is a fighting breed doesn’t mean you have to make it fight... you can teach it love and affection. Hell Hounds can be the same; but you have to be weird enough to be their owners first.”
“You’re not good enough to run Hell.” Uncle Lucifer stood over me.
She smirked, “That’s the thing, you’ve put out the message that you’re dead. So, who is running Hell? It seems you’ve left your post and the next in line to take your place is me – seeing you sent out the secret gift of a Hell Hound – to take your place. So, enjoy being a mortal. Take care of yourself, eat well, sleep and no, you can’t get away with killing somebody without being trapped in prison.” Lizzy turned to the Hell Hound, “Come on boy, we have work to do!” The Hell Hound followed her to the front door where she opened it to find two demons waiting for her along with Denny, “Come on, Denny, we’re gonna have some fun!” she turned to the demons, “Oh, and keep an eye on him will you?”
“Yes, Our Queen, we most certainly will.”
Lizzy took Denny’s hand, “It’s time to make a difference in Hell, but first, let’s see what he’s done to Earth first, and do something about that.”
“I’ve always wanted to travel.” Denny smiled.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Hive

Chuck has us talking about Invasions this week - seeing his book 'Invasive' is out in paperback now. So, I thought to do a Flash Fiction about a huge paper wasp nest I have in my yard... but not from the POV you'd think!


We had to go somewhere; and the trees were no option.
We were kicked out of our last place a month ago.
The pipe wasn’t too bad and we had to build the nursery somewhere close to warmth but under cover as well – and this was perfect.
Nobody was going to bother use; and yet, we were up high enough to not ... who is that?
“Guard!” she shrieked.
“Yes, your Majesty?” I asked approached by her side, looking where she was from her chamber.
“Exactly what is that?” she demanded pointing.
“I am not sure. Do you wish for me to inspect?”

I took another guard with me, just in case things became complicated. I gave specific orders to inspect, not attack. We were out of the main entrance within seconds and flying down to the intruder who had shown up in the grounds of our new place.  They turned and stopped in their tracks, watching us carefully as we watched them.
“Oh, hello there.”  A female voice was soft, yet nervous. She stayed still as we circumnavigated her; finding she was no threat, we didn’t do anything to make her move away from the place. Slowly, she looked up at where we lived, where our Queen lived, then started to walk away from us.
“Let’s follow her at a distance. I want to know where she came from.” I said.
“Then we attack!” the guard snorted.
“No!” I stopped him, “I was given strict orders to not interfere with this one – to observe and see who it is. We could be living in her place – not the other way around.”
“We are superior to all!” the other guard buzzed loudly.
I grabbed his arm and pulled him to the fence, running him through, killing him; my last words to him: “We are not superior to all. We obey our Queen, and I am your superior.” I dropped him amongst the grass and left him to rot.
Looking over at the female, I noticed she had come back into the area with something in her hands. She raised it up, tapped a large ... oh, she took a photograph. I have seen this before. Humans are fascinated with these objects and love taking photographs of themselves – but not this one. She took a photo of... I must get back to inform the Queen!

“She took a photograph of where we were instead of herself? What kind of Human are we looking at?” she asked, “And where is the other guard?”
“I am afraid I had to use force to stop him from attacking her.” I said, “She posed no danger to us; and yet he wished to harm her, Your Majesty.”
“I see. You protected her because you felt it wasn’t right to harm a Human?”
“When we approached, she stood still and let us look at her. She looked at us and was nervous, and didn’t swat at us like other Humans have.” I replied, “I do not think we will be having problems with her. However, I’d like to go and see why she is here. She seems to be around here a lot.”
“Very well. You may.”
I turned and left my Queen’s chamber – alone this time – and ventured outside into the warmth of the day where the Human was in the garden again.

This time, I watched her from a distance.

She didn’t do anything unusual.

She cared for the garden.

She pulled the weeds and mowed the lawn, then took a photograph of her flowers and plants.

Then, she walked into a wall. 

This seemed unusual until I inspected further and found she had walked through a large door and inside a place. I looked through the window and found she lived here in this large clay hive we had thought was abandoned.
I reported my findings back to my Queen immediately.

“I see.” She finished what she was eating and sat back; the stew prepared by the staff left for a moment, “So, somebody lives in the place we thought was abandoned?”
“I don’t think she minds us being here. She seems...”
“Seems?” my Queen glared at me. I was in trouble for judging somebody who was not one of us, “Did you inspect her living quarters?”
“Yes, my Queen. I peered through the windows, and she has lived in the clay structure for some time.”
My Queen went back to her stew, “Well, what do you think we should do?”
“If we are not annoying her – and she is not bothering us – nothing. I think it wise that we can both live with each other in this space without destroying each other’s peace.” I suggested.
Pushing her bowl away, she dabbed at her mouth, and sat back, “So do I. But do keep guard on her at times as the seasons change; and it becomes cooler.”
“Of course.” I bowed, “We are much more vulnerable in the colder seasons; but I doubt she will do anything to jeopardise the peace between us – unless you wish her to sign a treaty?”
She rose from her table and walked to the window where the Human was placing a solar-powered light inside a potted plant. My Queen’s features softened as she turned, “No. I think you are right. She will not harm us, not until we are finished here.”
“Very well, my Queen.” I bowed low, “Do we need supplies for the nursery?”
Sitting, she sighed, “Always!”

I left by the main entrance, taking a few workers with me to collect more food for the colony. It was time we stocked up for Winter; and from what I’ve heard through the walls around here, we are building another wing onto the new nursery to the western side.
Yes, we needed more food before the seasons turned bitterly cold – much more food now the hive was growing bigger. But seeing a bird or two had begun to destroy some of our home, it was also time we started looking for another place to live.

This was part of my job as well.

But I must say, this was the best place we’d been for a long time.

The Human was nice.

The food around the place was plentiful.

The weather wasn’t too bad.

And the view was perfect from the drainpipe.