you never know

a chance to have a day
to do what i want
whatever i want
to go where i please
wherever i please
to visit any time
any time that i wish

only the next day
i won’t remember any
to take the plunge
or to not
for what’s it worth
if not for memories
to take with me
a whole lifetime

but i’d still take it
it’s a chance to take
a chance
try something new
perhaps daring
or enlightening
see another time
a passed relative
a neat celebrity
sing on a stage
in front of thousands
or even a re-do moment

something you want
a day to do as you please
even if forgotten
still could be worth it
something to remind
of that forgotten day
will still stir within
maybe in the next life
it will come back to us
for if the mind forgets
the heart and soul still know
that something happened
even if they don’t know
what it was

you may be able to feel
but you never really know

A post for Kellie Elmore’s FWF.

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FWF ~ What path less traveled?

I could try and think of a time when I took the road less traveled… but it’s really hard and my mind keeps going back to one thing.

To quote a Faith Hill song, I was “daddy’s little girl, mama’s little angel, teacher’s pet and pageant queen.” Except instead of pageant queen, it was more of a performing queen. But I think you get the picture.

I never really strayed. I always tried to do the right thing–the good things.

It wasn’t until a lot later in my life when I decided to be a little bad. That led to some interesting decisions, interesting friends and even more interesting situations that I got myself into because of them. It was never anything really bad, but it definitely wasn’t in character for a Type-A perfectionist like me.

Then I found someone that subconsciously influenced me to take a path I never thought I’d take. Just one person. If anything, I could thank him but at the same time, I’d like to rip his heart out and tap dance on it, like he did to mine. He showed me things I never thought I’d experience and I trusted him enough to go along with it all. And I fell in love with him.

Sometimes I think it’s crazy what love will do to someone. I’d like to call him my path less traveled. I wouldn’t have done half the things I did with him had he not come into my life. Had he not come into my life, I wouldn’t have known I could fall for someone like that. Had he not been there, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

The only problem was, how it started definitely wasn’t a path I wanted to take. How it ended wasn’t a path I wanted to take. Unfortunately, that’s not how life goes. The choices you make and their consequences define who you are… and I hope I’ve become a stronger person because of it.

FWF ~ Gentle One

It’s far past my bedtime. Daddy would be furious if he knew I was out in the woods behind our house again. Ever since dusk, it’s been bugging me for so long that I just have to be out here right now. I have to find out what I saw.

I make my way past crooked trees, keeping my eyes peeled for any sign of movement. The glimmers disappeared this way, I’m sure of it. After a few minutes, I notice that I’m approaching a swamp from the squelch beneath my feet and the dull shimmer of water some fifty feet away from me. I stop, not wanting to venture too far into the messy mud.

Glancing around, I cross my arms in front of me and feel goosebumps erupt on my skin. It’s much colder than it was a moment ago. The chill came on a subtle breeze. I look to the direction I feel the wind coming from and gasp. There’s the white glimmering flash again!

The longing to know what it is overwhelms me and I start to walk over. Every step I take towards it makes the wind blow harder until I finally feel like I can’t breathe from the pressure on my chest. Have I walked into a wall? That’s almost what it seems like.

The glimmer is only a little bit closer to me now, even though I feel like I should be closer. Wait a minute… it’s getting brighter and brighter! The light is coming towards me.

A voice speaks, “You need to go home, Silas.”

I can only muster a squeak. “Wha?”

“We are the Fae and we have been assigned to protect you, gentle one,” the voice continued, “only you’re not supposed to know.”

In an instant, the light surrounds me and I’m warmed from the outside in.

The next thing I know, I’m looking up at my ceiling with my bed sheets on top of me, wondering what on earth I saw at dusk. A strange glimmer or sparkle, was it? I consider going out to the forest despite Daddy’s temper. But then I change my mind and doze off to sleep while dream of fairies.

FWF ~ A Haunted Sleep

Prompt: Use all of the words to create a masterpiece!

As my body falls to the ground, it feels as though I am falling through shadow. It’s not quite darkness but doom presses in on all sides of me, making it hard to breathe. Am I even breathing? It’s so hard to tell.

My body doesn’t even seem to be around me anymore. There’s only the fog of shadows, the immense swarm of dark, faceless bodies. Before I know it, I land on some sort of surface. Moving is impossible. For how can one move without a body?

