Lucy Leaps into the Unknown

Long-limbed and certain of the leap she was about to make across, Lucy rolled back on her heels and took off forward. She flew through the air, more leaping than running, until her leading foot was at the edge of the precipice. And she pushed with all the strength in her tough, toned legs. And she was in the air, higher and higher until she reached the top of her arc. And then she was descending, arcing forward and downward.

Lucy only missed the solid edge of the other side by bare millimetres but miss it she did. And then she was falling.

A sort of peace engulfed Lucy. Her arms did not flail nor did her legs try to pedal her way up as reflex so often tells the brain to do, for those who fall. Futility? No. A giving over of life? No. Resignation? Yes, of a sort.

Cold, rational thought told Lucy that it was useless to fight, to struggle, to rage against something for which there is no possible solution.

But there was something in Lucy, a hard determination that told her, despite her rational knowledge of an imminent death at the bottom, that she would not, could not, die now.

And she didn’t. She was within metres of the sharp, ancient rocks that had fallen over millennia, but she did not hit, she did not die.

~ ^-^ ~

This is almost literally a cliff hanger. Why stop where I did then? It’s simple really. As things that spring into the mind often do, it ends at precisely the point at which stopped because my brain didn’t knowhow Lucy stops. This is where my mind has to step away to consider, will this be a plausible story or a fantasy? Each sort of story requires a very different next step.

Hey, I’m not teasing. This is how things work when I write. Maybe it’s this way for other writers too. It can be start-stop with a series of disjointed ideas that do, if I’m lucky, kind of squish into each other and become a piece of writing that makes some sense, in the first draft anyway. After that its work, work, work. It’s brilliant and maddening all at the same time.


Lost in a Warm Forest

Music was playing. Through the canopy of trees sun glinted here and there, beams touching the forest floor in bright patches like a magical quilt spread upon a bed of colourful, fragrant leaves.

The dress that Stefanie wore swelled in languid billows as a sail would in a light breeze. She was lost. A wrong step here, a turn in this direction instead of that, and she found herself here, in a clearing, on a Saturday morning in early July, warmed by the breath of the Adriatic. Nothing was familiar and the only sound she could hear was music somewhere, far it seemed, beautiful music played by a sensitive hand.

To be lost in such a way held no fear for Stefanie. She’d breakfasted scarcely an hour ago and the day was warming though it would rise barely above twenty-five degrees. Warm and comfortable and happy to wander, however lost, in such a delightful place with distant music joining the light breathing of the trees all around her, she could think of no better place to be at this moment.

The music stopped. Sounds of the forest rose to fill the void left by the violin’s notes with notes of their own. Something scuttled through the leaves, unseen, something small. A bird cried out somewhere within the canopy. Another bird returned its call.

As if to answer nature’s call the violin, once more, began to speak to the day in its gentle way of joy and pain and beauty and feelings that words could not express enough to still the longing of the heart.

Stefanie turned in a slow circle until she could sense the direction from which the music came. She was drawn and so she went, toward the sweetness of that beautiful sound.

~ ^-^ ~

This is one of those snippets, a piece of something that seems to come from a greater whole. In fact, I sat and felt the sun on my arm through the window, and the rest just came out of my fingertips. Can I explain it? No, it just comes. This tiny piece has the feeling of a sort of romance novel, not something I am especially drawn to, to read or to write.

But here it is, at the core of my philosophy, simply – go with it and see where it may lead.

I must admit to being a little curious as to who may be playing that violin. But we know, don’t we, that not everything that seems beautiful is beautiful and not everything that seems ugly, is ugly.

The Deserted Beach

On a warm day in summertime a woman, a young woman not yet out of her twenties, walks along a deserted beach. A breeze from offshore tousles her hair. The woman does not mind. When you are strolling on the sand and warm breath tosses your hair, you embrace the feeling. Such a sensation is abandon. There is nothing to fear from it and everything to love.

