FWF ~ Where I Will Be…

 

Each door calls my name, each for different reasons.

In Narnia, there are Animals and a vast land protected by an awesome lion that happens to have magical powers. Not to mention a sexy voice to boot. There are mermaids that swim in the seas, gorgeous beaches, woods that provide both shelter and a thrill, and such thing as magic. There are different sides–a constant battle over who should rule. Should it be a child or four? A young man who’s race practically wiped out all others? Or an evil witch? But at the end of the day, it’s hard to go back once you leave…

Neverland is another story entirely. Neverland is on a star. To be specific, the second star to the right. Like Narnia, there is magic but this time in the form of pixie dust. Mermaid Lagoon is home to mermaids, some nice and some not so nice. These mermaids like to poke a lot of fun. Pirates roam the seas, captained by the malicious and devilish Captain Hook. The crocodile in which Hook’s hand is trapped tails the ship, just waiting for Captain’s other hand to drop. The Lost Boys like to cause trouble, but they do it in good fun, until they get caught by the Indians who don’t really like the Pale Faces. I’m a pale face. Maybe Peter Pan can come to the rescue…

Sometimes I think I’d like to go to Wonderland. To a place where hardly anything makes sense, like a hookah-smoking caterpillar and caucus races in the tide, yet everything seems to work together. Frabjous Day is always cause for a celebration and a special dance. You never know if you’ll be big in a small world or small in a big world. A Cheshire Cat smile is guaranteed to get one in return. In Wonderland, no one seems to have a concept of time. Flower beds serenade you and a pair of twins won’t stop with the riddles and rhymes… which supposedly seem insane. Beasts are much more dangerous, but at least they have cool names like bandersnatches and jabberwockies. Sometimes you won’t know your path until you get somewhere. But as soon as you start to sing “Twinkle Little Bat,” an evil queen will scream, “Off with your head!” while tossing her decks of cards at her henchmen. I’ll need to be careful unless I want to lose my hat.

Now Hogwarts… that’s a cool place. A castle filled with learning and magic, secrets and mysteries, ghosts and wizards. Owls fly about delivering mail over a breakfast that’s made by elves. Students wield wands as tools in learning spells and their craft, while earning points for their houses. They have the most unique candy you’ll find anywhere, like Sugar Quills that you can suck on, pills that can make you puke then stop, and Chocolate Frogs that come to life before your eyes. There’s a ghost who cries in one of the girl’s bathrooms at all hours of the day, and another that likes to cause trouble by pulling pranks. Quidditch is always a good time as it pits the four different houses students against each other in good sport, as they aim a quaffle from the seat of a flying broomstick for three golden hoops while someone seeks out the elusive snitch. Most of the teachers are cool, but there are a couple who either have a few screws loose or have a hidden agenda. There is even word of a Dark Lord who wants to take over the school and the entire magic world. Now I’m not so sure…

If I wanted a little history, I would choose Camelot–the place where honorable King Arthur reigned and Merlin held all the magic. The knights of the round table would be handsome and follow the Old Knight’s Code of Honor. But then again, that could get boring after a while. Chivalry may not be dead, but chivalrous knights don’t really exist anywhere else. Sometimes a girl wants a little danger…

Then comes Middle Earth. The place where different kinds of people roam, including hobbits with hairy feet, elves who can sense the future, dwarves who live in caves and man. Usually kept separate, they rely on each other in times of need. With expansive and diverse landscapes, from towering snow-covered mountains, to the valleys with pretty creeks, swamps where the dead lie, and castles built into mountainsides, no part of Middle Earth looks like another. Magic and wizards exist, but bad and good are in a constant battle. Like Hogwarts, a Dark Lord is gathering power to take over the Middle Earth once more, pitting orc against the friendlier races. If good can reign supreme then maybe a new ruler can rise and lead in peace…

Westeros, however, is a world I know not of. So the idea of a mystery? Certainly my imagination peaks.

My hands twitch, itching to open all the doors. But then I take a closer look at them, and realize that these worlds, of magic, of wonder, of nonsense and darkness, would only make me miss the world I’ve come to grow and love. It may not have magic in the sense that these seven doors would take me too, but it’s magical because it’s beautiful and the battle between good and evil isn’t so prevalent. It’s a place where you can experience all of these worlds without ever really venturing into them, but from a place of a book in safety.

Instead, the question that arises is not where you are… but who you are and who you will be.

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Sharing the Love – The Sweetest Thing

By Kellie Elmore

this love
is the sweetest thing
I wish I could
put it in tiny bottles
and pass it out to
all those still searching

this love
is the sweetest thing
sugar dreams
of tasting this good
and fruit goes dark
dreaming of the same

this love
is the sweetest thing
I could put it
into little packets
and leave it on tables
in cafes where people meet

this love
is the sweetest thing
and it’s sad to think
of those hungry hearts
still waiting in line
trying on kisses

this love
is the sweetest thing
and if I could
I would
put it in tiny bottles
for all those still searching

—-

Don’t you just love this? I’m totally enamored by Kellie’s work. 

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 ~ 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.

FWF ~ An Escape

Leaving the voices behind her, Olivia stepped into the winter night. The snow stung her cheeks as she looked to her backyard. Without the sun, one would have thought the yard looked meager, nothing special. Not even a fence to hold in a pet if her family had ever spared a second thought to provide her with some kind of companion. To Olivia it was so much more. Just the thought of being able to run away if she ever felt like it made this backyard seem perfect for just that. She could run and run and run, and no one would ever know which direction she went.

Instead of running, Olivia walked to the tire swing. Her father had put it up when she was three because he thought she might like it. He hung it on the only branch that Olivia had ever climbed in her thirteen years. She could remember when she’d have her legs dangling through and her father would swing her up above his head and let her fly. Gone were such days where he even said her name.

Olivia pulled her hands from her sweater and balanced herself as she slipped through the tire once more. An exhale left everything behind. She kicked herself around in a loop, letting the gentle winter breeze and snow graze through her long hair. It was like the wind whispered things to her, things that could make everything better. After a while, she started humming to herself some song that she made up when she was a kid.

After a few hours and the snow had ceased to fall, the lights in her house went out and Olivia knew it was safe to go back inside. The fighting was over.

She tilted her head back and the moon parted through the clouds. It was a full moon tonight–Olivia’s favorite thing.

She could have gone back inside, where tomorrow morning her mother might be puking her guts out, or where her father would already be starting in on his whiskey by the time Olivia got up for school. She could have gone back inside to where she’d rather not be.

So Olivia just stayed in her tire, humming to herself and wondering… always wondering as the natural wind and what her swinging stirred bounced around her head.

*   *   *

This was written for a special edition of Free Write Friday… There is a giveaway on the line this week for a cute tote Kellie Elmore’s newly published “Magic in the Backyard”. This mini-story is based on / inspired by the cover of that book. You can buy Kellie’s poem book on Amazon, Amazon Kindle and Nook.
Oh, and did you see my interview of the lovely Kellie? Go check it out!