Then the images start to materialize before me. A tall ornate mirror with clouds and then a man forming inside. A small wooden box with a latch that opens to reveal something with the color of a tongue. The tree on the castle grounds that grew apples; I used to climb it as a child. Then there’s her giving me an apple–that evil woman I could never call mother. Could it be one from that tree? That’s the last thing I remember.

Before I can collect my thoughts, a castle dungeon with a man locked away floats into my vision.

Wait… I recognize that man. I think I knew him once upon a time. Oh, but I can’t remember. His image lingers the longest until he looks in my direction, his expression aloof. Despite this, my heart leaps and throbs though my body is nowhere around me. I do know this man. His jade eyes and bow-like lips with perfect symmetry harken to my whole being. In an instant, the images disappear and the shadows surround me.

Time slips away. I know not how long it has been. It could be days, years even. The shadows hustle and bustle around me. I’ve learned not to be afraid of them anymore.

Without warning, a strike of lightning pierces down into me. All at once, it feels like I’m being sucked through a whirlpool but unable to swim.

After a moment, I feel something strange, something warm. I realize with a jolt that I’m back in my human body, but still frozen. Yet something warm and soft is entwined with my lips. It feels foreign, but at the same time like an intrinsic habit. All too soon, that warmth is gone and I can breathe again. Taking a deep breath as though I were coming up for air from water, I’m able to open my eyes again.

That face is right in front of mine. Those lips turn upward and those green eyes sparkle back at me. What he says I cannot immediately understand. All I know is that I’m back in my body. The feeling both elates me and weighs me down. I had to see; I had to try.

Slowly, I try lifting my arm and see my alabaster fingers raise above my head. I smile. Then his voice finally reaches me and I’m reminded of who he is. My heart starts to pound erratically. I’m alive and he’s here.

“Snow?”

My gaze turns back to his face and I feel my smile widen.

“Charming,” I manage to say in a croak.

“Yes, it’s me.”

“How?”

He glances up before looking at me with a smirk. I notice we are in the woods.

“With a little help from your friends.”

His hands grab mine and he helps me stand. My legs feel weak so I lean upon him. Around us, my seven dear little friends who helped me when I had nowhere else to go have their hats off and in their hands. Every eye looks full of happy tears. Sneezy lifts his hat to wipe his nose. Grumpy tried to hide his joy, but he couldn’t hide it very well. Happiness doesn’t quite become him.

I look at my Prince Charming and kiss him once more, so grateful for the dwarves’ help. This is the second time they ever saved my life.

“And the queen?” I ask hesitantly.

My prince places his hands on my shoulders, “She’s gone. For good.”

This time, instead of falling into darkness, I felt myself rising into light and into my ever after.

#FWF ~ What is freedom?

What is freedom?
Is it just a right ordained by the government?
Is it a basic human need?
Physical? Emotional? Mental?
Is it internal or external?
Is freedom a state of mind or a state of being?
Does freedom stand or can it crumble?
Can freedom fill a void or simply embody an endless expanse?

From what I know about freedom, this is all that I can say about it:

Freedom may be a right but it is also a choice.

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FWF ~ Not Alone

Waves slapped up against the ship, rocking it along with the whistling winds. That’s the last sound I remember as I laid on the cold, wet wood on the bow.

Now I’m sitting in cold water up to my waist looking out at the open sea to my left. Our ship used to be right there, but it crashed into the rocks and sunk into the watery depths. It looks like I’m the only left.

The problem is that I don’t feel alone.

There’s rustling in the trees across from the marsh with bodies that I can’t make out moving quickly through the brush. What sounds like someone trudging through the mud seems to come closer and closer to me. Then a subtle breeze comes from somewhere in the marsh I’m sitting in. In my mind, I imagine some horrible, horned water beast sending out his breath and inhaling strongly to get the scent of a meal. At that thought, I bolt upright, wringing out my sodden shirt as I walk to firmer ground. My eyes dart every which way, but it’s so dark there’s not much I can truly see.

I hear a snarl and jump. I am most definitely not alone and I know who that snarl belongs to.

The ship we came on held animals, quite a few of them. They were being brought to America for a circus. There were monkeys, a couple lions, a baby elephant and a couple zebras. None of those animals made this particular sound.

There was a tiger on board that would snarl just like that while I mopped up the floor around its cage, as though it were rolling its shoulders up and down, preparing to pounce on supper. I’m not sure if I’d care to see that tiger right now, especially if that cage had a similar end as our ship.

Another gust brushes by and a chill runs down my body. My arms grasp each other, feeling many goosebumps prickle up.