In this moment the woman, in her new turquoise and lemon swimsuit, worn for the first time, lifts her arms up to the breeze to feel its soft fingers brush the fine hairs. Each gentle gust excites the hairs and sends a barely-felt shiver through her body.

She is alone. Sand, not yet heated above warm by the morning sun, rises and falls as she passes, pressed down by her feet and sent in tiny fans behind her. Grains cling to her skin and ride along with the her to join others further along the stretch of beach.

In the distance, far away, near the end of the sweep of sand, someone walks.

Unhurried, the person strolls along. There is a long flow of hair trailing behind the person in the rising and falling breeze. Light coloured, perhaps blonde, perhaps not. It is clearly a woman though her features are indistinct. She is strangely obscured as if she is blurred. An effect of the morning haze off the surf the woman thinks.

Three hundred metres, a little less maybe, they are moving closer to each other.

As the distance closes the woman sees that the other woman is no clearer. Her features remain enigmatic, seeming to shift with the wind that is rising now, in small increments, but rising.

Two hundred metres. Near enough to discern colours.

The other woman is wearing a swimsuit, a sort of green, no, blue, no, something in between. Speckles of colour, bright, a yellow of some kind, sprinkled among drifts of blue-green. Her face is no clearer. No features stand out but it is a calm face.

The woman’s hips have a very feminine roll as she walks. Every movement is so smooth as if she is flowing through the air, not just walking. She shimmers as she draws nearer.

One hundred metres. Near enough now to see all of her and yet her face shimmers and shifts as does her whole form. There is something about her the woman feels by instinct to be familiar. She knows her.

Fifty metres, twenty, five.

The woman stops. The other keeps moving, flowing ahead, unhurried but never hesitating.

Then the other is near enough to share breath.

And in a moment, in less time than it takes to draw half a breath, the woman in the turquoise and lemon swimsuit moves through her, into her. Light flows into her, and warmth.

She is filled with all the beauty and wonder of the universe. She sees the sea more clearly than she ever has. Blues, greens, glinting peaks of light and the shadows behind the breaking waves. The sand beneath her feet feels gritty and warm and so completely there. Her skin stretches over her muscles and bones as if each pore is sending a message to take in every last molecule of air. The wind blowing her hair makes her shiver down to her bones as it thrills every nerve in her head. Standing on a deserted beach, far from the rest of the world and all the other people in it, the woman feels new, reborn. All things are possible as they never seemed before. She feels the lushness of every breath that enters her body.

All thoughts of life before this moment fade. That she came here, to this place, today, to walk one last time into the surf, to disappear forever from this world and all of the pain it has held for her, it is gone.

She can begin again, has begun again, and the tears that travel down her cheeks and drop onto the sand, are no longer tears of pain. Now they are tears of the greatest joy.

Everything is new before her and anything is possible.

~ ^-^ ~

This little story was going to be something so different but as I typed it flowed out like it wanted to be this way. It goes this way sometimes. It’s the first really complete story to appear here. I hope you enjoyed it. Oh, and it is as typed, right from my hands, no editing, so if there are holes or flaws, well, that’s first drafts for you.

The Party That Wasn’t

It was dark when Alana reached the house. Nobody was there as she had guessed, not this late, not on a stormy night like this. No lights shone anywhere along the straight path that lead to the road, twenty minutes walk away, where her car had hissed then shuddered then stopped, at precisely that spot. At least the rain had ceased.

Water dripped from the rusted guttering onto the broken porch. It was the only sound she coud hear aside from the insects that made their particular sorts of low creaks and chirrups.

The invitation was from a friend of a friend. It said the party would be at nine-thirty, but now it was ten-fifteen and no sign of a party. Not only that, there was no sign of there having been any people there at all. As she looked back the way she had come the moon’s glow showed only one set of footprints in the dirt turned to mud.

Did they all cancel? It didn’t seem likely. With no mobile phone service and no apparent chance of anyone else arriving Alana slipped her soaked-through bag over her shoulder and leaned forward to stand.

Then she felt a hand on her back, soft, almost not there, but certainly a hand. She turned but no one was there.

~ ^-^ ~

While in the depths of a fever with this summer cold, this beginning – I think – of a story with a young woman in an eerie situation came, as these things do, into my mind as my fingers typed. Sometimes I ponder on an idea before writing it. This just came from my fingertips, straight onto the page. Maybe it was the fever. Don’t you love it when things just happen from nowhere? It’s the best feeling, even if this story-ette is a bit disturbing.

By Chance

On a cold day in an empty park, Liliane walked. She was dawdling really, too many things on her mind to chart a safe course through the gathering drifts of fallen leaves dotted here and about.

A thought occurred and she stopped. And then it was gone. It hadn’t been a thought exactly, more of a prodding, a tapping too indistinct to have had any substance. A feint glint caught her eye. Something stood proud of the the edge of the soil by the bare rose bushes. You would normally hesitate for moment then move on. There was a vague notion to the thing. Liliane stooped toward the object, the only thing glinting in a sea of brown after all.

It was a handle in a deep colour, ebony perhaps or a deep blue. Having come this far, tantalised by what it might be she reached out and grasped it. The handle was cool to her touch, almost cold, colder than it should be on such a temperate, Autumn day. Drawing it out from its light covering of leaves the object revealed itself to be a brush, a hair brush, very old.

Most old, discarded things feel just as the owner who threw them away felt. They feel used up. They feel as if whatever worth they once had had left like the soul of a fish on display in a market.

This brush did not feel that way. This brush had a life about it, not a power quite but a longing not yet satisfied. Liliane felt the handle warm to her touch. She removed the odd pieces of broken leaves clinging to the bristles and stood in the sharpening wind, regarding it as you would a small piece of art in some backstreet gallery. It wasn’t beautiful but it didn’t need to be. It was something that needed to be given a home away from the slow decay a life beneath a bush would provide.

Liliane laid it with care in her wisteria-coloured messenger bag with the pale, yellow, hand-painted wattle flowers, nestled upon the cardigan she really needed to be putting on as the night air brought the temperature quickly down. If she hurried, the brush could rest on its bed and she would be home in minutes.

~ ^-^ ~

This little idea that came, warm and forming into my mind is already niggling at me to find what lies inside it. A few ideas are bubbling away even as I write this. More later on this I am certain. There’s a lush mystery that belongs to this brush. ^-^

Beach Blanket Bliss

Evening fell over the shore. Glints of sunlight, struggling to stay above the horizon, cut through diffuse clouds as Naomi and Peter sat, sharing a blanket on the sand. A chill off the ocean was drifting over them, causing the pair to draw closer together.

Like a sixties beach movie their first anniversary day started out with a drive to the beach. Peter had made a playlist a few days before with Beach Boys and other old music and Naomi sang along, almost in tune, sometimes, with her hair whipping in the wind from wide-open windows.

Towels and old swimsuits and a giant basket filled with food and drinks, enough for the whole day, came down from the car park with them. They ate and drank and kissed and danced to the music they’d brought, living a life in their imaginations that others might have lived years before, in just the same spot, alone on a romantic, secluded beach, in a bliss of the carefree style they’d vowed on the day they were married, they would always keep.

When the dark came, stars shimmered little by little out of the black sky. Naomi pointed out dots of light to Peter, telling him what they were and how far away.

Even under a vast sky, massing with stars, they didn’t feel small or insignificant. They felt the delicious way people feel when they see beauty all around them and know that the one right there, right beside them, that person and nobody else, loves them more than all of those stars.

Plog, the Enterprising Snail

Plog was a snail. He wasn’t one of those slimy snails. Well, he was a bit slimy, just a bit, but in the endearing way that nannas often smell of lavender or cookies, subtle in a nice way.