Then a sound I’m not expecting–a slight tinkling, like a small bell–rings slightly through the humid air.

From out of the jungle, a green light no bigger than my head comes my direction. It’s bright–too bright. I shield my eyes against the green glare. At that moment, the clouds part and expose a very full moon.

“No need to be afraid, little one.”

The voice is small and female, though clearly grown up. The light surrounding her is so bright that I can only see the outline of her tiny human-like form which is dwarfed by feathery wings.

“What are you?” I ask, though my gut tells me she’s magical. Magic may only be spoken of in hushed whispers where I’m from, but I always hoped and dreamed that it really existed.

“I’m a faerie, and I’m here to help you, Linley.”

I inhale sharply. She knows my name. I’m about to ask her how she knows who I am but she cuts me off with a giggle.

“We know everything about you and have since the moment your body touched our soil.”

As she spoke, she held out a wand and another green light started to glow and grow. Within moments, that light shifts into a lantern.

“Take it,” she says encouragingly. Once I grab the handle, it’s like everything around me–the marsh, the ocean, the jungle behind me–comes into clearer view. “There are few others who survived, but you must find them. They are all on this island somewhere, scattered from the impact.”

“Why must I find them? I’m only a child,” I ask, near tears, hoping that an adult would come and protect me so I wouldn’t have to do this on my own. What the faerie says next makes me catch my breath.

“You’re the only one who believes in the Magic so it must be you. Don’t worry, you’ll find help as you go,” the green light of the faerie starts to float away from me. “But beware, there are plenty of creatures that won’t be as kind.”

Rustling surrounds me as though those creatures are around, and I could have sworn there was a howl somewhere in the distance. The lapping of the water on the marshy shore seems to increase like a stronger tide could be rolling in.

“Stick to the path illuminated and you will find your comrades and your escape. I cannot stay, but I trust I shall see you soon, Linley.”

In a glimmer, she takes flight over the jungle into the foggy clouds, illuminating the emerald green trees that make up the jungle. The clouds slowly roll back together as if the moon were pulling a blanket around itself. For a moment, it’s quite beautiful and I wish I had a blanket to keep me warm. Then I remember, I’m not alone and there’s nothing here to keep me warm. Moving is my only option.

The green lantern the faerie left with me shimmered with a yellow ribbon that unwound itself from the green light, leading me away from the marsh and up a stoney path alongside the jungle.

Who knows where this path will take me? I can only hope that I can trust the lovely green faerie who knows my name, and trust that I will find whoever is left from our ship.

FWF ~ The Last Stop

Free Write Friday Prompt for 5/11

You have been traveling by train in Europe. You wake to find that you’ve missed your stop and you are the last one aboard. You reach for your luggage in the hold above and as you pull it down a wallet (not belonging to you) falls out. You open it to find a large amount of cash…Tell me a story!

“Is anyone sitting here?”

A small face surrounded by what looks like a million cotton balls pokes her head inside my train cabin. Little bright eyes peep out from behind miniscule glasses and her skin, though wrinkly, is very plump. Her accent is definitely from some part of Scandinavia. Her vowels are just a tad too long, her consonants not hard enough and her words sort of meld together.

I shake my head at her. I boarded the train with no one; no one was supposed to join me. She comes in smiling with pursed lips. As she sits across from me, she holds her enormous purse on her lap while she rocks back and forth for a moment.

“Where are you going?”

I don’t say anything. I don’t want to tell this old lady that I’m going home to nothing, that I spent my whole inheritance on a trip throughout Europe to start over or that the attempt was a complete bust. Least of all, I don’t want to tell her what happened to the family that certainly isn’t waiting for me at home.

I don’t need her pity and I don’t need anyone. Not anymore.

“Did you hear me?” she asks, looking somewhat concerned.

Finally, I speak. “Yes, I heard you.”

She bounces back in her seat, pleased with herself. “Well?”

“I’m going back to America,” I say after as long of a pause I dare make. She squints her eyes suspiciously.

“You don’t sound happy,” she says simply. She’s right–I’m not happy. “What did you see in Europe?”

Holding back a snort, I smile.

“Everything.”And I’m not kidding. I really did see everything. Despite that, I got nothing out of it. It’s a harsh comparison, but it’s like thinking Disney Land is the most magical place in the world only to find it’s a dump. I wonder if that’s what happens when you lose everything.

She smiles in return. “Then why are you sad?”