During his meanderings among the zinnias, delighting at their red and pinks and yellows, and suddenly making more slime in his excitement at the feast before him, Plog’s mind wandered for a moment. His long, crawling, foot came to rest.

Now, Plog may be a snail but at heart he has a longing, a longing to be in business. Once he’d though of starting a garden centre however, he would probably just eat all the profits and the stock and anything else organic lying about so that idea didn’t really work.

He has been considering a furniture store recently, outdoor furniture. Everyone needs furniture right? And as a snail, well, who better to know all about garden furniture, being that he had spent so much time around the PVC and canvas and nylon chairs and tables. Hmm, Plog, thought, but how to raise the capital?

~ ^-^ ~

In the very short time I’ve known Plog, he has grown on me. There are doubts in my mind about his ability to run a furniture store but, having said that, I’m curious about how he might get on, if indeed he does get the store up. This is one to work on further I think. ^_^

A Small and Precious Life

Pandanus grasses sway with the gentle breeze of first light. A sparrow fusses about her nest preparing for the small family that spring will bring. Her tiny beak pulls at long, fine tendrils of bark found, shed by the tall trees that are her home.

Soft, a breath of wind stirs nearby branches; she stops and watches. Just the wind. Back to work. In wind there are sounds of water passing, danger sometimes, and always the breathing of trees. She feels safe with the wind, the trees’ breath tells the small sparrow of the world she cannot understand nor does she concern herself with things beyond this copse. It has always been her home and it will be the home of her young until they are ready to leave to find their own home, perhaps far away.

Creatures come from time to time, large and noisy, disturbing the peace of home. They move slowly, sometimes they carry the clouds of burning that seem to belong to only them. It does not have the tang of burning wood and so she does not worry about it. She watches. She waits. And she listens to their long sounds. They do not stop or if they do it is only ever to water the trees with warm sprays of water and gentle steam. She will not drink this spray. It is not for drinking. Too sharp the smell.

If she is not busy with her nest in the bough she goes to find a morsel to eat. Under the trees’ fallen leaves lie many tasty, small foods that move slowly, so easy to catch and eat. With a full belly she will fly up to a branch and listen to the river sounds. Each day the river brings new things and each day the talking of the river is different as it rolls over new branches and stones that clip and clup when they meet. The sparrow loves the river most, after her branch of course. It is her music.

~ ^-^ ~

I love this sparrow. There is a sense that she is what I so often wish to be, perfectly at peace in a small world that changes all the time but is always steady in its own way. I have a feeling I’ll be visiting this sparrow again, to spend more time with her, to meet her babies maybe, and maybe even to follow them on their journey. We shall see, as time flows like that small sparrow’s river.

A Strange Morning

She squinted into the too-bright rays of the early morning sun. Her hair was still damp from the shower she had only just left moments before.

“What was that sound?” she whispered to herself. It was low like something you are not quite sure you are hearing. No, it wasn’t a sound, it was a vibration. She stood and she listened. Nothing. It was gone.

She couldn’t stand out here in the towel she had hastily grabbed when the sound or the vibration or whatever it was, drew her outside. The neighbours didn’t concern her. No, it was autumn and a chill had already settled over the town. Early in the morning was not a time to be draped in a thin layer of cloth, standing on the front lawn. She went back inside, to the bathroom, to dry her hair and get dressed.

She flipped on the hair dryer. It was that kind of warm that makes you feel…

There it is again, that sound. But it can’t be a sound. “It can’t be Fi, the dryer’s too loud.” A vibration then. From what?

It grows stronger. “A quake, it must be..but nothing’s shaking. I can feel it though, inside.”

A moment later and Fiona’s body begins quaking. Not a seizure like she had when she was younger, no it’s a shaking, so strong she is forced to drop to the floor or risk being thrown down. Her entire body can offer no resistance to the force surging through it. She begins to feel afraid that something inside her will break with the violence of it.

Then it stops.