Again, I don’t want to tell her anything. I don’t know this woman–heck, I’m lucky if I know myself on a good day. The hem of my too long and too loose shirt catches my attention. My fingers play with the fraying strings numbly.

“I couldn’t do what I came to do and now I have a flight to catch in Paris.”

That’s all I can bring myself to say. She surveys me for a moment. Her eyes pause on my baggie shirt and my tattered boots. They’ve lasted me this whole trip and I intend on finishing my trip with them. If anything, that could be an accomplishment since I accomplished nothing else in Europe.

“Will you help me?” she suddenly asks. I’m afraid to say yes, but I do anyway. She lifts her large snakeskin purse from her lap. “Will you help me put this up there?” She gestures to the rack above my head.

My relief is instant. She hands me the bag and I toss it up there. When I turn back around, she’s holding her hand out.

“Annaliese.”

I shake her hand.

“Lydia.”

She smiles gently. A yawn tugs at my mouth as I sit back down.

“Are you tired?” she asks.

I guess I kind of feel that way so I nod. Annaliese suggests that I take a nap and it’s hard not to take her suggestion. Perhaps sleep is what I truly need.

“Sleep.”

That’s all she says before I completely pass out.

*   *   *

A horn sounds and I startle awake. Annaliese has gone. It’s dark outside my window so I check my watch. 9:13.

Oh, shit…

I bolt out of my seat and make my way down the cart until I find a conductor. There’s nobody else around and I’m starting to think the train is heading back to some kind of depot somewhere in obscure Europe. About two cars away, I find a clerk. He appears startled by my brashness when I ask him where the hell the train is.

“We are about to arrive in Berlin, miss,” he says uncertainly.

Oh, no… Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no! I’ve not only missed my stop in Paris and my flight back to the U.S., but my train ticket only covers me from Rome to Paris. It doesn’t cover me from Germany and beyond. Trying not to arouse suspicion, I tell him thank you and return to my cabin. I close the doors behind me. The tears threaten to come down but I won’t let them. I stare at the ceiling to keep myself from crying. This usually works.

Then a reflection of some sort catches my eye above the luggage rack. When I reach up, my fingers graze something made of leather. My first thought is that Annaliese must have accidentally left her wallet behind. Then I notice a slip of paper with my name on it poking out of the side. I pull it out.

Lydia,

It’s not the end of the world. Things do get hard, but we can always fight our way above them. You are young–don’t give up yet. I hope this helps. I hope you had a nice sleep.

Annaliese
PS: After I return from Denmark in two days, you come visit me in Finland. I live on Tammio.

In the leather pouch, there’s a wad of Euros. I peel them apart and find that there’s over two thousand in the stack–that’s nearly four thousand dollars.

Oh, my… I cannot accept this! My first thought is to turn it in to someone on the train to mail to her while I try to work my way back to a flight back to America. Then I consider taking the money straight back to her on Tammio, wherever that is. That’s not a place I visited. Helsinki happened about two months ago. Plus I only stayed in Finland for about a couple of days, since I was more excited about Sweden.

Knowing my Swedish ancestry is largely what brought me to tour Europe to begin with. When I got there, however, disappointment settled in worse than ever. It turns out my great-great grandfather was heavily involved in Hitler’s camp during World War II. That’s not exactly the history I was expecting. I thought being of Scandinavian descent would give my family a richer, more established history. My family wasn’t so lucky in that respect.

The realization suddenly hits that I have no choice but to use this money, one way or another. There’s no other choice–I’m fresh out of money. The last of the inheritance went to my flight and final train ride, and I screwed those up. Why didn’t I wake up at the other stops?

The train starts to slow down. Very quickly, I make up my mind, snatch up my duffle bag and shove the wallet in my hoodie pocket. Once I find the nearest door, I wait, bouncing on my toes for the train to stop and unload. A voice comes on over the intercom.

“Brussels-Midi.”

As soon as the doors open, my feet jump to the platform. The impact jostles my hoodie and the leather stuffed with Euros nearly flies out, making my heart nearly stop. People start milling out of the train around me so I don’t dare take it out to check on it. My hand stays firmly on the pouch in my pocket.

I’ve been to Brussels-Midi before so I immediately turn left and head to the ticket kiosks. I insert two 20 Euro notes into the machine and select a one-way ticket.

It’s not long before I’m anxiously seated on another train to Helsinki, watching as the Polish countryside flashes by in a blur.