Fiona lies on the floor, breathing hard as if she had just run all the way home from the mall. There is a taste she can recognise. Blood. Her nose is bleeding and not only her nose. Blood, barely more than a trickle but blood nonetheless, is slowly trickling from her ears, her mouth, even from the corners of her eyes. She stands carefully. She feels weak but not weak enough to have a chance of falling. She can feel a trickling down her legs. It trickles from her, front and back, to the floor. Even her nipples slowly drip.

Something begins to draw her towards the bathroom doorway. Nobody is there but she is being drawn. She tries to grasp the edge of the door as she goes but she only manages to take her robe off the hook on the back of it.

There is no pain only a force she can’t resist pulling Fiona across the living room towards the house’s back door. She can slip on her robe and tie it but nothing can stop her steady, slow, movement forward. She even spreads her arms to hold hard onto the doorframe but she is forced to leg go when she realises this, whatever it is pulling her, will easily break her arms is she does not.

When she is standing in the middle of her backyard the pulling stops. She is free to move again but she finds herself unable to do anything. So she sits, hard, on the grass and cries. She cries for an hour or more, shivering from the cold morning breeze. The bleeding has stopped although she has it all over her, soaking through the robe.

Fiona sits there, in the yard, crying, for almost two hours before she is able to stand and go back inside. Any feelings of vibration or any other than normal forces have gone. She runs the shower to hot, close to scalding, and steps inside the stall. Water, red then pink then clear flows down her body.

Whatever it was has gone.

~ ^-^ ~

Some things you try and feel inspired. Others you try and feel somehow flat. This is one idea/snippet that leaves me flat. There’s a germ of an idea there but not enough to take a lot of time working on. I guess it’s not really my thing. I love suspense but this seems too sci-fi for me.

If you enjoyed it or have some insight I may have missed, please express. I love hearing.

The Silent River

Beside the river lay flattened, brown grasses, looking as if they had lost their will to stand against the gusting winds that blew up from the ocean. Clouds that moved fast across the sky turned the landscape below first dark then light then dark again. There were a lot of clouds the day Nerida walked along the river, upward, towards the hills. The tugging then pushing wind caused her heavy, dirt-brown coat to flap. It made the sound of sheets on a clothesline when the wind gets up just before a storm hits.

Nerida did not go into the river nor did she reach the hills where the old, half-broken home of her grandfather stood , fighting the trees for land, its chimney smoking like its pipe-smoking owner in the far warmer living room where a fire sputtered and ticked in the hearth.

No, Nerida was not wetted by the river or by the rain that came in sideways on the tearing wind a little after four in the afternoon, although how can we really say when Nerida was never found? No body fetched up on a bank near the river delta that catches any other stray that falls into the river. The silt-laden bank catches everything bigger than a grasshopper, pretty much.

It seems the woods had not claimed the girl. Deep and thick though they were the path from the river to her Grandfather Bill’s cabin was wide enough for a person to walk and it was heavily used by hikers and the like, in the summertime anyway.

No knock came on Bill’s door until late in the night when the police came by with no news and no ideas.

From that day until nine years later nobody saw Nerida Wilkins, alive or dead. But then they had stopped looking after two months and no sign of the girl.

When she came walking down the same path, calm as you like, nine years almost from the day she vanished and unchanged in look or size, tongues started flapping. Plenty asked but she never said what happened to her, let alone how she had remained seventeen years old when she should have been twenty-six.

Nerida never did get to see old Bill, he died two years after she went missing.

She has lived in the old man’s cabin since her return but she keeps to herself mostly and nobody goes near, nobody dares.

Fourteen more years have passed and Nerida Wilkins is still seventeen. Nobody knows why.


I have no sense of Nerida as a vampire or any such supernatural entity. She is, as far as I sense her, a normal girl, in case the thought had flitted, bat-like, through your mind. It is just a fragment of something that popped into my head and had to be written down. Who knows why this happens?